Dibyendu Biswas had always been chubby. And he did not care about it too much. Born with a sweet tooth, few things gave him greater joy than indulging in desserts as often as he could. Hailing from West Bengal, a state known for its sweet delicacies, Dibyendu recalls how he used to also “have an ice cream every single day on the way back home from work”. Apart from going heavy on sweets, he was also a binge-eater and not surprisingly, his weight began soaring by the time he was in his late 20s.
The heaviest he weighed, though, was in 2018 when he tipped the scales at 115kg. The repercussions accompanied in the form of a multitude of health concerns – high blood pressure, low Vit D levels, high stress levels and even depression. The last he fought by over-eating and bingeing on sweets and other treats, triggering a vicious circle.
Binge-eating was not his only vice. He also smoked heavily – puffing away up to 20 cigarettes a day. A deadly cocktail, it was no surprise when his health deteriorated and he began struggling with gloom, negativity and a constant state of discomfort.
Dragging himself to a doctor one day, he learnt, after a series of tests, that while his blood sugar levels were high, his uric acid, cholesterol, creatinine and Vitamin D3 were at abnormal levels.
The doctor made it clear that he would have to take medication not only to address his physiological conditions but also to fight the blues that had slowly begun creeping up on him. “I have always been overweight and never felt confident about myself. Often, body shaming incidents made it difficult for me to socialise. Yet, it never stopped me from indulging in more food. I found both comfort and joy in eating. However, my blood tests began to concern me. I started to worry, and my stress levels shot up,” he says.
He tried to make amends and put some effort into this situation, albeit not significant enough to manage his weight and health problems, but the weight stubbornly continued to remain to the right of the 100kg mark on the scale.
The tipping point, so to speak, occurred at the end of 2020. On December 20th to be exact. “I was chatting with a couple of friends when they remarked how my weight was ballooning and that I better do something about it before it was too late.”
Although some people had mentioned about his weight earlier, this time though, their words hit him like a sledge hammer, leaving him reeling with embarrassment, sadness, frustration and anger.
“I decided I had to make a change,” he says. “I vowed to get my life back on track.”
And he did.
In a matter of 14 months, he went from 105 kilos to an healthy 65 kilos. From having an ice cream every day of his life, today he indulges in a sweet of his choice on just two days of the week. And just one portion.
From consuming five chapatis, or more, during every meal, he now has two – weighed and prepared using 50gms of wheat only.
He works out six days a week, with one day of recovery of which five days he spends weight training, while one day a week he goes running outdoors.
From a time when he would struggle to walk more than 800m, today he can run up to 15 kms at a stretch.
He is also off medication and his blood works have all returned to normal.
If he was feeling physically lighter after shedding the extra pounds he also realised that his mental well-being had soared. “The feeling of getting rid of unwanted fat is truly marvellous,” he says. “All the hard work I put in was completely worth it. Now, I want to share the tips on how anyone can lose the excess kilos, provided they put their mind to it.”
The weight-loss journey
To start with, Dibyendu, a finance manager at Hoerbiger Dubai, hit the net to find out how he could get off the mark.
He stumbled across an app called Fittr that offered fitness and nutritional training services – in-person and remotely. He scrolled through several transformational stories, blogs on fitness and nutrition, advices from experts, and a list of fitness coaches before he found Rohit Uchil, a certified nutrition expert. He would be the man who would hold Dibyendu’s hand all along his transformational journey. “One of the first things my coach told me was that it wouldn’t be easy,” explains Dibyendu.
As part of the fitness programme that he signed up for, he was given a diet plan and an exercise routine. Living in Mankhool, he had to chalk out a schedule that gave him sufficient time to exercise, plan his meals, get to work and return home to spend time with his wife, Sumadhura.
Dibyendu knew that to pack in all of this he had to find more hours in his day. The answer: Wake up at 3.30am instead of his usual 7am. Once awake, he was told to spend some time meditating.
