Tanishaa Mukerji on her stunning transformation: I needed to find ways to love myself, says – There have been several ‘fat-to-fit’ examples in Bollywood, but Tanishaa Mukerji’s latest photo shoot has taken everyone by surprise. The actress, who recently posted several images online flaunting a new svelte figure, was also trolled for being skinny. However, she maintains, “I’ve just become more toned and gained muscles.”
When I catch up with her on a balmy evening at her Juhu office, I do a double take as she walks into the room. She not only looks her fittest best, but also exudes a sense of confidence. In a candid chat, Tanishaa opens up about her year-long metamorphosis and how she overcame her biggest weakness — chocolates. Excerpts…
WHY THE MAKEOVER?
It was a long process as it wasn’t just a physical transformation but a mental and spiritual one, too. After all, what you are inside reflects on the outside. It actually took me a few wake-up calls. It started with my best friends — Nikhila Palat and Vivaan Bhathena — who wanted to give me a makeover. Vivaan would often tell me, ‘You work out so much, but why do you still have these tyres around your waist?’ That was because I was addicted to chocolate. Vivaan is a fitness freak and he wanted me to be fit too. This was a little over a year ago, but I didn’t listen to him.
One day, while horse riding, I felt a jerk in my back. That’s when I realised that even if you have a little excess weight, it can cause injuries. I was out of action for a few months and started doing Pilates to heal myself.
The third wake up call was when my dresses stopped fitting me. Even though I was working out so much, my chest and butt were out of proportion. I was battling a lot of issues and started doing Buddhist chanting. When I saw my film Anna (2016) on screen, I thought that I appeared rotund. This wasn’t the image that I had of myself and finally decided to take matters in my own hands.
GIVING UP CHOCOLATES
I called up Vivaan and signed up with Eefa Shrof (a fitness and lifestyle coach who specialises in the 21 Body Transformation practice). I quit sugar completely. While I was undergoing this transformation, she explained how our eating habits are connected to our emotions and why we lose discipline over a period of time. So, you need to work on your mind.
I couldn’t have given up chocolate if Eefa hadn’t explained to me what it was doing to my system. Chocolate is a drug, so I needed to find ways to love myself that would benefit me. Hence, I started scuba diving, as I needed adventure and a sense of accomplishment. Once you understand what that piece of chocolate is doing to you, you wouldn’t want it. Now, I don’t crave it anymore — you can keep a box in front of me and I would walk past it.
I started doing weights and a lot of Pilates which worked on my flexibility, core and abs. Eefa taught me yoga because weights make us stiff, so the asanas open up the body as flexibility is key.
A PROTEIN-RICH DIET
I eliminated potatoes, grains, rice, roti and bread. Instead, I started consuming more vegetables, eggs, fish and chicken. I took protein shakes, too, because my diet alone wasn’t sufficient to get this kind of a physique. I’ve always liked to have a toned figure, without an ounce of fat on my body. I did take other healthy supplements like aminos that would help in muscle growth. After all, I wanted to be able to do that 20-pound deadlift.
IT’S ABOUT INCHES, NOT KILOS
I learnt how to shed fat, not weight. Sometimes, when you’re knocking off the kilos, you could actually be losing muscle. That’s when your metabolism goes down. Check your inches — if you’re shedding them over a period of time, then you’re doing the right thing.
‘WE SHOULD TREAT OUR BODY LIKE IT’S OUR BEST FRIEND
It took me a little more than a year. But it was eight months of being super strict. We must always start early. Otherwise, we will be like, ‘Why didn’t I work those muscles and take care of myself when I had the time?’ We should treat our body like we’d treat our best friend.
DEALING WITH TROLLS
I don’t want to set a wrong example. I feel a certain kind of connection with my fans, so if they ask me questions on Instagram and Twitter, I try to answer as many as I can. However, people can make their own assumptions. They feel I have become skinny, but I’ve gained muscles. Trolls don’t affect me. I’ve been through a lot of backlash right from the time I started. But I’ve dealt with life, so social media is a cakewalk.
WRITING A BOOK? NOT YET
A lot of people have done it, but I’m someone who believes that unless you have a lot of knowledge, you cannot preach. So, I don’t want to write a book just yet. This has worked for me, but I can’t become a nutritionist just because of this. I did it as a lifestyle choice.