As the second big wave hits India again a year after the start of the pandemic, conversations of the importance of staying healthy is buzzing all over again. Building a strong immune system and having a balanced diet is the foundation for a healthy lifestyle.
We spoke to Simrun Chopra, a certified Deep Health Coach and the Founder of ‘Nourish with Sim’, on various aspects of women’s health and how her customised program help women in India live a happier life. Simrun works closely with women who are dealing with post-pregnancy weight management, fertility concerns such as PCOD, endometriosis, and more. Her team of certified nutritionists with a combined experience of 50 years works with every client personally, offering them meal plans, workouts, and daily consultations to help achieve their desired goals.
Excerpts from the interview below:
How would you define the importance of staying fit and healthy in fast-paced urban life?
In today’s fast paced world with work induced stress, being fit and healthy is of the utmost importance. The lockdown last year brought about a lot of change to the way people live their lives. Because of the Covid pandemic, health became a priority. People are now more conscious than ever before when it comes to eating right and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle only requires the dedication to do so. To keep doing what is right for you. To eat healthy, maintain a regular exercise routine, engage in things you are passionate about and surround yourself with positive energy.
For those with the dedication to lead a healthy and nutritious lifestyle, the reliance on outside food has definitely reduced. We normally get a lot of questions from our clients asking variations of the same question: “How do I make this healthy?” Eating lean and clean with plenty of fruits and vegetables, and spending a little time each day exercising can help us get one step closer to staying fit.
What was the idea behind starting a concept like ‘Nourish with Sim’? How many women have benefitted from it?
It didn’t start off as a business. Post the delivery of my son, I had put on over 20 kgs. I slowly started noticing my mobility and health slipping away. That’s when I had my wake-up call to take things under control. As I went through my own, personal weight loss and fitness journey, I realised that my struggles and experiences would help others. My personal journey taught me that no fancy diets or ingredients are needed to get yourself on the right path.
Simple home food with a lot of greens and balanced nutrition is what is ideally needed along with half an hour of exercise. This simple philosophy was put on paper and then further developed along with my then trainer, and now partner, Sameer Shetty, who helped design the workout. I then decided to launch Nourish with Sim in 2018 and ever since, my team and I have consulted with over 8000 clients. We also actively cultivate and develop a private community where women can share their daily struggles and be motivated by their peers in the group.
With women taking on more and more additional roles in their daily lives, is there an increased need to seriously look into well-being?
I know the struggles of being a working mom. Juggling a baby, profession and family can take a toll on mental and physical health. I am also aware of the fact that fitness goals cannot be met overnight—sticking to a proper healthy diet and workout routine can be challenging when you are buried in responsibilities.
I have always noticed how women forget to take care of themselves because they are too busy taking care of everyone else. Let me stop you right there. There is nothing good waiting for you at the end of that road. Your body should be your first home; make sure it is clean and has a strong foundation. Don’t make yourself feel unwelcome. I designed my Reboot and Nourish programmes to fit right into one’s life, whether you are busy with work, busy at home or just busy with life.
What are the major health problems that women face? How do the services of ‘Nourish with Sim’ help them?
Women in India face daily challenges of self-esteem and weight related problems along health concerns such as fertility, PCOS and endometriosis along with a variety of other problems. Nourish with Sim offers them health, fitness and nourishment programs that aims to bring about a whole new level of consciousness. Exercise, eating right, it has to become second nature, like breathing. It has to be a lifelong focus.
My programs work with food that one is familiar with and eats every day, eliminating the need to make drastic changes to one’s lifestyle. We understand that different body types, and lifestyles, require unique health needs. Hence, we focus on specific needs and work to help every individual fulfil their health destiny. Be it weight loss, toning, athletic endurance, managing health conditions, increasing energy levels or just feeling supercharged, we have met with success and I am proud to have positively impacted thousands of my clients.
Please tell us in detail about the functioning and operations of ‘Nourish with Sim’.
My team of 20 plus highly qualified and highly trained senior nutritionists and I work 6 days a week, working constantly to solve our client’s problems. We are growing steadily and this requires a constant influx of talented nutritionists. I am proud to say that every single one of my team has a Masters degree in Nutrition, ensuring that all our clients get the same level of professional service.
