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IN PICS: She went from 104 kg to 60 kg in 18 months!

Last updated on: January 16, 2012 07:54 IST

Image: Kalli Purie
Photographs: Courtesy Harper Collins Abhishek Mande

Kalli Purie was over one hundred kilos when she decided she'd had enough of being overweight. Here's how she lost it.

In her 'weightloss memoir', Confessions of a Serial Dieter Kalli Purie is quite frank about her weight -- the kilos she'd lost and more importantly the ones she'd gained.

The 295-page book is a tell-all as Purie, a working mother and the Chief Operating Officer at India Today Group Digital, takes a look at weight-related issues, at times with her tongue firmly in cheek but at most others offering practical advice -- one that she's followed herself to go from fat to fit.

That perhaps is what makes Confessions of a Serial Dieter a great book to pick over one written by a fitness trainer -- it comes from a person who's done it herself and lived to tell the tale.

In an interview, Kalli Purie talks about how she lost all those kilos, her most difficult phase and the most ridiculous diet she's ever been on.

How long did it take for you to go from 104 to 60 kg?

It took me about 18 months. The longest phase however was when I had hit a plateau. For the longest time my weight was fluctuating between 70 and 75 kgs.

That phase was one of those where although I'd lost weight, it wasn't a body change and there was no change in my body's metabolism.

I had to work really hard to get past that phase. So I changed my dietician, my workouts and finally moved to the next level.

Would you say that was the most difficult phase?

Now is the most difficult stage, if you ask me. I am 60.2 kgs today but I've been fluctuating between 58 and 60 for the longest time.

In my head I've set 58 as my target weight but I simply cannot lose those two kilos. I lose them for a few weeks and before I know they're back!

So this is possibly my most difficult phase.

IN PICS: She went from 104 kg to 60 kg in 18 months!

Photographs: Courtesy Harper Collins

What's the ideal weight for your height?

Well, it's between 55 and 60 kgs but I'd like to be 58. I have been struggling for that for about eight months. The body is just not accepting it. It has been the same when I was struggling in the 70s bracket. I suppose I have to get down and talk to my body.

Erm... you talk to your body?

I know this sounds crazy and I felt the same when the yoga people (sic) told me this but it works!

So you talk to your body?!?

Yes but its not like 'Hey body, become thinner'.

The thing is when you're doing your meditations and surya namaskars you focus on where you want to be and how thin you want to be. Over the last few months I haven't been able to harmonise my body and mind. That was the key to moving from the 70s plateau.

And how did you do that, finally?

For the longest time I didn't know what to do because it would be a constant struggle. That was the time I started doing yoga and the people there told me to stop fretting. I was told that the body might take time to understand but sooner rather than later it would.

And it did! Before I knew it, I had started losing half a kilo every day! So much so I was 68 on the day of (my sister) Koel's wedding. My target at the time was 69 kgs.

It was a great feeling and it was because of yoga and I hadn't even thought of it.

When you speak of yoga, do you mean power yoga?

Well, it's a mix of both really. I am a practitioner of Bharat Thakur's Artistic Yoga so it means I do a round of about 50-100 Surya Namaskars and then (go slow) on the asanas.

Tags: Koel

IN PICS: She went from 104 kg to 60 kg in 18 months!

Photographs: Courtesy Harper Collins

What are you not doing now that you were doing right then?

Well I don't know really. I haven't also been very focussed (on losing the last two kilos) but right now I am doing Yoga followed by a series of bodyweight training, cardio vascular and plyometric exercises.

So right now I have more definition and muscle but no weight loss.

You mention in the book that it is something of an insurance policy for you. Please explain.

The real trick about weight-loss is to be able to keep it there. I have yo-yoed all my life now and it is for the first time that I have been able to maintain it for the last three years. It hasn't moved from there. That's one of the reasons I am even confident of talking about it...

...The fear of jinxing it?

Yes. But besides that, it is also more difficult to maintain the weight you've lost. Weight loss is like chasing a hot guy -- the uncertainty the love, tears, joy, agony and ecstasy... Maintaining it is like marriage. You have to stay committed to that weight. It is an active job!

An interesting episode that figures in your book is the one about your sister's marriage. Tell us how she lost weight for her big day.

My sister (Koel Purie) was very clever about losing weight. She was always a slim girl but she wanted extra shape for wedding day. So she decided on what she would wear on the day and focussed on just the one body part that would show (her waist because she wore lehngas through the ceremonies). She dedicated the eight weeks to work on just her waist.

