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  • Writer's pictureDora Hrkač

The only way I can lose weight is if I fall in love

True story. And it’s been quite a while since the last time I was in love – actually.

I am one of the biggest gourmands that walked this planet, and even my father often said it’s easier to dress than feed me.

Of course, everything was much easier when I was in my twenties, and my metabolism was on point. I could eat whatever I wanted, and even if I gained some extra weight, I could quickly lose it in the gym and a few hard-core training sessions.

But I do have to admit that I always tended to end up being “oversized”, and I have struggled with counting calories since my first bite. There were days when I thought I would gain a few pounds only by thinking about the food.  

Still, the only time I didn’t have an appetite was literally if I fell in love. Not only did I have butterflies in my stomach, but I had the entire zoo, and suddenly, I wasn’t feeling hungry at all.

Dating always stressed me, especially if it involved someone I considered a “great catch.” Unfortunately, the great part usually turned out to be only the idea I had in mind and the potential I saw in that person, not the actual scenario.

Well, this story isn’t about dating, so let’s move on. However, I do have to point out that the dating scene is more challenging than ever!

I thrive on challenges, and the same rule applies in all aspects of my life, but somehow, I always managed to fail when it came to losing weight and controlling my cravings.

As I got older, my metabolism started to turn the clock backwards like everyone else's, I suppose. I had the reality check and had to face the fact that I am getting older, which means I can’t keep on thinking that what I managed to do when I was 25 will simply be manageable now when I am 38 years old.

The last time I felt the best in my body was back in 2011 when I had those beautiful 25.

And guess what? I was in love! Truly, madly, deeply, so it was, of course, destined to fail, as all my other “Grande amor” fairytales. Only the heartbreak cost me losing not only the pieces of my heart but also around -11kg. I will never forget those days because the whole thing finally ended on my Graduation Day when he didn’t show up at one of the most important events in my life.

Throughout that relationship, my stomach got stuck in my nose, and even when I ate, the stress would dissolve all food before taking it into “the storage”. On a positive note, my mother always used to say that I have a great “storage crew” inside my body, so the fat is always distributed equally to the best parts. :)

I was never a skinny girl, nor did I want to become one. I was always satisfied with my appearance, including the curves, but those days, I had 60kg and never looked or felt better.

The years passed, the heartache was gone, and real life kicked in in 2011, which also marks the year I entered proper adulthood and started my career.

That also meant long hours behind a desk, ordering food, and engaging in similar poor life habits many people face today. The pounds began to accumulate, spelt disaster for my waistline, and the scale continued to climb despite my attempts to stay active.

What saved me back then was walking to my office and walking everywhere, as a matter of fact, even in my high heels. It turns out I would end up taking approximately 10,000 steps each day.

Shway, shway, I turned 30, and that’s when I really felt THAT CLOCK.

Did I start to “behave”? No. I was still eating carbs—I was always addicted to sugar and sweets anyway—and training far less than I used to. I also noticed a lack of energy and strength, turning me into a proper couch potato.  

I didn’t change a thing in my terrible life routine, but somehow, I managed to maintain almost the same weight. +/- depending on the winter or summer season.

Diets never worked for me because discipline and I don’t go together in the same sentence.

Once I moved to the UAE, I was “saved” by a 1.5-kilometre-long beach around the Hilton Resort in RAK, where I used to work. So, constantly running around the property was my best daily cardio.

The COVID-19 era was my best diet because even though we were all stuck at home, the stress just ate me alive.

Finally, in 2021 I came back to Dubai with around 73 kg, and it seemed I should lose some weight. When I see those pictures, I would give anything to return to that shape.

By the end of 2023, I gained over 10kg and never felt worse in my own skin.
It reflected not only on my wardrobe but also on my confidence.

It was the first time in my life that I was embarrassed to go to the beach. Even when I would go on dates, I would feel super insecure, and always thinking how it didn’t go well in the end because I am – FAT.

I am not a fan of guys who spend all their (free) time in the gym. I support an active lifestyle and sports, but working only on your 6 packs is not my cup of tea. But I can’t blame them if they see me as chubby or lazy for the same reason, although there's another huge muscle inside our head, that I try to pump up even when I sleep... 

My ideal scenario would be to find someone who encourages me to be more active, but there is no chance for romance if he starts counting my bites. In that case, Habibi, yalla, bye!

