Kanika Chadda Gupta

Lifestyle

Gain Weight on Lockdown — Here’s How to Regain Control

weight gain kanika chadda gupta weight loss

Gain Weight on Lockdown? Here’s How to Regain Control

Over the last two months, much of the country has been in a state of self-isolation, and many of us have put on a few extra pounds. This unwelcome quarantine has led to stress, and, as we all know, stress can lead to overeating.

What Can I do?

If you’ve noticed the scale inching up as the days trudge on, remind yourself that lockdown is not going to last forever. Someday soon, you’ll be back out into the real world, and you’re going to want to look and feel your very best.

Fortunately, there are many ways to reverse the bad habits you may have picked up over the last 60 days. One of these is to adopt healthy stress-busting habits. This is especially important if you are a caregiver since, as Community Home Health Care points out, stress weighs heavily on those that care for others.

Look for new outlets, which might include blogging, exercise, or meditation. Note that none of these suggestions involve cooking or put you in a situation where you would eat as part of a social setting. When you learn to remove food as a comfort item, you won’t be tempted to ingest excess and unnecessary calories.

Next, reframe how you dine. Make a rule that food must be consumed in the kitchen or dining room, so you’ll be less likely to eat in between meals. You’ll also want to make a point to utilize the food you have in your pantry in the most healthful ways possible. A few great examples of healthy recipes you can put together without having to go to the grocery store include spinach tortellini soup and quesadillas made with untraditional ingredients, such as legumes. You also likely have a great base for soups and sandwiches as well as healthy casseroles.

Once you do begin to venture out again, prioritize nutritional foods, such as salads, fruits, and lean proteins. As far as vegetables go, you already know you’re supposed to be eating the rainbow. But if you are one of the many people who can’t stomach the earthy taste of greens, you’re going to need to put in some work retraining yourself on how to eat healthily. According to Precision Nutrition, there are three basic steps to make this happen. These are to challenge yourself to try things you don’t normally eat, pair them with something you do, and then look for ways to cushion the bitterness, which is likely your biggest turn off when it comes to things like kale and asparagus.

Finally, if you’re still having trouble mastering your food intake, it can help to hire a nutritionist. This is an individual, who may post their services on freelance job boards such as Upwork, who can work with your tastes and preferences to help you manage your caloric intake.

Diet and Exercise

Fitness buffs are happy to tell you that the only way to lose weight is to hit the gym and hit the gym hard. This is actually not the case, although exercise is crucial and can help bolster your weight-loss efforts. Even if you’re not used to working out, make a point to add at least 30 minutes of exercise to your day every day. Running, jump roping, and even activities such as kickboxing, are all great ways to lose weight, and come with the added benefit of letting you expel pent-up stress.

If you’ve gained a little weight, don’t worry. We are in the same boat. But if your ultimate goal is to waltz out of your house wearing your pre-pandemic pants, the time to take action is now. Remember, managing your weight starts with what you eat, so start in your pantry. When you reframe the way you look at food, you can make healthy and delicious meals with what you’ve got. And as quarantine comes to a close, remember to prioritize vegetables and other healthy options at the grocery store.

 

Guest post by Jennifer McGregor

Photo Credit: i yunami on Unsplash

How Busy Moms Can Also Keep Aging Parents Healthy and Happy

Cheerful granny is treating her granddaughter with fresh baked Christmas cookies. Girl is taking one from tray with excitement

Taking care of a family is already such an immense responsibility, and when you are juggling those duties with tasks associated with caring for a senior parent, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Caregiver burnout can be a serious risk for children and grandchildren in this situation, but if you are a family caregiver who is feeling overly stressed by your responsibilities, there are some steps you can take to keep aging parents healthy and ease your feelings of stress.

Transitioning Senior Parents to Independent Living

If your parent is simply lonely and not in need of care, they may be better off moving into a local independent living community. In New York, the cost of independent senior living can range from $1,500 to $17,250 per month, and these communities can provide a smaller space and many social opportunities senior parents need to thrive. It may also help to understand that these independent living communities are very different from assisted living and nursing home facilities, in that they do not provide assistance with medical care or tasks of daily living. So, while an independent living community can be a favorable choice for well-abled seniors, it’s also important for family caregivers to be able to recognize when seniors need more care.

