“The key is to not work harder but smarter,” says Neha.
Finding her health in shambles after her second pregnancy Neha Shah decided to strive towards healthy living. Eventually, she not only recovered from her post-mortem health problems like bloating, ache, hair loss and excess fat but also found herself knee-deep in Integrative Nutrition. A former Software Engineer, presently, Neha is a compassionate Health Coach.
With her expertise and want to discover a “safe space for health and happiness”, Neha founded “The Balance Chaos” through which she is training her clients to “ditch diet-drama and lose weight as a by-product.” Learn how calorie-counting isn’t the master key you thought it is, and break other myths with Storiyaan in this enthralling interview of Neha.
Neha Shah: Ditch Diets and Still Lose Weight!
Questions and answers
What sparked your interest to be an integrative nutrition health coach?
After delivering my second child, I faced acute health problems. That’s when I decided to switch to a healthy lifestyle. Subsequently, I started seeing results and eventually wanted to get a deeper understanding of healthy living which led me to become an integrative health coach.
Could you share the idea behind “The Balance Chaos” and what expectations can a client have under your guidance?
The idea behind “The Balanced Chaos” is to ditch the diet drama. I aim to make you reach your health goals or lose weight with you loving the journey.
Under my guidance, the clients get a step by step procedure to get healthier. They learn to understand how to make better dietary decisions and how to manage their body weight. In addition, they are also informed about managing their problems like bloating, fatigue or cravings.
What were the major roadblocks you faced in this journey as a nutrition health coach and what were your ways of overcoming them?
There is always a lot of noise regarding new diet trends or fads. The major roadblock is to cut through them and believe in your tried and tested methods.
I overcame such a hubbub by thinking like a common man and embracing my ancestral wisdom. Indian desi food culture is rich with healthy recipes and health anecdotes. It’s all about asking the right questions.
Food can be both medicines as well as poison depending upon the situation. What are the strategies you use to create care plans for your clients?
My master strategy is to make my client’s ingredient list intelligent. To overcome any health issue, your food should be anti-inflammatory, whole-food based, gut healthy, and home-grown. I also equip my clients to understand the basics of food science so that they can create their meals.
You believe calorie counting is just a Band-Aid solution to lose weight. Why do you believe so?
Calories matter but it is about quality over quantity. Choose your basic 200 calorie khichdi, cooked with traditional spices and ghee over any high-protein superfood available in the market. Traditional recipes are better for your digestion and also help you develop a healthy relationship with fitness and food.
You practice breaking the conventional ways of losing weight with other efficient and alternative methods. Could you share with us some of those methods and ideas and how they are proven to be more useful?
To achieve results you don’t need exorbitant changes. Practice walking barefoot on grass, the seashore or stones. Go out, feel the early sunshine and breathe in the fresh air. Just half an hour doing so can bring vitamin D and help you get better sleep.
A multitude of people these days need a proper nutritionist in life but often believe it to be too expensive and thereby abstain. What would be your message to them?
The problem lies in the rigid diets that are prescribed giving birth to fear in people’s minds. My message will be to research and question your nutritionist. In addition, I would recommend going for local recipes and ingredients which are always cheaper and also widely available.
It is easy to get a diet chart but the challenges come when one starts following it. In such cases what are the strategies, you use to inspire your clients especially the ones who are very skeptical?
I don’t provide a diet chart but rather teach them the basics of a healthy diet and enable them to choose their diet. This strategy is extremely efficient as the client is not only interested in the process but also realizes that the power lies with them. Hence, they feel already motivated and intrigued.
You preach the practice of mindful practices over the gym or intense workout. What is the reason behind such practices and what are these practices?
The reason is today’s lifestyle extremely stressful unhealthy lifestyle which impacts our stress hormones. The mindful practices include a combination of various types of movements, stress training and high-intensity internal training targeting various health issues. These help to increase metabolism.
Often people who lose weight undergo fasting and a very minimum amount of food consumption. What do you think about it?
Firstly, there will be harmful effects for sure but if one has to fast it shouldn’t be prolonged. Food deprivation will cause unbalanced nutrition. Our overall health thrives on nutrient consumption then why should we deprive ourselves of food to lose weight!
As the pandemic hovers over, eating healthy has become the most important thing. What would be your suggestions on some must-have meals as a nutritionist?
Must-have meals should be the home-grown food that you ate as a child. Foods like khichdi, kadi, roti dal sabzi, chicken biryani, paneer paratha and aachar are all healthy if prepared at home and ate traditionally.
- One food that you feel is very essential in every diet – Khichdi
- Describe yourself as a health coach – A common man’s coach
- The mantra you follow in your life – You are above all and worth it
- The importance of exercise to you is – as important as breathing; essential
- The person you look up to the most – My mother