Pradeep Nair
Pradeep Nair before (left) and after Image Credit: Supplied

Pradeep Nair used to spend six hours a day on the road; he lived in Sharjah and worked in Jebel Ali, Dubai. This meant leaving his house at 5.50am and returning only by 9.30pm. Initially, this wasn’t much of a problem – it just meant a long-drawn-out transit. As years went by however, the sedentary lifestyle brought on the pounds. From 74kg in 1996, which is when he first moved to the UAE, Nair jumped to 95kg in 2016.

Still, considering that there was no impending health concern, he didn’t bother reconsidering his diet and exercise decisions. However, that year when on an unrelated trip to the doctor’s he was asked to get his bloodwork done, he complied. The result was a lipid profile that shocked the doctor, who in turn wanted to frighten Nair out of his stupor. “He was [saying], ‘if you continue the style [in which] you are living you cannot prolong your life beyond your 50s’. Immediately I joined a gym in Sharjah; I took a 3-month membership,” recalls Nair. But this was not to be – the hunger caused by working out meant he was eating so much more than usual. When he turned 100kg, he walked out of the gym; he would not return for a long, long time.

He got on with life, reminding himself often of people his height – 178cm – who were heavier than him, unhealthier than him.

When 2018 rolled around, he made New Year resolutions and started on yoga. Unfortunately, this healthy behavior wasn’t going to last either. Three months was all it took for Nair to go back to his old ways.


The third time would prove to be magical for Nair - the stars had finally aligned.

It began with some tough love. First, his friends teased him because instead of keeping his weight-loss resolution, he had gone the other way, putting on kilo after kilo, until he was 115kg. Secondly, he did his research. “Sandeep Maheshwari is a [motivational speaker] in India,” he says – he began to listen to his words on YouTube. “And there’s a book written by [British hypnotist] Paul McKenna called I Can Make You Thin, so I got an audiobook and I used to listen while driving,” says Nair. Thirdly, this time around he had the full support of his wife who would find recipes that were low carb, low calorie and yet, to his liking. [It helped also that she'd stare him down if he ate too much.]

Three thoughts became entrenched in Nair’s mind after hearing McKenna’s book and scouring the internet:

1. Chew and then chew some more. “The food that you eat, you have to chew it maximum and eat, which I was never doing,” he says.

2. Eat nuts – they have good fats and are full of nutrients.

3. To lose weight, you need to get your heartbeat up. Nair says running wasn’t an option, so he did the next best thing – brisk walks. He began with a kilometer a day and now generally walks about 6km each evening.

This, he says, he did consistently, even though he had a scare one night. It was in the early months of his weight-loss journey. One day while waiting for the lift in his building, he felt weak, he felt faint, he fell unconscious.

“I didn’t go to a doctor or anything,” he says, attributing the dizzy spell to a lack of water. It just made his resolve to get healthier stronger.

He continued on his path.

10 months on, Nair is down 28kg and he says he has more to go. His cheat meals have grilled meat; eating out is a thing of the past and adventure is on the horizon.

He wants to reach a lithe 79kg – so he can go skydiving.

Daily meal plan
• Pre-breakfast drink: Lemon - honey (one lemon and a tea-spoon honey mixed in a glass of plain water) drunk on an empty stomach.
• Breakfast: 2 eggs + cashew nuts/almonds/walnuts
• Lunch: 2 rotis with vegetables
• Snack: Nuts
• Dinner: Salad (carrot, cucumber, lettuce, nuts)