“Sustainability is the key to weight loss success” – Vaishnavi Prasad #BeLikeHer

I look at the pictures that she’s sent me. And at first glance, it doesn’t look like she could’ve been anything but this gorgeous. This girl with her sculpted jaw, pouty lips and perfect eye liner. But this wasn’t overnight and by no means effortless. Meet Vaishnavi Prasad (27), who’s endured and empowered herself along her 18 month, 40 kilo weight-loss journey after a fruitless 7 years.

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The beginning

 “Everyone has one tipping point – some thing that breaks the camel’s back. For me, it was seeing triple digits on the scale. I just couldn’t fool myself anymore. I simply had to start losing weight.” And it was anything but easy. The conventional methods didn’t work. The dieting didn’t work. She couldn’t find the right exercise routine. She was on medications that contributed to weight gain. The result was that she ended up depressed and had to be hospitalized because she reached a point where she thought starving would result in weight loss. The hospital visit had its pros though. It ended up kick-starting her substantial weight loss. Once she was discharged from the hospital, she was told she no longer needed the medications that were once keeping her weight up. And so it began.

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The plan

“I don’t want this piece to be some inspirational before-after thing” she clarifies. She wants people to just take inspiration from her story like millions of others out there and motivate themselves to find what works for them. For her, the exercise had to be not monotonous. She chose swimming, tried yoga and even running and importantly mixed it up.

“Sustainability is the key to anything. Getting bored of a workout routine isn’t going to help. Similarly, I never understand when people say they “go on a diet”. A diet has to be a lifestyle change. So I incorporated my exercise and implemented changes in the way I ate. I ate 6-7 small meals a day instead of 3 big ones. The key is to help your brain trick your stomach into thinking it’s full instead of starving it.”

Small meals allow good digestion without letting you go hungry and this is how the early caveman did it. Along the way, we discovered food storage and starting hoarding in much more than we needed.

The other thing is being motivated at all times.

“You absolutely need to want it for yourself to make it happen. You can get inspired by other people’s stories and other people’s techniques but you can’t copy it. You have to figure out what works for you and for your body.”

The challenges

“Pushing yourself every single day is a definite challenge. And balancing the trinity of work life, personal life and workouts.” She realized that any given day she could have at most 2/3 of those. She’s thankful that her work place accepted her work timings and worked with her to help her achieve her results on her workout front. This, she admits was crucial to her endurance at it.

“Eating local produce and the staples it offers are also a great way to keep yourself fit when traveling. The food of the places is a staple for a reason. It suits the body to eat that and digests better than what you would otherwise eat.”

“Watching calories is one thing. But you could snack on a Snickers bar and ingest 300 empty calories or eat a full plate of fried vegetables for half of that. Choosing what you eat is very important.”

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She also suggests social media as a way of keeping yourself motivated.

“You should share your journey with someone, anyone. The social media is a great platform. It could be just your closest friends or the whole world. It forces you to be true to yourself and stick to it so as to be able to show results. The constant pressure is great for someone like me. That might work for you or it has to be something else that you discover along the way.”

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The bottom line

“I don’t want to give advice because everyone has something that’s different for them – their body shapes, their types, genetics, whatever. It’s most important to be healthy at any age. And to be happy with how you look. Just run up a flight of stairs. And check how long it takes for you to catch your breath. If it’s less than 15 seconds, you’re good. Else, get moving and work your way out of the host of problems that obesity come with. That’s what scared me most – that I would one day be 40 and couldn’t trek with friends because I had arthritic knees from obesity, or that I could suffer a premature heart attack. Or any of that. And really that’s what motivated me to get started.”

So is she at her target weight?

“Kind of. I’m in the zone. I could lose a few more kilos but I’m perfectly happy where I am.”

Atta girl.

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