– This is a nice camera This is the true story of Mohamed Shalaby the obese boy, Mohamed Shalaby. My family moved from Egypt to the Gulf when I was three years old. I don’t think it was a great place for me to grow up. Children need to have different experiences. This is what shapes their personalities. But in my childhood, I didn’t have the chance to try different things. My life revolved around food. ِAnd it was my only companion. – The miserable boy – The sleepy boy – Can you see how is he sleeping – I don’t know how he entered the car Even at school when someone asks, “Shall we do something different today?” The answer would always be let’s try a new restaurant. My life felt like it was boxed in. From home, into a car, then to a mall, then in a car, then to school,
then in a car, then back home again. I don’t think it was just me alone. Many around me and in other countries
in the Gulf shared the same experience. This tastes really good What’s wrong with being overweight and having a belly? My main problem was moving around. – Guys, I swear this is like a comedy film But minutes later I would be out of breath. To everyone around me, I would pretend to be fine But I was only fooling myself And when we were just hanging out I would always wonder… ‘Do they all notice that I’m the fattest here?’ And what do they think when they look at me? – Zoom on him – Jump, I am recording a video – Show us the penguin jump – Jump you idiot! – Come on jump – Wait, there is a kid, don’t jump on him! – You will kill him I finished high school and went to study engineering It was the easy option for me But after two years The way I saw myself started to deteriorate. I gained more weight. I started to isolate myself and I became depressed. The idea of therapy is not socially accepted. Some perceive it as being a shameful thing. If you see a doctor about a mental health problem, people would say you’re mad. I felt completely stuck. – Take one, Mr. Mohamed Shalaby – He will sing a national song for us The sea is angry and not laughing As the story is not for laughing The sea’s wound doesn’t heal I started to wonder if I moved somewhere else and changed my degree, those feelings of loneliness and pain would go away. So I decided to leave the Gulf and go to Turkey and follow my passion to learn how to make films. “Mohamed, why are your things here?” “Mohamed, move your stuff from here” No more phrases like these. One of the first people I met in Istanbul is Al Baraa Ashraf Al Baraa is a famous filmmaker. My first impressions of him was that he has a great sense of humour, an amazing storyteller and fat like me. He is a real hero to me. His first bit of advice came as a surprise: He told me: “look Shalaby, if I had one piece of advice for you, It would be don’t stay fat your whole life!” Then one day I woke up to find someone on Facebook had written: “Al Baraa Ashraf has died” I found out that Al Baraa had been planning
to undergo gastric bypass surgery, but he didn’t tell anyone. After his operation, there were complications, that led to his death. One day after coming back home I was in bed and about to go to sleep I took my phone and found myself ordering food at 3:00am. When my meal arrived I was in a hurry and the door slammed shut behind me. I was without my phone, and nowhere to go and only with food for company. I felt I was at rock bottom I was 139 kilos! That’s heavier than the average giant panda. Doctors told me that I was morbidly obese and I was at risk of dying as a result of my weight. I then remembered Al Baraa’s words to me “Don’t stay fat your whole life!” I started to think that I need to stop escaping. Changing where I lived or my degree wouldn’t make me feel better. I needed to face myself I needed to learn to live differently And like a baby I literally learned to walk again. I would take the stairs, instead of taking the elevator I would cook at home, instead of eating out, And after a while my portion sizes got smaller, my health started to get better, and I started to lose weight. I started to look different, and I noticed the change. Being consistent started to motivate me. And the small everyday choices I was making
were taking me in the right direction. When I used to look at myself in the mirror I always thought I was ugly. I had lots of insecurities about how I looked and what people thought when they looked at me. I believed that by losing weight I would have the perfect body. Like the ones I would see on Instagram, in movies and on commercials. And this would eventually make me feel better about myself. I was so wrong! When I went to workout, there were “gym dudes” all around me flexing their muscles and their six packs. While on the other hand, I was busy stretching my loose skin. I can stretch it from here to there. For me it was impossible to have a six pack. It was driving me crazy. But I soon realized that I wasn’t alone. There were many people online experiencing the same thing as me. One suggested wrapping yourself in cling film. I tried it. And all that happened, is that I felt like a luncheon wrap Why would someone do this? This is stupid In one of the videos on YouTube, a young man was talking about his loose skin, And in the the comments section below someone wrote: “Bro, never be ashamed of your loose skin, these are scars of war “ I shouldn’t be embarrassed by them or my body Whatever it looks like or which size it is At the end of the day, it’s the only thing that accompanies me since the moment I was born, till the moment I will die And I should accept it, take care of it, and love it I am Mohamed Shalaby I lost 51 Kilos Why 51 and not 50? Because one kilo is worth one week of my life, a week’s worth of daily struggles and choices. I lost 51 kilos and now I know It is not merely a number on the scales
or how I look in front of the mirror It is about my physical & psychological well being and that I am finally the one who owns my own life.