Balajepalli Shivaram Sastry, a 29-year-old from Andhra Pradesh, struggled with weight issues since Class 9.

He was eventually diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression and was put on medication.

When his mother was diagnosed with a heart condition, relatives began advising him to watch his weight as he too could develop heart problems.

“I was hurt by their statements. No one was aware that I was taking medication for anxiety and depression. But, deep down I knew that I had to be healthy for my family,” he says.

At the time, he was morbidly obese and weighed 130 kg. So, he consulted their family doctor and charted out a diet plan. Here’s how he changed his life around.

“I would eat food only between 9 am and 5 pm. After that, I would not eat anything. This helped me lose several inches and a few kilos,” he says.

“I started replacing rice with millets such as foxtail, bajra, sorghum, ragi, and barnyard millet, among others,” says Shivaram.

“I would go for walks early in the morning and brisk walk for 3–5 kilometres. After returning home, I would prepare meals for myself,” he informs.

Shivaram says by October 2020, he had lost 60 kg. “I weighed around 70 kg. It was the happiest day of my life. Even my doctor couldn’t recognise me when I went for a check-up.”

Today, he continues to follow a calorie-deficit diet and eats millet-based food. While he does not find time to do strenuous exercises, he ensures to check his weight regularly and maintains it between 75–78 kg.

Shivaram says that his weight loss journey gave him renewed hope to lead a happy life. He started looking for jobs again and now works in a Bengaluru-based company in the role of his choice.