FAT BUSTER: From pleasantly plump to fabulously fit

Weight lost: 30 kilos in two years
I’ve been overweight for as long as I can remember. Through my school and college years, I was sometimes kindly referred to as ‘pleasantly plump and cute’ and at other times blatantly made fun of. Just before I turned 30, I decided to shed extra kilos. With my determination, I was able to lose 18 kilos in just three months with 3 hours of daily workout and very restrictive meals. But it all came back within a few months as both the exercise schedule and the diet plan weren’t doable.

The turning point:
A visit to my doctor in July 2015
He told me to get on the scales and gave me the ‘look’ when I did. ‘Lose 20 kilos if you want to keep disease at bay’ he quipped. This opened my eyes nice and wide and I started my walk (2 kilometres to start with) the same evening and got on to a frequent meal schedule. Today twenty two months down the line, at 44, I am 30 kilos lighter and fit like I’ve never been before.

My meal plan: I eat fresh and simple vegetarian food. I don’t drink or smoke and strictly avoid eating out more than once a week. My typical day looks like this:

12 glasses of water spaced throughout the day, 2 as soon as I wake up
5.45 AM: A banana before morning walk
8 AM: Coconut water
10 AM: Breakfast – milk with muesli/ oats/poha/ sandwich/ I even have gond ka laddoo (mostly in winter)
12: An orange or Apple
2 PM : Lunch -2 chapatis, daal and a seasonal vegetable, curd and some salad. I cook rajma, chole or paneer at least once a week
5 PM: Fruit (an orange/Apple/bowl of papaya/melon/watermelon) or handful of peanuts/cashews/almonds or a small cheese sandwich
7 PM: Dinner (Somewhat similar to lunch / soup and toast / idli sambar / Hummus with pita and salad)
9 PM: A cup of warm milk (and a whole wheat biscuit only if I feel hungry)
10 PM – 5.30 AM: 7 1/2 hours of sleep

I indulge in: Whatever I fancy, be it a slice of cake/a small scoop of ice cream or a freshly made pathishapta (a popular Bengali sweet), but strictly in moderation. Then I make sure I burn it off!

My workout: I walk 10000 steps a day, practice yoga after my walk, dance three days a week and strength train three days a week. Also, I make sure I remain active throughout the day. I leave my chair every 30 minutes in the middle of long working hours and take a little walk. Walking was all I did for the first 12 months and I lost gradually, only 2 kilos in the first six months. Then the pace picked up. After 18 months when I was around 72 kilos, I started yoga. When I got under 70, I started jogging (which I always thought was impossible for me!)

Low-calorie recipes I swear by: I cook all my food in 2 tbsp oil (for a family of four). Fried food is something I try and steer clear of. I eat everything but in moderation. There are days when I crave for dessert, I have a small serving.
I eat every three to four hours and try not to eat anything 2 hours before bed time. I make sure I drink 12 glasses of water daily and get 7 1/2 hours of sound sleep.
Fitness secrets I unveiled: Consistency is the key. There are no secrets, no shortcuts. One needs to keep at it. The more you make your body work, the fitter it gets. I started with a 2 Km walk which used to take me 30 minutes to complete. I slowly picked pace and worked it up to 10 Kms. Now, I happily jog, even sprint and participate in a high energy dance class. And enjoy all of it!

How do I stay motivated?

Weight loss is the biggest motivation for weight loss I say! It’s one thing that keeps me inspired. And of course being able to shop in regular shopping sections rather than plus zones is a great push in the right direction. Also I keep varying my routine, do fun stuff like dancing to break the boredom.Lessons learnt from weight loss: Weight loss is not something one can take up and leave. ‘Going on a diet’ is the biggest misconception. Fitness is a lifestyle change one needs to make, for good. Clean eating and staying active is vital. I am now at my ideal weight but need toning. Will go about it slowly. For me, that’s been the key- going slow and steady.

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