The buttons on his T-shirt were too tight. His pants were too snug.
One holiday shouldn’t have meant so much strain, but then the words of friends and colleagues started to come back to haunt Vishnu.
The 30-year-old Keralite who had been in UAE for 8 years used to boast 6-pack abs in 2016. He watched what went onto his plate and was generally, he says, health conscious. Post 2017, his lifestyle took a turn towards the unhealthy. He was working a lot, not exercising and eating out indiscriminately. Slowly, a few hundred grams at a time, the weight started to accumulate.
In an interview with Gulf News, he recalls his wake-up call. “This year when I went for vacation and got back, most of my clothes got very tight. And when I [would] climb the stairs I [could] not to breathe [properly]. When I fell sick I went to the doctor and the doctor said as per the BMI you have to much weight, you are supposed to reduce your weight as soon as possible, he explains.
However, acknowledgement is not really equal to change; he still had time constraints.”I thought let me do something by which I can reduce the weight naturally. So [in] June I started doing intermittent fasting,” he said, after doing his research. (He ate dinner by 8pm and the next meal at 1pm the next day)
Some additional steps he took to drop the kilos were:
1. Cutting down on carbs
2. Eating simple home-cooked meals during his 6-hour eating window.
3. Snacking on nuts, not junk
4. Drinking plenty of water.
5. Reducing portion sizes
6. Walking for 30 minutes a day
7. No sugar at all, no to office treats
The idea was simple, he says: “I started with a very simple rule - start eating less calories and start burning off more.”
In a month, Vishnu had lost 5kg and gone from 96 to 91. And so with his newfound energy, he felt he was ready for the next step - hitting the gym. Excited, he went on day one, day two and day three, and then began the absences. “I couldn’t continue, because most of the time I reach home at like 8-8.30. For initial 3-4days I could go, then it became irregular; like, in a week I went for 2 days then again I could not go. So gym is all about consistency, if you can’t go [regularly] there’s no point,” he explains.
While he was looking for a replacement activity, he heard about Dragon Boat racing and decided to give the group activity a try.
“On July 27 I went for a class,” he recalls, and liked it. This activity has you rowing for about 1.5 hours straight. “Every half an hour you burn 600 calories, if you do properly,” he adds. “ With that you have a lot of land training. When you are going to the gym most of the time you don’t do - you feel let me skip this class I will go next class, but this is a group activity [you can’t let others down]. So like-minded people [coming together is very motivational] . Gradually, I was reducing more and more weight,” says the 181cm tall Vishnu.
Today, he’s a sprightly 85kg. His days of intermittent fasting are over, but he does keep his menu healthy - with home-cooked and grilled options. And there are cheat meals - “Once or twice a month I go out with family and eat at a hotel,” he says. But the portion sizes come measured; the carbs now consumes, he says, are 1/3rd of what he used to. But that’s just it, he explains - it’s a shift in lifestyle - no special diets or doctor intervention needed, just some restraint.