If life is a result of a series of crucial decisions, Bhagwan Laungani was really not pleased with his choices. At age 35, he had spent years picking decadent food and it showed: he weighed 113kg.
He thought nothing much of it, even though he wanted to get rid of the excess kilos; he came from a family of healthy eaters and he thought this was just the way to go. He suffered from aggressive back pain and a L1L2 disc problem. Then there was an accident that left him on bed rest for about 6 months.
“When you become so fat, your whole morale is down; your confidence levels are down; everything seems negative,” says the Dubai-based Indian expat in the interview with Gulf News.
Then came the picture that changed Laungani’s life. At an office party, the real estate agent’s colleagues took group shots. When the 5-foot-five-inch gent saw himself in a resulting image, he was in shock. He saved it – it was his impetus for change.
“That day I went to the gym, I enrolled myself for three months,” says Laungani.
He also fished out an old diet plan he had gotten from a nutritionist in India months earlier. He had seen his sister get results from a similar routine and so decided to devote himself to it.
Here’re some tips from Laungani's nutritionist
1. Meal timings are important: “My nutritionist told me, is to focus on the time at which I’m eating each of these meals,” says Laungani. “So earlier, I would go to bed at 1am. I completely changed that because I started going to the gym in the morning. If something spills over – if you have something planned for 8 and you do it at 10, the whole routine goes for a toss.”
2. Sleep can change your shape: “Everything you do, the process actually starts to work when you go to sleep. So when you sleep well, when you are stress-free, that’s when all this begins to work and improve your body. I still follow this routine 2 years on,” he says.
3. Easy to strict works better: Each step counts, but because his nutritionist could predict that a rigid plan may put him off, she calibrated his options so that the cravings were kept to a minimum.
4. Quantity is key: “I actually had a scale to measure what I was eating. I followed this for 15 days and then you get an idea of what to eat,” says Laungani. In the same vein, he also logged his food in an excel sheet.
5. Goals are everything: Besides wanting to get fit, Laungani had one more thing he really wanted to do: Make his little daughter proud. “All this also started coincidently when my daughter was about to get into school, so I was telling myself that I need to set myself up, because you know tomorrow when I go to her school, when she tells somebody that this is my father, there should be some kind of ‘pride’. I can see that it is being a [good influence] on my daughter, because she sees I never skip my gym, I always do my exercise. My daughter, on the weekends, she’s got a yoga mat, she does yoga.
6. Family support matters: “My mom and my wife are making all these meals for me, because I am very bad in the kitchen. They really help me through the day, they make it for me. Cooking is the most difficult part for me, so they take care of that part.
Keeping these basics in mind, Laungani began to focus on himself. “I lost 4kg in the first month when I started the diet and the workout, so this really moved me. After that, [on an] average I lost 3.5-4kg a month so literally in 10 months I had lost 40kg. And then exactly a year later, so I started at 113 and a year later I went down to 68,” he explains.
And then he began to work on his muscle mass.
Today, Laungani is at a healthy 73kg. His once-low carb-high protein diet has come to include a little more carb. He exercises for an hour-and-a-half every day (25 mins cardio and the rest doing weights.)
He says he’s a more positive person; a happier person. His back problems are better; his blood parameters are healthy. Best of all, his daughter is proud. He’s proved a good influence.
If a life is a series of crucial choices, Laungani is now at ease: He’s on the right trajectory.