Tuesday,23 April, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1401, (12 - 18 July 2018)
Tuesday,23 April, 2019
Issue 1401, (12 - 18 July 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Who is that in the mirror?

To get ready for summer fun simply cut down on the quantity of everything
To get ready for summer fun simply cut down on the quantity of everything

The dog summer days are upon us, compelling us to rush to a summer resort and escape the heat. Our first mission is to discard our warm garments and strip down to the bare necessities, befitting surf, sea and sand.

With our winter cover-ups gone, we look and wonder who is that staring back at us in the mirror. Those curves, those bulges, that belly when and how did they occur.

During the winter months we consume extra calories to our meals for added energy and warmth. Besides, we are less active and burrow under our coats and blankets, while those calories are secretly being transformed into unneeded, unnecessary, uncomely kilogrammes.

What to do? We need a quick solution. How are we to feel good in our skimpy summer wear, at the beach, club, office or just walking down the street? The excessive weight will be revealed to the world. That must not be. Once again that undesirable word keeps ringing in our ears — diet.

Each year a crop of new diets pop up with a million promises. They all work for a while, but soon they fall by the wayside as did previous ones. Quick diets result in quick gain and those lost kilos creep back and even grow exponentially once the diet ends.

What a dilemma.

Billions of dollars are spent on new diets, books, drugs, foods, not to mention gym membership fees, gym gear and strenuous exercises. Online diets have reached $990 million. In the US alone $66 billion are spent annually on weight loss. 

We are all getting fatter and shedding kilos can be expensive.

Some 80 per cent of us who try to lose weight by ourselves,fail, therefore the heavy price must be paid.

Some tried and teted diets like the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet and a few others are still popular. They concentrate mainly on high protein and low carbohydrates. This year’s new diets are: the raw food diet… that is self explanatory, but is nutritionally inadequate and no research supports its health claims; the ketogenic diet, a low carb version of an already low carb diet with only five per cent of calories from carbs; the alkaline diet promotes fruits, nuts, seeds, eliminating acid promoting foods, dairy, eggs, meat, grains and alcohol (its benefits are questionable, to say the least); the dukan diet — a low carb, high protein quick weight loss diet — there is no carb counting and the high animal protein intake is associated with cancer, but is an option for meat lovers. 

If the four-fad diets of 2018 are not to your liking, the next option is to go under the knife, removing part of your stomach. Surprisingly the gastric by-pass method of weight loss is gaining in popularity as its risks diminish.

Although it is not something to be taken without serious consideration, it is the choice of many, and surgeons will operate whether you fit certain criteria or not. The procedure is no longer restricted to the morbidly obese.

Strictly speaking you must have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40-50 to be eligible, yet many cases of a BMI of 35 have been recorded with successful results. 

No surgery is without risk, but today no deaths or severe complications are common. The benefits are countless, there is less risk of a stroke, type 2 diabetes may be completely reversed, heart attacks and some types of cancer and liver ailments are avoided, and it has been recorded that patients live longer. 

There are several types of Gastric or Bariatric surgeries: the Gastric Band, the Sleeve Gastrectomy, the Intragastric Balloon and the Intragastric Stimulation. New methods are being developed regularly.

Your surgeon can better explain the details, risks and benefits of the different procedures. The growth of laporoscopic surgery, (a small cut) reduced complications, improved results and led to an ever increasing patient demand. 

Hospital stay can be a day or two; normal activities are resumed within three to five weeks.

The principle objective of such surgeries is simple: The smaller the stomach, the less you eat; the less you eat, the more you lose. We can also add, the less obese, the longer you live. It is pure common sense, practiced by the enviable slim and trim members of our society.

When the ever slender Jacqueline Kennedy was once asked what she eats to remain so sylphlike, she answered, “everything”. Her “everything” fit in one tiny bowl.

Obesity has been a problem since mediaeval times, but it is only in the last 20 years that it has become an epidemic worldwide, hence the need for all those diets and surgical procedures.

One third of the world’s population is considered obese. 

The first bariatric surgery was performed during the  10th century Spain, on D Sancho, King of Lion, who could not walk, ride a horse or pick a sword, causing him to lose the throne. His grandmother escorted him to Cordoba where the famous Jewish doctor, Hasdan the Shaprut sutured the king’s lips, fed him through a straw a liquid diet consisting of a mixture of herbs, including opium which stimulates weight loss. King Sancho lost half his weight and regained his throne. 

When was obesity desirable? 

To get ready for summer fun simply cut down on the quantity of everything.

Your stomach will shrink by itself and your mirror will tell you you too are slim, slender and sylphlike.

“The one way to get thin is to establish a purpose in life.”

Cyril Connolly (1903-1974)

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