When Pakistani businessman Muhammad Ali Muhammad Khalil finally stood on the scale after two years of wedded bliss this July, he had to repeat the process thrice. The numbers had risen – from 82 to 98.
And so Muhammad began to eat. And eat. And eat. Fifteen days later, he had reached the first milestone in his weight-loss journey. He was now officially over 100. It seemed like a nice round number to work backwards from. He says, ruefully, “It is a bit odd, but I thought that way.”
And so on July 15 he began to cut down on portions and he began to exercise – small excursions every day. Only an hour. In the first two weeks, he tells Gulf News, he lost 4kg each month. Then progress began to stall.
He powered through each week on the hope of a cheat meal, which was contingent on him shedding between 0.7 to 1.5kg in those seven days. When the numbers on the scale wouldn’t budge, neither would Muhammad’s diet chart.
Breakfast: 2 slices of brown bread and a fried egg white.
Lunch: One roti and vegetables
Grilled chicken and vegetables
Dinner at 7pm: One roti and vegetables.
Post Dinner: Hot water, lemon and half teaspoon honey.
An hour after dinner, every day without fail, Muhammad used to walk for 1 hour.
Before this journey, he says he used to eat a lot of junk food and even as the symptoms of weight gain – the tighter T-shirts, the rounder cheeks, the larger appetite – began to show, he says, “I didn’t care.”
But now, he took out a shirt with sentimental value – he had worn it last at his wedding reception – and tried it on. He decided that was his goal – to wear again the finery.
Each time he’d feel dejected, demotivated, frustrated, he’d take this shirt out and put it on. “So when that time used to come I used to wear that shirt. And if it was still there, again that process started, because it was you know – I didn’t reach that weight,” he laughs.
Today, five months on, Muhammad is back to 83kg. The goal is 78-80kg. “And then I will maintain that,” says the determined businessman.
His advice for all trying to drop the weight is simple: Stay motivated. “When we are doing our weight[loss], just don’t [keep] check[ing] the weight. The timing is key. What time you are [checking it – should be same time every day].
“And what [and when] you are eating [makes a huge difference]. Basically [eating little at] dinner time is the thing, that I felt was really effective for me. It’s not like after7pm I didn’t eat at all, it was just very little, nuts [for example]. Gradually, when you start losing weight it’s very fast, but there comes a time, I don’t think so it’s going down. So that’s when you have to pick up yourself and start going again. So in order to have a good life, just keep yourself motivated at all stages.”
The change in shape has also motivated his family members. “My wife will be starting next year,” he says. “When she sees me now, when she sees the transformation in the past 5-6 months, she herself is motivated. She can see the results,” he adds.
Today when he stands on the scale, it’s only the one time. And usually followed by a big smile.