Los­ing weight and find­ing hap­pi­ness

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE - Com­mer­cial Fea­tures writer

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.

Lynette Hub­bard

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.



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