Sajid Ali
Sajid Ali before (left) and after Image Credit: Supplied

My name is Sajid Ali. I am 32 years old, 178cm tall and from Pakistan. I came to UAE in October 2006.

I used to be a glut of sorts, never letting any delicacy pass me by. I was particularly fond of sugary drinks and chocolate. I was averse to games and sports except when lying in the comfort of a sofa, watching cricket while munching on crisps and sipping on soda.

My weight hit 108kg on the scale and so began a disturbing chapter in my life. I lost self-esteem when friends and even family started calling me names. I slowly withdrew from social circles and on the few occasions that I ventured out to shop, I would longingly stare at the slim shirts on display before settling on my size, XXL. I felt like everyone was staring at me.

Tired of all the negative feedback, I made a resolution to lose the weight. This was back in 2017. This was my turning point.


I tried enrolling in a gym right away but faced financial constraints. So I started daily walks and jogging. I would walk 4km from Hor Al Anz to Mamzar Beach in Dubai and vice-versa. At the beach, I would run another 4km. This would take me two hours.

Reducing my daily meal intake proved to be the biggest challenge despite my overwhelming desire and drive. There was a time when my friends invited me to a party and I had to say no. I had to say no to delicious food that was in front of me. It was difficult. (The lessons have stayed with me though; even today I am off sugar and allow myself a cheat meal once a month.)

Day of no hope

I still remember the time I almost gave up. It was during my first month; I stopped and cried. Nineteen days into the fitness plan, I thought I would never see the results I was dreaming about; I was killing myself and had a very hard time exercising without a trainer. For the moment, I couldn’t see results. Fortunately a few days on, a visit to a mall and a look at the mirror provided me with the encouragement I needed. I headed back to the beach.

Five months later, I participated in the “Desert Warrior challenge”, completing an 8km run in 48min.

My persistence paid astonishing dividends. I shed 44kg in just 4 months.

I later managed to join a gym located in Deira, Dubai, in August 2017 after my finances improved. I wanted a trim body and was determined to achieve it.

The first phase of the gym was obviously tough. When I initially talked to people about gaining a sculpted body, people were laughing in jest, but I couldn’t care less. My goal was set. Within two months, I acquired my desired shape. I never hired a trainer, but I did some weight lifting on my own.

I stayed consistent.

Today, I weigh 68kg. (I put on about 4kg of muscle since I dropped the kilos). I wear small to medium T-shirts. My waist has gone from a size 42 to a size 30. The exercise helped not only with stamina and fitness but also to deal with any fallout such as loose skin that weight loss may have brought.

People still stare at me…but now it’s in awe.

My family and friends have now given me new nicknames. It’s all just as I hoped.