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Fight the flab! Three celebrities on how they lost weight, and how you can too!

Sidharth Bhardwaj, RJ Malishka and Bharti Singh show you how to get rid of those unwanted pounds

brunch Updated: Sep 25, 2017 17:31 IST
Renu Bhatnagar
TV star Sidharth Bhardwaj lost 15 kgs to look this fit. He wears jeans and shoes from Zara and a G-Shock watch from
TV star Sidharth Bhardwaj lost 15 kgs to look this fit. He wears jeans and shoes from Zara and a G-Shock watch from (Subi Samuel)

Change, it is said, is the only constant. And the same is true of those dancing digits on the weighing scales that alter every now and then. But these changes, especially ones that reflects an increase in weight, becomes extra glaring for those who hog the limelight. For, looking shapely is top priority in the showbiz.

But, let’s also not forget that stars too are human and are prone to going out of shape. In fact, they have to work extra hard to get into shape.

We turn the spotlight on three such celebs who are familiar faces on TV and radio and have found themselves on the wrong side of the weighing scales, but have bounced back to being fit by adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Get back in shape (It’s easier than you think!): Sidharth Bhardwaj
Otherwise fit TV star Sidharth Bhardwaj gave in to an erratic lifestyle. But when he decided to pull back, it took some solid determination to get his body back

“DJ-ing meant late nights, partying, drinking, bad food and sleep patterns. I love the idea of making everyone dance to my music, but that backfired. I was very unhappy.” Sidharth weighed 90 kilos and his height was 5’11, and when girls started calling him ‘uncle’, it really hurt. He waited for an acting role to motivate himself to work out, but realised that unless he changed the way he looked, he’d never be offered a role.

Erratic lifestyle made Sidharth look like this (left), but he fought it all with determination

Light at the end of tunnel

Finally, Salman Khan, with whom Sidharth had done Bigg Boss, reprimanded him. “I gave up bad company and started refusing DJ-ing gigs.” Next, he began training. “Initially, I was unable to do even four or five chin-ups,” he winces. “Your brain starts to play weird games. It says ‘it’s okay, you’ve done it for so long, you can have one wild night, drink and eat whatever you want’.”

It took Sidharth four months to pull himself together. Today, 15 kilos lighter and all muscle, he feels “like a feather... I have never been in a better shape than this, I’m completely ripped,” he says, flaunting his sinewy-tattooed forearm.

Challenges and temptations

If indiscipline has been your lifestyle, you can’t become Akshay Kumar overnight. “Fortunately I was reading a lot and talking to people about fitness; trying to find new ways of cooking. Eating raw vegetables and soup doesn’t work.”

Sidharth learnt to cook healthy but scrumptious oil-free, low-salt meals and cut out sweets, aerated drinks, canned juices and alcohol. “Only you can stop yourself from slipping. Though at times I crave butter chicken and pizza!”

His new diet regimen includes lemon in warm water first thing in the morning, followed by black coffee and a banana before heading to the gym. For breakfast, it’s four or five egg whites with one slice of brown bread and protein shake. Lunch includes fish, brown rice, veggies, greens and mushrooms. For the evening it’s five or six boiled egg whites. Dinner is a salad called Hercules that includes kale, spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, tuna and baked fish. Now, Sidharth is ready to shoot a film in November.

Jokes about weight? Not funny!: Bharti Singh
India’s most famous comedienne Bharti Singh lost 10kgs and the ability to poke fun at her size

Bharti Singh lost 10 kgs and went from being 92kgs to 82kgs (Make-up by Vishnu and Nitin; Hair by Noorjehan)

Hopping from one set to another, comedienne Bharti Singh keeps her energy and humour intact. “It can get tiring standing on stilettoes, I prefer flats,” she says, kicking off her heels. The comedienne believes that if she was born fat and has remained that way, then that must be God’s plan for her.

