At the peak of the lockdown, when the gyms were closed, the only option left for people looking to get their exercises done was improvisation. Running, jogging, cycling – all sorts of outdoor activities were frowned upon for obvious reasons. To get around the problem, almost everyone flocked towards the home gym equipment, which, unfortunately, seemed lucrative only on the shelves of the retail stores. Lifting in your pajamas sounds exciting, but in reality, a lot of people found out home gyms being visibly demotivating, and I was one of them. Even after splurging on hybrid dumbbells and protein shakes, I found myself back on the couch every afternoon at the end of the work-from-home drudgery. Netflix and chill (well, almost) sounded much better than muscle flex and grill. Result? My weight shot up from a slightly overweight 78 KG to borderline obese 95 kg.
But the downfall did not restrict itself to increased weight. With every ounce of fat, my body also welcomed a plethora of physical problems. Without enough mobility, my reflexes went out of the roof. I felt drained throughout the day, and running errands seemed a Sisyphean task. I started to grow pain all over my body- Joint ache, muscle pain, stiffness- all in all, I became a pain magnet. Then, one day, I took the ladder to fix a broken bulb, missed one step while getting off the ladder, and hurt my hip flexor muscle. With the excruciating pain, I overcame the inertia- this needs to stop. Now. A week later, when my legs got back their functionality, I went straight to the weighing scale in the morning. The first glance at the number on the screen sank my soul. The amount of disappointment and disgust that flooded my mind at that moment was unimaginable. Then and there, I picked up the fragments of my self-worth and set the target. Two months, 10 kilos. A quick search on the internet will advise you against it, but I had hit rock bottom, and there was no going back. I dedicated another week to chalk out the most appropriate diet plan for my goal. And on September 1st, 2021, I embarked on this weight loss journey.
The fast 800
I had my eyes set on this plan long ago when I first learned about this. As an individual who was always on the verge of going beyond the overweight line, I kept myself updated on the latest diet plans trends (and fads), and in those days, The Fast 800 was the rage. As advised by Dr. Michael Mosley, the theory is simple at the core. For a limited period of time, one has to restrict the calorie intake, 800 calories to be exact, and maintain a specific quality of consumption, that is, food rich in fat and protein instead of carbohydrates. The traditional dietary knowledge recommends that a healthy male body consumes approximately 2500-3000 calories, and a healthy female body consumes approximately 2000-2500 calories to function properly. Advising 800 calories to any individual is going to be a nutritionist’s nightmare. But Dr. Mosley has precisely done so. In his book the fast 800, he advocates for a diet that can bring a remarkable result to overweight and obese patients. I chose to place my bet on Dr. Mosley.
According to Fast 800 theory, the maximum duration of such a diet should be three months. I opted for a relatively conservative approach; I allowed only a month to incorporate the idea into my lifestyle. From my daily palates, I replaced all the food that is made of carbohydrates with fat-rich and protein-laden intakes. I stopped eating rice for dinner; instead, I chose Baked chicken breast with grilled veggies. I skipped breakfast completely, and a bowl of walnut-almond mix or occasional apple with peanut butter was my go-to dish for lunch. As long as the macros in my food remained devoted towards the goal, my diet was sorted. I can replace any food with a comparable alternative; the catch was to ensure that the total calorie consumption stays below 800-900 calories per day.
On October 1st, I weighed myself again. Phew! The scale went down to 88 kilos, an 8 kg drop from what I started with. I decided to discontinue the diet but devoted myself to the “Mosley Lifestyle.” Intermittent fasting (14-hour window of absolutely 0 calorie intake, mainly between dinner and brunch) and natural eating, just fewer carbs and more protein and fat, are the keystones of this diet style. Dr. Mosley also recommends having a day or two with 800 calories, but I normally find my schedule too busy for 800 calories. Now that the gyms are open, I emphasize intermittent fasting coupled with a no-carb diet rather than 800 calories a day. And the result continues to be exciting, as, on November 2nd, my weighing scale indicated 85 kilos- making a total loss of 10 kilos within two months.
This is by no means medical advice or suggestion. I am not an expert who provides tips on nutrition or anything remotely related to health. But this journey has been thrilling, and I feel healthier than ever before. I paid close attention to my body while following the diet, and apart from occasional hunger pangs (especially in the first week at the beginning of the diet) and feeling a bit cold in the hands and feet, no alarming issue emerged. I monitored my blood levels, followed up with a regular checkup with my physician, and the results did not indicate anything adverse for my health. A statutory caution- everyone should do their due diligence before adapting to any kind of nutritional regime, and this one is no different. Moreover, it is essential to customize the plan accordingly to accommodate the best features of the plan to your needs and lifestyle. I never restricted below 800 calories, but I also made sure not to go over 950-1000 calories. I found out my sweet spot to be around that much consumption, and it gave me the freedom to adapt the plan to my lifestyle. I can regularly cherish occasional treats yet maintain a healthy eating habit and exercising schedule. It certainly has provided me with the boost in confidence that I was always looking for. Now I am aware of my body and its needs more than ever. To me, this realization is the most rewarding milestone of my dietary journey.