How I lost 21 Kgs to win @ IIM Shillong - Siddarth Chowdhary


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    Siddarth Chowdhary graduated from IIM Shillong and is all set to work as a management consultant in end-to-end sales and marketing solutions. Siddarth is a serial CAT cracker and has mentored many CAT aspirants especially in QA and DILR sections. Prior to his MBA stint, Siddarth did his BTech (CS) from NIT Durgapur and worked with ITC as an IT Consultant. He scored in 99+ %le in Mensa IQ Test.

    Shillong is a beautiful place with awesome weather. The temperature hardly ever goes beyond early 20’s and the skies are almost always as beautiful as they can be. However this also means that you almost always yearn for good food, sleep and that breeds lethargy in people like me. When I came to IIM Shillong I was overweight but not exactly obese but given the kind of weather, the food Shillong had to offer along with my slow metabolism and lethargy facilitated rapid weight gain. By the end of 1st year my weight increased to 91 kgs up from around 80 kgs when I started out at IIM Shillong. I was hardly able to run, started panting even while walking for a short time and could hardly manage staying up even during the interesting lectures. I started realizing that I was losing out big time on the opportunities available to me and had to do something to reverse the downfall.

    I had lost weight previously (Yea thanks to my irregular working out habits I managed to regain all the lost weight and more) but this was going to be a little more difficult because of the B-School curriculum, the placement season and also because I wasn’t getting any younger. Apart from all the impediments stated above not having access to the food items I regularly used to have when I had reduced weight earlier only added to my woes. But Shillong had its positives as well. The weather being awesome throughout the day and lots of trekking/running options/routes gave me the freedom to work out as per my convenience (wrt to time) and not get bored while doing it. Food options were there too so I only had to replace certain items on my previous diet chart with some of the ones available. However July until October it rains a lot in Shillong (being close to Cherrapunji one can easily imagine how much rain it receives). So I had to prepare a routine which could be executed indoors. That’s when I came across some videos on youtube which helped me formulate a 1 hour work out along with some exercises from prior experience. Now there was an issue of timing as in when should I work out? 4th trimester was pretty hectic and we had classes quite regularly. So I decided to pick up a slot right before the morning class: If the 1st class was to be at 10:45 then I used to wake up at 9 and complete my daily chores and work out by 10:30. I also made it a point to go for a walk every night post dinner for around 30 mins.

    The work out used to consist of the following exercises:

    • On the spot jogging – 2 sets of 500 counts each
    • Skipping – 2 sets of 150 counts each
    • Jumps with hand movements – 3 sets of 100 counts each
    • Sit ups – 3 sets of 20 reps each
    • Burpees – 2 sets of 10 reps each
    • Pushups – 2 sets of 20 reps each
    • Triceps Bench Dips – 2 sets of 20 reps
    • Abs – leg raises and crunches – 2 sets each of 20 reps each
    • Plank – 2 sets of 30 counts each

    Started with lower intensity, lesser repetitions/counts & increased gradually.

    My diet was as follows:

    • Breakfast – A glass of milk, almonds (8-12), 2 pcs of dark chocolate at around 10:30
    • Lunch – A plate full of salad (carrots, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes) with dal, curd and one curry (whatever used to be there in the mess)
    • Evening Snack – Green tea with puffed rice/diet chiwda/non-fried snack served in the mess
    • Dinner – Same as lunch
    • Night Snack – Green/Lemon tea with puffed rice/diet chiwda

    The point being instead of having meals in bulk have small meals every 2-3 hours which improves your metabolism too. Also, Green Tea doesn’t help reduce weight directly but it does help improve your metabolism which in turn leads to weight loss indirectly.

    I continued with this routine religiously for around 3 months until September end. My work outs were always accompanied by some soothing songs to keep me mentally relaxed throughout the draining work out sessions. Breaks of not more than a minute were taken between the exercises (20 seconds in case of sets).

    This helped me to shed around 15 kgs in those 3 months. I was around 75-76 kgs and felt healthy and awesome. However, as the rains began to recede I decided to switch gears and started trekking and jogging. As mentioned Shillong had a lot to offer in terms of scenic beauty and convenience and I enjoyed a lot of it. There was a mini-trek right behind my college which led to the Doordarshan tower (around 2.5 kms upward and 2 kms downward) which became a regular along with jogs/walks to police bazaar (~5-7 kms). Some of my friends used to accompany me on these treks/walks and together we used to explore new routes to these places. When we used to get bored we used to go to some other locations such as Shillong peak, Sweet falls or some other random locations. Night walks were continued as normal.

    The diet part too was relaxed a little bit as I started having regular breakfast, snacks (no fried, sweet stuff though) along with a couple of chappatis in lunch. If fried stuff was there in the mess food then some alternatives like corn flakes and milk or puffed rice/chiwda/dry bhel was arranged for.

    As a consequence of all this I lost another 5-6 kgs in the next 3 months. The point to note here is that losing weight becomes more and more difficult as one’s weight nears his/her ideal weight. Hence, losing those last 5-6 kgs was really tough. A few feathers in my caps were as follows:

    • A top 20 finish in the 5 km “Run for Shillong” mini marathon
    • A 3000 step (up n down with an incline of 70 degrees) trip to double root bridge, cherrapunji
    • A 16 km trek in the form of the David Scott trail
    • More than 1500 kms covered on foot in the last 7 months (covered almost the entire Shillong on foot)
    • Learnt a lot about time management & scheduling my day

    Now even after college has ended, I am still continuing my regime regularly and weigh a healthy 70 kgs. My waistline has gone down from 36 to 31 and T-shirt size from XL to M. Also, now I can run for more than 5 kms at a decent pace without stopping & work for hours without getting tired. I have relaxed my diet restrictions a bit more and allow myself to indulge in sweets occasionally and take a break every 1 or 2 weeks.

    Anybody can lose weight any time under any condition as long as he/she has the intent. One just has to aspire enough and push oneself. Health is the biggest wealth and I urge all those hoping to join the corporate sector to regain their fitness in order to build and sustain a long and fruitful career ahead.

    Here’s a before-after pic for reference :)

    Hope this article helps :)


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