Provides hope and a path to recovery from food disorders through a 4-stage program that will transform your relationship with food and help you gain back your health and happiness.
The goal of the program “The Way to Wellness” is to help you make gradual, simple, and pleasurable changes to your habits and behaviors around food that will result in a healthy weight that you can maintain for the rest of your life.
Our individualized program is based on the founder’s very own recovery journey coupled with the latest behavioral science of food disorders and food addiction which adopts a wellness of the body and mind approach that is designed to help you achieve and maintain your healthy weight for life.
We understand that every person is unique and have developed a proven solution to help anyone improve their health and change their life
Aglon The Fat
The name “Aglon”, stems from founder, Sachir Ajlouni ‘s last name, as well as from the historic tale of King Aglon the fat, former ruler of Ajloun, an independent area of the historic Trans Jordan, later becoming part of the independent country of Jordan as it stands today.
Aglon was known as the fat King, and comically, Sachir believed that his personal struggle with food began well before his time in his great forefathers’ time travelling all the way back to the fat King Aglon.
MEET THE FOUNDER
An engineer turned business executive. Also, a food addict. Struggled with weight and food related issues for over 30 years. Has over that time lost and gained a total of 1000 pounds. For the last nine years, has been in stable recovery, during which he has helped thousands of individuals struggling with food addiction, food disorders, and weight matters. Joined Acorn’s Recovery Professional Training Program (2014), and got certified as a food addiction professional in 2018. Recently launched Aglon Recovery providing HOPE & a PATH to RECOVERY from food addiction and other food related disorders to those in need mainly in the MENA region.
The Path to Wellness, his personalized 4-stage program currently offered by Aglon Recovery, was developed over a 5-year span to fit middle eastern culture with its specific beliefs and idiosyncrasies. The program which proved effective and successful adopts a wellness of the body and mind approach that is based on the latest behavioral science and food addiction treatment methods as well as on Sachir’s very own recovery Journey. It promises participants recovery from food obsession, and the maintenance of a healthy weight for life.
“Hi. I am Sachir, and here is my story…”
It was one of those perfect days in late spring. The sun was beaming in a bright blue sky and a cool breeze grazed us with a light touch from time to time, ensuring that it would not get too hot. All you heard was the gentle whispering of the leaves, the happy chirping of the birds and the sound of joy and laughter from our kids who were having the time of their lives in and around the pool. I was in my element: three grills were fired up in front of me , my friends and family who were in eager anticipation of what culinary delight I had in store for them today. I loved preparing food for everybody and being creative and working hard to put together an incredible spread made my day complete. All the dishes I had prepared worked out wonderfully, each spice was exactly right, each combination opened new horizons and when I served food plentifully and beautifully prepared my guests were not surprised but were nonetheless in utter awe. We all sat down and enjoyed our meal accompanied by great conversation and lots of laughter. By then, I was in my early 40s, a happy husband, a proud father and a successful professional. Life was good.
But under the surface, it was not good at all. I weighed 2007 Kg., took 14 pills a day, and had developed bulimia and a dependency on laxatives, compulsive exercising and a whole band of food disorders. Nobody suspected.
the torment that was hiding behind my smiling face, but my 32-year long war with food and weight had exhausted me, frustrated me, and worn me down. I had learned to pretend that all this was fine with me and that I am content with myself, but deep inside it was a different story. After all my battles, I tried to surrender to find some peace of mind. I tried to convince myself that there is no solution other than to accept my weight and my obsession with food and to live with the physical and emotional anguish and confusion that came with it. There was still the ubiquitous pain nagging inside of me to try again, to change, but it had become quieter because I had trained myself for years to ignore it. I was in complete denial and had reached the desperate point of rationalizing that it is perfectly okay to die 10 or more years before my time. I was convinced that I had tried it all and that there was no hope for me, and my life-story spoke for itself. I did not know yet that I was powerless.
Looking back, I believe I was a food addict since my early teenage years, maybe even earlier. At first, I was just enjoying food, like everybody else, but after a while the pleasure and the cravings became more extreme and more compulsive.
