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Dropping Pounds: Al Badsha, Huntington Station

Before and after photos show Al Badsha, 31,

Before and after photos show Al Badsha, 31, of Huntington Station, in 2013, weighing about 190 lbs., left, and in June 2015, right, after losing more than 30 lbs. through Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and diet changes. Credit: Rachel Avolese/ Newsday-Thomas A. Ferrara

Name Al Badsha

Age 31

Community Huntington Station

Occupation Information technology analyst

Height 5-foot-7

Before Weight 190 August 2013

After Weight 157 June 2015

His Story

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Badsha said he knew he had some bad eating habits. He drank canned soda daily and liked sweets; candy, in particular. But he also didn't like the way he was looking in photos. He began hearing in the news about the downside of sugary soda. "I was looking for something easy and immediate that would make a difference," Badsha said. He gave up soda and replaced it with water.

Around the same time Badsha became interested in Brazilian jiujitsu after reading about famous martial arts fighters from Long Island. Brazilian jiujitsu is a combat sport that uses leverage and specific techniques to gain position advantages.

"This sport relies heavily on technique. If you're heavy, you can't move as fast and you lose your breath faster," Badsha said. He started attending training sessions at Serra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Huntington.

"It's also about having fun and forgetting that you're actually working toward physical fitness," he said. Badsha also said that once he started getting in better physical shape and better in the art, he became more confident. He lost 35 pounds in 12 months.

His Diet

Breakfast meals alternate between Trader Joe's dry cereal with low-fat milk and Dannon Light and Fit vanilla yogurt with fresh strawberries and Nature Valley Granola. Lunch usually includes one of Badsha's favorites -- roasted chick peas -- and grilled chicken with a small salad. Dinner can be grilled chicken or sliced roasted turkey (he said avoiding cold cuts keeps his salt intake in check) with a steamed vegetable.

"I keep it very simple," he said. "I throw one of those microwave-ready bags of spinach or broccoli into the microwave." He generally doesn't snack but will occasionally have hummus and baby carrots.

His Exercise

Badsha makes sure he participates in three or four one-hour Brazilian jiujitsu classes a week. Each class is 30 minutes of instruction from a teacher and 30 minutes of live training with a partner.

His Advice

"Look at things that you can change right now . . . what can you take out of your diet right now? And think of the 21-day rule: If you can do something for 21 days, it becomes habit."

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