How I Got This Body: Losing 9 Pounds While Doing Yoga and Eating Whatever I Want

Photographs courtesy Ruchi Soni.

Welcome to How I Got This Body, our look at some of the amazing things the human body is capable of and the Washingtonians who put their bodies to the test. Want to share your transformation story? Email

Who I am: Ruchi Soni, 31, development professional from Rosslyn

What inspired my change: “I gained the typical ‘American diet’ weight, after moving to the U.S. I had an incredible nine-to-five job which I loved, and my health took a backseat. It did not help that I was a huge foodie and at some point, I had tried almost all restaurants in the vicinity. For inspiration, it helps I am a self-motivated person. I started off with yoga, something I had enjoyed tremendously growing up, and so it was comfortable space for me to start.”

What changed: “I lost nine pounds in a year (all of which I had gained after I moved to the USA). I gained almost all of it back as muscle, something I am most proud of! The numbers on the scale never defined health for me—it was how I felt, and my strength.”

My exercise plan: “First off, I went back to yoga, which I had practiced for about ten years and had forgotten about. I started hanging out at the gym to spend more time with a guy who I liked (now husband), and became a treadmill junkie! Slowly, my husband led me to the world of strength training with a P90x regime, and that changed my life altogether. I had found (who and) what I loved. Now, it’s a routine of a balance of ashtanga yoga and strength training.”

I mostly go by how I feel rather than how much I weigh.

My healthy eating plan: “I eat everything! Calorie counting, food group elimination, and dieting is not for me—I love my food and eat everything, but in moderation. I should add, however, that there is a different mantra that works for everyone. I also mostly go by how I feel rather than how much I weigh.”

How I stuck to my goals: “I started cooking, which helped. It took some time, energy, and few FaceTime calls back home for me to learn how to make simple food, but the nutrition from those home-cooked meals made all the effort worth it. Having a partner who values healthy living very highly is definitely a bonus.”

My new fitness goals: “On my list now is running a marathon and becoming a yoga trainer—something I wouldn’t have dreamt of five years ago.”

One piece of advice: “Find a class or a fitness regime that you love—I am one of those who are known to nudge people to try out different things. You never know what fitness regime you may end up liking!”

This interview has been edited and condensed. 

Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.