However, since I was athletic and active, I was able to maintain a healthy weight and did not realize that there was a problem until my senior year at school. The last year of high school in my country is extremely demanding and exceptionally stressful. Usually, seniors literally do not do anything but go to school in the morning and study the rest of the day and the better part of the night. Life stops and all that remain are stress, fear, and the pressure to do well because your whole life depends on those grades. Culturally, food is synonymous with love, care, and affection and, like any other of my friends’ mothers, mine also lavished me with treats and favorite meals to alleviate my suffering. I found comfort and relief in food but soon the normal sized portions became insufficient. I needed more to keep the same level of happiness. The results at the end of that year were formidable: excellent grades – but an extra 25 kg. in only eight months. I weighed 105 kg and my waistline had increased by 6 inches! I realized that there was a problem and my war against the weight officially began.
I was athletic, competitive, and strong-willed and I was able to lose the weight quickly and successfully. But then the weight came back. So, I lost it again, and again and again and again…. The problem was not sticking to the diet and losing the weight. It was keeping it off permanently when not on the diet. I quickly entered a vicious cycle of completing a diet and achieving a desirable weight only to gain it all back, and then some. I often felt like Sisyphus, pushing my huge boulder of fat up the hill, only to watch it roll over me and smother me the minute I thought I was home free. Like with Sisyphus, there was nothing more dreadful than futile and hopeless labor, and the more times I tried and failed the less motivated I became to try again. My frustration with myself grew exponentially and so did my depression, which consolidated my dependency on the only potent painkiller I knew: Food.
For over 30 years I have lost and gained over 500 Kg. I relentlessly tried everything possible to lose weight and keep it off. I have been on hundreds of different diets, took diet pills and supplements, tried acupuncture and voodoo, and spent countless hours at the gym. The more futile my attempts became the more desperate the measures grew. When I realized that diets did not seem to be the solution, I had my jaw wired shut to make it impossible to consume solid food. The first month was a great success and only taking in liquids resulted in losing 25 Kg. However, the cravings were stronger than my happiness about the enormous weight loss. My raging mental hunger led me to be creative, and I started blending simple vegetables and meat. Yet, that did not satisfy me and after a week I was blending burgers and fried chicken. When blending was not satisfying enough, I learned how to untie the wires on my jaw, eat any food I desired and then go through great lengths to retie them in a way nobody would notice. I was worried that my father would notice, or the dentist or my friends which would have embarrassed me. But, deep inside, I was already ashamed of myself and riddled with self-contempt. Who was I fooling? I was very much aware that these were not the actions of a sane man, yet I was powerless to drive against my cravings.
The rollercoaster of losing and gaining weight continued for decades, wearing me down, hollowing me out and taking a toll on my emotional health. In 1999 I reached new threatening high of 207 Kg.
My health was deteriorating rapidly and although strong and athletic, my legs could barely carry me. I suffered from hypertension, gout, high cholesterol, High triglyceride and sleep apnea and was on the verge of becoming a diabetic. I was 5 Kg. away from dying. Extreme measures had to be taken, and quickly, so I decided to undergo gastric bypass surgery.
Considering my weight, the surgery was very risky, including complications when administering general anesthesia and risks to the respiratory and cardiovascular system. The pre-surgery talk with the doctors terrified me and, like a small child, I just wanted to run away and hide. A million thoughts were running through my head, tormenting me, and making my brain want to explode. I was thinking of my children and how I wanted to see them grow up, my wife, my parents, my whole life that I still wanted to live…. But I was trapped, and I knew it. There was no other way: yes, the surgery was dangerous but if I did not do it, my weight would most certainly kill me. I had reached a dead end and there was only utter bleakness and desperation.
As expected, the surgery was complicated and difficult. I had to have both general anesthesia and an epidural, which has left long lasting side effects. The procedure also took much longer than anticipated during my heart has stopped twice. Due to the extended time under sedation, it took me almost two full days to properly wake up and I had to spend two weeks in the CCU. I was happy I was alive but watching my family suffer and worry about my health made me vow to make it work this time. I never wanted to subject any of my loved ones to so much pain again and it was agonizing to be the reason for their tears.
