Nivi Jaswal was a high-performing senior executive with relentless drive to succeed — until one day she woke up on the floor of her hotel room after having passed out from exhaustion, hunger, or both. Now, she has traded perfectionism for a life of health, purpose, and contribution — and lost 30 pounds in the process.
When Nivi Jaswal woke up on the floor of her Hong Kong hotel room on March 9, 2015, she was terrified.
With no memory of how she got there and 10 missed calls on her phone from concerned family members and colleagues, Nivi felt lost and confused… but she was certain about one thing: Something had to change.
She’d been traveling for a work conference, and was extremely busy. “It turned out, I hadn’t had food that day. I was running on nine espressos and some candy just to keep myself going,” recalls Nivi, who is now 37 and lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
That kind of career intensity was by no means atypical for Nivi.
Several demanding international assignments as a senior marketing executive with regional and global responsibility, plus a relentless inner drive to succeed, meant Nivi was living her life at breakneck speed—and putting her own needs aside.
“For almost 15 years, I didn’t get much sleep. There were days when I was up at 3am responding to emails being generated from the other side of the planet. I had supervisors tell me not to do this, but I just didn’t want any unread messages in my inbox. I wanted to clean it all up.”
Nivi believed that if she could keep her inbox clean, she stood a chance of keeping everything else completely under control. But the truth was, she was burned out. Passing out was a wake-up call.
A high-achiever to her core, Nivi took action. She saw a nutritionist, started therapy, and worked on her stress levels.
At first, it felt like things were getting better.
But later that year, she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, or low thyroid levels.
She was also increasingly afraid of being diagnosed with diabetes. The disease runs in her family and her dad had been living with type 2 diabetes for more than 20 years.
After closely following a ketogenic diet and getting a personal trainer, Nivi successfully lost some weight and was able to reverse her hypothyroidism.
But then perfectionism kicked in. Nivi ended up treating her health habits just like her work.
“I was desperately trying to keep everything on track, in the hope that if I was perfect with my workouts and my diet, then somehow this perfection would prevent me from ruining my health. Despite everything I was doing, it was like I was on an express train hurtling down that exact path.”
Meanwhile, Nivi was starting to show signs of insulin resistance, an indicator she too was on the path toward diabetes.
Fearing for her health and wellbeing, she knew she needed help — but this time, it had to be something sustainable.
Her personal trainer suggested Precision Nutrition Coaching, so Nivi decided to give it a try.
Unlike other diets and lifestyle changes she’d tried, with Precision Nutrition Nivi felt like it was okay to be less than perfect.
“One of the great things about PN is that it gives people the liberty to fail, and then to pick themselves up and try again,” says Nivi. “That is the spirit of it, and I felt that was very liberating, because then you can open up and do new things.”
For one thing, she allowed herself to eat foods that had previously been strictly off-limits.
“I had a slice of bread for the first time in I don’t know how many years, and I laughed and I cried.”
PN re-introduced Nivi to the notion of eating a wider variety of whole foods, and of course, fewer processed ones.
After years of treating casein shakes and protein bars as major food groups, she started focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and plant-based proteins.
Eating whole foods wasn’t only a wake-up call for her body, it also inspired her to make a complete career evolution.
Deciding that being part of the “big food and big health” supply chain no longer lined up with her belief system, Nivi decided to start not one, but two new companies: a digital marketplace for rural women artisans from Northwestern India (where Nivi is originally from), and a non-profit that runs healthcare-related camps for the same artisan community.
Finally released of her perfectionism, Nivi channeled her drive toward purpose.
From the time she woke up on that hotel room floor to the end of the PN program, Nivi had lost nearly 30 pounds… and she wasn’t the only one. Nivi wound up inspiring everyone around her.
Nivi’s 68-year old father was inspired to join a diabetes coaching program. In doing so, he got off most of his meds, and greatly reduced his insulin dosage.
Nivi’s mom, also 68, reversed her hypothyroidism, and returned her once-high blood pressure to normal. Her early-stage arthritis also disappeared when she lost weight.
Nivi’s father-in-law committed to an exercise routine. At 76, he was featured as “fit senior of the month” at his local fitness center.
And after following Nivi’s lead on portion control and incorporating more fresh, plant-based foods, her husband, Sean, lost close to 40 pounds.
The experience also deepened their close bond.
“Without my husband’s support, teamwork, constant encouragement, and readily adopting our new approach to nutrition, my PN journey would not have been as happy, fulfilling, or exciting.
“In being able to discover our life’s true purpose, our partners play a very significant role. I feel truly grateful and blessed.”
Instead of being caught up in her own perfectionism, Nivi is now leading by example.
“I’ve altered the pace and purpose of my life and, in doing so, dialed up my efficiency and effectiveness.”
“Now, I’m actually getting more done,” Nivi says.
I’ve learned that self-pacing and practicing self-compassion doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re either slow or not competitive. You’re more competitive because you’re happy while you’re at it.”
Currently in training at The Mayo Clinic’s wellness coaching program, Nivi’s purpose is to help prevent burnout and stress (and associated health issues) in other executives like her.
“A healthy workplace is a happy workplace. While several corporate executives feel forced to be strong at all times, my purpose is to help them recognize that indeed, ‘Happy is the New Strong’ — a mantra borne out of my own experience.”
“We are our own biggest projects, and the sooner we realize it the better.”
Want help overcoming your health and fitness barriers?
Most people know that regular movement, eating well, sleep, and stress management are important for looking and feeling better. Yet they need help applying that knowledge in the context of their busy, sometimes stressful lives.
Over the past 15 years, we’ve used the Precision Nutrition Coaching method to help over 100,000 clients lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health… for the long-term… no matter what challenges they’re dealing with.
It’s also why we work with health, fitness, and wellness professionals (through our Level 1 and Level 2 Certification programs) to teach them how to coach their own clients through the same challenges.
Interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching? Join the presale list; you’ll save up to 54% and secure a spot 24 hours early.
We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, January 15th, 2020.
If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list below. Being on the list gives you two special advantages.
- You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition we like to reward the most interested and motivated people because they always make the best clients. Join the presale list and you’ll save up to 54% off the general public price, which is the lowest price we’ve ever offered.
- You’re more likely to get a spot. To give clients the personal care and attention they deserve, we only open up the program twice a year. Last time we opened registration, we sold out within minutes. By joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.
If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.
[Note: If your health and fitness are already sorted out, but you’re interested in helping others, check out our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program].