Prakash & Supriya
We were never seriously over-weight, always managing to keep within our range of weight, albeit nearer the higher end rather than the lower end. But we began to feel that we wanted to be fitter and move towards eating right, getting the right nutrients out of our vegetarian diet and not rely on supplements or medications of any sort.
We started being aware of the importance of eating right and exercising for the last 3-4 years and the dangers that lurked in the form of lifestyle diseases like diabetes, thyroid imbalances, heart disease and so on even for people who were still pre-40s. Many of our friends and peers had already fallen prey to one or more of these ailments and were resigned to living their lives with medications. We began taking steps in the right direction to maintain our health and remain fit and disease free. One of us - Prakash - took up running in earnest and soon graduated to long distances running - having completed 8 half marathons, several other intermediate distances and 2 full marathons. The other - Supriya - started circuit training 4-5 times a week and both modified/reduced their diet to a reasonable extent. We read a few books on nutrition and a good diet regime and Supriya even did a 6 week Coursera course on Nutrition for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.
But the real fillip in our lives came when we signed up with TWM. The main motivation to start on this path was Prakash's desire to be a few kilos lighter in order to be able to run a faster marathon. We signed up as a couple because it is easier if a family eats the same type of food with similar portion sizes. Also, it really helps that you have someone to talk and discuss the same subject.
Our nutritionist is Mansi Chaudhary and she has used the right amount of coaxing, cajoling, correcting, checking our food intakes and modified our diets according to our tastes and lifestyle. Her attention to detail in going over our diaries has really helped us in managing to stay on the path.
And mainly for us, it turned out to be huge mindset change - much more than just a diet modification. So many myths we had held dear were broken to pieces.
Myth 1: We need to eat grain based meals to feel full and stay away from starvation point.
Myth 2: A light meal means eating just the grains/cereals and no vegetables.
Myth 3: Being on a diet means that you are always left feeling hungry.
Thanks to TWM and Mansi, we have found that grains/cereal are NOT really the main course, though some basic amount of grains are required to be consumed in a day. We need much less food than we imagine!
Being vegetarians, we found that we had so many options to eat interesting vegetable/pulses preparations as long as we limit the amount of grains we consume. We still eat our favourite foods - we are foodies at heart - but we exercise portion control. We are never allowed to stay hungry - unlike the usual notions of how diets are supposed to be starvation periods. All our meals leave us feeling full and satisfied AND we still end up losing weight and having the energy for our work, home, kids and exercise. This doesn't feel like being on a diet at all!
We are both slimmer than we have been even 10-12 years ago and we are far fitter. But the main change in us is that our minds have been opened up to how much food we really need to eat.
A few points that we would like to tell anyone who is interested in making this important change in their lives at the right time:
1. Prepare to change your thinking about food, the quantity you need and the kind of food you eat at each meal. Rebel, argue, complain - but open your mind to change. And consider non-traditional options for meals also.
2. Be diligent about following the diet advice as well as filling in your food diary truthfully and accurately. It is only when you see your intake each day that you can decide for yourself if what you ate was ok. This is what keeps you steady on the diet.
3. Do it with a friend or a partner. It really helps you keep on the path of good health and nutrition - especially if you live in the same house. It is also easier to manage the food for the family rather than just for one person. After all, good health is not an option. It is mandatory. For each family member.
Once you see the results, you realize that you have been led step by step into a healthier world, where you are your ideal weight. You fit into great clothes and look years younger than you are. You are far fitter and disease free than you were when you started out thinking you know best.