Weight loss story: “I followed 16/8 intermittent fasting and did cardio to lose 40 kilos” – Times of India

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Smitha Chenna weighed a staggering 95 kilos when her mother-in-law passed away from several age-related diseases. Few years later, her mother was diagnosed with arthritis, which came as a blow to her. These two events in her life motivated her to get her fitness on track and to lose weight. With proper diet, nutrition and exercise, she managed to lose 53 kilos. Here’s a detailed look at how she did it.
Also read: Weight loss story: This woman lost 16 kilos after two C-section deliveries
Various people in my life have motivated me to lose weight and become healthier. However, my “mother-in-law” had the strongest influence. When I was blessed with a son in 2016 at the age of 36, I weighed about 95 kilograms. After a few years, my mother-in-law passed away from several age-related diseases. But the biggest illness was chronic arthritis, which limited her mobility. I often saw her in severe pain and she struggled to do even basic things like going to the bathroom.

Whenever I visited her, she would talk about her pain and that made a deep impression on me to live a healthy life. After a few years, my mother was also diagnosed with arthritis, and in this day and age, there is no cure for it. To avoid further deterioration of the condition, one has to be active and exercise regularly. I told myself that I definitely need to lose weight and lead a healthy lifestyle so that I do not have to depend on anyone in my later life.

The two years of COVID were so painful for everyone, the offices were closed, the streets were empty. That was the time when I started my journey of transformation from FAT to FIT.

My breakfast: I chose intermittent fasting (16/8) to improve my transformation. I used to drink a lot of water and green tea (2 cups) and black coffee (1 cup) before lunch time.

My lunch: I take my lunch between 1-3pm, depending on my physical activities that day. I make sure my lunch contains a good mix of fiber, protein, fat and other nutrients. I usually avoid carbohydrates, and even if I do eat them, it should be very little.

Fiber: cucumber, broccoli, tomatoes, onions

Protein: chicken, eggs, paneer, sprouts, dal, chirongi seeds

Fat: Nuts (almonds, figs, pista, raisins, etc.) Dried fruits of your choice. You can also use a mixture of seeds (flax seeds, sunflower seeds, melon seeds, till, chia seeds).

Nutrients: Choose fruits with simple carbohydrates (avoid bananas) such as strawberries, oranges, dragon fruit, watermelon.

I paid close attention to portions. I always made sure to eat only enough to last me until the next meal with full energy. It’s not the quantity but the quality of the meal that matters, so it has to be high-energy food.

My dinner: I try to finish my dinner before 7 PM. No snacking in between.

Pre-workout meal: Drink enough water to stay hydrated.

I exercised between 7 and 9 in the morning during my fasting period, this helps with the ultimate fat burning. Since my body is already in a fasting state, I found that any physical activity like running and working out during this time helped me a lot. My body has gone from “glucose burning mode” to “fat burning mode” as I have stayed away from glucose rich food.

Post- workout meal: No meal, green tea or just water to keep me hydrated.

I indulge in (What you eat on your cheat days): My cheating day was usually Sunday. But I was mindful on that day, too. On my cheat days, I ate carbohydrates, for example two scoops of rice with dal and ghee. Sometimes ice cream too (once or twice a month). Initially, I allowed myself a few calories, but as I got used to the diet, I found that I did not crave indulgences. Over time, it became my lifestyle and I was so happy about it.

Low-calorie recipes I swear by: The recipe I follow consists of fresh foods, vegetables, fruits and nuts. I do not prefer fruit juice and prefer to eat them whole.

My workout: Cardio (running/Zumba dancing) – 30 minutes every weekday (Mon-Fri), plus light workouts for 15 to 20 minutes like crunches, planks, lunges, burpees

Fitness secrets I unveiled:

Since I am 40, I have to watch my metabolism and hormones.

– If I eat less, less insulin will be released. This is because the more often you eat, the more often insulin shoots up and stops fat burning.

– Eat only two hearty meals within the 8-hour window of intermittent fasting.

– Stay active the entire time.

The passion to be healthy and fit is what I call “blue flame”. People say that they get dreams when they fall asleep, but my “DREAM”, FIT, does not allow me to sleep.

How do you ensure you don’t lose focus?:
After following my diet plan (two healthy meals a day), my energy flow is constant throughout the day. I no longer feel hungry and am out of the cycle where blood sugar levels suddenly drop. I feel more energy, can work more without getting tired, need less sleep, and my mind works better than ever before.

This actually helps me stay focused.

There are occasions, such as social gatherings, when I have to cut some things out of my diet, such as high- carb or fried foods. But now that I have been on a clean diet for so long, such foods now cause discomfort and redirect my focus back to healthy eating.

Loss of self-confidence. Not only physically, but mentally. I was not confident enough to present myself in front of a group of people, nor did I attend meetings anymore because I was very conscious of my appearance.

I felt tired most of the time and small activities like getting up were difficult for me.

What shape do you see yourself 10 years down the line?

I do not think there is any looking back on this journey. This new lifestyle is now a part of me and I am very comfortable with it. So I will be fit and healthy all my life.

– Diet is the biggest change I have made. It has played a huge role in my transformation, I would put it at 70% of the overall result.

– Eat the right things at the right time. It is very important to stick to a schedule. If you stick to it, you will give your body the time it needs to digest the food and regenerate.

– Getting enough sleep is very important. Try to sleep 8 hours, with a deep sleep of at least 5 hours. Good sleep has been instrumental in healing my body and preparing me for the next day.

Lessons learnt from weight loss:

There is nothing that is impossible, I now follow very strongly one thing

“If you want something to happen, you have to make it happen”

If you have a weight loss story to share, send it to us at toi.health1@gmail.com

These views are not generic in nature. Weight loss results vary for individuals and the views shared in this article offer no guarantee of specific results. The content is not intended in any way as a substitute for professional advice.

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