Tayyib Counsellor Project

Tarek Kareem Harris


Channel: Tarek Kareem Harris

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Partners Review, October, Online Presentation


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The speakers discuss the challenges faced by Muslims in regards to weight loss and health, including the obesity crisis, high lifestyles, and economic difficulty. They also discuss the success of their weight loss program, which aims to help people achieve their goals of weight loss and healthier lifestyles. The program is designed to help participants achieve their goals without having to actively work on their diet. The program is designed to help participants achieve their goals through community involvement, technology, and personal growth. The course is online and emphasizes the importance of using Facebook groups and confidentiality rules for privacy and confidentiality.

AI Generated Transcript ©

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All right, we ready? A Salam alikoum my esteemed brothers and sisters Masha, Allah Subhan Allah. I'm so happy to see all of you here today. Thank you so much for coming. Let's do a quick look at the attendee list. Who do we have here? Some from Canada. Oh, there'll be the master Medical Group, New York, North Carolina, Panama. Several from Birmingham, London, oh, the UCL group, British Islamic Medical Association, India, Dubai and Sydney Subhan Allah.

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So we're here to discuss the results of our trials and how we designed and refined the type cancelar program. Many of you participated with your expertise. And others of you were in the trials themselves. And thank you so much SubhanAllah. I'm sure many of you have joined this journey and answered our first call all those months ago because you recognize the same problem and you want to do something about it. There's two things that are at stake here. And we're addressing them both. It's health and wealth and by wealth, it's both monetary wealth and community wealth.

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Health wise, we're dealing with the obesity crisis. Why are we as well intentioned, hardworking Muslims as fathers as mothers, husbands wives, not able to manage our weight and health? Why are obesity rates so high? Why do we have such a bad issue, particularly when for all the consequences of poor nutrition, high body weight, poor lifestyles, we've improved in almost every other measure of wealth, cell safety, security and disease management as globally. And the second issue is okay, that of economic difficulty,

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which is particularly relevant. The last couple of years, people have noticed a sharp decline in household funds because wages have remained the same or dropped while prices have gone up. Many people lost their jobs in COVID. And I noticed that many people started Facebook businesses from home making cakes or delivering goods and that sort of thing. And it struck me that nobody has scaled this principle to make it easier for Muslims as a whole to work together in some kind of community effort. And I myself started to wonder how I could make it work for someone who just wants to get on and do good for the community whilst earning some much needed cash. A lot of the people I

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see in my voluntary work they are mental health issues are related to poverty, and so on. So this is also a direct mental health intervention, if you like. And the community wealth is that of community spirit, you know, the COVID issues legacies that many people discovered how vulnerable we are to the consequences of loss of connection. We are social creatures, we struggle when we're not allowed or able to meet up and we become accustomed or more used to bad habits or impulsivity, depression, anxiety, loneliness, scrolling, social media, and mostly poor diets. And most of us will admit, even for those of us who haven't struggled with those things, weights have gone up all round. And as

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you're aware, I published to you two years ago, and it has since gone on. Well, fairly early on, it was an Amazon bestseller for a couple of weeks in its category. But you know, that doesn't mean much, because it was in the Islamic education category. And I'd like to think it was my amazing writing. But, in fact, it was undoubtedly because of the support of my old friend, Mufti mink,

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who I've known for many years, and you probably came across the interview that we had together in the hour long live session, and that's on YouTube on his channel somewhere. And it's all about the T principle. And the D principle now that we're at it is straightforward. It makes permanent weight loss instability much easier than doing things like diet, and so on, because it's already written into the way Muslims are meant to conduct themselves. Everything from what we eat, when we should eat when we shouldn't, where we source our foods, what kinds of foods that tell you what kind of behavior is the kind of attitude. This is already well described in Islam. But it's been many years

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since anybody organized it all into a guide and made a system out of it step by step,

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to help them to implement it into their life into their family's life. And the book was an effort to try and help with that. And this cause cancer course is really the direct extension of that kind of work. It also strikes me that people can learn the skills of the job to pass on and teach to others. And that in this kind of rapidly emerging modern economy, those with the right moves and the right positioning, without a lot of you know, into net knowledge can earn decent money using technology to help them do it. Passive income where you don't

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have to actively keep making or selling things and you aren't slaving away at the stove or in a factory, you can get on with your life and at most you help support your clients, your customers so that they can enjoy the thing that you've sold them or the thing that you're helping them with, right? And what better product than something that makes you healthier, happier, lose weight and earns you blessings and goodwill from Allah and gives you a way to engage your community around something good, right? Diet itself means something good and wholesome as a basic Arabic word. So the diet counselor program is itself day, I could say Subhan Allah. So how does work? Well, you know,

