STAFF at the Albury Sayle Primary School were encouraged to improve their quality of life by paying attention to their food choices, reading labels, and watching their sugar intake.
Albury Sayle alumnus, local advanced laparoscopic and obesity surgeon, Dr Charles C Diggiss, recently addressed members of staff on their professional Development Day with a topic that is dear to everyone’s heart – food.
Dr Diggiss addressed the importance of food in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
“Healthy food choices improve your overall quality of life,” Dr Diggiss told the staff. “Being overweight or obese, compromises your ability to be ‘your very best’.”
Dr Diggiss explained how he became an obesity surgeon. He also highlighted the health challenges his obesity patients experience, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and joint problems, which result in their inability to participate in activities to burn calories.
“This is why weight loss surgery is a very effective tool that enables obese patients to bring their weight down,” he said.
Dr Diggiss acknowledged that there is a percentage of overweight persons in the Bahamas who only need to lose about 25-50 pounds to be back to their ideal weight.
However, for about one third of the adult population who need to lose 100 pounds or more, weight loss surgery is an important intervention to actually getting to and maintaining a healthy weight. In his presentation to Albury Sayle Primary’s staff, he addressed key factors that play an important role in achieving this goal: namely, food choices, portions, preparation and frequency of meals. He said that “our food choices have a lot to do with putting on weight.”
“What are your food demons,” he asked. “What is that food choice which when you eat or drink it will put weight on you?”
Dr Diggiss acknowledged that as persons get older many often gain weight and have health challenges. He shared a bit about his personal weight loss journey, which began at 223 pounds, two years ago.
“Through exercise and making better food choices, I am now 196 pounds but after a brief Family Island weekend getaway a few weeks ago, I was 199 pounds, three pounds heavier. Look at how easily it creeps up on you,” he said.
Dr Diggiss, therefore, urged Albury Sayle’s staff to make healthier food choices by reading the nutritional information on the packing of foods before eating them. He passed around the room various food items such as chocolate bars, two loaves of bread, two containers of milk, several large bags of potato chips, two packages of sugar and packets of sweeteners to the seated Albury Sayle staff so that they could read the labels and nutritional information and see how many calories each item contained.
He first passed out chocolate bars, revealing that just one chocolate bar could be more than the calories burned during a one hour morning power walk. He said that if you need 1500-1700 calories daily to keep you alive or maintain a certain weight, then your daily intake has to be less than that or not exceed it, if diet alone is your chosen weight loss method.
Dr Diggiss stressed that by the time a person consumes one chocolate bar and a sugary drink, that person has just eaten in excess of 560 calories of what is usually called a “snack”.
“You haven’t even had your meal yet!” he exclaimed.
He, therefore, urges anyone trying to get a handle on their weight to track their calories for a week.
“You will astound yourself with the amount of calories you are actually putting in your body,” he said.