Wellness Wins is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.
Vinodh Sivaneswaran is 5’8” tall and currently weighs 185 pounds. In 2016, he realized he needed to lose weight for the sake of his health and his career as a doctor. This is the story of his weight-loss journey, as told to Yahoo Lifestyle.
The Turning Point
I was always a big kid. Since I was 7, I knew I was bigger than most kids. It only became more of an issue the older I got. The irony is that I am a doctor, and I knew very well throughout med school that this was a huge problem.
I had many turning points over the years. Once when I was 16, I actually lost a decent amount of weight and was in a normal weight range. However, the weight crept back up. The second turning point was December 2016. I said to myself that I would try this one last time. I was sick of the hassle and embarrassment of daily living, like not fitting properly into some chairs and using extension seat belts. I once broke a chair in public because I was too heavy.
Carrying over 300 pounds of weight on you is no joke. Being a doctor, I knew the health consequences to being morbidly obese. When I started to look at it from a health point of view, as opposed to just how I look, it became way clearer that I had to drop the weight.
One of the first things I did was simply eat exactly the same food from before, which consisted of mainly rice and some sort of meat. I really love rice. I just reduced my portion size and limited myself to 3-4 spoonfuls of rice.
I had a lot of trial and error when it came to dieting. The most important thing was that I counted my calories quite religiously through MyFitnessPal. The diet that worked the best for me was a low carb/ketogenic approach with a mix of intermittent fasting. This is where you have a certain number of hours during the day where you do not eat; having water or black coffee, however, is fine. For example, I started by skipping breakfast and just having lunch and dinner. I am not saying this is the only way, but I found it enjoyable and it worked well for me. At the end of the day, counting calories is the most important aspect to the equation of losing weight. Eat less than you burn.
In terms of working out, I stuck with a full-body routine, three times a week, mainly consisting of compound movements. These include barbell deadlifts, squats, bench and military presses. I kept it simple and short and tweaked my workouts throughout the three years. I found it to be great, as I only had to go to the gym three times a week and saw amazing results. I also implemented cardio at the end of the workout. I mainly used cardio as a tool so I could eat more, or if I ate more than I should on certain days, I would do extra cardio.
I had an amazing support system of friends and family. When others started noticing my progress, that fueled me immensely to go further and not quit. I kept motivated by doing the diet with a good buddy of mine, Mark. I’m grateful that he stuck it out with me from day one. It was helpful to have someone to keep me accountable.
Seeing the number on the scale go down was amazing, and seeing my clothes fit better, as well as having more definition on my body and more muscle mass, was so motivating. I never thought it would be possible. It certainly motivated me to go even further and push at the gym even harder. The fact that I came so far, I just couldn’t give up. It would be such a waste, letting myself down, as well as others around me. I will never give up this fitness journey. I’m always striving to be better.
Physically, I felt stronger, more capable of doing everyday activities without getting tired. Recently, I went hiking, which I think the old me would have absolutely hated. Emotionally, I’m a lot happier. I have finally achieved my life goal. I feel a lot more confident. My life has changed in terms of my being able to do more — people even asking me for advice is just overwhelming to me. The gym has become so habitual and just living a healthier life is now engraved in my mind.
Today I still work out and eat more or less the same. I have slowly added carbs back into my diet because I want this to be a realistic way of eating — something I can do for the rest of my life. I do have cheat meals or even days sometimes.
Going to the gym at least three times a week is a must for me. I always remind myself how I was, always keeping old pictures and remember the feelings from the old days. It helps me not go back to my old ways.
The fact that I made it this far, I just think that I should not limit myself and that I should push for the absolute best version of myself. The vision of my ideal body and how I would want to live my life is engraved in my brain. Each day I think about it. I work day-to-day to eventually reach that dream body of mine.
When I do have cheat meals, they can sometimes turn to cheat days. It is not such a huge deal, but even though I lost all this weight, I still love all the sweets. Just as long as I eat them in moderation and not prolong this way of eating, then it always turns out fine. It is difficult, though, at times.
Most people know what to do — move more and eat less. Track calories and make healthier choices when it comes to food. The No.1 piece of advice I would say is: The key is consistency. Keep on going and eventually your body will change. You may not see it straight away, but I promise the change comes if you have patience.
You can follow Vinodh’s journey on Instagram at @vinodh34.
Need more inspiration? Read about our other wellness winners!
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