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we've created the course materials. So first of all, people get on and do the course themselves. And you know, for those of you who've contributed, you will know what the course content is like, and helped us to refine it, when for those of you in the trials, people get fully involved. And they do it themselves, losing the weight and monitoring the results. And once they've done all the activities and pass through, they get a certificate. And we've also trained them in the meantime, to be the counselor. As a counselor, the idea is that you have done the you program and you can then recruit other people to your own Tayyab modules, which are online, and we provide all that kind of

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stuff, but you earn money every time someone signs up to join your particular to your page. And so they get a customer version of the tape techniques and with all the stuff provided and they'll get to lose weight and you get to earn money. And all you do to earn your money is encourage them along the way, keep in touch with them support them be available. The more successful of our sisters during the trials found that they got many more signups when they ran a whatsapp support groups. And the most successful of all, was the one who ran local groups where clients met up in person, I think there were two view groups who did that. And they met for coffee and saliva and they went over

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lessons. And I think it just generally felt good for people to have others share their journey.

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And it's so far fairly effortless from what I gather for people to run up their client numbers. Our highest performer got 80 clients, which meant in theory, a huge, you know, the rates, as we as we imagine, they will be about 1600 US dollars for just signing people up. But the average I've seen is around 20 clients a month. So let's not make it too complicated. We've made the program to be done and not talked about. We hope to have this ready sometime early in 2023. And we're offering the first rollout of the program at a deep discount just to cover costs and for the sake of Allah because we want as many people to benefit as possible. And you know, we're just starting out. So

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hopefully we'll get some decent numbers and can refine the program even further. Ideally, we're hoping for a Ramzan start, but if not, that's fine, Allah knows best.

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And we hope the project will be self sustaining. We're not asking you guys for money, when you've done enough for us, you know, any income we'll make it will help to make it free for the sisters who can't afford it. And we're imagining that we will be you know, inviting sisters to pay. And their payment will help keep the upkeep costs of the program and will go towards covering the cost of sisters who can't pay. So it should just end up being nice, even stevens. So well. Oh, of course, I've got to introduce myself. I know most of you know me, but some of you not so well. You might think well who am I to do this? Well, you know who am I am TK Harris. I'm a neuro psychiatrist. I

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suppose I'm an expert of not much if you're asking my wife, but in real life, what am I and Alex but perhaps of managing yourself managing one's mind, one's decisions when choices and for the last few years, I've been refining and combining this with the Islamic perspective,

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which I found is so satisfying and written books about and you know, that's kind of my social media voluntary side of things.

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And we can see, well, I can see easily the connection between wellbeing and mental health and decision making and things like weight and nutrition, calorie intake, dietary choices, impulse control, stress, all of these things connect to health and connect to how a person deals with the world. Outside them the information they deal with the knowledge they have the attitudes and so on. With both men and women, weight control is a very big issue in happiness. We can't get away from that. And it's an issue in self perception, and how outgoing people feel in their social life in their confidence. And it has associations with mental health and contentment and even with social

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class. It used to be that the wealthier classes got overweight, but

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In the latter half of the 20th century, and more recently, it's it's the poorer classes who seem to have the issue of awakening, probably because food companies have made bad foods so cheap. But so the book that I wrote describes how Islam and science have always had the real secrets on how to live well and control weight and how things like temporary diets are doomed to fail and that they your way of eating and food choice has stood the test of time, dramatically well over the entire life of Islam, and in fact, has enjoyed a resurgence in the last 15 years or so it's as if the science you'll see in secular communities, they talk about intermittent fasting and, and for that

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the, the most common one is twice a week. Well, subhanAllah the Sunnah for Muslims, as you probably weighs too fast, twice a week, and the program itself, so sets out to teach people really how to approach that the principal in a way that will keep them going. It's not just a temporary fix, it's it really is something which should help to adjust you to kind of more satisfied life and a better relationship with food, you can set out asking good questions, because the Quran itself, you know, we took our lead from that the ground is full of questions, imploring us to reflect to think for ourselves. So we borrow that technique, and we're hoping to set out to help people from among those

