Anil Kumar
Anil Kumar before (left) and after Image Credit: Supplied

For Indian expat Anil Kumar, who weighed 116kg at 34 years of age, the moment came early this year when he was travelling back to Dubai from India and tested positive for COVID-19. The illness brought his health – and the fact that he wasn’t really doing anything to keep himself well – into sharp focus.

“There was a time I did not care about my health and weight at all and used to eat junk food without wondering about its consequences. Soon, the kilos started piling up, my clothes started getting tighter and my health began to take the beating of my unhealthy lifestyle,” he tells Gulf News. “People started passing unsolicited comments about my weight,” he adds. But it really was the coronavirus – worse for people who are obese – that really made Kumar change tracks.

The five-foot-nine-inch expat along with his wife, Savita, had decided to change their lifestyles; for one thing, they’d stick to about 1,000-1,200 calories a day. For another, they would add exercise to the mix. “Weight loss is possible only if you combine the right workout with healthy eating and practise portion control,” explains Kumar. They cut out white rice, bread, refined sugar, and fruits high in sugar as well – think bananas, mangoes and grapes.


Water was integral to the journey; he drank about 8-10 glasses a day. “We would also concentrate on chewing food well and being regular and focused with workout,” he adds.

Kumar had tried over the years to lose the weight many times. “I had tried to lose weight multiple times in the past but I never quite succeeded. After many failed attempts, I learnt the four essential secrets to lose weight. These secrets are dedication, will power, patience and a healthy diet,” he says.

A good workout for him needn’t be strenuous and painful, explains Kumar. “I feel that workout should be tailored as per needs and what I enjoy doing so that it doesn’t feel like a burden. So my workout routine includes yoga for one-and-a-half hours daily, usually from 5am-6.30am,” he explains.

Similarly, one needs to make allowances to keep things balanced – and sometimes, to break through the weight plateau. “I have noticed that during this journey, weight loss comes to a standstill after some time, even if we follow the same diet and exercise. In order to break the plateau, we would do a cheat day, but return to the same exercise and diet pattern from the next,” he adds.

It helps having a partner when you are on a weight-loss journey; for Kumar, this was his wife. “I was motivated thanks to my wife, who lost 19kg in three months,” he says.

Thanks to that and, he says, his father’s always inspiring words, he stuck to his plan, shedding 20kg in just four months.

“On my quest to weight loss, I have realized that losing weight is not as difficult as it may seem in the beginning. Given, it is not the easiest task in the world, but there is absolutely nothing in this world that you cannot achieve once you set your heart to it. When you finally do so, you will experience incomparable joy and happiness,” he adds.

The compliments that come with being fit are a bonus. Now, there are new eating patterns – and better health – to enjoy.