Left: Kiran Prabhakaran, a 24-year-old expatriate, used to tip the scales at 130kg. Right: As a happy and confident man today, Prabhakaran has found the way to get slim the healthy way. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: When he flexes his muscles, 24-year-old Kiran Prabhakaran looks like a bodybuilder. Lately he has gained weight — muscle weight that is. Prabhakaran is happy with his slim, fit body. But he is even more satisfied that he has achieved it in a natural and healthy way.

Prabhakaran has not always been like this. Just five years ago he was a shy and diffident 130kg teenager. "Fatso," they called him. At first it hurt. Later he stopped caring.

He discovered the world of fast food when he was 10 years old. Every time his parents gave him pocket money he would instantly spend it on burgers, pizzas and fried chicken. It didn't take long before he started gaining weight.

Prabhakaran became dependent on food. He explained how he used to feel sad whenever he was hungry. When he ate he would feel happy. Now he realises that his food ecstasy was not real happiness.

As he began tipping the scales at 130kg, he began having trouble finding the right clothes.

"It was very hard to find a pair of pants in size 46 in the market," Prabhakaran said. He ardently wished he would some day fit into a size 38.

One day Prabhakaran had had enough. He wanted to shed the weight, and it couldn't happen fast enough.

With the knowledge of greens being healthy he rushed out to buy fruits and vegetables, refusing to eat anything else. He also started exercising every day, doing cardiovascular training, pushing his heartbeat to the limit. He kept going for two months not realising that his hazardous crash diet was in fact damaging to his body. He has lost 60kg since then. "I felt like I was losing energy," Prabhakaran said. "Every time I tried to work out, I felt like I couldn't."

Professional trainer

Consequently Prabhakaran made a decision that he has never regretted. He consulted a professional trainer, Ramesh, who instantly realised what was wrong.

Prabhakaran was ready to try protein powder to continue his weight loss, but Ramesh immediately rejected the idea. If Prabhakaran was to shed more kilos they were going to do it the natural way. A balanced and varied diet, proper sleep, and the correct amount of exercise — these were the main factors Prabhakaran was taught to use in the fight against fat. Results didn't come right away, but Prabhakaran felt good. He knew he was finally treating his body right. "You need to have a lot of patience," he said. "Nothing happens overnight." Prabhakaran fought for seven tough months, following the diet plan set by his trainer.

Today Prabhakaran uses size 30. He does not have any trouble finding clothes, and he feels confident and fit. In this journey he has learned that it is easier becoming slim than becoming healthy. He is proud to say that he has achieved both.

"I have seen many trainers suggesting to their clients to go for shortcuts like steroids and other drugs that will make you lose weight or gain muscle power. My trainer was always against this. I thank God for that."

Prabhakaran is confident that he has lost weight in a healthy and sustainable way. "Everyone keeps asking me for my diet," he said — and he is always happy to help.

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