Don’t get me wrong; Even when I reached 84 kg, I didn’t see myself as fat but fluffy. :)

I love chubby people. Chunky. Even those words sound cute, don’t you think? I am also attracted to people who are more rounded than slim, so I guess I was living in denial, thinking somebody sees me the same way, and even though I was slowly turning into Michelin's mascot, I thought they would still find me attractive.  

I always cared about my appearance, and I thought I was fine as long as I fit into my clothes. When I didn't, I blamed the washing machine and dryers.

I didn’t get fat, my clothes shrank!

The main problem was that I was feeling like an 84-year-old grandma!

Jokes aside, it wasn’t funny at all when I finally received the WAKE-UP CALL and ended up in a hospital last year.

This was the first time I saw my doctor with a grave face. After reading my test results, he warned me if I didn’t make some changes – straight away, I would end up with diabetes. It was a stark reminder that I could no longer ignore the consequences of my neglect.

He told me to be gentle with myself. He knew about the private struggles I was going through, so he suggested I start with baby steps. He gave me the best possible advice— when you don’t feel like doing anything or working out, just go to the pool. Most of the buildings in Dubai have gyms and pools, so use them rather than finding excuses why you can’t or don’t have time! Even if you don’t feel like swimming, just walk.

The most important thing was to start—MOVING.

Apparently, my “battery” was not even low, but I was about to die.

Most of my days looked the same – I woke up, sat in the car, and drove to work. I again sat at my desk. I walked only when I would go for my lunch break and tried to find a place to eat. I, again, sat back in my car and drove back home. Voila, finally – my bed and Deliveroo on a speed dial. Deserts included – always.

Yes, I was stress-eating, and sometimes, even if I wasn’t feeling hungry or craving sugar at all, I would still order it and eat it as a weird combo of punishing my body but “rewarding” my sadness.

As I write all this, I am thankful I didn’t end up with 100 kg.

That’s how bad it was, and no #batatawalk would save me.

All this time, there was no man on the horizon with whom I could potentially fall in love and lose some weight, as I used to. Even if he did show up, butterflies could exist, but so would my appetite.

As I approach my 40s, I finally realise that there are no longer and shouldn’t be quick fixes to achieving a healthy lifestyle. But with so many hormonal changes women my age face daily, trust me, the struggle is real.

We can try to mask it with aesthetic procedures, makeup, nice clothes and accessories, or even Photoshop, but in the end, no instant solution will produce long-term results.

Despite how much I care about my looks, nowadays, it’s far more important that my blood tests look “pretty” as well, especially knowing I have such a fragile immune system.

But here’s a BREAKING NEWS: A healthy lifestyle doesn’t come overnight. It’s a process that, like any other great thing in your life, requires – dedication, discipline, motivation and consistency.

So, I guess I am back to square one. Shame on me!

Of course, I understand it’s easy in theory but incredibly hard in practice.

But that’s when MOTIVATION comes into the picture, at least to help you set your goals.

Finding it is probably the most challenging part, but it’s the fuel that will drive you through that (weight-loss) journey.

It is also probably the most critical factor in this “get back into shape” equation. I found mine in old photos that made me feel nostalgic, not only about how I used to look but how I used to feel, and I felt fabulous.

Also, don’t forget to surround yourself with people who will support you. This means that once you say, “Sorry, I am not drinking or eating this or that,” they won’t say, “Oh, come on, just one for the road,” or “Yalla, it’s so tasty, you have to try it.”


They need to understand that saying no to such TEMPTATIONS is a mental challenge more than anything else, especially if you are a foodie like I am.

Old habits die hard, and I am living proof of that. It’s tough to change your lifestyle when your own life is a mess and when the number on the scale is the last thing you have on your mind to deal with.

Trust me; I get it. I was there.

But then, I finally fell in love…

This time, with myself.

For the last couple of weeks, I have decided to prioritise self-care and well-being. With the guidance of experts at Cosmesurge Clinic in Dubai, I embarked on a transformative journey that promised not only physical change but also a renewed mindset and approach to a healthier lifestyle.

Stay tuned for my next article to find out how I lost 4 kg in less than 3 weeks and how, thanks to Dr Samir Rahmani, and the entire weight-loss team, I tend to lose 10 more in the next 2 months.

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