The body image-inspired short film, 51 Kilos, tells the story of a weight loss journey through the eyes of an Egyptian filmmaker’s health struggles and his outcomes. Shutting himself off from the outside world, depression led Mohamed Shalaby to fast-food drive-throughs for comfort. He lacked support and the influence to lead an active lifestyle.
One cheeseburger at a time, Mohamed became obese and unhealthy, mentally and physically. That set him off on a life-changing on-camera journey, highlighting his post-weight loss skin and stretch marks. Documenting his life story, with raw footage of shameless courage. He told Egyptian Streets that his goal is telling people they’re not alone and that they can change their habits and life.
Shalaby’s journey reflects the deadly epidemic of obesity in the Middle East, especially amongst young adults. Growing up in the Gulf, a teen like Mohamed is surrounded by more McDonald’s outlets than public parks. Not to neglect the humid weather, an uninviting atmosphere even for a simple jog. With every outing revolving around food, people are investing their time in excess calories and emotional eating. Entering a healthy cycle of high-fat diets and unrealistic expectations.
The bare all attitude of the film and confidence Mohamed reflects is the body image support we need in the Middle East. From saran wrapping his excess belly skin to web surfing ways to tuck the loose skin. Now, the once obese man shares his skin deep stretch marks as warrior scars of a life-changing, empowering battle.
Unashamed, unapologetic, and brave, Mohamed presents his body to the world. Far from a six pack and buff guns, the positive images send realistic body images of tragic weight loss people are often too embarrassed by. Overseeing his flaws, his documentary shows how he learned to love his body and step out of the depressive mindset. Explaining he only has one body he’s born with and his focus is treating his temple in a healthier manner more cautiously. The film is a hit rapidly growing with views, sending a needed uplifting message to young adults in the region.