Dubai: 24-year-old Hrishikesh Datar could not breathe as he slept. He tried turning to his left and right, yet he struggled to breathe. Carrying 138 kilos on a 6-feet frame, Datar's Body Mass Index (BMI) of 43 was eye-opening to the millennial.
The next day he got up and decided to fight obesity. It was his New Year's resolution for 2019, and unlike most people who fall off the wagon, he has stuck to it. He resolved to knock off those excess kilos and he did it.
Obese with a 43 BMI
In 2018, Datar weighed 138 kilos. For a person of 6 feet height, he was grossly overweight.
For reference, the normal weight range for a person of Datar's height is between 61.87 and 82 kilos. Datar's BMI was at 43, while the normal range for his physique and age is between 18.5 and 24.9.
In an interview to Gulf News Datar, son of Dubai businessman Dhananjay Datar - fondly called the ‘Spice King’ of UAE - said his family had been talking about losing weight for some time. He recalled, “We had been discussing obesity in the family and the need for all family members to lose weight and get fit.”
In addition to this, Datar was, at times, denied entry to places because of his weight – for example adventure rides.
Datar said, “I was on a college trip for an adventure ride. I was the only one who could not get on it because of my weight. It was embarrassing and sad.”
Starting on intermittent fasting
To start off, Datar, an alumni of Emirates Aviation College where he studied business, started serious workout sessions. He also dived into intermittent fasting, popularly called the 16/8 fasting method that promises weight loss and better metabolism.
Explaining the method, Datar said, “Basically I was fasting for 16 hours each day. My eating window was only between eight and 10 hours. I used to fit three meals in this window.”
Datar continued, “Doing this method of fasting can actually be as simple as not eating anything after dinner and skipping breakfast. For example I would have an early dinner at around 8pm and not eat anything until 12 noon [the] next day.”
Hiring a personal trainer
The next thing he did was hire a personal trainer. Datar said, “This was key. Dieting alone cannot help in the weight loss transformation. It is important to get a good workout going as well. It is equally and more important.”
“I was working out three times a week with the personal trainer. We did a number of rotational exercises which included strength training and cardio.”
It was not in vain. Datar said, “I began seeing the results almost immediately. The first month was really amazing. I believe that it is really easy to lose weight initially in the initial phase of weight loss. There is a lot of water retention in the body and it all goes out.”
Sleeping on time
For the next step, Datar said he started sleeping on time.
“Sleep is very important. I manage my sleep really well. I don’t party late night. I sleep every day by 10 pm. I normally sleep for eight to nine hours at least. Sleep is very important when you are on a weight loss mission,” he said.
“Sleep gives the body time to recover, conserve energy, repair and build up on the muscles worked during a workout exercise. And when we get older, it helps us build lean muscles, helps our body repair when we have torn ourselves up during a hard workout,” he added.
Going forward, what next?
Datar remains focused, saying, “I need to get to my goal of losing another 20 kilos. A lot of my weight gain came from leading a sedentary life-style, eating junk food.”
But he has come a long way since then and seems to have successfully made a major life-style change.
Advice to others
Datar keeps it simple. He said, “I eat home-cooked meals, light and healthy. Sleep enough and workout. My advice to millennials would be to lead a healthy life-style.”