There were two accidents. The first caused by a road hit – it was the carelessness of another driver in 2013. The second incident came while on a sand dune – Ranjini Radhakrishnan hit the accelerator instead of the brake and her bike went flying, flipping to a still on her knee in 2018.
They both left her with anterior cruciate ligament bruises on both legs, and the resulting pain with a fear of much movement. Ranjini, now 35, had a sedentary job with long work hours. And the two combined with a UAE-cultivated love for junk food - “it’s the easily accessibility” - left her grappling with a ballooning of the weight; by February this year she had become 124kg.
With a family history of high sugar and heart problems, Ranjini was keen to get her 164cm frame under control, but this wasn’t going to be easy. “Around February 2018 I joined a gym, called Time 2 Body – it’s a ladies-only gym in Bur Dubai – and along with that I also decided to follow the [owner’s suggestions],” she says in an interview with Gulf News.
Ranjini wanted to get fit, but she was also skeptical. To follow diet plans – she reels off quite a few including Keto, GM, nutritionist-based – is to look for short-term benefits, she explains. “For a specific period of time you tend to lose the weight and then it comes back,” she says.
No chips, try cucumber slices
With her expert, Nisha Poojari, she began a re-learning of the term “good choices”. Ranjini explains: “She made me do a lifestyle change wherein I used to go always for the healthy options instead of going for [stuff] that I used to before, like whenever I wanted something oily and crunchy, I’d pick up a cucumber instead of a chips packet.”
“We made a lifestyle change where she made us think, rather than taking your car to a place nearby, why not just walk?; rather than sleeping [late] on a Friday morning, go for a little walk on the beach or go for a little workout which will help you improve your metabolism throughout. So that’s how I learnt [and lost weight].”
“In a span of 9 months I lost 30kg,” says Ranjini. “And then over a period I’ve lost another 16,” she adds.
Ranjini went from 124kg to 78kg in two years.
These new habits have not only helped her with weight-loss but also in maintenance. “Right now,” she admits, “I have [been] off [a] diet for nearly 2 months – I’ve been eating whatever I want to. But my weight has not changed at all, because I am regular in maintaining my activity level. And I somehow make sure that I do over 10,000 steps in a day.” She also goes to the gym for an hour a day, six days a week.
Won’t take it sitting down
And the changes are influencing her behavior at office, too. “My work is not activity based. I take the effort, every one hour or one-and-a-half hours I just walk around a little just to give my body an improvement. By sitting your body gets into that lethargic moment – that needs to change and the effort has to come from our end. We can’t expect someone else to tell us, but it’s an effort we need to put [in], to at least stand for some time. This enables us to create a better metabolism,” she adds.
Still, she isn’t done yet. “I want to reach my target of 70kg. I’m happy that I’ve reached here, but I want to get to 70 so that even if I gain a little, I have a little leeway,” she explains.
For now, her path is set.