Society chipped away at Mithrun Swaminathan’s self-esteem when he weighed 156kg. The people around him were visibly hostile towards obese lads like him. “People got frustrated when they knocked into me, muttering unpleasant things under their breath,” he recalls.
For the longest time, Mithrun didn’t get off the bus at his stop simply because his fellow passengers always seemed so angry when he tried to edge past them. “They made me feel like I was such an inconvenience,” Mithrun says. “So, I’d rather wait for the bus to reach its last stop and walk the one kilometre home.”
Friends and family were equally as mean, attacking his weight at every opportunity. “Girls don’t date guys like you” and “Why the second serving at this weight?” were just some of the discouraging words thrown at him. “Family members, friends and even department stores told me that I was fat,” he says. “Food became my only comfort. It made me feel warm inside.”
The pressure soon triggered a severe bout of anorexia. “I starved myself at the beginning of my weight-loss journey,” Mithrun says. “I drank a lot of water and ran on the treadmill.” At the time, he didn’t know how to eat a balanced diet, build muscle, or lose body fat. Bulimia then reared its ugly head a short while later. “When I had fast food on my cheat days, I would throw up afterwards, because it’s difficult to burn 1,000 calories just like that,” Mithrun says.
When people noticed his weight loss, he realised that it was time to stop lying to everyone – and himself. Until then, he had kept his eating disorder a secret, but it was definitely a wake-up call. “I started to count my micros and macros, and watched every little thing that I ate. I’ve been eating properly for five months now,” Mithrun says.
He then thoroughly researched the proper ways to lose body fat while piling on muscle mass. “I couldn’t afford a personal trainer. I only had Men’s Health, Women’s Health and my uncle to guide me through,” Mithrun says. An ex-hockey player and gym enthusiast, Mithrun’s uncle taught him the proper exercising techniques.
Hitting a plateau was the hardest yet most valuable lesson for Mithrun. He fell off track for three weeks but got back on by changing his routine. “I learnt how to ‘shock’ my body by letting it think that it’s in danger with new workouts,” he says. Swimming, long- and short-distance running, and a variety of cardio such as HIIT and futsal did the trick in breaking the deadlock, Mithrun says. “I also increased weights during training but cut down on the reps, and vice versa.”
After 11 months, he’s not only seen changes in his body, but also come to realise an increase in strength and stamina is possible. “I’m glad that I went on this ‘mission’,” Mithrun states. “I’ve never felt this good in life. Everyone’s path to reaching their goal is different, but you must work hard until your fitness idol becomes your rival.”