Lead the lifestyle you dream of

 29 Sep 2016 - 9:20

Lead the lifestyle you dream of
Audience at the seminar on health organised by Qatar Professional Women’s Network in Doha. Pic: Abdul Basit / The Peninsula

By Amna Pervaiz Rao | The Peninsula

Qatar Professional Women’s Network (QPWN) hosted a ‘Healthy’ seminar for all working women and housewives, as it is hard to stay healthy while leading a busy life in searing temperatures and dusty air. 

Saima Bukhari, Founder and CCO of Crunch Doha, and Roufaida Thabti, freelance personal trainer, talked about how we can create healthy habits for ourselves and our families, at Rotana City Center recently.

QPWN is an informal women’s network for both Qatari and expatriate women, established in early 2010 by several professional women living in Doha. The Qatar Professional Women’s Network’s mission is to promote and facilitate the professional development and advancement of women in Qatar.

To achieve that mission, QPWN focuses essentially on three key areas: Networking events to help members expand their network of contacts and facilitate cross-cultural sharing, outreach to like-minded organisations in the Gulf as well as public and private bodies in Qatar with a view to providing guidelines on female professional advancement and Mentoring (Circle of Pearl) to refine and expand members’ professional skills.

The team of QPWN has four core committee members — Rita di Antonio, the QPWN Leader; Paula Shaw, the leader of operations; Willemijn van der Krogt, the Leader of the digital and social media, and Emma Morrell, the leader of the events which are hosted by QPWN.

Her journey started in 2013 when she got her certification from IFA — International Fitness Alliance. She covered all the courses which IFA offered to become the personal trainer. The tough part that she quoted was “to get herself in shape.” She got her first client 3 years ago and now 99 percent of her clients are Qataris. Most of them have big homes that she goes to train them at. 

She added that while 80 percent of her clients are serious with the training that she gives them, 20 percent of the clients are trying to be fit. She has been training two of her clients since 2 years as they just want to maintain themselves. These clients think if their trainer leaves them, they won’t have anybody to guide them. Such emotional attachment tends to happen with few clients. She charges QR250 per month for the training. However, the charge also depends on how far the client lives from her home. She has divided her training sessions in blocks of 12 and reduces the price to QR200. “It’s not about money, it’s ‘what they really want,’” Roufaida Thabit told The Peninsula.

The event was hosted by (Leader of QPWN) Rita Di Antonio, which started with a warm welcome to all the ladies present. It was followed by a brief introduction of the planned changes and exclusive events coming up. The discussion started with a question-and-answer session with speakers.

“I’ve seen people becoming overambitious and trying to do it all but they forget to factor in many different aspects of life. Kids, family, spouse, social life and so on. It only adds up. You have to build a healthy lifestyle around your priorities and routine. If you wish to wake up one day and say, that’s it, I’m going to be healthy from today, it’s possible but challenging,” said Saima Bukhari. 

“If you have the motivation and determination it’s a lot easier to do so because for eating better or working out you feel a sense of achievement. However, if this is lacking, you are likely to fail within the week. Instead build up on small habits which amount to your bigger goals. Personally, I find setting small milestones easier as they seem more attainable. 

“This also gives me a sense of control over my day. If I know I am going to be eating out in the night, I manage my portions and quality of food for the rest of the day. It’s all in the balance,” she added.

There will always be temptations The advice on how to handle weekends, parties, and all day business meetings and travel were all about balance.

Saima Bukhari said: “It’s all about balance. It sounds like I’m saying a cliché almost ‘oh everyone says that. But how do I do it?’ Being realistic and planning takes you a long way. I have friends who prepare their meals on Friday or Saturday for the entire week. This frees up time on their calendar to go out, meet friends, and spend quality time with the family and so on. If I know I have a wedding to attend in a month, I will ensure to eat clean to either get in shape before the wedding or at least lose a little bit of fat so that I can indulge and not have to worry during the celebratory period.”

She said: “The industry is so vast there are so many ways to be associated with it or be a part of it. You have people aspiring to be fitness models or pro body builders, nutritionists, PTs, supplement experts, health coaches, and gym owners and so on. Find what interests you and either get certified or at least research topics that interest you.”

Talking about the facts of diet plans that would be preferable, Saima Bukhari said: “What are carbohydrates? It’s our daily bread, rice, pasta & potatoes. But the question is why do we need carbohydrates? It’s an energy source. How do we expect our body and more importantly our brain to function when it’s being deprived of the natural energy source? Energy drinks, coffee are not natural energy sources and not what our bodies were designed to fuel from, we need food.”

While addressing the gathering, she added: “We can work with low carbohydrate diets to achieve the goal in weight loss. Again, how much the carbohydrate intake reduces should be balanced. Don’t live on 2 slices of bread a day for 3 months! It has to be gradually reduced. You can’t say one size fits all.”

When it comes to sugars, it’s great to consume a safe amount of natural sugars like honey or fruits. The only issue with sugars including fructose is the spike in energy it brings. When you are committed to a weight loss journey, sugars trigger cravings as it creates a hike and plunge. Overall, we should prefer to stay away from most processed products because we just don’t feel good after having them.

Avoid processed foods. Eat Frequent meals — Maintaining about 5 meals in the day to keep your metabolism charged up and your digestive system smooth. When you’re eating frequently, you aren’t having large portions, so enjoy it. We are sure many of us are foodies so get creative with your meal preparation. 

Try different ingredients, experiment with low calorie sauces every now and then. Find a routine that suits you and the lifestyle you dream of.