Health Star of the Week: Dedication was the Key to Surya Kumar Raja's Weight Loss
Surya Kumar raja weighed more than a quintal when his doctor raised an alarm about his lumbar back pain. Surya had two options - lose weight or go under the knife. He chose the earlier option. Playing the one-man-army role Surya battled junk food cravings and exercise sores to reach his ideal weight.
Name: Surya Kumar Raja
Age: 40 years
Weight before (January, 2011): 123 Kgs
Weight now (May 2013): 88 Kgs
When did you realise that you were over weight? Was it a ‘Happy realisation’ or a medical issue?
I realised I was overweight when I had a lumbar back problem. People who carry more weight around their midsection are at a greater risk for obesity-related health problems. This problem had become my biggest handicap when it came to moving around, carrying out my daily chores or even the simplest of tasks, such as going to the toilet. The doctor advised me to undergo surgery, which I wanted to avert at this age. So I mustered my courage and determination and decided to lose weight!
How did you begin your weight loss? Tell us about the baby steps that you look, like avoiding junk or taking a walk after lunch, etc?
My weight loss journey was very painful in the beginning. Every morning I used to push myself into walking, jogging and following a diet. The problem with obese people like me is that we tend to give up easily. Our weight not only pulls us down physically but mentally too!
It was very difficult to give up junk food and alcohol completely. These were my addiction for a good number of years. Meanwhile, I realised that that a man like me needed special guidance may be a fitness trainer who would chalk down a plan for me and my weight loss. So it was in the first week of January, 2011 I finally joined a gym ( Talwarkar’s)
Here I will also accept the fact that there were many times I would feel like bunking my gym as a result of my lethargic behavior. I would tell myself how depressing my future would be if I stuck to this frame of mine. This played a pivotal role in inspiring me and pushing me to the finish line.
Tell us about your exercise regime? How difficult was it in the beginning to exercise? What were your biggest concerns?
I started with cardio activity on the treadmill, cycle and also elliptical. A major concern for me was the abdominal area and thighs, and with my restricted movements (due to back pain) a trainer had to be around me all the time so I don’t hurt myself. But slowly and steadily I was on track. And trust me when I say this, seeing your waist tyres turn into handles IS an amazing feeling!
Tell us about your diet? What type of changes did you do? Did your family help you or join you in your efforts?
I completely avoided alcohol, junk food and road side food. I had no moral support from my family. I did everything on my own from the shopping for groceries and also cooking. This journey taught me a lot of things. By the end of my weight loss I was also a changed person. I was self reliant!
Tell us about your diet in detail?
Every morning I ate 1 tbsp of Methi seeds (soaked overnight) morning with 2 glasses of lukewarm water
Pre workout (optional): 5 almonds + 5 walnuts with any 1 fruit
Breakfast: 3tbsp of oats with a plate of cut fruits or 150 ml cow’s skim milk with 3tbsp of wheat flakes (no sugar)+ 2-3 egg whites
Morning snack: 1 cup green tea (no sugar / honey - can add 2 drops of lime juice) + 1 apple or pear or a glass of coconut water
Lunch: 2 chapattis (wheat + flaxseeds - no oil / ghee to be added)
+ 1 cup any green vegetable with 1/4 cup of dal +1 plate of raw vegetable salad / raita +1 cup of slim curd
Evening snack:1 cup green tea (no sugar / honey - can add 2 drops of lime juice) +1 cup of boiled green moong with vegetables & lime juice or 2-3 oats / ragi biscuits
Dinner:1 bowl of vegetable soup (no cream / cornstarch) + a med size chicken breast pc grilled / tandoori + a plate of vegetable raita
1 jowar / bajra roti+ 1 cup green leafy vegetable with grilled fish / chicken+ 1 glass of buttermilk
Tell us about the happiness or achievements, post weight loss.
I have become more confident now. I can work longer hours without getting tired. With my newly acquired eating habits I seldom fall sick, my back pain has reduced tremendously though I still follow my medication that will end after a time. My target is to lose more 15 kgs to reach my ideal weight. I realised that more than losing weight maintaining the lost weight is more important and difficult.