x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

From morbidly obese to a lighter future

Former footballer fights back from weight gain with strict diet and exercise regimen.

Amin Soltani, an British-Iranian expat, who previously weighed 164kgs. He managed to lose 40kgs in less than 60 days through supervised rigorous exercise and changes in his diet. Amin was once a healthy semi-pro soccer player but his health started spiraling downwards after experiencing a few sports-related injuries. His target weight is 84kgs and he has launched an online campaign with the slogan
Amin Soltani, an British-Iranian expat, who previously weighed 164kgs. He managed to lose 40kgs in less than 60 days through supervised rigorous exercise and changes in his diet. Amin was once a healthy semi-pro soccer player but his health started spiraling downwards after experiencing a few sports-related injuries. His target weight is 84kgs and he has launched an online campaign with the slogan "half the man I used to be" for support and create awareness about obesity.

Amin Soltani never thought he would be morbidly obese.

Mr Soltani was a semi-professional football player, 1.86 metres tall and weighing about 90 kilograms.

The British-Iranian had a naturally big build and a love for food, but his active lifestyle kept him healthy and fit - until a series of sports injuries cut short his athletic life.

While he was playing goalkeeper Mr Soltani fractured a bone in his left hand. He had a metal plate with five screws inserted and a year later had the metal plate removed.

Mr Soltani, now 33, was determined to stay fit. He tried running but the attempt was short-lived. He injured his ankle and knee.

"I stopped working out but I kept eating the same amount of food," he said. "From that point, things started going downhill."

By November last year, five years after moving to Dubai, Mr Soltani topped out at 164kg.

"Tying my own shoelaces would give me shortness of breath," he said. "It was really embarrassing when I'd take up half the space in the elevator and people could find no place to stand."

Finally, harsh comments from friends and a series of health incidents gave him a much-needed wake-up call.

"I would find blood on my pillow from a nose bleed caused by my high blood pressure," Mr Soltani said. "In a sense I was lucky. Blood pressure could also lead to stroke."

A normal resting adult heart rate is between 60 to 100 beats a minute. His was 140.

"I realised I was morbidly obese," he said. "Only when you accept that can you start to conquer your problem - when you understand that food is an addiction and you're willing to ask for help."

Mr Soltani decided he was going to shed half his weight naturally.

"I don't like people coming near me with a knife," he said. "I also believe that all the antibiotics you have to take after surgery weaken your immune system."

So on November 10, he started a strict diet and exercise regimen under the supervision of his doctor and martial-arts instructors.

He said the exercise not only keeps him fit, but teaches him discipline. In just under two months, Mr Soltani had lost 40kg and he is now back on the field, playing his favourite sport.

His typical lunch used to consist of two quarter-pound cheeseburger meals, a box of chicken nuggets and an apple pie. Now he cooks his own healthy meals and says he is no longer tempted to give in.

"Last year I spent New Year's at home alone," Mr Soltani said. "I would make any excuse not to see people," he said.

"This year I was out partying at Meydan and it felt great. I have a wonderful job in a managing position and things are looking up. I finally feel like I'm getting my life back."

 

mismail@thenational.ae