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Obese and worried?

BY: Arku Jasmine

Though there are cultural underpinnings to the weight of people in Ghana, being obese comes along with lots of depression and feeling of pity for oneself. Sometimes even gaining knowledge about the health implications of one's weight makes matters worse for the obese person; not to talk about the knee joint pains, easy fatigability, wounds between the thighs and many more that the fat person suffers from.

Some also are so desperate for solutions that they shop for anything that is offered on the market with the hope that they would lose weight someday.

In the ‘trotro’

It is just fair to make some people pay for two sits in the trotro and not one. Any time I have to be sandwiched between two fat people in the trotro, the experience is not a good one at all.

I am sure that some of you have also gone through that before. This sometimes results in quarrels among passengers on board these trotros.

One of these days, I will refuse to pay full fees if I am made to sit beside a fat person in the trotro. It is common to see people's face change anytime they are supposed to shift for a fat person to sit beside them.

All these make life unbearable for the obese person. They feel abnormal about their state and are often depressed.

Initially, when slim people are becoming fat, they look very nice. Ladies will look round and beautiful. Their dresses fit them well and everybody admires them. Their husbands or boyfriends will love them the more.

When a young man is becoming plump, they look more handsome and very attractive to ladies, especially the young ones. They are often praised for showing signs of wealth and becoming rich.

This to me is the beginning of bad days to come. These initial praises and acceptance of people's weight status makes them not to ever think of the developing weight as a bad thing. It goes on little by little and they end up obese and worried some years later.

In order to preserve your health and prevent the stigma associated with excess weight gain, one has to start working at losing weight immediately visible changes of weight gain start showing.

When tackled early, it is better to manage than waiting for the problem to become a big one.

Get solutions

Late meals help a lot of people to gain weight beyond the limits for their height, thus they become obese and sick.

Try to have all meals of the day at times such as 8 a.m. in the morning, between 12 noon and 1 p.m. in the afternoon and between 5.30p.m. and 6.30p.m. in the evening. This will help you stay within normal weight for your height.

Eat just enough quantities of food. Eating too much food than is used by the body is responsible for excessive weight gain in many people. You do not have to eat because you can afford a lot of food.

Eat to live and do not live to eat. Studies have shown that most obese people really like food. They are "foodians." Once a while, we see people who do not eat much food but gain weight easily. Preventing the stigma: People do not become obese overnight. It follows a gradual process of adding fat on little by little.

Even for this group of people, we often find out that they eat things that contain lots of energy like toffees, soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit drinks, among others. These are often not regarded as food by the Ghanaian.

Reduce the amount of oil you use in the kitchen. Stews that have oil dancing on top of them are potential weight gain products. Use very little oil in making stews.

Eat meat only after removing all the fat. Remove skin from chicken before using it to make stew.

All fried foods can help you gain weight so eat more of the boiled foods. Keep stews and soups fat free and rather increase their content of fibre.

Engage the services of a dietician who would help you with a diet plan that would suit your individual needs and help you gain/lose weight. Follow the review plans and see good results.

It is not for fun that the dietician restricts you from eating bad food. It is for your own good. Most of the food that will send you to early grave taste good, appeal to you and are very nice.

Take time off your busy schedules to do some useful exercise daily. If you would be able to prevent the stigma some years to come, then you must act today.
Get serious about your health and save yourself and the whole family the agony of having a sick father and/or a sick mother.

By Wise Chukwudi Letsa
The writer of this article is a dietician at The Trust Hospital, Osu-Accra.