My Journey So Far...

My fitness journey is all ups and downs. There are times of great motivation and times of great excuses. However, that's how any journey towards a new goal and outcome starts with. Trial and error have been my method towards perfection. Yet to be perfect, I still focus on learning and implementing new strategies and techniques in my journey. I am not a fitness professional, and I am pretty much sure that all those out there who have other jobs and different lifestyles will relate to my journey well.

Syed Kafeel Gillani, author of The Keto Book, guide for fat loss

I am 25 years old right now, and fitness was never my passion as a teenager. I played sports but was never really disciplined. In my late teenage years, I really let myself go, I did not realize it at that point, but year after year, I knew I was on the wrong path.

My eating habits were a mess, with no timings and no fixed meal plan. I was eating when I was hungry, and Oh My God, I was hungry all the time. I would not even call it eating. I was literally binging all my meals. It, somewhere, ended up becoming a habit. I convinced myself that I was a big guy with a big appetite, and it was healthy. As a young person, you can get away with it, your metabolism is good, and you can have junk here and there. My unhealthy habits and sedentary lifestyle were so out of control that my body could no longer get away with it. I saw myself getting bigger and bigger. It did not bother me at the beginning, I was still active, but when these unhealthy habits started reflecting in my day-to-day activity, that's when it started bothering me. I sucked at sports, not because I lacked skills but because I was just big and slow. This bothered me, and I knew I had to do something about it. There it was a big decision I made for myself. This was the time it all had to end.

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So, I quit sports. If you were hoping for a motivational twist, well, this wasn't it. I told you, my journey is filled with imperfections and excuses. My stupid mind took the easy way out. You can't suck at something if you don't do it. I got more and more comfortable with my unhealthy habits. I was still a couch athlete; I would watch sports and comment on everything. I would give others fitness advice. Yeah, I felt like a retired athlete passing on his wisdom, whereas I was just a failed one. If you want an idea of how much I let myself go, I am a bit above 5,11 (let's say 6 because why not), and when I was 18 years old, I weighed 118 kgs. I was a big guy. I had decent muscle mass with a giant layer of fat.

During my holidays, I would always think about changing all this and become a rock-hard muscle man. I did not know what to do or where to start. Like most people out there, I was looking for the quickest and the easiest way out. I went on the internet searching the quick ways to lose fat. Internet was just too much information for me at that time. I did not even understand most of it. I just went to the easy hacks one. Yeah, the ones that just tell you to drink this and that in the morning, and boom, you will have your results. I was so motivated, I tried it, in my mind, I was very excited to reveal the new me after the holidays. Well, I became fatter. I was confused and again went on making excuses and complaining that nothing worked.

Fast forward to college; this was the time I had to do something. Young people everywhere, enthusiastic and full of energy. I was active too initially, but once you make excuses, it is very easy to get into your comfort zone and convince yourself that you are on the right path. I joined the gym. Yes, another burst of motivation. I started working out, well not going to comment on the stupid things I was doing there. I would come back home with sore muscles and think that this is it, it has started, and my fat days are over; well, two months late, I became fatter. I was pissed that even the gym does not work. Convinced me that and everybody around me. Never even once questioned my abnormal eating habits. By abnormal, I mean roughly I was eating 4 to 5 thousand calories a day, all junk, on a sedentary lifestyle with a 40-minute workout when I felt like. My other habits were not healthy as well.

By the time I was in my second year of college, things had started getting serious. I was still making excuses, but somewhere I knew I was lying to myself. This time I decided to get serious, and filled with motivation again, I rejoined the gym. But I was still clueless about what went wrong the last time. Well, I finally knew the answer. I did not take supplements. Don't judge me; I know a lot of us have been there. I started finding a good fat burner. I wanted to lose fat, and the supplement's name is "fat burner," I couldn't question it. I still remember the day I bought my first fat burner. The next day I was really excited, I opened the bottle, and that black pill was all I needed (that's what I thought). I popped it, went to workout, came back home, slept, and in the morning, expected some change. Of course, there was none, but that's alright; I was just excited. I knew that in a month, the magic would happen. A month later, I became fatter. This time I knew that it was all a scam. I cursed the gyms, the diets, the exercises, everything. Yet I would see fit people, especially those who have transformed themselves, and think, why can't I. But I tried and failed, and then came my final excuse, THEY ARE NOT NATURAL. I was so convinced that everyone transforming themselves are all taking enhancement drugs. Well, I did not want to try that, but at least I had a solid excuse. So I gave up the idea of transforming myself and convinced myself that it is not possible naturally, and if I were to take enhancement drugs, I would achieve it overnight. I slept on it and was happy, just for a while, though.