I immediately started to lose weight – after all there was not much you can fit into a 35 ML stomach! Within 2 years I had lost over 90 Kg. and physically I was feeling much better. My blood pressure had gone down, I could sleep much better and moving around was a pleasure rather than a burden again. However, mentally, my relationship with food still had not changed. I still experienced the same anguish and obsession with food and still found it hard to stop eating. The realization made me furious and resentful. It depressed me more than ever that after all I had gone through, I was still desperately helpless and powerless over food and eating.
However, the anguish continued. I hated myself for being so weak but simultaneously I was searching for ways to satisfy my raging cravings. This time, the solution was simple and very convenient. Since I could not eat big quantities in a single sitting anymore, I resorted to eating constantly. I became a grazer and slowly but steadily began to regain the weight I had lost this is the time that my food addiction accelerated and progressed.
Back it was on the battlefield again, trying out diets, losing weight, gaining weight, caught in the sticky web of being obsessed with food, struggling to finally break free and be in control. I grasped that I was powerless over food, that I could not stop eating and I loathed myself for that. Yet, I always believed that I could gain control by incarcerating the cravings into strict diet plans and that it was normal to sometimes lose control. Therefore, the cycle of diets and bingeing continued and with every failure I spiraled deeper and deeper into feeling despicable and humiliated.
But, by nature, I am a happy person. I love and enjoy life and I suffered from feeling so miserable. This was the point where I gave up. I tried to convince myself that I had tried everything I could, that it was just not in my hand to be thin and that I should just not attempt to lose weight anymore. I was not utterly convinced of course, and my thoughts would still perpetually revolve around the same two topics: wanting food but craving to control it.
The first step to salvation happened at a Christmas dinner. I was full of joy at the prospect of a beautiful evening, enjoying an endless feast of delicacies when two friends walked in and I hardly recognized them. They had lost around 25 Kg. and looked amazing. I was mesmerized by how relaxed and content they seemed, how healthy they looked and how happy they were. They eagerly told me about a new workshop that had changed their lives, encouraging me to participate as well. Yet, I only pretended to listen out of politeness and respect. In my mind I was convinced that nothing could save me.
My wife was extremely worried about me. She watched me not only almost kill myself with food but also noticed huge changes in my personality. Rather than being my happy and mellow self, I was constantly irritable and short-tempered. Any family plans were no longer made around what would make the kids happy, but always depended on food being included and to my liking. She had done everything to support me in all my diet endeavors and every failure was as painful to her as it was for me. For the first time in decades, she had hope and she was determined to defeat my pessimism and stubbornness and to give me hope as well.
Three months later, I attended the three-day workshop my friends recommended. The lady, who conducted the workshop, a food addiction survivor herself, and the first person to shed light on addiction as a food disorder in Jordan, was sharing her personal life-long struggle with weight and how taking part in ACORN’s Food addiction recovery program, has finally saved her life. All the participants had to share their stories and every story they told was like watching a movie about my life. And for the first time ever I learned that there was something called food addiction and compulsive overeating. It was a total revelation, and I was deeply intrigued by all that I learned. So much that I immediately felt uplifted, hopeful, and optimistic; emotions that I had thought had long ceased to exist.
Feeling the need to learn as much as I could about the subject, I traveled to Bradenton, Florida, to take my first intensive workshop with Phil and Mary. Realizing and admitting that I was a food addict and understanding that I was powerless filled me with strength and determination to finally walk on the right road to recovery. I was lucky to have 10 other people in my group and sharing our pain and problems with no hesitation enriched this experience. I have since then been back several times to strengthen my recovery and to acquire more knowledge from Phil and Mary, who were paramount in making me acknowledge I had a problem and who played a significant role in my recovery.
I have been Recovered for over 8 years now and I have never felt better. Not only have I lost over 90 Kg, but I also lost my fear, hate and anger.
No longer do I go through agonizing cycles of self-loathing, resentment, un-controllable cravings, and over-whelming obsession with food. I have finally found peace of mind, tranquility, and an equilibrium, and rather than gaining weight, I am now finally free to gain new experiences and to make new memories.
