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Thani Mohamed Alghafry on the first and last day of the challenge Image Credit: Supplied

Ras Al Khaimah: A 42-year-old Tanzanian expat in the UAE dropped 36.5kg to win Dh11,100 in a nationwide weight loss challenge that was held over eight weeks.

Thani Mohamed Alghafry took home the prize money after securing the first position in the ‘RAK Biggest Weight Loss Challenge’ (RBWLC 2023). Alghafry was adjudged the winner in the physical category (male) in the annual CSR initiative by RAK Hospital.

The third edition of the nationwide campaign organised in association with the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) Ras Al Khaimah announced a total of 18 individual winners and one corporate champion at the awards ceremony held at RAK Hospital in Ras Al Khaimah today.

The organisers said RBWLC 2023 motivated, educated and guided the participants on their transformative weight loss journey to emerge as winners.

How he did it

Speaking to Gulf News, Alghafry explained how he gained his motivation for the feat. “I was one of the top 10 winners in last year’s challenge. I had lost 30kg from 103kg. But I saw that [another person] bagged the top prize twice consecutively. So I was motivated to become the first prize winner. I had gained weight and hit 110kg when this year’s challenge started and I achieved my aim to be the first prize winner -- I took a photo with the last two years’ winner.”

Alghafry added that he achieved the Herculean task of massive weight loss with exercise and diet.

“I avoided eating rice, sugar and meat for two months. I exercised three times a day for up to three hours. I didn’t lift weights as I feel it won’t be helpful. Instead, I cycled on a stationary bike, skipped rope 2,000 times a day with breaks in between. I also used to walk and run in the pond park near my house.”

About his diet, he said: “You must combine diet and exercise to achieve weight loss. I would start my day with green tea. I used to have half-fried or boiled eggs for breakfast. For lunch, I used to get fruits and for dinner light vegetable dishes.”

He said the main reason for his success is the motivation that he received from the challenge team. “I used to follow all their tips. Now, my BMI reading is normal, not as obese.”

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Top 3 winners

Top three winners in both male and female physical categories took home cash prizes while the winners in virtual category male and female and percentage weight-loss heroes were handed over 5-star staycations, gym memberships, Swiss executive health vouchers amongst other prizes. While first prize winners got Dh300 per kg they lost, the second and third prize winners received Dh200 and Dh100 per kg that they shed, respectively.

Indian expat Masood Rasheed and Pakistani expatriate Muhammad Antash Ali secured the second and third positions after losing 34.5kg and 33.9kg respectively. They were awarded Dh7,000 and Dh3,400 in cash.

Grabbing the top spot in the Physical Category Female was 39-year old Sharjah resident and Egyptian national Noha Metwally Ali Allam who dropped 24.7kg to win Dh7,500.

The second and third runners up are Indian national Jisheena Palakka, and Syrian national Seham Abdulrahman Al-Daher Al Dairi, who were presented Dh3,600 and Dh1,700 for loosing 18.3 kgand 17.4kg respectively.

Defeating nine corporate contenders, Hilton Beach Resort won the ‘Corporate Champions Trophy’ by dropping 64kg as a team total.

10kg average loss

The resolve of contestants paved the way to success as individuals lost an average of 10kg while all awardees combined lost a whopping 576.7kg to secure winning positions.

The eight-week challenge, which began on January 20, was divided into Physical, Virtual and Corporate categories. It saw participation from more than 10,000 Individuals from all over the UAE, with a maximum 45 per cent enrolments from the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. The weights and BMI of the participants were recorded in the beginning of the challenge and the final weighing in was conducted on March 18 and 19 in which several hundred participants either visited RAK Hospital or sent in their weight loss certificates attested from their local clinics.

‘Obesity a pandemic’

Khalid Abdulla Mohammed Al Shehhi, director of the Representative Office, MoHAP, Ras Al Khaimah, was the chief guest at the awards ceremony.

Congratulating the winners at the awards ceremony, Dr Raza Siddiqui, executive director, RAK Hospital, said: “Obesity is the biggest pandemic of our times and a risk factor leading to various chronic and deadly diseases. We think it’s our greatest responsibility to support people, understand the consequences and motivate them to get on a healthier path to build a healthy community and a healthy nation. Becoming the catalyst of change and helping the society on their transformative journey is extremely fulfilling and I am delighted we at RAK Hospital are able to do that. Even though only a few get to win the top positions, to me everyone who has embarked on their weight-loss journey is a winner.”

Physical Category - Female winner Noha Metwally Ali Allam with Dr Raza Siddiqui Image Credit: Supplied

Professor Adrian Kennedy, chief wellness officer, Arabian Wellness and Lifestyle Management, RAK Hospital’s wellness division, said: “We are super excited to make such a big difference in the lives of people. Throughout the weight-loss journey of the participants our expert medical and wellness team has guided the contestants with the necessary information and education for better management of weight.”