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As the year comes to a close, it is only natural to reflect on the cycle that has just ended and to look forward to what lies ahead. This year, Holistic Living has continued to make strides towards eradicating obesity and its related illnesses in Kenya. Our various activities, both inside the clinic and out in the community, have successfully reached large numbers and passed the message of creating and maintaining a healthy, holistic lifestyle. We at Holistic Living would like to express our sincere gratitude for your continued support. As you make merry during this season, we wish you and your loved ones Happy Holidays!

 

If you thought weight loss is all about aesthetics, you might want to think again after this. Research shows that one of the major causes of hypertension and type II diabetes is excess weight. This rarely crosses most of our minds as we gorge ourselves on the fatty, salty and sugary foods that we simply cannot get enough of. Putting on a few kilos here and there seems harmless, until it’s not. Nancy knows this all too well.

Over a period of time, Nancy put on quite a bit of extra weight which she struggled to get rid of. All the weight loss plans she tried, simply did not work. After receiving some difficult news from her doctors, she knew something had to be done. Here’s her story.

It is often difficult, if not impossible, to truly understand someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes. Perhaps this is why other people’s stories of triumph are as inspiring as they are, especially when you are fighting similar battles. If you have ever struggled with your weight, you know just how frustrating it can be. Sharon is one young lady who understands weight loss struggles all too well. She shares her journey in a few words.

“I have been struggling with my weight since high school. I went on all sorts of diet and exercise programs trying to lose the weight and keep it off, all in vain. At the very most, I would lose about 5-10 kg, but I would gain all of it back before I had a chance to even enjoy it.

My wake-up call came when my mum died. It hit me like a ton of bricks that I have a genetic predisposition to obesity and its complications. My doctor told me that the only option I had to avoid a similar, tragic fate was to lose the weight.

I always knew that medical weight loss procedures were only done overseas, so I was very surprised to learn that there are doctors here in Kenya who perform these surgeries. Given how unsuccessful I was trying to lose weight using other conventional methods, I felt that this was the best way for me to go. After consultation with the doctor, I chose to have the gastric sleeve.

In 3-4 weeks after surgery, I was able to have light meals, mashed potatoes at the very most. A while after that, I was able to have ugali (corn meal dish) and even nyama choma (roast meat).

My weight loss has boosted my confidence, self-esteem and it has improved my social life. Shopping for clothes has become a much more pleasant experience. It’s great to be able to go out and get trendy outfits that actually fit me. Of course, I’ve noticed several health benefits as well. I walk comfortably without getting tired, I can go up a flight of stairs without losing my breath, and I get to play with my son a lot more than I would before, all thanks to Holistic Living.

 

For a long time in many parts of Africa, a large stomach, fleshy thighs, and massive arms were a sign of prosperity and a picture of true health. A man with such a physique would be seen as being wealthy and a woman with a rounder body might even have been envied by other women for having a husband who took such good care of her.

As the years passed and scientific knowledge increased however, this perception has changed in Africa.

All over the world, and increasingly on our continent, more and more people are paying attention to their physical health and weight. It is no longer uncommon to find locals in Kenya running or jogging on the sidewalks, working hard to lose the fat and get firmer bodies. Although exercise is ideal for a healthy lifestyle, nutrition could be even more crucial.

Dr. Shchukina, a family physician has specialized in obesity treatment in Kenya for the last 20 years. She was featured on the K24 Alfajiri TV program, in a discussion about the importance of healthy eating for weight loss. She explained that, for one to achieve and maintain weight loss, he or she must first change their attitude towards food.

Contrary to common belief, obesity is no longer just a “Western” problem. Around 55% of Kenyans are either obese or overweight. Studies show that obesity is the number one cause of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. In the years Dr. Shchukina has worked in the field of obesity, she has seen a rise in cases of diabetes in Kenya from 1% to 12%. Tackling the obesity problem would consequently reduce cases of diabetes and other non-communicable diseases.

So what is healthy eating anyway? According to Dr. Shchukina, healthy eating is a style of eating which satisfies the physical as well as psychological condition of a person. While a person’s body can survive on water, protein shakes and other supplements, this mode of nutrition is far from being able to provide psychological satisfaction. Simply put, this style of eating would not keep you happy.

You often hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Whether this is true or not, a nutritious meal is essential for a healthy body weight. Dr. Shchukina highlighted some breakfast options that are rich in nutrients and help with weight loss.  Some of these foods are nuts, eggs, and even raw vegetables. Although many people reach for carbohydrates to satisfy hunger, the obesity specialist explained that proteins are more beneficial.

On the program, Dr. Shchukina, urged Kenyans to change their attitudes towards food and to understand which foods they should eat to lose weight and to maintain a healthy weight.

At Holistic Living, we not only offer weight loss treatment using medical and surgical means, but we also focus on prevention of obesity. When we reduce obesity, we automatically reduce the occurrence of non-communicable diseases.