Together, we service programs based on client goals, age, pre-defined medical conditions and durability. Our programs are designed to help our clients build a sustainable lifestyle where our suggestions fit in seamlessly.
I want to at all times, be a value for money service. My end goal is to give my clients of all age groups and income levels an affordable way to turn towards a healthy lifestyle. For example, my most popular program, ‘Reboot’, starts at Rs 4,130/- for 3.5 months.
However, for people with specific concerns, circumstances or issues, we have a more in-depth, nutrition plan called NOURISH. We also have PERFORM which is a program specifically designed for athletes to improve endurance and performance.
How important are initiatives like ‘Fit India Movement’ in order to motivate people to eat healthy?
Everything helps. Bringing about and then developing initiatives to create awareness around the need to be healthy and stay fit are the need of the hour. Not only is it in the interest of the populace, it is also in the interest of the Indian Government. After all, a healthy population makes for a healthy nation.
These initiatives are really good at a macro level and it is great to know that the Indian Government is promoting health and fitness. While at the macro level, these movement really make the different by reaching out to a large audience, I believe we at NWS are micro level facilitators.
The challenge lies in the abundance of unverified information about diets, workouts and nutrition that is easily available. One of our primary targets is to make people understand the importance of having a nutritionist or a certified advisor.
Did you witness a rise in the demand at the start of the Covid-19 lockdown last year?
As disastrous as the pandemic has been to global business and personal interests, the at-home fitness genre has seen unprecedented growth. In India, and around the world, the pandemic saw the shutting down of all manner of public fitness infrastructure leading to the boom in at-home fitness and online fitness businesses. For us, we saw a definite growth in customers coming from all parts of the world. At last count, we noticed clients coming in from over 40 countries.
What customized programs were made by you to help people stay healthy while being at home?
All our programs are customized in the sense that all feedback to our clients from our qualified nutritionists stems from our understanding of the client, their goals and their unique situation at that point in time. It is also based on our understanding of different body types, and lifestyles, that require unique programming for effective change.
So, while our program descriptions may be standard, our nutrition services are 100% unique and suited to specific fitness needs. Be it weight loss, toning, athletic endurance, managing health conditions, increasing energy levels or just feeling supercharged, we offer distinct nourishment plans that are tailor-made to fit one’s needs. We also have customized, age-inclusive plans catering to different health concerns and goals for people from all walks of lives.
Please tell us about your expansion plans. How do you foresee the future of ‘Nourish with Sim’?
We have been growing steadily over the past 18-24 months. My next step in the growth story of Nourish with Sim is to become a world class provider of nutrition service and support for the professional athlete. Nutrition in sports is an area that has great potential for growth in India and we are working hard to formulate effective nutrition programs for sports people across sports.
What are the essential food items that women should include in their diet after pregnancy?
Whole foods. That is the key. Post pregnancy, one must consume lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, good quality proteins like egg, chicken, seafood for non-vegetarians and nuts, seeds, organic tofu, full fat dairy etc. for vegetarians. New mothers should also eat foods rich in Vitamin C, zinc and selenium as it helps keep the immune system strong. You must include vegetables in at least two meals every day. Most mothers these days are so worried about weight loss soon after they have given birth. My advice is to not worry about it so much. Take it slow. Focus on your food intake and eat for hormone regulation, good mental balance and sustained energy. You will lose weight over time. Don’t stress about it soon after your child is born. Your child is the bigger priority.
What would you suggest for working mothers to help them live a balanced lifestyle?
I use social media as a medium to share my voice, opinions and my daily routine. I do this purely to tell people that it is not difficult to be a working mother and manage time effectively. These are some of my personal life hacks:
- Create specific schedules every day to simplify your home management.
- Eat a healthy and balanced meal
- Get 8 hours of sleep
- Drink plenty of water
- Complete your daily step count
- Be off social media half an hour before you sleep and after you wake up
The key is to focus on a plan, get organized and set the boundaries to focus separately on family and work.
Anything else you would like to add? Any recommendations for women across all age groups?
Take charge of your body. Move more, eat clean, hydrate, practice self-care and maintain a positive attitude.
You don’t have to try and get it all right on day one. Focus on progress over perfection. Focus on what you can do for yourself over the long list of “cant’s”