Health & Nutrition - - HEALTHY LOOKS - As told to AR­CHANA IYER

She’s touch­ing 4-0, but Sonali Ben­dre, who now stars in the soap Ajeeb Daas­taan Hai Ye still looks like the waif she was in Dil­jale, Sar­farosh and Zakham more than a decade ago. How does she do it? Here Ben­dre, noted for her can­dour on In­dia’s Got Tal­ent and other re­al­ity shows, re­veals her se­crets on...

Stay­ing in shape through preg­nancy and be­yond…

“I’ve al­ways been on the leaner side, but I was never re­ally fit. Although I was very happy to sport a baby bump dur­ing preg­nancy, the real chal­lenge came af­ter I de­liv­ered my son, to get back my flat tummy. I re­gret not hav­ing de­vel­oped the ex­er­cise habit when I was young, which would have given me some­thing that’s called mus­cle mem­ory. The best time to de­velop mus­cles and at­tain mus­cle mem­ory is your 20s. “I couldn’t work out to get rid of the flab, thanks to an in­jury that I in­curred in my right knee and tail­bone at the very be­gin­ning of my ca­reer. In my rush to get back to work, I quit phys­io­ther­apy mid way. So when I wanted to get back in shape, my first pri­or­ity was to heal the old in­juries. I un­der­went phys­io­ther­apy again for about a year and then I got into gym­ming. “My work­out to­day con­sists of two days of car­dio (mostly run­ning on the tread­mill) and two days of strength train­ing a week for about 30-40 min­utes. “My aim is to build up stamina, be­cause I have to put in long hours at work. A toned bikini body is not what I am look­ing at; I don’t want to be faint­ing all over the place with that per­fect body! I want to be able to de­liver

a power packed per­for­mance even on hec­tic days, which in this pro­fes­sion is ev­ery day.” Her diet… “I’ve been a healthy eater even as a child. In fact, back then I was eat­ing ev­ery 2 hours, a habit which got me yellings from Mom, but which is now rec­om­mended by di­eti­cians and nu­tri­tion­ists. I ab­so­lutely adore fruits, veg­eta­bles and dry fruit. A typ­i­cal meal fea­tures brown rice, grilled chicken, fish. I try to re­strict my cof­fee in­take to no more than 2 mug­fuls a days. Co­conut wa­ter is my bev­er­age of choice. “My cheat food is nam­keen – potato chips, sukha bhel, chi­wda. I don’t have a sweet tooth as such. But if I am crav­ing sweet I opt for dark choco­late, chikoo, or I just add jag­gery in­stead of sugar to my por­ridge. That way, it’s health­ier as well.” Her skin & hair regime… “There are only a few prod­ucts that suit me, and I use only those. Over the years I have learnt that less is more, and to re­move ev­ery speck of makeup be­fore go­ing to bed. “Like my skin, my scalp is very sen­si­tive. I use only pharma sham­poos. A leave–in con­di­tioner over night helps keep prod­uct re­lated dry­ness at bay. For­tu­nately I have straight hair, so I don’t need to blow dry af­ter ev­ery wash. “Go­ing from ca­reer woman to stay-at-home Mom… “My take on life is very sim­ple: I look at it as a se­ries of phases, and I know that each phase would pass. I be­lieve in things mov­ing or­gan­i­cally; if you are strug­gling to take on two dif­fer­ent roles at the same time, you gonna have to let go of one. When Ran­veer was born 9 years ago, I took a break from my ca­reer to fo­cus on be­ing a Mom. I never let any­one touch the baby. I changed him, cleaned him, gave him mas­sages. But as time passed, af­ter a year or so, I started let­ting oth­ers to play with Ran­veer, and slowly let him grow as an in­di­vid­ual so he can be in­de­pen­dent. Dur­ing that pe­riod, I didn’t miss work­ing, be­cause I was so busy tak­ing care of my son. Now that he is in school for about 7 hours a day, I have time for my­self again and that’s the rea­son I started work­ing again. “Be­ing a judge on a re­al­ity show… “When I was ap­proached for In­dian Idol-4 I asked baldly ‘Why do you need me? I am not a mu­si­cian! Do you just want a pretty face on the panel?’. The pro­duc­ers were taken aback. They said ‘We just want you to be like this (frank) on TV.’ So while judg­ing In­dian Idol, or any other show, I de­liv­ered my opin­ion as some­one sit­ting in the au­di­ence who’s go­ing to pay to watch their per­for­mance.”

Sonali with hus­band Goldie BeHl

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