When a bunch of classmates decided to organize an alumni meet, they never thought that they were in for a huge surprise. As a handsome, lean man walked into their midst, puzzled glances coursed through the gathering as some of them, who were not on social media, failed to recognize the ‘stranger’. And it was a jaw-dropping moment for many as they finally identified the once ‘Mr Fattest’ of the college. It took some time for the friends to come to terms with the stunning makeover of Niyas, who stepped in with a youthful glow.
Niyas shares with Onmanorama his fat-to-fit journey, which is equally heartwarming and inspiring, and how his self-confidence soared to a new high after shedding 36 kilos from 116kg in one year.
A junk food addict
I hail from Parakkadavu at Munniyoor panchayat in Malappuram district. I was a Computer Science student at Perinthalmanna Engineering College from where I graduated in 2009. Being a junk food addict I was on the heavier side even in those days. It goes without saying that people made fun of my obesity at college.
Confidence level reached rock bottom at 116kg
After graduation, I started a computer centre at Kottakkal in Malappuram, and the new job opened avenues to acquire unhealthy eating patterns. Until two-three years ago, I continued to gorge on all kinds of food. Unhealthy eating habits and sedentary job contributed to my increasing waistline. With higher fat deposits, I started to experience health problems and my sugar and cholesterol touched the border levels. Even a stroll would lead to shortness of breath. Clothe shopping became a tall order as I struggled to fit into the outfits I adored. It was depressing that my 42” trousers came all the way from a friend’s shop in Bengaluru. All these and more pushed my confidence level to an all-time low. By the time I was 116 kilos, I started to have a rethink on my undisciplined lifestyle. I was determined to get back to shape and regain my self-esteem.
Shed 36 kilos
I now weigh 80kg. I have to bring it down further to 75. Though I had expected to reach the target before Ramadan fasting, the lockdown played spoilsport as gyms remained closed. I hope to hit the target soon.
It took me one year to shed 36 kilos. Initially, I started off with a target of 95kg. A trip to Manali, which I had planned at that time, turned out to be the trigger to burn 21 kilos. I reached the goal ahead of the trip. This was a great source of inspiration and confidence booster. After the Manali holidays, I maintained the same weight for another six months and then began intense workouts to get lean.
Friends, my biggest motivators
I was determined to set out on the weight-loss journey. So the first thing I did was to join a gym, apart from the one-hour-long brisk morning walk routine. My friends, who were my biggest motivators, accompanied me to the gym and during the strolls. To fire up my drive, they would place a bet which I would take up with all vigour and sincerity. In the end, I won the bet against Ashraf, Shihab, NIssam and Jemshi, who played a pivotal role in my metamorphosis.
My wife was on cloud nine, but not mom
My plan to embark on a weight-loss mission was received with mixed response. While my wife was excited and overjoyed, my mother was quite unhappy about the whole idea. Living in a family of many obese people, mom was worried that I was shedding kilos that were acquired with her calorie-rich food. "Oh dear, don't slim anymore," she said bewildered at my lean figure. Taking a leaf out of my experience, my wife, who was obese as well, too joined the venture and shed 20kilos!
Had normal diet and gym workouts
There weren't any diet tricks. I worked on a self-made meal plan giving thrust on protein-rich food. It was important to have a good amount of food for fuelling the tough workouts at the gym to help build muscles. I planned my diet accordingly. My healthy journey to weight loss helped me to avoid sagging skin and stay fit. I drink plenty of water before the morning strolls and have two boiled eggs after I return. I have my daily dose of two fried eggs along with a banana before I head for the gym workouts.
After returning, I would have a small portion of whatever food available at home. Normally I gobble up one or two chapatis and keep a safe distance from oily food and sweet delicacies.
I don't prefer rice much and hence opt for other alternatives in limited quantity for lunch. My snack platter includes mostly green gram sprouts with grated coconut and jaggery or a bowl of boiled black gram or green peas.
My workout sessions begin after the daily morning walk. Usually, I have my breakfast after returning from the gym. But in the case of evening gym workouts, I keep the dinner light with a bowl of fruits.
Regained fitness, boosted confidence
Weight loss goal has brought about huge transformation and enhanced my confidence level. Now I can wear the clothes of my taste. More importantly, the thick dark patches on my forehead, around my neck, and on the knuckles all vanished when I came back to shape. The transformation was jaw-dropping. It gives that remarkable feeling that you are younger as you move around in your favourite outfits. Now I am 36 years old, and my friends who used to treat me as a far older person than them are envious. The makeover shaved the extra roundness of the face and made it more toned.
I keep checking my sugar, cholesterol, and uric acid levels every six months and they are all normal. I run the significant risk of inheriting diabetes as my father had turned a diabetic at an early age. Today I am a healthy person and am able to keep the hereditary health risk at bay, which would not have been possible without the intervention of my realistic weight loss goal.
With the support and encouragement from all around me, I was able to achieve my fitness level. I continue with my strict regime. I am glad that I have become a source of inspiration for many.