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Metabolic Weightloss Programme tested

Determined to finally shift that ‘Dubai stone’ (and some) for good, Anna AbouZeid signs up for a two-month programme that treats weight problems at a cellular level

Metabolic Weightloss Programme
Image Credit: Supplied picture
XY’s approach is all about: identifying your cellular and hormonal imbalances and correcting them with diet, exercise and vitamins to help you lose you weight.

We’ve all heard about the dreaded ‘Dubai stone’. Well, in two years, I’m embarrassed to say, I managed to double this, packing on almost 30lbs (13.5kg) and going up two dress sizes. I had gone from a healthy, active person, famous among friends for my rigid training schedule and spinach obsession, to a takeaway queen who went out several times a week. I was sluggish, tired and fat. I knew I needed to get back on track.

XY Clinics sees weight gain and the inability to lose kilos as the result of a intricate metabolic dysfunction and hormone imbalance, rather than simply a matter of reducing calories. “We see weight gain as a complex biochemical problem,” Sam Rao, the clinic’s director, told me. “Overweight individuals are constantly being told to control their portions and restrict calories. But the question to ask is why are humans – who are otherwise capable of doing the most complex tasks – going wrong in so simple an activity as feeding themselves properly?”

Sam explained that overweight people often have problems at the cellular and hormonal level. “Unless these problems are identified and corrected, sustainable weightloss will never be accomplished,” he says. And this is what XY’s approach is all about: identifying my cellular and hormonal imbalances and correcting them with diet, exercise and vitamins to help me lose weight.

On my first appointment, I was given blood and urine tests and my body composition, blood pressure and blood-sugar levels were all measured.

My dietician, Stephanie Karl, said I would start the programme with a two-week detox so I could begin with a clean slate. For two weeks, I ate mainly fruit, vegetables and nuts, but there were a few days where I was allowed soup or bananas and yoghurt. I thought I was going to be weak and tired, but I felt better than I had in a long time.
After two weeks, the results of my tests were in and Stephanie and Sam designed my programme. My results showed I had some minor inflammation (basically bloating) and a metabolic imbalance that was negatively affecting my energy levels, my ability to cope with stress and my weight. They determined that my afternoon cravings weren’t due to a penchant for chocolates, but to flagging energy levels – my body wasn’t using energy for fuel, it was just storing it as fat. Specifically, it was not metabolising carbohydrates (oddly, complex carbs) the way it should (luckily, my body was great with fat and protein). The diet they gave me was designed to help correct this.
For the duration of the two-month programme, I ate lots of salad, fish, eggs, beans, chicken, beef, soups, nuts, vegetables, fruits and, yes, from time to time, even cake and falafel. They told me not to be too restrictive or too hard on myself if I slipped up. The idea is not to starve, or cut out your favourite foods, but rather to correct your metabolic imbalance with small changes to your diet. They also recommended vitamins to take daily.

I had a lot of autonomy over my food choices and this made it easier to maintain, even after the programme ended. The approach helped me form new healthier habits. I went for a weekly weigh-in and chat with Stephanie. She was very encouraging and talked me through the changes my body was making... beyond just looser fitting jeans.

Absolutely. I have not felt this good since I moved to Dubai. My mood is better, my energy is higher, my motivation is elevated, my concentration has improved and I feel alive. I also lost about 9kg and I’ve stuck with my new habits. I’ve even signed myself up for the Dubai Marathon 10k. People have commented on my weightloss and, even though I still have a lot of work to do, I feel so much better.

It’s a truly unique approach that recognises that you can’t just cut carbs, fat or meat out of your diet completely, and that everyone is different. XY Clinics offers a holistic approach – not just to weightloss, but to health – and I would recommend it to anyone who is struggling to lose weight and get healthy.

 The two-month Metabolic Weightloss Programme costs Dh2,000, including a personalised diet plan and supplement recommendations. Call 04-3807554, or visit

Metabolic Weightloss Programme tested