Khurram Razaq’s face was a constant grimace. He could not walk or exercise; he became unable to lift even 2-3kg worth of weight. The pain began because of a slipped disc that shook his back about 20 years ago, at the age of 19. As he grew older, a stillness of the body meant he grew heavier. The problem was compounded 13 years ago, when he got married. “My wife has wonderful cooking skills,” he says often during our conversation. “It [his eating] all just went out of hand,” he adds. When he hit 79kg, the five-foot-five-inch Pakistani engineer was aghast. He was also in a lot of pain.
Doctor’s visits often came with the same prescription: drop the weight and it’ll give you relief. While his blood pressure levels spiked, his energy levels slumped.
Finally, frustrated, the father of three decided to rectify his situation. “I studied a lot of articles [online]; I never went to any consultant,” he says. He explains that he went at it the same way he did his science-based education; it’s all about balance. “I just study the energy calculations – what [calories] you are taking in and what you are burning.” And so began his calorie deficit programme – and rows with the missus. “I had a big fight at home for 6 months because my wife was like, ‘I am making this food for you and you are not even tasting it’,” he says.
He slowly got her on-board though, by promising to polish off anything she made that was grilled.
“I started it [the diet] very smartly…slowly. And then, I start[ed] walking in the morning, like you can say [a] 30-40-minute walk. [On] an empty stomach,” he says. For his diet he cut out all the delicious meals he liked; parathas, fried eggs, puloas, biryani. He limited his carbs and starch, cut out sugar. “In the first couple of months I [lost] very rapidly, like 4-5kg, and I was so excited [i thought] I can do it. Then, [the weight loss became slow] - I was losing like 2kg, 1kg a month,” he says.
What helped Razaq keep on track was the vigilance he maintained over his scale. He would religiously, every morning, stand on the meter and if it struck a higher number than the day before, he’d tweak his diet for the day to make a greater deficit. Over a period of 10 months, says Razaq, he’d lost 22kg.
Lunch: Fruits and dry fruits
Dinner: Grilled chicken or fish with vegetables
Coffee, with low-fat milk, and water in plenty
Today, he’s a lean 56kg and a much, much happier man. “We are happier. I’m more active. [And I am] feeling more energetic and giving quality time to kids and family,” he says. [He keeps his cheat days for the weekend, when he follows the appetite of his family. Once a week, every week.]
That always-frown – he’s lost it. These days are about smiling the time away.
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