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who reflect and reflection is a big part of the program, because it's the key to gaining better self knowledge, and then better self control and a sense of being at peace with oneself. And it's not about things like getting rid of impulses to eat badly. It's about how to live with one's impulses and emotions in a way that is described to us by law in many ways. Many times, we can't expect to be free from those sorts of things, they're part of us, but we can grow our character, to be more in command of them to be more at peace of them with them when they come along. So they don't bother us as much. And that's the way we we forge our better character. So we set off really, to help clients

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on the two main questions. So anyone who wants to lose weight and keep it down and be happier, and sort of invoke that the way, there's two questions. Firstly, are you able and willing to question your current beliefs about food and weight? What's healthy? What's unhealthy? What's hunger? What's good for you, and so on? And secondly, what is your motivation? And what do you expect or hope for these changes to have on you when you are in control of your decisions and your weight, and so on. And the elements that we look at can be described are contained within this picture here, which is that of a general wellbeing in any person, any Muslim, and the diet program works well, because it

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is genuinely holistic. It's not just about food. In fact, you could argue that it's, it's about everything else as well, because it's looks at work from a kind of full, sympathetic, generous perspective as part of a well being of a human being. These are the things that help any Muslim, feel a sense of inner wellness, you know, relationships, mastery, purpose, confidence, joy, autonomy, and you will probably read or see my other work and books like instant Insights, where I describe how these things can be found in Islam. And when someone's struggling, you always find something amiss in one of these areas, something that really bothers me, because these things

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underpin our general conduct. So we expect that as the counselors, you know, type counselors are human beings, they're not professional counselors, or facts, pack therapists, they are human beings with lived experience, they are Muslims, and their strength lies in their identity as people, people who share a common thing, you know, with their clients, and can help other people to face these things together. I mean, that's really where community is forged in sharing the commonalities in difficulties and strengths and exchanging those kinds of strengths with each with each other. And community is a central reason why programs like this really work in the secular domain, especially a

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weight loss and fitness, that sort of thing is concerned, helping people achieve good things and earning money from it? Well, that's surely a wonderful bonus. And that's kind of, you know, the, the big strand of the of the job counseling program. So to summarize, the program fits into the picture of those community organizers. You know, that's kind of the counselors, they learn something, then they have their own experience of that something using the knowledge and then they share their experience in supporting others to achieve their own aims have that something that you were losing way to being happier, be more confident and so on. And the program covers all

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Working elements of understanding the thinking and knowledge behind the job. Without being too academic, you know, it's not really delving into the various Sufi sayings or, or the Hadith as such. But it's, it's it's a practical kind of how to guide connecting, thinking to Islamic ways of of life, making it relatable and useful for oneself, and then using it to make real time everyday changes, none of which is too scary and love, which on its own is very difficult. Weight Control need not be anxiety provoking nor overbearing. It simply needs humble effort. If you focus on that, then every single day becomes a reason to be happier and more grateful, because you're not, you

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know, being bullied by targets and whatever, you're just sort of saying, How can I do my best today, I accept my efforts.

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As for the program, material, all of it is online. It includes video tutorials, articles and stuff that we've now created. There's techniques, there's quizzes as assignments, so any participant takes them at their own pace. But generally, they're designed to take probably around two to three weeks to cover fully. And then the participant goes back and repeats. The pace of coverage depends obviously on the person doing it. But from day one, participants have access to worksheets, setting down their aims, their concerns, and they get some steps that help them go straight away with the weight control journey. As they go along. There'll be doing the techniques alongside learning the

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background knowledge and background philosophy. And this helps them to create this feeling of mastery, that element of well being that helps them people to find meaning and worth. And then it also essentially, extends that to include elements of purpose in life and of relatedness to others. Again, important elements of well being, as you remember from the diagram, and people can access and repeat any module at any time, we've not made it sort of, you know, demanding that you have to do this one and that one, and you can't come back, no, it's from any device. And the platform, we picked a platform that works on phones and tablets, all of it, that shouldn't struggle with older

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phones, and, and all that kind of thing. And the repetition element is really crucial, because nothing is remembered fully when you first do it. And everything we learn is subject to forgetting. And learning something in the mind doesn't translate to actual change until we actually start practicing the change. It's a bit like saying, if you learn how to ride a bike by just reading a book about it, you wouldn't actually know how to ride a bike. So the program is not

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an intervention to make you to reach some sort of success point. As such, it's more like a set of tools that you can then use for ever, or for as long as you like. And the set of tools is that of understanding spiritual psychology, understanding the self and techniques. And the techniques help one to understand oneself better understand Islam better, and in particular, the diet principles. And then to turn that into meaningful change, a way of improvement, it's about a way of being for oneself. And then for one's brothers and sisters, to future clients as a whole. And this is really important to know, we don't expect that at the end of the program, participants will know everything

