Agnelo Pereira, 42, was expecting red roses and a card on his wedding anniversary this June, but his wife, Kena, 33, surprised him by gifting him a Planet Health gym membership card.
Since then, for the past three months, the couple has been gymming together, which has prompted them to make radical changes in their food habits and lifestyle.
“Earlier, we used to binge on farsans and kachoris. After joining the gym, we have started following a strict diet plan and have become turned calorie conscious,” said Kena, who hit the gym a few months before coaxing her husband into it.
The Kalina-based couple is aiming a special Christmas this year, with healthier bodies and heightened self-esteem. “It is almost a decade since I have worn a dress for Christmas, thanks to the flab. This year, I will wear a stylish dress with matching accessories because I’m confident about carrying it off,” said Kena.
“We are enjoying the workouts and the new lifestyle. Even our seven-year-old son is now eating only healthy food,” said Agnelo, who is the director of operations at a Vakola-based firm.
For the Pereiras, the decision to join a gym was prompted because of constant remarks by relatives about their erratic work schedules and, more importantly, because it gives them an opportunity to spend more time together. “Having strutted a fit body during our courtship, getting back into shape is the least I can give back to my wife,” said Agnelo.
Kena, who works as a content executive, gained weight after her son’s birth in 2003. “Coming from a Gujarati family, my staple diet comprised fried food. After child birth, I took it easy,” she said. “I am fond of wearing western outfits, but with my bulging tummy I had to settle for sarees and salwar kameez.”
In Agnelo’s case, gymming was not a tough choice. A fitness freak during college, he had a fit body. “But in the last few years, I have been taking it easy. Gorging on junk food during the day had become routine,” he said.
Losing weight has given the couple confidence. “I have lost more than 10 kilos in six months,” said Kena. Agnelo hasn’t lost too many kilos but is happy with the healthy diet. “I eat small meals during the day and avoid carbohydrates at night. My wife now monitors my workouts and diet,” he said. The kitchen shelves no longer have oily snacks and ghee-soaked sweets. “We make do with healthy sandwiches, salads and protein-rich foods.”
Kena spends hours on the computer at work, but walks to office and back. “I follow the diet chart prepared by the gym dietician. Agnelo has a sweet tooth but adjusts with small potions of sweets,” she said.
The couple goes to the gym in the morning before heading to office. While breakfast generally comprises cereal, toast and juice, lunch is lighter. “In case I am busy on the site, I make do with a leafy sandwich. Dinner, again, is very light and does not have carbohydrates,” said Agnelo.
On days their work eats into their exercise schedule, they just take a longer route back home or walk an additional kilometre to buy groceries. The two have been motivating each other and hope to get back in the shape they were in during their courtship days. “If not by age, then at least by weight,” they said.
Fitness experts say an increasing number of people have been enrolling in gyms for the ‘couples package’ over the last few years.
“It is easier to deal with couples. Both can keep a watch on each other’s food patterns even when they are in a restaurant,” said Ketan Aghav, fitness manager, Snap Fitness Centre, Malad. “They are automatically more dedicated to their workouts.”