After a light breakfast, he would head to the gym in Ibn Battuta. After two hours of rigorous weight training, a shower later he went to work that started at 8am. Clocking off at 5pm, he would head home, spend time with wife Sumadhura and hit the bed at 10pm.
“Although I wake up very early, I get sufficient sleep and don’t feel tired. Instead I feel rejuvenated in the morning. Everyday.” Dibyendu assures.
From hardly ever walking, far less lifting weights and running for long distances at a stretch, he was advised a routine that included five days of weight training and one day of cardio before taking a day off for recovery.
“I established new habits. After I wake up, I meditate and mentally prepare myself for the day and then I exercise to improve my fitness levels. I have made great progress and I feel more focussed, resilient and energetic at work, at home and in general!” he says.
His diet plan too was a huge change from what he had been having.
Breakfast is 15gms of almonds, two whole eggs, and two slices of bread.
For lunch, vegetables cooked in 10gms of coconut or olive oil, 50gms of lentils, 60 gms of rice or wheat flour chapatis or quinoa.
Dinner is 200gm fish/chicken cooked in coconut oil or olive oil.
For snacks, Dibyendu has 200gm of approved fruits.
This is a diet that continues to this day, albeit with the addition of whey protein and butter recently.
In order to prepare his daily meals, Dibyendu, with help from Sumadhura, assorts his ingredients and stores them in containers for the entire week.
“At first, it drove me insane – all the calculation, the weighing, the cooking, and the process! However, eventually, I relented,” says Sumadhura. While she doesn’t resist her temptations as much as her husband does, Sumadhura has also over time adopted a healthy routine and is more mindful of the food she eats.
Portion control was not the only challenge Dibyendu had to contend with. “I loved sweets – especially those my mother made at home. As Bengalis, we are known to be lovers of everything sweet. However, I cut out sweets completely during the first leg of my mission to transform.”
Since the start of his journey, Dibyendu has been giving it his best shot. He avoids late nights and social dos as far as possible. He politely but firmly declines several invitations to parties and get together lest he be tempted and break his commitment of following his strict diet plan. “There are occasions when I feel I make no time for anyone and that I may seem too selfish. While it saddens me, I am not deterred from my goal. Because, our health is more important.”
Next big leap
Dibyendu is now on a mission – to build a big community of healthy fitness enthusiasts. “I feel my weight loss journey has given my life a fresh start. I feel better, healthier and so much more positive in life. Now I want to give back to the community by helping people on their weight-loss and fitness journeys. I want to encourage and be able to inspire others who suffer from the kind of physical and mental health problems that I had faced.”
To that end, the first person he signed up into his fitness regimen was his wife. After convincing her, he began inviting colleagues and friends who were keen to improve their lifestyle and get healthier.
“On weekends, we meet at a common place, do some stretches and then go for a run. We meet at Zabeel Park sometimes, and the Marina Beach promenade at other times. The location varies but the commitment remains for a focused and common goal,” Dibyendu says. He was also recently honoured by the head office of Hoerbiger on LinkedIn recognising him for his commitment and grit with his weightloss journey.
Keen to take it to the next level, Dibyendu is currently pursuing a diploma in nutrition and fitness. In addition, he aims to participate in the ICN India, a platform for competitive bodybuilders and fitness models who choose a 100 per cent natural path. “I feel that unless you have a specific goal in mind and someone guiding you in the right direction, you cannot see results. Fitness is a lifestyle. Quantifying diet is nothing but sticking to eating healthy food. It is more of a mind game,” he says.
Dibyendu’s fitness tips
Getting fit is all about building small sustainable habits, like:
• Have a right mindset and keep a realistic goal
• Eating within your body required calories (Count Your Macros)
• 4-5 days strength training
• Be more active
• Drink plenty of water
• Sleep well (7-8 hrs)
• Be consistent
• Don’t quit
• Leave your comfort zone and never go back
You can follow Dibyendu on Instagram on his handles: dreamer_of_dreamso