A dentist, a nutritionist and a gym freak. A combination of a man who’s hardly trying to pass on his knowledge to as many people as possible; starting from a Whatsapp group for a healthy lifestyle transformation tips, to a Facebook group called Healthkeeprs, that gained 11K members in less than a year! A group that is more of a family that supports and encourages each other, shares their tips, experiences, and healthy meals. And the mastermind behind all of this is, Khaled Dewan.
How did you come up with Healthkeepers?
The group was created in 12 Feb, 2017. But before Healthkeeprs, I was really passionate about nutrition and overall health so I used to make videos for people to watch that has general tips and free advice to be approachable and available for everyone. I realized that health is a mental state and not just about knowledge, it’s controlled by our psychological state. So it was not only about passing on the knowledge but for people to get to know how to deal with themselves and have a healthy mental state to have a healthy lifestyle. Healthkeepers is not just a good idea, because without trust it wouldn’t have happened or succeeded. First, I started by writing a status on Facebook, I wanted to do something different and new that would help people, and me as well, to be on track as I was getting off track a bit. I wrote that whoever is interested can join me in doing a whatsapp group to share our experiences and support each other. It was more of a group therapy and that is what I wanted to achieve. It ended up with 500 members, so I decided to make a Facebook group. Then suddenly I realized that people are more interested and excited than I thought. Passion was the main factor behind Healthkeepers’ success. I read a lot of books about psychology and this helped me a lot in how to deal with people, especially when it comes to health. I asked some of my friends who are into fitness and nutrition to start publishing homework s for the people in the group to do in the form of videos, and people started engaging, and a thing lead to another and the members started growing. The main aim was to share knowledge, live healthy, and support each other within rules, and to make living healthy enjoyable and sustainable.
Were you working at the same time when the group was launched?
I got an opportunity to work as a nutritionist in one of Alexandria’s most famous gyms, but it was really tiring and exhausting. I used to work for 9 to 11 hours and it was not really worth it. At the same time, Healthkeepers started to grow more and more and I got a feeling that I need to dedicate all my time for the sake of its success and for no return, I only want people to be more knowledgeable about health and nutrition. So I decided to leave the work. Some people thought that healthkeepers was a source of income but all I do is only for the sake of people with zero return. Period. The only return I got is that people started believing in me and that there’s someone whom they can turn to for help and guidance.
How do you manage to save Healthkeepers from failure?
Whenever I sense that there is a problem, I come up with a new idea to help move things a little bit, and this is the challenge. This homework thing started to fade and people’s excitement reached to the bottom. There were people who thought that this is it, and that the success of Healthkeepers has come to an end. But I was determined that I won’t let this happen. I wanted it to be more than just a group and create a family of people who are close in the way they think and live. I posted morning questions that had nothing to do with nutrition but it targeted one’s life. Its aim was for people to feel closely related to each other. Like, “What did you use to believe in when you were a child?” and everyone started to answer and participate, and this caused people to feel more cozy and comfortable towards each other in the group.
Did you ever think about closing Healthkeepers?
Healthkeepers was about to be closed a lot of times and for it to reach this success, it was made with blood, sweat and tears. In other words, immense efforts were exerted for it to be as it is now and I went through A LOT! I didn’t sleep and I spent night and day working on how to make this group different. People told me to accept anyone who wants to join the group but if this happened, it would have had 35,000 members or so and it would be a piece of shit. If I felt something’s wrong in the group, then people does too and I can’t let that happen. Things were starting to be a bit boring on the group, so I came up with something new. I posted a question, “Who wants to transform?” And holy shit, they were A LOT! There’s another admin in the group with me for one reason, that one day I was so close from closing the group but gladly a friend of mine helped in talking me out of it so I made her an admin as an appreciation for her support because she saved healthkeepers from falling apart.
What was the type of challenges that faced you?
Because of healthkeepers I had to be workless. I lived on a minimum supply of income in order for healthkeepers to succeed, so I had to manage by myself the whole thing. All of a sudden, a group of people turned against me and they took it all wrong had as they wanted other people to be in charge and not only me. Things went really off track and as a founder I only had a vision that I wanted to achieve and it’s hard for anyone to understand this. I realize that whatever I do, I can never please everyone, and honestly I had a breakdown and I was shocked when I found hundreds of people attacking me just because I said to try and cut off dairy and wheat products in the 6-week transformation challenge. Also, I felt responsible towards each member on this group and I decided that if anyone came near this family, I will eat him. This is my family and my home and if anything happened to this group, I’m gonna work on it. I also had to make a video listing some rules that people should stick to because I received a lot of complaints about people posting pictures of burgers and teasing other people and I said that whoever break the rules will be out of the group. Because, I can’t always be nice, sometimes I’m gonna have to be rude and strict. Yet the biggest challenge is to try to maintain its success and make it better and at the same time, have my own life and career.
What do you think was the thing you really succeeded in achieving after creating Healthkeepers?
