In a world of quick fixes and swift remedies, where we all want is to get things done instantly, we are definitely a generation with a serious patience deficit. Weight loss is a constant battle that many people face and fight every day. Clean eating and exercise has developed and progressed into a whole new industry in the recent years, and people are willing to go to any length to try any new fad diet, or magic drink that might work for them. Moomal Asif is one such name that stands out amidst all the fitness frenzy. A focused, committed, and highly goal oriented professional, Moomal took the plunge a few years ago. She started from building a small community on facebook to nurturing it into a whole movement, and she takes pride in people helping each other in their weight loss journeys too. She meticulously curates categorized diet plans, suggests ideas for snacks and lunches, conducts wellness sessions, and undertakes a wide variety of activities for people to enjoy the process of losing weight and sticking to their goals till the very end. Head onto my conversation with her below!
Tell us something about yourself!
I’m the kind of a person who works compulsively. I literally would run a fever if I tried to rest for more than an hour. Maybe that’s because I started working as soon as I completed school to meet the expenses of my further studies. I had no choice but to work hard. I was not born with a silver spoon which most of my followers assume. Furthermore, I brainstorm everything on the go and manage my time accordingly in order to give the best of me to my house, business, son, family and myself too. Professionally, I’m a Certified Sports & Fat Loss Specialist. I recently launched Pakistan’s first ever bite sized granola by the name of Grano Bites and previously wrote the first ever Pakistani diet recipe book “Non-Guilty Pleasure” which sold 10,000 copies all around the world! I’m currently working on its second edition, my app, and a few fitness series for Peace.Mind.Body®
How did Peace.Body.Mind come about? What was your motivation behind starting it?
I created Peace.Mind.Body® back in 2014-15 when I was literally thrown out of a fitness group (long story short) just because I was found telling people to not skip staple foods like roti and rice, and to follow a balanced macro composition diet plan. I instantly realised this is something I wanted to pursue. I created Peace. Mind. Body as a place free of gossip, disputes, cat fights, judgements, unhealthy quick fixes or shortcuts to lose weight.
Peace.Mind.Body® is now a leading and dominant fitness community of more than 215,000+ women from all around the world. After overwhelming success and a unique connection with the audience Peace.Mind.Body®, I turned it into a registered company in 2016 which aims to provide total life solutions comprising of all aspects of living well, including nutrition, fitness, self-help and overall lifestyle.
What has been your biggest achievement to date with this community?
For me, every day is an achievement. The number of people who regularly post about their journey, success, and how the group has helped them overcome things like anxiety issues is heartwarming and means the world. Out of the thousands of stories I remember one of my clients lost 65 kilograms in almost 3 years and messaged me saying, “Moomal I never thought of walking on my own feet, I never thought I could breathe like this.” Her journey is something I will never forget. The community has been playing a major role in transforming the lives of hundreds of thousands of women & their families around the world. It has a strong impact on their lifestyles and eating patterns. The group motivates and inspires members to live a healthy and balanced life.
What challenges do you face often while running this community?
To be honest with you, the most difficult thing is to make members understand that they can lose weight without addictive pills, slimming teas, detoxes and other shortcuts, especially if they are new to the community. But Alhamdullilah, older members are efficient enough to guide each other about the concept we preach. Another challenge is to keep the weight loss transformation pictures of the members from being misused. Now since the company is registered, I take legal action if I see my members/clients pictures being misused.
What or who has been a phenomenal success story as a client?
I had a client who was wheelchair bound. She couldn’t walk at all and lost 15 kgs in 6 months with lots of hard work, consistency, passion and her untiring efforts. She was ready to follow my guidelines and was so optimistic. Her journey will always be remembered.
Any diet plans that you tried but have gone completely wrong?
Yes! Back in 2013 when I joined a fitness group I was advised to follow a plan based on juices only. That helped me drastically lose body weight, but never body fat -hence it bounced back with major health issues.
What’s your morning ritual like?
As I wake up and have a glass of lukewarm milk I pay gratitude and show appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in my life. It is probably one of the most overlooked and underestimated rituals of any persons day. It is the perfect way to start off your morning.
What’s your take on intermittent fasting and the keto diets?
The Ketogenic diet is a very restrictive diet, and it is not meant for everyone. Also, this diet is very effective for treating those with metabolic syndrome conditions. I would never suggest it to anyone unless they have special needs which can be covered by the Ketogenic diet since this diet is not meant for the long term. The bottom line is: extreme diets and the results they bring are usually temporary as they are difficult to maintain for the long term, and the key is to find a balanced way to eat all the food groups so that the plan can become a lifestyle.
How’s your relationship with food?
My body never responded to diets the way I wanted it to in my teenage years. I was a fad dieter and would never check if the meal I was having was balanced or not. Looking back, it’s clear to me now what a turbulent and negative relationship I had with my very own body. I was hating on it. Your body cannot give you what you need when there is a constant battle and emotional despair. Your body takes on all the negative talk and self doubt, and it manifests into stress. It cannot function optimally when there is stress and pain like that.
What advice would you give to people who are willing to start their fitness journey, but keep delaying it.
If you are delaying it but finding yourself very motivated to start, chances are you are having #FOMO. It means fear of missing out on food! All this unhealthy aka delicious food will still be there in the world – it’s not going anywhere. Also, people don’t seem to start because they set the benchmark so high that it’s almost impossible to reach instantly. They either try to be 100% on top of their game, or drop down to 0. There is no moderation. It’s okay if you don’t want to change all three meals. Start adjusting just one meal at a time, and see how you become consistent. It needs practise: that’s why it’s called a lifestyle change.
Does obesity cause depression? What’s your opinion about it?
Definitely! Yes – obesity and depression tend to feed off each other in a vicious, self-destructive cycle. It can cause poor self-image, low self-esteem, and social isolation, all known contributors to depression. They can also find themselves ostracized, stereotyped, and discriminated against. The extra weight carried around by obese people can result in chronic joint pain as well as serious diseases like diabetes and hypertension, all of which have been linked to depression.
What’s the best way to kickstart your day in a healthy way?
Stop consuming all those acidic drinks right after waking up! Trust me: those lemon water tricks won’t work. It won’t melt down the fat. Fat is oxidised! If these totkas were worth following, then the obesity rate would’t be increasing in 2019 instead of decreasing. The best way to kick start your day is to provide your body with instant energy as soon as it gets up after a long fasting stage like sleep. It can be a banana with milk, or a date with water before you eventually have your actual breakfast.