Weight before: 95.8
Weight now: 87 kg
Lost 8.8 kg in 5-and-a-half months
Tall and with a big frame, Vaneeta Sequeira Mehta had always been on the heavier side. But, after having a baby in 2007, she gained quite a bit of weight. “Over the last nine years, I’ve tried to lose weight on my own, primarily through exercise and some diet tweaks, but never saw any changes. I’d lose a few kilos, and gain them back within a blink of an eye,” says Vaneeta, a Mumbai-based marketing manager for a fragrance company.
During an annual health check-up organised by her company, Vaneeta realised she had touched 98 kg and was at risk for diabetes. “The fact that I’m only 39 years old and could develop a serious medical condition was a wake-up call. Especially after the doctor warned me about managing my weight,” she recalls. But it was only six months later, in June 2016, that Vaneeta finally got her act together, solely because of her sister-in-law’s weight loss. “She explained the concept of calorie counting to me. I began doing some online research to find a tool that could help track calorie counts for Indian foods, and that’s how I came across HealthifyMe,” Vaneeta says.
“I had never been to a dietician, and most people I know who had taken professional help regained the weight they had lost after a few sessions. So I was a little sceptical about whether it would work,” says Vaneeta, who was initially hesitant to use a mobile app. The seven-day free trial experience with HealthifyMe and a consult with nutritionist Kamala Somasundaram convinced her that she was onto something solid. “I always wondered why I wasn’t losing weight despite exercising so much. I’d eat whatever I felt like, thinking I would burn it while working out. Then there was a phase where I ate no or very little carbs. Kamala was the first person to explain how essential it was to have a balanced diet to lose weight,” says Vaneeta, who opted for the diet counselling paid plan. “I knew I wouldn’t lose weight from just a week’s free counselling. Besides, I had nothing to lose, except the weight!”
‘The diet tips I got from Kamala helped speed up my metabolism and bring down my water retention’
Working with Vaneeta’s existing diet, nutritionist Kamala recommended certain modifications. For starters, she increased Vaneeta’s fiber and protein intake. “I’m a vegetarian who occasionally eats non-veg, so Kamala recommended I start a protein supplement as well as include more protein-rich foods like buttermilk and curd in my daily diet,” says Vaneeta, who also began having a salad with every meal.
While she had always followed a healthy diet, Vaneeta admits she had a weakness for fried foods and unhealthy snacks. “Under Kamala’s guidance, I began having fruit as a snack. I also made other healthy swaps, like oats in place of cornflakes for breakfast, and quinoa or brown rice instead of white rice. Instead of wheat, I eat millets,” she says. Having a salad or bowl of yogurt with every meal has now become part of her regimen. She has always had five meals a day, only now the type of food she eats has changed. “I don’t think I was eating too much earlier, but my metabolism was very low. Also, I had a huge water retention problem. But the tips I got from Kamala really helped bring these problems under control,” says Vaneeta, who found that both lemon water and apple cider vinegar in the morning helped.
Another big motivator for Vaneeta were the challenges that the HealthifyMe coaches issued to the clients who are part of their group chats. “I participated in a two month diet and exercise challenge over August and September, and it was during this time that I lost the maximum amount of weight. The competition really spurred me on, and was excited that I even won a prize!” says Vaneeta, who does an hour of cardio, Zumba and yoga on alternate days. She carries out this workout routine at least four times a week.
‘For years, I had struggled to get below 90 kg. After joining HealthifyMe I’ve consistently been 87 kg’
Stepping on the scale and watching her weight go down to the 80s was a major victory for Vaneeta. “For years, I had struggled to get below 90 kg. I would hit it, and then regain the weight. After joining HealthifyMe I’ve consistently been 87 kg for six months and have been able to maintain that,” she says, crediting Kamala for her success. “I’ve learnt a lot from her. Whenever I had an issue, I’d message or call her and she would give me a suggestion that always worked. For instance, there was this time I felt like I had hit a plateau. When I spoke to Kamala, she explained that once the body gets used to a diet, it stops responding. She recommended I switch from lemon water to apple cider vinegar, and that made a huge difference,” Vaneeta recalls. On her part, Kamala says Vaneeta’s weight loss has been gradual but consistent. “Vaneeta’s commitment to her weight loss has been exceptional. She regularly participates in our group challenges and motivates others. She’s tracks her weight regularly, and checks in with me if she has any concerns. Whenever I share advice with her, she is sure to follow it. That level of dedication is what has got her this far, and will take her even further,” says Kamala.
The best part about the HealthifyMe diet was that all the changes recommended were easy to implement for Vaneeta, while simultaneously juggling a busy career and parenting. “My biggest problem was my lack of self control, especially during festivals and weddings. But I found the group chats to be especially motivating at this time. Learning about how others lead healthy lives makes you ask yourself, if they can do it, why can’t I,” says Vaneeta, who also calls HealthifyMe, value for money. “It’s very affordable, especially when you consider how exorbitant a personal dietitian’s services or gym membership can be,” she says.
While Vaneeta has hit her goal weight, she’s now aiming to lose another 10 kg over the next six months. “I’m aiming for 78 kg,” she says, adding that the best part of slimming down is that she can fit into her old clothes again. “All the compliments I’ve been getting from family and friends are flattering. And I can now fit into the clothes I wore during my own wedding, and I thank HealthifyMe for that,” she says.
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