Fardeen Khan: I wanted to look after both my physical and mental well-being


Progressing into this conversation, we become increasingly apprehensive about using the term weight-loss when discussing Fardeen Khan’s physical transformation. “For the first time in my life, I set out to reclaim my health. I wanted to look after both my physical and mental well-being. The loss of weight, while an integral part of the journey, was only a [by-product] of my attempt to function optimally,” says the actor.

A little over a year ago, a society that is quick to fat-shame lived up to its ‘reputation’ when it used his excessive weight-gain as fodder for entertainment. Cinephiles who had been charmed by his act in an array of romantic films were quick to turn critics after Khan admittedly “let myself go”. “When you don’t train or sleep properly, and are not conscious of what you consume, [you gain weight]. Throughout my life, I had treated dieting as a factor that could determine how I looked. The perception was that I should watch my food, only if I had gained weight, or was not looking the best that I could. But one tends to lose vitality with age. I wanted to ensure that I was firing on all cylinders.”

Also Read: See Photos: Fardeen Khan spotted at Mukesh Chhabra’s office; treats fans with new look

Khan doesn’t cite people’s reactions as triggers that egged him on to shed weight. Having realised that he was becoming lethargic, and struggling to keep up with the pace of his kids, aged three and seven, he began to keep tabs on his calorie-intake. However, it was a book by an American doctor that sparked his interest in nutrition. “Catherine Shanahan’s The Fatburn Fix stresses on how one feels, instead of looks. It highlights how eating correctly is essential to function optimally. Her science-backed recommendations speak of how metabolism works. I started seeing results after I began integrating the learning in my life.”

Among the changes that benefited him was taking to a Keto diet. “One of my biggest takeaways was understanding how food affects us. Her research unveils how a Keto diet works, and stresses on the fact that our race has evolved [by following] this nutrition plan.” But, having grown up on an Indian diet that is infamous for being heavily dependent on carbohydrates, Khan admits he had to coax himself to eliminate it from his chart. “But the challenge lasted no longer than three weeks. Once you reset your metabolism, you are naturally dissuaded by foods that make you feel lethargic, and in turn, seek meals that make you feel good. The idea is to minimise inflammation. So, if I crave for sugar, I consume berries instead. I eat organic protein. I am not someone who enjoys vegetables, [but I have acquired a liking] for asparagus, French beans, and spinach. That’s as far as I can go with them.”

Also Read: Fardeen Khan on body shaming culture: We need to get over these damn things

When London gyms downed their shutters in the wake of the pandemic, Khan had scrambled to set up a gym in his garage. With a handful of equipment, including barbells and plates, he put the lessons that he had learnt from his high-school fitness routines, to use. “Later, I began training with a professional for five days in a week, and followed basic compound movements that recruited the lower-body muscles. I wanted to strike a balance between [strength-training], weight-loss, and flexibility work.”

Eighteen kilos lighter, Khan admits he is ready to take on new opportunities in the industry. “I have realised the profound changes that can take place when you follow a healthy lifestyle. It changes how you feel and think, and makes you feel like a contender again. I am meeting people, and the endeavour is to start acting. I have also wanted to produce and direct [projects], both of which will happen in [due course of] time.”

Also Read: Fardeen Khan shuts down body shamers with this powerful post!

Fitness Regimen

Khan took to a mix of strength-training and cardiovascular exercises. He set up a gym in his garage in London and practiced compound movements under the guidance of a physical fitness trainer. The movements recruited the muscles of the lower-body and aimed at building a strong foundation for advanced exercises. He also began his day by walking or jogging, to get his daily dose of cardiovascular activity.

Keto diet

The Keto diet — which shares similarities with the Atkins diet — promotes the consumption of fats, and discourages the consumption of carbohydrates. Reducing carbs from the diet puts a person’s body into a metabolic state of ketosis. It is at this stage that the body is believed to become efficient at using fats as fuel for energy.

Big losers

Tanushree Dutta
Having revisited her eating habits to shed a significant amount of weight, Tanushree Dutta, in a recent interview with mid-day, had poked fun at her tendency to salivate at the sight of sabudana khichdi. Having followed a “European-style of eating” when she was in the US, she says she was able to shed the extra kilos by taking to intermittent fasting and practising weight training. The actor hopes to return to acting soon.

Also Read: Tanushree Dutta and Ishaan Khatter chronicle their struggle with weight management

Adnan Sami
Adnan Sami’s weight-loss journey has been abundantly discussed in the industry. In 2018, the singer had debuted a 155-kilo lighter frame, to the delight of his fans. Sami had reportedly said that owing to his weight, putting him on an exercise programme immediately could have been detrimental. It was only after he lost 40 kilos through a calorie-deficit diet that he began exercising. Although he began his journey after a warning from his doctor, Sami has been successful at maintaining his weight.

Ganesh Acharya
Chronicling his journey to losing a whopping 85 kilos, choreographer Ganesh Acharya had told this reporter that a mix of intermittent fasting and aqua-fitness classes had served him. “It took me 15 days to learn how to float. Gradually, I began to perform exercises like crunches and scissors, in the pool. I could barely use the five-pound dumbbell initially. Eventually, I could train with 15 kilos. It is exhausting,” Acharya had said of his routine.

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