I lost 18 kilos on this plan, you can too!

Published: November 20, 2012

Neither was I on one of those crazy crash diets that scare people away from scratch nor was I following any of those numerous diet plans found on the internet. I followed my own plan, based on some research and experience. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD IRFAN

Today, I am extremely happy to share an experience I had over the span of four months. During this time, I lost 18kgs off to finally achieve my ideal weight. It’s not an extraordinary achievement because there are many others who have been able to do a lot more than that, but I thought it would be a good idea to share this little achievement to inspire people who have lost hope.

Neither was I on one of those crazy crash diets that scare people away from scratch nor was I following any of those numerous diet plans found on the Internet. I followed my own plan, based on some research and experience.

And guess what?

My strategy was extremely effective, and I achieved my target weight of 75kgs in four months. Research shows that effective weight loss rate is around one kilogramme per week. Considering my total weight loss, I was right on the money!

Neither was I inspired by any actor nor did I want to wear my favourite dress, as shown in various cereals advertisements.

A trip to Pakistan was all I needed.

Since, I went back home after two years, I was invited over to many of my relatives houses. Throughout my trip, I was bombarded with snacks, fizzy drinks and oily foods, as is common in countries like India and Pakistan.

As a result, I discovered that I gained two kilos in just five days! This was a killer for me because I was already 16kgs above my ideal weight. Since I have a large physique, I would placate myself by saying that I really didn’t appear to be a someone who weighs 91kgs. But this soon stopped satisfying me and hence, I decided to go on a weight loss rampage.

I call this a rampage because when I weighed 80kgs, many people started telling me that I looked like an ill person compared to earlier. But I was determined not to be hindered by anything or anyone before I achieved my target weight.

And so, here I am, back to being a fit and smart guy. Yes I know I’m bragging a bit much, so I shall get down to sharing my plan of action.

The diet plan

Here, I would like to share with you my food schedule.

Breakfast – Nestle fitness cereals or porridge.

Lunch – A couple of boiled eggs or steamed chicken sandwiches in brown or whole meal bread with any sauce of your choice excluding mayonnaise or any other creamy blended sauce, not even low fat. And an apple and an orange.

Dinner – Grilled or steamed chicken, fish or steaks with a couple of brown or whole meal breads with any sauce.

Besides the three regular meals, I used to have a cup or two of coffee or tea a day, around 2.5 litres of water and some nuts.

Most of the credit for my weight loss and unfaltering will power goes to my mom and my wife, who cooked grilled food for me every other day and supported me throughout my diet regime.

Exercise plan

Exercising is the hard bit. It was quite a tough ask because we need to spare time and have the willpower to be consistent. There are many ways by which one can find the inspiration to avoid boredom in exercise. For me, the most significant thing was my inner feeling. If we have the internal push, nothing can stop us from achieving our target. I believe that all other external factors such as watching TV and exercising outdoors are minor issues.

Ever since I started working out, I have been doing the same exercises; running, striding, cycling and 40 minutes of aerobics. I had to spare around an hour and a half a day. In the beginning though, the exercise was a bit mild; I started with half an hour daily and progressed from there.

To maintain the urge, I gave myself one day a week ─ a cheat day. I think it is important to compensate for the effort of the whole week and change our exercise and eating patterns for one day. However, what we shouldn’t do is let ourselves go extremely off track. For me, my cheat food was either biryani or Chili’s chocolate molten lava cake (yum), and I would replace aerobics with swimming during the weekends.

To finish on a serious note, I would like to reiterate the importance of physical exercise for a healthy weight loss regime. If I discontinued my physical exercises, it would not take me very long to revert back to my old eating habits if I maintained the eating plan without exercise. Realisation of the importance of exercise if very important and I am therefore extremely fortunate because at the age of 25, I have made exercise a habit and now live a more healthy, smart and active lifestyle.

Exercise not only makes you feel better about yourself, it is proven that a healthy dose of exercise a day helps to avoid sickness, heart problems and obesity in the long term also. With physical exercise, we can shed the extra calories gained by the occasional binge on junk foods or desserts. Besides your regular work out plan, there are numerous ways to exercise in your daily course of affairs such as using the stairs instead of elevators, walking or cycling to work or parking cars at a distance.

This plan worked brilliantly for me and today, I am a confident, healthy and happy man! I hope this piece serves as inspiration and encouragement for those who want to change their lifestyle for the better.

