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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.

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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!

 

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.

All around the world, there are ongoing conversations about obesity and it’s impact on individuals and society at large. Holistic Living and the East African Bariatric Center collaborated in bringing together experts from various fields to facilitate this conversation here in Kenya.
The 4th Annual Obesity Africa Symposium was held at Safari Park Hotel on the 24th and 25th of November, 2017. The largest convention since the first one in 2014 brought a record number of physicians, psychologists, nutritionists, dietitians, patients and members of the public who discussed obesity and it’s various causes and implications. Simultaneously held Surgeons Workshop, Physicians Workshop and Diet and Behavioral Modification session made for a comprehensive symposium.
Issues related to food addiction, weight loss, nutrition, surgery and recovery were tackled in the presentations, after which attendees had a chance to socialize over a scrumptious meal.

Did you attend this year’s symposium? Leave a comment to share your experience!

Some of the days’ highlights are shown in the photos below

Obesity Africa conference, a pan-African platform will bring together 400 healthcare professionals, healthy living providers and other specialties in the area of overweight and obesity to educate on and discuss the increasingly prevalent health related effects of obesity, their impact on the continent, and measures to curtail the epidemic.

The forum will involve various medical specialties. Some of the areas of focus include the co-dependent relationship between diabetes & obesity, obesity and its effects on physical and mental health, diagnosis of obesity and associated health ailments, obesity and weight management, surgical and non-surgical methods of treatment, preventive approaches and policy interventions to counteract obesity and associated endocrine and metabolism disorders.

Obesity is an important cause of non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, arthritis, infertility, heart disease, impotence and stroke. The impact of the continent’s obesity epidemic on taxpayers, health insurance providers, businesses, communities and individuals is massive. A large amount of money is spent on medical costs in treating obesity and obesity related non-Communicable Diseases.

Obesity Africa envisages bringing together leading academic experts, scientists, researchers and professors, both from industry and the academic institutes, from four continents onto a common platform. Discussions will focus on modern techniques, new technology and newly implemented drugs for the treatment of obesity and endocrine diseases. Attendees will have opportunities for exchanging ideas and thus contribute to the dissemination of knowledge.

Obesity Africa will be a two day meeting with a mixed format including didactic lectures, poster presentations, debates, case presentations and expert driven workshops including but not limited to dyslipidemia, diabetes, bariatric surgery , psychotherapy and fashion designed to create a platform for attendees to explore every aspect of obesity and diabetes management.

Obesity Africa will educate and update general practitioners, physicians, cardiologists, diabetologists, pulmonologists, bariatric surgeons, orthopedic specialists, nutritionists, nephrologists, anesthetists, surgeons and allied health professional, and other interested physicians involved in care of obese patients.


POSTER

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PROVISIONAL PROGRAM

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SPONSORSHIP INVITATION AND CONFIRMATION FORM

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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.

Could buying your food at supermarkets rather than in the open-air markets put you at risk of becoming obese or developing diabetes? A new study conducted in three small towns in Kenya compared these two groups of shoppers and found that those who purchased their groceries at supermarkets were heavier and at greater risk of getting diabetes as well as heart complications.

Consuming supermarket foods, the study says, increases the likelihood of becoming overweight or obese by 20 percentage points and the likelihood of being pre-diabetic by 16 percentage points.

The likelihood of heart conditions also goes up by seven percentage points, even after accounting for other factors such as gender, education and economic status.

The study titled Supermarket Purchase Contributes to Nutrition-Related Non-Communicable Diseases in Urban Kenya, appeared on Thursday in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. The two-phase study overseen by Matin Qaim of the University of Goettingen, Germany, and also involving the University of Nairobi and Egerton University’s affiliated Tegemeo Institute concludes that supermarkets are executing a rapid negative change of nutrition in Kenya.

The researchers warn that negative health effects from supermarket foods can be rapid as demonstrated in their two-arm study – first in 2012 and then in 2015. Within the three years, they say the prevalence of overweight people increased from 27% to 32%, with the rates of obesity jumping from 14% to 22% in the study population.

Could buying your food at supermarkets rather than in the open-air markets put you at risk of becoming obese or developing diabetes? A new study conducted in three small towns in Kenya compared these two groups of shoppers and found that those who purchased their groceries at supermarkets were heavier and at greater risk of getting diabetes as well as heart complications.

Consuming supermarket foods, the study says, increases the likelihood of becoming overweight or obese by 20 percentage points and the likelihood of being pre-diabetic by 16 percentage points.

The likelihood of heart conditions also goes up by seven percentage points, even after accounting for other factors such as gender, education and economic status.

The study titled Supermarket Purchase Contributes to Nutrition-Related Non-Communicable Diseases in Urban Kenya, appeared on Thursday in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. The two-phase study overseen by Matin Qaim of the University of Goettingen, Germany, and also involving the University of Nairobi and Egerton University’s affiliated Tegemeo Institute concludes that supermarkets are executing a rapid negative change of nutrition in Kenya.

The researchers warn that negative health effects from supermarket foods can be rapid as demonstrated in their two-arm study – first in 2012 and then in 2015. Within the three years, they say the prevalence of overweight people increased from 27% to 32%, with the rates of obesity jumping from 14% to 22% in the study population.

From this and numerous other studies, it is evident that one’s diet is essential if you want to lose the weight and keep it off. In fact, diet may be even more important than exercise in this area. As the data has shown, weight loss in Kenya is becoming more and more of a health concern. Perhaps one way to get on the right track is to start paying more attention to where the food we eat comes from.

I try to act like being overweight is cool and that I’m not worried about the risks and diseases that come with it. Every now and then, when I get motivation to lose weight, I wake up, go jogging, maybe hit the gym and when I’ve had enough, post pictures with the gym equipment just for likes on Instagram from people I’ve never even met! I know, this is not the best program for losing weight. I must admit though, it’s a pretty good ego boost- but only to a certain point.

Is being fluffy/curvy/thick/plus size, all the terms people use to avoid saying ‘overweight’, what I really want? I hate it when people troll me in public. Their giggles get to me. My weight loss journey has been a real struggle. In my high school years, I was often the biggest among my age mates. It bothered me on the inside, but on the outside I was, and still am, usually the center of attraction because of my sanguine personality.

The idea of getting the gastric sleeve has been burning in my brain, but I fear it may be far beyond my reach. I currently weigh 107 kilograms. I have everything to lose so I need to get on an effective weight loss program as soon as possible.

My loved ones are terrified at the thought of me going under the knife, but if this is the one shot I have to save myself from chronic illnesses like heart disease, we must look at the bigger picture. What if it works? My struggles with weight loss will be over and I will be the happiest lady in the entire world.

Now that I know a way how to lose the weight and keep it off, I must do it. This is a personal decision to bring back the black Mercedes (my very appropriate nickname). I want freedom from this monster called obesity. I want to be able to wear a swim suit and not hide under a towel. I want to be able to take full body photos, not to hide behind selfies- and all the things that people with regular healthy weight can do.

My journey to effective and lasting weight loss begins here.