Lessons From This Man Who Dropped 26kg & Found A Whole New Lease On Life
The honest truth is that I had been lying to myself, and for a long time. I’ve always been a regular gymgoer, but I never realised how important it is to follow the right diet. I’d only realised how bad it had got once I had seen a photo of myself at the beach while on holiday. My parents are diabetic, and looking at my photo made me realise that I was on the same path.
Once I got back from that beach holiday, I went to a bodybuilding show, where a friend – who is a cancer survivor – was competing. To my amazement, he was in his best shape of his life. The reality hit me – if he can do it, in spite of cancer, what’s my excuse? He introduced me to his coach, Lance Jacobson, who I asked: “Could I ever get on the same bodybuilding stage?” Lance looked at me and said, “I will get you on this stage, if you trust the process and believe in me.”
Weight Before: 107kg
Time To Goal: 14 Months
1. The Problem: “I started gaining weight after I got married in 2000. The weight gradually increased despite being a regular at the gym and an avid cyclist. I’ve done more than 20 cycle races but never lost weight. I’ve been consistent by weighing in at 107kg for years. I used to work five days a week at a normal day job, then worked on weekends as a bouncer at night clubs, where I’d end up eating all sorts of comfort food, like boerie rolls and pies.”
The Lesson : You need to pay the bills – but if you don’t look after your body and your health, there’s no amount of money that can help you reverse the damage.
2. The Change: “Being overweight caused a massive back issue for me, and walking around in clubs all night made it much worse. When I stood for extensive periods, or did things like shopping, my back would spasm. It got so bad that I couldn’t play with my sons for more than 15 minutes.”
The Lesson: Being overweight means bigger clothes and changing your whole wardrobe, which costs you serious money and self-esteem. The answer is to set goals and follow them without questioning them. Persistence is the key to change. Being overweight doesn’t happen over night, so losing weight doesn’t happen over night either. You need to work to lose it.
3. The Strategy: “My weakness was junk food, so my strategy was to discipline myself to say no. I went to media events, functions, parties, family events and restaurants, but refused to eat the wrong food. I followed the diet plan my coach gave me without complaining. I stopped drinking, stopped bingeing, kept healthy snacks close to me and learned how to say no. Getting on to the stage was my ultimate goal. If you want something really badly, you won’t cheat yourself.”
The Lesson: One of the biggest misconceptions is that people feel that by going to the gym enough, it warrants wholesale cheating on your meal plan. It doesn’t.
4. The Result: “When I saw my pants were becoming loose, I became addicted to the changes. From size 42 to 40, then down to 36, and when I dropped to 34 I was ecstatic. Now I have to buy size 32, because size 30 pants don’t fit my thighs.”
The Lesson: The small results will keep you going towards the big one. They will keep you motivated, and your friends and family will also provide positive feedback.
The Biggest Lessons: Rajeev’s Take
Lesson 1: Discipline is key.
“Lance gave me a diet plan and asked me to follow it diligently. It consisted of chicken, broccoli, fish and rice. I followed the diet, but sometimes swapped the chicken for lamb, and then the time came when I had to go and see Lance again for an assessment. I sent a message to Lance requesting a time to meet him, and he replied: ‘Please mail me your diet before I see you’. I mailed him my diet (including the lamb changes) and I was shocked when I got an email back from Lance, in capital letters, saying, “This isn’t my diet; please refer to the plan I sent you.” I was shocked as no one has sent me a mail in capital letters before, but I realised he was right. If I don’t follow the diet strictly, it won’t work.”
Lesson 2: Age is a number.
“I love this lifestyle, and following it strictly helps me to budget and plan for the month. My kids are proud of me and they want to be like their dad.”
Lesson 3: Enjoy the victories.
“On 25 March 2017 I was on stage under the guidance of coach Lance Jacobson. I placed 2nd in 3 categories – Male Muscle Plus, Men’s Masters 40+, and Shape Shifters. Through this journey I went through a very bad divorce which almost put me in depression. But I focused on myself and the hunger of achieving my goals kept me on track. I moved out of my house and rented a cottage; I prepped all my meals 24/7, seven days a week. Today the achievement is priceless.”