What happens when throughout your teens and most of your adult life you have always worn the metaphorical badge that loudly states, “I’m the chilled-out, big guy”?
What happens when you fall into the trap of just going along with your current state of health because you falsely believe that your weight isn’t really stopping you from doing the things you want to do?
What happens when your own needs continually drop down the priority list until you stop focusing on yourself completely?
The untenable situation Brij found himself in after years of neglecting his health, fitness and well-being squarely answers these questions.
He was 164kgs.
His energy levels were at an all time low.
Although he had been cautioned by his doctor to lose weight and his friends and family were worried about him, their concerns didn’t have the desired effect. He just didn’t feel compelled to act on their advice.
The Trigger To Transform
Although Brij had always struggled with his weight, he had been quite active while growing up. He used to love hiking and has even hiked up Mt. Kilimanjaro in his teens!
Even while at University he loved to swim, he played sports and would walk a fair amount. It was when he graduated and started a job that required him to be at his desk for long hours that he really started to put on the excess weight.
He wasn’t walking as much any more, he didn’t have the time to play a sport or go for a swim and if he needed anything from the shops he would just jump into the car.
This sedentary life-style combined with a penchant for good food and drink and an active social life did not bode well for his health and well-being.
“I am quite an introvert and I never really cared about what other people thought about me. The drive to make a change and improve my health had to be internal.
A few months after my son was born I was very ill, and at first everyone thought the illness was related to my weight. It turned out that it wasn’t actually related to my weight at all, but something shifted inside me and I knew I had to take action and start making healthier choices.”
Before his illness Brij felt that his weight wasn’t really affecting his abilities. He could still play squash, he could still go for long walks and he felt that his excess weight wasn’t inhibiting his movements much.
But after his illness he realised he wasn’t being honest with himself - he did lack energy and motivation, he didn’t feel strong and with fatherhood around the corner, he knew he needed to make a lasting change.
Changing The Tide With RNT
Brij started off by trying a few things on his own. He tried to swim regularly; he played squash and other sports but it wasn’t a holistic approach. He didn’t have a structured plan, which meant that he wasn’t really making much progress.
“While researching fitness programs online I came across RNT. The step by step process really clicked and I thought it was something that would work for me. I believe in this type of systematic approach. If I’m given a checklist I will go through it and tick each box off.”
Brij has dropped 50kgs since he started on his RNT journey and he can already feel a huge difference in his energy levels.
“The biggest change isn’t just about how I looked, but more about what I could do.
Today, I can play squash for an hour but before I couldn’t play for more than 20 minutes.
Today, I can walk for 2 hours without any trouble but before I would tire so easily!
When I started to walk to get my 10,000 steps a day it took me 1 hour and 20 mins, but now I’m able to walk that same distance in about 50 to 55 minutes!”
When you have laid the framework throughout most of your adult life on less than ideal health choices, breaking down that frame and building a new one takes time, effort, patience and fortitude.
“I started my RNT journey the day after my son’s 1st birthday. I knew that piece of cake would be the last one for a very long time. But I was prepared, I was ready to put in the hard work and achieve my goals. I had set my mind to it and I was ready to get started.”
Surprisingly nutrition was the least of Brij’s worries. He had his meal plan and he knew how he was going to prepare his meals for the week. The biggest challenge was in trying to fit in his steps and his training.
“The first few weeks were really challenging but nutrition was the easiest part. I had a plan and I was just following that. The meal prep was simple, I made a whole bunch of food and I would portion them and freeze them. I went from not caring at all and eating everything, to being so particular about my food, overnight.
Training was something new I had to fit into my routine. I struggled to find the time at first and then eventually I joined the 6am club. Walking regularly was the biggest game changer both physically and mentally.”
Lockdown came with a silver lining, restaurants were shut and there was little chance to socialise. But once things started to open up, temptations started to creep in again.
“I told my friends and they were so supportive and didn’t comment when they saw me order a Coke Zero instead of the 8 or 10 beers I would normally drink. But after the first 30 kilos dropped off they were so amazed and they were really cheering me on. Some of them even refused to believe that I wasn’t starving myself and at the gym all day and night and it was just about simple healthier lifestyle choices. ”
Brij’s lifestyle has dramatically changed, his priorities have shifted and he doesn’t head out to the restaurant or the pub every weekend. He may make it out once a month or so but he is in control of his food choices and enjoys spending time with friends without feeling the need to pile up his plate.
Life After Dropping 50kgs
Brij has made amazing progress and half way into his journey he already feels like a new person.
In Control Of The Day
“I am more organised now and I have a plan and structure in place. I am able to fit my walks and training around my work day. I block off time in my calendar so people can’t book in meetings at the time. Before my work was the fixed aspect and everything else worked around it, now I fit my work around everything else. I am now more in control and I choose how to spend my time.”
No More Decision Fatigue
“Knowing exactly what I’m going to eat has taken a huge uncertainty out. I spend a lot less time on meal prep, on Sundays I make a batch of food, sort them into portions and freeze them.
My wife and I even try and plan my son’s meals. So I know exactly what he will eat on those days when my wife is still at work and I have to take care of his evening routine.”
“Regularly walking 10kma day has given my energy levels such a boost. If something happened and I was unable to head out when I had originally planned, I would still go out even if it was in the middle of the night without a care about the weather.
Now I have so much more mental clarity. I am also so much more calm. Before, my mind was always churning. Now, I have time to think and plan; pause and reflect.”
Brij has so much more energy now that he feels he is more willing to participate in activities.
“I enjoy going for a walk and I love taking my son for a play in the park. I don’t think I have changed much with respect to my personality, but I have more energy now. When I meet up with my friends, it’s to play a game of squash or badminton instead of going out to the pub or restaurant.”
When stressed at work Brij would usually get restless and fidgety. To soothe his mind he would normally reach for food; now he chooses to head out for a walk.
“Heading out for a walk also helps to shift that boredom that sets in after long hours at my desk. Food used to be a way to shake off the boredom, now I just head out and get some steps in. If I feel like eating, I fill myself up with water and that usually shifts the need to snack.”
Sometimes old habits and behaviours do rear their beguiling heads, to battle them Brij uses the power of his ‘why’ to ground him and set aside these temptations.
“I really reflect on why I am on this journey and what my motivation was to start and that really helps me to get back on track and pick myself up after a slip-up.”
The Physical Is The Vehicle
Before, Brij’s monkey mind always got the better of him, he felt like he was at its mercy. Today, Brij is in control of his mind and he has so much more clarity of thought and purpose.
“Before I used to be plagued by self-doubt and always second guessed myself. Now the mental clarity I have makes decision making so much easier. I find it easier to prioritise my own needs.”
His improved sense of self-worth has had a ripple effect and his choices have made an impression on his friends and family.
“I see now the effect my choices and actions have on my family and it is remarkable! If you are doing the right thing it will influence people around you.
I realise now that you have to believe in yourself. I almost didn’t join RNT because I didn’t think I’d be able to do it. But no one can tell you to do it - you have to want to do it for yourself. You have to be ready to take the journey full on, only then will you have the strength to overcome the challenges and keep progressing even when things get hard.
My journey isn’t over, I still have a long way to go. But my purpose is clear, I have my goal in sight and I know I will achieve it.”
In this episode of RNT Fitness Brij talks more about the life-changing mindset shift brought about during his transformation journey. In this conversation with Akash, Brij talks about how the strategies he has implemented in these past couple of years with RNT have changed his perception on what it means to lead a truly healthy and active life.