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they need to or achieve all of their goals. No, the tools are there to be used and refined. And as people repeat the modules, they will gain confidence and make them that oh, you know, because to use any tool properly. Any questionnaire, any philosophy, you know, you're using it properly, when you've actually, you know, it's taken your own language and you're able to translate it to a language other other at the level of your client, for example. And that's some of the skills of counseling that come with just general practice and gaining confidence through repetition. So the knowledge element of the course is mostly about these elements here. Firstly, how to start off with

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the right set of agents? Should we have targets? And if we should have targets? What should they be? What kind of things are we looking at? Should we be weighing ourselves measuring the size? Or should we have targets for the way we conduct ourselves, or dates, whatever. And those sort of things are personalizable both for the counselor program and for the clients because people use different things to measure with and some people avoid weighing themselves and some people don't really care about weight, they just want to fit in their own clothes, for example. So we we make this both specific and general because it's got to fit to the person. And then we go on to help people

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understand the basics of how the mind and body are connected using Islamic psychology. And you know, that covers a number of very interesting points of how hormonal control actually influences cravings, how to deal with cravings have to beat them, and things like true hunger and false hunger which is

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Very, very important to know. And I don't know if many of you know this, but actually, most of the hunger we feel these days is actually false hunger because true hunger only comes if you've been starving for more than 48 hours. Because that's how well fed we are in this successful world that we live in SubhanAllah. And I'm sure we know there's people who don't have food. So may Allah make it easy, and help us to feed them and remember them too.

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And then we talk about eating in a better way, when where, how, why,

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you know, there's interesting findings there, like you can eat the same amount. But if you eat it slowly, or at different times than your normal routine, it makes a real difference to the way your body handles it. So as an example of that, as we as unreal as it sounds, eating the same food, but at different times, if you're eating it at 6pm, or eating it at 10pm. If you carry on that pattern, the people who eat earlier, we'll lose more weight compared to those who eat the same amount later. But it was fascinating isn't it shows that calories are really not where weight loss is, is to be pivoted,

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choosing better ingredients. Diet looks at what you buy in a more responsible way makes you generally more mindful and caring about yourself your body, that which Allah has loaned you. And then there's the element of fasting, of course, fasting, we, if we can, if Allah wills it, then we will run the program in Ramadan, and fasting will be you know, it always has been a way to gain knowledge about the self. But most people don't quite get the insight into that the real insight of the mounds the mindset and the processes that go on when we fast.

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We're taught that we fast well to sympathize with poor people, and so on. But that's not quite true. And even if it was, it's certainly not the only reason or even the main reason that we fast.

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And connected to that there's a sort of general mindset to take charge of one's health and one's decision in a way that's effective and not burdensome, not fighting yourself all the time and feeling guilty, and exhausting themselves with these kinds of self blame, regret, and then relapse into eating excessively, and so on. And that extends up to principles of things like a clock and our character. Ramadan is properly thought of as a time to focus on one's character, having principles of behavior that are integrated with contentment with well being and good character and other elements of our lives. So we come back to some of the things that we found are useful. And I

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mentioned earlier that we, we found that a group WhatsApp was very helpful. So we're going to have that when we roll the program out for the counselors, the first time will happen, it'll be run by one of our team admins here. And so all the participants will be allowed, allowed and enabled to communicate and participate in that Whatsapp group. And, you know, there'll be free to say whatever they like, there'll be some ground rules about what to share and being appropriate, and so on, along with rules about confidentiality. But, you know, we beyond that, we encourage clients to use the chat, because in our trials, everyone found it really helpful. Some of them connected online, as I

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said, and some connected person there was sisters in, I think Australia and Manchester, who met up with each other and, and I'm sure people will form you know, much longer friendships, deeper friendships and connections based on this, the community element is key. It's got great benefits for directly on the table to help you keep your momentum, your motivation, sharing knowledge and tips and also for being able to relate to your fellow human being in other domains, you know, you may even decide to help a network with each other once you start earning, you know, you might want to form a united business, I don't know. But you know, who knows what, what Goodness What branches This

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will bring. But we want to make a chance for people to express their freedom and independent thinking about how they wish to style themselves once they've kind of completed the program. And that's kind of where we are Subhanallah I've talked enough for now and I can see the questions accumulating in the chat window. So let's deal with them now. Subhanallah and thank you for listening