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Beating the holiday bulge!

New year’s resolutions are ironically as old as time itself. Each new year brings with it hopes for yet another beginning, another chance to do better and live more holistically. We’re one week into 2018 and most people are still on track with the changes they want to make in their lives. If your resolution this year is to become healthier, you are hardly one in a million; if you actually stick to the plan throughout the year, you just might be. So why is it so hard to stick to a diet and exercise routine, even when you’re really determined to get in shape?

During the festive season, indulgence is the order of the day. Large amounts of deliciously greasy, salty and sugary foods often rule the dining table, and you probably thought, it’s okay, this is just for the holidays. When January comes, however, and your favorite jeans won’t button-up, and you’re feeling tired and lethargic, this may signal that some changes need to be made. So you might scour the internet looking for ways to lose the weight and keep it off.

The web is full of diets, exercises, hacks, tips and tricks for losing weight. If some of the ones you’ve looked at seem impossible, that’s because they probably are. No wheat products, no dairy, no fried foods, animal products, no carbs after 3 pm…the list goes on and on. Now, most people might be able to do this for a few days, but after that old eating habits return. This way of eating is simply not sustainable.

If you really want to achieve and maintain weight loss and an overall healthier eating style, it is crucial to modify your relationship with food. After the festive season, you may also want to consider a method of detox to give you a fresh start. At Holistic Living, our qualified physicians offer Lifestyle Coaching for correction of poor eating habits and Digestive System Detox.

Click here for more information:

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Season’s Greetings

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!

 

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World Anti-Obesity Day

Since its establishment in 2015, the World Anti-Obesity Day has been marked in different countries around the world as a campaign to encourage practical actions that help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight to combat the global obesity crisis. To commemorate this day, Heart and Life together with partners including the Obesity Awareness Organization organized a fun-filled, physically engaging event to promote the cause.

We’ve probably all heard what happens when it’s all work and no play. After the two-day, Annual Obesity Africa Symposium full of intense workshops, a day of fun and relaxation was much-needed. The Big Big Fun Day, as it was dubbed, was held at the Wadi Degla sports club on November 26, 2017. People from all walks of life turned up in large numbers to take part in the numerous activities that were organized.

The event was organized to keep in line with the vision of an obesity-free Africa. Sports lovers were treated to competitive yet good-spirited basketball, football, touch rugby and athletics tournaments. Others enjoyed zumba, dance and karaoke as well as the opportunity to socialize and network. Take a look at some of the day’s highlights below.

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Sharon’s Success 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.

 

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Mercedes’ weight loss journey

As we approach the end of the year, I doubt many of us are thinking about the New Year’s resolutions we made seemingly not too long ago. Losing weight has got to be in the top 5 resolutions people make when the year is new and full of possibilities. Some even go as far as selecting a weight loss program and promising to stick to it. Regardless of what your resolution was, at this point you may be reflecting upon how much you’ve gained these past 10 months, or if weight was your main concern, how much you’ve lost. 

My weight loss journey has been much longer than a year. In fact, it’s been a part of most of my life. If only to encourage one person who’s been in my shoes, I feel obligated to share a few things I’ve learnt along the way.

Take it one day at a time. I often felt overwhelmed by the pressure to lose weight by any means necessary. I needed to burn fat fast. It was until I decided to focus on each day that I was living that my attitude started to change. As much as weight loss may be central to your health and well-being, being anxious and depressed about it will only make the journey harder. As you work hard to reach your weight goals, be patient with yourself as well. Enjoy life!

Get a partner. My niece once came to me because she wanted to lose weight for her prom and thought I could give her some weight loss tips. I told her what to do, but wasn’t doing it myself. I knew that most of her weight issues were because of the eating habits I passed on to her as a child. I didn’t want her to wait until she was 36 to deal with it. So, we started boot camp together!

Be kind to yourself, you’re doing the best you can. Every day you will battle how you look in the mirror. You start to let the scale define you. Every meal becomes a challenge. Will you gain weight when you’re trying to lose it? Yes. Will you have moments where you eat food that isn’t the best for you? Yes. Will there be times when you feel like you’re doing everything right but still aren’t achieving your goals? Yes. You must love yourself, trust your support network and trust your weight loss program.

