By Neha Kirpal
A mother of three and an educator for over 15 years, Neha Lal underwent a personality makeover of sorts, shed weight, and this year was crowned first runner-up at the Mrs. India Legacy 2019 beauty pageant. Voted the ‘most active participant’ in the pageant, the fashionista is now out to inspire other women to live to their fullest potential, and to follow their dreams.
A post-graduate from Delhi University, Neha, who is brand ambassador of Shakti Film Productions and shuttles between Lucknow and Delhi, has played full-time mom to her three kids, aged 18, 13 and 9, along with a long career as school teacher and principal. Apart from that, she works on several social causes that relate with women’s health and child education, and recently distributed free menstrual hygiene kits in the slums of Lucknow through the Ladli Foundation.
We spoke to her about the experience of participating in the pageant, her personal weight-loss tips and her future plans.
Tell us about the experience of participating in this pageant. How did you prepare for it, and have you done this before?
My experience as a contestant in Mrs India Legacy was wonderful, very rewarding and life-changing. Well, I planned for this pageant, taking care of my skin and fitness, as I felt that I was laidback after two decades of marriage. I pledged and started a strenuous daily fitness regime and chalked a schedule for a nutritious healthy disciplined diet and daily routine.
You see, after years of being in a family, one gets used to a certain lifestyle and more importantly, members of the family get used to seeing you in a particular way. It then becomes even more important to continue winning everyone’s love and support while walking towards your newly unleashed dreams. And yeah, it was my first time participating in a pageant like this one.
You used to be overweight at one time. How did you lose weight? Please share some weight-loss tips for our readers.
Yes, I was overweight but more than that, I feel it was sudden awareness towards a lackadaisical lifestyle that motivated me. As a mother of three, my belly and legs required toning up. Along with giving time to my family, I began giving preference to my ‘me-time’.
I chalked out a plan with a mix of cardio and weights exercises, alternating between both on an everyday basis. I changed my course of eating and became a conscious eater. Nutritious eating and regular exercise went a long way to reinvent the Neha in me. Some of my failsafe mantras are:
Self belief: What you believe is what you can achieve.
Plan your diet and eating habits: When hungry, grab a healthy bowl of quinoa or chicken salad or nuts and fruits rather than junk and pasteurised drinks. Reduce your intake of carbohydrates and substantiate it with unprocessed grains.
Increase your protein intake: It is a very important element to build muscle weight and tone your body.
Drink lukewarm water: Even in summers.
No substitute to exercise: Every day. Be as regular as you can. Push yourself to the tee. You are stronger than you think!
What are you working on next?
I am building a platform for training and guiding other women who have aspirations to be successful and lead a wholesome and more fulfilled life. I have felt and seen the challenges that women face in enhancing their personality, grooming, self care and overall understanding of fitness.
Another thing that keeps me hooked and motivated is launching my apparel line. While brand endorsements and events keep me occupied, I am committed towards women’s health and hygiene improvement. All these commitments keep me on my toes and propel me forward.