March 22, 2015

Letter From a Wellness Coach

Last week, I had a very interesting encounter with a beautiful, 51 year old baby turkey (a new client.)

Ayesha (not her real name, obviously) walked in wearing a crisp white, tucked-in shirt and a beautiful Hermes Scarf. From the looks of it, I couldn’t quite tell why or from where she wanted to lose weight. It took us 15 minutes to get comfortable before she finally confessed:  “Mantahaa,” she sighed, “I don’t think even you can help me. I have been to tons of nutritionists in Dubai and Canada and no one is able to help me lose the last of these 6 stubborn kilos!”

By looking at her, I don’t think any one could have guessed that she wanted to shed more pounds. But then it occurred to me. She wanted to lose the extra 6 kilos to gain back her sense of accomplishment. So after a series of blood work analyses and 24/7 monitoring of her meals, I had the aha! moment.  A sort of nutrient-rich epiphany. Her meals lacked a very important macronutrient: Her meals lacked fat.

Just like the C-word (carbs, that is), the F-word (fat), gets a thrashing in all the fad diets where one important macronutrient or other is criminally ignored. Fats, like proteins or carbohydrates, performs a full work load of body functions that you cannot live without. Fats come in different forms as well – just like cholesterol. On one end, there’s the good, unsaturated fat. On the other, there’s the bad, saturated fat.

First, the good news: We all need a certain amount of body fat to cushion, position and protect our internal organs. That means protecting our bones from injury and underlining our skin for insulation. These are just a couple of all the boring benefits that we don’t bother worrying about. But, the enlightening  news is that if you don’t have fat in your system, you will lose the subcutaneous layer under your skin ,the absence of which is the cause of wrinkles, fine lines and aging spots. So go ahead and grab that hummus with all the might of your unconstrained pleasure (but, ahem-ahem, portion-control, please).


Healthy DietThe question now is how to differentiate between good and bad fats. It’s actually quite simple. The good fat, that’s unsaturated fat, doesn’t solidify at room temperature. So olive oil, sunflower oil, flax seed oil, avocado oil, nuts, Omega 3 and Omega 6 all fall into this category. As for bad fat, or saturated fat, you’ll find that it solidifies at room temperature. You know what I’m talking about: Cream, cheese, animal fats, processed meats and baking chocolate are just some of the sins you should keep your body away from.

Piece of advice: If you’re going mad over the difference between good fat vs. bad fat, just go nuts: that’s peanuts, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, to name a few.

After  explaining my Fat Facts, Ayesha understood that fat is unfairly treated as the underdog among all macronutrients. And that, too, without a fair trial.

If you have been following the same diet plan and fitness regime for years without a core understanding of your goals, I know that it can be really frustrating. After all, what should your ‘next steps’ be? How do you navigate the twists and turns in your long term nutritional planning? Fortunately, Ayesha got it. She understood that her body needed to be fuelled by the appropriate amounts of good fats, proteins and carbs to increase metabolic activity so that she could reduce her body-fat percentage. Let me rephrase that more simply: Ayesha understood that she needed the good fat to burn the bad fat away.

Today, Ayesha is well on her way! Not only has she lost 4 kg out of her 6 kg goal, but claims that her anti-aging cosmetics and creams are finally beginning to work. Best of all, she looks 10 years younger and is all set to start a new chapter in her life.

Note: Please consult your dietician or your wellness coach before embarking on a new diet plan.

Mantahaa Maqsood is Chief Wellness Officer at The Wellness Company (TWCo.) For enquires, please email [email protected]