I believe that what I succeeded in is that I brought out a very good side of people and this was my ultimate goal. And even though I’m the founder, I don’t think I did more than this; I worked on helping people to bring out the best in each other. I only showed them the path, and they continued it by themselves. Also, the idea of the 6-week transform challenge was a huge success. I urged people in the group to be positive and this helped in creating a community that’s ready to help, support, and guide each other for the better. Whenever I see people change for the better, I recharge my battery and I work on the group even more.
How did you come up with the idea of the 6-week transformation challenge and helped people be acknowledged about the right food portions and what and what not to eat?
Simply because I am a nutritionist, and I know that a lot of people might not have enough knowledge about nutrition. I wanted to create a simple, professional, and easy way to give people this knowledge and actually make them want to follow it, willingly not forcefully, and make people feel better about themselves just for the sake of it. And I also wanted to get rid of the “diet myth”: Rub3 beeda w 3 7abat 3enab *laughing*, all of this had to be transformed. I see a certain vision, I work on it and I do everything I can to achieve. Some people of course asked me where did you get this from and what you’re saying is not right, and when I ask them why I get this answer: “My dad is a doctor,” well, I’m a doctor and I say this is wrong. This kind of mentality brought with it a number of people with the same way of thinking for no apparent reason and it affected the group negatively so I had to remove them.
How did you manage to keep Healthkeepers maintain its success in Ramadan?
I thought that Healthkeepers would fall apart because it’s all about food. I had to come up with an idea, so I decided to make clans in different spots for running and there will be a head responsible for each clan. I was afraid mostly about “Corniche Clan” because a lot of people warned me that it’s not safe and girls would be harassed. I had a talk with the heads and made sure that they would be responsible for each and everyone’s safety. And gladly, I did not get any complaints from Corniche clan. And the biggest success from creating these clans is that they became a family; doing workouts together, sharing food, challenges and most importantly, support. When I witnessed this, I decided that I’m never gonna give up on this place, and this gave me a push to work more on it. I started the hashtag #eatforacause to help people in need. For every healthy meal posted on the group, you get to serve another human being, and this made people more excited about eating healthy.
What are your plans for Healthkeepers for the upcoming period ?
I will start the 6-week workout program along with the transformation challenge but this time all the clans will have part in it. They will gather for running, exercise and grocery shopping. It will be the same meals and I’ll stress more on #eatforacause. When people do this together, it will be more supportive and exciting. I don’t really know where healthkeepers is going, but I trust that we’re going to do something INSANE! At some point, I believe that Healthkeepers will change the lives of thousands through a ripple effect.
What if someone turned you for help to start from scratch with zero knowledge about what to do and how to start, what would you advice them with?
First of all, I will let him/her watch the video I made about transform, because it has everything he/she might want to know about nutrition. I discussed everything in details, which is uncommon for anyone to do such a thing. If he got excited to start after watching the video, then I will know that he’s willing to truly change. In the video and the group there are basic information, recipes for healthy food, when and what to eat, support, and guidance; and other than that you have no excuse but to start. But if someone came to me who has a psychological problem or a medical condition, then I have to deal with him in a different way as the video alone won’t help.
Some people have a problem with their will power, they get tempted easily if they saw unhealthy food, for example if I there’s a piece of cake in front of me and I’m dying to eat it what should I do?
Throw it! Will power is a battery, don’t overestimate yourself when it comes to cravings. I’m not a superman and no one is, there will come a time when you’d say no to everything “3shan enta wa7sh” but when you break down and get tempted, no one and not even your will can help you. Because if you went too hard on yourself, you’ll lash out at anything or anyome. If you’re in a good mood, it’ll be easier for you to be on track. But, if you’re tired from work, facing problems and your mood is at its lowest point, you’d think of the whole transformation process as bullshit. The solution is, don’t test yourself. Studies have shown that if there’s unhealthy food in front of you, you’ll definitely eat it. But if it’s out of your reach, you might not eat it, it’s that simple. You can try this with yourself, one day put a piece of chocolate in front of you and the other day, hide it and see how you’ll behave. If today you decided to eat something you really want to it, next day it’s either you hide it, throw it or give it to somebody because there has to be balance. You need to build habits and that’s mainly what’s going to help you. Make yourself get used to eat a bowl of salad even with a burger, but once you get used to this you’ll never stop having a bowl of salad with all your meals. If you spent two weeks straight eating vegetables three times a day, you’ll get used to it no matter what.
When did you start changing your food habits and became healthy?
I was NEVER healthy, I used to get Mickey w a2raha w bartaman nutella f 7egry *laughing* but I loved doing sports. When I started being healthy I was in third year of Faculty of dentistry. At first, I took it as hobby but then I decided to study nutrition. I had goals that I wanted to achieve; I wanted to take certificates in nutrition, make a TED talk about nutrition; build my own career as a nutritionist, which I’m currently working on, and to make something for the community. And gladly I was able to achieve all my goals. Because I was really passionate, I was sure I was going to do it. If this was not my career, I don’t know If I would have been the same or not.
A message from Going Deep to you: Well, maybe it’s time to throw away that bag of chips in your hand and join Healthkeepers!