Love & Life Voices

A Nutritionist Shares Her Secret to Staying Young and Healthy at 61

Is youthfulness in the mind or body, or both? Nutritionist, mother of two and line-dancer Sheela Nirula shares the secret from her own life.

By Sheela Nirula, 61, Delhi

As a convent school student in Jabalpur, I loved science, and was encouraged to follow my calling by my father who worked in the Ministry of Defence, and by my homemaker mother, who taught me values of simple living and high thinking. I was happy to get into nutrition and dietetics, a science-based subject of my choice, at Delhi University for my graduation.

There weren’t too many job openings in the 1980s for nutritionists, but I did manage to have a very fulfilling career with the Tata group. I had an arranged marriage at the age of 28, and nutrition continued to be my passion alongside.

I had my first child Tarini when I was 30 (left); with Tarini now (right)

A lot of things happened when I was 30, and my older daughter was about to be born. After a full-time job, I was advised complete bed-rest for eight months because it was a difficult pregnancy. At the same time, I had a spiritual awakening. There was a shift in my heart and mind. I began living in a state of gratitude, knowing that a higher energy is protecting and guiding me in my life.

Motherhood was a transformational phase. At this point, I took solace in reading the Bhagavad Gita, and prayers were very calming. Three years later, I had another beautiful daughter.

sheela nirula and family
With my daughters Shivani (far left) and Tarini (far right) and husband Ajay

Since I had taken a break for four years from work, I decided to be a hands-on mom and to enjoy their growing years. Later, when they started school, I took on a part-time consultancy assignment. I used my knowledge of nutrition to make healthy food for my family, experimenting with new recipes and creating awareness on the importance of a good diet for my daughters.

Many things inspire me: nature, reading books, going on family holidays. My older daughter is a yoga instructor and learning yoga from her inspires me. Seeing my younger daughter studying and working in the UK inspires me. My husband’s never-give-up attitude and meticulous organising skills inspire me. My line-dance classes and the wonderful collective energy there inspire me.

sheela nirula
At my line-dance class

I believe that whatever happens is always in our best interest. One should never stop learning: that will always keep you young at heart and in mind!

I once read this quote and it’s the motto of my life: “Happiness is a choice, not a result. Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy. Your happiness will not come to you. It can only come from you.”

First published in the Jan-Feb 2019 issue of eShe magazine


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