Looking at general practitioner Dr R. Shalini Devi today, you would not believe that 10 years ago, she weighed 118kg.
In 2010, Dr Shalini was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome and hypothyroidism. She was on medication for two years and attempted various diets and exercise regimes but found it hard to reduce her weight.
“I was on a yo-yo diet. I would lose weight and put it back on,” she recalled.
In 2011, her life changed when she devised her own health regime, which focused 80% on nutrition and 20% on workout. She lost 44kg in less than six months.
The turning point came partly due to her own health concerns as well as that of her father’s. At that time, her father, a diabetic, was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure.
Dr Shalini’s regime did not involve cutting back on carbohydrates.
“Every single day, I was enjoying my carbohydrates – eating rice and working out at home. I did not have cheat days,” shared the 32-year-old.
She maintained her weight at 70kg over the next four years.
In December 2015, she lost another 14kg (74kg to 60kg) and decided to help others lose weight, starting with her husband.
“He was 135kg but reduced it to 80kg in six months,” said Dr Shalini, who met her spouse in 2012 when she was a houseman in Klang Hospital. They married at the end of 2016.
Dr Shalini also helped her mother, Devaki Duraisingam, who is in her 50s, to achieve her ideal weight.In 2010, her mum had spinal surgery after a bad fall and put on weight after that.
Today, Dr Shalini weighs 57kg and has been free from medication for eight years. This year, she even won a beauty pageant!
“I’m super healthy,” declared Dr Shalini, who runs a clinic with her husband, Dr M. Yuveneswara, 31, in Shah Alam, Selangor.
Due to their weight loss success, they were inspired to start an online consultation and personal training outfit, which has more than 2,000 trainees from 11 countries (including Singapore, Canada, China, Saudi Arabia and India).
Then in October 2017, they decided to start zumba classes to help people lose weight. The husband-and-wife initially ran the classes together in rented halls but Dr Yuveneswara stopped teaching at the end of 2018 after the opening of their clinic.
Their first classes were held in Kota Kemuning, Selangor, at RM3 per session. The minimal fees help to pay for rental of the premises but sometimes, Dr Shalini has to top up when fewer people turned up for workouts during festivals and holidays.
Dr Shalini’s mother has also become a zumba trainer and helps to conduct classes as well with other trainers. In 2015, after her daughter introduced her to zumba, her weight dropped from 96kg to 59kg in less than six months.
Aside from her mother, Dr Shalini’s late father also attended her zumba classes twice weekly.
“He was on dialysis for 10 years. After he passed away on Father’s Day this year, I opened up more zumba classes to promote fitness and health,” she said.
Children also get to attend her classes for free, and Dr Shalini uses that opportunity to create young leaders.
“Some children who took zumba were trained to be trainers to lead other children,” she said, adding that she now has seven young trainers.