In December 2018, Manadeep Ganguli, a 27-year-old Pune-based IT consultant, was on a holiday in Kolkata, his hometown. Amidst all the fun and cheer, he happened to notice dark patches around his eyes, neck, and wrists so he looked it up on the internet and came across many articles suggesting that it could be a result of high cholesterol.
“Growing up in Kolkata, I enjoyed a laid-back lifestyle. I was lazy, and did not indulge in any physical activities and my weight was the least of my worries. Even after I moved to Pune, for work, I continued the same lifestyle—eating junk food every day. While I was home for Christmas, my mother pointed out that I had gained weight, and looked unhealthy. That is when I noticed the dark patches and turned to the internet to check why I had them. Following that, I stepped on a weighing scale, and was shocked to see that I weighed 110 kgs,” recalls Manadeep.
So, as a new year’s resolution, he decided to revamp his lifestyle and get fit.
Manadeep was sure that he didn’t want to join a gym, consult a dietician, or look for quick-fix solutions. He wanted to shed the extra kilos and change his unhealthy habits for good in an organic manner and in his own time.
So, he decided to begin his weight loss journey by taking long walks.
“I was never a physically active person, but I loved walking. I began to take walks every day and slowly increased my pace to burn more calories. Gradually, I managed to complete 100 kms in January. I started to walk more, and by the end of 2019 I had covered more than 3600 kilometres,” says Manadeep.
Along the way, he also managed to lose 33 kilos, and transition to a healthier lifestyle. How? Read on.
Making Tiny Changes to Daily Habits
A techie, Manadeep spends more than nine hours at the office everyday. Initially, he struggled to find time after work to take a walk. So, he found ways to manage his time better and began to take quick walks around his office building during breaks. This helped him keep up with his daily step count.
Apart from that he also takes a walk during long phone calls. “I realised I spend a lot of time on phone calls with my mum. So whenever we talk, I grab my phone and head out or start walking up and down the room. This way I manage to walk for at least half an hour or sometimes more,” he laughs.
Walking helped him shed a few kilos, but he soon realised that along with regular physical activity, a well-balanced diet was necessary to fuel weight loss. So, he began by reducing his portion sizes and slowly switched to a low-carbohydrate and low-sugar diet. He compensated his energy requirement with protein and fibre rich food. He also replaced snacks such as biscuits and chaat, with healthier options like onion uthappams, dosas, and yoghurt.
“I could not stop eating everything all at once, so I reduced the quantity I ate by half. I would measure food in a bowl and eat only that. Slowly, I stopped consuming most carbohydrate-rich foods, mainly rice and chapati. For breakfast, I either had a sprout salad or egg-white omelette. For lunch, in the office, I bought chicken curry and ate only the meat. And dinner was boiled vegetables or chicken,” he says.
In order to keep track of what he ate and how many calories he had consumed, Manadeep used a free application on his mobile.
“Throughout my weight loss journey, I never consulted a doctor or dietitian. I never felt the need because my plan was to change my lifestyle and not lose weight. Whenever I was in doubt about what to do or what not to, I would google it,” says Manadeep.
Today, Manadeep has relaxed the rules slightly, vis-a-vis food. He swears by eating healthy in correct proportions, staying active, and sleeping on time—these, according to him, are the key steps to boosting metabolism and subsequently losing weight.
“I don’t have to push myself everyday now. I understood that transformation depends on your mind and body working together. Convince yourself to change your lifestyle, once you start making those changes, your body will get on board too,” he concludes.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)