Sahiba Bhardwaj is a nutritionist and the founder of her B Fit Lifestyle venture. She has a Master’s Degree in Nutrition Science and Research from Tufts University in Boston. She is a nutrition educator who has advised and helped people of all ages.
Sahiba Bhardwaj is extremely passionate about what she does, and this keeps her motivated to do better.
In her conversation with Icy Tales, she spoke on her journey in pursuing this field, her venture, her opinion on nutrition for children along with some tips to stay healthy.
Q) Tell us something about your venture, B Fit Lifestyle
Sahiba Bhardwaj: Since I am a practicing nutritionist and a nutrition educator, I wanted to have my venture. I started B Fit Lifestyle and although the core of our business is nutrition, we focus on things more than just that.
We help people transition to a healthier lifestyle, that is sustainable and unique to their routine and lifestyle; they can sustain it and continue on that path. We also help people develop a habit of sustainable physical exercise routine.
We also encourage them, handhold them, and motivate them when they join us. So we look at different factors like their physical and emotional health, and their stress levels; all of those factors come into play in our venture.
Q) What’s the story behind pursuing the field of nutrition?
Sahiba Bhardwaj: I come from an advertising background and am a copywriter. When I conceived my daughter, I had gestational thyroid.
When you are a first-time mom, the whole world turns upside down because you don’t know what to do.
When I had my baby, my doctor forgot to tell me that I need to continue with my thyroid medication, even, I forgot as well, so I stopped taking my medication.
Eventually, I kept gaining weight and put on 10-15 kgs after the delivery of my child. And then I was miserable because I had all the symptoms of depression, hair fall, bad skin, and everything.
When I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, I started taking medication and I decided that I’m going to lose all this weight. It took me two years and I dropped 30 kgs.
In that process, I went to a few dietitians who were popular at that time in the city and I realized that nobody was paying attention to what I like eating or my medical condition.
They were just telling me that if you want to lose weight, you have to eat this or you have to do this. It was almost like a pressure and a task for me.
I would throw up after eating paneer, but my dietitian would tell me I have to eat paneer. So that’s when I realized that there was a gap in the market where nobody was listening to the client who was coming to these dietitians with problems.
So once I lost weight, people around me started asking me how I transformed myself and if I could help them.
I didn’t want to just become one of those copy-pasting diet kinds of dietitians. So I again pursued it in detail and did my Masters in Nutrition Science from Tufts University, one of the most prestigious courses in the world.
I got the right knowledge base so that I don’t mess up with anybody who walks through my door and comes to me for help.
After this, I realized that the client, has to be at the center of my work and I need to understand and address the client’s problems, routines, and lifestyle.
Q) What should one look for when trying to go on a diet with a nutritionist?
Sahiba Bhardwaj: Even though there are so many nutritionists, you need to understand that if you have any underlying medical condition, I would strongly suggest that go to a qualified nutritionist.
I am saying this because they have a deeper knowledge and they can help you better.
Secondly, I want to urge people to not look for shortcuts and instant results because there will be some dietitians who will put you in a calorie deficit.
I feel sorry for those dietitians because it’s the work pressure; they don’t intentionally want to do this, but because of the pressure from the client that they have to lose two kgs this week, they will put them in a calorie deficit, which is not going to help them in the long run.
I would say, stay away from fat, crash, or any kind of diet that doesn’t maintain a balance. Anything that tells you don’t eat fruits and vegetables, stay away from that.
Anything that tells you that you need to drink four to five liters of water, otherwise the diet will not work, please stay away from all this because, in the long run, this will not help.
Q) Weight loss is becoming very popular nowadays. In some cases, people choose the wrong ways to lose weight. What do you have to say about the right ways of losing weight and how important is it?
Sahiba Bhardwaj: Firstly, get on a diet plan that suits your routine, and your food preferences. Follow a diet that takes into account your lifestyle because a diet should not disrupt your lifestyle completely.
For example, if we tell a person who socializes a lot, to eat only Khichdi for lunch every day, he will not be able to sustain it because that’s not their lifestyle.
Secondly, find a balanced diet. When I say balanced, it needs to include all the food groups including, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and all the micronutrients.
Don’t go for something which is like a fat diet and will help you drop 1-2 kgs because that’s the only water weight that you will lose.
Thirdly, make sure that your protein intake is in check. Follow a routine where there’s a balance 80% of the time you’re eating clean and 20% you need to eat out. So only this kind of balanced approach is going to be sustainable.
Lastly, consistency matters. It’s not like we wake up one day in the morning and we are 10 kg overweight. You put on weight over some time so you will take some time to lose that weight also. Be patient and kind to yourself while being consistent with whatever you pick up.
Q) Do you think there’s any alternative option to satisfy the cravings of people?
Sahiba Bhardwaj: There are two reasons why cravings happen. One is you’re just craving something at some time just like women have these cravings before their menstrual cycle.
So your hormones are kind of playing and you feel the need to eat all these desserts or unhealthy food, as we call it.
I don’t like to call them unhealthy food instead I say ‘sometime’ food. There’s no healthy or unhealthy food; food is food, and it’s upon us to make that choice.
When we look at their eating pattern throughout the day, people say that they don’t skip breakfast and they start with lunch and don’t eat anything after that.
When you’re not eating sufficient calories in the first half of the day, your body is going to ask for that, those calories. That’s when you are drawn to all these high-carb and high-sugar foods.
Secondly, if you don’t have enough protein in your diet, you’re going to start craving. Thirdly, there are nutritional deficiencies that can lead to that so you need to address all of those.
Once a week, if you desire something, please go ahead but if that starts happening every day, then you need to start asking yourself these questions.
Am I getting enough protein? Am I eating sufficient calories throughout the day? Or do I have some nutritional deficiencies? Am I suffering or am I feeding some emotion? Am I trying to run away from some emotional need that I’m just feeding with cake or chips or something or ice cream?
Q) If someone wants to live a healthier life, what is something that they should focus on?
Sahiba Bhardwaj: When I say a healthy lifestyle, it’s a lifestyle that will lower your risk of developing certain diseases and give you good cognition. It’s longevity but with quality. I would say you start by focusing on your sleep, hydration, nutrition, and exercise.
When I say sleep, start looking at six to eight hours of good sleep. When I say hydration, look at two liters of water throughout the day.
Or you can also do one glass or one serving of fluid in the form of electrolytes or lemon water with a pinch of salt, or vegetable juice and coconut water also works.
Thirdly for nutrition, if you have to focus on one thing that you are trying to change or adopt a healthier life, start eating at least one home-cooked meal.
Make sure you eat one meal every day that’s made at home using non-inflammatory oils, using seasonal produce.
Lastly, pick up any exercise that you think you enjoy and you can do almost every day. Set aside 20 to 30 minutes for that exercise. Walking comes naturally to humans but if you can’t do 30 minutes at one go, split it into 10 minutes into 3 times through the day.
Sahiba Bhardwaj aims to help more people to live a happy and healthy life. She aspires to achieve more things in life, to help herself as well as the people around her.
Check out the informational conversation with Sahiba Bhardwaj on our YouTube Channel.