Muhammad Irfan

Muhammad Irfan

A structural engineer working in an oil and gas company in Dubai, UAE. He is originally from Karachi, Pakistan and holds a Master's and a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the American University of Sharjah in Sharjah, UAE

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • I.

    even in “before” pics you don’t look that fat/chubby!
    Bt well done for loosing so much weight!Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/britishmuslims Mohammed Abbasi

    Love it when bearded guys actually try to get healthy! Mashallah!Recommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    Congratulations on your success !Recommend

  • gp65

    Congratulations.Recommend

  • Unknown Soldier

    I weighed 106 kg last year, and now I weigh 73 kgs. That is a 33 kg loss of weight. My diet plan was exactly the same as you. My breakfast consists of a bowl of Nestle Fitness Fruits and a glass of sugar free OJ. After that I eat at 6 PM which is half way between a lunch and dinner. I dont eat/ drink anything with processed sugars and in between I go for fruits/nuts and green tea. My exercise routine is simple; cardio for atleast an hour and then some strength training. This is important because you loose weight easily thorugh the diet I mentioned above, but this also causes you to loose muscle, thats where the exercise routine comes in, as a result you dont end up looking like Christian Bale in the Mechanic!Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/Z3alous Sarah B. Haider

    Thank you for sharing.

    P.S. Whoever left that racist comment, WERD :SRecommend

  • FB

    i feel motivated after reading your story :D thanks and keep it up .Recommend

  • M

    Thank you for sharing! inspiring! well done! Recommend

  • Arsalan

    Well done mate; I am following the same routine since a week or so. Lets see what it brings for me.Recommend

  • Ali Tipu

    Weight loss and getting into good shape is more a habit than anything else. One cant just keep on consuming processed and junk food and then complain about getting fat all the time. Paleo diet is something that is natural and keeps you healthy and fit. I have started using it for about a week or so and the results are already very encouraging. But for that one needs to sacrifice on processed food. Sugar, Pasta etc. Eat natural and you will start loving yourself. And the most pleasant part of it is that you can eat anytime, in whatever the quantity you like but it still wont make you chubbyRecommend

  • Mateen

    @Ali Tipu:
    Pls do share your diet details.Recommend

  • Muhammad Irfan

    Very happy to know that my first blog is published :). Thank you very much for your responses

    Mr Ali Tipu. There are numerous diet plans which are effective. I would recommend every one to read this link which describes the root of every diet plan

    http://www.acaloriecounter.com/diet/

    This would really benefit everyone.

    Best RegardsRecommend

  • daactar

    you are married?wow! isnt tht quite a young age to get marriedRecommend

  • H

    Commendable weight loss!.I reduced 20 kgs in the past three months myself but by forbidding myself from eating bread, rice and all refined foods, brisk walking daily with floor exercises.For the first 2 months believe me I didn’t even check my weight after the initial check. It’s been an amazing journey, still got to achieve my goal so working towards it. You are definitely right about the confidence which is a major kick in, I feel rejuvenated.
    I would advise all people reading this, especially women to have healthier choices and avoid take-away meals. You are what you eat as they say and nobody else would care about your health as much as you can, one should gain the motivation and it would become even stronger when those pounds shed off. For me it was never about social acceptance but it was about my own will to want to fit into classy clothes and to ultimately feel good. It’s not that slim people are the only healthy ones, they are even hiding invisible secrets, however if an overweight person loses weight, the outcome is much more visible and inspiring for others so even if you don’t do it for social acceptance, become another persons inspiration and make a differenceRecommend

  • Zezu

    Body weight reduced but not on your face.Recommend

  • Pessimist

    First of all, congratulations on your weight loss. You look better in your ‘after’ pictures. I also think it’s great you want to help out others but I don’t think this diet would be effective for many. Different people have different metabolisms, so that plays a major role in wieght loss. Some people eat a lot but don’t gain any weight (Unfortunately I am not one of them!!). I don’t want to discourage you, nor am I attacking you, I just think it’s unfair to say this diet will assist in weight loss for every person. Having said that, keep up the good work. All the best! Recommend

