Times of Oman
Nov 30, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 06:53 AM GMT
Reduce fat, be fit
January 24, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Doctors are seeing ever more diseases caused by overeating and the western style diet. Within a generation the simple, traditional, healthy diets of the past have changed in favour of western-style, high fat, factory-made food. Rocketing levels of obesity are common in the Gulf as well as newly wealthy countries such as China, India and Brazil.

People who are obese or morbidly obese need education
They need help and education from doctors. But very often it is the doctors and healthcare professionals that also need help. As their hours become ever longer and they spend less time visiting patients and more time sitting behind desks listening to a catalogue of preventable problems caused by modern lifestyle, the more stressful their work becomes. Stress at seeing so much preventable suffering and more hours sitting can lead to their own weight gain. Many doctors have told me how worrying they find it that so few patients are willing to commit to long-term habit changes to improve their health. Many patients come to the doctor to have the disease brought under control with medicine but are not willing to make simple changes that will improve their health and ensure they lead more active fruitful lives.

It is a fact that obesity is an outward sign of problems to come:
Diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, mobility problems.

While there are clinical causes for weight gain, for the majority it is due to over-eating and a lack of exercise. These problems are avoidable if people return to wise traditional tried and tested eating practices of the past.

In the past people were slim and healthy while today people are becoming heavier and heavier. With education we can compare today's diet and eating habits with the eating habits of parents and grandparents. Levels of diabetes are soaring in wealthy countries and Type II diabetes, once unknown in the young, and which used to be called adult diabetes is now very common in children as they become more and more addicted to sweet foods.
For generations Arabians lived on a simple, healthy diet of real food: Meat, yoghurt, dates, home-made bread, and fish. Meals were prepared with love from fresh ingredients.

Today most of the food we eat is prepared without love in a factory with a list of ingredients that would not be used in the home: such as artificial colourings, artificial flavourings artificial sweeteners and monosodium glutamate. What scientists are finally coming to realise is that if you eat real food, you do not need to go on diets, your weight will take care of itself as your body has all the ingredients it needs for health and repair.

Next time you go to the supermarket look for real food, simple fresh ingredients: not the stuff on the shelves in colourful boxes but the real fresh food. Fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and cereals. If we allow ourselves to become unhealthy who are we helping? Not ourselves and not our doctors who will have to take care of us. It is what you do today that affects your health tomorrow.

Medical studies now show that there is a link between obesity and chronic illness. How you eat today affects your health tomorrow. Losing weight is not just about looking better. It is also about preventing chronic illness. Maintaining a healthy body weight is one of the greatest steps we can take to ensure good health. Not many patients realise that obesity isn't just the fat sitting just under the skin (the fat you can pinch) it is also the visceral fat inside the body, wrapped around the organs, causing stress and damage.

When doctors suggest you lose weight and take exercise they are asking you to help them improve your health, long term.

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