Before and after: Dr Sameh Ghazy.
Before and after: Dr Sameh Ghazy. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Where there’s a will there’s a way. Dr Sameh Ghazy, 50, an Egyptian doctor living in Dubai, is a great example where weight loss is concerned.

Dr Ghazy, a paediatric doctor by profession, now working as the medical director of a global pharma company, said he was grossly overweight. After several failed attempts at losing weight, he finally embarked on a journey that led him to a life-changing experience. Dr Ghazy was 130kg in 2019. Today, his weight hovers around 86kg. In fact, he has lowered his BMI from 44 two years ago to 29 now.

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Dr Sameh Ghazy at the gym. Image Credit: Supplied

“I started gaining weight after my marriage. I was not into any kind of sports or fitness activity. So I would resort to dieting to knock off my weight. But that was not a permanent solution,” he said. Reducing food intake only had a short-term impact because he loved his food and would eventually fall back on his old habit. “I would lose five kilos and gain seven back. I just could not control my intake. I love food and I am always tempted to indulge.”

Dr Ghazy then decided to go for a gastric sleeve operation. “This reduced my stomach size by 70 per cent.” But he admits he was reluctant initially to go under the knife. “I wanted to lose weight in a natural way, but it was not consistent.”

Dr Ghazy recalled once sitting down with a friend and fellow doctor in Alexandria, Egypt, discussing his bodyweight. “I told him I was afraid of complications arising during surgery. He said I should be more afraid of the complications that would arise if I didn’t lose weight.”

At that juncture, he was already hypertensive and pre-diabetic with high cholesterol. “I was on medications as I had also developed asthma,” Dr Ghazy said. “So I decided to pay heed to my good doctor friend — who is also dean at the Faculty of Medicine at Alexander University in Egypt. My friend explained that the number of people facing complications during a gastric sleeve surgery was minimal.”

Gastric sleeve gastrectomy is a surgical weight-loss procedure in which the stomach is permanently reduced to about 15 per cent of its original size, through surgical removal of a large portion of the stomach along the greater curvature.

Post-surgery, Ghazy lost 12kg in the first month itself, but thereafter the process started slowing down. “So I joined a gym. I did not start with any heavy activity right away as I was still overweight,” Dr Ghazy said.

Once the lockdown started last March, he was confined to his home. In August last year, when the gyms re-opened, he started various group exercise programmes.

“It was amazing. From Zumba to pound fitness to body pump ... I tried different exercise modules. The best part is that I have now made so many friends at the gym that we are like one big family. This has been a huge motivating factor for me to go for regular exercises.”

Today, Dr Ghazy works out a minimum of two hours at the gym each day.

“Before, I used to work out all by myself. It used to be very boring. I would use some equipment and that would be it. I didn’t feel motivated. But when I started group classes. We keep a check on each other’s weight loss goals. We support and motivate each other and that has been a major reason why I have managed to lose weight consistently.”

Over the last one year, Dr Ghazy has lost 23kg.

Ezran Consul, a Dubai-based fitness coach who has trained Dr Ghazy, said dedication and the will to get fit are keys to weight loss. “Sameh has shown these qualities and more. Besides regularly working out at the gym, he also watches his diet, which is equally important if one is to lose weight,” he said, adding: “It’s always mind over matter when it comes to one's weight transformation.”

Dr Ghazy said thanks to the gastric sleeve operation, his food intake has drastically reduced. “I can still eat anything I like, but in small quantities. I also don’t feel hungry that much.”

Dr Ghazy said: “My advise to all those who are obese: Please make your move now. It is never too late. Find out what works for you, find a fitness programme that resonates with you and your personality. That is very important.”

His next goal? “It is my wish to reach 75kg and I believe I will.”