June 07, 2007
We asked Get Ahead readers to share their stories of weight loss with us. Here, 32-year-old Rishi Sharma explains how he lost a massive 50 kilos in one year:
I have been overweight from my childhood, until I reached 25 years of age. The reason being: I LIVED TO EAT.
Food for me was like a good friend. I always carried it with me, ate it and enjoyed it. As a result, I was massively overweight throughout my school days and all through college.
In the year 2000, at the age of 25, I was 5' 11" tall and weighed 120 kilos. I was addicted to junk food, and had no interest in a healthy diet, nor in exercise. Not surprisingly then, years of overeating, smoking, and an unhealthy lifestyle began to take its toll on my health.
I was diagnosed with high blood pressure (210/130) and high cholesterol in July 2001. At the time I was working as a software consultant in New Jersey, USA, indulging in a highly undisciplined lifestyle and eating all sorts of junk foods (pizzas, burgers, French fries, you name it!).
The will to lose weight and get healthy began as a challenge for me, and has gradually turned into a passion. I lost 50 kilos in a year's time, coming down from 120 kilos (204 pounds) to 72 kilos (160 pounds). I was able to get rid of the high blood pressure and cholesterol, and have been able to maintain my target weight range (72-78 kilos) for the last six years, thanks to my daily routine of exercise and controlled diet.
Here are some tips and principles I follow to live a healthy life, and to maintain my target weight:
- Health is wealth. Understand it, appreciate it and live by it. Remember, if you lose your health you lose the most precious thing god gave you.
- Whenever you eat food of any kind, always chew it properly, ie eat slowly. Not only will this aid in proper digestion, but will help curb your appetite -- you'll tend to eat less.
- Drink two glasses of lukewarm water every morning, as soon as you wake up. This will help remove impurities from the body. Also try to drink at least three litres of water a day.
- A person trying to lose weight must completely eliminate processed, sugary products (cakes, pastries, ice creams etc) from his/ her diet. There is nothing more harmful for an overweight person than processed sugar. The intake of deep-fried food such as French fries, samosas, pakoras etc should also be restricted. Once you've reached your target weight, having these items once in a while is okay.
- Eating four or five small meals throughout the day is much better than having three large meals. The science behind this is that having small nutritious meals helps maintain the body's metabolism and aids the digestion process. The higher the body's metabolism, the more it will burn fat. The human digestive system is designed to eat small meals frequently.
- Every meal a person has should consist of carbohydrates (55 percent), proteins (35 percent) and fats (15 percent).
- You diet should include complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal (daliya), seasoned vegetables, skim milk, brown breads, and low glycemic index fruits (apple, papaya, orange, grapefruit, etc). Simple carbohydrates, which consist mainly of sugar (cakes, pastries etc), should be restricted.
- A healthy protein diet should consist of egg whites, home-made paneer (cottage cheese), kidney beans, legumes, low fat chicken and fish, while fats should be derived from sources like almonds, walnuts and olive oil.
- Try to have oatmeal with skim milk for breakfast in the morning, at least five times a week. Oatmeal is a great way to begin nourishing your body.
- Try to avoid more than three spoons of table sugar in a day, whether in tea, coffee or milk.
- Try to have a fruit of low glycemic index (apple, orange, papaya, or grapefruit) and a seasoned vegetable with three meals each day.
- Exercise moderately five times a week, for 30 to 40 minutes. Activities such as a brisk walk, or slow jogging will be beneficial. Never push your limits too much while exercising; regular, moderate exercise is the key to weight loss and good health. High intensity exercises can lead to injury, and should only be done after your body has reached a certain comfort level.
- Try to keep your stomach empty for two to three hours before you exercise. Have a light meal, such as a brown bread veggie sandwich with tea, a few hours before your workout.
- Rest is a very important attribute. Try to sleep for at least seven to eight hours daily. Mental rest is as important as physical rest, so try to free your mind of unnecessary stress.
- Be happy and take pride in your accomplishments. Working towards losing weight and good health should be taken as a token of motivation and pride. We need to respect our bodies and protect them from disease.
- Do not compare yourself with others. Each individual is unique. Try to adopt the positive habits of others, while minimising your own negative points. I learnt pranayamas (deep breathing exercises) from the respected Swami Ramdev on television, and I try to do them on a daily basis. Basic pranayama exercises will bring peace to a person's mind if performed correctly, and will also aid in good health.
- The last tip I would like to give you is a little philosophical. All of us know that one day our body will reach the end of its journey on earth. Some go early, others live on for a long time. Living with the realisation that life is nothing but a short story that will end someday, helps you appreciate the life you live. So cherish and respect the body you're blessed with.
If you are overweight and need more help losing those extra kilos, you can visit my website at www.commonsenseofloosingweight.com.
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Were you once overweight? How did you manage to drop the excess baggage? Email your contributions to email@example.com, along with your name, age, occupation, contact details, and photographs of yourself both before and after your weight loss. We'll publish the best entries right here on Get Ahead.