MyBigFatPakistaniWeddingWeightLossChallenge Update!

Hi ladies! (I’m assuming it’s mostly ladies reading this!?)

How goes your wedding/post wedding/just-need-to-get-in-shape fitness routines?!

I’m in week 3 of my renewed fitness motivation, after I found out I gained 10lbs and 2 inches everywhere since the honeymoon (you can read more on that here! ) and I’m happy to say I think I’ve gotten back into the swing of things!

I’ve done hour long weight sessions with my trainer 2-3 times per week, along with cardio the other 2-3 times so that I at least am working out 5 days per week. My trainer has been making me to do these uphill sprints between each circuit (so two minutes on speed 7 incline and incline 6 – ya I thought I was going to die) and I believe that any  interval training is most effective for getting results, so I’m trying to do that in my cardio sessions as well.

But more importantly is that I’m eating healthy foods again! (Uh no more tubs of ice cream and bags of chips lol sigh). Just lots of fruits and veggies,  chicken breast and salmon, and water water water!  I nervously stepped on the scale yesterday morning and I was so happy to see that I had lost 4lbs! It felt really good because I’ve been working so hard to get back to my wedding weight, and to know that the 4lbs lost wasn’t through any sort of fad diet or fancy systems, just simple eating well and working out.

As they say: it’s not the work that’s hard; its the discipline. I think my best advice as to how to stay on track is by being prepared.  I wrote on our chalkboard wall at home: “Be prepared or prepare to FAIL.” Lol yes, I know, a tad aggressive but it’s so true!  If you have pre-made salads in the fridge to take to work (I’ve been making them in mason jars, they stay fresher and look cute), then you will reach for them instead of buying something for lunch that will most likely be unhealthy.  If you take out chicken the night before and think about what to cook, you’ll have a plan for a healthy dinner (also: get the hubby to cook healthy stuff – SM makes great salmon!). And if you put all of your gym sessions in your calendar as appointments, then there is more of a chance that you will treat them as such and go!  All of these tips have everything to do with the preparation required to set yourseld up to be disciplined.

How are you girls doing? How do you stay motivated? What are your dessert substitutes? How do you keep the weight off after you lose it?! So many questions!

-Safa

P.S. Here are some of my fun mason jar salads! :

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Sent from Samsung Mobile

What Desi Brides Don’t Talk About: Wedding Lingerie

Yes, I’m going there (your welcome,  lol). But seriously, I was so confused about this before my wedding: what the hell are you supposed to wear underneath your shaadi jora?! (Wedding dress).

Trust me it’s not like I didn’t google it, I did! What I was confused about was whether you were supposed to wear the actual lingerie underneath or some sort of bra with good support so that you had a nice shape under your dress and then change into lingerie afterwards! The other thing was whenever I looked for wedding lingerie on Victoria Secret or Agent Provacteur it was either white or off white or cream and I thought: “I can’t wear white lingerie under a red dress! ” Also, I didn’t want to spend more on this than some of my actual jahez clothes,  so I said forget those fancy smanshy expensive boutiques in Toronto (I was considering going to those next), I’m going to La Senza! This was comical to me because La Senza was the first store I bought bras from as a teenager and so the thought of getting my wedding lingerie from there was kind of amusing. But I went in thinking hey why not and I actually ended up finding the perfect pieces (who knew?!). 

I had decided that I didn’t want to be doing any changing into anything because that seemed like it could get awkard lol; I wanted what I wore underneath my dress to be it!  I ended up finding a two piece gold sequence bra-corset number from La Senza, which I really liked because I felt like since my wedding dress is red and gold it makes sense that so too is what I’m wearing underneath! I also liked it because the corset made it feel more special than just a  regular bra and it actually provided great support becaue it had a back cross over strap! (Which helps with your posture sitting on that stage for hours!)

Ultimately, my advice: you have to find something that maks you feel sexy and that you’re going to be comfortable wearing (and the latter is necessary to achieve the former!) Good luck shopping and don’t rule out the La Senzas of the world in your search!

-Safa 

Sent from Samsung Mobile

Gifting Traditions in Desi Wedding Culture

Hi Everyone!

In my opinion, there is nothing like an inquisitive outside point of view to make you think about the things that you have grown up to understand as traditions. Throughout my wedding planning, that’s what I had in my boss, who was eagerly curious about each and every piece of my BFPW.  And among our many wedding traditions, what stood out to her the most  is our culture of gifting.