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One interesting thing about the human body is that it will treat you worse if you treat it bad. If it cannot handle your unhealthy habits, it has ways to tell you. Some signs and excuses will convince you for a while, but your body is shouting out loud, trying to tell you to shut up with your excuses and do something. That time was awful; it was no longer about being fat or fit. I was just annoyed all the time. I was cranky, my mood was never stable, I became more anxious and stressed about everything. I became very self-conscious and lowered my confidence. I am always thankful for my friends and everyone in my life; they always supported me, yet I was still annoyed. I blamed everything, but in the end, I was just annoyed at myself. I hated looking at my pictures, I hated buying new clothes, I hated socializing and going out in public. I hated that I let myself go so far. I would always look back and regret not sticking to working out and sports. I would think only if I had, I might have achieved it by now. If I started now, I would think it would take me years, and I wanted to accomplish all of it before college ended. At the age of 20, everyone I met thought I was at least 30. That was still okay; what bothered me was that I did not feel like a 20-year-old. I thought, if this is how I am growing, then what will I be like when I am 30 and was not even sure if I will be 40 if I continue living like this.

Body positivity is good when you feel good; nobody was body-shaming me, my body was body-shaming me, and my body constantly told me that it could not take it anymore. Yet I resorted to food, binging, to feel good temporarily. We have a lot of goto activities when we are low. Mine was binging and other bad habits, which I did give up eventually. I was stuck in a loop. Where I would feel bad about gaining more and more weight and not doing anything about it, this would make me feel anxious and stressed, and that anxiety and stress made me go on binging sessions. I did not know how to exit this loop.

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After my second year ended, I was back home; I would always binge on food while watching movies and stuff at home. This time, however, I did not go into that. It was during May 2017. I thought, not decided, just thought that I would not snack. I will just have my lunch, dinner, breakfast at home, no snacking in between, and no late-night binging sessions. I started going to bed at a reasonable time. After a week, I realized that it was not that hard; after all, I was eating enough required for my body to function. I started stepping out of the house more, keeping myself busy and tired so that I would sleep early. In just a week, I lost absolutely no weight, but wait, this time, it was different. As I said, it was no longer about being fat but how I felt. That week I suddenly felt better. I felt more energetic and happy. And the most significant thing was I had no urge to binge or snack. Well, I told myself that this is just a trial; let's just try this month. I have failed too many times; let's fail one more. I did not make it hard on myself, didn't run after a perfect plan to change, nor did I try to do anything extra. It all started with no snacking and late-night binging. Rest I was eating everything, and I was not counting calories or anything. I was not trying to lose fat; I was just trying to quit a habit. One month down, I LOST FAT. It was not a lot, it was not even noticeable, but for me, who was constantly obsessed with it, I could see a significant change in how I felt. It was not a feeling of being happy about the results of anything, just a feeling that it may be doable. After that, I let go of all my excuses and everything I had convinced myself until then. All I decided was one step at a time. The next step, I joined the gym again, the workout still sucked, but two months down, I was 12 kgs down from where I started (at 118kgs) at the beginning of August. I did not take personal training, but the   biggest and the most helpful thing I did was educate myself. I started learning more and more about nutrition and exercise. The more I learned, the more I realized my mistakes in my earlier attempts. My biggest mistake was thinking I could outrun my bad diet with exercise. After August, I returned to my final year at college; I immediately joined the gym as I did not want to lose my progress. I started logging my food intake and finally had a fixed eating routine. I worked out regularly without missing a day.

I only did weight lifting because I love it, and over the months, I improved my training. I constantly focused on improving my form and strength. I only had one supplement in my stack, and that was a whey protein powder. My next semester break was in October, and I weighed 91 kgs. During that break, I tried to tweak my diet a bit but gained 4 kgs back. Well, this was the time it all changed. The speed I was going at was slowing down, and in my mind, my dream physique was at least one and half years down the line. It was getting harder to lose more fat. I tried to decrease my calorie intake, but I lacked so much energy, and I was hungry all the time. I was motivated enough to stick on it, but the real upsetting thing was even with a huge calorie deficit, I was still not losing fat at the same rate.
During the last week of October, I was at the gym in my hometown and met a guy who showed me his incredible transformation. He achieved it in 90 days. At that time, I knew that it's never one size fits all; everyone is different, so I thought what worked for him may not necessarily work for me, and I should stick with what is working for me. However, he suggested that I give it a try. Based on my workout and training, he was pretty much sure that I would achieve it faster than he did. I was not desperate, but I was very much curious. That was the first time I was introduced to the term ketogenic diet. That was all, just the name of this weird diet. I tried asking here and there about it, and it was not a trend back in 2017.

