191013 losing weight
Haffez Ullah before (left) and after Image Credit: Supplied

When 37-year-old Haffez Ullah went back home last November, he weighed 127.6kg. The five-foot-seven-inch Pakistani man loved food but his devil-may-care attitude had begun to show in his rising cholesterol levels.

The just-married Ullah was also insulin resistant – a condition that is a precursor to diabetes and doesn’t allow the body to respond properly to the insulin it is producing.

His brother staged an intervention. He was told he was shuffling instead of walking. He was told of the sibling’s worries for his health. He was then referred to a doctor, a family friend.

The doctor immediately recommended a Keto diet. And so, come December when he returned to the UAE with his wife, he decided to follow the plan.

Keto is a high-fat, low protein and carb diet that pushes your body to use fat as a source of fuel, resulting in weight-loss.

“Before I was taking four meals a day and I was snacking too much. Eating everything,” says Ullah. And so he had to change his entire lifestyle. But first, he needed the support of his wife, Abida Gul, who loves to cook.

Gul was stumped at first but then she began to experiment. “I keep changing things around so he won’t get bored,” she explains.

In the early days, says Ullah, his sugar levels would plummet and he would end up feeling tired and dizzy; his vision would blur. “It was really hard first 10 days then I got used to it,” he said. But that didn’t happen without another trip to the doctor’s. “I was feeling too much dizziness, so I went to a doctor – he advised me some blood test, so I did it. He said eat dates sometimes.”

And so he did – for a while, before going full Keto.

Today, 10 months later, his diet remains much as it was when he first began. “For breakfast: two boiled eggs with a cup of tea without sugar. Evening I take some vegetables with chicken pieces. No lunch,” he says. And of course, he chomps on a handful of nuts – almonds, cashews -every so often.

He also walks every day, for 40-45 minutes. He has only given himself a cheat meal once since he began Keto; it’s paying dividends. Today, Ullah is a sprightly 84kgs and his ideal weight is only 10kg away.

“I am trying to as per doctor’s advice I want it to be like 74 as per my height and age,” he explains.

The one thing he says everyone should do is cut out the “white poison” from their lives. “Cut sugar, because this is really dangerous,” he says.

It’s also why he had an argument with his wife who was munching on some cake – “She helped me so much,” he says, adding he doesn’t want her to take on those bad habits.

For now, life is good for the couple. “Sometimes we eat the same boiled vegetables and boiled chicken together,” giggles Gul. You can almost hear her thinking up the next foodie variation.

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 readers@gulfnews.com