A lot of people have asked me about my weight loss journey and it has been such an exponentially engaging learning curve (which is still happening each second of my life) that I never looked at it from a third person’s perspective. But after almost a year (11 months as of today), and losing about 20 kilos (45 pounds), I now sit down and look back at this journey and feel there is nothing more in my life that has given me the feeling of accomplishment than this weight loss journey. Before this, I never had a quote to follow. Now I have created, constructed, executed and lived only one. I tell people there is only one thing I believe in now:
‘Once you conquer obesity, you can conquer anything‘.
The more I read this, the more my conviction grows. This is what keeps me going, in health, in life. Now I feel whatever may be the obstacles, they won’t be as difficult as before losing weight when I was 105 kg (232 pounds). It keeps me motivated from morning to night, and even in my dreams. I am Udit Gupta, and this is my weight loss journey.
My Life before weight loss
It was not a party, not a celebration. But it was a life without any selectivity for food. I was on a see food diet and I ate whatever I saw. (Wrongly!)Thinking I knew a lot about health from my passion (I was always passionate about health) and my knowledge (I had a major in pharmacy and a post graduate in health sciences) I was unaware what I was doing wrong. I was counting calories (which has huge flaws), doing portion control (keeping myself hungry), doing five or six meals a day (keeping the fat storage hormone Insulin levels always high) and doing late night snacks (NOT allowing Growth Hormone to be secreted). I loved food, I loved fruits, I loved desserts. I ate all! Food gave me happiness. Carbs were my saviour in those moments when your sugar levels crash. To summarize my life, you can see the following pic of me doing what I used to do best.
A very close friend of mine who also had gone through weight loss (about 25 kilos) through restricted eating and heavy workouts came to my place in Mumbai and told me that from next week he is going for an intense plan which involves the ketogenic diet and how he dreams that will get him his dream of six pack abs (He then got to four packs and a currently maintains a very disciplined regime). It got me and my wife excited about joining a gym. However, having joined gym many times (and not following through), I explained to my wife how important it is to plan and cook your meals before you go to the gym because of low energy levels post workout which makes the cooking difficult. After a lot of planning ahead about what our meals would look like for the next fifteen days (and buying a lot of stuff), we joined a gym. However, because of learning from my mistakes, we were cautious and determined. And because I was at a point where I could not have quit one more time, my goal was clear. To remove the tag of a ‘fat’ person. And from there we never looked back. Just to show what I looked like before, please see the following pic of me on vacation in Madhya Pradesh before I decided to lose weight:
The process had three sides to it. First was the diet part which required discipline, efforts, restraints and some pain. For the most part it was very difficult. When you weigh so much you naturally develop some sort of insulin resistance (your cells don’t get enough glucose to convert into energy) and hence feel weak all the time. To overcome this I started eating soup-y foods (dal/lentils, soups, soups with vegetables) so I feel full. I also started doing four meals a day without snacking. To make sure I don’t go hungry between meals, I increased fat in my diet. Eventually I wanted to get to two (which I did, sometimes even one meal a day is sufficient), but at that time doing four meals was quite difficult in itself for me.
‘If you are trying to lose weight, find the right process for yourself. See it from all angles. Only diet or only exercise will not be sustainable in the long run. You have to see this as a multifaceted task. Once you cover all bases, you make the process sustainable!’
Workouts were the second aspect. Though extremely difficult for me because of lack of any substantial exercise in god knows how many years, I was determined and ready to face the ‘sore-ness’ and ‘after-burns’ of exercise. Because of my continuous hunger, being at the gym also took my mind off food and for the about two hours, I forgot that I was hungry. This really helped me. I also focused mostly on strength training and not on cardio, as first my heart was not in a shape to run for longer periods and second real fat burning happens via strength training and not via counting burned calories during a cardio session.
‘If you are trying to lose weight, joining a gym could fasten the process. Though not mandatory for fat burning, gym does help your muscles develop, it also helps contouring and tightening of lose parts and gives you a sense of doing something good with your life.’
Thirdly and most importantly (which changed my life forever-making the whole process sustainable), was my knowledge. I used ALL my free time to educate myself about what makes us fat, why it is so difficult to lose weight, and why does counting calories never work for anybody. It is here where I leaned to make the process sustainable and make sure I never gain any of the weight back. It is worth noting that because of heavy monsoons in Mumbai it is not possible for me currently to go to the gym everyday or every week, but I still maintain the life of a very active person because now I know what works and what doesn’t. This took plenty of time and it was not possible for me to also see and design the work outs for myself in addition to learning new things (and massaging myself with balms and oils to manage the after work out soreness). Hence I hired a personal trainer. The trainer was as determined as I was and like a guru, helped me with the right information regarding workouts, only asked me to push when it was required, and kept me motivated through positive sessions, reinforcements and pep-talks. For someone who wants to lose weight, every pep talk and cheer counts. Each single one of them! Till the time you discover your lean version, people around you keep you motivated.
‘If you’re trying to lose weight, surround yourself with people who motivate you to do good. Get rid of those who bring you down! If you are hiring a trainer, hire one who is committed and knows about human body in great detail.’
My body was not used to exercise, eating right or anything good. Because of my determination and continuous learning, I started losing weight right away. From week one. I focused a lot on keeping my liver clean and detoxified so I get faster results, and it worked like a charm. Between heavy muscle pains, starvation between diets and keeping myself busy with continuous reading, I lost about 4 kilos (8.8 pounds) in first month. In the coming two months I would lose 5 more kilos (11 pounds), making it a total of 9 kilos (19.8 pounds) in the first three months. After four or five kilos, the results start to show and people start to notice you. This is me after a month, two months, and three months of my weight loss.
