LETTERS TO DUBAI
Hope you’re well – and I mean it literally this time!
‘Wellness’ advocacy became such a huge phenomenon in this generation – and I’m glad it progressed to where it is today as it’s indeed a life essential. Whether it’s physical, mental, or emotional, one’s fitness is key to cope and thrive as the world throws its endless challenges.
I’ve had my fair share of such physical fitness battles. From birth to age 32, I was fat and morbidly obese. In 2013, I found the courage and commitment to love myself better by prioritizing my health. For 8 years now, I can say that my ‘fat to fit’ journey is one of the best milestones and decisions that continue to shape how I decide to live my every day.
I’ve reached 100kg, smoked for 17 years, found pleasure in unhealthy food while patronizing your weekly boozy brunches and detested the idea of physical exercise. Thankfully, my mom never got tired of terrorizing me with what my short life would certainly be if I continued with the ridiculous lifestyle. A couple of friends also invited me to join them in trying the then famous Paleo diet – after a month of eating clean, I dropped 10lbs and found myself greatly encouraged to continue what we’ve started. Slowly, I also warmed up to the idea of starting a home exercise routine in Shaun T’s ‘Insanity’ video workouts which led to participating in outdoor bootcamp group exercises to Les Mills’ gym classes that then finally evolved to obsessing with CrossFit. After deciding to quit the smoking vice came the phase of discovering the love for running – the then obese schoolboy even participated in four Dubai 10K marathon events! Eventually, I went deeper into the nutrition game by first subscribing to prepared meals by KCal then learned the science of calorie-counting, measuring macros and taking the right supplements to support my daily needs. The work-in-progress journey now stands at 60lbs lost, 6 inches drop in waistline and shirt size change from XL to S (sometimes even XS).
Beyond the apparent physical change (which you’d see in my unapologetic ‘before and after’ photos) is a deeper sense of fulfilment and profound bliss that I’ve never experienced before. The new lifestyle developed positivity – every time I eat clean with the right portion size and frequency, I feel right and responsible; while every time I complete my 2-hour daily exercise, the release of endorphins results in pure joy and satisfaction. Of course, I’ve my imperfect days too when I give in to ‘reward meals’ or ‘couch potato’ moments – what’s key is bouncing back and maintaining the motivation for consistency.
You’ve witnessed and had been instrumental to this portion of my life – just resharing to remind you that now more than ever, your physical wellness is at its extreme importance. If you’re just about to start or in the middle of braving the challenge, keep pressing and don’t look back. Anchor your goals to the reality that having a healthy body and mind would be one of your greatest ammunitions as you climb to reach your peak. If I’ve done it, so can you – it’s not easy, but not impossible!
(formerly Dubaian, now Bostonian)
PS: Not to be superficial and just focused on aesthetics, but you’ll be pleased to know that our hard work resulted in a talent management contract here in the US – who would’ve thought that I can be a part-time model?!