Weight loss is not a tall order for Jinu Ben of 'Kullante Bharya'

Despite having a strong enthusiasm, not many have the idea about how to embark on a weight-loss journey, says Jinu.

“Habit has a habit. It will depart with us even without waiting to seek our permission...” This dialogue by Dulquer Salman in the 2013 film 'Kullante Bharya' (Wife of a Short Man) directed by Amal Neerad is recalled by its hero Jinu Ben after eight years. He has been maintaining his body weight as per his height after he said 'cut' to overeating during the first lockdown and took balanced food without resorting to any hard physical exercises. To those who raise their eyebrows seeing the photo of this change, he has only this to say – “Don't doubt, this is me myself.” Fitness does not mean muscle-flexing, but keeping the body in sound health, he makes it clear.

Scene 1

Prepared own menu to become ‘fat Kullan’

The day when Jinu Ben was selected to play the 'short' man in 'Kullante Bharya', film director Amal Neerad had called him up to gain extra kilos in the next three months, so as to project the height of the ‘Kullan’ (dwarf). He also gave a word of caution: "It’s easy to put on weight, but shedding extra pounds is going to be an uphill task." In the subsequent days, JInu increased the portions of his breakfast, lunch and dinner to make him fit for his first film. He also added shawarma and chocolate milkshake to the daily dinner menu. The self-prepared diet continued for two months on end, and by the time it was time for the shoot Jinu had physically transformed himself to fit into the shoes of the plump short man. Jinu, who had been slim all throughout his life, thus underwent a drastic makeover. The fat dwarf husband, who did not have a single dialogue to utter, left an indelible mark on the minds of the viewers. Sadly, even months after the release of the movie, a hapless JInu found it almost impossible to get back to his old shape. Instead he continued to put on weight. After the job in Facebook's Hyderabad campus, he settled down in Chennai. Even after marriage with Aswathi, Jinu did not bother keep a tab on the diet. He kept gorging on his wife's culinary experiments, attended official dining parties and went for weekend food travels to try out unexplored cuisines, only to keep him on the obese side. The weighing scale crossed 70kg.

Scene 2

A client who hated workouts and a patient trainer

During the first lockdown, Jinu was in Kottayam along with his family. Life became confined to the house, and Jinu's potbelly was part of the sedentary lifestyle. There reached a point when he experienced shortness of breath while running behind his four-and-a-half year old son. It was an eye-opener and he started giving serious thought to his deteriorating stamina. The first plan was to sculpt down the evident belly fat without going to a gym or doing extreme starvation. One day he stumbled upon a picture of 'Body Transformation' by fitness trainer Dany Mappila on Instagram. The posts revealed pictures of real-time transformation of people with similar physique. “My friend and vlogger Food Hunter Sabu connected me to Dany. During our first conversation itself, I made my point clear: "I wish to burn down my belly fat, but don't want to flex muscles, nor strenuous workouts. We can decide on the diet in the course of time." Dany was not any normal trainer who would have by then slammed the phone at the other end. Instead he patiently listened to all my health conditions and gave a positive reply that we can give it a shot.” On January 18, Jinu set out on his fitness journey by sending his “potbellied” photograph to Dany.

Scene 3

Lost cool as workouts started

Jinu explains the benefits of a husband and wife going for workout programme together. Firstly, the new dietary pattern is likely to bring changes in our behaviour. In the initial days of strict regulation in the intake of sugar, Jinu would often lose his temper. But the angry outbursts were cleverly dealt with by understanding family members. Secondly, cooking becomes easier.

Dany introduced a two-week diet chart for Jinu. The first instruction was to restrict oil and processed sugar in the diet. In the first week itself, Jinu experienced noticeable changes in the body. There was no more bloating caused by fatty (oily) food. The makeover was so overwhelming that every morning a determined Jinu would wake up and walk straight to the weighing machine. Like a dedicated student, who is so particular in doing his homework, he would religiously note down the measurement and WhatsApp it to Dany. And in no time comes a ‘Thumbs up’ from Dany, which would lift the spirits of Jinu manifold.

Dany was also particular that Jinu did not get bored with the diet. So in every two weeks he experimented with new menu. By then Aswathy also joined the weight-loss course. He charted different training programmes for the two. From the third month he sent small workout videos. “I was confused and popped a question, "How many times am I supposed to watch the video?". It would be the first time a client would be asking a fitness trainer. Dany, on the other hand, has never been a tough taskmaster. He asked me if I liked cycling, an exercise which I had to stop after two days due to laziness. Dany would suggest a new diet plan if he sensed I have started losing interest in the current one, and then I would soon bounce back to normal spirits. With a proper diet regime my weighing scale touched 56kg in five months. My piece of advice to all those who wish to move along the fitness track is that one can undoubtedly shift from being fat to fit without doing rigorous workouts, provided there is a good trainer and determination to follow the required diet. Stay healthy and tone your body with proper exercise and diet appropriate for the body.”

