Losing weight and finding happiness
TO MANY people, losing weight is less about the cosmetic value and more about the emotional and physical health issues.
To some, shedding a few kilos entails a month or two of dieting or following the trendiest exercise regime made famous by some Hollywood actress who has been paid millions in endorsement deals.
The reality for too many is that losing weight is a enormous battle. For these people, the effort to lose weight is one that entails real guts and determination as well as help and support from others.
The caring people at Chrysalis Clinic at Life Kingsbury Hospital in Claremont understand the true needs of obese people. The clinic is one of Cape Town’s centres of excellence for bariatric surgery.
Commonly known as gastric bypass surgery, the procedure is used to reverse serious health risks associated with morbid obesity.
Sister Gill Gibson, co-ordinator of Chrysalis Clinic explains: “The operation either restricts the amount of food a patient can consume, inhibits the absorption of food that is consumed, or both.”
With television and magazine advertisements bombarding the public with über beautiful and skinny people boasting that they lost 10kg in just 30 days thanks to… blah blah blah… many people are fooled into to believing this is the norm and that we should all look that way.
At the end of the day, many people remain confused about their weight, questioning their size and the impact it has on their health.
But being obese is beyond being overweight and puts a person at risk for serious lifestyle diseases including diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Choosing surgery can be frightening. Understanding the worries related to those undergoing the surgery, the clinic offers the best care to all its patients.
“This highly specialised laparoscopic surgery is often the only option for obese patients, but there can be complications,” says Gibson.
“In order to provide complete care for bariatric patients, our team at Life Kingsbury Hospital’s GIT unit comprises endocrinologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, dieticians, a biokineticist, a critical care physician, specialist anaesthetists, super-specialised surgeons, physiotherapists and a support group.”
The South African Demographic and Health Survey, undertaken in 1998, found high rates of obesity with 29% of men and 56% of women being classified obese.
In Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal more than one-third of women were found to be obese.
One Capetonian who had many reasons to have the surgery was Lynette Hubbard.
Twelve months ago Lynette had a dangerously high body mass index (BMI) of more than 40, (the average BMI for an overweight per- son is between 27 and 30) with the associated health risks of morbid obesity.
What’s more, she was only three years away from turning 58, the age at which her mother had died while undergoing heart bypass surgery 30 years earlier.
Lynette knew she needed to do something about her health, and went for a consultation at Chrysalis Clinic at Life Kingsbury Hospital.
“By the time I left, my decision was made,” says Lynette who is one of more than a hundred patients to have undergone complex bariatric surgery at Chrysalis Clinic since its opening in 2005.
The surgery turned out to be a life -changing experience, a nd today Lynette has a healthy BMI of 25 and leads an active life.
She dances, walks on the beach and goes to the gym several times a week.
Her belief in the surgery is so high that even after having suffered some of the most dreaded complications from the surgery, Lynette firmly believes it is one of the best decisions that she has ever made and has no regrets.
“I have no regrets. I would do it again in a heartbeat,” she says.
She also acts as a role model for many who may be thinking about having the surgery.
“I never try to convince people to have the surgery, but I share my story with them so that they can make their own decisions, because having the surgery is a very personal choice,” says Lynette.
She contributes most of the success to the valuable support she received and is still receiving at the clinic in the form of support groups and continuous reminders to attend follow-up visits.