Just like everyone else, Mohinish Nirwal also struggled with pandemic weight gain. Although he was passionate about his wellness, the lockdowns made it difficult for him to maintain his fitness. He lost his confidence, started self-doubting and the work pressure only made things worse for him. However, slowly he initiated certain changes in his lifestyle and took small steps to get his fitness back on track. He finally lost a whopping 17 kilos in just a year. Here’s a look at how he did!
1. The turning point
During the lockdown, my weight shot up. It took a huge toll on my confidence and self-esteem. I thought I may never gain a fit body as I was flooded with doubts due to my age, work pressure, stress, and lack of cooking skills. Ultimately, I started to take on small challenges, and from there I got the confidence that I can gain a good physique.
1-2 whole eggs, 1 cup of milk with turmeric, 2 slices of bread or 1 roti, and one scoop of whey protein. A banana and salad along with supplements like multivitamins, fish oil, and multi-minerals.
1 roti, 1 cup vegetable, 1 cup curd (alternate days), 1-2 whole eggs, salad and/or fruits, 5 soaked almonds.
Half roti, half cup vegetable, 1 whole egg, salad, and/or fruits
1 Banana and one egg white.
One scoop of micellar casein protein (as I workout late) and half a cup of whey protein.
Anything that’s cooked at home is okay for me. For example Moong dal chilla, chole bhature, aloo-puri.
Instead of counting calories, I learned intuitive eating and understood my fullness levels. Ultimately, I learned to eat until 80% full. And that turned out to be a blessing for me.
During the lockdown, I rediscovered my passion for running and yoga. Once I found my groove, I loved doing 30 minutes of yoga (plus, 10-15 minutes of meditation) at home in the morning and would run about 5 kilometers, 5-6 times a week, in the evening. I loved these sessions and on top of that, I started becoming more active during working hours. For example, instead of continuously sitting for hours I tried to stand more often to enhance my fat burn.
I had to understand my strengths and weaknesses. Repeated lockdowns proved to me that my stress management and adaptability in life are zero. So I took this as a challenge to improve my life skills and my health.
30%-50% of my plate is reserved for vegetables (mostly salads) and fruits. This provides nutrients while improving the gut microbiome. And the feeling of fullness afterward is icing on the cake. Most importantly, long-term fitness is about little lifestyle changes. Instead of going with an attitude of “go big or go home”, I preferred to take small steps, and gave myself small rewards so I enjoy my journey also.
I used to read success stories, like in the TOI health section. Then I found people around me who are passionate about fitness. Peer pressure worked in my favor as I was then forced to take some time out for myself. And when I started to see some results I became even more motivated. My pants were becoming loose from the waist, so I started using a belt. Now I could easily sport old t-shirts that were tight earlier.
Never lose focus
To stay focused I created a goal card. I wrote down the exact weight I wanted to reach and each morning I’d see it and visualize it. So whenever my goal becomes hazy or I’d start having doubts, I’d just stay loyal with my practice of reading the goal card. Eventually, I went past my goal weight.
What’s the most difficult part of being overweight?
Every morning I’d wake up and look at myself in the mirror and I’d hate to look at my big belly and face. As if that wasn’t enough, someone would always comment and advise me on the lessons of health and fitness. This made me feel like I don’t have any control over myself. But the only problem was that I was not able to stick with the lifestyle changes — until I rediscovered my passions and the power of taking small steps toward a big goal.
A few years ago, I had to undergo knee surgery. Due to this, my weight shot up and my mental health tanked. I was frustrated with myself. The same thing happened during the lockdowns also and I realized this pattern of poor health and poor well-being. I used to think this would never happen to me. But I’d learned my lessons by the third lockdown and started putting my health on priority.
Lifestyle changes I made?
The most important lifestyle change for me was plate management. I reserved 30%-40% of my plate for vegetables and fruits. This helped improve my gut microbiome, helped me feel fuller for longer, and provided better nourishment for my body. I had to pre-plan my meals for this.
Second, I started getting more active during the day to increase NEAT (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis) which helped me burn more fat.
Third, I started learning ways to manage my stress. I did this with meditation.
Our goals must be big but our steps small. This ensures that we are constantly moving in the right direction. Weight loss is a long journey. And bad days are part of the cycle.
But every goal is achievable when you start asking small questions. How can I move one small step towards my goal? And this creates a snowball effect. When you push a little snowball down a hill it’s insignificant. But as it rolls down, it gets bigger. The same thing happens when we take small steps toward our big goals.
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These views are not generic. Weight loss results vary for individuals and the views shared in this article offers no guarantee of specific results. The content is not intended in any way as a substitute for professional advice.
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