Dany's challenge

My biggest challenge was to keep Jinu on the track of weight-loss programme without losing interest. The relationship between a trainer and client is important to achieve the goal. In our case, there was a strong positive chemistry between us that helped to work magic in a body which had since then undergone zero workouts. The first step was to throw out processed sugar and junk food from the menu and prepare a special diet plan, which would be revised every two weeks. My task doubled when Jinu and his wife Aswathy came for a joint weight loss programme. I had to chart separate diet plans for them. Nutrient-dense food with a balanced diet of fat, protein, vitamin, carbohydrate in the right proportions started showing significant results in Jenu in two weeks. We adopted a method of toning down the entire body rather than flattening the abs alone. I allowed him to have whatever food he liked on weekends as a bonus for strictly adhering to the diet discipline. But Jinu did not fall for the carrots. Even today Jinu sticks to the very same diet, which is the secret to his body transformation.

Fitness is not just about six-pack ab

Feeling overexcited about getting into shape, many jump into the fitness bandwagon under the notion that such programmes speed up weight loss in a jiffy. Success stories about weight loss transformation of people are bound to influence them. However, they lose interest over the time and soon get bogged down by tough workouts. The best results are always accompanied by a fair amount of patience. Some people hit the internet to get tips on self-training. Such practices do not always pay off, and they are more likely to set yourself up for an injury. Proper guidance from a fitness trainer and nutritionist is essential for body transformation, as diet plans and workouts vary according to the individual's physique.

In the initial months of training, the body of each person is toned based on the person's weight. The ideal way is to start off with simple exercise steps that would gradually progress into hardcore workouts. Otherwise, minor injuries affecting the muscles would escalate into body pain, and subsequently prompt the person to back out from the programme. A lot of people are also under the impression that heavy workouts after a big meal will anyway help to tone down the abs. It is also a wrong notion that staying healthy is all about gaining six pack like film celebrities. Awesomely toned six pack abs are actually meant for those who are keen on body-building and beauty contests.

Another misconception is that consuming protein powder would lead to weight gain. The best way is to acquire protein naturally through food. Many text me asking for an easy weight-loss formula. To be frank, anyone following the three cardinal rules - nutrition-rich diet, proper exercise and adequate quantity of water consumption plus sleep - can stay on the healthy track of weight loss transformation. Daily intake of healthy food at proper intervals should be complemented by 2 litres of water, provided there are no other health complications. It is better to take the advice of a trainer and strictly follow the prescribed diet regime. Ensure that you go to be bed after an early dinner and get at least seven hours of sleep.

Lockdown that bolted health equilibrium

Staying at home for prolonged periods during lockdowns has limited the scope of exercise. Sedentary life and unhealthy food habits also took a toll on gym-goers who also started gaining weight. Many a time fitness freaks have complained that munching too much of dry fruits has not boosted their weight loss plan. Most of the dry fruits available in the market are coated with artificial sweeteners. In such cases, they only aid in increasing the calorie level, no matter how much you stick to a low-sugar diet. Online fitness classes have their share of limitations in giving proper guidance, nor can we expect the gyms to be same as before when they reopen. Post-Covid lockdown, only the serious fitness freaks would be happy to flock back to the clubs. Others will prefer setting up mini home gyms, which has become the latest fad. However, homes fitness programmes without proper guidance from a physical trainer may sometimes land you in trouble. It is fun joining fitness programmes along with friends or like-minded people. But it has its share of drawbacks. A certain element of de-motivating factor is likely to prevail on the person, if the partner backs out of the mission. One should not be discouraged or worried when the workout results tend to show up only on the partner. This is because the physique of two individuals would be entirely different. Strictly follow the advice of the fitness trainer. Mind you, if you cheat on virtual fitness platforms you alone are the loser.

Jinu’s message to stay fit

Despite having a strong enthusiasm, not many have the idea about how to embark on a weight-loss journey. Shedding extra kilos in a phased manner is not a daunting task if you have a good trainer and a dietary plan that suits the body. The best way to trick yourself into the fitness world is to tune your body into the workout scheme along with your daily routine. Staying fit is not just about melting down belly fat or building the 'show-off' muscles. The real fitness mantra is to tune the body to do any kind of work with ease. 

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