What makes it sustainable?
It became clear to me and people around me- I am set on a path and would get somewhere. However till now I was getting a lot of cravings, bodyaches and the process was still not as smooth as it should have been. It is now where I discovered about the importance of the mineral potassium and how much we need of it. Although the lessons I have learned during weight loss and numerous and each would require a blog to detail, the most important lesson during weight loss is realizing how much potassium you require. We need about 4700 milligram of potassium everyday for our body to function normally. Potassium helps in muscle tone, providing cells to generate energy from glucose in addition to other nutrients, and as heart is also a muscle, keeps heart rhythms in check. In addition it also helps maintain sodium potassium balance, healthy electrolyte levels, and is generally known as a calming mineral. Most people in modern world are deficient in potassium. Sodium and glucose deplete potassium. This makes it worse for potassium as the already deficient mineral is now further less absorbed due to excessive salt and sugar intake in modern diet. I learned that we need about 300 to 350 grams of green leafy vegetables everyday to ensure the potassium levels are maintained. Before this I was very particular about the amount of food I eat, because I used to believe in portion control and counting calories. It is this basic, simple, elementary science of mineral deficiency that most people, professionals, even geniuses (although if they miss this are they really geniuses?) miss. When I started consuming about 300 grams of vegetables (which was difficult initially because they’re vegetables, eek!), my liver functions become almost instantaneously better, my cells received faster energy from lesser food, my muscle toning became much, much better (thus giving me better posture and better energy at the gym) and my fat burning enhanced. After a month I was further down by 5 kilos (11 pounds), and it was all due to potassium. To make things better, I started consuming apple cider vinegar which also helps the body get rid of yeast and increase the absorption of potassium. These two decisions would be the major game changers and would make my (or anyone’s) weight loss sustainable and permanent. They would do that mainly by cleaning the liver, major organs and my gut so much that my body would be in a better position to handle the occasional sugar toxicity or the cheat meal. Now I tell people who want to lose weight this should be their first step to a healthy version of themselves.
‘If you’re trying to lose weight, begin this by removing all sugar and processed carbs from your meal. Cut down the other grains to zero (or close to zero), and increase on vegetables to about 500 grams a day. To make sure you are satisfied, increase healthy fats in your diet which ensure your cell formation and development keeps happening.’
My Life Now
Through regularly increased levels of potassium, working massively on my gut health so most of the nutrients from the food I eat are absorbed, working out often, improved sleep and maintaining a positive outlook in life, I weigh now 84 kilos (185 pounds). It has been eleven months since I started my journey, and what a time it has been! Now I consume two meals a day, and tea in the morning and evening, and that’s it. Most of my meals would have about 250 to 300 grams of vegetables in some form (soups, salads, smoothies, stir fry vegetables), some sort of protein (about 90 grams a day), considerable healthy fats (about 50 to 60 grams a day of extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, butter, ghee, nuts and seeds etc) and some sort of carbohydrates which give me enough benefits so it makes sense to consume them (like 100 grams of kefir a day or occasional two dates a day). While I can eat more or less, this is what I need now. I don’t need more food because my gut takes out maximum nutrition from these. I don’t workout everyday now. I take some walks and workout on some days. The idea is to keep making health better. Hence I am taking many health products now which I don’t use everyday, but use them when I want their benefits. I will post a blog on those separately but some of the products I use as supplements currently are: Apple Cider Vinegar, Jamun Vinegar, Tulsi/Holy Basil Juice, Wheatgrass Juice, Barleygrass Juice, Spirulina powder, Garcinia cambogia fruit, Cinnamon, Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Mulethi (Licorice) to name a few. While I do not recommend all of them for anybody to lose weight, apple cider vinegar is recommended for almost everybody. Rest depends on their body type and where they are currently in their ‘achieving optimum health’ process. My weight is at a point where I feel twenty years younger (because I used to feel 10 years older at 105 kilos), my skin looks like I have undergone expensive treatments, my energy levels are high without any caffeine and my mental outlook is stronger than before. This is how I look currently:
What’s next for me?
Even though I weigh still a bit more (7 kilos or 15.4 pounds) than what my body weight should be ideally, most of this extra fat is subcutaneous and not visceral. However, I would like to see myself as 77 kilos (169.7 pounds) which is less that what I used to weigh in my teen years (I used to weight 78 kilos or 172 pounds at the beginning of university). However, the fat person in me has died, food is no longer a emotion, carbs are just something which could easily be avoided, and complete nutrition is what I strive. I want to achieve this goal via healthy eating, frequent walking and exercising often. I have set a timeline of about six months for me to achieve this, and I intend to update this blog in six months to tell you that story as well! I fully acknowledge and appreciate how difficult it is to lose weight, and I now motivate and encourage people to do the right things so that they can lose weight and get healthier.
‘If you’ve lost a lot of weight and have reached a deadlock, you can do new things to keep yourself motivated. Find a gym buddy, do a trek or a hike. Or engage with the community. You will find if you are in the best health, you can contribute positively in other people’s lives. That will keep you motivated.’
Because I also know how almost nobody knows the real mechanism how fat is lost from body, I now also educate others so that people who strive for better health can do so. This gives me a feeling of satisfaction that my knowledge is helping others and a feeling of contributing to the society. I intend to do this for life. For this I also have to have updated correct knowledge and I read in most of my free time about health sciences. Everybody who wants to lose weight needs support, and I provide them a combination of right knowledge and support so people can become healthier, younger, better versions of themselves. If you are someone who needs help doing so, wants to share something regarding their health journey or simply wants to ask me questions, you can reach me on firstname.lastname@example.org or +917045647489 or post a comment below. Have a great day and a happy, healthy life!