Ameesha Patel's healthy rules to live-by
How the actor stays fit, manages her career and home and has fun doing it all.
The first thing that strikes you about Ameesha Patel is her body confidence. She revels in her curves and loves her hourglass figure. "We're Indian women, we need our hourglass bodies, there is no need to be ashamed of that," she laughs. It's this confidence which has allowed her to essay roles that her contemporaries shied away from- remember the sultry Ameesha grooving to Lazy Lamhe in Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic?
Up to play her second innings in films like Shortcut Romeo, Race 2, Same to Same and Bhaiyyaji Superhit, Ameesha Patel is straddling many roles. The lady has turned entrepreneur with the launch of her production company. "As an actor, it was a tad easier. I could walk into the set and do my thing. But as an entrepreneur, you're responsible for the money and effort. You need to summon all your strength," says Ameesha.
Of the many roles she plays, an important one is that of a home manager. "I run and manage my own house. I'm disciplined and plan every detail to perfection: that's how I function," says the house-proud actor. "As women, we work erratic hours, run the house, take time out for loved ones and go out on vacations. To be able to juggle all of this, we need to be mentally fit and physically strong," she adds.
While Ameesha makes every effort to stay on top of things, she also attributes this to her good genes and habits. "In my family, we are all active, athletic and have a high metabolism, which means I can get away with eating unhealthy once in a while. And I have my grandmom's flawless skin," she smiles. Growing up, Ameesha was energetic and active-she learnt Bharatnatyam for 17 years, was a star athlete who played everything from squash to tennis and is a good swimmer. "When you've been that vigorous, it's difficult to be unfit," she adds matter-of-factly.
Ameesha loves her pav bhaji and chocolate, but she has found her formula. "I generally eat healthy. I have my big fat breakfast- with eggs, milk, toast and fruits. Lunch is a simple affair with roti, dal, subzi and salad. I add grilled chicken and other roasted items to the meal. Dinner is most often a no-cereals meal. And that really works for my body," she says. When the cravings kick in, she digs into that bar of chocolate or dahi chaat, but in moderation. "I never binge. If I ever do, since I'm human, I make up for it in the next few days by eating healthy and working out," she explains, in the meticulous way she attaches to everything.
Despite a hectic professional life and social commitments, Ameesha sticks to healthy habits. "At parties, I don't go beyond a glass of wine or champagne. If it's a late night affair, I eat before leaving home. If I have to eat out, I choose wisely. When in doubt, go for the grilled, steamed, roasted or tandoori items on the menu. Choose brown over white. Brown bread, brown rice, bajra or raagi atta," she says.
She's had her share of trial and errors. "I once denied myself certain foods, thinking they were bad for my health. But during those four days of denial, I was a mess-always in a bad mood, irritable and unhappy. So I stopped it immediately," she says. The takeaway is-never deny yourself anything-life's too short for that." And be proud of your curves she says. "I've always preferred curvy to lean and flat. Curvy is what we are," she laughs.
It's not just her toned and fit body that she delights in, but also her flawless skin and luscious hair that are her best assests. "It's also to do with being happy, being around positive people and keeping the freshness alive," she says. Of course regular facials and quality products are necessary for a bright countenance. A few of Ameesha's DIY beauty tips: "Make your own de-tan face scrub with haldi, dahi and besan. An almond, coconut, olive and hot castor oil treatment is great for hair before you wash.
Her's is the mind of a practical, self-assured, confident lady. Not one who's swept away by trends that catch the fancy of the industry she works for. "I'm not the kind that survived on black coffee and juices. I know my Japanese cuisine from my French, I revel in ordering the choicest of meals," she laughs.
She does have her problem areas-"my hips and thighs. But I'd rather work 10 hours for 10 months to lose one inch than work for one hour and lose 10 inches in a day," she says about the growing tendency to go under the surgeon' knife. "Once you start doing that, you'll never be happy with your body." Then on a cheeky note, our cover girl adds, "I enjoy it when I look good. I enjoy it when men look at me and I enjoy it when women look at me and say, she's so hot I hate her. Why not?"
How I eat and exercise
"I work out four days a week with my trainer who makes sure my schedule is varied. I do crunches, weights, work on the cross trainer-basically a variety of workouts that keep the session interesting and challenging. It is necessary to customise your training, don't let your body get used to one routine. Shock your system once in a while."
"Crash dieting is a strict no-no for me. Once you stop the diet, the weight comes back. Anything that is so extreme is never good. And remember, if you starve, your body holds on to the fat and your immunity crashes. So, eating on time, eating in moderation and eating healthy-they are the only rules I follow."