Incorporating Simple Exercises into Daily Care Routines

Seniors need regular exercise, like walking, to avoid falls, reduce disease, and fend off other physical ailments that can lead them to need more dedicated care from family members. If you can find time in your day, try to accompany your senior parent on daily walks to provide these health and wellness benefits. If you cannot squeeze a walk into your daily care routine, or if the weather is not favorable for outdoor activities, you can also help your loved one stay healthy with safe indoor exercises. Stretching, working out in a home gym, and following along with fitness videos can be a simple way for both busy moms and aging parents to stay in shape. And if your parent feels like getting out of the house, he/she can always burn calories by walking around a mall or museum, swimming at an indoor pool, or looking for indoor fitness classes.

Utilizing Meal & Grocery Delivery Services for Daily Meal Prep

In addition to providing your aging parents and young children with daily care, you also need to provide them with daily nutrition. That can be a major challenge for busy moms, especially when you cannot seem to find the time to even visit a grocery store, let alone prepare a healthy meal for your extended family. If you have a smartphone, however, you may be able to solve your shopping and meal prep dilemmas by using various food delivery services. For moms who still want to cook meals from scratch, local grocery delivery may be the best option for keeping seniors healthy and other family members happy. If you have a little more room in your budget, and less time in your day, family-friendly meal kits may be a more convenient choice.

Teaching Children About Responsibility By Having Them Help With Care

If you have older children, there’s no reason why they cannot contribute and help you care for your senior parent, as well as your household. For example, you can always ask your children to help with cooking, which will lighten your load and also provide a practical way to enhance their academic skills. Children who cook are learning valuable lessons in math, science, reading comprehension, and communication, in addition to gaining a skill that will better prepare them for adulthood. You can also write out a daily chore list that includes tasks that will make it easier for you to care for grandparents who live in your home, but be sure that the chores you assign to your children are appropriate for their age and abilities.

Living with senior parents when you are also trying to raise a family can come with unique challenges. If you can navigate these challenges and find ways to make your life easier, while keeping an aging parent healthy, you both can make the most of a multigenerational home.

Attribution:

Written by guest author, Karen Weeks

Photo by sk on Unsplash

My Royal Ritual

 

After binge watching the Royal Wedding (from the ceremony to past interviews to everyone’s viewing party posts!), I thought about how nice it would be to grow up in a castle or become a princess (every girl’s dream, right?!) We’ll leave that to Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton who are doing an exceptional job at setting an example for young girls – they’re following expectations of the monarchy without compromising their authenticity and roots.

Today I decided to have my own little “royal ritual” at home before my kids woke up at 7 am. I used Ranavat Botanics Eternal Reign Masque which detoxifies, removes daily build-up and grime, and leaves skin feeling clean, smooth and supple. It’s like a refreshing green smoothie for your face! Ingredients include French green clay, neem, Manuka honey, and vitamin C – all certified organic. The mask is safe to use a few times a week. Believe me, there’s nothing like turning a #caseofthemondays into a #MasqueMonday. Treat yourself like the queen you are. You deserve it ladies!

Shop the Ranavat Botanics collection here.

Mommy Makeover!

My mom squad and I often commiserate about how we never get a chance to treat ourselves whether it’s getting our hair done or going to the spa for a relaxing massage or mani/pedi. I was ecstatic when Marie Lou&D Salon in Soho, New York invited me and two of my mommy friends, Minila and Rachna, to get pampered. A second home to high-street fashionistas and celebrities like Hilary Duff and Jill Zarin, MLD and its touted European stylists have been featured in InStyle, Vogue, and Marie Claire.  

We all were treated to consultations with top hair stylists, blow outs, and recommendations on what we should do to maintain our hair based on texture/length/coloring. 

 

Long, Fine Hair:

My hair is fine and very, very long (I don’t get hair cuts, just trims!) I have long layers and got a balayage hair color treatment four years ago that is still going strong (there are strands of caramel/brown that peak through). Hair stylist Tre Wyrosdick, advised that I use Kerastase Elixir Ultime Metamorph oil as a pre-treat before shampooing and conditioning, once a week. 

The product turns into a milk and penetrates each strand. Leave it in for 2-3 minutes, and then shampoo.

To add volume to dull, flat hair, look for shampoos that contain hyaluronic acid and collagen. The Kerastase’s Densifique Bain Densité  shampoo and Fondant Densité conditioner add body to thinning hair. 

Before & After:

Dry, Damage-Prone Hair:

Minila is an Indian semi-classical dancer and founder of the Ajna Dance Company. She and her troupe perform a few times a month for TV segments, live shows, and private events and they’re often straightening, curling, and putting up their hairs in intricate up-dos which has left her hair dry and damaged at the ends. 

