“I have always been super lazy when it comes to physical exercise or playing a sport. The habit carried on from my childhood,” Delhi-based Ashutosh Mittal tells The Better India.
Over the years, his approach to fitness began reflecting in his weight, he says. Things became worse during the COVID-19 lockdown, and Ashutosh gained more weight between April and December 2020, putting him at 115 kilos on the scale. “During the lockdown, I would sit idle at home the entire day and keep munching on snacks,” he recalls.
However, boredom and the feeling of being heavy eventually pushed him to start walking to attain some level of fitness. “I never intended to lose a lot of weight at once, nor set any targets to achieve the same. Hence, I did not opt for a nutritionist and did not join a gymnasium,” he says.
Choosing walking as his weight loss measure, Amit started with 10,000 steps a day. “Over the next few weeks, I increased the distance to almost 40 km. I walked twice a day, 20 km each. However, my body started responding with pain, so I limited the walks to 30 km a day,” he says, adding that discipline and consistency helped him reduce almost 30 kilos in seven months.
‘Losing 6 kilos a month’
Ashutosh says he soon started feeling more energetic and lighter. “I used to sweat a lot during the initial days, but this gradually reduced. Now, I don’t sweat at all during short distance walks,” he says.
Besides walking, Ashutosh says that he also focussed on his diet. “Earlier, I used to order outside food at least twice a week. I stopped consuming that entirely and never had cheat days. I stuck to simple homemade food and limited my portions,” he says.
He adds, “There were occasions when I went out for lunch or dinner. So I used to order the lightest food available on the menu. Usually, it would include idli or yellow dal with one chapati without butter or ghee.”
Ashutosh says it was hard to maintain control during the initial days of his fitness journey, but eventually, he learned to train his mind to resist temptation.
He adds that he consumed one chapati and ate more dal and vegetables every day. He also included khichdi in his diet. “Khichdi is a dish which I had been eating since childhood but was not very fond of. However, it filled my stomach well during my walking regime and provided me with the necessary calories. I started adding vegetables, and cornflakes and supplemented them with papad, pickle to bring variations in taste. The recipe was a simple homemade item with usual amounts of ghee, red chilly and jeera.”
Ashutosh says that in January 2021, he weighed 110 kilos and by February, had reduced to 102 kilos. “I lost almost six kilos a month to reach 84 kilos by July and decided to keep it constant. I reduced my walking distance to 12-15 km a day,” he adds.
‘Anybody can do it’
Ashutosh says that after his weight loss, he feels energetic, lighter and most importantly, has earned the liberty to eat the food of his choice without worrying about weight gain.
“I know I will burn all the calories with walking, and that they will not accumulate in the body. Many friends and relatives consult me about my weight loss journey, and I feel excited and proud to speak about it,” he says.
Ashutosh says that he has continued the habit of walking by all means. “I avoid using a vehicle and find reasons to walk. Sometimes it is a trip to the grocery store or a market. Sometimes I use my daughter’s bicycle for a change,” he adds.
Suggesting tips from his weight loss journey, Ashutosh says, “Once you control the mind, everything can fall in line. Always listen to your body and respect it. Initially, there will be many distractions, and the best way to deal is to ignore them.”
He adds that there is no need to invest money to lose weight or buy fancy shoes or clothes. “Wear comfortable clothes, listen to music during the activity, and keep changing locations. Have short but realistic goals, like completing the set five minutes quicker than earlier. And if a person like me can do it, anybody and everybody can. Just give it a shot,” he says.
Edited by Divya Sethu