#teacher | UAE: Dubai-based teacher loses almost 40kg in 6 months

Hafs Al Gazzi (before and after)
Image Credit: Supplied
It was the autumn of 2018 and he’d just woken up to a new reality. His nine-year stint in the UAE had left him
20-odd kg heavier then when he’d come. He was now a stout 100kg – and on his 5-foot-7-inch frame the extra pounds were uncomfortable. He was newly divorced and facing some harrowing facts. “I do believe that if I had not lost the weight, definitely at some point I would have gotten a heart attack, or something would have happened,” he tells Gulf News.

His kids – he has two – feared for him as did his sibling. “My sister was telling me, ‘This is your chance to change, you are still young.’ I am 33 and she said the way you look, you look like you are in your 40s,” the Scot ruefully recalls.

Finding a role model

So he visualized someone he looked up to: The actor Christian Bale, who is known for dramatic weight transformations. “He’s pretty well known for putting on weight and also losing it. There was an extreme one where he was eating like an apple a day, that sort of thing. I was like, ‘well I can’t do that’ but I can eat healthier,” he said.

“So what I did was to start the weight loss, I started eating just once a day. And I would delay my eating until evening time. I would have some salads or maybe some nuts or some fruits, but it would be just about one bowl. I did that for a few, 6 or 7, weeks,” he says.

Hafs Al Gazzi
Hafs Al Gazzi before (left) and after
Image Credit: Supplied

Those initial days of battling appetite, Al Gazzi glosses over. “The first few days would have been very similar to anyone else starting a diet – you feel weak, low on energy, headaches for a couple of days. There were a couple of days I thought I would faint, because you know I’ve literally cut out all the sugar, unhealthy food,” he says in a matter-of-fact tone.

“By the end of the couple of weeks I started to get used to it – and then I was alright.”

In the first six weeks, Al Gazzi lost 20kg. “When I reached my target weight, then I started incorporating gym and I would run for an hour. Maybe every three-four days I would run for an hour then take a rest; so it was a lot of cardiovascular work that would also increase the metabolism and lose weight,” he says.

This charged-up attitude not only helped him drop the last few kilos but also helped him tone his body. “Honestly, I didn’t have any lose skin or anything like that; I have a few stretch marks, but nothing anyone can see. When I lost the weight, I did not have any of the after-effects that people do have.”

A few months earlier this year, he had dropped down to 61kg, says the school teacher. Which is when he began to allow himself some more indulgent food. “For the past few months I have been eating normal food, but, like, once a day. For me, I feel like, even though I’m eating once a day I can eat whatever I want within reason. Nothing too big,” he says.

“My next target is to put on some weight through muscle training, so I have not yet started that journey, I am just waiting for the right moment to [begin],” he says.

For now, as someone who has lost some 35-plus kg, Al Gazzi has more energy and finds himself happier. It’s a whole new world.

This is part three 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

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