‘I wasn’t happy overeat­ing, so I gave it up’

Ac­tor Di­nesh Mo­han tells us how he fought an eat­ing disor­der to break into mod­el­ling in his late 50s

The Hindu - - HEALTH - :: Neer­aja Murthy

With his stylish de­meanour, ac­tor and model Di­nesh Mo­han car­ries his trade­mark torn jeans as well as he does his han­dle­bar mous­tache. The 60-year-old ‘sil­ver fox’ — as his In­sta­gram ac­count de­scrip­tor says — has been part of phot­shoots, ramp walks, and will soon be seen in a Malay­alam film Rosario Fam­ily Since

and Sal­man Khan’s Bharat.

1973 Will to fight

Be­hind the now-chis­elled pho­to­graphs, lies an in­cred­i­ble story of the will to fight his eat­ing disor­der, and the re­sult­ing weight gain. On call from his home in Gu­ru­gram, Di­nesh nar­rates how five years ago, ill and bedrid­den at 130 kilo­grams, and fed up of be­ing in a “rot­ten state”, he de­cided to change his life. ............................................................... ...............................................................

Di­nesh’s par­adise was in the plate. “I loved my parathas with dol­lops of desi ghee. I would of­ten snack on veg­etable pako­das and samosas be­tween meals and a chilled lassi or milk­shake to go with it. I was fond of cakes, pas­try, and ap­ple strudel was my favourite. I could eat two pieces in one go,” he re­calls.

Work­ing for the Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment, Govern­ment of Haryana, had him glued to his chair; con­ver­sa­tions were end­less and so was the chai. His eat­ing disor­der took a toll on his phys­i­cal and men­tal health. “I would eat mostly at night and feign ig­no­rance the next day about the miss­ing cream on top of the milk.”

He took vol­un­tary re­tire­ment in 2004, try­ing to fo­cus on his per­sonal life, and for the first time, he joined a gym in 2014. “I took the road to re­cov­ery, in­stead of de­struc­tion. It was a tough men­tal strug­gle and I failed many times. But I never lost heart. I was de­ter­mined to trans­form phys­i­cally and men­tally.”

Four years of work­ing out and healthy eat­ing showed re­sults when his weight came down to 71 kilo­grams, but then he be­came too frail for his height (six foot, one inch). With weight train­ing, he gained back his mus­cle weight, and to­day, at 81 kilo­grams, he is an in­spir­ing ex­am­ple of what one can achieve with de­ter­mi­na­tion.

“Ev­ery­one calls me a mo­ti­va­tor, but when I look back, the phase was hell. I read a lot of books on spir­i­tu­al­ity and Dr Brian Weiss’ Many Lives,

Many Mas­ters helped me re­alise I should live for my­self. I am an­swer­able only to God about my life and what I did with it.”

The rou­tine

He lives with his sis­ter Mona and her hus­band, who sup­ported him dur­ing his fit­ness jour­ney. He has bid good­bye to junk food and now eats small por­tions ev­ery two hours. “I re­alised I was not happy overeat­ing, so I gave it up. I never starve but my diet in­cludes food cooked with low amounts of oil, oats, and lots of green veg­eta­bles and fruits.”

His one-hour gym rou­tine in­cludes 40 min­utes of car­dio and 20 min­utes of weight train­ing. “I do 50 push-ups ev­ery day and work on the dumb­bell rods. I skip, dance or jump and, if in the mood, I run. My work­out rou­tine is as er­ratic as my life has been, but I never miss it.” He feels stronger men­tally and doesn’t get pulled back be­cause of his past.

His mod­el­ling ca­reer took off with his first shoot on his birth­day in 2016. In these three years, he has walked ramps, done shoots for com­mer­cials and Pun­jbai videos. When he turned 60 on Jan­uary 16, he was in Kochi, shoot­ing for a tea brand and the team cel­e­brated his birth­day on the sets.

Be it in­side the gym or out­side, young­sters take selfies with him to show their grand­fa­thers and fa­thers how they too can be fit at any age. “I am not happy be­cause of mod­el­ling or act­ing, but be­cause I have learnt to en­joy life. My joy comes from within.”

Be­hind the now-chis­elled pho­to­graphs, lies an in­cred­i­ble story of the will to fight his eat­ing disor­der, and the weight gain


In­spir­ing story Di­nesh Mo­han be­fore and af­ter the ‘trans­for­ma­tion’

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