  • Ali Tipu

    @Mateen

    Avoid everything man-made as much as possible when it comes to eating or drinking. Most of the stuff we eat today is actually full of toxic substances that can only harm your health specially in longer run. Avoid Sugar, refined salt, burgers, pizzas, pasta, wheat, legumes,refined vegetable oils, carbonated drinks from your diet straightaway. Dont go to Pizza huts, MacDonald or other such junk fast food chains. So then what will you eat? You will eat fresh vegetables, chicken, lean meat, sea food & fish, fruits, nuts and eggs. I normally take egg and fruits in the breakfast, some sea food or chicken along with salad in the lunch and for the dinner, I prepare meat/chicken, again with different vegetables and salads. Along with it, A cup of green tea and fruits like apples, bananas, serve the purpose on daily basis. I eat whenever I feel like eating with no particularly fixed timings though I prefer to have a dinner at least 4-5 hours before sleeping to give my stomach some rest. Obviously it requires a lot of patience and some time to see the effects.Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk

    The best way to lose fat is to do both strength training and cardio. Pure cardio and dieting results in weight loss both due to reduction of fat and muscle. Change in body composition (% of body fat) is more important than weight loss itself.
    Coming to the issue of time invested in gym, people who spend more than one hour in the gym are statistically more likely to drop-out. Once core body strength is steadily built, 4 hours of intense exercise per week is sufficient for any individual. Dorian Yates is one of the greatest body-builders of all time and 4~5 hours per week was enough for him! Besides, muscles once exercised, need at-least 48 hours to recover. So it’s a good idea to workout on alternate days. The rest days can be utilized for doing yoga to improve flexibility.

    Strong Lifts 5×5 program is a nice routine that involves 5 basic compound exercises that is easy to follow and is not very time consuming. It can be coupled easily with HIIT cardio too.Recommend

  • Truthwala

    Dears, I seriously thought about loosing weight too but then I feel bad for all the insects waiting for me in grave. Why should i deprive them of the meat off of a 5 muun ke laash? What have they done to deserve this punishment of eating only bones and no meat. If that is the case then what would be the difference between them and an average pakki? I cannot put them on a diet plan just so I can live a bit better. Naa rey baba naa.Recommend

  • Golden horde

    Awesome effort dude. And we’ll done!!Recommend

  • Majid

    Brother very informative. But problem is I need a wife to cook me diet food to be smart. And I need to be smart to get a wife. So since I am not getting smarter I am not getting a wife and since I am not getting a wife, I am not getting smarter :(. You are lucky you had wife when you were not fat.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    @Zezu:

    Show some respect :)Recommend

  • Muhammad Irfan

    @pessimist,

    You are absolutely right about having different metabolisms. I never intended to claim that this would work for every one. But if the words in the blog sound like that, I appologize for that. I just shared my details for someone to try this out as well if nothing else works :)

    @daactar

    Yes, I married quite early. I have children also :)Recommend

  • Ayesha Khan

    You looked better with the weightRecommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/908/erum-naqvi/ Erum

    Irfan, tat’s great work! ignore tha pessimists who can find negativity even when there is none :)
    having been there and done that, i know that it takes great courage to stick to such a routine. Keep it up! :)Recommend

  • Rao Amjad Ali

    RE: Truthwala

    That is one of the funniest and yet thought provoking comment I have read in recent times in relation to dieting.Recommend

  • UHS

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m highly motivated now. However, getting my mom to agree on cooking grilled chicken/fish whole week, for quite some time will be tougher than exercise and/or diet plan itself.Recommend

  • Ahsan

    You look better with weight mate .. sorry but truth is truth … loosing weight is good but you will have to maintain this diet for preserve your smartness … which is very difficult in my case.Recommend

  • http://tariq-aziz.blogspot.com Tariq Aziz

    @ Irfan Sb
    We need you to please a separate blog explain the terms like what is cardio, whole meal bread etc and also which nuts are recommended. Also you may please based on your experience and research that which foods are proteins rich and which are fat building like some one said to me that i should avoid banana because they contains carbs in high amount etc ..Recommend

  • Hashmi

    I guess it is only watchful diet.. and consistent and tough exercise…on the face of it nothing special but takes a lot will power and more to achieve this..Recommend

  • Unmarried

    So awesome of you to get married at the right age. Lets hope we all get the same chance.Recommend

  • Ammad

    I don’t feel encouraged or motivated, still someone needs to come up and tell me that you can lose this 16kg in one month because I am one person who has been piling on weight consistently for last 3 years. I weighed 80kg in 2009 and I am now 116kg. Every time I stand up on the weighing machine I have piled up 3 or 5 kg. Plus 4 months is a long time for this much weight to lose. I should be at max 80 kg according to my height, but I have almost given up thinking too much has been piled up. Can some gym help lose this much weight I mean 16 kg in one month, because I have heard some gyms can do that.Recommend

  • http://www.scribd.com/asifameer ASIF

    umm.. Am I the only one who thinks Irfan looks weak?Recommend

  • Hashmi

    @Ammad

    dont go for a drastic weight loss, it will have its side affects and will affect your health..

