‘I have what my mind desires…’: Sunny Leone (Exclusive interview)
I’ve always wondered if Bollywood beauties who look stunning on-screen with their make-up and lovely pouts look the same off-screen too. Well, I can’t vouch for everyone, but Sunny Leone can sure surprise anyone with her flawless skin and curvaceous figure off-camera too. Grounded despite her fame, Sunny comes across as a friendly person who impersonates beauty in its true sense. Just ahead of her new release Ek Paheli Leela, in a freewheeling chat she talks to us about her fitness fundas, beauty secrets and how she manages to stay in shape – always!
I’m sure the pressure to maintain your figure must be really high. I wonder how you do it despite hardly having any time.
The only way to keep fit is to — eat right and exercise — and my profession demands that. But, it isn’t possible to devote time to exercise every single day given my hectic schedule. Sometimes working out becomes my last priority. But I make it a point to burn calories every day. The days when I am not shooting I workout for two hours at a stretch in the gym, but on a busy day I might just spend 30 minutes on the stationary bike. In fact, I prefer cardio and free weight exercises over strength training. With the type of body I have I need to focus more on cardio exercises to burn calories than lifting heavy weights.
But avoiding weight training isn’t a good idea.
Fitness is very subjective; every other woman should know what the requirements of her body are. In my case, my focus is more on burning calories. I aim to burn 500 to 600 calories in every session and so I depend on cardio and free weight exercises. I also do a lot of boxing at the gym to help my arms and upper body become stronger. As for my lower body I concentrate more on cycling as that makes my lower back, thighs and hamstrings strong. The advantage of exercising on a stationary bike is that, it also helps to keep your abs in shape. Moreover, most women (including me) have a tendency to put on a lot of weight on their lower body and cycling helps to deal with those problematic areas. Also, I just love exercising on the stationary bike which is like a de-stressing activity for me.
We know that eating ‘healthy’ is a challenge for all of us. How do you manage it?
My diet pattern is very boring but I don’t complain much about it. I start my day with a cup of Dunkin’ Donut coffee and my breakfast comprises of egg whites and toasts. My lunch is a healthy chicken salad with vegetables in it and the same goes for dinner. I don’t snack in-between meals but if I feel hungry I might eat an apple or have some seasonal fruits. It is a bland pattern of eating, but it is clean and healthy. I take care that my food is less on salt, as too much of sodium can again lead to water retention in the body and make you bloat. I am a conscious eater and I count my calories.
Any binge confessions?
Yes, I do. I cannot say no to chocolates. I am crazy about them and eat them as and when I feel like. I am also aware that I just can’t stay away from all the foods that are there in the world no matter how fattening they might be. So my rule for cheat-eat is to have whatever my mind desires but in moderation. But I do count the number of extra calories that I consume and burn them out.
If you were to give us just 5 tips to get a figure like Sunny Leone, what would they be?
- Cut down on your soda intake by 70 percent if not completely.
- Limit intake of fried foods.
- If you drink too much tea or coffee try to cut down on the numbers by half.
- Avoid binge eating; instead indulge in cheat meals but with portion control.
- Stack your fridge with healthy foods so you don’t fall for junk when hungry.
How do you manage to look so ravishing all the time? Care to share some beauty secrets?
My skincare regime starts with my healthy eating habits and I am not just dependent on cosmetics. I believe that the way you treat your body it reflects on your skin. I deliberately stay away from sweets, fried foods, processed and junk food for the sake of my skin. Also, I am very picky and choosy about what I put on my skin. After a lot of trial and error, I have settled for a Japanese cream for moisturising my skin. As for makeup, I swear by the Make Up For Ever range of cosmetics. These are water-based cosmetics that suit my skin. Also, I make sure that all my brushes and sponges are hygienically cleaned before I use them. I have trained my make-up artist for the same too.
And what do you do for your hair?
My hair is subjected to a lot of abuse what with all those styling products, chemicals and excessive blow drying. They need special care to keep them from breaking or damaging. I have an Argan oil massage twice a week to help my hair regain its vitality. Also, coconut oil massage can do wonders for your hair. I alternate between the two kinds of oil massage to keep my hair healthy.
A lot of actresses swear by Yoga to stay fit. Are you a part of that bandwagon too?
I did learn and practise Bikram Hot yoga but I must admit that yoga doesn’t excite me much. Moreover, with my aim of burning more calories to stay fit, other exercises like cardio fit the bill. So I prefer those exercises over yoga during my workout sessions.