Father and son Misbah and Mahfuz attended and completed the first Body Benefits programme at Whitley Bay Islamic Cultural Centre at the start of 2022.

Each of them had different lifestyles and routines; Misbah is 52 years young and his son Mahfuz is 26. Misbah is the owner of a popular Indian takeaway business and manages the day to day running of the mosque whilst his son leads the technology aspect of things at the mosque whilst also working full time as a software engineer.

Misbah had never exercised or been in a gym as he never considered it important and wasn’t concerned about a healthy diet. Misbah explains: “My wife makes such lovely food for us, you just can’t resist trying the four or five different dishes she serves for our family meal.”

Mahfuz did attend the gym before the programme, but it was sporadic rather than consistent. He said of his diet: “I didn’t follow a healthy diet, probably out of laziness, with fried chicken from the takeaway a regular feature. I had no real idea of how to eat healthy or how much to eat.” 

Misbah wasn’t overly keen on signing up to the Body Benefits programme due to his busy lifestyle and having to commit to the time to be involved each week, whereas Mahfuz was excited about learning more.

They each got different things from the experience.

The nutrition sessions were eye-opening for Misbah and they helped him and his wife (who attended the female programme too) improve their knowledge and make small changes that made a big difference.

He explains: “We use smaller plates when sitting down to eat as a family which helps with our portions, all our food is now cooked in an air fryer instead of in a pan, and we have reduced the fatty and sugary snacks in the house – even one less samosa makes a difference.”

When food shopping, the pair now know what the traffic light system means on packaging, so blue top milk has been happily swapped for green top!

When it comes to physical activity, husband and wife now enjoy more frequent weekly walks lasting 90 minutes.

Misbah said: “I really enjoyed taking the time out of my week to listen, learn and digest the information provided and I also enjoyed that it was a group and I was amongst friends. My six month goal is to do more exercise and become healthier generally by eating more nutritious food.”

Mahfuz was surprised how much he learned on the course as had not realised the negative health implications that making the wrong food choices could have, especially around sugars and fats. Mahfuz’s wife also attended the female Body Benefits session and having the whole family on board was encouraging as everyone in the household was making changes and it helped them to stay motivated.

“I enjoyed learning about different types of exercise like boxercise and HIIT workouts and my six month goal is to continue to regularly exercise. I felt good at the end of the 12 weeks, but sad that it was finished,” said Mahfuz.

Between the two husband and wife teams, from different generations, but with very similar eating habits they have all managed to improve their wellbeing and lose weight. All of them intend to carry on with the changes and are looking forward to joining the weekly exercise classes at Whitley Bay Islamic Cultural Centre to keep up their good work.

A new Body Benefits programme is starting at the Islamic Centre on Tuesday 7 June 2022, more details can be found here.