Karthikeyan Anbarasan
Karthikeyan Anbarasan before (left) and after Image Credit: Supplied

Family matters. Especially when you can’t keep up. When you are so exhausted by the end of the day that all you can do is exhale and sit down and think of bed. When spending time with your young kids seems like a chore. When all of this is caused by weight and the sluggishness that accompanies too much of it, it’s definitely time to rethink strategy.

Karthikeyan Anbarasan, from Chennai in India, is 170cm tall and lanky at 66kg– now. But he recalls a time he was 23kgs heavier than he is.

“I’m from IT. So my lifestyle was late-nights, junk food,” explains the 36 years old in an interview with Gulf News. Over a period of four-five years, Anbarasan explains, his weight crept up to 89. He became pre-diabetic, i.e. his blood sugar levels were up. He couldn’t focus. He was tired. ALL.THE. TIME. And his kids – one five years old; the other three - started to make fun of his girth.


All of it came to a head when COVID-19 hit and precautionary measures saw schools in UAE engage in online learning and companies tried out work from home. With a little extra time on his hands, Anbarasan saw this as a time of revival; as a chance to drop some of this weight and get back onto a healthy track.

First off, he says, he spent time researching what would work for him. Would it be a diet or meal plan system, intermittent fasting, keto? He decided on trying a calorie deficit method and upping his protein intake. He would also restrict his calories to just over 1,000 a day. [This is about half of what is recommended for men.]

In the first month, encouraged by his weight loss, his wife joined his journey. “We completely stopped eating from outside and intake was like 1,000 calories a day, so about 200 calories for a meal, that’s how we planned it. So we had 4 meals a day and planned accordingly - for instance, [if] the afternoon meal will be more than 200 calories, we try to reduce that in the evening snack or night meal.” Cheat meals came later - they were three weeks apart.

A day's menu
Breakfast: 4 egg whites or a bowl of oatmeal
Lunch: 100g of salmon with vegetables
Evening: Vegetable salad or fruits (berries)
Late evening: Vegetable soup and chicken or fish cutlets

Initially it was difficult. “I did mediation or slept,” he says of dealing with mood swings that interrupted his first few weeks. “I drank a lot of water,” he says.

But then things became easier.

The couple also began to exercise, spending time walking or doing exercises such as crunches at home, for six days a week, 45 minutes at a time. Fridays were rest days.

The weight came off like butter off a hot knife; in four-and-a-half months, Anbarasan found himself 23kgs lighter. (His wife dropped 12kg). He’s got stretch marks from the sudden drop – it’s a badge of honor.

But the best part of his new lifestyle besides more energy, he says is: “Significantly, my relationship with [my] children has improved.” He spends more time with them; playing with them, taking them out.

Anbarasan’s happier thanks to his improved relationships. Family, after all, matters.