My name is Mariam Saadian, I’m 41 years old.

After having my baby, I put on a lot of weight and struggled to shed the extra kilos. I felt so heavy and was uncomfortable with my body, so I tried all the weight loss remedies out there. Slimming tea, pills, walking and jogging, you name it, I tried it. With all this in vain, I decided to take the step of going through with weight loss surgery. I scoured the internet for weight loss such weight loss procedures in Kenya and that’s how I found Holistic Living.

I paid a visit to the doctors at Holistic Living and after a comprehensive consultation, I chose to have the gastric balloon. The only challenge I had after the procedure was vomiting, but it lasted only a few days immediately after surgery and my body quickly adjusted.

It has been six months now and I have never felt this good and this light my whole life. When I started the weight loss program, I was 106kgs. Right now, I weigh 85kgs and I’m so happy about it. I feel youthful and energetic once again. I can now put on clothes which never used to fit me, and I feel more confident than ever.

I would like to tell everyone out there who is struggling with their weight to look no further. Holistic Living is the place to go. The doctor takes good care of you before and after the procedure and during your follow up appointments as well. He is also just a phone call away, and regardless of the time he will be ready to respond to you.

Come to Holistic Living and I promise you, you will not regret it.

Worded by Emma Mochechu.

Written by Tasha

It is often believed that overweight people are lazy, irresponsible, unmotivated and good for nothing. This is simply not true. Sharon had been struggling with her weight since she was in high school. She tried everything from exercise, slimming pills, and even the Atkins diet, but was still unsuccessful in her weight loss.

Sharon wasn’t the only one in her family to struggle with excess weight. Weight-related complications and diabetes led to her mother being admitted in hospital many times. During her last admission, she spent two months in the ICU, after which Sharon’s mother died.

Through doctors’ consultations, Sharon learnt that the only way to prevent diabetes and its complications is to get rid of the extra weight. So, she continued with her journey to a healthy weight. An essential part of this journey was to analyze her own situation, considering previous unsuccessful attempts to get sustainable weight loss using conventional methods such as diet plans, food supplements and exercise. Sharon finally understood that Bariatric Surgery would be the only effective solution for her.

She ventured online in search of surgical weight loss solution for weeks on end, and all she found was that this and other medical weight loss procedures are done in Thailand, Malaysia and India. Sharon was both surprised and relieved to later learn that there are weight loss doctors in Kenya who specialize in and offer Medical as well as Surgical Weight Loss solutions.

This was an exciting discovery for her. She could finally get a lasting weight loss treatment without incurring additional travel costs. Her research online also showed her that the procedure would be more expensive overseas than in Kenya. Ultimately, Sharon chose to have the Gastric Sleeve.

All medical tests and evaluations were done before admission.  It was laparoscopic procedure and Immediately after the surgery, Sharon was comfortable and only had minimal pain and small, almost invisible scarring on the stomach of about 1 cm. She was discharged one day after the Sleeve procedure was done and walked out of the Nairobi Hospital with a big smile on her face.

A short while later, the food cravings she had before reduced. She continued with regular follow-up visits with her weight loss doctor who was easily available to her at his clinic as well as on telephone calls.

It’s been two years since Sharon had the weight loss surgery and now she has a perfectly healthy BMI of 22.

“This is the thing I thank Holistic Living for: it shows that they are not just after money but after the person’s health improvement. They have time to take good care of their patients” she said.

Interestingly, when someone asks Sharon how much she spent on her weight loss surgery, she usually gives this answer: “If you compare the amount money which my family spent on my mother’s last admission, while trying to do everything possible to save her, with the cost of the weight loss surgery, it’s just a peanut”.

Sharon continued, “this process has boosted my confidence a lot and changed me a lot, I love myself more. I am happy that I am out of danger of developing diabetes. I am more comfortable with my size and no longer ashamed.

Thank you, Holistic Living. I’m forever grateful.”

A very close friend is in trouble. Here, on this blog, we will call her Sally.

Last week Sally called me and I could hear muffled cries from her end.

“What is wrong?” I asked.

“Half of my body is paralyzed. I need Sh5 million: to travel to Nairobi and receive emergency treatment,” she answered, sniffing to clear torrents of tears.

It is not the best of feelings to listen to a friend cry out of desperation. I could tell that she was deeply worried: anxious because she needed a lot of money to save her life.

I wanted to ask Sally, “You didn’t see this coming?”

I know; it wouldn’t have sounded good. But, in all honesty, I wanted to find out if she really believed that she could get away with being overtly obese.

Being an obesity specialist I would often tell Sally to watch out that her health doesn’t crumble under the weight she was carrying.

“It is not healthy to live with this weight on your body,” I would tell her.

Often, Sally took my advice as intrusive talk. In fact, she would answer back by telling me that she will drink whatever she wants to; she will eat however she feels like; and even smoke – without restrictions.

Now, do you understand why I wanted to ask that ‘improper’ question?

