The process of weight loss usually comes with the following disclaimer: This is going to hurt. But for Chirag Bhatt, who works with Etihad Airways, it’s been a fun process.
When the 32-year-old was at 117kg, his uric acid would accumulate and give him gout pain around his ankle – which was susceptible to flare ups even 10 years after a healed ligament tear. Still, says Bhatt, he’s always been generally active – even at this weight, he could run around and enjoyed the occasional bout of cricket.
In March 2019, Bhatt’s company ran a two-month competition for its employees, to see who could lose how much weight. “I went for this, because all my friends and colleagues went for this,” he says.
“When I went and gave my weight – it was 117 – the person who was doing the [weigh-in] was like, nobody is having so much of weight so you have a good chance of winning. Which kind of hurt me,” says Bhatt. With mixed feelings, he decided that this would be his turning point. “In those 60 days, the company basically gave us certain tasks to complete, so we had to do 6 sessions of cycling at the Yas Marina Circuit, the F1 circuit...one circuit is like 5.7km. I have done 5-6 sessions of that. Then, mandatory we had to complete 6 sessions of Cross Fit. I used to run 20 minutes daily and 40 mins walk. And I used to climb 7 floors to my house daily,” he says. It may have been tough, but it was fun, because he did it with his peers. What also helped was when the compliments began to pour in - the reinforcement was precious.
Except for the classes that were compulsory, he did not go to any; "I haven't been to a gym in six months," he says. He did keep up the walking and running though. And he took a hatchet to his meal plan.
Bhatt is quick to concede that his love for junk food was one reason he couldn’t drop any kilos. “I’ve reduced my meal by almost 75 per cent,” says Bhatt. “I eat carbs just on alternate days. [The other day I eat only salad.] I used to eat fruit daily. I started eating things which I’d never eaten in my life – like olives, broccoli.” He ate (healthy) things he didn’t particularly like and that automatically meant him cutting down on portion sizes.
Min-morning: Coffee, no sugar. Sometimes sugar in tea.
Lunch: Salad with no meat.
Tea-time: Green apple/nuts (macadamia/walnuts/almonds)
Dinner: Ginger tea with lemon and honey, or if very hungry dal khichri (lentils with veges)
Protein sources: chickpeas, sprouts, hummus
Now, he says, his taste buds have changed. He cannot eat things that are too sweet or too oily. And he's hoping to up his game. “Next, I want to build my body. I’m planning to gain some muscles. My ideal weight should be 78-80. I’m still on obesity class one,” says.
It has also helped, he says somewhat sheepishly, that his family has relocated to India – it means that he doesn’t need to feel guilty about his stark eating plan. When his wife is around, she feels obligated to eat the same cuisine - and he doesn't want to put anyone else through that.
Still, he insists, his transformation was fun.
2. Exercise, and
3. Healthy food habits.