Usman Jalil
Usman Jamil before (left) and after his transformation Image Credit: Supplied

“Knafeh,” says Usman Jamil in an interview with Gulf News, “was part of my diet”.

The 32-year-old is a self-confessed foodie; a tag he wears with pride. In school and college, he says, he could eat whatever he wanted – and not put on weight. He was an active sportsman who spent much time on the field playing games like cricket. It was a freer time.

Then along came real life. As the Electrical Engineer settled into a nine-to-five job, he began to lag behind when it came to exercise; his metabolism followed suit.

At his heaviest, recalls the six-foot-four-inch Jamil, he was 142-144kg.

It was his new wife – he married in 2018 – who began to coax him into getting fit. And his research, he remembers, threw up many Gulf News’ keto transformation stories. He began to explore the diet, which has a high-fat, low-protein, minimum carb menu that forces your body to produce ketones. These ketones use your fat as fuel, resulting in a slimmer, trimmer you.


At first, the results made Jamil very, very happy. “I started to lose weight, but [then] I started to feel like it was giving me some sort of cholesterol or a sense of unease. So I thought of switching [it up],” he says. He was in for a rude shock; as his body readjusted to carb processing, he began to pile on the kilos. “Like, in a week I gained 3-4kg,” he says. He was baffled because he was also time working out at this time.

“So after that I thought of going on to a protein diet; I switched on to meat and vegetables and cut out all the sugars, carbs. And I [stuck]  fish, meat, salads,” he says.

And he kept up his gym schedule; where at first he would go in the mornings, before work, he now began to take his kit to work; lunch hour became exercise time. “It took me 9-10 months to sweat all those kilos [away]. And here I am today,” he concludes.

So how much did he really shed? Ahem, 40 kilos.

Jamil's tips for weight reduction:


1. Discipline: [It] is something that just arranges everything in your life.

2. Make health your priority in life.

3. Diet is crucial: “As our famous Bollywood actor Salman Khan once [said] diet makes 70 per cent of your weight-loss journey. So even at the time I’ll not go to the gym, still if I stick to my diet, I still used to lose my weight," says Jamil.

4. Study your body – what type of diet suits you. “I tried Keto, then I went towards protein. [In] the final stage, I was eating anything I liked but I learned what I can eat and what I shouldn’t eat. What my body is responding negatively to and what it’s responding positively towards what. You won’t believe – I’ve been having kunafeh every other day. It was part of my diet. Even eating kunafeh wasn’t making me put on weight. Slowly, slowly I came to that point.”

Usman Jamil’s typical day menu
Breakfast: 4 oranges + 1 carrot
Low-fat milk with Organic Museli

Lunch: Black Coffee post workout

Dinner: At 6, grilled/pan-steamed protein with salad. Only oil used was olive. The meat was ground up, “because it’s easier and faster to cook”.

In case of hunger pangs: “I’ll eat or drink plenty of fresh oranges .. or eat fruits like watermelon, rasperries, blue berries , cherries.”

On rest days, that is on Tuesdays, he eats “a plate of knafeh in the afternoons.”

This is part two of our weight-loss success stories from the UAE. Have you undergone a transformation? Would you like to share your story? Write to us at