Dropping weight in her own fun, fearless, fabulous way
Fashion designer Masaba’s edgy designs have seen desi and pardesi celebs slipping into her ensembles, both on and off the red carpet and silver screen. At 24, she was the youngest creative designer at Satya Paul, and her work has never been limited to clothes, collaborating with ITC Fiama Di Wills for bath products, Chetan Bhagat for a line of accessories for a novel, and now with Titan Raga for a timepiece collection.
But her latest achievement is her weight loss. “It has taken me a year to reach my present ‘status’ on the weighing scale. Can you beat it, I had piled on 10 kilos after I got married (to film producer Madhu Mantena) two years ago!” she says, gesticulating dramatically.
“That garlic cheese dip from Domino’s is a killer. You know, I was simply on an over-indulgent spree during our courtship, marriage, and in the delirious days that followed. We were wining and dining, catching up with friends and family over lavish lunches and dinners; then there was a multitude of Chinese takeaways… It had to show up somewhere. Well, it did, on the weighing scale,” says Masaba.
“Then I realised there was no point whining. It was a self-created situation. Now, I look at my pictures clicked over the last couple of years and feel I look as if I am ready to explode. My body structure ensures that if I do not watch what I eat, my weight tends to spiral crazily out of control,” she says. Dealing with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) also never helped in shrugging off the weight. She also finds that fruits foster acidity in her system, so she can only nibble on a few berries now and then.
With long work hours and travel dotting her calendar, it is tough to ensure a watertight eating schedule. She is working out the details for the launch of three new stores in Hyderabad, Pune and Delhi. But, “When I am in town, I watch what I eat,” says Masaba.
“I work out five days a week with my personal trainer, who comes home and gets me cracking on my fitness routine. It is a gruelling mix of outdoor strength training and cardio, one hour a day. On weekends, I usually go for a swim. No crash diets work. I have tried everything, believe me. Nothing succeeds like home food. You know, all these fancy, detailed diets work only if you are sitting at home doing nothing. If you are working, where is the time to whip up food again and again?”
She’s given up sugar and eating after 7 pm. If she’s hungry in between meals, during the course of the day, she’ll snack on chopped carrots and cucumbers or nuts. “I have 3-4 litres of water every day. You know, more often than not, you are feeling thirsty when you feel like munching. But the only way to go, is: ‘Zip it, because when you go out, you do have that one odd chip or a tiny starter’.” She doesn’t socialise as actively as she used to, and the discipline has paid off: she’s dropped all the weight she put on, plus a few more kilos.
Masaba speaks about how for women, weight is not just a factor of what we eat or how much we work out. “Our hormonal twists and age are constantly at play as well. So don’t stand on the weighing scale every morning and suffer anxiety when you see that number flash. I used to do that and then be depressed the whole day. Limit taking your weight to once a week,” she says. Weight aside, “Keep doing good work and everything else will fall into place,” she says in her signature mince-no-words style, with her brilliant smile.