You see, I know Sally from 8 years back. She would later tell me her story.

Sally has been big since childhood. As she grew into a teenager, then an adult, her body also grew larger.

And now, at 58, Sally’s years living on the overweight side of life have caught up with her.

“I suffered stroke three weeks ago. This is a second one because I had one two months ago. I can’t move my hands and legs. I couldn’t even speak – I only started talking three days ago. I need your help,” Sally said on that phone call.

The ‘help’ Sally needed from me was monetary. The irony in that is that Sally comes from a wealthy family. Her children, now adults, and her husband, all have well earning jobs.

But ill health does not know riches. Ill health can drain wealth at such a fast pace you may be broke in one month.

Talking of finances, if we compare whatever my friend is spending now, it is way higher than what she would have spent on a weight loss program.

A year back Sally had a heart attack. Her blood vessels were blocked.

I would call her just to catch up. Then I would ask about her weight. As usual, she was defensive.

I told her that the heart attack resulted from the visceral fat blocking her vessels. I told her she needed to lose weight. ‘Now!’ is exactly how I put it. She said she would have to think about it.

So, when she called, paralyzed, crying and desperate, I felt both remorseful and hurt – because she never bothered to take my free advice and now she was fighting for her life.

As a friend, I sent Sally what I could manage. My hope is that she will make it. If she does I will still call her and tell her to lose weight.

But you, my reader, don’t need to wait for a stroke or for a heart attack. If you have excess weight or you are obese you need to do something about it now.

You have any questions? Book for consultation on our website or call directly on 0726899240.

Welcome to Holistic Living.

“I have been struggling with weight for a long time and because of my weight I developed Diabetes. I could not move with ease and I had become dependent on Insulin Injections. My sugar levels moved to 29 and could only reduce to 17 being the lowest. I used to have 24 units of insulin in the morning, 9 – during lunch and 13 units at night… My life had become a Nightmare.

My diabetologyst and my nutritionist told me that before anything else, I needed to lose weight. I had planned to have a bariatric surgery, “secretly”.

So I went to the Holistic Living Clinic – and had the Gastric Balloon, which was inserted endoscopically. From 140kgs I went down to 112.

No more injections for me and I only take 1 tablet of Galvasmet per day. In addition to this, I can now do light exercises and I can even wear heels. To me this the Great Improvement…

I can proudly tell you that the next time we meet I will be right here in bikinis just slim and posing for photos.”

Welcome to Holistic Living and you could be our next Success Story!

Necessity is the mother of invention, so it is said.

For Dr Vladimir Shchukin and his wife Dr Lyudmila Shchukina, this adage proved to be true in their choice of medical practice.

The couple are the brains behind Holistic Living; a weight loss clinic located at 5th Avenue building in Nairobi’s Upper Hill.

Holistic Living was registered as medical practice at the start of the new millennium. The couple began their practice in Kisumu, before moving to Eldoret, finally settling in Nairobi.

“It is around that time that obesity was becoming prominent in Kenya,” Dr Shchukina says.

Shchukina trained as an obesity specialist while in Ukraine. She studied non-surgical methods of tackling obesity, including psychological correction of eating habits, termed as psychotherapy.

When the wellness center was first registered, it mainly addressed non-surgical methods of treating obesity as well as healthy lifestyles.

Today, Holistic Living offers a range of surgical services: gastric balloon, gastric sleeve, gastric bypass and gastric band.

Ironically, Dr Shchukin suffered from obesity himself and struggled to lose weight. He would undergo gastric sleeve surgery (one among other bariatric surgeries) to lose weight, having grown fat and unhealthy himself.

He says: “Over the years I had grown fat without noticing it. But it reached a point when my health began failing and my wife and children persuaded me to get back to good health.”

Dr Shchukin was operated on by one of his medical school professors in Sweden in 2015. At the time, Dr Shchukin says, he couldn’t find a specialized bariatric surgeon in Kenya to operate on him.

Prior to his surgical treatment Dr Shchukin had been training on bariatric surgery: a range of surgeries spanning from gastric band to gastric sleeve.

 

“We don’t have so many specialized bariatric surgeons,” he says. “I realized that if at Holistic Living we could provide surgical services – at affordable costs – and provide Kenyans an option to be treated here (at home) so that they don’t have to fly abroad it would make sense.”

At Holistic Living, Dr Shchukina says, obesity patients has the advantage of pre-treatment analysis, “to ascertain their journey – how they got to obesity – then devising the best treatment schedule specific to them.”

Surgery, in medical treatment, is usually the last resort.

“With our course of Lifestyle Coaching and Calculation of Calories, we train the mind subconsciously to change its attitude towards food; essentially reverse-engineering one’s mind and cutting off this excessive dependency,” says Dr Shchukin.

Patients who visit Holistic Living have different reasons why they do so. Some want to ‘look beautiful’ while some want to improve the quality of life.

“Ultimately, for us, it is about wellness and healthy living,” Dr Shchukina says.