Weight before: 78.9 kg
Weight now: 67 kg
Lost 11.9 kg in 5 months
Shashank Shekhar, who was thin and had an athletic build, while in college, started to struggle with his weight gain after he began working a decade ago. “I spent long hours in pursuit of my ambitions, without realising that my poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyle was taking a toll on my health,” says Shashank, a Noida-based IT professional.
Despite recognising that he was piling on the pounds, the 32-year-old found it hard to quit his evening snack of samosas and bread pakodas. “I would binge eat when fried snacks were served in the office canteen,” says Shashank, who tried tackling his weight gain on his own by joining a gym and going on crash diets, but saw no results. “I would lose a few kilos, only to regain them over the next few months,” he recalls.
The real wake-up call was when Shashank found his waist size had gone up by 2 inches – from 34 to 36. “My clothes had become so tight that for the first time, I got worried about my weight. I had always been a thin person, but now I was on the verge of becoming obese. When the scales showed by weight inching towards the 80 kg mark, I knew I shouldn’t postpone losing weight any longer,” he says.
‘I had been trying to lose weight on my own for a long time. It was time to get professional help’
Shashank came across HealthifyMe while looking for options online. After downloading it, he began using the calorie tracker in a bid to monitor his eating habits. He quickly realised that to lose weight, he had to eat right and needed help planning out his diet. “I always thought that once I made my resolve, I would be able to lose weight on my own. But no matter what I did, I wasn’t seeing results,” he says.
He decided to give HealthifyMe’s customised plan a shot. “I thought to myself, why not not give professional help a try since all my efforts weren’t of much help.”
HealthifyMe nutritionist Surjyani Bhattacharyya helped Shashank move from a high carb and fat diet to a protein and fiber-rich one by recommending simple changes to his daily meal plan. “Surjyani didn’t take me outside my comfort zone or ask me to drastically change my eating habits. The best part about her diet was the fact that it was easy to implement and allowed me to eat whatever was being cooked at home,” says Shashank. Elaborating on that front, he says, “I come from Bihar, where we eat a lot of rice. But I had stopped eating rice entirely because I had been told it causes weight gain. I was really excited when Surjyani told me I could eat rice, and incorporated one bowl into my daily meal plan.”
Reducing the calorie intake and increasing the frequency of his meals helped bring Shashank’s weight down. Being a vegetarian who didn’t even eat eggs, he had always found it difficult to meet his protein requirement. “At the gym, the emphasis was always on protein powders or supplements. But Surjyani recommended that I eat more of certain protein-rich foods like dal, curd, beans, soya and buttermilk. That was great because eating protein also keeps hunger pangs at bay,” says Shashank, who now snacks on boiled soya chunks when he is running short of protein options.
Fruits, dry fruits, salad and khakra were his other go-to mid-meal options. “When I ate 3-4 meals daily, I think my portion sizes were larger and more carb-heavy. Now I eat more often, but take smaller portions. People are always amazed when I tell them I lost weight by eating more meals!” says Shashank, who controlled his carb intake at night by completely avoiding rice and roti, and had only dal and a glass of milk, if he was very hungry. “There was a time when I would eat nine rotis through the day. Now I’m down to four, but because of all the protein and fiber I’m getting, I never feel hungry,” he says.
Surjyani also helped Shashank navigate towards healthier food options at parties. “If I had to attend an event, I would message her asking for advice on how to stick to my diet. She suggested I start by drinking plenty of water, then eat a bowl of salad and stick to items from the tandoor section. I was happy that my diet plan never demanded I skip any parties, or miss out on time with friends,” he says.
‘Once I started training under HealthifyMe’s coaches, I realised how easy it was to lose weight’
Fitness expert Shrinivasan asked Shashank to start with some simple exercises to get his body back in shape. Gradually, he progressed to a 45-minute running plan. Shashank monitored his daily pace using the HealthifyMe activity tracker, and was pleasantly surprised to learn he was covering 5 km at a stretch. “I feel inspired to run a marathon,” says Shashank, who is now aiming at a workout to build more muscle.
Losing 11.9 kg over five months was a huge milestone for Shashank, who had never dreamt of weighing 60-something again. “My target was 71-72 kg, so I was ecstatic when I hit 67 kg. Once I started training under HealthifyMe’s coaches, I realised how easy it was to lose weight. Now I think, ‘Drop 2 kg? Give me a week and I’ll do it’,” he says, adding that his waist size is down from 35 inches to 31 now.
Shashank’s goal now is to maintain his current weight, and Surjyani is confident he can, given how disciplined he has been about following the programme. “Shashank has been serious about losing weight and has been very diligent about following our advice. Whenever he had doubts about making a food choice, or a question about a certain nutrient, he would get in touch with me. His interest in educating himself about nutrition and weight loss will carry him in good stead,” says Surjyani.
Shashank credits his experts for inspiring his fitness journey. “Both Surjyani and Shrinivasan were available to answer even the silliest of questions. They were very patient and motivated me throughout my journey,” says Shashank. His family, who had been sceptical about him joining a weight loss plan, were amazed at his transformation. “My family considers the word ‘diet’ synonymous with crash diet, and thought I would starve myself. But once they saw what I was eating, and how it was gradually helping me lose weight, they were overjoyed,” says Shashank.
Co-workers and friends were also stunned by his slim new avataar. “I remember this one instance, when I was standing outside my office waiting to meet a friend. He called to ask me where I was, not realising that I was standing right next to him. He didn’t recognise me,” says Shashank, who is recommending HealthifyMe to people at work. “In India, we’re not educated about nutrition. We eat what is put in front of us, which is fine when we’re younger and our bodies can withstand it. But as we get older, we need information. HealthifyMe taught me everything I needed to know about how to eat right and the support I received from their experts is unparalleled. While there are no shortcuts to losing weight – you have to do it yourself – HealthifyMe can show you the way.”
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