Weight loss story: “I eat homemade meals and do 5 days of strength training to stay in shape” – Times of India

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The Flat Belly Code

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Alka Gupta was always a healthy young woman – ‘khate peete ghar ki,’ she says. But it was during her college days that she decided to shed kilos. She followed fad diets and cardio workouts, which did not help at all, rather left her with no energy and poor skin health. She had a hard time managing her weight after her pregnancies, which led to several health issues. But it was when her mother showed tremendous concerns over her health, that she decided to lose weight the healthy way and to lead a fit lifestyle. Here’s what Alka did to lose 38 kilos!

Also read: Weight loss story: “Protein was a major part of my diet and I did a combination of strength and HIIT training to lose 13 kilos”

Name: Alka Gupta

Occupation: Risk & Compliance Specialist

Age: 40 yrs

Height: 4feet 11inches

Location: Singapore

The Flat Belly Code

Highest weight recorded: 85kgs

Weight loss: 38kgs
I was quite healthy ‘khate peete ghar ki’ since childhood but did not realise that I wanna be “healthy” in real terms until my college days. Like many, I also followed FAD diets and did cardio day & night to reduce weight faster and shed several kilos. But I was left with minimal energy, saggy & dull skin. Due to an unsustainable diet, I gained back the weight. After some time, something else triggered and I followed the same process & reduced again & the same happened a few more times and the things got worse after I gave birth to my kids (now they are 9yrs and 5yrs old) via. Caesarean. Due to being overweight, I was unable to bend my knees, developed severe knee pain, back pain among others along with postpartum depression. My office work got super hectic in Q3 & Q4 2019 that eventually has taken a toll on my physical, mental & emotional well-being.
In Dec 2019, I travelled back home (India) to meet my family. The moment my mother saw me she started scolding me (rather than loving & pampering me as we met almost after 2 yrs). She said “what have you done to yourself; how will you be able to take care of yourself & your kids”. My mother’s words hit me hard, so I promise to her & to myself that once I reach Singapore I will take out time for myself & work on my health.
My breakfast: Oats, raisins, apple, tofu
My lunch: White Rice/ Chapati, Paneer/lentils/ legumes, Veggie, Curd, salad
My Dinner: White Rice/ Chapati, Soya nuggets, Veggie
Evening meal: Milk tea, bread, besan chilla/ chana chaat/ sattu drink
Pre-workout meal: 1 litre plain water and black coffee
Post-workout meal: Whey Protein
I don’t believe in cheat meals as I enjoy my current lifestyle and eating habits. But it’s quite obvious to have cravings and to cater to those I ensure that I follow mindful eating. I prefer homemade food so that I can control the ingredients and calories as we don’t know what all & how much goes in outside food. Some food items I like to indulge in are Indian home made sweets like halwa, kheer, ladoo.
Low-calorie recipes I swear by: I swear by low calories protein Ice cream which I prepare using 1 scoop chocolate whey protein, 1 tsp elaichi powder/ vanilla essence and 100g yoghurt. I put all the ingredients and blend them into a smooth mixer before freezing them.
My weekly fitness regime includes 5 days of strength training, 1 day of power yoga and completing a minimum of 10k steps every day. These days I’ve started learning gymnastics too.
How much do you lose and in what duration?: My weight was 85kgs after my first pregnancy in 2012. By doing cardio on & off and following several fad diets or I would say by starving myself, I reduced some weight but never maintained. After giving birth to my second child in 2016, my weight was 2016 and re-again I followed the same process and shed some kilos but energy levels were too low. On 1 Jan 2020, my weight was 70 kgs & then after following quantified nutrition & strength training I lost 23Kgs by May 2021 & maintaining the same until now though positive changes are happening constantly.
It’s to keep it simple. As cliché as it sounds, the secret ingredient is discipline and consistency in diet and physical workouts. Rome wasn’t built in a day and so we must understand that transforming yourself physically takes time with daily awareness. The idea is to take each day as it comes and do the bare essentials (diet and workout) religiously and not lose sight of the goal.
Which food are you supposed to avoid?: I don’t think you are required to avoid any food item you like/ relish the most. Just make sure to control its portion or quantify it and include it in your diet plan to make it sustainable. I’ve designed my diet to include foods which I enjoy eating every day and support my fitness goals at the same time.
Determination always helps in reaching goals! I don’t rely on motivation. Motivation is the result of actions that we take. We need to visualize our goals and ask ourselves why we started this. Our reasons must be stronger than our excuses to move things ahead. “Train your mind, your body is bound to follow”.
How do you ensure that you don’t lose focus: Whenever I lose focus, I just go back in and revisit the time when I was most unhealthy. Having reached where I am today gives me a sense of pride and pumps me to hustle and stay on track. I also make sure to add variety to my activity regime with elements like strength training, yoga, gymnastics, etc. to keep it interesting and improve my overall fitness.
Being overweight can result in feeling less energetic, can make our day-to-day life tasks difficult like difficulty in walking, stair climbing, playing with kids etc. This can further result in a lot of medical complications that can hamper our overall experience of life. It can also take a toll on our self-confidence and somewhere we miss tasting the essence of life.
What shape do you see yourself 10 years down the line?: I just want to be 1 percent better everyday than what I am today for the rest of my life. Fitness is not a destination but a journey.
I prefer home-cooked quantified food and eat similar food mostly. The day I have to attend any social gathering I plan my diet & workout accordingly to avoid eating in surplus. On a daily basis I track my calories, workouts, water intake, steps and most importantly sleep. I ensure to sleep 7-8 hrs daily & make it a habit of sleeping & waking up at the same time.
Lessons learnt from weight loss: I believe that until & unless you enjoy the process you won’t be able to make fitness part of your lifestyle. Always keep your fitness regime simple & scientific without getting trapped in shortcuts/ crash diets for sustainability. Make it a habit as simple as brushing your teeth. Don’t make weight loss your goal, make fitness part of your lifestyle then everything will fall into place. Along with following a strength training plan & quantified nutrition, try to stay well hydrated, manage stress, sleep well and try to stay close to nature; the most under-rated and FOC things. Everyone has the same 24 hours a day, it just depends how you utilize them by prioritizing the tasks in your to-do list.
If you are unsure how to take that first step, look for fitness expert support. Fittr Community is one of the platforms where you’ll surely get all the support and guidance which you are looking for to kick start your journey.
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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