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When we had published our post on All You wanted to know about PCOS (an interview with Dr. Anselma Ferrao), we had briefly covered the topic of weight loss when you have PCOS. Today we have someone, who triumphed her weight loss journey even when she was diagnosed with PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome). Today she helps people around the world lose weight through healthy means. Her own story of weight loss from 88 kgs to 56 kgs inspired her to start Balance Nutrition to help everyone else struggling with weight loss. Let’s welcome Khyati Rupani! This time this post is a combination of our Expert Talks series and The lady Entrepreneur Series.
Hi Khyati, welcome to our blog…please enlighten us a bit about your Business..
Balance Nutrition – is an online weight loss and lifestyle management clinic. I set up the organisation following nine years of experience in the field of health, food and nutrition. Having travelled widely, I love to experiment with food and now strive to help people across the globe with their diet-related issues with the foods available locally.
I used to be the Chief Dietitian at Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai (RKHS), one of the leading hospitals in India. I was lucky enough to be one of the pioneers of health kitchens in the corporate sector and have since developed over 800 health recipes that are tasty and yet extremely healthy. I have since authored a book ‘Getting rid of Obesity’ published by MBD Publications and remain on the panel of the Early Childhood Association (ECA)
Balance derives from a firm belief that nutrition and lifestyle management can transform lives. This online model helps more people access genuine nutrition therapy in order to lead healthier lives.
Balance Nutrition went live on 29 August 2014. We have online programs for weight loss and lifestyle management and also PCOS, diabetes, post pregnancy, thyroid and many other disorders. Our target market includes mothers who want to lose post pregnancy weight and others who suffer weight gain due to certain medical complications and conditions.
Your own story of weight loss from 88 to 56 kgs, that too with PCOS, is very inspiring for all of us. Could you tell us a little on how you went about it?
As a child, I was never skinny… I grew up to be slightly over weight but was a broad frame.
Things suddenly started going wrong once I hit the 20s, my periods became irregular and I started gaining weight.
I did not notice it at first as I was pursuing my masters in nutrition 😉
But in 1 year I moved to 64 kg from 56kg. That is when I realised there was something wrong. I then discovered I was suffering from PCOS and that is responsible for the weight gain along with my lifestyle.
I started studying about it in detail and was convinced that weight loss and maintaining weight to ideal levels was the only solution to have a healthy hormonal profile. Also, being a dietitian myself, it was important to be well within my ideal weight limits.
The next barrier to excess weight and PCOS was when I was planning to have a child.
I was very upset to hear I was suffering from infertility and it would be tough to become a mom. It was very depressing to hear about fertility treatments and the side effects go the same made me very scared and depressed.
That is when I started with eating correctly, eating in right portions and did not give in to junk food. I started loosing weight and became 58kg again. I was very happy to conceive naturally (rare with PCOS) and had a very good pregnancy.
During the 9 months, I put on 23kg and was horrified to see 78kg after the birth of my child. I immediately stepped into action, I ate foods that nourished me and not make me put on.
I also had been operated for a slipped disc so heavy workouts were never an option for me. I would go for walks when I got time.
After my child was 1 year old, I was 66kg. And my PCOS symptoms disappeared. My cycles were very regular. I went a little more aggressive and made a conscious effort towards loosing weight. This was not easy as I was taking care of the baby, working and taking care of my weight.
At times, I gave in to cravings, ate wrong but when calm, I would ask myself, was it worth the big bar of chocolate… I started being happy with tasting junk and eating healthy food. Thus satisfying my craving. After another year I was 58 kg… And today I see myself at 56kg!
That is when I discovered and came up with “EAT-IN PORTIONS“, RESTAURANT GUIDE, ALCOHOL GUIDE and THE CELEBRATE LIFE “MAINTENANCE GUIDE” which are a very integral part of my programs.
I eat outside, have erratic meal times some days and also cheat a bit:), but due to the maintenance, I know when to stop.
My own journey through weight loss and fluctuations has given me an insight to the core issue, no one can eat special diet foods all their life, a more practical and doable approach works best 🙂
What according to you is the most challenging part of Weight loss for those diagnosed with PCOS?
The thing with PCOS is – the only way to manage PCOS is by losing weight and losing weight with the hormonal disturbances caused in PCOS is difficult. So it’s a circle.
A normal lady who would lose 4 kg in a month with a diet and lifestyle change, if she was battling PCOS, she would say lose 3kg with a little more effort.
We have heard that PCOS is a condition that cannot be completely cured but can be controlled.. Did the weight loss help you control or totally cure PCOS?
PCOS was formerly called PCOD –where D stood for disease. A disease in medical terms is temporary and has a cure, like malaria or typhoid. A syndrome is a disorder – like Diabetes or hypothyroid, these have no cure but can be managed medically as well as with lifestyle changes.
So PCOD was then called PCOS– unfortunately there is little medical management in PCOS. The tablets used are contraceptives and oral insulin – both have ample side effects.
Weight loss is the only way to manage PCOS.
What basically is the weight loss mantra for those having PCOS? What makes Weight loss with PCOS different from other weight loss regimes?
Unlike other cases where diet and exercise play a major role in weight loss and management, PCOS is managed well by 95% dietary changes and 5% exercise.
