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Obesity – The scourge of this millennium

Dr. Victor Ti / Khmer Times Share:
The 3 main causes of obesity are eating too much high-calorie food, having a sedentary lifestyle and sleep deprivation. They are the triple whammies of modern time. Reuters

Fat cells are the ‘storeroom’ of our body. An average human adult has 30 billion fat cells with a weight of 30 lbs or 13 kilograms and their function is to store excess energy. When we eat too much high-calorie food and use up too little, the excess energy is stored in our fat cells.

Fat cells have no empty room and thus they simply balloon up when more energy is stored in them. Ballooning up the 30 billion cells would certainly make us round, puffy and heavy. That doesn’t only make us look ugly, we also become unhealthy. And when obesity (fatness) becomes morbid, it leads to diseases and significant fatality.

Sadly, the world’s population is growing fatter and fatter. Three decades ago, only 15 percent of Americans were obese. Today it has risen to more than 35 percent. Obesity is associated with many health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, lung disease, liver disease, arthritis, sleep apnea, many types of cancer, deep vein thrombosis and depression. Generally, obesity decreases life expectancy by an average of seven years.

The three main causes of obesity are eating too much high-calorie food, having a sedentary lifestyle and sleep deprivation. They are the triple whammies of modern time.

The pace of our lifestyle-change over the past 50 years is far too fast for our body to adapt. Nowadays, people eat far too much food with high calories and high fat content. Also, they sit far too long. Almost everything is digitized and most work can be done sitting down with just digital movements. People tend to work long hours to meet their never ending targets and often they stay up late in bed with their mind and fingers hooked to their digital gadget.

Truly, people in the so-called modern time eat and live disastrously. The way they eat and live with little sleep is indeed far from suitable for the human mind and body that is still largely more suited to a caveman’s lifestyle.

As a family physician who understands human physiology, and psychology better, I strive to unearth hidden secrets to better health to inspire my faithful readers to understand health problems better and institute effective behavioural changes for a healthier and happier life. All real treasures, like the diamond and pearls, are often hidden deep beneath. Someone needs to unearth it. Here it is, another six million dollar health secret that I would like to reveal to you:

When our body is burning up fats, why stop it?

Knowledge is power and knowledge precedes all right actions. And right actions, in turn, produce real tangible results. Our body is a highly intelligent sophisticated system. When we need energy, the power house in our cells called mitochondria would burn up glucose to release the energy we need. Blood transports the glucose to the cells and as more and more of the glucose is burned down, the level of glucose in the blood falls.

When the level of our blood glucose falls too low, our body will mobilise fats from our fat cells to provide us the energy we need.

Hormones regulating our blood sugar levels activate an enzyme called lipase that ignites fat cells to release triglycerides. Triglycerides are made of glycerol and three fatty acid chains. The liver snatches up the glycerol to break it down to produce energy, and the fatty acids move to the muscles for energy production there.

Triglycerides are what make the fat cells fat. The more they are released, the smaller the fat cells will become and when the fat cells of our body shrink, our body in turn shrinks like a deflating balloon. Our body becomes leaner and slimmer with more attractive curves and configuration that we had been yearning for all this while.

So what is the problem? Why do so many people fail to lose weight effectively?

Fat mobilization is activated when the blood sugar is too low. Low blood sugar is associated with a number of signs and symptoms. The common ones are light-headedness, dizziness, lower concentration, weakness, irritability, feeling of hunger, tremor of hands/fingers and a peculiar fruity breath odour. All these cause some degree of discomfort. We tend to overreact too quickly and reach out for some food to alleviate these discomforts. And this is where we go wrong! This is the most important part of weight reduction. We must recognise these signs and symptoms, welcome them and BEFRIEND them!

Stay with these ‘friends’ for an hour or two, or perhaps until the next meal. Look at them from a friendly perspective. Continue visualising this in your mind as many times as you can. Once your belief system accepts and integrates these changes, you will change. When these signs and symptoms become your good friends, your fat cells will definitely shrink. You will definitely slim down. This is the law. There is no exception. Understand this well and start applying it now. You can never fail. The first step to any achievements is to understand where you go wrong. The next step is to know how to overcome that mistake.

Soon, I will be introducing a knowledge based weight reduction programme that comes with multi-discipline coaching on behavioural changes, fitness exercise and a healthy nutritional recommendation to help all those who need a comprehensive health-based approach to effective weight reduction and control. This will be done in the most natural and healthy way. We hope to get a good nutritionist and fitness professionals to work together to make this programme a success in Cambodia. It is hoped that this programme will achieve its goal to help millions of people overcome obesity and its related medical problems and help them march towards a healthier and happier life.

My next column will be on ‘Plant-based diet – The healthier choice’.

Dr. Victor Ti, MD, MFAM (Malaysia), FRACGP (Australia), Dip P Dermatology (UK), Dip STDs/AIDS (Thailand), Dip. AARAM (USA), LCP of Aesthetic Med.(Malaysia) is an experienced expat specialist generalist (Family Physician) of BH Clinic, Phnom Penh. As a specialist generalist, he is skillful at diagnosing all general diseases and excluding the sinister ones. Apart from the general diseases, Dr. Victor is also known for his skill in skin diseases, sexually transmitted diseases, minor surgery and aesthetic medicine. He can be contacted via email [email protected] Tel: 023900446 or Whatsapp: +60164122977

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