Lose weight with exercise, healthy meals, not crash diets
Abu Dhabi - Doctors in the UAE are urging people to shed weight in a healthy way.
By Jasmine Al Kuttab
Published: Fri 5 Jan 2018, 9:13 PM
Last updated: Sun 7 Jan 2018, 2:25 PM
'New Year, new body' is almost part of everyone's New Year goals, but how realistic is it?
Doctors in the UAE are urging people to shed weight in a healthy way. Health experts claim they witness a significant increase in the number of patients requesting drastic results and even plastic surgeries at the start of every year - which are not always the best solutions to put an end to their health problems.
Archana Baju, clinical dietitian, Burjeel Hospital, said patients often request for drastic weight loss because they believe a new body equals a fresh start to the year. "We see an increase in the number of people each year asking for weight reduction, but they want to achieve the goals in a short-term, which means opting for crash diets."
She pointed out that some patients would shed a whopping 15kg in just 30 days, which could lead to a health crisis in future. "Those requesting to lose 15 kilos in one month might be able to do it following a crash diet, but the risks are enormous. They will not only quickly gain the weight back, but they have the risk of doubling that weight," she warned.
She said setting goals to achieve a healthy body is the right thing to do, but it must be done on a long-term basis, by following a healthy diet which includes the right portioned meals from all the food groups, as well as daily exercise.
"Those who jump on the crash diet bandwagon will see a significant weight loss the first two weeks, but this weight loss is not fat - it's just water."
The clinical dietitian thus does not recommend cutting off any food groups, as she believes all groups are essential for a healthy living.
"Patients often believe that the first thing they need to do is cut off all carbohydrates, but this can only be followed for a week or two because we need carbohydrates to survive."
She said the real goal is to cut down on refined sugars and refined carbohydrates. "Diets should be realistic, they are not about cutting off certain foods, but about cutting down."
She also advises people to include a lot of fruits and vegetables in their meals. "Fruits and vegetables can do a lot of magic for the body, they contain essential vitamins and antioxidants, but people usually take these for granted. It is crucial to lose weight slowly and steady, so you don't find yourself in a health crisis later in life."
Patients for plastic surgeryDr Leon Alexander, plastic surgery specialist at Universal Hospital, said he witnesses a rise in the number of patients requesting plastic surgery, hoping it will help them achieve their ideal body. "Patients often come to us at the end of the year saying they want to start the year fresh."
Dr Alexander said the number one requested surgery in the UAE is weight loss surgery for both men and women, followed by injectables, such as fillers and botox, and rhinoplasty.
He said patients want to lose stubborn weight that they have not been able to lose through diet and exercise, so they turn to liposuction
"Many people believe: 'Now it is a new year and it's time to start fresh'. They want a new look that they couldn't achieve before."
However, Dr Alexander said patients sometimes make unrealistic and drastic requests. "Our job is to counsel them and let them know that surgery is not the solution."
Obese patients hope that liposuction would not only change their body but also their life. "We need to let them know that this is not a weight loss surgery, they must first commit to a lifestyle change. Just because you undergo liposuction doesn't mean that's the end of your problem. It doesn't work that way," he stressed.
"It is vital to understand that plastic surgery is not the solution. While plastic surgery can help achieve some goals, it is not the end to the problem."