My Swiss Life: Keeping Fit and Healthy

Thanks for tuning in into our special 6 part series! Today I’m going to talk about health and fitness.

Health has been a dicey topic for me for almost 8 years now. While health can be a lot of things ranging from your state of mind to exercise or maybe diet – I like to divide this into 3 main aspects – fitness/sport, eating and beauty.

Of course emotional stability, a healthy mind and a happy soul are back bones to your will and motivation.

Gym and Sports

Things that pump up your heart rate and tone up your body. Sports has never ever featured on my hobby list – if it did I wouldn’t have developed the muffin top. In the last decade or so, my structure has changed dramatically.

While I hope for miracles, of getting the 10 year old physique again – I have made my peace with – your age and your pregnancies cannot be reversed. No, they cannot be.

Women over 30 fight, fight everything – in this case it’s your rage against a slow metabolism rate. A man exercises for 2 weeks and loses 2 kilos, a woman exercises for 2 months and still does not lose 2 kgs. It’s unfair but that’s the reality.

Is there a solution? 

Of course there is – not an easy one. While I was in India, I had this personal trainer who would push me – he used to make my diet charts and literally kill me in the gym. I have to admit it made me feel good – I lost 2 kgs in my 3 month journey with him. At least I now know that it is possible.

After that, there was the moving to Switzerland process, there was a resignation and there were all of a sudden no helpers in the house. The running around kept the fitness routine going but the erratic eating pattern started messing up the progress made.

Once I moved here, I joined a gym after about a month – not for the continuation but for some amount of social interaction.

Are Swiss Gyms like Indian Gyms?

Not really.

 Everyone is quiet, there is little to no social interaction, and it’s meant for old people. I mean kudos to the oldies, they give me serious complexes when I see the last used weights. Also, I now believe that these guys are blessed with good genes and they don’t need to exercise till they turn 70!

Oh well… luck! Who do I blame now? And what good is that going to be…but for god’s sake…where is the damn music? And why are people reading the newspaper on the cross trainers?

If that wasn’t enough why are all the grannies buck naked in the locker rooms? 

Well the good part is Patrick (the hottie!), who comes out only when there are sign ups and payments involved. But oh my…Patrick! The training stations are great – there are different stations for all body parts and it is very well defined on all the machines. Frankly, I didn’t know this was how gyms were supposed to be.

In India, we have gazillion treadmills, cross trainers and spinning machines which the “ladies” are meant to use. Then there are dumbbells and other weights that you attach. Apart from this there is a deflated ball somewhere in the corner as a decorative article and then there are 2-3 training stations with multiple exercises that one can do. They are unclear and a bit of a black box to me.

So my typical workout routine in India was – 20 minutes of cardio on the tread mill where I would burn around 150 calories, followed by weights or a body weight intensive workout. The exercises were monitored by my personal trainer and were quite simple to learn. But he would kill me, for the 3 times a week that we met.

Over here my typical workout consists of – 30 minutes of cardio – split between the cross trainer and spinning. I use the training stations which consists of the weight training for another 30 minutes. It’s a very DIY routine, where no one  really bother you or motivates you. Half of the times, I am unsure: unsure of my form and my limits.

I try to work out 4 times a week, to manage college life and other activities. A good thing or probably a difficult lifestyle change in my life over here – you have to walk, if you don’t then you probably won’t get to eat. There is immense amount of running around – to the tram stops, to the station, to the college, up and down in the house and doing various errands. So these 4 days actually become 6 days in my mind. (a positive spin on survival)

I have lost 1 kg since I got here, I hope to lose 8 more to go back to my pre-pregnancy weight. This has been a goal for 6 years now (my daughter just turned 6). I really hope I hit gold, this time around. While a lot of people tell me to chill, “chilling” results in a non goal strategy with no results. Hence, have goals and work towards them. Whether you meet them or not is an entirely different story.

For the love of sugar 

I love sweet – all kinds. My favourite dessert is “all of them”. I am hooked to the grocery store Tiramisu. Also, I live in the land of chocolates and bakes.

With that premise, healthy eating does not come naturally to me, in fact healthy eating does not come naturally to anyone in India. Tasty is – fried, spicy, fatty and oily. Without doubt, Indian cuisine is the best tasting food that there is, but probably it’s not the healthiest.

Say hello to clean and green

While I was in India and had started on my fitness journey I was on a restricted diet. This diet featured fruits, vegetables, bland food, oats, eggs, chicken, soups etc. I was also allowed one cheat meal a week, I cheated a lot! (If someone is interested I can pass on my diet chart – it was a very healthy and balanced diet created specifically for the Indian palette.)

Over here, the quality of food and groceries is top notch. With the DIY culture, I make sure I have the low fat milk twice a day, have fruits and dry fruits in abundance along with eggs and cereal. I do cook an Indian meal a day myself with minimal olive oil and I am trying to develop a taste for salads. We go out lesser than we did in India, so I eat 90% home cooked meals which in itself is a healthier option.

Of course when we go out, we try out different cuisines – Italian and Swiss predominantly. I have also started eating more Sushi as it is so easily available out here and I have started to eat more varieties of meat that I did. 

At times, I have absurd eating schedules which I am trying to avoid.

I haven’t started doing a calorie count, do you guys do that? What apps do you use for those? I would love to hear about those in the comments section. Something that you can stick by, is not easy to find.

My Beauty and Wellness Regime

I saved the best for the last.

Just like wellness patterns change in a new geography so do the beauty rituals. I still use a day cream and a night cream, I still don’t use a sunscreen and an eye cream and I still do oil my hair once a week.

In India, a monthly visit to the salon is normal, in Switzerland – not so much. While I have found my way – I have ladies who I can visit or call at reasonable rates. It doesn’t take an Indian that long to find her way. I do a lot of things on my own now – I wax my arms and legs with those Veet strips, I scrub my feet and give myself pedicures in the bath tub and I apply face masks. Once in a while I do indulge in facials, threading and spa treatments.

This is how expats live. This is the reality, if someone tells you otherwise – don’t believe them.

My next post is going to be on motherhood – my favourite topic. It would be around how things have changed, how I have changed, how I tackle the changes and how wonderfully challenging a 6 year old can be.

Please leave your suggestions in the comments section. We love hearing back from you guys!

 Stay tuned to All About Me.

Pictures in this post by  Zarina Yaya and Anurag Gurani.
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