"Being fit and feeling healthy makes me feel like I can be whatever I want to be as long as I set my mind to it and that's powerful! I have always wanted to keep learning more, constantly improve myself, and win. I thrived on athletics/sports back in high-school; and I think the one thing it taught me was the sheer exhilaration and joy that you get when all your hard work, toil, sweat and discipline pays off. So, what drives me is my unending desire to constantly improve, iterate, work-harder and win! I I love winning against challenges I set for myself. I guess the confidence comes from being able to shatter all those challenges!
Personally speaking, I love working. It makes me extremely happy, and it doesn't stress me out. Which is why I think work-life balance is stupid. You should do whatever you want to do as long as it makes you happy and makes you a better person. That could very well manifest itself as working 20 hours a day, or sitting on a beach for 20 hours a day. I do enjoy being occupied by what I do because I really do love what I do. And as long as that's the case, I have a work life, not work-life, balance.
Women have it much harder. It's a consequence of precedence, unattainable standards set, and the role that women have played in households and society till now. I think until the role women play doesn't change, the stereotypes and body-shaming will continue. However, I think we are doing better than previous generations. A majority of us recognise that certain body types are simply unattainable and that stereotyping in general is ridiculous, and that is a step in the right direction. Sometimes this negativity annoys me. But as someone once said - the secret to happiness is good health and a bad memory.
Fitness is super important - especially as one grows older, and the stresses of day to day life begin taking their toll. Having a strong body leads to having a strong mind. Today, being fit, nourished and healthy trumps fitting into a Size 2. I was a really plump and "healthy" kid. I was pretty chubby till the 11th Grade, and I was made fun of back in school for being a bit of a fatty. I'm fairly lean now, and I try being as active as possible (even if it means going up and down stairs of our office which is on the 4th floor!). While I used to want to chase looking "thin", I think over time, and given the hours I work, I've just begun accepting and loving my body. As long as I'm healthy and can run 10 kilometers without panting, I am happy.
Though I do have my phases, and I'm not always on full-power mode when it comes to fitness, I'm a different person when I'm working towards being fit; for the better! I love running and planking, and if I could, I'd be practising yoga at least once a day.
My advice to young women would be to find yourself! I know this sounds really cliched. I started LBB when I was 22, but I spent a good 2 years (which honestly isn't much time in the larger scheme of things) just figuring out what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be as a person. Time is all we have - so take the time to find yourself, and be the best version of who you want to be, FOR YOURSELF only."
Suchita Salwan is an entrepreneur and the founder of Little Black Book
* In association with Puma.