Yashesh is a friend who lives in Mumbai, India, with his lovely wife, Cherry. An insulin-dependent diabetic for years, he has now accomplished what we all have within us to achieve, but for one reason or another, we so often fail to see it through. His story is truly inspirational due to his unyielding determination to get his health back on track. Yashesh is proof that if you want it enough it and you're willing to work hard for it - there are no shortcuts! - you can improve your quality of life in ways you may not have been able to imagine.
Here is Yashesh's story:
44 kilos in 14 months. What started off as a 10 kilo goal kept growing, as I kept shrinking. More than the kilos, I’ve mostly done away with insulin and reduced both my diabetes and hyper tension medicines to half. Those are tangible; the intangibles are huge. I ‘feel’ much better. Since this is a pretty visible change, many have asked me how I did it, some just in passing, others over long chats and calls. I’m no life coach (that term gets me riled up), nor fitness instructor - nope, none of those. It’s more a ‘been there, done that’.
I know what you’re going through.
Some weeks back, a gym acquaintance was sharing some pearls of wisdom - about physical ability, weight training and pushing hard. And how differently he would've done it. He weighed 77 kilos. I suggested that he strap on a 49 kilo bag, then imagine that he has a stent in his heart, and the fear that every pain in the chest or left hand could be a sign of a heart problem; burden your mind and body with these, I said, and then try it. The first day I cycled, I managed 5 kms. I still remember coming back thrilled and telling my wife about doing my first 10 kms! My first 50 I put on Facebook. Now I’ve done a handful of triple figures, and many close to that. I’ve pushed myself. I still do. Can I push more? Maybe. With my medical history, the first thing I needed was to get my doctor's stamp of approval. The second, listening to the gut. This is key. Don’t push when you’re not feeling comfortable. Go easy on bad days, more so when the mind hesitates to be in sync with the body. You’re getting into this for yourself. And only that. Of course, for your nearest and dearest ones too. But it’s not for the hundred likes on Facebook, even though that helps, is tempting and has a feel-good factor to it. All this wasn’t easy. Neither was being on the receiving end of folks giving advice.
Again, advice is not my intent. Like I said earlier, it’s more a ‘been there, done that’. If I can help others, I’ll be happy. Let me give it a shot.
The most critical aspect to embrace: no shortcuts, no excuses, no cheating. Simple. Temptation knows no bounds.
An inked paper which lists exotic sounding eats, a whiff of fresh bread, the lust-able French fries, a rainy morning, a bit of flu or a creaky lower back…endless. Do not succumb. And if you do, make up for it. This next one is key -- burn a lot more than you consume. And do the latter, very wisely. There is no other way. Be obsessive. Burn it whichever way you like. I’ve cycled, gym-ed, run, walked. Cycling tops my list. But if it’s raining and flooded, I walk. Better still, run. 12 hours or longer work days? Find ways to shorten them. Work faster, better. Manage your time efficiently. Travelling for more than a day? Carry your sneakers and run in the gym or better, the streets. It’s a great way to discover a city and a neighborhood. If you’re working for yourself, it’s easy. If you work for someone else, speak to your boss. If you mean well for the organisation, they will mean well for you. Attending a birthday party which has nothing that meets the diet - nibble wisely and then head out, leave early if you must, pick up some grilled chicken (without the butter or bread) or go home and make yourself a bowlful of porridge with water.
You will upset some people who do not understand.
Many will say, make today an exception - and every time that happens, keep in mind that you need to run close to 10 kms to burn 1000 calories—that’s just a small burger and a small portion of fries. All this doesn’t mean I turned into a monk. I’ve partied, gone out, travelled. Yes, there was a lot that I had to stay away from, but in hindsight it wasn’t a big deal. I’ve had a litre of Urrack (a Goan spirit) on some weekends, but then nothing for 5 to 6 weeks. I’ve enjoyed steaks, but kept away from the mash and the fried. Had a burger, but skipped the bread (or scooped it out). Had a spoonful of dessert and then cycled half an hour extra.
There is no free parking. It's the first few weeks that are difficult. But after 10 months of living this way, my earlier existence seems horrific! Trust me, it’s worth it.
It’s the small benefits that add up.
The safety belt in the aircraft fits, easily. The fact that I can walk into any store and get clothes my size…and not sheepishly ask for an XXL or XXXL but instead walk away with a L!
A lot of this I owe to my wife. She is the better half. In every way. Not only did she support me, but made sure that I had the right kind of food, every day, all 5 meals for 10 long months! If I was craving something, she found a way of making it without the heavy calories added on, and besides, she just helped keep me focused. (And she’s a fab, fab cook! You can check her recipes on www.notwithoutmyskillet.com) If you want to get on this journey, it will help immensely if you find someone who can play the role of partner, wingman or whatever term you may like to use. I’ve had a few. They commit to cooking the right things for a dinner at home, will change restaurants so I would have ample choice, and more importantly, offer words of encouragement - all that helps. To end, all I’d like to say is give it a shot. It’s a whole different and better world awaiting you. Godspeed.
Thank you for sharing your incredible story Yashesh! If you're able to get up and move, make the very most of it. And make food choices that will help you and not hurt you further. You will reap the benefits before you know it and that will help you to continue on the road to feeling better. And if you don't have health problems at the moment but know that due to your lifestyle it's only a matter of time before you do, don't wait to make changes!
For more personal stories you can read Tammy's story about how she embraced the vegan lifestyle