“I have been overweight since I can remember, really,” says Andrea Scotti, a 41-year-old managing director from Dubai, UAE. He’d always eaten healthy food, but he ate a lot of it and didn’t get much activity. As he got older his weight kept climbing. He noticed it, sure, but he acclimated. “For me,” he says, “being overweight was a normal state of being.” He prided himself on being curious—mentally quick and sharp—but meanwhile his body began to feel slow, tired, and uncomfortable. By age 40, he topped 255 pounds.
He recognized he needed to change. He wanted to be more active, though at first he didn’t focus specifically on weight loss. He started running, but since he was “training,” he also started eating more—that didn’t give him the results he wanted. In fact, it made things worse.
Scotti then turned to a professional trainer, enrolling with Ultimate Performance. He quickly settled on three lifestyle changes: hitting 12,000 to 16,000 steps a day, eating fewer calories than he burned, and training three days a week. “I sold my car and started walking everywhere,” he says. He started learning more about cooking, including how to maximize the volume and energy content of his meals (depending on where he was in the program), and prepare food that still tasted good.
For someone who’d never set foot in a gym before, the initial training was intense. He started out training his large muscle groups, followed by high-intensity workouts. The first month really challenged him, he says, but his trainer, Yash Jeswani, supported him all the way. “Seeing the results,” Scotti says, “there is nothing like having a weekly feedback to keep you motivated.” He later shifted to pure weight training.
In 38 weeks he lost 95 pounds. For someone who thought of himself as “normally” overweight, he’s discovered a number of profound changes. He gets sick less, and has no more headaches. He’s able to do more activities with his children—hiking, swimming, and running. He found that he actually really likes walking, which has become a way for him to relax and let his everyday stresses melt away. And he feels mentally quicker. “I feel like I am always at 150 percent,” he says. “My brain is in ‘overdrive’ continuously.”
The change was so pronounced that it’s taken him some time to get used to it. “When I walk on the street and see my reflection on shop-fronts I don’t recognize myself,” he says. (His own mother didn’t recognize him when he picked her up from the airport.) He compares it to having a new body—one whose limits he’s eager to test. He’s eager to build more strength and see just how far he can go.
Looking back, he realizes a couple things about the process. “It sounds stupid,” he says, “but realizing that ‘being overweight’ was not a permanent condition was a big realization for me.” For too long he thought his body was out of his control, due to metabolism or genetics. Once he let go of that idea, everything was much easier than he expected. “It is a simple process,” he says. “Follow it and you have results—follow it for a long time and you have big results.”
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