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Easy ways to get back in shape

Three men, a dentist, a venture capitalist and an actor realised the best way to keep diseases like diabetes at bay was to get fit. Here’s how you can too!

brunch Updated: Nov 13, 2017 19:40 IST
Venture capitalist Amit Rastogi who weighed a whopping 105kgs at one time (left) lost 21kgs in eight months (right )
Venture capitalist Amit Rastogi who weighed a whopping 105kgs at one time (left) lost 21kgs in eight months (right )

How to lose weight without crazy workouts and giving up mangoes

Name: Amit Rastogi

Age: 43 years

Profession: Venture capitalist

I was allowed pizza on my cheat days

A business meeting morphed into a life-changing experience for investor Amit Rastogi when he met Dr Gerd Mueller from Germany. The orthopaedic specialist convinced 43-year-old Amit, who weighed a whopping 105kgs, to invest in his health and today, eight months later, he is 21kgs lighter! “He looked at me and told me that I could suffer from limited mobility, bad posture and bad pains if I did not do anything about my weight soon. However, he was optimistic and told me that with early intervention these could be fixed,” says Amit.

What’s even more intriguing is that he lost weight sans the “eat-after-every-two hours and rigorous workout” regime. He was put on the Metabolic Balance weight loss programme that’s designed to optimise the metabolic rate, which in turn helps regulate ailments like diabetes and blood pressure. This also meant eating three meals in a day followed by a fruit to curb the sugar cravings.

Amit lost weight sans the “eat-after-every-two hours and rigorous workout” regime by following the Metabolic Balance programme

The plan is personalised and prescriptive and it involves drinking lots of water in between meals. “This works well for people with acidity and we also ensure that no two proteins are combined in one meal as that causes acidity,” says senior nutritionist Taranjeet Kaur who is also Amit’s Metabolic Balance coach.

Amit: Three things that worked for me
  • Following instructions unquestioningly
  • Support from home and sticking to the menu and the quantities prescribed, despite initial scepticism
  • Keeping busy so as to not think of the diet or food all the time

Amit’s journey came with its sacrifices. For one, he had to give up his chai and rusks. “I had to cut down artificial sugar, white rice and supermarket bread,” he says, adding how he can have pizza on cheat days and can eat mangoes too!

As for the workout, he goes for walks three days in a week. Amit realises his health reflected badly on him professionally. He’s an investor, and director and the CEO of AktivHealth chain of advanced physiotherapy and rehabilitation that intends to help others.

Losing weight with gymming and the right diet

Name: Vishal Pritmani

Age: 27 years

Profession: Dentist

Two years ago, Vishal Pritmani weighed 126kgs (left), while today his weight is 85kgs (right)

My diet was horrific in dental school

A first glance at 27-year-old Vishal Pritmani’s Instagram account can make you mistake him for a model or a selfie-obsessed gym freak. He’s a dentist who, at the height of 5’10’’, weighs 85kgs. A little over two years ago, he was an unhealthy 126kgs.

“In dental school, my diet was horrific – I’d eat one meal in the morning, nothing all day and when I returned home, I pounced on anything available,” recalls Vishal.

Vishal joined a gym and changed his diet too

Then one day, someone teased him that he’d never be able to lose weight. “There was never a lack of confidence in me, even when carrying those extra pounds. But when somebody challenged me, I got a point to prove to myself,” he says.

Vishal: Three things that worked for me
  • Hard work
  • Belief in myself
  • 60 per cent healthy lifestyle, 30 per cent workout regime, 10 per cent important but most forgotten – rest

He joined a gym and changed his diet. “I started eating three meals a day with a proper proportion of carbs and protein,” he says. Two weeks into the training, Vishal started seeing results. “Even a small change is so motivating,” he says. Within a year -and-a-half, he lost 50kgs. “It was a complete team effort, especially if you have positive people around you. You have to believe in yourself,” he says.

From scrawny to brawny

Name: Abrar Zahoor

Age: 28 years

Profession: Actor

At one point, Abrar Zahoor swung from being grossly underweight (right) to being overweight (left)

Fitness helped me through an emotionally tough phase

You cannot tell, when you look at 28-year-old actor Abrar Zahoor today, that at one point, he swung from being grossly underweight to being overweight. Growing up in Kashmir to a height of 6’1’’, he was a feathery 57kgs. “I tried everything to put on weight. My metabolism was fast, maybe because I played cricket all day,” reasons Abrar.

At 19, he fractured his arm in a bike accident and that put the brakes on his activities and cricket. “Plus, my mother made it her mission to feed me as much as possible. It didn’t help that I’m a big foodie and being Kashmiri, I love rice. I started gaining weight, and developed fat on my belly and face.”

When he moved to Mumbai to pursue acting, he landed the role of the terrorist named Safarini in the movie Neerja (2016). The director wanted him to bulk up. “At that time, I was 97kgs,” he says. He didn’t need to be told how to bulk up – he had been trying to do that all his life! He gorged on biryanis, pizzas and a carb-rich diet and put on 106kgs, which had to be maintained for around seven months.

Abrar went from being absolutely unfit to being a model for a protein company

“At the film’s premiere, I wore a suit to cover my fat!” he laughs. But then he was offered another movie, for which he was asked to get in shape. “I had never been regular at the gym for more than 15 days. I was convinced that I could never muscle up,” he says. He met his trainer, Deepak Parmar, who showed him where he was going wrong with his diet. “After I started training with Deepak sir, I understood how every meal I ate affected my body.”

The movie didn’t happen, but Abrar had begun his transformation. “Fitness taught me discipline and helped me through an emotionally tough phase too,” he says.

Abrar: Three things that worked for me
  • Working out the legs, it’s the largest muscle. The more you work on your legs, the more calories you burn.
  • Strictly saying no carbs at night. If you are super hungry, oatmeal is your best alternative
  • Drinking a lot of water and no aerated drinks

The cherry on the cake was when a protein supplement company asked him to model for them as an athlete. “From being absolutely unfit I became a model for a protein company,” he laughs.

Bye bye fat and diabetes: 5 eating habits that will help reduce these problems

By Dr Shikha Sharma

*Have half a teaspoon of fiber with or before meal. This can be Isabgol with warm water or a naturally fiber-rich oat bran or wheat bran. Also, take one tablespoon of powdered flaxseeds on an empty stomach with a glass of warm water. These sweet-bitter hot potency seeds reduce blood sugar that spikes after meals and increase insulin due to presence of highly soluble fibre in it.

*Eat soy flour mixed with normal wheat atta. It has natural phytoestrogens and sugar-reducing properties. Similarly, barley too has dietary fibres that regulate blood sugar levels.

*Drink green tea post meal. Also have cinnamon as it pacifies kapha and vata diseases – diabetes being one of them.

*Have triphala powder one teaspoon daily at night with warm water. The amla in it controls sugar. Alternatively, leaves of bougainvillea are hypoglycaemic, and are used to cure type two diabetes.

*Consume more of protein rather than carbs, because they reduce weight and blood sugar.

Keep diabetes at bay: Easy ways to delay the onset – By Dr Anoop Misra, Chairman, Fortis C-DOC Hospital for Diabetes
  • Being overweight and obesity, especially abdominal obesity is the strongest risk factor for diabetes. Across India, it’s prevalence is 7.3 per cent and approx. 57 to 60 million people suffer from diabetes in India. Here are a few tips to delay it:
  • Those who are overweight must lose five to seven per cent of body fat
  • Exercise for 45 to 60 minutes a day
  • Stick to a healthy diet
  • People with a family history of diabetes must start to exercise caution from teenage years

From HT Brunch, November 12, 2017

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