Striking the right chord with keto – The Star Online

PETALING JAYA: It seemed an uphill task, but overweight musician Muhammad Helmi Shahuddin kept at overhauling his lifestyle and following a strict diet plan.

The result of his perseverance – losing over 50kg and bidding adieu to diabetes and high blood pressure.

Having struggled with his weight for most of his life, the 33-year-old revealed that it was not until two years ago that he decided to turn his life around and reduce his over 120kg frame.

He adopted the keto diet and the one meal a day (OMAD) plan, a form of intermittent fasting stretching 22 hours daily with just a small window to eat.

Also known as the ketogenic diet, it involves a low-carb, high fat eating plan that drives the body into a state of ketosis, whereby the body uses fat as a primary fuel source instead of carbohydrates.

“It started when I met a friend who lost a lot of weight and I asked what was his secret.

“He told me about a weight loss expert called Dr Eric Berg who has these Youtube videos, which I started to look up, ” said Helmi.

After watching the videos, the guitarist was inspired to embark on his weight loss transformation.

“I started to diet during Ramadan in 2018. I would only drink plain water for sahur (pre-dawn meal) then break fast by eating two pieces of beef patties, three eggs and some salad.

“Ever since then, I’ve been following the keto diet by eating high fats but no sugar and no carbs, ” said Helmi, who lives in Subang Jaya with his wife Yazrin Azrina Yunus, 33.

Following this, Helmi dropped to a much healthier weight, recording 71kg at his lowest.

When Helmi went to see his doctor, Dr Ng Siew Nee six months after his weight loss, she was impressed.

“Last month, I was cleared of diabetes, high blood pressure and dirty urine, ” said Helmi, who now weighs 77kg, with muscles to show.

“I go to the gym about three times a week and have started to take some carbs to build up muscles.”

These days, Helmi’s menu includes five eggs daily plus beef or chicken breast and some vegetables. He also regularly fasts for 22 hours a day.

“When I was trying to lose weight, I would fast for 16 to 17 hours only. But now I’m used to a 22-hour fast.

“I eat only once a day at 2pm. My body is used to it, ” he said.

Since losing weight, Helmi said he was now more confident and energetic when performing onstage.

“I’ve always been heavy. When I was 15, I weighed about 80kg.

“People would make fun of me. People treat me differently now, ” said Helmi, who mostly performs in concerts and TV programmes.

He just finished a gig as a guitarist for Ramli Sarip and Ella at Istana Budaya and played in the house band for TV show Gegar Vaganza and Mentor Milenia.

Helmi, who has a music degree from UiTM Shah Alam, credited Dr Ng for motivating him to lose weight, saying: “She is a one-in-a million doctor who is an excellent motivator.

“My wife is also very proud of me that I managed to lose weight and become a healthier person.”

Dr Ng said after seeing Helmi’s successful weight loss, she too began fasting and taking on a low-carb diet and shared it with her patients.

“As it’s not yet very popular among mainstream medicine practitioners, I’m trying my best to share it. Hopefully, more people will benefit, ” she said.