x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

26kg lost, nearly Dh10,000 gained

Ahmed Al Sheikh dropped from 146.7kg to 120.4 during the six-week 'Your Weight in Gold' campaign with twice-daily gym trips and lots of stair-climbing.

Syrian Ahmed Al Shiekh, 27, lost 26kg during the Your Weight in Gold competition by climbing the stairs to his apartment every day. Sarah Dea/The National
Syrian Ahmed Al Shiekh, 27, lost 26kg during the Your Weight in Gold competition by climbing the stairs to his apartment every day. Sarah Dea/The National

DUBAI // Ahmed Al Shiekh has an uneasy relationship with the staircase leading up to his 16th-floor apartment.

Making a twice-daily climb up those steps has helped him to lose 26 kilograms of weight in just a month, but he still dreads it.

“I know each of those stairs individually after spending so much time with them,” the Syrian said. “But climbing the stairs has been my secret to success on this programme.”

Mr Al Shiekh, 27, is the overall winner of the Your Weight in Gold campaign, run by Dubai Municipality. The 63 grams of gold he won is worth Dh9,819.

The programme ran for six weeks but Mr Al Shiekh took part for only four. He woke up at 6am every day, went to the gym for an hour before work and an hour afterwards, climbing the stairs in between.

He avoided carbohydrates and sugars.

“I really missed fast food,” he said. “But I had strong willpower.”

He did not have scales in his house, so he had no idea he had gone from 146.7kg to 120.4kg until he stepped on the scales at the municipality weigh-in on August 20.

“I was surprised,because I didn’t check my weight before the final weigh-in,” he said. “I checked two times because I didn’t believe it. I even went to the pharmacy afterwards to check again on their scales.”

Mr Al Shiekh had to visit a tailor in recent weeks to reduce his sizes – he was once a 4XL but now needs an XL.

He said it would have been very expensive to completely replace his clothes but afforded himself the small luxury of a new suit, which he wore yesterday.

Mr Al Shiekh said he would continue trying to lose weight until he was the same size as some of the footballers and sportsmen he admired.

“You see them on the TV and you feel like it’s just a dream to be like that,” he said. “But now, thanks to this programme, I feel it has become possible.”

mcroucher@thenational.ae