The remarkable fitness journey of Dr Monali Tahmankar, who tackled post pregnancy health issues with the simplest lifestyle changes.
Mumbai: This International Women’s Day, we celebrate one of the most powerful women aka ‘moms’. Being a mother, a parent is one of the most crucial parts of one’s adult life and Dr Monali Tahmankar makes it all look so effortless. A hands-on mother of two and a dentist, she is the ideal example of how a balance between work and personal life can be achieved.
Dr Monali, who has been practising dentistry for the past 21 years, completed her post graduation in the field of conservative dentistry and endodontics. Specialising in implants and smile design, she practices along with her husband and they both share a great interest in the field of paediatrics. Their clinic boasts of its very own special paediatric unit.
Dr Monali believes in wholesome fitness acquired through a healthy lifestyle, rather than just superficial good looks. While in conversation with her, she tells us about how she discovered that fitness was an essential part of a person’s overall well-being and how she made it a part of her life.
“I had always been a plump kid and had accepted it as a permanent part of life because I never saw a way out of my weight issues”. But after my first pregnancy, I weighed 91 kgs and that is when I was at a high risk of diabetes and blood pressure. That is when I decided to take a stand,” she added.
After research she discovered that with a right diet and little exercise, she too could get back in shape and pursue good health.
“Initially I wasn’t even able to workout for 10 minutes. I was constantly out of breath and that’s when I decided that instead of giving up on food, I should give up on the elevator. Everywhere I went; I took the stairs and ditched the lift completely. That helped me increase my stamina,” she shared.
After giving up on the elevator, she started researching on clean eating, determined to learn new recipes that would help her with the process. Initially, she stared different healthy recipes every Sunday, using just a teaspoon of oil or even less.
“It wasn’t easy at the beginning but eventually the tastes grew on me and I started enjoying healthier foods,” she candidly tells us. She managed to loose around 44 kgs and has maintained it till date. Even after losing all the extra fat, she did not stop her workouts. Her workouts became a regular feature of her life.
Dr Monali is grateful to her commitment to her fitness regimen, as it helped a lot when she conceived her second child at the age of 41. She said, “It seemed very unfair to me that my daughter got the best of me and while my second child would have to make do with an older, less fun version of me. So I have decided to stick to my fitness goals now more than ever, as I want to be equally fit and fun when my boy turns ten too”.
Many people tried to warn her and influence her about the perils of getting pregnant after 40. Everyone told her that she’ll have a lot of complications and that she would not be able to deliver the baby normally due to her age. She shares, “I started doing a lot of pre-natal workouts and yoga, till the ninth month. Until the last two days before my delivery, I was working in the clinic for 6-7 hours daily and the workout kept me agile and mobile. This helped me in delivering my baby normally and smashing all the myths related to older women getting pregnant,” she stated.
She now coaches other mothers through her fitness programme known as ‘Mom to Wow’. “I started this foundation to help other moms like me, who were overweight or gained weight post pregnancy. I want to help them not only lose the excessive weight, but also redefine their lifestyle once and for all. There are many who are as lost as I once use to be”. She clarifies that one does not have to undertake any major in order to be fit. “Just regular, light workouts and small lifestyle changes in your own diet are effective,” she shares.
Apart from being a fitness enthusiast, she has a knack for fashion too and she enjoys styling her own clothes. She won her first beauty pageant, the ‘Mrs Saffron India’ in 2017 and the she was declared the ‘Lady in Distinction’ at the international pageant for married professionals, ‘MWI International’ in 2018. “This gave a big boost to my confidence as it was not only about beauty but also skills and personality. It really tapped into my full potential and gave me a sense of being more complete as an individual,” adds Dr Monali.
Having been a part of ‘Pinkathon’ in Mumbai for many consecutive years now and was also their mascot for the three-kilometre, babywearing marathon walk. Taking inspiration from the iconic Indian boxer Mary Kom, she leaded the walk with the slogan ‘If Mary can we can’. The memories from that marathon are some of her most cherished.
The message she wants to pass on to all the mothers is to utilise any free time that they have on caring for their bodies and focusing on their fitness. “Always make time for yourself, because a happy mom makes a happy baby.” She further says, “Whatever is going in your body nourishes your body, so see to it that it’s worth going into your body. Avoid junk and outside food”.
Being able to strike the perfect balance between all spheres of live is her definition of what it means to be a women and Dr Monali certainly lives up to this definition with perfection. She insists that every parent, irrespective of how busy they might be, should not miss out on spending quality time with their children and family. “These moments help us relive our childhood and teach us what true happiness actually means,” she concludes.