Meet Mona, CO-Founder
Mona, a former marketing executive, and a food addict. Struggled with weight and food related issues for over 20 years. Has been in stable recovery since the fall of 2016. Supported her own recovery by helping others struggling with food dependencies and weight matters under the supervision of mentor Sachir Ajlouni. Mona recently got certified as a Food Addiction Professional under the European board for food addiction, and co-founded Aglon Recovery, a recovery center that provides solutions, hope and a path to recovery from eating disorders mainly in the SWANA region. Currently serving as a member on the FAI Board of Directors.
My Strugle with Food & Weight
For most of my life, I was convinced that my weight problem was my responsibility, and that I could handle it on my own if I just put my mind to it. I was after all a strong-willed person who was not going to let something like a mere weight problem turn me into a victim.
My tools were simple: dieting and exercising, and I used and abused both to the tilt. Yes, I was mostly able to lose the weight I gained, but I would also always gain it all back with some extra and would need to work at losing it again and again. It was a cycle of two size up one size down for me. All dieting and exercising did at the time was to mask the symptoms of my real problem, never solving it from the roots. Yes, it looked to me and to others like I was somehow one way or another in control, but I now know that I was anything but. I was stuck in a vicious cycle and I only realized it when I was ill and in treatment for stage 4 breast cancer and could neither diet nor exercise. The weight then started to pile up and I had no tools to combat it other than my willpower which proved to be weak, and in most instances non-existent.
To be honest, being a serial dieter and restrictor for most of my life, I must say that dieting for me was never about eating right or eating less, it was always about punishing myself for my self-perceived shortcomings by NOT EATING. Mostly living on little food, with a free day from my diet occasionally usually when I would be feeling tired, down, anxious, overwhelmed, and cannot possibly win a battle with myself to not eat, or when I did something good and wanted to reward myself. I lived my life being either on a high or a low never a happy medium, and food was my chosen instrument of torture/reward, exercise my preferred tool of reprieve, and the scale/people’s opinions my judge and jury.
Looking back now I realize it was a crazy cycle; a crazy existence; I was no doubt a slave to my highs and lows; they controlled me, and they were the result of external influences!!! During all this I really had no hope to find out who I was or how to help myself get better. But being me “never a quitter”, it would maybe have taken my whole life before I would have given up on trying. I think that in my case my Cancer saved me from myself, because to live on I had no way but to change my old ways. Eating right was a major challenge for someone like me. In the old days, months could pass by, and I would not have eaten any vegetables or fruits. I Loved food, but the wrong kind, and knew always that if I let myself, I would abuse it. I have after all, many incidents of powerlessness over food as proof. Still, getting myself to eat everything on the food plan without feeling guilty or getting into battle with myself about it was a miracle for me. The more time I spent on the plan, the easier I felt about it and the more I trusted what it is doing for me. I understood as time went by that it was a mere tool in the grand scheme of things meant to neutralize that toxified mind of mine and give me or allow me a reprieve from all the turmoil going on in my brain so I can begin to see, feel, and understand what s happening to me and around me, and to respond rather than react as needed.
That is why now for me this clean system I am on, and which got me in recovery will always come first. If it weren’t for my physical abstinence I would not have had the clarity, will, or inclination to do the other tools ( go to meetings, read, write, meditate, breath, etc.) that helped me understand my serious problem with food, convinced me that the answers I was looking for will only come from within, and thus had me dig inside, become aware of my feelings, connect with them, feel them, live them, and begin to heal in the process. I would also not have had the mindset to believe in recovery, in the possibility that I could one day identify negative thoughts and normalize them instead of having them blow out of proportion and adversely affect the quality of my life, my happiness, and my health.
Being on this clean system of eating day in day out has given me back my life. Whilst before, I used food to cope with worry, anxiety, fear, stress, pain, boredom, and loneliness. In recovery, I have come to know and experience a new way of life. I am now where I want to be, happy, thankful, hopeful, and grateful.
Since losing 25 kg (around 55 pounds) 4 years ago and maintaining that weight loss until today, my life has completely changed. While before all I cared about was to become skinny by any means available regardless of any long-term harm caused to myself; I now have a good looking and healthy body, a clear and calm mind, and a free and loving spirit. What more could I ask for?
Mona Y. Obaid