UAE-based Indian expat Nidhy Raghuvaran admits that once he began to eat, there was no stopping him. The five-foot-nine-inch Keralite’s love for fast-food was showing in dismal ways. He wasn’t able to digest his meals properly, he wasn’t able to sleep. Finally, he recalls, in 2017 he had begun to gain kilos even if he did watch what went on his plate – his body had begun to work against him.
A doctor’s visit brought him some pills and some alarming news – he had a fatty liver stage 1 and high cholesterol. “I [tried] medicines for a couple of months but there was no result,” he says. His worried pregnant wife went to Kerala for her delivery, and Nidhy decided to use this time to get himself fit.
First came the research: There was a lot of googling involved and some YouTube. These were used to scour the web for motivation, for exercise regimen, for diet plans. “I researched so many areas – Keto diet, water diets, pineapple diets, fruit diet, only protein diet, but I don’t know... And I joined a gym, where there trainers are available but they will not give you guidelines. So I used to watch these things [YouTube] and I used to try it.”
“It was almost like a horror story – I was shivering like nothing. My friends and colleagues were asking why are you limiting your food, you are going to fall. My face became dark and I [could not] stand. But a couple of weeks [later] I realized my body had adjusted. It was a dream [come true] for me. [At] that time focus was too difficult. Too much concentration needed from body and mind. I used to do yoga – [YouTube] to get the focus,” says Raghuvaran of his initial days.
Still, trial and error proved valuable teachers. he gave up sugar and lowered his salt intake. He would only eat steamed white meat with vegetables and sometimes, nuts. And little portions to boot; “I ate eight times a day,” he told Gulf News in an interview. “I know specifically what my problem is – I was taking too much food [earlier]. I didn’t have any cola or any type of juices for the past 1.5 years,” he explains.
Water is key
Raghuvaran swears by the power of water. He would drink about 6 litres a day. He began to walk - eventually getting his stamina up to walk about 8,000 steps a day - and at the gym, he began to run. Today he spends three hours at the gym, doing 1 hour of cardio and 2 hours of weight lifting every day.
Today, a year-and-half later, Raghuvaran is 40kg down. And the man with the newly-found confidence has also got his eye on a 6 pack. “For 6 pack, my body fat index should be 9, now it is almost 15 per cent,” he says.
“I’m so different,” he says. “My mom cannot recognise me. That [is how] much I’ve changed.”