Till last year, I was a successful bank employee, carefree and content. I indulged in my passion for food and films.Concepts of health, diet, fitness, nutrition were remote for me. I happily weighed 124.9 kg, and was least perturbed about being plump.
Now, my life has a taken a 360 degree turn. Not only have I undergone a dramatic physical change, but my mind has also been remoulded. I feel reborn — my role redefined and my passion rewritten. I now weigh 74.2 kg and swear on daily exercises and wholesome nutrition. I want to champion the cause of weight control and launch a battle against the bulge.
My miraculous makeover started from the time I decided to participate in "The Biggest Loser Jeetega", a popular television reality show which began around mid-2007. In this programme, overweight contestants compete to shed maximum body weight in 16 weeks. All contestants live under one roof for that period and their diet and exercise regimen is closely monitored.
By the end of four months, I had lost the maximum weight in the show, a phenomenal 50 kg, and was declared the winner. Besides getting instant fame and recognition, I also won the prize money of Rs 50 lakh.
During the show
Our three main activities at the show were to exercise, eat and rest. Though I never thought - not even in my wildest dreams - that I would win, I had decided to give my best from day one. I had joined the programme with an extremely positive mind. In fact, in hindsight, I feel my positive outlook was one of my biggest weapons that sustained me through thick and thin of the programme.
We used to get up at 7.30 am and workout for one and half hours. Then, we would have our breakfast and rest till noon. After that, there would be another exercise session followed by lunch. We munched on plenty of fruits in between breakfast and lunch to maintain good glucose levels in our bodies. Post lunch we would rest. The third session was from 5 pm to 7.30 pm, followed by dinner. There were various types of exercises ranging from cardio, weight training, martial arts, and running.
I would be the first to arrive for the exercises and do each one of them diligently. I treated every workout as if as if it was my last one for life. I ran a lot during those 16 weeks. I remember one day, my knee had started paining severely. I was unable to get up or walk. I decided to take it easy for a day or two. My trainer, Yusuf Khan, then handed me a book "It's not about the Bike" by Lance Armstrong, one of the world's best cyclists. It talks not about the races, but the innumerable odds he overcame to win the races. Believe me, it is one of the most inspirational books I have read till date. After I read it, I forgot all my aches and pains. I got up and went for a run. That day I broke my own record. For the first time in my life, I ran a stretch of 7 km without stopping.
The other big inspiration was my mother's diary. When I had entered the contest my mother had given me a diary in which she had jotted down an inspirational saying on each page. Every time my spirits would flag, I would go through them and get charged.
Now that my body is toned and my physique presentable, and having tasted stardom for a while, I want to get into acting. I realised I was coming closer to my dreams after I shed all that weight and won "The Biggest Loser Jeetega" contest.
People frequently ask me this question - what if I became fat again. I tell them if there is one thing in life that I never want to go back to, is obesity and flabbiness. I certainly don't want to get fat again. I have never felt lighter and healthier in my life before as I do now. I feel more confident and at ease with my body. But, I have to work hard to maintain my physique. I am very cautious of what I eat. I steer clear of fried and fast food. My diet consists of 250 gm of watermelon everyday, two slices of multigrain bread, four egg whites, fruits, brown rice, chicken, dal and green vegetables and salads for lunch and dinner. I also take some protein shakes in the evening. However, somedays I do get an urge to eat a pizza or some junk food. Then, me and my friends get together and binge without guilt.
My exercise routine is also quite set. I feel uncomfortable if I miss out on my workout for more than a day. It has become as essential to me as sleeping or eating. If people take out some time for exercise daily and adhere to it religiously, they can get into good shape. The key is to be consistent and determined.
My other big mission is to motivate people to get fit. I know losing 50 kg in 16 weeks is near impossible under normal circumstances with an exhausting routine of office and home. But I tell people that shedding weight and leading a healthy life are not as difficult as perceived to be. It can be achieved with a little bit of discipline and willpower. You need to watch what you are eating, more than exercising. People don't realise that losing weight involves 70 per cent diet control and 30 per cent exercise.
When obese people come to me for advice, I tell them to set small aims in life and fulfil them to the best of one's ability. Only when you achieve your smaller goals, will the bigger dreams follow. You have to push yourself to achieve something. If you have the determination, no obstacle is big enough.
The biggest lesson I have learnt from my own life is that dedication and determination are two most potent tools that we human beings have. If you stock them in abundance, the sky can be the limit for you.
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