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Yoga. My new addiction.

Mahmood and Leah after a good Yoga session with Leah

Mahmood and Leah after a good Yoga session with LeahYoga was one of those things that I thought house-wives and mystics would while away their time in. The images I saw on the internet certainly supported this view. It’s no surprise that I veered away from Yoga. I’m a healthy and strong individual dedicated to an all-round gym experience, through this hard work, I managed to lose a considerable amount of weight and turned my life around. What would I need yoga for?

Curiosity got the better of me when Serenity Centre, a new meditation, Reiki and Yoga studio announced once a week Yoga sessions for gentlemen with an experienced Yoga instructor. I thought I’d give it a go. What harm could that do?

The next morning after that first somewhat “gentle” session with Leah Ferrera was a revelation. All my muscles were sore – in a good way. That ache amply demonstrated the error of my judgement. Those Yoga-practicing mystics and house-wives would definitely give me a run for my money, even with all my daily gym work-outs. That was a session in humility. And I was hooked!

Leah’s considerable patience, gentle leadership and happy soothing voice completely hooked me into the Yoga experience. I started to really look forward to our Wednesday evening sessions and was the first on the mat practicing the various poses before the session started. Within three months, I gained more flexibility in my body than I probably every had. I was sleeping better and was much more aware of my posture.

Yoga allowed me to also experience much more than stretches. The guided meditation that Leah offered at the end of every session was invaluable in calming my mind. It allowed inward reflection and awareness that I have not experienced before.

I now practice Yoga twice a week and am very much indebted to Leah for leading me into the practice. Had she not been as good as she is, I would have most probably quit after the very first session. I’m glad I persevered and am very grateful to Leah for introducing me to a new way of life.


(disclosure: Serenity is owned and operated by my wife. I do Yoga there on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings now with Zahraa Amini. Come join me!)

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The creep of weight gain

I’ve let myself go over the past couple of months and my weight has been creeping up. Well, I’ve been on holiday for a couple of weeks to Scotland and it was a bit stressful at work the last few months. Note that I’m not beating myself up for this. This is nothing to the 35kgs I’ve lost. It’s a wake up call for me to get back on my chosen path of better health. 

Ok. The best I got to was 81kgs in Nov ’15. I’m now closer to 89kgs. My target now is to get to 81kgs again by my birthday on 23 Feb ’17. So the fun starts again!

I’ll be joining a running club tomorrow in addition to my refular gym workouts and start eating more healthily again. 

I know that my main culprit is bread and not so much sweets, though of course those contribute. I’ve quit all types of sweets, biscuits, chocolates and cakes for over from 2 August until about a week ago and I felt really well for it. I don’t have actual numbers but it felt that I lost some fat and gained better muscle definition. 

My plan now is to limit bread intake and stop sweets one more time until my weight is where I want it to be again. 
For accountability, I’m going to report my weight on a weekly basis every Saturday morning here for me to track progress. I find that I do hit my set targets if I publicly declare them 😉

Your support will be welcome. 

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What is depression?


Not many people understand depression, including me. I found this on TED that might contribute to a better understanding.

Depression is the leading cause of disability in the world; in the United States, close to ten percent of adults struggle with the disease. But because it’s a mental illness, it can be a lot harder to understand than, say, high cholesterol. Helen M. Farrell examines the symptoms and treatments of depression, and gives some tips for how you might help a friend who is suffering.


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No Sweets October

Here’s a commitment I made:

To me, October = No sweets / no cakes / no biscuits / no chocolate month. Allowing myself one fruit a day. Just because. Anyone fancy joining me in this quest?

Posted by Mahmood Al-Yousif on Thursday, October 1, 2015

No sweets October. How does that grab you? Doable?

I honestly didn’t believe that I could. That’s why I made that commitment public so I can be held accountable. When I do that, I do challenge myself and make the commitment happen. It’s 12 days since and I’m glad to say that I have not had any of those things so far, and I’m not going to either. On Nov 1st; however, I’m heading straight to DQ and getting my favouritest dessert: a Peanut Buster Parfait! Maybe even two, we’ll see how I feel 😉

The effect of having this sweets fast is tremendous though. On Oct 1st I weighed 85.3, today, well… have a look:

today I weigh 82.6kgs, which is a long way from the 116.5kg I was recently ;)

That’s a tremendous reduction of 2.7 kgs in just 12 days. That’s a reduction of 33.9% of my body weight at its heaviest which was 116.5 kgs.

I’ll admit that in the interim I actually increased my activity. I now average about 9km of running a day with an additional 30 – 60 minutes on other machines. I also added 90 minutes of swimming training twice a week with a few half-hour swimming sessions in between. So the weight loss might not just be due to the effect of not having sweets, it’s probably having something to do with the slightly increased activity as well.

Regardless, I’m quite chuffed with myself for arriving in the 82s. I honest cannot remember me the last time my weight was 82.6 kgs. If I were to guess, I would say that it might have been late teens or early twenties. Makes me double happy 😉

My declared intention was to get to 83 kgs by the end of the year. Now that I busted that level, my new target is 80 kgs by the end of 2015. Who’s with me on this journey of regaining health?

Let’s go!