From flab to fab

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cherry Ann Lim

LOSING 50 to 100 pounds a dream within reach

THERE is a time and place for everything, say food lovers, who always find the time and the place to eat whatever suits their fancy even as they complain about the burden of being overweight.

The result is that in 2008, some 21 percent of Filipinos were overweight, while five percent were obese.

It is a cross many bear that even after starving themselves, jumping in endless aerobics classes, and gyrating to belly dancing, pole dancing or whatever-other-exotic-themed workout, all they can show for their efforts is an expanded gym wardrobe on which the fat they sought to burn still stubbornly clings.

Six years ago, Barbara delos Reyes-Young tried something different and achieved the incredible. She lost 46 pounds in four-and-a-half months on the Cohen lifestyle program in Singapore. She recommended it to a friend, Regina Rodriguez-Chuavon, who in turn recommended it to her sister, Dr. Angela Rodriguez-Bandola.

Chuavon lost 80 pounds in eight months on the program. Her sister Angela, who had weighed 240 pounds, gave up 110 pounds.

The trio then decided to bring the program to Manila. Last Sunday, the Cebu branch of
Cohen’s Lifestyle Centre opened at Unit 105 in Oakridge Business Center A on A. S. Fortuna St. in Mandaue City.

“We are the exclusive licensee in the Philippines and now also the licensee in Singapore,” Young, the center’s president and chief executive officer, told Sun.Star Weekend.

The program is different from other weight loss programs because it does not require exercise or diet pills. It focuses on using food to correct the hormonal imbalance of the body that causes obesity. The best part is that Cohen doesn’t count calories.

In the blood

Young said the program succeeds where others have failed because the plan is “individualized” and teaches a lifestyle that one can maintain.

Under Cohen, each client receives a personal eating plan based on his blood chemistry test results, not blood type, said chief financial officer Chuavon.

“The test determines how much protein and carbohydrates exactly the body needs to trigger fat burning,” said Bandola, clinical associate professor at the UP College of Medicine and managing consultant at Cohen. Exactly means “to the gram.”

Dr. Rami Cohen, the international specialist renowned for his research on the hormones
involved in obesity and weight loss, designs the program for each of the clients, she said.

Tamsin Booth, a believer who lost 51.5 pounds on the program, raved at the delicious food she could still eat, adding that Cohen could use “all-Filipino food” and was not expensive. When she travels, she said, she is also given a list of what she can eat in other countries.

Clients are supported over three phases that encompass weight loss; stabilization, also called the refeeding phase, where richer food is reintroduced without upsetting the balance created by the eating plan; and maintenance, when clients have completed the program and are given guidelines on how to eat regular food.

Baby love

Booth said the change in her diet also improved her skin. But Bandola, a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology, said Cohen has been more life-changing than that, as some women with fertility problems found that after going on Cohen, the baby cometh.

It’s not just because the reduced abdominal girth that comes with weight loss ignites the fire in the bedroom but because the hormonal imbalance of the overweight affects their fertility.

“A 10 percent weight loss for women helps them ovulate spontaneously,” Bandola said. “Ob-gyns refer patients to Cohen to improve their chances of getting pregnant.”

After eight years of trying, Bandola herself gave birth after going on Cohen.

For those not looking to increase the population, she cited the many other benefits of weight loss.

“Just a 10 kilogram weight loss will already improve one’s blood sugar and blood pressure, and reduce the frequency of joint pain, breathlessness and sleep apnea, resulting also in the decreased incidence of snoring,” she said.

And for those who need God to stop them from opening the refrigerator, Cohen promises a decrease in hunger levels. Yet energy levels will increase to allow one to enjoy his new life.

As Bandola herself experienced after losing half her size: “Shopping is amazing. You can buy off the rack. It is also easier to travel (or move about) and buy shoes.”

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