The fluctuations in weight due to bloating,PMS as well as the cravngs and emotional outbursts lead to a lot of emotional eating. All these have to be taken into consideration while planning a management program for PCOS and weight loss.
Any special diet or food that could help us control PCOS and aid weight loss at the same time?
In nutrition science, there is never 1 special food that works for all be it weight loss or for PCOS. Green tea may do wonders to one but can give a lot of side effects to another. So a personalized diet plan keeping in mind the geographical location, ethnic back ground and current lifestyle is the best way to manage PCOS and weight loss.
A little on the Entrepreneurial side..what strategies have you adopted to grow Balance Nutrition as a business?
The only strategy I have applied to my business is – GIVE THEM MORE THAN WHAT THEY EXPECT. Maintaining service standards, personalising diets,reverting to queries in a short time and ensuring top quality technical support have been the only reasons for success. I am working towards making balance nutrition a full fledged company with a solid back end foundation. It shall have a CRM for managing clients and prospects. I wish to expand and have teams for website administration, social media and marketing ,accounts, admin, dietitians handling clients and senior dietitians doing latest research on health and wellness, planning menus and developing recipes.
We also plan to start child nutrition and corporate nutrition too. So my team of 22 shall be a team of 50.
We are also now coming up with centres called BALANCE EX2 where clients not so tech savvy can get in touch with us and we shall assist them in all processes right from onlinr enrollment to getting their charts from the head office. We shall be soon launching one in Rajot (Gujarat – India)
We also have a similar set up in Germany as well as Australia that shall be launching in April.
We are excited to hear about your Dubai Event..can you tell us a little about it?
Balance Nutrition has more than 500 clients in UAE! I wanted to meet them once personally as well as all others keen to join our online weight loss program.
The appointments and registrations are open for 25th,26th and 27th March between 11.30 am and 5.30 pm.
Address – Taj, Business Bay Dubai
Call 9820054339 / firstname.lastname@example.org
I would also be on Radio Salaam 106.5 FM on Saturday, 26th March 2016 for Saturday Special Interview with Nivi.
Would you mind sharing a little about your family….
Being an ecommerce business, we work 24 hours. I am at present concentrating on building the core of the business and improvising the services to a class level. So I am spending more than eight hours a day thinking or working on the website.
At weekends we tend to take it a bit slower. I spend one hour on my own health and fitness every day. Being an active mother (without home help) takes about four hours of my day. So when it comes to my child and home, there is a three to four hour a day slot reserved come what may. Nights are about reading.
I am a liberal mother. Trissha is never forced to do anything she does not want to do. We always discuss things and then she is given a choice. I just explain things to her and make sure she is guided well. We have our differences (yes – she’s only six) but at the end of the day we reason things out.
The rule of thumb for me to be a happy parent is to manage that fine line of being firm and working towards making the child more confident and independent by being there. There are some things that are non negotiable – our reading time, food habits and physical activity time – the rest, we take it as it comes
I am truly blessed to have a family like mine. I have never had to keep a maid for my little baby. Whether it is my mom, husband, sisters or my brother in law- all have helped me in bringing up Trissha by always being ready to baby sit depending on their work schedules. So I was never worried about my child.
My husband has been my biggest support as he is the only one who recognised my talent and pushed me to start an active career after the baby. Whether it is a work issue or a domestic issue, he is always around despite having a busy job himself.
What makes Balance Nutrition different from others that offer to help reduce weight?
From my school days I was quite attracted to food, nutrition and medicine. Becoming a dietician was a natural choice for me after graduation as I started practicing and coming up with different diets. The joy of seeing the effect it had on people was unparalleled. I went deep into consulting – set up cafes, helped corporates with menu planning and even set up a health kitchen. I used my nutrition and dietary knowledge in every possible way from diet planning to recipe menu designing.
For me the passion led to everything else and the business just grew out of it. The current online business again took shape when I shut my clinic due having my own child and the passion and love for the profession led me to explore doing it online through emails.
After having a lovely baby, I resigned from the post of chief dietitian at Lilivati hospital and started consulting for few corporates. The executives there were too busy to follow a text book diet chart and had to deal with many health disorders. It got me thinking that the traditional diet charts could be modified and a more practical approach could be used.
- DIETS ON EMAIL– people just didn’t have the time to come for a consultation, hence I start emailing the nutritional assessment sheet s, preparing diets and emailing clients again. All details and recipes needed to be attached too
- RESTAURANT AND ALCOHOL GUIDE– executives tended not to want to skip a board lunch meeting hence I had to give options from what was already available. The restaurant guide today has 36 cuisines from chat to fine dining and can be used even when traveling globally
- TRAVEL/AIRPORT and HOLIDAY GUIDE– on similar lines I made a food guide for frequent travelers and those on holiday
So the entire base of Balance Nutrition started developing and to my surprise, I had my first NRI client in January 2014. She had read my updates on Facebook page that I posted there as a hobby.
Lastly what would be your advice to aspiring women who plan to start a new business?
“Do not underestimate yourself and don’t let your domestic duties be an excuse for not being an entrepreneur. They are your strength.”
You can get in touch with Khyati through below means:
Psshh!! If you haven’t found out already, we have launched our new series on How To Earn Money from home and How to Convert your Hobby into Business. Don’t forget to check them out. We are putting together lots of resources for the series. So make sure to sign up to both series separately.
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