Clinical Dietitian and Specialised Nutritionist Dana Al Hamwi talks exclusively to A&E Magazine about the hard work that goes into wellbeing, and exactly how she helps people in the region change their lives through food.
Clinical Dietitian Dana Al Hamwi and Specialised Nutritionist is changing the lives of people in the region by creating healthy and sustainable lifestyle and eating plans. Al Hamwi received her Doctorate in Medicine and earned a Master’s degree specialising in Human Nutrition. She studied and worked in the UK before decided to set up her own practice in the UAE.
You only need to take a look at Al Hamwi’s Instagram account to appreciate the stories of success she has achieved with her patients. Whether it’s weight loss, fitness or just a generally healthier lifestyle her patients are looking for, Al Hamwi tailor-makes a nutritional solution the will suit the individual lives of each and every one of her clients. This can include anything from helping those who have intolerances to certain foods to assisting those that are addicted to junk food to work it into their diet in a much healthier way.
Al Hamwi believes that her approach to dieting and nutrition is so successful because of her medical background. As a qualified doctor, she offers solutions that are scientifically proven to work and are a safe and approachable alternative from FAD and crash diets. Here we discuss the secrets to her success and what it is clients are looking for when they come to visit her.
What are the common problems you see at your clinic?
People that come to me want to lose weight quickly in a very short period of time without losing the opportunity of attending every buffet invitation, so it’s a very big struggle! However, I can help them with this because I customise diets for each individual patient.
Depending on your lifestyle, eating habits, work schedule, and taking into consideration that you are going to social events. This way I can manage the plan and I can give the patient hints on how to act if they are going out for dinner for example. I help them with healthy recipes for modern food even with fast food. Some people will come to me and have a customised diet with pizza and burgers which is more attractive, it’s a lifestyle so you have to enjoy it, it’s not something you do for a specific period of time.
What are the secrets to maintaining your diet goals?
The secret is, first of all, a food diary. Writing down everything you eat helps to control your eating habits. Some clients will come to me and say “I don’t want to write, I’m too lazy” so I create a mobile application in which they can take a picture of whatever they eat and then I can see and follow their food diary and maybe observe them and give my tips.
It’s not an easy mission, but if you get used to a healthy lifestyle, you eat everything, you are watching your portions, you are moving like regular physical activities and you’re sleeping well, it will help big time.
What do you consider your biggest career success to date?
My biggest success is that I’m hearing my name everywhere. Everywhere I go – social events, even in my home country. Yesterday I met a patient who told me about an experience she has at The Four Seasons Hotel. She said that I the chef there lost 35kg with me. I have online patients. I’m so proud, I’m so happy and what makes me maybe more specific than other dietitians is that I’m a medical doctor so people come to me because I am into clinic mode.
What has been the biggest challenge?
There was a big challenge in my work. Just after I started my clinic here in Dubai I had a big accident and broke my leg so I had to stay in the wheelchair for three months and it was horrible. I had to meet my patients in a wheelchair showing the positivity, showing that I’m smiling and overcome my pain. This was the biggest challenge.
But nowadays when you have a goal and you believe in it, you can achieve it. I have so many challenges, every day but when you are believing in whatever you are doing and you are honest in doing it then you can overcome anything. And you know, competition is very high in GCC so if I don’t develop myself or study the market and see exactly my patients need, I will not be successful.
What’s is the motto you live by professionally?
Honesty and hard work, in my opinion, are the only keys to being successful.
Who has influenced you the most?
My dad. He was my number one and inspired me with his hard work and with his honesty, his risk-taking and his ambitions. So I learnt many things from him.
What do you still want to achieve?
Everybody dreams to achieve many things. Now my dream is that I want to see my clinic branch in every capital, I have the biggest wellness centre in the world that covers not only diet but stress management, meditation, exercise, all of these together.
If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Think carefully and plan before making any decision. And not to rely on the heart all the time, to be logical and realistic sometimes.
What would you tell yourself 10 years from now?
Slow down, calm down, stop putting stress on yourself and relax. Everything will happen for a reason. Keep going and don’t put stress on yourself.
Complete this sentence: I’m happy when…
My family and my team members are happy and healthy. Whenever I see my patients happy and satisfied with what they achieved I’m happy, and I’m also happy when I hear my name spreading in a positive way.
What do you say ‘no’ to?
Cheating and dishonesty are the worst things in my opinion.
What book are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading The Power of Positive Thinking. I like these kinds of books because they give me a way to think in a positive way and when you read these things it gives you a power specifically at work and even with your relations with people and patients.
How do you want the world to remember you?
Look, I’m an honest person and I have a big passion for my work and to my career, I think it will make people remember. As well adding to it the huge number of success stories now that I had achieved over a long period of time, I think it will help.