From the ‘jahez’ to the ‘wari’ to the   ‘laina daina’ she was intrigued by it all, and as a result, made me also think about these traditions. For those in need of translation,  a jahez is the trosseau  of clothes, shoes, purses and jewelry that a bride’s family would give to her (with the intention that she would wear the new items in her  marital home…new brides have to LOOK like new brides after all! lol), but also things like kitchenware, bedding, and even furniture and rugs that she would take with her to her husband’s home (which traditionally would be the home where he lived with his parents and siblings). A wari is the collection of clothing, jewelry, purses, and shoes that a groom’s family would give to their new daughter-in-law as wedding gifts (also with the intention that she wear these new items as a newlywed). And ‘laina daina’ is the term used to describe all of the gifts that a bride’s family would traditionally give to the groom’s family, for example, saris for the groom’s mother, sisters, mother’s sisters…it could go on and on.

Explaining all of the traditions to my boss made me think about how our generation needs to redefine our customs on our terms. For example, the custom of the ‘laina daina’ and a jahez full of everything under the sun dates back to a time where daughters were seen as a burden, and so the bride’s family would have to compensate  by giving all of the member’s of the groom’s family gifts as well as sending their daughter to them with lots of new things for their house because their son would be supporting her and taking that burden away. Well as they say in urdu: zamana badalgya! Times have changed! Today, women and men both earn money. And sometimes women are even the ones supporting their husbands. Young couples live in the joint family system less and less (joint family = with husband’s family). And so giving gifts and a large jahez to the groom’s family as an offering of thanks for taking the burden that is a daughter is so outdated, not to mention problematic! Also, what’s worse, is that sometimes the families decide to show what they are giving at the actual wedding so that all the guests know exactly what the girl received in her wari, or what the groom’s side received from the bride’s family (cringe) I think that’s the absolute epitome of gratuitousness!

As a young desi bride-to-be, I think negotiating these types of (often patriarchal) cultural traditions are part and parcel of the wedding planning process. I tried to reinterpret them as much as I could so that we could keep what felt good about the tradition and do away with the rest. First of all I told both my mom and SM that I did not want any showy gift-giving at any of the events, and everyone agreed that they didn’t either. We did give SMs immediate family gifts (but just immediate!) and did so when it was just our family and his family, and SM’s family also gave my family gifts in the same way, which was really nice because it felt like a two-way appreciation as opposed to the traditional girl’s-side-giving- boy’s-side-lots-of-things-because-girls-are-seen-as-burdens. Also, SM and I live separately and so there was no jahez full of new furniture (lol, that’s a comical idea to me), but my brother, who happened to be redoing his house generously gave us his old dining table, couch, tv, tv stand, which we happily accepted! Also, I did get lots of new clothes and shoes and jewelry in my jahez and wari, and well, it’s pretty fun 🙂

OK, I think the rant part of my blog is over! I did want to share HOW we packaged the ‘laina daina’ gifts for my in-laws because, well, if you’ve ever read my blog you know that I’m completely detail oriented (a tad obssesive?) and like pretty thinigs 🙂 My sister had the idea to package everything in large thaals (round trays) and then cover it with clear wrap and tie it with ribbons and so my mom and I spent one afternoon on Gerrard Street searching for very large, colourful round basket type trays. We eventualy found them at a little Indian store for $25. We grabbed 3 large ones and 1 small one (1 large one for SM, 1 for his parent’s gifts, 1 for his sister and family’s gifts and 1 small one for his younger sister) and then my sis and I spent another weekend packaging them with the gifts and making them look pretty! This was the type of pre-wedding prep that actually took lots of time (especially if you’re anal like I am and bad at letting other people help lol!)

This is what they turned out like!: (Yes  I may have chosen the swirl pattern on the clear wrap because it complimented the swirl pattern on my wedding Louboutins – – I warned you, obsessive!)

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What do you guys think of all of the gift giving that happens in our culture? How did your families do it?
-Safa

MyBigFatPakistaniWedding Weight Loss Challenge

Both brides-to-be and newlyweds will be able to appreciate this: wanting to lose weight.