    Just go to any gym and workout cardio and maybe weights, another four months will pass and youll be planning for this swift one month weight loss…Recommend

  • Muhammad Irfan

    @Ahsan,

    Bro, you are right. Maintaining is difficult. But I have devised a simple formula for my self for this. I have bought a weighing scale. I eat normal for a week and then check my weight, if it has increased drastically, I come back to this diet plan. Otherwise just eat normal and I jog daily for 20 mins..around 3ks..this has worked perfectly for me for a month now…I am still roaming around 74-75 kgs…hopefully this can work all my life inshallah

    @Tariq Sb,

    I very strongly advise you to read the diet plan on this link

    http://www.acaloriecounter.com/diet/

    It would be perfect. Kindly read it carefully…

    @Ammad

    As Imran Khan says, there is no shortcut to hardwork

    @Asif,

    many ppl did tell me that I looked very weak…but that was because they were used to looking at me when I was fat…but I believe I am ok now…Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk

    @Tariq Aziz:
    We need you to please a separate blog explain the terms like what is cardio

    “Cardio” is any activity that makes your heart beat faster (eg: 60 to 70% of HR max) for a reasonable amount of time (say 20 minutes)Recommend

  • Sadaf Ejaz Bazard

    Very well done!!

    I myself belong to the club of people who are seeking to adopt a healthier lifestyle and shed those irritating pounds which seemed to have managed to sneak up so quietly into my life. Thats when i learned that you cant blame fate or destiny for being over weight! I stepped back and had to watch my eating habits and God, i was shocked! Dowing a litre of pakola a day during studies and finding comfort in food during stressful periods of preparing for exams was what i was doing to my body. I hated my pictures on my 24th bday but than a friend of mine gifted me dumbells for my birthday and i decided to change the way i will look on my 25th birthday. I started from 65 kgs in August and today with proper diet (not starvation, but it means eating frequent in smaller portions) and doing exercises within the bounderies of my house with the assistance of exercise Dvds and here i am! Today i weigh 52 kgs. I had to buy news jeans every month since last 3 months as i lost weight and toned up. I also have a cheat day, infact i cheat often during the week as well but i make sure to justify it with a little tougher exercise routine the very next day.

    Losing weight is not what your motivation should just be. You call rather name it to be adopting a “healthier lifestyle” I had to push my self every day for first 2 months to meet my exercise routine and not give up but now i look forward it every morning! You have to commit yourself to yourself. Once you are happy with your self, you dont need people complimenting you (believe me they will do so alot like it or not!) because you only will adore what you will see in the mirror. It can change the whole mind frame of a person if one can spare an hour to him/herself during a day. I plan to continue with this habit of mine for the rest of my life! Not just because i want to be or stay slim but because i want to stay healthy. Recommend

  • Myla

    Absolutely awesome achievment. Congratulations. Please, PLEASE do not listen to pessimists and negativie people – who are probably sitting on their couches, munching away – and don’t feel that you have to apologise for anything. This is YOUR achievment, which you achieved through hard work and discipline. Celebrate that. Best wishes on maintanance. Recommend

  • Adil Mulki

    hmmm.. I guess I need one to adopt a diet/ exercise plan too…Recommend

  • Ms.Abidi

    how much timee did it take u to lose this amount of weight i want to lose 20 kg how much time will it take to lose and im 23 old how ,much work out should i doRecommend

  • H

    @Ms.Abidi:
    it will take you four months but you will have to do it with a healthy diet. Start working out and increase the intensity.Recommend

  • Muhammad Irfan

    Ms Abidi,

    Kindly check the following link…

    http://www.acaloriecounter.com/diet/

    spare some relaxing time and read this ,,,it would really suit youRecommend