“Get of my weighing machine, are you out of your mind? “ An angry bakery owner yelled at me. I was 95 Kg’s at that time. Despite gulping down 3 samosa’s and a cold drink from his shop, he didn’t allow me to step on his machine. My friends who were standing nearby were rolling on the ground, laughing!! This incident spread like a wildfire in my college and for next three months everyone I met reminded me how funny it was. Driving back to home that day was painful. It was worse than my crush ruthlessly turning me down saying “You are too fat and dumb”.
I knew I was fat, but dumb, eh? I was known as the best person to talk to, had amazing optimism and crazy enthusiasm towards studies and TV. But sadly I lived with the foolish philosophy “ Kal kisne dekha he yaar ” (Who has seen tomorrow)? I loved living in the moment and not denying taste buds their urges. Eat, Read, Laugh, Sleep & Repeat. Simple to follow Formula. Exercise was never in picture, never ever. Only time I had sweat was when Manchester United played and were a goal behind.
As a Doctor I knew this is wrong. Final nail in coffin came when I hit 100 Kgs!! It was summer of 2008 and I was terrified, as how come I reached three figures. I came back home, sat back and analyzed to realize that I could not walk more than 500 meter’s, can’t run more than 200 meter’s without being breathless & can’t fit in size 38 anymore. I took an oath on a same day that I will change this, I will give priority to my health and rest of things
Just like any weight loss aspirant, I was looking for quick fix. The Body which has taken all my food abuse for so many years, I wanted that same body to accept my crash diet and respond as fast as possible. Many shortcuts were suggested of which one guaranteed quick loss: Juices, fruits and mid day walk for 30 minutes. I did all of it religiously & lost 12 Kgs in three months & was on a proud 88 Kgs, almost over the moon. But along with the reduction in weight my stamina, enthusiasm and well being reduced too, I started feeling weak.
From 2009 to 2012 with on and off diet, regular walking and the occasional Gym visit kept me between 79 to 83 Kgs. I kept walking and after doing all the nonsense diet and exercise regimens, I understood that if a particular weight loss formula had worked for someone, does not guarantee its effectiveness to all. It can’t be generalized. Everyone has to look for their own body structure and form of exercise which can keep them motivated.
My thought process was shaken up by a comment from a friend in 2013 who said “Being healthy isn’t about physical, social and mental well being like definition suggests, it’s about can you run 5 Km at a stretch? If not you aren’t healthy” We all laughed at this and convinced him how stupid he was. But the next morning while walking I suddenly felt like running and I gave it a whole hearted try to find out if I was anyway better than 2008-2009! I ran
three Kms with ease and entire day kept planning the next morning run. In a weeks time I was able to achieve 5 Km run and it felt amazing. It took me almost 46 minutes to run 5 Km but the joy of running left a rush of endorphin’s which runners define as Runner’s high! With time I graduated from 5 Km to 7.5Km and had a daily workout of 10 Km with a split of 7.5Km Running and 2.5Km Walking. But I had no goals and no intention’s to try any further.
I was contended with the workout for two years until I saw one board having a unique title “Run beyond yourself” I stopped for a minute and thought, what an amazing line! Beyond myself! It was a billboard for one of the marathon. Marathon was completely new to me; I have never participated in it before. I registered saying
to myself “Dude add 2 1/2 Km to daily run, that’s it” I sought thrill in it and to my amazement it changed my life!
Someone added me to a WhatsApp group called, Pune Running and for the first time ever I talked to people of all ages having the same child like enthusiasm shared many aspects about running, they all seemed crazier than me. Till the day of the marathon I never met any of them personally but learned a lot from the discussions and implemented suggestions in training. Especially learning about hydration, rest, strength and cross training was pivotal. On 11 th October 2015 I ran my first official Marathon and the experience can’t be put in words.
But as a runner I was impressed with the philosophy of Prasad Patil “Run for joy, smile while you run and enjoy every stride” (Comments by Vikas: Prasad is a member of Pune running and is known for his inspirational quotes. He is also known as the Tali Wale Baba as he has a habit of giving a High Five to every runner he meets on the road). Since then running was absolute pleasure. I can’t thank him enough!
Next month on every Sunday I ran more than 21 Kms with longest distance of 32 Kms. Wow! From a man who couldn’t run 200 meter’s to a man who could run 3 hours straight, it was big leap. I loved myself. Regular travelling is still the excuse given by my colleague’s while I take it as an opportunity to run on different tracks every week. There cannot be an excuse for not working out, period!
It would be very easy to sleep in a cold morning when you have reached home at four am or to have a warm coffee with Bhaji’s in rainy evening, but to run at these time & to make it into a habit takes certain craziness. All the runners would agree to it.
Diet and exercise are two sides of the same coin. For anyone who is willing to stay in shape please understand “If you eat wada pav you will look like one, period! “ What we eat we become. Today with good diet and regular running I am at 71 – 73 Kgs and in no hurry to reach my goal off 66 Kg.
If you really want to live happy and healthy life, try running. If a serial samosa eater can be healthy so can you, go grab a running shoe, let’s run!!
PS: I am yet to achieve distance which can make a great runner, but felt like sharing an experience which can help someone to try running as tool for a healthy life!
Comment by Vikas: When I asked Amit for his past 100Kgs time photos for this article, he could not give me any as he had destroyed all his old photos which he says were very ugly. This makes me feel what a tormenting time he would have gone through. Cheers to the spirit of all those who want to live a Fitter and Healthier Life.
Dr Amit Mane is a regular runner and runs with Pune Running. He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org
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