We'd asked you, dear readers, to share your fitness stories and learnings with us.
Nimit Agarwal, 26, who works as a data analyst for Google in Hyderabad, tells us how he went from 84 kg to 65 kg within a year.
The unhealthy phase
For 24 years, I lived an unhealthy life.
I did almost no physical exercises and ate whatever I liked with no regard to the nutritional value of the food.
I used to take utmost stress and unnecessary tension in life, both personally and professionally.
I believed that pressure increased my productivity.
I felt my tummy was my asset and was proud of it.
I never realised I was killing myself by doing all of the above. I was happy because I was free from any disease and never felt the need to care about my health.
The turning point
In April 2017, I fainted in my office.
I was forced to visit a doctor by my colleagues.
The doctor checked by body vitals and she was surprised.
I was 84 kg, my BMI was 32, my blood pressure was touching 160 and I had high sugar and very high cholesterol.
She told me that the above symptoms were generally seen in an unhealthy 60-year-old man.
I was shocked and surprised.
My doctor told me that if I didn't take care of my health, I would be preparing my own death bed. That day changed my life.
The struggle phase
In the next one year, I completely transformed my habits.
I was working 14 hours a day.
I neither had the time nor the energy to work out, so I focused on eating healthy food instead.
These are the four major things I did and followed consistently for 12 months:
1. Have breakfast on time. Include more protein, less carbs.
2. Zero refined sugar means no sweets, no sugar in beverages, no chocolates (I have remained sugar free for 26 months now).
3. Almost zero fried food (I gave up samosas and kachoris, which I liked the most).
4. Early, light dinner. I have my last meal four hours before I sleep... no rice and chapati, only vegetable, dal and curd.
I followed this for 12 months and I lost 19 kg.
In April 2018, I switched my job and moved to Google in Hyderabad.
During this time, I started doing physical exercises.
I reduced the dietary restrictions that I was following for 12 months and started running.
It has been 14 months now that I have been running long distances.
I started with 800 metres. Today, I have successfully completed five half marathons in the past five months.
I currently undergo one to two hours of rigorous training, six days a week. I spend two hours every Sunday running long distance.
There are six lessons I learned during my fitness journey:
1. Be selfish
Health is the only thing that you should be selfish about.
It should be prioritised more than anything else.
Even more than your family.
You are at the centre of your universe and everybody else in your life is a planet revolving around you.
If the centre of the universe is not stable or healthy, no matter how much you try to shine or hold the planets together, the universe will collapse.
2. It's not about weight loss
There is no direct correlation between weight and health.
You can have a person with perfectly normal weight who is in bad health and vice versa.
So don't think only about losing weight, think about good health.
Healthy life is a continuous, non-stop process which needs to be practised equally by everyone, irrespective of their weight or age.
3. Don't wait
Don't wait for a signal.
You won't always be as lucky as I was to get a warning.
There is no right age or time to start working on your health.
4. Have patience
I didn't do anything extreme; I took one step at a time and kept on adding over.
This is a marathon not a sprint.
Marathoners run till the age of 60; sprinters cannot run after 30.
Don't overdo anything. Start with the thing which is easiest for you.
The thumb rule is to ask yourself if you can do it for 12 months.
5. Make process goals and not outcome goals
One common mistake we all make is setting 'outcome goals' like weight, tummy size, bicep size, six packs, blood pressure, sugar, etc.
I made the same mistake but was quick to realise that it has two problems.
First, it is very difficult to achieve constant progression and keep yourself motivated to achieve these goals.
For example, you may not lose weight every day as it is a factor of a lot of different things -- some of which you cannot control everyday.
As soon as we start seeing a dip in progression, we will feel sad and disappointed leading to a complete stop to the health journey.
Secondly, once we achieve 'outcome goals', we tend to stop.
Like I explained earlier, leading a healthy life is a lifelong process and it cannot just be a phase. That's why you should have process goals, that are long term.
Three golden rules to achieve 'process goals' are:
1. You should be able to track the goals regularly.
2. You cannot have negative progression until you stop doing it.
3. Push your limits. The time frame to achieve your goals should be infinity.
6. Make noise
Create a sense of peer pressure around you by sharing your goals and the whole journey with your friends, family or even the outside world using social media.
This pressure works in two ways.
The first advantage is that you will be motivated to work on your fitness because you don't want to fail in front of so many people.
The other benefit is that during this journey you will get followers which means that you will not want to disappoint the people who are following you.
This ensures that you will now have an additional responsibility which keeps you motivated.
I have made fitness the number one priority in my life and my goal is to keep working on my health to have many more stories to motivate others.
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