Dubai: On November 27, 2018, Mahesh Kumar decided to change his life.
For sometime, he had been waking up to an unpleasant picture - one of him weighing 172 kilos. Mahesh knew that he needed a major make-over but never had been able to take the step forward.
But that day felt different. And so on November 27 last year, Mahesh decided to do something serious about losing his excess weight.
Trigger, a little flashback
In October last year, Mahesh was on a holiday with his son and wife at the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. His son wanted to go on one of the rides with Mahesh. Unfortunately they couldn't go on the ride as Mahesh, owing to his size, could not be attached to a harness.
“It broke my heart. Not because I could not ride, but my son did not want to go on the ride without me. Unfortunately owing to my obesity, I could not do it with him,” he recalled.
The family returned home to Dubai – but the incident kept troubling Mahesh.
Enough is enough
On November 27, a month after the trip, Mahesh decided enough was enough. He needed a complete make over and he felt ready for it.
“When I woke up that morning, I was looking at the same person in the mirror. But it felt different. There was a fire from within, pushing me to change and change for the better. I was professionally successful and had met all my challenges head on. Now it was time to do [that] on a personal level,” said Mahesh.
Mahesh is a successful businessman running a number of businesses, including a restaurant Flipside Restobar at Century Village that serves meat alternative in a variety of cuisines for weight loss enthusiasts.
Springing to action
Talking about his first steps, Mahesh said, “Remember when you are overweight and obese – you don’t want to do group exercises and workouts with other people who look way fitter than you. It is embarassing to go and get out there."
“And so I started working out at my building gym. I focused a lot on cardio activities. I started was cycling, doing the treadmill, lot of spot jogs. But what was bigger is that I altered my diet big time," he added.
Mahesh, who belongs to the city of Mumbai in India where street food is big, said until the day he started working out, he never cared about what he was eating. He said, “I was eating everything. Coming from Mumbai, street food is big. Lots of fried food as well was part of my diet.”
A changing diet
But when Mahesh started working out, he knew he had to change his diet too. “This meant giving up on all that I had been eating these years. I started a salad diet. Found alternative ways of cooking food with less oil. Instead of frying anything in oil – I would just use air-fry my food.”
One of the big changes he made to his diet, Mahesh claims, is incorporating meat-replacement items in his diet.
“It has the taste, texture & feel of meat but is plant-based and formulated to replace meat. What’s more, it has all the nutritional value of meat and while it replicates the taste of meat it is a healthier eco-friendly alternative. I started using this [in a] big [way] in my diet.”
Eight kilos down after a month
On December 27, 2018, a month after his weight loss mission commenced, Mahesh stood on the weighing scale. He weighed eight kilos lesser.
“That feeling was amazing. It was very encouraging and motivating. It made me want to do more with my body. I resolved that day to weight 40 kilos less on my 40th birthday.”
Mahesh's personal deadline for this goal was set for March 11, 2019.
Losing 40 kilos on his 40th birthday
“My 40th birthday was one of the best I have celebrated. Feeling lighter, made me happier. I have never been a photo person. So it’s not that I went on a photo taking spree of myself. But I just felt more confident, happy.”
Today, weighing 83 kilos, Mahesh is 89 kilos lighter - he lost more than what he currently weighs.
“It hasn’t been a joy ride whatsoever. A lot of hard-work, determination and motivation. Last but not the least, I could not have done it without my family at all. They supported me through and through.
My wife never made me feel odd even one day. But she and my son would in a very encouraging way to do something positive with myself. I cannot thank them enough for the support.”