Photographs: Courtesy Manasvi Jaitly
Readers share the stories and strategies behind their weight loss.
Last week, we invited you to share your diet and exercise strategies with us.
Here is the first set of responses, starting with Manasvi Jaitly, whose inspiring weight loss saw her go from 80+ to 52 kgs and "changed her life forever":
Like every little girl, I too dreamt of being Miss India. And that dream did come true, partially. I was a semi-finalist in 2012 and was crowned Miss North India 2011 and May Queen 2010. I am a model and an anchor. I love the lights, camera and all the glitter that comes with my field. I simply love it here!
I must have been born beautiful, right? Well you're wrong!
I spent all my growing years being obese. A laughing stock at school, I weighed more than 80 kgs. My weight made me a different person. I withdrew from everything and everyone. I spent all my time indoors, when others of my age were enjoying partying and playing outdoor sports. My confidence went for a dip and I became a complete introvert. My father often motivated me to lose weight and lured me with incentives, but I had decided in my mind that I would die fat. Losing weight seemed impossible. Things didn't change in college either, and I ended up bunking most of my classes because I was so ashamed of myself.
And then the change happened. I passed out of college in 2010. Because of low grades and low confidence I didn't really get a good job and that was when I had lots of free time at hand. From somewhere, I still don't know how, I got the motivation to lose weight.
I come from a middle class family. Spending on gyms and expensive diets was not an option for me, especially because I didn't know if I would follow the routine. And so I started out on my own. I started by dancing for 45 minutes every day. I used to just shut my room, put on some peppy music and dance my heart out. Not only did it make me sweat; I love music and dancing, so it just relieved me of all my tensions. Soon it became a necessity. I just had to do it everyday in order to feel good. In addition to this I cut down on all the fatty stuff -- basics like junk, colas, chocolates, rice. We all know about them, don't we? I am a pure vegetarian, so I stuck to poha, besan ka puda, chila or a brown bread sandwich for breakfast. Lunch would be lots and lots of fruits or salad. Around 4 pm I would eat two rotis, dal and sabzi. I avoided oily and fattening sabzis like arbi and bhindi. In the evenings I took coffee and an early salad.
Once my body had adjusted itself to the dance routine, it was time for some add on. I surfed through YouTube for all the possible exercise videos. I did my research and selected the best videos targeting different areas -- exercise for the arms, hips, belly fat etc. Slowly I progressed to 30 minutes of dance + 30 minutes of YouTube exercises. I then joined a local gym and did basics like using the treadmill and 1-2 kg weights for my arms.
I started sometime in April 2010 and by the end of the year I weighed 60 kgs. That is when I took part in May Queen. Despite being a little on the heavier side, I won due to my other qualities. And then there was no looking back. My confidence was back, I looked radiant and I discovered qualities about myself that I had never known before.
When I took part in Miss India, I came down to 52 kgs. The last five kgs took a lot of time and effort. I used to do my YouTube exercises for around 45 minutes and basic gymming for half an hour and followed the same diet. My initial weight loss was very quick. The last five kgs took more than two months.
After my pageant was over, I almost stopped exercising and gave up my diet for a good six months. During those six months I gained seven to eight kgs once again. But I am not complaining -- I indulged myself completely for those six months. I lazed around and ate to my heart's content and even after that I was 60 kgs, which isn't bad at all.
I now plan to slowly get back to the healthy routine before it's too late.
Suggestion: I never took the help of a trainer during my weight loss plan. I did lose weight and due to the YouTube exercises I even managed to tone myself a little. Very little.
But I suggest if you're looking for a toned body, you must consult a trainer. If not initially, definitely sometime after you've lost the excess.
We want you to share your weight loss story with us. Write in to firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line: 'How I lost weight'), with a before and after photograph, if possible and we'll feature the best entries right here!
'I was buying new clothes and enjoying my new look'
Photographs: Courtesy Neeraj Dubey
Next we have this detailed plan from Neeraj Dubey:
I had a heavy body from childhood -- I was overweight from Class Five or Six. Last year I finally decided to get rid of it and in July 2011, I met with a dietician who created a balanced diet plan and physical exercise routine for me.
My routine is as below:
5:30 am: 90 minutes of exercise (fast walking and running, as per my stamina)
7:30 am: One glass of lukewarm lemon water (no honey, no sugar)
8:00 am: Breakfast (oats, or poha, or two slices of brown bread with an egg white, or wheat flakes and a glass of double toned milk)
11:00 am: Mid-morning snack (one apple, and one glass of butter milk or coconut water)
2:00 pm: Lunch (three wheat chapattis, one bowl of yellow dal, one bowl of green vegetables, one large bowl of salad and one bowl of curd)
5:00 pm: Evening snack (a cup of green tea, and two Marie Gold biscuits or a bowl of roasted channa)
8:00 pm: Dinner (two wheat chapattis, one bowl of green vegetables and one large bowl of salad)
9:00 pm: Two glasses of lukewarm water
I followed this routine without fail and there were results. By December of 2011 I was able to lose 30 kgs of weight. Surprising, but true.
When I started, my weight was approximately 130 kgs and I reached 100 kgs in five months. My family and I were very happy. I was enjoying the change. I was buying new clothes and enjoying my new look.
With the amazing results, I was encouraged to lose even more weight. I am still following the routine and have been able to lose 37-38 kgs. Now the weight loss has slowed down and I am just trying to maintain my present weight instead of losing more.
'I was close to 100 kgs and unable to run even half a km'
Photographs: Courtesy Narasimman Viswanathan
Here, Narasimman Viswanathan tells us how a nearby beach proved a boon in his quest to lose weight:
Anyone in Chennai would like to go to the beach for fun, but for me it turned out to be an open-air gym.
Yes, I lost my weight just by continuous cardio workouts (running at least 15 kms per week).
I was close to 100 kgs and unable to run even half a km. Then I realised it's better to walk for 250 metres and run another 250 metres. This continued for a week and in a month's time, I was running the whole 1 km without any hassles.
Soon I was able to run three kms and now all my friends are amazed, because I weigh 78 kgs and run five kms continuously without struggling.
I am doing it at least thrice a week and maintaining my weight. I restrict eating oily foods and overeating and drink at least three litres of water everyday.
If you eat small portions of food, at least four meals a day and run 15 kms a week, you can definitely control and maintain your weight.
Also, thanks to my two friends who were with me while I struggled, and energised me to walk and run: Srini and Suresh A, alias Chittappa.
'No cost, not much exertion and absolutely free!'
And here is V P Lobo's advice to those who want to shed the pounds:
I lost weight the easy way. NO COST. NOT MUCH EXERTION. ABSOLUTELY FREE. Following are the steps I took to lose weight and a few inches off my waistline. In the bargain, I saved a lot of money indeed!
What I DON'T do:
- I do not drink any fizzy drinks at all.
- I do not drink alcohol and do not smoke at all.
- I never take the elevator.
- I never visit the gymnasium.
- I do not eat fried items or so-called junk food outside.
- I do not use a car, auto or any other mode of transport for one or two kilometre distances.
What I DO:
- I walk briskly for 30 minutes every morning.
- I climb the stairs of my residence building and office.
- I walk to the railway station/market/office(1.5 kms) etc.
- I eat all types of food, except for junk and oily foods.
- I drink six to eight cups of green tea a day, without sugar but with honey.
- I do all the household work along with my wife, without a servant.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh