“Even my best friend used to laugh at me,” says Rony Verghese, recalling his school days when he was mercilessly bullied. His weight was an issue that had plagued Verghese his whole life; he says, “I was born overweight.”
The Dubai-born-and-raised now-23-year-old says however that at home he was pampered. “I used to eat a lot of food, junk food, from a [young] age,” he recalls, adding that this meant a steady stream of fat accumulation.
When the 180cm-tall gent hit 100kg, his parents gently nudged him towards the gym. And he went, diligently. “I never had interest in the gym, I used to go just for my parents,” he says. And he continued to eat as he pleased. But exercise without the right diet can have little transformative effect, as Verghese learnt. He continued to pile on the kilos, while lashing out at people who pointed out he was being unhealthy.
He got blood tests done, too, hoping it was a medical issue that could be sorted quickly, but they all came back normal.
When the scale struck 130kg, says Verghese, he gave up - he thought he would always be overweight. His motivation plummeted to an all-time low.
The real switch came a few months down the road. When at age 21 he stood on the scale, he knew the numbers would not be flattering. What he was not prepared for was the '152'kg tag that popped up. All those warnings loved ones had been giving him over the years start to swarm in his head. He knew he needed to make a change.
“I started working out 4 hours a day, every day. And I started dieting,” he recalls.
Lunch: Grilled chicken with vegetables.
Snacks: A spoon of peanut butter and nuts.
Dinner: Fresh fruit juice - watermelon, apple, carrot mix - with 2tsp honey.
The first few days were of course difficult, but he recalls, he made sure he spent more time in the gym in a day than he had the day before. Eventually, he built enough stamina to work out four hours a day, every single day. It taught him a lesson: "It [everything] is possible if you try; it’s about trying and being consistent."
This labour of survival was undertaken during his two-month university break, during which he lost 10-15kg. “When I [went] back to the college, [friends] saw the change in me and they were shocked. I was dropping down weight very fast, because I was very heavy,” he explains.
His friends, who had once joked about his weight, were stumped. Surgery? Medicines? They didn’t know what had happened. For Verghese, this was all the motivation he needed. He doubled down, adjusted his food habits - including giving up processed sugar and salt; and got to work.
When the plateau came, at 100kg, he shocked his body by changing up food and diet regimen. Slowly, the weight drop continued.
Three months ago when Verghese’s parents asked him to stop gyming so much, he knew the reason – at -81kg, he had begun to look ‘too skinny’. Once again, he revamped his routine, adding carbs and more weight training to his workouts; he's put on 5kg of muscle mass since then. He says he still has some loose skin, but he's working on getting ripped.
Transformation, he says, has been wonderful. He laughs: “Even now, if I show my photo to someone they say it’s photoshopped.”
Well, ol' friend, look who's laughing now.