2 years back
As of Nov 2017
Like every other corporate professional, her excuse for not keeping fit and healthy was her busy schedule and family. She would go for a walk as and when she felt she had the time. It was clearly not a priority for her. Being a foodie she had no concept of portion controls. She ate to her heart’s content. The end result of all this Renu Rajani, 50, was 25 kgs on the heavier side along with low metabolism and thyroid. Her condition scared her to no end and she decided to take matters into her hand to rectify her habits and become healthy. One year of disciplined lifestyle change that included exercise, eating right and sleeping well has helped her shed over 12 kgs and she is still counting. Today, she walks 15-20 k steps on an average daily, apart from 45 minutes of Yoga every day. How has she been able to transform herself? Let’s hear Renu’s story in her own words
Until mid-2016, I used to pride myself with my busy schedule, international travels and when it came to my weight gains, justified it for lack of time, about being busy with growing children and time needed at home beyond my job. Also, being a foodie, I enjoyed the richness of food, at home as well as outside. I never believed in the concept of portions control. All my New Year resolutions were short-lived. Also, amount of catching up on work late in the evening made it just impossible to wake up the next morning for a fitness routine.
My idea of fitness was just about an easy walk if I found the time. During the last 10 years, I was introduced to Fitbit and walkathons by my organizations, but I could not discipline myself. I had stopped swimming due to lack of time and I had stopped using bicycle some 15 years back. Over the last 10 years, my sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle had got me to acquire thyroid and I had to go on routine thyroid dosage. Doctors gave varied advice, some who took a view that since I had thyroid and started on medication, it should reduce my weight with some exercise. Some were of the view that given low metabolism with thyroid, it was difficult to reduce weight. I was then 25 kgs overweight.
It was difficult for me to take that 25 kgs and move around. I felt lethargy. Later in mid-2016, I started feeling stiffness in my knees, found it difficult to climb down stairs and felt swelling in my lower legs towards the evening. I found it difficult to drive back home from work. Initially, I thought it was temporary, but soon, it became a routine habit for me to come home and put my legs in the warm water to relax. My family and friends said I was ageing and that I should stop driving and have a driver. Not that I could not afford a driver, but I felt it would just make me more immobile and I would lose my freedom by restricting my activities.
I visited the doctor again and was suggested a full health examination. The examination revealed that apart from thyroid, I had borderline cholesterol, BP and Sugar. While I was thankful to god that I did not actually get into these health issues so deep, it was certainly a warning sign for me to rectify my lifestyle and in the process improve my health. I decided to accelerate my fitness journey as that was the only way to be healthy.
Soon my quest to my fitness journey started. I began with a regular walk every morning. In the process, I came across a group that performed Yoga and Pranayama in my neighbourhood. Doing Yoga at 6 am in morning meant I wake up at 5 am and walk/carry out my warm-ups. I took this seriously and had shed some 6 kgs with regular walk and yoga in about 4 months. I started to change my lifestyle influenced by my Yoga group. I started drinking water in the morning before warm-up, started carrying food from home to office, started to ensure, I slept on time to wake up for my fitness pursuits.
In the midst of my fitness journey, one day I came across GOQii in my office. It was being offered as a trial to all VPs in my organisation. I got one as well. Unlike other times where I have been introduced to a program and, I chose to not be active, this time around I took it very seriously. I thoroughly understood what GOQii does. I had an introductory call from my coach to set up goals for myself. I liked the discipline and methodical approach of GOQii. Some of my peers who were introduced to the same program used to joke about coach chasing them up for an appointment. But, having gone through a disease scare, I felt this was important and being pushed by a coach was needed. In fact, it’s the discipline and the routine set by my coach that helped me shed another 6 kgs within 6 months.
