Chapter 2: The Team: Weight Loss : The real story of 3 months of weight loss project: “BNPGR weight loss challenge”

“BNPGR weight loss challenge project”

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chapter 2 :

Photos credits : BNPGR friends,Special Photography by Nitin Kale

First interactions :

We all meet at Café Coffee day.

Deepa Katrodia is made the team leader and implementor, helped by Sheila and Deepa Mahambre.With 2 deepas in the group, the differentiation comes by last names and they are addressed as deepa m and deepa k for months to follow
Deepa K:
One of the elite runners from our BNPGR group.
She is well known in the runners’ community and featured in local media in past. She has been the brand ambassador for IDBI marathon .

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She is also an ultra runner. We all were together in Bangalore Ultra. (https://shaileshharani.com/2015/11/27/bangalore-ultra-2014/) I had seen her effortless 100 km. The best part was : she came first in her category. Her journey from just being a runner has evolved and now she is a tri-athlete. She was already good in running and cycling, but re worked on her swimming from basics with a lot of tenacity and now she has even completed ( post weight loss project ) an international iron man : Ironman 70.3, ( Half Ironman). (1.9 km swim+90 km cycling +21.1 km run ).

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At personal level she has experimented enough to understand the art of losing weight at will. Of course she is a foodie and does not believe that weight loss is a lifelong punishment. You can enjoy variety in food, gain weight but yes you can lose that extra weight at your will.


Deepa M
full of energy and is always smiling .Her laughter can be quite contagious. In past I have worked with her on some of the BNPGR contests which she had judged beautifully. She has flair for writing and well read. One can easily discuss complex issues with her and her tips on parenting are great to follow.

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She has followed running with great sincerity, built strengths to overcome sports related injury and now a good runner.

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She has also experimented in her own way on weight loss and has few weight loss gems( which were eventually shared with every one during the weight loss journey ).
Sheila: She has joined running after observing me( with my erratic schedules ) for few years. Her journey is more scientific as she has built on strength in systematic way. Prior to running she had interesting time phases of gymming/aerobics.

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Her own successful journey of weight loss is result of a lot of hard work and planning. She had followed 3 dieticians in phased manner and all those plans and interactions have given her some insight to the interesting world of weight loss. She is an excellent cook who loves to experiment (She was zero or negative in cooking during early days but her transformation is amazing ). When it comes to salads and soups she can offer great variations.

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With them as a team ,Sanjay has ensured that weight loss is in great hands.

Till now the concept was only at basic Idea level. It is my job to give the elaborate briefing. Once again I share the concept of juxtaposing affirmatives and negatives during weekly tasks.

Few examples of affirmatives are shared

  • I will do core exercises 3 times this week.
  • I will eat fruits 4 times a day for 4 days of the week.
  • I will run at least thrice this week.

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Few of the negations are

  • Will not eat sugar in any form during this week.
  • Will not drink during this week.
  • Will not eat outside food during this week.

Like student who prepares at 11th hour , I re visit my idea and try to analyse “ the implement ability”. Unless they like the concept , things may not roll.

One of the obvious question raised “ We aren’t qualified , who will believe us ??” Yes on this front except Deepa K and Sheila no one has seriously attempted or self delivered the great weight loss results. No one is certified dietician or has any great knowledge( with some kind of degree /diploma/even certificate course) in nutrition.

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Soon we do a little brain storming. I realise that this idea of weight loss has potential to evolve during the journey. Sanjay wants maximum to avail the given opportunity. Within team we have difference of opinion: “ How many we can handle? “ “ What is the ideal number for the weight loss challenge group “

Sanjay is as usual thinking loud. For most of the project he wants:

More than 100. Here he comes up with figure of 50. {As usual I am conservative. Around 20 is good number to handle and motivate}.

“ Should we keep it rigid or keep it flexible “ is my take at the end of the group meeting.

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Drafts are made and exchanged for corrections.

One of the main topics of our discussion is “The duration of programme”.

8 weeks??? too short.

16 weeks?? too long…

During December and January, Mumbai has two major marathons , Vasai Virar Marathon and Standard Chartered( now Tata Marathon ).

“We must wind up somewhere in December” is the common consensus.

Finally we decide to start the programme in mid September 2017 and wind up in 2nd week of December 2017.

Sanjay finally announces the contest on main BNPGR WhatsApp group.
The response is overwhelming. Our apprehensions are proven wrong. The only message taken by members
“Hey, who does not want to reduce ?? “

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We are runners. Weight reduction is a great boon on knees. One can run longer and stronger with leaner and fit bodies.

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There are interesting statistics which talks about improvement in finishing time ( of any race ) vis a vis every kg reduced.

Sanjay speaks to Meeta, as we realise we will need at least one more member to handle the large number of participants.

Soon based on the overall number we decide to form four teams /sub groups for easier coordination.

I come up with Bollywood names ( In our country Bollywood, Cricket always work ) which are accepted after some reluctance.
“Deepa K‘s Dabang Losers”
“Deepa M’s Dhamaal Losers “
“Sheila’s Solid Losers “
“Meeta’s MuchMuch Too much losers “
Meeta is a multi-tasker who is ultra fast at almost everything. She does not like lingering things. She is out and out project person who has mastered the art of project dynamics, changing specifications and still meeting deadlines. She is already into regular trekking, building her rock climbing, rappelling at regular intervals.

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In past I have worked with her on various BNPGR contests .Her grasping is very fast. She is a good writer and poet. She loves photography and is always available as volunteer-photographer for most of BNPGR programmes.
The only thing which she needs to inspire her own self is “ Running”.
She takes running lightly. With her lean and fit body, she can be a really fast runner.

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Meeta is still reluctant. She does not want to lead a team from the forefront. She makes her own work specifications “I will handle data, come with reports and chip in where ever and whenever required.

There goes my favourite coined named…”Meeta’s much much too much losers “The whole group dies a premature death without “MuchMuch.

The groups are formed as Meeta takes the lead. She becomes the sorting hat, sorting participants into groups. This execution by her becomes an interesting topic between Sheila and Meeta for days to come on why some laggards /not so sincere participants are in her Solid group.

I have worked on a long list of tasks. My job is to come with ideas. The leaders will evaluate the tasks, they will add new tasks, discuss and finalise the 7 tasks each week. They have the herculean tasks of working in real time to understand project dynamics ( as it evolves and unfolds itself), interact with so manyparticipants,, clear doubts if any, motivate the lowest denominator, check the BMI on regular basis, add interesting recipes and food ideas.

What follows for the next 12 weeks is really a great learning experience. There are certain constraints.

  1. No regular meetings ( which otherwise is a must in any project work )
  1. Debates and discussions over WhatsApp are extremely difficult. Every individual is talking, trying to convey her/his thoughts. Most of the time it is not a two-way process….every one over series of messages expresses herself/himself, simultaneously she/he has to read the other channel. There are parallel tracks, all flowing simultaneously in real time.
  1. Who will know that discussion time is over?
  1. Coming to consensus: Who will stop?
  1. Timing match: When you are relatively free, you post. Others may respond at their convenient time. When they have time and want to start a kind of discussion you may be busy. This kind of time mismatch can go on.
  1. Great balancing: As the project unfolds, we slowly realise it needs great balancing between your normal life, family life, social life, festival life and business life!

And the project is launched in ………….Chapter 3………………….

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