Never give up. This has been said countless times, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Keeping up with your motivation for weight loss can get tough and there will be bumps along the way. You will hit plateaus and this can be discouraging. Despite all the challenges I’ve had with weight loss, my mother always said that the best thing I did was that I never gave up. She constantly reminded me how far I had already come, and this kept me going.

You deserve a better, healthier life. I’ve had my ups and downs with anxiety and depression due to the extra weight. I’d lose some weight and then gain it back. What changed this pattern was figuring out that I deserved better. I deserved a life, a family, love, everything I had always hoped and dreamed of growing up.

 

Healthy eating for a healthy weight

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.

Overweight and Undernourished

It’s hardly news that junk food and obesity are linked. However, we seldom think about the impact of the fast food chains and processed food companies mushrooming in our country. Kenyans will spend hours in queues just to get a taste (or take pics for the gram) of the newest American eateries or European snacks as soon as they become available locally, but do we really think about the long-term effects on our health and economy?

An article recently published on The New York Times website described in detail how the multinational Nestlé is making its mark on the Brazilian market. The article begins with the story of Celene da Silva, a 29-year-old woman who is one of thousands of door-to-door vendors for Nestlé. Through her work, she helps the world’s largest packed foods conglomerate expand its reach into 250,000 households in Brazil’s furthest-flung corners. Andrew Jacobs and Matt Richtel wrote:

“Nestlé’s direct-sales army in Brazil is part of a broader transformation of the food system that is delivering Western-style processed food and sugary drinks to the most isolated pockets of Latin America, Africa and Asia. As their growth slows in the wealthiest countries, multinational food companies like Nestlé, PepsiCo and General Mills have been aggressively expanding their presence in developing nations, unleashing a marketing juggernaut that is upending traditional diets from Brazil to Ghana to India.

A New York Times examination of corporate records, epidemiological studies and government reports — as well as interviews with scores of nutritionists and health experts around the world — reveals a sea change in the way food is produced, distributed and advertised across much of the globe. The shift, many public health experts say, is contributing to a new epidemic of diabetes and heart disease, chronic illnesses that are fed by soaring rates of obesity in places that struggled with hunger and malnutrition just a generation ago.

The new reality is captured by a single, stark fact: Across the world, more people are now obese than underweight. At the same time, scientists say, the growing availability of high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods is generating a new type of malnutrition, one in which a growing number of people are both overweight and undernourished.

There are now more than 700 million obese people worldwide, 108 million of them children, according to research published recently in The New England Journal of Medicine. The prevalence of obesity has doubled in 73 countries since 1980, contributing to four million premature deaths, the study found.

For a growing number of nutritionists, the obesity epidemic is inextricably linked to the sales of packaged foods, which grew 25 percent worldwide from 2011 to 2016, compared with 10 percent in the United States

In many ways, Brazil is a microcosm of how growing incomes and government policies have led to longer, better lives and largely eradicated hunger. But now the country faces a stark new nutrition challenge: over the last decade, the country’s obesity rate has nearly doubled to 20 percent, and the portion of people who are overweight has nearly tripled to 58 percent. Each year, 300,000 people are diagnosed with Type II diabetes, a condition with strong links to obesity.”

Seeing as more and more processed foods are making their way into the Kenyan market, is it possible that we are headed in the same direction as Brazil?

Click here for the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/16/health/brazil-obesity-nestle.html

Do Something Now About That Weight Before It is Too Late

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.

Holistic Living: Where Obese Patients Lose the Fat

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.

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This is the diary of a fat girl in Nairobi

BY LILLYAN LUTTAH aka BLACC MERCEDES

I have always dreamt of losing more weight. Have stopped dieting and not sticking to a system I was given on Slim Possible Season 5 in 2014. I was supposed to exercise every day: Morning and Evening. Who doesn’t like breaking rules? And I decided to continue having fun with food. And it was very dangerous!

I really wander: “Will I ever get help with this weight? What is my choice to discipline this Monster called OBESITY?”

I need something that doesn’t take a lot of my time, like going to the gym and torturing myself with enormous exercises. It was giving me a back pains and I was getting tired of it. But I still I continued, because I had no other options and I really wanted to lose weight. I need to be healthy and to be ideal for my height.

Now my mindset has changed.

Now I am ready to face obesity and to accept weight loss treatment.

Come along with me, let us enjoy Holistic Living with healthy and sustainable weight!