Getting Healthy: Lil Helper Style {Part 1}

Yes it is possible to lose crazy amounts of weight and then manage to keep it off. Mohammed, the co-founder of Lil Helper Cloth Diapers, shares his own personal journey from flab to fab. He lost an astounding 65 lb in 6 months.

Mohammed, co-founder of Lil Helper Cloth Diapers, before and after

Standing Out: Not In A Good Way

I was a fat kid for as long as I can remember. Back when I was growing up in India, you’d be hard pressed to see many fat kids. I stood out for all the wrong reasons.

My mom says that I was skinny at one point as an infant and I wouldn’t eat much. My family went for a pilgrimage in India visiting a bunch of shrines and prayed to each one of the sages to make me healthier (code word for fatter). The running joke was that they all listened at the same time and I suddenly just became fat.

The sad truth was that I used to eat unhealthy stuff and would avoid movement, unless it resulted in more food or I had to visit the washroom.

When I came to Canada as an international student in 2002, I was shopping for 42 inch jeans and I used to wear XXL shirts. At the nadir of my obesity I weighed 230 lbs. Now I wear 32 inch jeans and M shirts. I weigh between 160-165 lbs.

I started losing weight in the Summer of 2007 when I bought a bike to commute 4 km (one way) from a new place that I was renting near the CN Tower to Ryerson University, Toronto where I was studying for my Master’s degree. The main reason to buy the bike was to save on transit cost, I had earlier tried to walk but I am a slow walker and it took me 1 hour each way- time I didn’t have. My pants started to look loose one me. Then I changed my eating habits a little bit cutting out sugar and soft drinks and eating more green vegetables. I lost more weight. Then I started going to the gym. Even more weight came off. So my weight loss started by me being cheap.

Some Simple Tips for Getting Back In Shape

Your brain is kinda stupid

Drink More Water:

    There are mixed opinions about this one, but let me assure you- it does no harm to you drinking more water. Also, your brain can sometimes confuse your thirst as hunger, fooling you to eat when all you needed was a tall glass of crisp tap water. Seriously, as long as you are not living next to Chernobyl, tap water taste better that any bottled water.

Taste the coffee

Cut/Reduce the Sugar:

    I was not a sugar junkie but I was you regular Double-Double guy. One fine day when I was trying to lose weight I decided to have my cuppa without sugar. It didn’t taste great- coffee was bitter. But now, it has dawned- that is what coffee should taste like- bitter. Sugar kills the aromatic taste of coffee, depleting the experience. Plus, if you drink different types of coffee sans the sugar you will actually taste difference in flavour and aroma.

Don’t tire your body

Eat less meat:

    • Vegetarian fare on average leaves /exits your body 24 hours early than non-veg fare. Hey, I am not asking you to go eat tofu burgers now. Reduce the amount of meat you eat by even a little bit to help your body out. I used to feel that my meals were not complete if I didn’t have at least one piece of meat with my meal but now we have significantly

reduced meat intake

    . Also, meat is far more expensive than vegetables- thus, not only will you lose weight by eating more vegetables but also save money for a great dress or other treat.

Lose the cream

Try milk:

    if you use cream in your coffee or tea substitute it with milk. Your coffee won’t feel as rich but I assure you that in 1 week you won’t know the difference. Plus, milk is a better diluter that allows you to still taste the flavors of your drug of choice without over-powering it.

Never buy bigger clothes

Ditch the ‘fat pants’:

    If the jeans don’t fit that means you need to do get back on the treadmill. I have gained weight over the years on trips or phases when I would eat unhealthy but my rule is that I have to fit into my current clothes before I buy any new ones. Its easy to go into a store and buy a 33 inch jeans instead of a 32 but once you allow yourself this one liberty than the next month you’ll buy the 34 inch jeans. In six months, you are right back where you started. Remember, the weight comes back with a vengeance.

Make Time for B Time

Breakfast is important:

    As a parent you want to instill good habits in your kids and having a good breakfast should be one. It is proven that the sooner you eat a breakfast from the time you’ve woken up, the faster your body kickstarts its metabolism and the more weight you tend to lose. Plus, it will give you the fuel you need to start your day right.

The Great Greens

Use salad as a strategy:

    I don’t hate many things in life, but I made special exceptions for Nazis and green vegetables. Now I realized how roughage works. Eating plenty of greens will not only fill your tummy and prevent you from eating calorie rich food; it also provides you fiber that ensures that your bowel movements are like clockwork. Eat a bowl of lettuce without any dressings or light olive oil with each meal and you’ll see how you decrease your portion size.

The Long John

Make your washroom breaks count:

    When you drink plenty of water, you’ll need to pass it at some point. Use the farthest washroom from where you are located. If you are in your basement, use the washroom on the second-floor of your home. If you are at work, use the washroom that is out of your way. Use stairs whenever you have the chance. Even a little bit of exercise will help your body burn fat.

Calling Smaller Portions

Don’t deprive yourself from anything:

    If you like eating a bowl of ice-cream after dinner, replace it with a smaller bowl of frozen yogurt. The key is to not feel deprived and to prevent cravings. You know you’re no Mandela and will eventually give in to your cravings and when you do- it will be pure mayhem. Eat everything in moderation. Instead of having Coke, try Diet Coke- they’re both bad- but one’s a lesser vice.

Say No to the Yo

Find the sly culprits:

    • Don’t fill up on the small things that pack a lot of calories.

Avoid the Mayonnaise:

    • 15 gms of that gooey-amazing-tasting stuff contains a 100 calories so try other

alternatives to flavor your sandwich

    • .

Skip the Cheese in Subway:

    You can barely taste the cheese anyways in between all the other stuff- so why consume calories you can’t taste. Peanuts, Donuts and Tim Bits also fall in this malicious category of food.
Mohammed, co-founder of Lil Helper Cloth Diapers with wife, Sophia, and daughter, Zara.

Stay tuned for Losing Weight: Lil Helper Style {Part 2} – one that you don’t want to miss cause you know you are going to say “Yep, been there – thought that!”.

Also, please share with us some of your very own tips & tricks that helped you shed some extra weight in the comments section below.


3 thoughts on “Getting Healthy: Lil Helper Style {Part 1}

  1. Super story well told. Congratulations on your common sense. I used to skip breakfast because if I ate first thing I got hungrier for lunch earlier in the day – until I found out that two things make your body burn calories: moving and EATING.

    I stayed the same weight most of my IBM career by wearing the same size clothes. When my clothes got tight I didn’t want to eat as much and I just naturally kept going back to that weight.

    I love veggies and fruits and the easiest way to lose weight is to eat MORE stuff that has few calories in it. Find some type of veggies and fruits to love and eat all you want of them and you will eat less of everything else without even noticing!

    And I totally agree with your “don’t deprive yourself” advice. People who binge eat do it because they are too restrictive on themselves and then they finally break down and think
    “I blew it” so they eat the entire cake! Eat something sweet – just don’t eat so much of it and maybe substitute sweets that are healthier for those that aren’t.

    All in all you’ve offered some very good advice. Well done.

  2. Great story Gandhi. Very happy for your achievement as I’ve known you since 2002 & have seen your transition. Great advice. All the best!!

  3. Great advice, incredible story! Thank you for telling it so candidly – so many others need to hear this and be encouraged to “keep truckin'” as you put it!

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