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In a candid conversation with Manoj Khatri, Adnan Sami reveals what he lost and what he gained in his life-changing experience.
Barely a year or so ago, he couldn’t walk five steps without resting, needed belt extensions in aircraft, couldn’t lie down for sleeping and had to travel with a custom-made wheelchair. Today, he enjoys playing tennis and squash.
Meet Adnan Sami, the singer-music composer, whose extraordinary transformation is the stuff that inspiring stories are made of. He lost a whopping 130 kilos in a span of one year – a feat that few can imagine, leave alone achieve. Interview excerpts:
It is very serious, but I did not know the seriousness of obesity till my nutritionist told me.
When I signed up for losing weight, they did a lot of tests on me to check my reaction to various foods. What I realised is that it’s all in the mind. Everything you think and do affects your health. For some people, even if they smell food they put on weight [like me].
Every person reacts differently to different foods, and situations. Nutritionists analyse all your habits as a person – physical, physiological and emotional. They make you change your lifestyle, and do not make you feel that you are on a diet.
It was a tough call for me. I was put on a no-sugar, no-rice, no-bread, no-oil diet; only high protein. They asked me questions like, “What do you do when you are sad, or happy.” My answer to both was: “I eat!” I associated food with every emotion. It was difficult then.I had no self-control. When I was depressed, I used to eat and then feel guilty, and again eat. It was a vicious cycle. It was difficult to get out of this. You lose confidence.
There is another important factor that my nutritionist pointed out. Obesity can be genetic [disorder] and that is what people don’t understand. They simply pass comments like, “Ah, what a careless person.” But people are genetically different and that is also true for their eating habits. We know some people who eat a lot, but still do not put on weight, and for some, eating small portions also amounts to a lot of calories [their body makes a mountain of a molehill]. The body set-up and chemistry is different for each person, and it reacts in a different way to every food.
Obesity is as much a disease as any other physical disorder. Today, people understand; they are sensitive and sympathetic towards those who suffer from drug or alcohol addiction, but they don’t realise that obesity is as serious an addiction. which is why people go to rehabs or controlled-environment farms. But, what happens is that you follow those rules only till you are there; the moment you are out, you go out and party, and start hogging.
People look down upon obese individuals and make fun of them. You don’t make fun of a person’s physical disability – if they’re handicapped, blind, short, tall; it’s not their fault. This is also true for obesity. Many times, for most people, especially for those who are morbidly obese, it is not that they are just over-indulgent, but they seriously have a mental/physical problem. Hence, people need to be made aware and educated as there is a lot of ignorance about this aspect.
For the first month-and-an-half or so, I went through serious withdrawals just like any person with an addiction goes through. There are so many things that we take for granted. For example, we walk into the kitchen, open the fridge, and just stare at it. We have nothing better to do, so we indulge. It’s all calories. To discourage me, my mom stuck two fridge magnets – one right on the handle saying, “STOP! FAT HERE!” – like a traffic sign. The other said: “A Moment on the Lips, Forever on the Hips.”
The full interview has Adnan Sami’s answers to questions like