Shu Uemura’s Urban Moisture Hydro-Nourishing Treatment for dry hair adds intense nourishment and moisture to parched strands. The lightweight formula enters the hair fiber to soften and smoothe while protecting against future dryness. Recommended for normal to thick hair, the hair mask leaves hair tamed, detangled, and shiny with a healthy glow.

Before & After:

Short, Layered Hair:

Rachna is a a marketing executive who travels a lot. She prefers quick fixes to keep her tresses manageable with plenty of volume. 

Shu Uemura’s Texture Wave Dry Finishing Spray provides buildable texture with long-lasting, flexible hold. It leaves hair with a soft, matte finish which is ideal for any hair type or length. The spray helps to build volume and movement in fine hair, helping you achieve that perfect blow-out look. By absorbing oil at the roots without any powdery residue, it feels especially rejuvenating on second-day hair much like a dry shampoo.

Before & After:

We all loved our salon-ready hair and were happy to know that we could easily achieve results at home with the right products. #MomWin!

Our First Family Photo shoot

We had our first family photo shoot when our twins turned 7-months-old. This was a special day for us since if felt like our life had come full circle. Sunil and I actually met on a photo shoot. We both submitted our headshots (he sent in his Friendster profile photo. Throwback to 2005!) for a casting call for Indian models in New York. Don’t get me wrong, neither of us had aspirations of walking the ramp in Paris, we just wanted to have some professional photos of ourselves. We were both selected and assembled at renowned wedding photographer Jay Seth‘s studio with a group of other young working professionals. We were told the photos were going to feature in Bharat Matrimony’s new spin-off magazine, Desi Match, and as billboards for Khazana boutique in New Jersey. Jay picked Sunil and I out of the lot and said, “you two are going on my cover.” We went in to hair and make up (by the one and only Sushmita Patel), and I donned a pink and gold wedding lehnga and Sunil a gold sherwani. Here we were, pretending to be a newly-married couple on the very first day we met.

I laughed nervously, but Sunil put me at ease. He whispered, “Relax. Let’s have fun with this.” He still has a unique way of making me feel secure and bringing lightness to any situation. 

 

After the shoot, Sunil and I went our separate ways. We reconnected five years later and went on our first date. We reminisced about our shoot and then just hit it off as we talked endlessly about growing up as Indian Americans, our love for all things Punjabi from bhangra to rajma chawal, and our take on what truly matters to us in life. We married (for real this time!) in 2013 and of course Jay was our wedding photographer of choice. We enjoyed our newlywed years, and had our twins, Krish and Suhana in 2017.

Jay was so thrilled for us and said when the kids are sitting up on their own, let’s do a big Gupta family shoot. It turned out so well. They get it from their mama and papa! Here are a few of our favorite shots.

 

Here are a few things I learned when it comes to photographing kids:

  1. Be prepared. Pick out their outfits, backdrops, accessories (headbands, sunglasses) the night before so you have seamless transitions from one outfit or location change to the next. 
  2. Let there be light. We shot indoors with natural light and no flash (this is distracting for the kiddos and they will inevitably blink). We also shot photos outside around 11:30 when the sunlight was not too harsh, yet they still got to rock their little sunnies.
  3. Stick to your schedule. All kids are happiest in the early morning after they’ve had their first feed of the day. We blocked 10:00 – 12:00 pm for our shoot which was perfect timing. Their tummies were full from their 8:00 am feed, we gave them a bath, and they were active and energetic by the time we were rolling. They got a bottle at 11:00 am at the halfway point and then we went outside for the second half of the shoot. As soon as we came back home, they were put down for their nap and they slept soundly. Whew! 
  4. Play with your built-in backgrounds. Our best shots were on our bed with colorful throw pillows in the background. I used a grey wood vinyl backdrop I found on Etsy which we hung from the foot of the bed and had them pose on our shag rug. These photos looked like they were in studio! We also captured the babies on their play mat, doing what they do best – jumping, bouncing, and giggling. 
  5. Do a monkey dance. In order to get your little ones to look squarely into the camera, you’ll have to entertain them! Use jingling toys, rattles, bells and shake them near the camera lens. Their gaze will be fixed on the toy and if you sing, dance, shake, rattle, & roll, you’ll get them to give you their million dollar smiles.

Doing a photo shoot around the 7-month-mark is best since babies are able to sit up on their own and even crawl around a bit, but aren’t walking and getting into everything. We loved this phase of their lives and are going to cherish these photos! Thank you Jay Seth Photography for your matchmaking skills, and capturing these family memories.