I on the other hand wasn't so organised. However I did have the one 'goddess dress' that I wanted to get into. It was a Gauri-Nainika design that was held by just one knot and could become as thin as its wearer. It was a great motivation because all the time I was thinking about me in the dress. Even though it wasn't as planned a workout as my sister's, it went fine.

Now I work harder and focus on what I am wearing and focus on that one body part that'll show.

IN PICS: She went from 104 kg to 60 kg in 18 months!

Photographs: Courtesy Harper Collins

You've gone through 43 diets. What has been the most stupid diet you've been on?

That would be the Master Cleanser! It basically involves lemon juice, rich maple syrup, cayenne pepper powder and water.

The philosophy is that this drink is supposed to have all the nutrients you need to survive and if you stay on it for 10 to 12 days you'd lose about eight kilos. It's the diet that people like Beyonce and Gwyneth Paltrow have been on.

How many days did you last?

One day! I simply couldn't do it. I also realised that a diet like this is fine for an actress or a model who spends the whole day focussing on looking good. If you are a real person who has other responsibilities, it isn't possible to be on this diet.

Name two other diets that you've been on but are really quite silly.

The Cabbage Soup Diet, which basically says you can have specific food items on one day of each week but you must have Cabbage soup to go with it.

It was ridiculous! Everywhere I went, I would be carrying a thermos of cabbage soup with me. By the third day the stink of the cabbage gets to you. The thermos stinks the most!

That diet put me off cabbage soup for life but I lost 3 kgs.

Then there was the dahi-papaya diet -- which basically is having dahi papaya for every meal.

Again, it was great because I like curds, my skin was glowing, almost orange, because of the papaya I was having, my system was clean and I did lose 2kgs. But it was silly! I have no idea how I survived it. I mean who has papaya smoothies?

IN PICS: She went from 104 kg to 60 kg in 18 months!

Photographs: Courtesy Harper Collins

Ok. The three best diets you've been on?

Well, I won't call it a diet but the principles of DD (Dominatrix Dietician -- one of the many nameless dieticians who appears in the book) work very well for me. The most important of it being that you don't eat after sundown because your body's metabolism goes down. That way you are hungry enough for breakfast and are free to have the big carb at lunch (according to DD, the body's metabolism is at its peak at noon) It works very well for me.

Then there's yoga. Unlike a workout in the gym or a run in the park that makes your exhausts you, yoga energises the body and the mind.

And finally there's masala chai, which I have with a natural sweetener made. When in doubt, I always, always go for a masala chai or skimmed milk cappuccino.

You also mention in the book is that it is more difficult to put on weight than it is to lose it. Please do explain.

When I started writing the book, my editor pointed out to me that though I'd written all about losing weight, there was no mention of how I had gained it. And that's when it all started coming back.

I had never thought of how I had put on more than 50 kgs in over ten years.

The reason I say putting on weight is more difficult is because you have to be doing everything wrong to put it on. I am not saying it isn't fun gaining the kilos but it is definitely difficult.

Conversely if you realise, I lost almost the same weight in 18 months. So it is easier to lose weight than it is to gain it.

IN PICS: She went from 104 kg to 60 kg in 18 months!

Finally, what would you say was your motivation?

Here's a learning -- nothing anyone says to you can motivate you. My mother said the worst things to me when I was fat. It would upset me but it never once motivated me.

But every fat person has one heartbreaking moment when things just click. For me it was an open house at one of my kids' school.

There I was over a 100 kgs, sitting on the tiny kindergarten chair while other yummy mummies flitted around the room. I felt like a bull in a china shop with those dainty ladies around me.

That was the last of the many moments that really made me want to become thin.

At other times there was (what I call) a 'thintervention', where my mother would take me to a spa or a clinic.

Then of course a wedding in the family is always a motivation. I was pregnant at my brother's wedding and at 104 kgs, my pictures looked awful. So when my sister was getting married, it became a great motivation driver.

And finally there was that goddess dress that I spoke of. I imagined myself in it and just kept working towards getting into the right shape so I'd look great in it.

Over the years my motivations have changed -- from a crush in school to a horse saddle that I couldn't get on to because I was too fat -- but these have been the very things that have driven me to lose all the weight I didn't want.

On Rediff iShare: Good food or good sex? Kalli Purie takes a pick