About three years ago, when 40-year-old Pritam Saathi looked in the mirror, he didn’t like what he saw. “I used to be very fit earlier, but then with all the things that go on with life you kind [of] tend to lose track. So that’s where it all started,” he explains in an interview with Gulf News.
The 5-foot-seven-inch, 90kg Saathi decided to turn to his love for food to help him slim down. He began to cook his own meals, for one thing. “I went on a high protein, low carb, zero sugar diet for some time, which I’m still continuing,” he adds.
He also joined the gym, got a trainer and worked out. “So I was about 90kg, from which I came down - I think over 9 months - to 67kg. But then I thought it was too less so I came back to about 70. I’m about 69kg now and I have maintained that weight since the past couple of years; it hasn’t fluctuated,” he says.
‘Shedding kilos is the easy part’
This is something he stresses. “It’s not about losing weight; you can do crash diets, you can do the unhealthy way, but what’s more important is how you maintain the same kind of thing over a period of time. And now I have been on this journey for more than 3 years and it [my weight] hasn’t fluctuated. [It’s been] more than 2 years watching what you are eating, doing your fitness regime every day, what you have you do,” he adds.
After gym, 2 eggs.
Snacks: A handful of nuts.
Lunch and dinner (by 8.30pm): grilled protein with veges.
“I’ve maintained eating clean – junk is out, coke is out, refined stuff is totally out, [as is] processed. I try to cook my own meals at home – very rarely do I eat in restaurants, which I used to love [doing],” he says.
And then the father-of-one reveals his other secret to staying lean: “I love cooking so I am able to make my own dishes. That’s how I keep my plate clean.”
What is a cheat meal?
Well, that and the rubbished the concept of cheat meals. “If I go somewhere and I’m not able to get my diet, maybe I’ll just have a little bit of rice or whatever else. But I don’t plan a cheat meal or cheat day, because it doesn’t make sense to me,” he says.
He also works out Every. Single. Day. During the week he spends about 1-1.5 hours doing cardio and weights. And on the weekends he plays sports. “I play a lot of cricket so my cardio exercises gets completed like that. I take 2 days off from the gym,” he explains.
Back to the plate
But mainly, he says, it’s all about what you eat. He spends about 30-40 minutes in the kitchen, he says, not more. And because he’s embraced his passion, he creates his own recipes to keep his taste buds engaged.
It helps perhaps that it’s mostly himself he needs to please. “My wife has turned vegan, so that is totally a different extreme. I generally cook my own food. We try and make somethings that are in-between,” he explains.
And in his hodge-podge of a menu, their child gets the best of both worlds – carefully created dishes filled with meat, veges and love.
Saathi’s recipe for grilled chicken
• Fresh chicken breast or leg, 250g
• Hung yogurt/plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup
• Kashmiri chilly, 1 tsp
• Garam masala, 1 tsp
• Coriander powder, 1 tsp
• Cumin powder, 1/2 tsp
• Salt, to taste
• Olive oil, 2 tbsp
1. Wash and keep chicken aside.
2. Mix all the ingredients together to prepare the marinade.
3. Create slits in the Chicken
4. Add the marinade to the chicken. Keep aside for about 30 mins
5. Grill the chicken until cooked. Alternatively, lightly oil a non-stick pan and fry the chicken on the pan
6. Eat with a simple salad of lettuce, cucumber, onions, tomatoes, and almonds or walnuts.