Dubai: Three employees of UAE-based Aster DM Healthcare have topped a unique fitness challenge introduced by the group - ‘Lose to Gain Challenge’ - by dropping the maximum amount of weight through diet and exercise.
Joumana Geara, Anju Thomas and Ahmad Rady came in first, second and third, respectively, in the firm’s bid to support its employees achieve a healthier lifestyle.
Geara, who works at Medcare and whose height is 166cm, weighed 96.1kg before the challenge started in February. After 120 days, she shed 18.1kg (19 per cent of her weight) and topped the competition, weighing in at 78kg.
Thomas, from Aster Global Centre, India, came in second place after losing 18 per cent, or 12.8kg, of her initial 70.4kg weight. She now weighs 57.9kg.
Rady, who placed third, lost 17 per cent and tipped the scale at 80kg from his previous 96kg.
A total of 318 employees participated in the UAE-wide competition organised by Aster DM Healthcare for all its staff. Last year, the company had organised a ‘Walk To Win Challenge’ for workers on the frontline against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Setting an example
Talking about the objectives of the latest health challenge, Alisha Moopen, deputy managing director at Aster DM Healthcare, told Gulf News: “The pandemic has revealed many vulnerabilities in the health of the population – from obesity to mental ill health - and it is more important than ever to support people in achieving healthier lives. In order to keep our patients safe and provide quality health care delivery, we must first ensure that our employees and healthcare workers are fit and healthy.”
“The Lose to Gain Challenge is our second initiative under the programme, which encourages physical fitness and overall wellbeing of our employees across the group. The challenge motivated them to adopt a healthy lifestyle through pursuing a journey of fitness.
“We also hosted several wellness sessions over the period, such as mindful eating for weight loss, fitness and nutrition myths and easy home workout demos. As a healthcare provider, we wanted to set a strong example for others to follow. Good health is the highest form of discipline and it need attention,” she added.
Recalling her journey to fitness, Geara, who works as unit nursing manager at Medcare Women and Children Hospital in Dubai, said: “I gained weight last year due to stress, lockdown and life changes due to COVID-19. I was getting many comments from people who took notice that I had gained weight. It was a wake-up call and I participated in the programme, not to win but only to have some commitment and motivation to lose weight.”
She added: “After one month of workout, I lost 6 to 8kg and I also did 10,000 steps at work. I stopped using sugar, avoided oily food and planned my diet. Being part of this programme stopped me from unhealthy habits. My advise: ‘Please remember small steps can eventually take you to healthy life’.”
Thomas, senior executive in finance and accounts at Aster Global Centre, said: “The fitness journey moulded me to a better, confident and healthy person. The results kept me self-motivated and it also brought a balanced and disciplined lifestyle. Initially, it was really challenging to adopt healthy eating habits and regular workout, but the support from family and friends kept me persistent.”
Going to the gym
Rady also shared his workout experience. He said: “I used to weigh around 87kg and I am 178cm tall. I used to be overweight and was hardly doing any sport. During the pandemic, I stopped exercising and my weight increased from 87 to 96kg.”
He added: “Then I decided to take the challenge. I went to the gym and switched from eating carbohydrates to vegetables and fruits. My weight began to decrease gradually and I was excited to the point that I was monitoring my weight daily.”