Did you know you make a difference?

Those of you who have read my story, know that I was fat and weak suffering from asthma and sinusitis for the major part of my life. The journey from there to here has been pretty remarkable really and when I look back, I have a lot of people to thank… from my first and hardest client Vidya who taught me why a sustainable diet is the best diet, to legit fitness pros like my bud JD who calls clean eating a scam.

Before I started started doing the whole healthy eating and staying active gig, I was this average chubby dude who worked a desk job, thought Chili’s was fingerlickin awesome and never did anything physically taxing whatsoever… or in short… I was like most of today’s youngsters.

‘I’m sure that diet soda is good for me! Gotto work on that 3rd chin ya know’

On 24th Nov ’07,  I went on a one day trip to Yosemite with a bunch of friends. After hitting the usual ‘Holy shit this is beautiful!’ spots, we decided to hike. I knew I was in pretty bad shape (yes, even to hike) and somehow convinced the rest of the gang that we should go on a relatively short hike. As a result we chose a hike that was just 2 miles total with a moderate ascent. As we started the hike, things were cool. I hung back chillin with a buddy who wasn’t too keen on the exercise part of the hike and was, like me, more interested in just getting to the top (I should mention here that this was my first ever hike).

10 mins into the hike, I realized I was finding it slightly hard to breathe. Another 5 mins and I was gasping for breath (which I tried to hide in every way possible). 5 more mins and I’m on my knees having an asthma attack, frantically groping my backpack in search of my elixir a.k.a inhaler. Once I found it and gave myself the breath of life, I briefly look up the hill and I see something that shocked the bejesus outa me… the rest of my buddies were actually running up the hill! You have got to be freakin kiddin me!

As I look at them in disbelief, a flood of thoughts slap me hard and I hear myself saying –

‘You are a 24 yr old who has been blessed immensely with anything and everything. You are lucky to be financially stable to afford more than 3 exquisite meals a day. You have all your limbs intact. You have the time to workout and stay fit. But… today, even with all this, you find yourself on your knees literally praying that you remembered to bring your steroid because you are physically incapable of walking up 1 mile!’

Well, this might sound insignificant to you, but that very moment changed something everything. That incident…

  • told me how literally incapable I was.
  • showed how far down the fitness ladder I was.
  • made me compare myself to a diseased 80 yr old.
  • shoved a boot up my ass to start doing something about my health
  • made me realize I was literally destroying my body in the name of ‘living it up’.

It was only after this realization struck me that I started doing something about my health. My usual lines – “Life’s too short! Eat a cookie… or 12”, “What’s life without pizza everyday”, “Soda… it’s what the cool kids drink”, “I’m on a strict junk food diet!”, “Healthy wha?! Fast food FTW!”… didn’t sound too cool anymore. I started eating more real food. I fought my way into running a mile without stopping and then 2 and then 5 and then 15. I developed enough interest to read about the food I was eating and the training stimulus I was subjecting my body to. Sure my diet is a lot saner and my training is a lot smarter today, but that was the day that made the difference!

But you know whats funny? Until this day, my friends who ran up the hill that day have no idea about any of this! Nada! Zilch!

So what’s my point?

  1. You don’t know the impact your actions can have on someone else. Everything you do affects someone in someway. You might do nothing different yourself, but you might have just changed everything for someone else!
  2. Observe everything and everyone. You have something to learn from everyone and everything. It could be the nerdy neighbor who is obsessive about everything he does or the supremely fat lady who pigs out at Fresh Choice everyday!
So here’s to Mahesh, Panch and Manu for doing nothing different… but changing everything for me!

@ Yosemite on 24th Nov ’07

And  for those of you who made it this far… share your experiences and share the post. Inspire someone! Who knows, maybe you’ll save a life or two!

Peace out!

14 responses to “Did you know you make a difference?

  1. Madhu March 23, 2011 at 8:43 am

    hi raj

    i’ve been following ur blog for sometime now. must say this place is truck load of info and inspiration!
    this post really struck the right spot for me as i was exactly in that spot when i decided to go by foot to tirupathi… nightmarish and absolutely stupid of me cuz i was not even used to walking more than one hour at a stretch..(yes i was that bad) it really hurts the ego very bad..
    but now after losing quiet a bit of weight and gaining stamina i think i’ve come a long way. just a few modifications in diet and generally being more active really helped a lot. it only depends on us to make the difference..
    anyway the result of reading thro ur blog i’m going in for the path of looking awesome not just good 🙂

    • RG March 23, 2011 at 7:05 pm

      Thank you for the comment Madhu. Great job on getting healthier… and good luck with the efforts to looking awesome! Don’t hesitate to email if you have questions.

      • Madhu March 24, 2011 at 6:55 am

        Thanks raj! I’m sure u’ll be bombarded with questions right after my exams in may. Thanks again! really appreciate it 🙂

  2. Sam March 23, 2011 at 9:02 am


    You are blessed – not only have you changed your self but I am sure you have touched many a life.
    I can vouch to your blog being a great inspiration for me. Like you, I have had a sedentary life through my 50+ years – only a year ago I began to read about Primal/Paleo and then stumbled upon your blog – which caught my eye as you were from a same ethnicity (perhaps you are the only Primal blogging Indian that I know).
    Despite my age, I have changed and I am still changing – You have been a great inspiration for my fitness regimen. God Bless you – and I wish many more get inspired by your zeal.

  3. Mamatha March 25, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Thanks for this very inspiring post Raj! And you are paying it forward by inspiring many others with this blog of yours.

  4. Madhavi March 25, 2011 at 9:52 am

    You have an amazing determination and a good heart to inspire others! Frankly speaking, i considered myself to be ‘not fat’ person since I did’nt look like one. But I was’nt healthy either.All these years (long years!) , I thought i ate the most healthy food – eggs, chicken, rotis ,rice etc – the typical south indian food. Not until I sutmbled upon your blog, did i realize what such food is made of and the nutrition details on it.It was definitely on eye opener and all the more convincing because of similar ethnic backgrounds .I have slowly started making changes to the kind of food i should be eating for a healthier life.

    Thank you for inspiring me.

    • RG March 25, 2011 at 11:17 pm

      You’re welcome Madhavi. Don’t hesitate to shoot me an email if you have questions or concerns.

  5. Murali March 25, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    This is a very inspiring post Raj, it was your blog that inspired me to get back on the fitness bandwagon. I stumbled upon your blog end of last December.. but what really made me start implementing stuff was that i had my first asthma attack sometime then. that came as a rude shock to me, and i realized i need to take stock of my health. ever since then i’ve started eating a lot cleaner, cut out all the junk, and started exercising regularly as well. haven’t had another attack since. touch wood.

    • RG March 25, 2011 at 11:19 pm

      Murali – I’m very happy that things are working out well for you. Stick to the dietary guidelines and stay active… you wouldnt have to touch wood to keep the asthma away!

  6. Pingback: Eat Real Food – (Re)Defining Nutrition (Part 1) « Harder. Better. Faster. Stronger.

  7. Navya June 12, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    This is very inspiring.. I have been battling with a 10kg weight loss for 3 years. It has always been my new year goal. I do exercise, say twice a week… but I guess what I really lack is the motivation and drive that you have. It is always stories like these that really motivate. Thank you so much. I hope to exercise everyday from today onwards

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