June 10, 2023

A cheat day here or there is fine for Somy Ali, as long as she sticks to her workout regime. Somy, who runs a US-based NGO and helps victims of domestic violence, says that there are a few things she makes sure to follow in order to stay healthy.

“I have always hated cardio so my workouts are all about lifting weights. That has always worked well for me because you build muscle and burn fat simultaneously. The second thing I do is to avoid sugar, bread and rice as much as possible. I truly believe the former mentioned are literally our enemies if we want to be in good shape. While I detest cardio, I force myself to engage in power walking now and then on days I am not weight lifting. I accept the fact that I am not a spring chicken anymore, hence, my metabolism has majorly changed. Which means I have to work harder to maintain my health and body. Last, but not least, is intermittent fasting. I skip at least one meal whether it’s lunch or dinner and now my body has gotten so used to it that I don’t even have any cravings. Given I am pretty disciplined with my routines, I allow myself to have a cheat day which is typically on a Saturday or a Sunday where I eat anything my heart desires be it ice cream or my favourite food in the world which is Indian food. So, anything from saag paneer to biryani and my favourite desi dessert is kheer. So, I do cut myself some slack and take a break from what sounds like a soldier’s regiment,” she says.

Somy Ali (2)

She adds, “If I do not work out, it will significantly impact my mental health and with someone who has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, I fully comprehend how deeply our minds and bodies are connected. Additionally, anyone with an education is aware that exercising literally lifts up your serotonin levels and also releases dopamine in us and they are both directly connected to our happiness and moods. With the work I do or what I see with the horrors and barbaric acts people put victims through exercise is a huge outlet for me and I can’t fathom not engaging in a workout routine.”

Ask her for tips on staying healthy, and she says, “Have a cheat day, but always prioritise working out even if one walks for 30 minutes a day. It is better than doing nothing. It’s truly detrimental to our health if we do not exercise. If you can’t lift weights find something else like yoga or pilates to keep yourself in shape. But, the exercise of any kind is an absolute must and I do not mean this for vanity or nor am I trying to sound vain here. I simply want people to understand that there are many benefits to exercising particularly if one suffers from depression.”

She says that the health of the people who she helps through her NGO is also a priority for her. “It is everything! This is why first we focus on a victim’s mental health by immediately starting their therapy sessions and then gradually our therapist will encourage the victim to begin a healthy lifestyle by eliminating unhealthy meals from their lives and begin going on short walks. This is why I’m always emphatic on how deeply our minds and bodies are connected and the only way to feel better is by being active. And we have science behind us proving this fact,” she says.

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