We have reached that time of the year where stress levels are as high as Britney Spears in 2007, and our schedule becomes a little messy, procrastination is our favourite thing to do. Sitting in bed complaining how hard everything is, becomes our new conversation starter.
So things like exercise or gym becomes alien and we’re just like what? Gym? Who?
However, I think it’s safe to say that stress brings out the worst in us. We turn to more caffeine, more chocolate, more comfort food, and we become to fatigued to walk from one class to the other. Sometimes stress can put us in a bad place, and we just need that motivation to get us back on the ‘healthy lifestyle’ track.
I know changing habits is difficult and the older we become the more comfortable we are with our routine, and suddenly putting the effort to make changes in our lifestyle is just a chore.
For Dinesh Nanayakkara, he hit a low time in his life a year ago, and went through many obstacles to get to where he is now, happy and proud. Here is his journey!
Dinesh, living in a lovely home in the suburbs with his beautiful wife and two children, you would think that he had everything.
Walking into his home office, I was surrounded by plaques of academic qualifications, all in finance, business management and accounting, it was truly inspirational.
Working full time as an account auditor, life was pretty average for Dinesh.
He did what he needed to do, he graduated at Swinburne University (with multiple qualifications), got married, had kids, got a job, so now what?
In his cosy family house, Dinesh goes back seven years in time to tell me how he got to where he is now.
Two coffees a day don’t sound so bad right, but Dinesh had almost 2 tablespoons of coffee in each cup he made to keep him going throughout the day.
This story was not at all off to a great start, but Dinesh is about to teach us that you need to go through some low times before you reach the good times!
Dinesh worked as an auditor for one company for almost eight years, and he hated every bit of it.
“I wasn’t moving anywhere, I stayed in the same place, and was never appreciated,” Dinesh tells D*Scribe.
It wasn’t until two years ago at three o’clock in the morning Dinesh woke up from having heart palpitations. The hospital doctors measured his heart at 200 beats per minute. He knew that he had to start changing his lifestyle, but didn’t have the greatest motivation yet.
He continued to work in his hated job, kept living the same lifestyle, until last year, right before Father’s Day, he had his second episode of heart palpitations. What was meant to be a celebratory weekend, turned into a weekend at the hospital, with worried family members.
“They put me to sleep, so that they could jump start my heart again, it was going too fast,” Dinesh said, as the clouds outside his home office started rolling in.
It was during this time where Dinesh fell into depression unfortunately. Not knowing what to do, unhappy with his physical appearance, hating his job and now the added issue of his heart, he had hit an all time low.
Despite Dinesh’s quiet and reserved personality, he kept having angry outbursts towards his loved ones.
As he rolled up his sleeves and showed me his arms, it was clear that Dinesh walked out from a tough battle and his scars were there to prove it.
“I had no other outlet, bootcamp wasn’t in my life then,” Dinesh says with a sense of disappointment in his voice.
The heart palpitations became worse and had a major impact on his lifestyle, it was not until three days before Christmas 2016, when he went into surgery to have his heart issues resolved once and for all.
After telling himself several times that he needed to change, and change his lifestyle, this time it was real.
We began reminiscing about his teenage days, when he used to rollerblade every weekend around Rowville with his friends for hours and how every weekend for five years instead of soccer with his friends, his dad took him to their local pizza shop and ordered three pizza boxes. It sounds like a typical teenage boy’s lifestyle, and it was. However, Dinesh was never proud of that kind of lifestyle.
Studying was his parent’s main priority, as Dinesh was young. The older he got, the more study became the focus of his life. Compared to his sister, Dinesh was not allowed extra curricular activities, his head was always in the books.
“My sister on the other hand, was always involved in extra-curricular like the cheerleading squad, I wasn’t given the chance to exercise however.”
Fast forward a few years, Dinesh married his now wife Seema in 2010, but he still was not happy of his physical appearance on his wedding day.
“On my wedding day I was 83 kilos, and by that stage I hated myself, because I was fat and chubby.”
Before kids came into the picture, Dinesh and his wife tried hard to be involved in something that kept them active, so they signed themselves up to ballroom dancing classes.
However, Dinesh hit another bump in the road when he damaged his lower spine when lifting speakers out of his car on his son’s first birthday. This had set him back once again.
Several obstacles later, and many attempts to get himself into a healthy lifestyle, Dinesh opened up his letter box one afternoon to find a pamphlet which was dropped off by two friendly neighbours, about a bootcamp that was being run in his area.
“We had to do something about our weight, so we said why not, we called the number on the pamphlet that same day.”
Fast forward to January 2017, Dinesh and his wife Seema began the hardest physical journey they had put themselves through.
“The discipline to change, and tell myself ‘I can do it’, instead of telling myself ‘I can’t all the time. You become accustomed to your lifestyle for so long, and although you want things to change it’s harder to put your mind to it.”
Dinesh, together with his wife are currently on this journey together, making conscious efforts to eat healthier and live a healthier life.
With their two young children, they’re always fuelled with motivation to keep going and do better in their bootcamp program.
“Our kids are always looking telling us ‘daddy you’re so fat’, ‘mummy you’re fat’, so that really pushes us to do well in every round of bootcamp”, Dinesh laughed, as his kids ran around in the background.
Fast forward to present time, Dinesh has lost eight kilos and is not far off from his weight goal.
“I constantly look at the photos on my fridge, where I was at a bad time, and think to myself, that I don’t want to be back in the spot.”
Dinesh and his family are about to go on a family vacation to Bali in July to enjoy beach, sun and sand after a rough couple of years. Going into their third 8 week bootcamp program, their trainer has put him and his wife on a special ‘Biggest Loser’ type of schedule, requiring them to lose one kilo every week in order to stay in the program.
“It’s going to be tough, but it’s the kind of push I need”, Dinesh says motivated.
From not being able to do one pushup, and having a very low fitness level, Dinesh is powering through, he admits he’s become much stronger and is so proud of how far he has come. From eating his biggest weakness (pizza) constantly and resorting to fast food out of convenience, Dinesh has reached a stage in his journey where it makes him feel “sick” if he has any of it, even if he decides to treat himself.
Dinesh, finally quit his job of eight years three weeks ago and he couldn’t be happier.
“My current workplace, now lets me work two days from home, and give me time for my own health and mental wellbeing, it’s great!”, Dinesh happily tells D*Scribe.
“If I could give one piece of advice to anyone wanting to start their own fitness journey, it’s to find yourself a group or partner to do it with you, someone with the same mentality, to keep pushing you, because that’s what will keep you going.”