Agilan Thani knows better than anyone what it is like to be overweight. The 21-year-old Malaysian martial artist had long suffered from childhood obesity, at one point weighing a whopping 139kg.
However, his love for martial arts, and a job opportunity at Monarchy MMA in Kuala Lumpur, motivated him to shed almost 60kg of excess weight. Now, armed with six pack abs, he will challenge Ben Askren for the ONE Welterweight World Championship at ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES on Friday, 26 May.
It takes hard work to lose weight and become physically fit. Thani, who has already gone through the whole journey, is here to provide some tips for people to get started on their own fitness revolutions.
#1 Improvise, And Do It Gradually
One of the most successful methods people can utilize when losing weight and improving overall health is to make a lifestyle change. This requires a change in eating habits, the amount of food consumed, and the need to incorporate exercise into the daily regimen.
Thani’s advice in this regard is to stay committed, and evolve over time rather than make a drastic switch in habits. He also urges folks to stop drinking soda because, quite simply, it is bad for your health.
“When most people start dieting, they go crazy. They start a four-week diet where they eat clean for four weeks, and it gets wiped out again. A diet has to be a lifestyle. I have been on my diet for three years, and every day, I improvise,” Thani explains.
“You need to make it long term. Maybe start with a bigger portion of food, then slowly decrease it and eat more meals a day. For example, start with three big meals, then eventually do three smaller meals and two snacks, and then two big meals and four snacks.”
#2 Eat Moderate Amounts Of Food
Most people load up on protein, and tend to neglect the essential carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins needed to lose weight, build muscle, and have energy. For that reason alone, Thani encourages folks to take in all sorts of foods. Of course, it is crucial not to overdo it.
“Eat everything,” he says. “Some people just eat vegetables and eggs, then forget about carbs, fats, and other stuff you need in your diet, which is important. Eat a good amount of fat. Fat burns fat. Carbs keep sugar levels high, and protein is needed for muscle recovery.”
#3 Do Not Stay Away From Your Cravings
Everyone will get the occasional craving for a certain meal or dessert, and Thani believes it is perfectly fine to act upon that impulse. The key is to maintain self-control. Without determination, one could easily fall into bad habits and feel completely powerless later.
“The more you control your cravings, the more you could go off your diet at the end of the day,” he says. “Whenever you feel like having a cup of ice cream, have it today. If you do not, you might end up having a tub of ice cream tomorrow.”
#4 Draw On The Positives In Whatever You Are Eating
Although some food is outright unhealthy, Thani believes people should just focus on whatever little nutritional value they have, rather than avoid it altogether. They just need to make sure it is consumed in smaller amounts.
“It is very simple,” Thani begins. “Some people think eating fried chicken is bad. At the end of the day, fried chicken is protein. I say that because fried chicken is my favorite food, but you cannot eat it every day.
“If you want to eat it, do not feel bad about it. Eat it and think of it as a good source of protein that will help you, and that the fats will help you. When you absolutely have to, just eat it in moderate amounts.”
#5 Do Not Be Afraid Of The Scale
The scale does not lie, and for many gym members, that can be frightening. People tend to feel scared of stepping onto the scale, because they may not like the number they see. In some cases, they may even have gained some unwanted kilograms.
As Thani says, it is all in the mind. That is why it is of the utmost importance to keep track of your progress.
“Most people break down when they do not see any changes on the scale, so they try to avoid the scale and do not know they are doing,” explains Thani.
“If you do not step on the scale every day, you will never know the changes you are making. Every gram counts when you are dieting, and stepping on the scale is the most important thing. You should not be afraid. Do it every day so you know the changes you are making with your body and your weight.”