Indra Narayan Das from Gurugram tells us how he lost 22 kg in just five months.
I am 41, working as a sales professional with a media house.
I was an active athlete in college who aced 100 m and 200 m.
I was never thin, always a stoutly built runner.
I played football, cricket and volleyball and ran sprints whenever I could representing my school and college.
Once I started working, I got lazy with my running followed by poor eating habits.
I continued with the false confidence that I have it under my control and reached almost 95 kg; at times even hitting the century mark.
I carried on with the same weight for more than 12 years till I was diagnosed with high cholesterol, triglycerides and early onset of osteoarthritis.
The reports weren't very damaging clinically, but enough to get me worried.
I was proud about my fitness once upon a time and I couldn't accept what I had done to myself.
I wanted to set things right, and quickly. As clichéd as it may sound, that's what the doctor ordered!!
At 5'7" my ideal weight should have been at about 64 kg which meant I had to undergo a weight reduction of a whopping 31 kg.
What made it tricky is my inability to do any serious running exercise due to the osteoarthiritis.
Without getting overwhelmed with what I couldn't, I decided to get on with what I could -- strict diet regime and light exercises.
Diet and exercise
On March 15, 2020, after consulting an expert in herbs and Ayurveda, I made some changes in my diet.
The programme involved cleansing up my system through herbal medicines in the first 15 days followed by controlling my diet so that body goes back to its natural weight.
I was on an extreme diet. I had papaya, coconut water, milk, buttermilk and brown rice water.
The next 30 days I had 1 meal a day which comprised 1 multigrain roti (bajra, jowar, ragi, soyabean and moong) and vegetable, supplemented with the same liquid diet as mentioned above.
Gradually, I started having 2 meals a day and added dal, paneer, fish, chicken and egg whites to my diet.
I followed the food timings very strictly and even cooked my own food. Anything outside this regime was a strict NO.
I did not have rice, sugar, red meat, soft or hard beverages or any other fried stuff.
The journey was tough as well as exciting.
While the Bengali tongue kept craving for mutton biryani, chicken chaap and sondesh, the hurt ego of a once-upon-a-time sprinter kept me going.
Lady luck helped me during the COVID lockdown coinciding with my diet regime.
I did push ups and kettlebell workouts based on my own personal research and knowledge.
The gyms were closed so I did my exercises at home. However I did not have any cheat days. Every single day I worked out and followed my routine and continue to do so.
Currently I do planks, 150 push ups and multiple kettlebell exercises.
The entire set is for about 45 minutes. Due to my osteoarthritic condition I cannot do exercises that add stress to my hips. The total duration is about 45 minutes.
On weekends in addition to this, I also walk for about 45 minutes.
Each element of the programme was marked in my timetable and was followed religiously.
Working from home due to lockdown gave me the flexibility of logging in and out of work as per requirement and having my food timely.
I slept well and woke up on time.
My routine was such that even if I skipped one meal or exercise, it would have impacted the entire chain.
The toughest part of the regime was staying away from calorie rich foods that I was not supposed to have.
I have been a foodie all my life and I used to find it difficult to stay away certain foods for a week.
To maintain the same for more than 5 months without a single exception has been quite a challenge.
I am blessed with an amazing wife and a spirited daughter who kept encouraging me did not let me slip on my resolve.
I also have an amazing set of friends in my neighbourhood whose words of encouragement pushed me harder.
Lastly, my coach and consultant who helped me achieve this. He had once told me, "Do not let short term temptation get the better of long term goals." The words stuck to me.
As my friends often point out -- while the world gained weight during lockdown, I lost a lot of it.
As of September 2020, I am 22 kg down -- moving from 95 kg to 73 kg, increasing my diet slowly and loving the new me.
Being fitter and looking leaner, along with the innumerable health benefits, is an amazing booster for self esteem.
A few learnings that I would want to share for anyone who wants to be healthier:
1. We are what we eat
The food intake is very important part of any weight reduction process.
We often value myths more than science and it would help if we keep a close track of whatever we consume.
2. We are all different
We are all different individuals with varying levels of body activity, metabolism and family history.
We need to understand what diet and exercise works for us and act accordingly. It is best to seek professional help whenever we want to get into a diet regime.
3. No cheat days
I never had cheat days in diet because for me following cheat days is equivalent to cheating yourself.
4. Be regular
Regularity is the key, be it food or exercises.
We must internalise it and not treat it as a task to be done or a liability.
5. Do not ignore your health
Once we reach 40s in terms of age, our body has to work harder to stay at the same level of fitness.
Do not ignore any pain or discomfort that persists on and on and seek medical advice.
We may love to believe that all is well but our body may not always keep up with our beliefs.
I hope to continue my journey towards living life kingsize with good health and happiness.
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