Fit, forty, fabulous: 5 powerful women on rediscovering body confidence
Your daily dose of fitspiration
Genius entrepreneurs, creative powerhouses and all-round boss ladies—these women in their forties tell us how they learnt to listen to, and love, their changing bodies. From actor Tisca Chopra to designer Namrata Joshipura, these women are rediscovering their body confidence and, in turn, giving us truckloads of fitness inspiration while they’re at it.
Tisca Chopra, Maria Goretti and more share their body confidence stories
Chopra has always been confident about her body, but it took her some learning to find that comfort as an actor. She credits her roles in films like Taare Zameen Par (2007) and Qissa (2013) for ridding her of her inhibitions, especially her most recent turn as a plain housewife in her award-winning short, Chutney (2016). “When my craft became stronger and the characters I played became so memorable, how I appeared [on-screen] stopped mattering,” she says. IRL, she has cracked the perfect formula to maintain her hourglass figure with yoga, meditation and a regimented diet. “I treat my body right and in return, it treats me right.”
Silk tunic dress, House Of Milk
Track training has always been a way of life for Sidhu, who was on her way to becoming a professional athlete until an injury led to a career change. But she has maintained that athletic build by constantly challenging herself. There’s a lot of tennis, playing football with her son, and she recently returned to figure skating too. “There’s nothing like being able to do the things you loved as a teen to make you feel invigorated. Similarly, there’s nothing like growing older to make you feel more comfortable in your skin,” she says. This confidence reflects in her personal style as well. “There’s very little bandwidth for discomfort after a certain point in life,” Sidhu says. “Sometimes I look back and wonder, what was I thinking trying to squeeze my body parts into that?”
Polyester dress, H&M Conscious. Brass with pink gold finishing and Swarovski® Elements earrings, Louis Vuitton
Goretti, who recently won the National Gourmand World Cookbook Award for her debut From My Kitchen To Yours (2016), has always balanced her voracious love for food with an active lifestyle. Whether it was dancing, running or practicing yoga, she always found a way to shed enough kilos to still fit into a pair of jeans she had saved from her days as a VJ. When she hit 40, this long-cherished regimen went right off the rails due to a slackening metabolism, even as she trained to run a half-marathon and took to hiking frequently. “I realised that it’s not about fitting into those jeans anymore,” she says, “but about having a healthy mind and body. I’m happy with my laugh lines, grey hair, and the fact that my waist will never be 24 inches again. My body isn’t what it used to be, and I don’t expect it to be, because I’m not the person I was in my twenties either.”
Satin silk dress, Deme By Gabriella
In her late thirties, Joshipura crossed over from what she called her bad phase (“it was true to my nickname, Chubby”) when she started running. Having spent all of her twenties and most of her thirties building a successful fashion house, she confesses she never did have time to think about herself. She began to change this with hour-long brisk walks that led to her first half-marathon in 2013. And at the Delhi Half Marathon in November last year, she finished in the top five in her age category. “It’s no longer about how I want to look, but how I want to be. I want a runner’s body so I can go faster and longer distances,” she says. Since hitting 40, this renewed strength has helped her tick two big ones off her bucket list: trekking to the Annapurna base camp and Mount Kilimanjaro. Next up: acing a full marathon.
Georgette dress, Namrata Joshipura. Cotton shorts, Joshipura’s own
After being diagnosed with osteopenia, a degenerative bone disease, three years ago, Khan Ali really began to focus on nurturing her naturally lean body. Now her Instagram feed serves up the perfect fitspo with several posts dedicated to her Pilates routine, and just as many of her flaunting her toned limbs in a bikini. Maintaining that ageless body has been hard work, and she readily shares her story and advice with her community of followers. “Ageing is a tough process, and you have to do something about it,” she says. “That’s why I work out less for my looks and more for my strength. I want to go through my day and achieve everything I have set out to achieve for myself, without any pain.”
Georgette and silk dress, Karn Malhotra. Diamond ring, Farah Khan Fine Jewellery
Photographs Taras Taraporvala; Styling Rahul Vijay; Hair and make-up Avni Rambhia; Art direction Reshma Rajiwdekar; Assisted by: Aneri Koradia (Production), Salonee Khosla and Urvashi Singh (Styling assistants)