But wait, you may say, didn’t you recently lose the weight before your wedding? (Yes, yes I did). But, then I got married. And ate. Lots. And replaced working out with cuddling on the couch. And so now, I, like other newlyweds, I’m guessing, am right back with you brides-to-be. I need to lose weight…all over again.

You may remember how I did a post on How I lost 20lbs for my Wedding back in June…well, the jury’s out (in my case, the dreaded scale / measuring tape) and it’s not so pretty: I’ve gained 10 of those very hard to lose pounds back, along with 2 inches –  everywhere (we’re talking waist, bust, hips, thighs, and butt).

Exhale.

Like I mentioned above, it’s no secret why. Sept 1, 2013 was my Valima (reception) and SM and I left for the honeymoon the day after. And I haven’t stopped eating since. Pasta, pizza, chips, chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate, everything my heart desired. The only thing I actually did stop doing, was working out completely. Which was SO stupid – brides:  be warned, don’t do this after your honeymoon! It’s also very much my style – I’m such an all or nothing person. When I do something, its mind over matter militant style, and when I don’t, it’s screw everything and hand over that tub of Ben and Jerry’s! (Perhaps my New Year’s Resolution should be to learn the meaning of balance?!)

Anyway, if you’ve ever lost weight and gained it back, you can probably relate to how disappointed I was in myself. (I’m also, like too many girls, no stranger to the struggle with weight issues – you can read more in my piece for Suhaag called “I’m No Longer a Ladoo.”) Hence, I think us newly-weds and brides-to-be should do this together – we all just want to get into shape so that we feel strong, sexy and confident in our skin – and shaadi joras! 🙂

I’m on Day 4 of Week 1 of trying to get back into shaadi shape (shaadi =wedding; now you know), which has meant that on Monday I did an hour weights work out with my trainer; on Tuesday I did cardio; Wednesday was an hour weight work out with trainer again; today (Thursday) is going to be a long cardio sess and tomorrow (Friday) is going to be another hour weight session with trainer! That’s on the exercise front. But they say that only counts for 20%; 80% of weight loss actually happens in the kitchen. So, protein shakes have started again (daily); salmon and veggies; lean chili, and chicken salads have been dinners, and I’m trying, trying to up my water intake. My goal for this first week is to lose 2 lbs.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress and I’ll ask you this:

Brides-to-Be what are you ladies doing to get fit before your big day?

Newlyweds who gained it back: what are you doing to get back to the shape you were in at your wedding, or even better?

And single ladies who read my blog: what are your fitness tips?

Share your resources, tools, meal plans, and advice here. Nothing like a BigFatPakistaniWedding Weight Loss Challenge!

Good luck girls!

-Safa

What to Do Before you Go Wedding Shopping in Pakistan (or whatever other place in South Asia)

Hi Everyone,

Some of you were interested in knowing how to best prepare for your wedding shopping trip back home, wherever that may be! Well, this is what I did before I went to Lahore in March 2013, hope it’s helpful to you too!

-Safa

1.      Make a List

This may sound simple and obvious, but my sister insisted that I write every, single thing down that I wanted to get – and it was extremely helpful. Include anything and everything you can think of: items like the dupattas (scarfs) for your boys for the mehndi to choorian (bangles) for your bridesmaids; the types of oufits you want to get for your jahez (How many saris do you want to get? And what types? Break it up into the kinds, e.g. 2 lace saris; 2 banarsi saris, etc.);  Gifts for your in-laws; Your Accessories; Your Friends Outfits/Accessories, Mehndi Decor, Decorative items you may need for the wedding (e.g. glass for the ‘dood palai’),  even any souvenirs you want to get your friends/co-workers back home! Of course what you list will  be estimates  because you never know what you’ll find, but it gives you some direction and an idea of what you’re looking for (for example, if you have 8 bridesmaids you know you need to get 8 outfits and 8 accessories). I broke my wedding shopping list down into these sections:

Things to Buy For Me:

Accessories for me:

Gifts for my Susraal (In-Laws):

For my Friends (Clothes and Accessories):

For the Mehndi Decor & Shaadi Stuff:

Other Gifts:

 

2.       Do your research and print out pictures.

Look at as many blogs; Pinterest; fashion runway pictures, designers’  Facebook pages to get an idea of the types of wedding lenghas and jahez clothes that you would like to have.

