Dr Jean Marc Gauer, CEO RAK Hospital, Prof Adrian Kennedy, Chief Wellness Officer and Dr Harkirat Wilkhoo, Lifestyle Counselling Manager with the winners and runners up. Image Credit: RAK Hospital

Dubai: Four participants, including two Emiratis bagged cash prizes in the weight loss contest entitled ‘The Biggest Loser’ organised by RAK Hospital that concluded on April 27.

The 10-week-long competition, designed to inculcate healthier lifestyle among the UAE residents, saw hundreds of contestants dropping a few dress sizes in the hope of winning the title as well as adopting a ‘life-friendly’ diet and fitness regime. Winners took home cash prize of Dh5,000 each, while the two runners-up received Dh2,000 each.

The award for the biggest loser in the male category went to Ghazwan Abdullah Dakak, a Syrian national who lost 35.5 kgs within the stipulated period. Among the ladies, Iraqi national Sura Falih Azziz won the cash prize for dropping 19 kgs. The runners up awards went to two Emiratis, Salem Khamis Rashed — 18 years — and Hiba Khalifa Fath Al Rahman Saeed — 35 years — who lost 28 kgs and 15 kgs respectively.

Commenting on the experience, Dakak, 44, said: “My main aim of entering this challenge was to improve my health and my family is very happy with this change in me. I intend to continue with the healthy lifestyle since I still have 25 kgs to lose before I reach my ideal weight. At the beginning of the challenge I weighed 146 kilos, and compared to that, today I feel far more active, lighter and fitter. I’m able to work out better as well, finding time to walk at least an hour-and-a-half every day and swimming four times a week. As a group, we were also fortunate to have the support of RAK Hospital’s staff that kept us motivated and driven with weekly emails and advice on Whatsapp on nutrition and exercise”.

Thirty-one year old Sura Falih Azziz was encouraged by her husband to register herself for the contest. “The journey from 101 kilos to 82 kilos has been a challenge in itself and now that I know I can do it, I will continue to follow the regime until I lose another 20 kgs. I’ve given up all direct sugars except those derived from fruits, all unhealthy food and have been focusing on following a diet that is ideal for my body and mind. For exercise, I did Zumba every day and was encouraged in my efforts by the hospital staff.”

The Biggest Loser Challenge commenced on February 17 as part of RAK Hospital’s drive towards a fit and healthy UAE in association with Ministry of Health and Prevention, Ras Al Khaimah. Hundreds of participants registered for the competition with the doctors at the hospital recording their weight, height and BMI and blood pressure. The information was tallied at the end of the challenge for final results.

“We were quite encouraged to see that many people had shown a marked improvement in adopting a healthier lifestyle. Anyone who loses such massive amount of weight will not want to go back to the beginning so I hope that all participants continue with the weight loss program,” said Dr Raza Siddiqui, CEO Arabian Healthcare Group and Executive Director at RAK Hospital added: “I want to congratulate not just the winners for this huge feat, but every single person who participated in the challenge. Essentially, every kilo lost is a winning moment for them since it’s one more step towards a healthier body and happier mind.”