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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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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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Healthy weight, healthy life

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.

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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

10 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD DETOX

Are you thinking about trying to detox but you are unsure exactly what the benefits may be? When done correctly — that is to say, in a healthy, safe and controlled environment —getting your body clean and healthy can result in a wide range of positive effects.

Still not convinced? Under the right circumstances, detoxing can help you…

  1. Remove toxins from the body.

Long-term exposure to toxins (environmental pollutants, cancer-causing chemicals, preservatives, pesticides, heavy metals, and industrial waste) affects our metabolism, behavior, immune system, and leads to disease. They are stored in tissues and cells throughout the body, including the brain, often for years – yikes!

  1. Prevent chronic disease.

Environmental toxins are responsible for many cancers, neurological diseases, heart disease, strokes… you name it. Our bodies do have a built-in detox function to deal with these dangers, but those systems are constantly overloaded! Detoxing assists and improves what our bodies are trying to do naturally.

  1. Enhance immune system function.

A compromised immune system makes us vulnerable to colds and flues, affecting our quality of life and productivity. Regular detoxing helps strengthen immune system functioning and fights off infection.

  1. Slow premature aging.

Detoxing rids the body of free radicals and heavy metals partially responsible for aging. Detoxing helps to increase nutrient absorption, including antioxidants and vitamins that help fight oxidative stress.

  1. Improve quality of life.

Simply put, our bodies don’t function very well when they’re loaded with toxins. We may have joint pain, headaches, digestive disorders, sleep problems, and lack of energy. Depression may be eased and memory may be improved as a result of detoxification!

  1. Increase energy.

You will have more mental, physical, and emotional energy after detoxing. People tend to sleep better and need less of it.

  1. Improve skin quality.

Diet and environmental toxins undeniably affect skin. Detoxing improves acne, and strengthens hair and nails, and gives us a natural, healthy glow.

  1. Mental and emotional clarity.

When the body’s systems are aligned, a shift also occurs with our mental and emotional states. We can deal with more when we’re clear and grounded. We can make better decisions, analyze accurately, and see things differently.

  1. Restore balance to our body’s systems.

Our digestive, nervous, and hormonal systems were designed to work together to achieve optimum health. This is what our bodies want to do! When we overload them with toxins and unhealthy foods, these systems don’t work as well as they should and we get sick.

Detoxing brings balance back and helps our systems function properly again.

Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Back Pain

Have you ever felt the urge to stretch and twist your back after a long ride in a bus or in economy class on a plane? How about when you finally get up from your desk at the end of a long day at work? For most people, this discomfort, or sometimes even pain, comes and goes. Others battle with these back problems constantly for weeks or even months on end.

Millions of people around the world suffer from back pain. Some sources even claim that it is one of the most common reasons why people miss work or go to the doctor, and that it is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Despite this being such a highly prevalent problem, many people are still unclear about the causes of back pain and the treatment options available to them.

Dr. Vladimir Shchukin, a general and laparoscopy surgeon and a sport injury consultant shared his knowledge and expertise on back pain on the K24 program, K24 Alfajiri.

Whether a person’s back pain or discomfort is temporary or chronic, Dr. Shchukin explained that the root cause of back pain is the misalignment of the bones or vertebrae that form the spinal column. When the bones shift from their proper position, back pain results and it can be severe enough to result in immobility. When there is misalignment of the vertebrae, that misalignment puts pressure on the nerves coming out from the spinal canal, and that causes the pain that so many people suffer from.

In his years of treating patients with back pain, Dr. Shchukin has found that the most widespread cause is back pain related to trauma following accidents. Other reasons are the aging process, gynecological factors such as pregnancy, diseases such as arthritis and being overweight.

One of Dr. Shchukin’s patients was severely overweight and had terrible back pain. This combination resulted in the patient having to use a wheelchair for mobility. For this patient to get effective and lasting treatment for the back pain, Dr. Shchukin’s strategy was to first, help the patient lose the excess weight. This can be done using either surgical or non-surgical methods depending on the patient’s BMI. After sufficient weight loss, back pain was then treated effectively.

Dr. Shchukin stated that, although it is quite a common complaint, back pain is highly individual, it depends on the condition of the patient. “I do have different types of patients” he said “young people and elderly people, overweight people and people with normal weight”. So, when it comes to treatment, one size does not fit all.

As far as treatment options are concerned, this is what Dr. Shchukin offers at his clinic.

“We are doing medical, non-surgical treatment to reduce the inflammation and pain in the nerves, and after that, using the chiropractic manipulation to set up the spine so that it is aligned. After that, we advise patients on what type of exercises to do to maintain that alignment.”

If you experience back pain, it’s almost certain that you’ve asked this question: Can you cure back pain? Dr. Shchukin responded to this by saying, “ I cannot say that it is completely curable; like if you have appendicitis and you just remove the appendix and it’s not there anymore. But [after treatment] you can really go on with your life which will be of a much higher quality than it was before”.

 

 

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Sharon’s Weight Loss Success Story

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.”