Ramesh Pai’s phenomenal transformation
April 30, 2021
April 30, 2021
Ramesh Pai never had to worry about his weight, until recently when he gained 10-12 kg during a two-month work stint abroad, and found himself struggling to get back in shape. “When I was abroad, my food options were limited because I’m a vegetarian,” Ramesh explains. Looking back, he realises that it was all the bread and ice cream coupled with a busy work schedule, that contributed towards his weight gain.
Back in India and weighing 82 kg, Ramesh knew he had to take some concrete action. “Losing weight was a priority but I wasn’t sure how to focus on it,” he recalls. It was around this time that he attended a corporate wellness programme organised by HealthifyMe. “When HealthifyMe came to our office, I had my weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) measured. That’s when I realised that along with my weight, my BMI was also slightly on the higher side. After attending the session, I decided to give it a try,” says the 35-year-old Hyderabad-based professional.
Ramesh opted for a 6 months plan, and was assigned nutritionist Shilpa Girish and fitness coach Sreemanth Desai. After talking to Shilpa he realised that his diet needed more balance. “Earlier I would eat whatever was available, and at times that would include a meal that was completely carb-centric. Today, I have learnt how to make adjustments to my plate to ensure I get the required amount of carbs, proteins, fats, etc.,” says Ramesh. The other big change introduced was portion sizes. “I would have only three meals a day and I would eat until I felt full. But now I have at least 4-5 meals a day, and this has helped bring down my portion sizes,” says Ramesh.
Shilpa recommended that he cut down on simple carbs and focus on increasing his protein intake. “We used to eat only chana earlier, but now we make sure every meal has one protein, like moong, rajma or dal,” says Ramesh, adding that Shilpa introduced new protein sources like dry fruits, tofu and paneer as well as jowar roti and ragi to his diet. White sugar, maida and oily foods are a strict no-no. “I was asked to replace sugar with jaggery wherever possible,” he says, adding that he even stopped having tea and coffee for two to three weeks when he first started the diet. While Ramesh does indulge on occasions, he says the moments are few and far between now. “There was a time when I would have 10 piping hot pooris in one sitting, as opposed to now, where I have just two pooris. And they are made, maybe, once or twice a month now,” he says.
The best part about Shilpa’s diet plan is that it didn’t demand any drastic changes in the food being cooked at home. “We still follow a traditional Udupi diet, but ensure that it meets our nutritional requirements,” Ramesh says, explaining that while he continues to enjoy his dosa, he also opts for healthier alternatives like moong dal chila to maintain his protein intake. He carries fruits, dry fruits and fiber biscuits to munch on at work. “The size of my tiffin box has increased to accommodate my mini meals,” he says, with a laugh.
Of the belief that exercise and diet go hand in hand – “if you skip one, you won’t get best results” – Ramesh conferred with Sreemanth to create a simple plan that suited his schedule. “I wasn’t exercising at all before I joined HealthifyMe. I only wanted to get fit, and not build my body, so Sreemanth suggested 20-30 minutes of easy stretches and cardio,” he says, adding, “After I started exercising, I noticed my digestion and energy levels improve drastically.
Within the first three weeks of joining HealthifyMe, when he was “sincere and completely committed to the plan”, Ramesh lost 6 kg. He got busy on a project soon after, but continued to progress steadily towards his goal weight of 73 kg. Sreemanth says Ramesh’s biggest strength was his consistency. “Even if you have a great weight loss plan, it won’t work if you are not disciplined about following it,” he explains. Shilpa feels Ramesh’s interest in the science behind weight loss will be a great asset in the days to come. “Ramesh didn’t just want a plan, he wanted to be educated about why I’d recommend certain foods, etc. That level of dedication will take him a long way,” she says.
At the outset, Ramesh had been a little sceptical about joining a weight loss programme. “I’d read newspaper articles about weight loss and think about the practicality of these suggestions. They seem so ‘English’. How does one ‘diet’ in a home like mine, where the food prepared is so different,” he says.
Today, he is happy to say that he was wrong. “I’m wearing clothes that haven’t fit me in a long time!” he says, adding that working with experts who were so helpful was a big bonus. Ramesh’s experience has been so good that his wife has now joined HealthifyMe, but with a different goal — to gain weight. “I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who needs help in achieving a fitness goal,” he says.
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