When I first met Simrun Chopra last year, she said she wanted fitness to be accessible for all women, irrespective of their social strata. She also mentioned that she would advise women how they could stay fit eating what they always did.
“If I prescribe diets with fancy ingredients, it is neither accessible to all nor will it motivate one to start their fitness journey,” she had then explained with a smile.
Growing up as the only child to her parents in Kolkata, Chopra went to the elite La Martiniere school. She was an active child – academically bright and all into sports. After graduating in 2001, she went to Bangalore for her bachelor’s degree in computer application, but quickly realized that coding was not her world.
“I began involving myself in sports and became part of recreational clubs,” Chopra says. “After a terrible accident I had to stop all sports, which was quite demotivating for me as I used to make my monthly allowance through the sports clubs.”
She took up a part-time sales job at a new local bakery called Daily Bread, working after college hours from 3:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. It paid all her fees.
“That’s where my interest in food started,” Chopra says. “I joined them full time to handle their retail and corporate division. After that, I launched a brand of gelato in India and managed retail ops and production.”
She used all her savings to do her MBA in London and worked hard to win the dean’s scholarship, given to the class topper, who then gets half her fees back. Chopra then returned to India to work at The Collective, India’s largest luxury retailer in Bangalore.
After marriage and being pregnant with her son, Chopra realized that something was wrong with her. She could not carry the weight of her own child and suffered from ovarian cysts and endometriosis. She realized that her regular lifestyle needs some modification and made basic changes to her daily food habits, added 30 minutes of workouts with no fancy diets, and became healthier and stronger.
Chopra then got a formal education in nutrition, diet and deep health, which helped her formulate a program for the modern Indian woman.
“My personal struggle and journey gave hope to a lot of women to get healthy and correct their weight,” she says. “My observations helped me understand that people need external support and assistance when it comes to health-related matters. The immense amount of information available confuses many, and sometimes misdirects them too. My whole objective was to offer simple and effective nutrition and workout plans that are effective and easy to adapt to. I believe Nourish with Sim stands out entirely for its balanced approach and affordable pricing.”
Chopra advocates mindful eating as the best way to reach one’s health goals.
“Diets are short-lived and difficult to sustain,” she says. “There have been many cases where certain fad diets have resulted in grave health concerns, such as palpitations, heartburn, and even paralysis. We try to understand why the client has opted for our program. What is their background and lifestyle? And then, accordingly, we make suggestions.”
All of Chopra’s programs are designed based on the level of support the person needs. Reboot is the starting program for clients with no major illnesses and who can follow a simple plan. Nourish is the more intensive program, with daily reporting and consulting for clients who are over a certain age and have lifestyle diseases.
“We have also worked with clients who rely on office pantry meals or need to order in regularly,” Chopra says. “It’s just about understanding your body and working around your food choices. My programs include a diet plan and 30 minutes of workout. I also regularly update the plan based on regional and religious events such as Ramadan and Navratri, so that it fits into every Indian’s life. I also constantly share recipes that are healthy and easy to make.”
Chopra admits that the biggest struggle has been and still is breaking diet culture that promises quick unbelievable results with fancy names and quick fixes.
“Making people realize that there isn’t a magic solution is a task. With the advent of social media, we are used to instant gratification,” she says. “However, the human body has not evolved at the pace of our technology. Communicating and convincing people that nothing happens overnight has been a big part of the struggle.”
As a woman entrepreneur Chopra admits that she does get bogged down when she does not get something right, or get what she is aiming for. But she has learned how to get around that.
“Aiming for perfection is the quickest route to failure,” she says. “Focusing on what is possible today is better than doing nothing and hoping to be perfect tomorrow. Aim to just do a little better each day and that is what matters.”
Chopra’s advice to women who aspire to be entrepreneurs is to continue working hard without worrying about failure.
“It’s all about consistency and perseverance,” she says. “The same qualities you need to be healthy.”
This article appears in the June issue of SEEMA Magazine, check the rest of it out here!