Deepali Poonacha describes how she lost weight, by battling her inertia and adjusting her workouts on the basis of her daily energy level.

In 11 months, I shed 12 kg. From May 1st, 2016 to April 1st, 2017, my weight went down from 72.5 kg to 60.5. I went from wearing M/L sized clothing to S/XS in most brands.

My waist and hips have also shrunk. From 32″ and 39 inches”, my waist and hips are down to 27.5 and 36.8 inches respectively. Journeying from being overweight (BMI 27.3) to slim (23.2), was indeed, a memorable, yet strenuous one.

How it all started

My biggest battle was with the inertia of my own habits. Changing these called for making conscious decisions, to arrive where I stand today. I began by monitoring my diet; I started controlling my portions and completely avoided any kind of greasy fast food. Organic and fresh food were my go-to foods for the first 6 months during my weight loss.

I steered clear of white bread and rotis, and instead starting having brown rice and multigrain bread once a week. The only way I succeeded in making these changes was by disciplining myself and not getting tempted when I would go out with friends. I reduced my sugar intake by adding honey. My main diet was as follows:

Morning

  • Toasted oats+ Skimmed milk+ Honey + Walnuts (3-4)+ Grapes/Bananas/Apples (1/4thcup) + Protein powder + ½ tsp peanut butter
  • Poha or Upma (alternate day)

Afternoon

  • Oats with any vegetable curry or a chicken salad with low fat dressing

Evening

Night

  • 1 bowl of makhanas + 1 bowl of clear soup
  • Dark chocolate or a cup of black tea with lemon to curb the midnight cravings

Foreverfit Deepali Poonacha

Focus on cardio and core training

When I first started working out, I could only manage 45 minutes to an hour because of my low stamina. I mostly concentrated on cardio and my core. Over the course of the first two months I lost over 5 kg but my muscles were loose and I felt extremely weak.

After that, my workout increased to one and a half to two hours, and my instructor advised me to focus on one body part every day. Since I lost a lot of weight from my torso, I looked a little disproportionate, and so the main focus was on working on every body part and not neglecting any of them.

My exercise regime every week

  • Monday: Shoulders
  • Tuesday: Back
  • Wednesday: Legs
  • Thursday: Biceps/ Triceps
  • Friday: Abs/ Core
  • Saturday: Overall

I continued with this pattern for the next 4 months following which I took on weights.

My current status 

  • 70 kg – dead lifts
  • 60-70 kg – weighted squats

I mostly use 7.5- 15 kg dumbbells for most of my chest/shoulders/biceps/triceps.

Mind control is the challenge

My challenge was food monitoring and dealing with my body stiffness, at the gym. Being genetically gifted, I took my body for granted- that’s how I ended up gaining a lot of weight over the years. I was in for a reality check when I went to the gym after nearly 5-6 years. I was ashamed at my lack of flexibility and strength – even the smallest of ab crunches would kill my spirit.

This taught me that controlling your mind is what is the most important aspect of fitness. Appreciating food, not for comfort- but as sustenance – was a major challenge that I had to face. But with time as I saw results my confidence level increased.

I have always been a person who if pushed to do something, gives it her best shot. And so, when my parents constantly reproached me and showed concern over my lack of a healthy appearance, it really pushed me to achieve my full potential, and guided along by my trainer’s help, I achieved it.

Boost in confidence

My transformation has affected my life tremendously. I feel very confident about my body. I feel so much lighter and happier. My perspective on food and gratification has also altered: I used to think that eating something delicious would make me happy, but now I’ve come to the realization that it’s those 2 hours at the gym that I love instead.

Being unfit is more than just a physical state – it alters your mood and may prove harmful for your mental state. Now, I feel more optimistic in general, and less stressed.

Find your own path and stick to it

My only piece of advice is never to look at other people’s journeys and imitate them – it’s important to get inspired but it’s not healthy to imitate, because as individuals we should listen to what our body is trying to say.

It’s  important to be conscious of your own body’s needs and respect your individuality. There are times I don’t feel as strong as I did the previous day, and I just adjust my workout level accordingly. For instance you could set at least 5 hardcore workout days and 2 slightly less intense days, and see what works best for you.

In the end, it’s your journey – and you are the best person to tell your own story!

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