ABU DHABI // Staff members at the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department have been trying to improve health and fitness over the past few weeks to win the title of “biggest loser”.
Studies have shown increasing levels of obesity and diabetes among Emiratis, and the communications department decided to tackle the problem, starting with their own staff.
Since the start of Ramadan, 30 members of staff from Abu Dhabi, six from Al Ain and one from Al Gharbia took up the challenge to get closer to their “ideal” weights.
Participants had until Sunday to get as close to their target weight as possible, with the winner receiving Dh5,000 towards a gym membership and sports equipment.
Contestants were measured using a device that calculated their perfect weight, taking into account age, height, body fat and muscle mass.
These were displayed on a diagram, with the centre point representing their perfect condition.
“The person who gets closest to the centre is the winner,” said Maryam Al Buraiki, one of the organisers of the competition and a communications specialist at the department.
“We chose to kick off the contest in Ramadan because that is when people turn into wolves after iftar.
“We chose to end it some time after Eid because in Eid people also eat a lot.”
Despite having lost only 3 kilograms since the start of the contest, Hafeth Al Ibri, 36, an international communications employee, was confident he would be crowned the biggest loser.
“All the other contestants I know gained weight instead of losing,” Mr Al Ibri said.
He was advised by the nutritionists to lose the fat with exercise.
Mr Al Ibri only started exercising after Eid, towards the very end of the contest.
In one week he cut carbohydrates and sweets, ate more fruits, salads and protein, and hopped on to the treadmill.
He dropped from 100 kilograms to 97kg in seven days before yesterday’s deadline.
“In the certificate my fitness age was 43, and I scored obese in the fitness diagram due to an increase in fat, salts and liquids,” Mr Al Ibri said.
Some took the event more seriously.
Tarek Al Nuaimi, 31, has been doing all the right things since the beginning. But Mr Al Nuaimi’s aim was to grow in size.
“I always wanted to gain 3kg or 4kg but [before the competition] I wasn’t encouraged,” he said.
Since the beginning of Ramadan, he has stuck to a daily routine of swimming and going to the gym.
“They said my body is fit and I needed to increase iron, muscles, and my fitness age scored much younger, but I wanted to get bigger in size,” Mr Al Nuaimi said.
Rafeea Al Marzooqi, 31, a communications and public relations officer, lost 2.5kg of body fat, but ended up gaining 1kg in her overall body weight.
“They told me this means I lost,” she said, “but I believe it is extra muscle.
The final results of the competition will be announced next week.