I really liked this one for picture inspiration: http://shaadi–mubarak.tumblr.com/

I printed out all of the pictures of outfits that I liked and took them to Pakistan with me so that I could give them to the shop keepers. For example, you can see what picture I gave a shopkeeper and the sari he made here.

3.       Make the appointments with the designers you want to go to see ahead of time.

Truth be told, I wasn’t interested in meeting lots of designers because I didn’t care about whether my outfit was designer or not (money does not style make!). I went to Pakistan with the mindset that if I saw a wedding outfit in a shop, and I loved it, then I would get it (like I did with my Mehndi outfit – I got it for 27000 RPS, about $270 from Liberty – you can see it here on the Story of my Mehndi post!). From doing my research though, I knew that there were some designers that I wanted to at least meet to see what they could do in my budget.  For example, I was very intrigued by Fahad Hussayn’s designs, and my cousin Safiya happened to go to college with him and was a friend of his, so she took me to go see him. And,  I had loved Karma’s collections ever since I learned about them when I was in uni and I was set on going there, so I had made an appointment with them beforehand.

4.       Make a calendar of your time in Pakistan/India/Wherever.

I actually made a calendar of the month of March 2013 in Word and had written in when we would arrive in Lahore and when we leave. Doing just that lets you see how your month there is actually more like three weeks because of travel time and settling in! I also had researched the exhibitions and fashion events that I wanted to go too and put them in. Secret Closet is a fantastic Pakistani blog where you can keep up with all of the latest fashion events happening in Pakistan. When I went in March, there was a bunch of lawn exhibitions happening. I loved Sania Maskatiyas’s designs (as you know from my previous post!) so I had put in my calendar her exhibition dates. I also put in all of the appointments I had made with the designers I wanted to visit beforehand. Doing that just made it easier to plan my days there. I went around Lahore with my sister, and my mom who trekked through the streets with arthritis, god bless her! My sis had lived in the city for ten years, so she knew how to best go to different shopping areas based on proximity and traffic. When you actually make a calendar and can see your appointments in it, you get a sense of where you’re going to go in the city, and if it’s Lahore, you’ll pretty much be in Liberty all the time, lol! Below is my simple calendar that I made when I went! I took that thing  everywhere with me and it totally got me made fun of by my cousins 🙂

march pic

Happy Shopping Ladies!!!

P.S. This post was inspired by reader Salihah (thanks Salihah!). If you guys have any other questions/topics you’d like me to write about, let me know! 🙂

 

Ready-to-Wear, Chinyere!

Hello hello!

My fellow Canadians:  um, why did our parents come here? Lol, It’s sooo cold! So allow me to take you back to Lahore, where it is wonderful and warm  (well, at least it was when I was there last March!) I’ve talked about the label Chinyere by Bareeze before, in fact; I rated them as part of my top 3 ready-to-wear stores in Lahore in a previous post! 

I really liked Chinyere because they had a large, colourful yet tasteful (which, in my opinion, is hard to do) collection in a wide-range of different styles, and I  ended up trying on and actually liking several outfits (that’s italicized because I’m annoyingly picky, lol – just ask my mom). I thought their collection was  especially good for fun dolki/mayoun/mehndi type outfits, and despite the fact that they are readymade, the quality of the ‘kaam’ (embellishment work) is actually really neat. And browsing on their Facebook page, it looks like they have some pretty unique outfits in their current collection!

I got the outfit below from their Defence store when I was in Lahore in March 2013.  Haha, actually as I was shopping,  I tried to think about ‘diversifying my trousseau’ (lol – it is an investment after all) but I always found myself being attracted to, and therefore getting, lighter, more neutral coloured outfits, to the point where my khala had to yell at me to say: “you’re a dulhan! Stop getting colours you wear to a funeral!!!  (lol, gotta love that Punjabi straight talk haha).  So this was one of my ‘colourful’ outfits that I picked up, and I do love how vibrant and almost folksy this one is! By the way, I have yet to go to the Bareeze location in Mississauga (yes, there is one!). Has anyone been? What are their prices like? To give you an idea of their prices in Pakistan, I got the outfit below for, if I recall,  around 12000RPS, which is about $120CDN. I’m curious to know if they’ve doubled (uh, tripled?) the prices here,  as they do most clothes from back home (sigh!).

~Safa

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Related links: Chinyere Facebook Page!