I met Dr. Kavita, or ‘Doctor’ as we fondly address her, through my previous venture Rangkosh owing to her passion for handloom weaves, but it was merely a social acquaintance. However, an FB post narrating her foray into fitness and running is what got us to meet up finally. Once we met, our common interest in healthy eating and fitness as a way of life created a special bond, one that I have come to cherish. So, it came as no wonder that I thought of her as the first interviewee when the idea of adding a blog section as ‘Influencers’ struck me – her fitness journey and insights is exemplary and we can all learn a thing or two from the same 😊

Tell us something About You

“I’m a Pulmonary Critical Care Specialist currently working at ABC Hospitals, Vizag. I have worked with Care Hospitals previously as an Emergency Critical Care Specialist. I also am a partner at Drop-n-Go, a premium laundry service. Aside from these, I also volunteer at Kaushalya, a non-profit entity centered around women-empowerment that helps dispel myths about weight loss and promotes healthy living and fitness.

I’m 36 years old, a mother of two (twins aged 12), and my husband is an Orthopaedic Surgeon at ABC Hospitals.”

What does your Average Weekday look like?

“I am a runner, so I run along the beach road and strength-train at gym alternately in the mornings. Once I return home and after kids are packed to school and home chores are over, I head over to the hospital to finish patient rounds and consultations. Emergencies at the hospital, but of course, take priority. I then visit Drop-n-Go to sort out day-to-day affairs. Evenings are reserved again for hospital rounds and social commitments if time permits. I lead a very hectic life but make it a point to spend some time with my family every evening.”

How did your Fitness Journey begin?

“I was never obese or even perceived as ‘fat’, and I used to mistake the same as being fit. Also, at 5’9” I was at an advantage as excess weight would never show easily on a tall frame. However, an incident about 1.5 years ago changed my perception of myself.

We were trying to wean a patient of ours – an old lady – off the ventilator at the ICU. The sheer effort of having to breathe on her own was too much for her and she used to give up each time we tried. I used to push her hard and the desperation in her eyes and her inability to breathe every time we took her off the ventilator stirred my conscience. Determined to feel the poor lady’s distress personally, I hit the gym a few days later and realized for the first time how she must have felt as I began gasping for breath within few minutes on the treadmill.

I’ll forever be grateful to the patient and this experience – not only did it make me a more empathetic and understanding doctor, it also made me realize that fitness and stamina for the markers for healthy living, not the size. Once the message hit home, there was no looking back.”

What is Fitness, according to You?

“I believe that there is no particular form of exercise that is superior to another. It is best to try out different things, figure what makes you happy and proactive, and stick to the same.

I took up running because that is what inspired me to surpass my inner limits and test my ability as well as stamina. However, after few months into running I began to develop newer insights and realized that to improve my running pace and form I needed to strengthen my calves, glutes and quadriceps, which is what got me started at strength-training on a regular basis. I’m also learning how to swim – I realize it helps me remain active on non-run days and also strengthens my lower body. I aim to run a half-marathon and swim a mini triathlon someday.

To me, exercise is a form of relaxation, odd as it may sound – it’s that time of the day that is exclusively mine, and this ‘my time’ helps me relax and reflect upon important matters. Personally, this is what helped me stick to my fitness routine.

I also believe that exercise is all about constant evolution – it improves us on a much deeper level than merely on a physical dimension. It does wonders to our cognitive abilities and makes us more patient, calmer and goal-oriented individuals.”

Why the special emphasis on Women’s Fitness?

“It is a fact that women’s bodies are prone to early deterioration, owing to the physical and hormonal changes they go through. Also, the additional weight women put through as they age tends to further accelerate this deterioration – a fact that most of them are sadly unaware of.

I focus mostly on women empowerment and women fitness because they are the forerunners of their families – anything good they learn can be immediately implemented for all the family members. In this way, it becomes easier to influence each family member towards making healthier food choices and leading fitter, fuller lives if women of the family are convinced about their merits.”

How does one start leading a fitter, healthier life?

“I believe inner motivation plays a very crucial role in determining people’s health choices. While an individual can be coaxed temporarily into adopting a fitness regime or a balanced diet, best results can be achieved only when he or she is determined to bring a positive shift in their life.

How does this motivation occur? One should begin by listening to their body and the changes it has undergone in recent years, and ponder upon the choices that might have led them there.

I also believe in keeping the fitness regimes and diet schedules really basic, and not complicate them overly at least in the beginning, as only then it will be possible to stay driven and determined to be fit and health. Sure, throw in challenges now and then to keep it interesting and strive for excellence, but always keep it simple enough to follow up.”

Do you follow a specific diet plan?

“I do not follow a particular diet regime, but I have made a few significant changes to the way I plan meals. I used to ignore fruits previously but now I make it a point to include them in between my meals. Also, I used to think I crave chocolates, but I realized over time that it was sugar in the chocolates that I was craving for, so I shifted to darker chocolate variants which have lesser sugar content, and realized that a small block per day satiates my craving just fine.

I also make it a point to eat clean as much as possible and keep my meals balanced in terms of macronutrients and micronutrients.

What are your guilty pleasures?

“I’m a handloom saree connoisseur and love everything about handwoven and hand-painted fabrics, but have resolved this year to practicing minimalism so I buy less frequently now and try to borrow weaves possessed by friends and family.

Food is another guilty pleasure of mine – the Chocolate Bomb at Flying Spaghetti Monster and icecreams in general, but I limit the frequency and indulge myself occasionally.”

One message you’d like to put across

“Repeat after me – ‘Fit, not Skinny’!

I am appalled by the pressure society and individuals place on someone’s body-shape, and body-shaming, and I would like to really make people understand that it’s the fitness levels, health and stamina one possess that really matters, and not the shape or size of their body.”

Dr. Kavita’s Tips For Fitness Enthusiasts

  • Always keep the exercise routine basic. This is what will help you make it a habit.
  • One doesn’t have to starve or eat gourmet foods or go to fancy gyms and work out. Consistency and being perseverant is the key to see lasting results.
  • Don’t feel inspired enough? – find a form of exercise you enjoy and inculcate it in your fitness regime.
  • Keep setting new goals to keep the fitness journey more exciting.
  • Building discipline is very important – not just in terms of exercise, but also in regard to eating and lifestyle choices.
  • If feeling too lazy to hit the gym, get dressed in active-wear, right till putting on the shoes, and then decide if you still won’t go. I do this whenever I’m feeling sluggish, and guess what – I end up hitting the gym and thanking myself later for it!