Before & After: How This Mumbai Girl Got Fit, Started Running, And Lost 52 Kilos

Nupur posted on 07 March

Ten-Second Takeaway

Think exercise doesn’t work? Zinaida Mascarenhas did it after failing 20 times to keep up a regime.

Her Story

“I have always been overweight/obese since school, and never felt like I looked like a “normal” person. My weight kept increasing by a few kgs every year, and before I knew it, I weighed 136 kgs!”. Zinaida, based out of Dubai is an inspiration for those who have tried to keep things on track but have failed.

It was then when she decided that she needed to change her lifestyle, instead of looking for crash diets and shortcuts. It’s been a year and a half since she committed to health and fitness and lost 52 kgs. But, she thinks she’s still a work-in-progress and has a long way to go. When she started off, her goal was to lose weight, but as she started training, she started getting stronger. And that feeling was more satisfying to her than what the scale indicated. Her goal now is to be stronger and be able to do 5k and 10k runs, eventually moving on to challenge herself with obstacle races.

Her Fitness Plan

She trains twice a day, 6 days a week and allows her body a whole day of rest on day 7. Her morning sessions are with a personal trainer, and evening sessions are usually group workouts – boot camps / HIIT sessions / strength and conditioning / yoga. While she focuses on her personal body goals in the mornings, evenings are great as she meets and trains with like-minded people working towards similar fitness goals and supporting each other as part of a larger fitness community.

Whenever she visits the city, she makes sure she goes for a run at Jogger’s Park. She used to train there and follow a diet plan given to her by her dietitian but couldn’t stick to it. So, she made a plan of her own and stuck to it. She goes to Nature’s Basket to buy organic produce.

Her Diet

Her nutritional plan consists of 3 main meals and 2 snacks in between. She tries and restricts most of her carb intake to breakfast – be it oats or buckwheat pancakes. Lunch and dinner is usually protein in the form of meat with grilled veggies or a salad. Snacks are an apple with almonds or cottage cheese. And if she’s still hungry she makes herself a shake with protein powder and berries. She tries to stick to healthier versions of meals to stick to her plan when she’s out.

Cheat Eats

She thinks, when you start eating healthy, you are conscious of what goes into your body. But it’s okay to cheat once in a while, and if you do cheat, enjoy that meal guilt-free. It’s very important to get right back on track after that meal, and do a little extra cardio to burn it off. When she’s in Mumbai, she swears by The Sassy Spoon but tries and convince them to use healthier alternatives for her meals. Other than that, she loves the chaat at Elco, pizza at Celini at Grand Hyatt and Chinese from China House {she used to DJ there}. And yes, vada pavs are her favourite too.


Express Towers, Ground Floor, Ramnath Goenka Marg, Nariman Point, Mumbai

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Anything Else?

She thinks meal preps are life savers! She says, “Prep your meals once a week and freeze them. All it takes is an hour and half of your time each week to stay on track with nutrition. Focus on dropping body fat, instead of obsessing with numbers on the scale. Muscle weighs more than fat, so as long as your body fat % is dropping, you’re on track. Don’t give up, no matter how many plateaus you hit. And if you fall off today, start again tomorrow!” She’s tried and fallen off at least 20 times in her life. This is the first time she got back on, stuck with it, and is never looking back.