“I teach Indian cooking and still lost 19kg!”
Juhi's weight loss story
Name: Juhi Jhunjhunwala
Weight loss: 19kg
How long it took: 69 weeks
How she did it: 1 on 1 Coaching at Myer Lifestyle Centre, Sydney with Coach Barbara Gai
Before & Now
“ I see everything differently. Anything is possible if you work at it and are open to change. ”
My weight started to creep up in my late teenage years when I was still living in India with my family. I was stressed. I found it difficult to cope with the social norms and treatment of women in India. While things are far better now than they were decades ago, women are still seen as second-class citizens. So I ate. Not necessarily unhealthy foods, but far more than I needed to. And I wasn’t exercising.
My turning point
The realisation that I needed to do something about my weight was two-pronged, but revolved around my sister’s wedding. We were shopping for my wedding outfit and we had to go to so many shops to try and find something that fitted me. I felt awful. Seeing the photos from the wedding, I couldn’t believe the ones of me. It wasn’t who I wanted to be.
My new life
I weighed 86kg around the time of the wedding. I then started exercising and working on portion control and lost 10kg. I moved to Australia in 2007, and bought a voucher for six personal-training sessions. But in the first session the trainer said I wouldn’t be able to lose weight because I was vegetarian! I was disgusted and asked for my money back. There had to be a balanced program that would help me lose weight even though I didn’t eat meat.
I was shopping at my local Myer store and happened to walk past the Weight Watchers Lifestyle Centre. I chatted to one of the consultants and liked what she told me about the Program, so I joined. What particularly appealed to me was that I was in control – not someone else. I wasn’t being told what I could and couldn’t eat. I was being taught how to eat better. Being a vegetarian at Weight Watchers was no problem at all. My Coach, Barbara, and I worked out how to include protein in my diet in other ways, such as with legumes. My passion for cooking grew.
New twist on an old favourite
If I could give up my day job and just cook, I would. That’s how much I love it. But not just any type of cooking – Indian cooking. When I moved to Australia, I was shocked at what people thought Indian cuisine was – those heavy, greasy, fatty dishes typical of fast-food outlets. Traditional Indian food isn’t like that at all!
Through Weight Watchers I’ve learnt how to use healthy oils and ingredients and still manage to maintain traditional Indian flavours and tastes. I’ve even started to run my own Indian cooking classes, teaching people how to make traditional Indian dishes with a healthy twist. Just as I look at cooking and ingredients in a new light now, I see everything differently. Anything is possible if you work at it and are open to change.