It’s the age of social media, and instant ‘fame’ feeding our vanity! Looking good has never been so desirable and it’s not just celebs who are obsessed with looking beautiful. While being fit is always important, social perceptions about beauty standards often drive people to take drastic measures and shortcuts, which don’t always give expected results and sometimes, can be damaging. Recently, Kannada actress Chethana Raj died after developing some complications following her ‘fat-free’ surgery at a private hospital in Bengaluru.
Losing weight is something that we equate with looking beautiful and increasingly, people are opting for different types of surgeries to shed those extra kilos. Nidhi Mohan Kamal, nutritionist and yoga trainer spoke to Zee News English and shared her insights on weight loss surgeries.
Weight loss surgery: Does it promote a certain body type as being desirable?
Nidhi says that weight loss surgeries do promote a certain body type, “but you must understand, that’s the job.” “Unless it’s for critically obese patients (a small percentage), it’s mostly done keeping aesthetics in mind. It’s like plastic surgeries – it’s about fixing the mind. In most cases, these surgeries are not medically required; but it’s about altering body parts – to look glamourised,” says Nidhi. She adds that people who are clinically obese require to undergo procedures, but mostly, people go for aesthetics.
The desire for instant result
Nidhi says that when you want to lose weight by exercising and following a diet, it will take time to show results. “If you want to lose say 3 inches, with diet and exercise, it will take 3-4 months to show results. But here, most people think, it’s like walking into a clinic and leaving within an hour or two, losing that fat,” shares Nidhi.
Nidhi says not just women, even men are opting for these surgeries. “People who face the camera on a regular basis are definitely more conscious. Also, clinics get a lot of requests ahead of wedding season. Not just those getting married, but friends and relatives who want to ‘look good’. There’s a social pressure of looking a certain way, and many people give into that pressure.”
The risks involved
Nidhi shares, “Like in any surgery, there’s always some risks involved and it’s not about walking in and out of a clinic. It’s advertised as a walk-in, walk-out but that’s not the case. Lots of post-operative care is involved and you have to follow the doctor’s advice strictly.”
Nidhi says that it can be risky for anyone, for those who have lifestyle diseases – thyroid, hypertension, diabetes – the risk is “especially not worth taking”. Nidhi says that other beauty treatments are recommended like laser treatment and fat freezing.
Whether it’s a surgery or an injury, the younger you are, it’s easier to heal but Nidhi points out the risk remains subjective. “Of course, like any surgery, the risk is lower in younger people. But like in the case of the Kannada actress Chethana, she was very young (the early 20s). So the risk is subjective and age isn’t a guarantee.”
‘No alternative to healthy living’
Even if you are opting for weight loss surgery, it’s important to note that there’s no alternative to diet and exercise. Nidhi says, “How many calories you are taking in, how much alcohol you are drinking… all these have to be kept in mind. Whether you get an invasive or non-invasive process, you are targeting a particular fat pocket. But other areas of your body can again store fat. So if your calorie intake-calorie outtake is not balanced, you will invariably gain weight.”
She further explains, “If you lose weight by diet and exercise, you don’t decide from where you lose weight and if you gain back the weight, then again you don’t decide where the fat goes. Whereas when you lose fat following a surgical process, you can decide from where you will lose weight, but in the absence of a healthy lifestyle, you will gain weight and where the fat comes back, isn’t up to you. So basically, it’s the same after a point. So you can’t stop leading a healthy life.”