Blessed to be fat

As a kid, Bharti was ridiculed for her size. Even her mother nagged her to lose weight – “You have to marry, Bharti,” she would say. But Bharti’s biggest problem was that she couldn’t fit into stylish clothes. “Double XXL readymade dresses hadn’t hit the market; there were no plus sizes,” she says. “I had to buy men’s T-shirts and jeans. I used to curse God for having made me fat.”

Years later, participating in The Great Indian Laughter Challenge, Bharti thanked God for her size. “Yahaan bhi motaape ki baat hoti thi (They spoke about being fat here too). But I won the second position,” she says. “When I joined TV, I started taking digs at myself; that is what people started loving me for. I realised that my fatness was actually God’s gift, and I better respect that.”

Going green

For dance reality TV series Nach Baliye, Bharti rehearsed almost six hours a day. The result: she lost 10 kilos. “I don’t want to become sookdi (super slim). I neither go to a gym, nor do I have a dietician.” Her Baliye (partner) Harsh gave her good advice. “He told me to have green tea after every meal. People are commenting that I am losing weight.”

Weight jokes as a defence mechanism?

“Yes, I do make jokes about myself like ‘humara to bhaada bhi double lagata hai’ (rickshaw fare will be double for me)… But I do this only on TV, saamne se koi bolke toh dekhe (no one dare say this to my face)...” However, today, “the definition of motapa (fat) has changed from ‘aye moti (hey fatty)’ to ‘Sooo cute and bubbly!’”

No diet patterns

She’s bindaas with her diet. “I’m a Punjaban who eats parathas and omelette. I shoot till late and have dinner at 5am. I have lunch at 2pm, that’s why my health suffers sometimes.”

Bharti prefers homemade food, but will settle for Maggi or bread omelette or Subway. No salads please! “I need to eat roti, sabzi, dal...” She wants to join a gym to stay fit. She recommends a medical check-up before taking up a weight-loss plan.

How to go from fatso to sex bomb: RJ Malishka
Mumbai’s RJ Malishka lost 21kgs to emerge from her radio studio and land a role in a movie!

RJ Malishka went down from 76 kgs to the current 55 kgs

When Malishka began her weight loss journey, it was because she wanted to fit into size ‘S’ clothes. And then there was the dance reality contest Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa (2014). “I love dancing. While rehearsing, I started losing weight. Madhuri Dixit said, ‘now, don’t put on weight’.” From 76 kilos, she reduced to 55 kilos. “But right now I’m 62, and want to get to 58 kilos. I don’t want to be skinny.”

Her size never bothered her “because it wasn’t part of my existence and my job. But I would be lying if I say it wouldn’t affect me when my mom came after me.”

She’s always hated the gym, and loved food. Now she follows her regimen “shiddat se”, not missing her pilates, walking with weights on her ankles and zipping her mouth. “I cried in the dressing room when I fitted in smaller clothes,” she says.

Body shaming

The worst part of this journey is people’s opinions. “When you’re chubby, they’ll comment, ‘you’re talented but you’re fat’, next they’ll say ‘you’re so gorgeous... awww you’ve lost so much...’ This annoys me.”

She refuses to please people who want her to look a certain way. “Unless it’s for a role, or I have to be on a certain stage, or, if I want to. I’m not making a case for being fat though.”

Diet attempts

Hajaaar (1000)!” She guffaws. She was advised to give up some food groups and adopt others. “I got off wheat, milk, but included some complex carbs in my diet, veggies, lean meat, protein. My naturopath said I could eat rice. I love sweets, so I didn’t stay off sweets completely. Importantly, I don’t eat after sunset,” she says.

Impact on work

“Never, ever,” she emphasises. “I’m so much more than my weight.” But she’s debuting in Vidya Balan-starrer, Tumhari Sulu. “They didn’t care about my weight. They approached me for who I am, an RJ who will speak her mind.”

“I’m playing Sheela the sex bomb in a web series. These roles didn’t come to me because I lost weight, but for my energy. They wanted Malishka,” she says.

From HT Brunch, September 24, 2017

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