The most extensive information I got was that I was supposed to eat butter and lose fat. It sounded like, if you want to put out a fire, then pour fuel on it. All my life, one nutritional fact or knowledge I carried with me was that fatty foods make you fat. Butter makes you fat. If you want to lose fat, quit butter. So I was not convinced. I thought its another scam like the "fat burner." I went home and read about it, it fascinated me, and I was surprised to see people sharing their results. I won't lie, I was very tempted to try it. Still, in my mind, it sounded too good to be true. There was only one way to find out; I gave it a thought and again thought that I might as well fail rather than not giving it a go. But I did not want to try it like a trend; I wanted to do it right if I was doing it. I asked a friend; he owned the gym and was a nutritionist; he briefed me about the diet and gave me enough info to get started with it. Without having second thoughts, I jumped right into it. It was hard at first, following it correctly, I followed the trends on the internet, and well, it was not good. I was not feeling well, but rather than blaming the diet, I educated myself more about it and started adjusting it the way it suited me, and after two weeks, I was on track and corrected my errors. After that, it was easy, and I saw change every week and felt better and better every day. The exciting part was, it was much simpler and much more effective than what I started following.

After 45 days, I weighed 86 kgs. I saw a significant change in my physique, and I was closer to my goal. Three months into the diet, I weighed 82 kgs, and I was no longer overweight. I had achieved my goal, and my body fat percentage and weight were in the healthy range.

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I thought the keto worked, and now I should maintain it on a regular balanced diet. My energy was at its peak, so I decided to give one more month to this diet. The best decision I ever made. The fourth month was terrific; my training was optimal, my energy was unmatched, not just in the gym but throughout the day. I was able to focus better and felt better than I ever did. I finally achieved the physique which I thought would take me years. I was surprised to see my body change and reach its full potential. In March 2018, I finally stopped the ketogenic diet as, after that, I wanted to focus on my strength and size. During the final days, I weighed 78 kgs. I do not like to measure my progress in terms of weight; that is why the pictures speak a lot. One interesting fact about my transformation, which came as a surprise to me too, is that I never did ab exercises and not even one cardio session in 10 months. I am not saying it is wrong or you should not, but it is a common myth that only cardio and ab exercises make you lose belly fat.

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People often told me that I would lose my progress once I stopped it. That is not true. The results were very much sustainable, provided I had to put in efforts to maintain it. That's how it is with any diet and routine. In the second half of 2018, I moved to a new city and neither worked out nor ate healthily. I ended up gaining 6 kgs over 6 months. Not too bad, given I was eating junk like a maniac. I decided to start my keto again. I just found it too simple and easy, and it worked every time. This time, however, I decided to tweak it up a little bit. I read more and more ways to lose fat on keto on the internet. Internet is not always too friendly. I did achieve results, but they were not as effective as the first time. I experimented a lot and over-complicated many things. The third time I started keto was in 2019; that one was a bummer, as again overcomplicate things too much and let go of my basic keto principles. I finally did get into shape following my basic routine.

In 2019, keto was trending a lot, and there were mixed opinions. I have had many people talking negatively about the diet. I also had people telling me they tried and shared their horrible experiences. As I listened to them, I could point out the mistakes they made. But they are not to blame; they went to the internet to find a diet that provided the fastest results and followed it without understanding it first. I convinced a few of them to try it again, but the way I guided them. They were surprised to see it work with any side effects or dreadful experiences. I was not surprised, as I knew that not having enough information and too much information can throw you off the track. I have had more and more people asking me about my transformation. I don't just tell them to go keto because I know it was not just the diet. It was the right combination and choices of nutrition and workout in addition to minor small adjustments I learned to make through trial and error. I cannot wait to share my exact transformation blueprint with all of you and help you achieve your goals in the best possible way.

Ketogenic diet before and after fat loss transformation
Ketogenic diet before and after fat loss transformation
Ketogenic diet before and after fat loss transformation
Ketogenic diet before and after fat loss transformation

May2017

March 2018