A short walk would end in gasps for air; heart thudding uncontrollably, the sound deafening. It’s not like 30-year-old Adnan Muhammad Hussain wasn’t expecting any fallout. When he hurt his knee in 2018, it wasn’t his joints the doctor seemed worried about – it was his weight.
A self-confessed foodie, Adnan, who hails from Pakistan’s Karachi, had been indulgent his whole life. The five-foot-seven-inch marketing manager had relocated to Dubai in 2013 and had been steadily flexing his taste buds. When on a trip back home he fell off his bike, his weight jangled at 107kg.
After being warned that to run, or even walk, without pain would require a great subtraction, Adnan did not pay heed, and so perhaps it was inevitable that something would give. He did not expect for it to be his heart.
Fear helped him cross the gym’s threshold, where he asked his trainer for a diet and exercise regimen. This, he promised himself, he would do faithfully – at least for the next three months, at least until things stabilised.
It was a tough time, he recalls. Not just because of the lack of food but also because of the sense of companionship he now had to shy away from. He still loved eating – but he didn’t want to be around the forbidden foods. This meant he could not sit with his family at mealtimes and he could not eat his favourite foods – he’d eat alone each day, in silence.
Then came the sugar withdrawal; before his grand diet, he’d drink a litre of soda a day. Now, he was going cold turkey. “I [am] too much angry. Every time I am angry with my wife, my children. But I have thought, ‘No I have to do this time. If I want to live healthy life, I [have] to give 3-4 months for my life. Because for 30 years I am eating and drinking all these things. Now only 3-4 months I have to give [for healthier living] and then I started this,” he recalls.
His first two months he ate a protein rich diet, with little to no carbs. The next two months he added brown bread and fresh juice to the mix. Today, he eats two normal meals – with family – and one light, salad-filled lunch.
For exercise, Adnan began by gingerly putting one foot in front of the other on a treadmill. Soon, he was able to walk at a speed of 5 for about 20 mins. Today he spends about 30-40 mins a day running, without a stop, at a speed of 9. And he burns about 400-500 calories a day at the gym.
He dropped about 33kg during a 6-month period, reaching 74kg this July. Since then, he’s committed to keeping it off. “If you [have been] eating since too much years, give yourself three months and you’ll see changes in your life,” says Adnan.
He is breathing easy these days; the sound of a panicked heart has subsided.
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