Pakistani expat Zahid Badshah had gone to the doctor with a kidney complaint – he was in pain – when he was told he needed to lose weight. His organs were working overtime to compensate for his girth; at 5’10’’, he weighed 101kg. “I used to be tired all the time,” he recalls in an interview with Gulf News.
Hearing his doctor explain the repercussions of being unhealthy settled it for him: “That was the day I decided I will lose weight,” he says.
Badshah, who has been in the UAE for 13 years, says that when he was in his home country, he would workout and live an active lifestyle but since he had moved and taken on a sedentary job, he’d been piling on the pounds.
It was time to change things. He reached out to a dietician in Pakistan, and following his advice began on his weight-loss journey. First, he cut out all the oil and sugar from his diet. Then the Pathan restricted his carb intake.
Lunch: Grilled chicken breast + salad
Dinner: Grilled fish + salad + yoghurt
Snacks: Orange juice (500ml) + apples /plums
He also began to exercise. “Having given up exercise for so long my stamina was bad,” says Badshah. “But I built it up – from walking 1km to now walking and running 5km.”
That first month he dropped 13kg.
It was tough, he recalls, especially during the month of Ramadan as his roommates would break their fasts with biryani and other delicious dishes while he ate his grilled protein.
But, he says, the thought of giving up – that was one idea he never entertained. “Health is everything,” he repeats throughout our conversation.
Within three months, Badshah had tweaked his routine to include not only a 4km walk in the park but also half-an-hour of exercises that don’t require equipment such as push-ups.
Within those three months, he had lost 24kg and was down to 77kg.
Now, laughs the expat, he is on a maintenance plan and is careful about not slipping into old habits. “I don’t spend too much time on my phone because I’m scared I’ll get back into my sedentary ways. It’s important that I stay healthy, so I leave my phone and get out of the house when I can.”
He allows himself some rice now; it's his cheat meal. "I eat boiled rice once a week," he says.
He says the changes in lifestyle have meant better sleep. “I sleep six hours a day and am active for the rest,” he explains.
As for his original complaint, his kidneys are doing fine. “No pain at all,” he says.
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