Although, I started slow. My initial goals were very basic – drink 3-litre water daily, walk 5000 steps a day, have minimum 6 hours of sleep, have smaller portions of meals more frequently (I started to have 5 smaller meals, rather than 3 big meals). I tried some simple changes – walk/cycle rather than using the car for short distances, climbing steps rather than taking the elevator, perform regular stretches to increase my activity levels. I started recording my Yoga sessions to be able to continue with Yoga during my official travels outside of Bengaluru. Food for me during international travels remained a challenge. Each time I travelled overseas, I came back with 1 Kg added in 2 weeks trip.
GOQii coaches are well trained and I have been lucky to always get a good coach. I have been a unique case of having had 7 coaches in a span of a year. 3 coaches went on long leave and each time I felt very sad about losing a good coach. On the positive note though, having the wisdom of more coaches is valuable as well. While I found one of them too easy on me and hence wanted a more pushy coach, there were two of them who pushed me beyond my stamina. Although one of my goals was weight reduction, my first priority was to get fit. I realized despite my trying, body did not cooperate. I chose to ask for a coach who would have coached age group of 40-50 women. I then found the right coach as per my needs and goals set. I am happy with my current coach Pooja Rao now.
I feel very good about myself now. My coach has slowly made me realize that I could have the right nutrition I need and could have a balanced meal with low carbohydrates. She regularly looks at my logs, suggests me any changes to food if required, has advised me on sleep, water, exercises, nutrition, etc. I feel motivated to continue trying various activities.
Over the last year, I have reduced a total of 12 kgs. Apart from my step count, Yoga/meditation and balanced food, I have been an active cyclist. I had discontinued music many years back and got back to practising music now. A month back, I also joined Salsa to add a fun activity that can also contribute to fitness. I feel lighter and feel encouraged to try more activities. I have built my stamina over the last year. I walk 15-20k steps a day, apart from 45-60 minutes of Yoga every day.
3 months back I felt encouraged enough to start with high-intensity workouts. While my knees cooperated, I realised I needed 2 hours daytime sleep to cope with 30-45 minutes of high-intensity workout. I decided to take the advice of the GOQii doctor, who asked me to check on Vitamins B12, D3 levels as I felt fatigued.
Thanks to two consultations with GOQii doctor Viral Thakkar, which I found very helpful, I realized that I needed to first address my vitamin deficiency levels to be ready for more intensive workouts.
I am encouraged to see friends who have participated in marathons, given I am able to do 10-12 km fast walk, I am now feeling motivated to someday run a marathon. Given, I am an older age group and not an athlete in my early years, I am hoping will be able to make a beginning someday soon.
The best part of GOQii is that it not only gets you fit but also socially responsible. The karma points that we earn to be active can be donated to various causes listed on GOQii’s karma platform. To date, I have donated approximately 10000 Karma points (~1000 points earned every month based on my activity).
Health is wealth. In the busy lives that we lead, health keeps becoming a distant dream and ailments keep getting added. GOQii is leveraging simple tips combined with human connect from its coaches to help people be healthy. Good health is important and it is easily accomplished by making fitness a part of daily routine and learning to live healthily.
What does coach Pooja Rao think of her player Renu Rajani
Renu is a very focused and a determined player. Despite not having coached her from day one of she getting on to the platform, the one factor I realized about her is that she is extremely hardworking and puts in a lot of efforts to achieve her goals.
The main challenge with Renu is that she has a lot of travelling in her schedule it may be domestic or international due to which being on track with her exercise and food is always a challenge, never the less she tries to make it up once she is back by setting new targets for herself.
The best thing about Renu is, she understands the portion control of her meal very well which is a challenge with all new players and once that is understood then controlling food becomes easy.
When it comes to exercise, she is open to trying out new things like cycling, yoga, HIIT, salsa-dancing and now new challenge is to participate in a Marathon.
Having a history of thyroid losing weight is always a bigger challenge and despite her lifestyle, she has still managed to drop 10 kg by working twice as hard as a normal individual.
At 50, she epitomizes the adage- “It’s never too late to begin “ completely.