Last time I saw two digits on the weighing scale was 12 years ago,” recalled Simon Aynedjian from Armenia who lives in Oman now. “Diet has been my constant companion until mid-November 2016.”
Amjad Saif, an Omani mechanical engineer, has to lost eight kilograms as it was needed post-surgery to avoid joint pains and to treat high uric acid.
The journey Simon has to embark on was not a pleasant one but after five months, he has shed 12 kilos and his waist got smaller — from being 36-38 to 32-33.
There are many who would want that switch. But it’s not without challenges.
Begum Shahnaaz suffered from hypothyroid at the age of 35 years. She used to weigh 129.5 kg but after executing her weight loss plan, she successfully knocked off 29 kg in 8 months.
Shahnaaz said she had no motivation when she first met with her endocrinologist. It was her husband who was more determined and when she lost three kilos in 12 days after seeing her health expert, she began to have hope.
For dietitian Sumaira Fatima, getting individuals to a recommended weight has become a passion especially now that she has been working with people of all nationalities. Yes, the staple diets of regions vary, so do the diet plan. The culprits tend to be rice and bread.
“Weight loss and healthy lifestyle are not a big deal,” said Sumaira, a dietitian and diabetes educator working at IMC Sugar Apollo.
While there is a marked increase in obesity rate in the region making it an epidemic, the alarm has not triggered enough attention. It seems people only pay attention when they already face symptoms of ill-health.
Sumaira explained, “Obesity is simply an excess fat accumulation that impairs health. Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 30 is called obese. Fundamental cause of obesity is imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended.”
“On top of unhealthy calorie intake, sedentary lifestyle and work, issues with the endocrine, lack of sleep and stress, changing modes of transportation and advance urbanisation are also contributing factors,” added the dietitian.
An unchecked weight has many risk and often leads to Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, stroke, osteoarthritis, gall bladder stones and cancers.
Sumaira said that what worries her more are the wrong guidance on diet given by media and people eating too much carbohydrates which in turn stimulate insulin production and fat storage.
“Use of high calorie packed meals like fast foods and bakery products over healthy home cooked meals are also a source of concern. Fast foods are high in fats and sugars, too,” she said.
In order to curb the accumulation of fat, changing of attitudes is necessary. People have to give importance to eating healthy and staying away from those that can cause them sickness.
Observer followed up with some individuals on their personal journey to losing weight. It was apparent among the participants that they were not doing it for vanity but they had begun to experience discomfort in day to day lifestyle and wanted to feel healthy again.
Shahnaaz is from Pakistan and though she had to combat body pains, tiredness, laziness in the beginning of her weight loss programme, counselling and motivation led her to start walking — beginning with 20 minutes a day and slowly pushing to up to 45 minutes. Now she is able to do 1 hour daily. She was given low carbohydrate diet with no pills, no formulas, and no hunger suppressants. The low carbohydrate diet did miracles as she started feeling lighter.
A mother of three, she changed her lifestyle by giving up junk food, learned to eat sensibly her own home cooked meals but cut down rice and fried foods and managed to compensate the cheat meals during parties. Her husband has supported her in many ways accepting healthier lifestyle changes in terms of diet and joining her for walking.
“I feel very happy and healthy with the present lifestyle. I enjoy my time with children and enjoy the most my walks with my husband,” she said.
Thirty-one-year-old Suresh Katari from South India, fought back his type 2 diabetes, losing 20 kg in less than five months and has succeeded in maintaining normal state of sugar now.
“Being a south Indian from Andhra Pradesh my food pattern was dense in carbohydrates. I was given low carbohydrate diet and adapted to it religiously and noticed great improvements not only in sugar but weight loss too. Each check up with the dietitian brought me happiness. I began to walk for 45 minutes to 1 hour daily. Frequent diet counselling and follow ups kept me away from rice and junk food,” said Suresh.
He is still on diet programme though he takes small cheat meals as and when needed but balances it well and is determined to reach his goal set at 90kg. The most important thing is he said with a smile, “I am no more on diabetes medication.”
Daniel Abdel Nasri is from Lebanon and his hectic schedule at work and commitments with work and family he did not have time to exercise. He joined Apollo sugar weight loss programme seeing his friend’s success.
Daniel lost 17 kg in four months without any deviation from diet advised and zero exercise, except his daily routine walking to his work. He lost weight gradually and steadily attaining healthier lifestyle. His determination makes him to continue the trend of losing any extra weight to maintain balanced BMI.
“Realistic weight loss goals should be set. Some may not be able to reach normal BMI but the first target should be 10-15 per cent of the body weight. Once it succeeds, the target should be increased to up to 30 per cent,” Sumira said.
Motivation and monitoring is the key towards success, it helps people take higher steps with increase determination.
Diet plans should be simple, practical and economical. Planning the right calories and carbohydrates is enough to initiate weight loss and exercise can enhance it tremendously.
“Teaching the person the right portion of healthy home cooked meals not only gives best results but further helps in maintenance of weight loss and keeps their spouses and family members happy too,” summarized Sumaira.