Bipasha Basu opens up about her decade-long romance with fitness

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Good evening, have a seat, the lovely Bipasha Basu greeted me with a smile. The warm vibe encouraged me to open up to her. “I’m Parmita from Indian Express Online,” I introduced myself, “and not Paromita,” I added in a light vein, as Paromita is a common name in Bengal. When I explain this to her, she says, “yeah and they make me Bipassa in Gujarat,” she sighs.

So we start on a sweet note.

Sweets, sugar…? Why do we crave for unhealthy food in between our meals, I ask an extremely fit Bipasha.
She pauses a bit before replying. “The body craves for sugar. The best way to control sugar is that craving, and to give your body continous meals every two hours, especially fruits. A lot of people believe that we shouldn’t eat fruits in the evening. I don’t believe in that and I feel fruits are the right way of giving your body right amount of sugar so that you are satiated, and your sugar cravings die. And when you eat every two hours, you will not crave for junk food at all. You will stop overeating. It’s the best way to keep fit and keep your cravings away.”

Since Bipasha is the brand amabassador of McVities, I wonder if she is a tea person. I find out she’s a tea addict.

“I am grown up in Kolkata and we have a British hangover. Though I should not drink too much of tea but after joining the film industry, I got into this habit of having tea in between shots, like most people do. That’s where I actually acquired the habit of drinking too much tea,” she confesses.

What’s her favourite snack with tea and why she decided to promote Mcvities as a brand?
“Tea and biscuits is the best combination. Mcvities is healthy and tasty, that’s the combination we are looking for. I believe that we should eat in moderation and eat at the right time,” she says.

But haven’t we all fallen for some crash diet or the other? Is Bips one of them?
Her answer surprises me because I had read somewhere she had tried some crash diets. “No, I don’t personally care too much about the fad diets. I believe in eating in moderation and eating at the right time. But I don’t like to kill myself, I want to live my life. When you like food, it’s very important to like your body also. You have to do both in a perfect balance.”

A food for thought indeed.
So how does she start a typical day? What’s her workout routine, we are curious…
“I start my day preferably with a workout. It could be any form of workout – it could be a DVD routine at home, it could be a gym, cardio and weighttraining session, it could be a pilates class. I have started incorporating a little bit of yoga at the end of each session. It’s very new in my life. Yoga and I were not that great earlier. If you breathe correctly you can actually be a very balanced person, you can actually lose weight. Your skin have glow, your hair will be fantastic. The whole science of pranayama, if everybody starts adopting it, which had actually started in India and the goras have taken over (both Bipasha and I burst into laughter).

“Even if you can do just 20 minutes of meditation, just breathing it will work. Tune into some soulful music and just breathe. I have started doing it and I really love it.”

So has yoga and meditation helped her tackle her personal life? Has fitness made Bipasha a better person? Well we come to know that it was a lifestyle disease that encouraged Bips to take up fitness and she’s still going strong with her regime since 2005. It’s a ten year relationship and still counting.

“I was quite a hyperactive girl, and I still am, but you need something to center yourself. And I think I got into fitness in 2005 and it started with me having the handicap of osteo-arthiritis and because I got it at such an early age, it made me realise that your body is just a machine, we all take it for granted and we need to do something about it and that’s how I have become a fitness enthusiast over the years. I love to read about things. Lifestyle diseases attack everybody. We have this attitude ki ab to mujhe ye ho gaya hai ab kuch nahi ho sakta (We have this attitude that now we have this ailment and we can’t do much about it).”

“You have to fight back, you have to look after yourself. If you don’t do that ten more things can come your way. I am a fit person, but like any other person, I go through a lot of physical ailments and you have to figure out ways to take care of yourself, worship your body. That’s all you have at the end of the day.”

What a thought!

More and more people are battling depression these days. Can fitness help us in dealing with the mental illness?
“First thing fitness does to you is to give you a fit mind; your energies change. It’s all science. You are getting all happy hormones. It could be walking, it could be swimming, training in the gym, it could be any form of physical activity. You will have happy hormones in your body, which will make you a happy person. We Indians are brought up to be achievers. From the time when we are not even 5 years old, there is lot of parental pressure. We have to be providers, so we kind of stop living. It’s important for us to find some kind of destressing activity, meditation. You have to figure out some way. Everyone wants happiness but life will not happen according to you. It keeps taking its course. To handle that you need to be centred.” says Bips. Cannot agree with her more.

Bipasha also loves to connect with nature and confesses she doesn’t enjoy too much in Mumbai.

“Right now I have come from Ananda, Himalayas. It was my best vacation ever. It’s just that you can breathe fresh air and you can walk and the nature is so beautiful, so green. I don’t enjoy that much in Mumbai, you take in too much fumes, pollution,” says the bongshell.
Bipasha strongly feels keeping fit is a long term commitment and people who are going for shortcuts are doing themselves a disservice.

“There are a lot of fad activities. First you need to reach a level of fitness to start something like cross fit. Fads come from abroad and people from India fall for it. When you do something without knowledge, it’s dangerous. You have to know your body type and work accordingly. It’s never going to be easy to lose weight, to be fit. Work everyday on your body and then see the results exactly the way you want. Like in the work, you have to slog it out to reach the top, similarly in fitness there are no shortcuts. It’s the long term discipline you have to inculcate. It has to be a long term decision,” she asserts.

Though I was not planning to ask it, but then I couldn’t resist – Why is the lovely Bipasha doing so many horror movies.
Bipasha laughs saying she’s tired of answering this one. “I don’t think I’m going to give it up. I might make my own production house and produce horror movies. Supernatural has a lot of possibilities and as a genre it interests me and I don’t think I m going to give it up ever.”

And in between you will also keep doing films like Humshakals (no sarcasm intended)?
“Humshakals was the biggest horror film of my life,” she laughs.
And what’s with the rumour linking her to Karan Singh Grover? But you can skip answering this, I add in a jiffy, fearing an adverse reaction from her, since the discussion was going so wonderfully well.
She replies – “Isn’t that very silly.”

Okay, but can the gorgeous Bipasha picture herself as a bride?
Her mood changes instantly. “Oh yes, very much. I will make for a very good wife.”
So has your idea of love transformed or evolved over the years.

“When you are young, you are uncertain about your romantic relationships. You consult astrologers and stuff, but then you realise that life is living now, living the moment and not worry about the future so much.”
I’m sure Bipasha’s recent romance with yoga is somewhere behind this thought. She wraps up the conversation with a warm handshake as I marvel at her understanding of life…

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