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CityLife Cairns

COVERSTORY Dr Mousa

COVERSTORY Dr Mousa Resistance is futile – how the war on weight is won Soaring overweight and obesity rates in Australia now exceed 60 per cent of adults and over 25 per cent of children. The war against weight has never been more critical as mediocre quality foods, convenience eating and portion control along with reduced activity levels mean new generations face a seemingly insurmountable challenge. Desperate for quick fixes, billions of dollars a year are spent on crash diets, supplements, shakes and the most vulnerable and self-esteem trodden members of society will go to any length – including irreversible, sometimes risky surgery – to fight fat. But what if we’ve been punching at shadows? What if the real enemy of long-term, sustainable weight loss isn’t based solely in will power, calorie control and exercise, but in science? This scientific journey has been the lifetime commitment of Cairns-based Colorectal, Laparoscopic, Melanoma, Breast and General Surgeon Dr Gamal Mousa who is closer to this story than you might expect. Having battled obesity since his teenage years, he is now 51kg lighter and 48cm smaller around his waist (mostly achieved within a period of approximately 14 months) and has maintained this loss without fad diets, supplements or surgery. In prior attempts to lose weight Dr Mousa wrestled with the ‘plateau’ phenomenon – he was able to lose weight in the short term, but it would level out and find its way back. He recognised the error of ‘calorie counting’ alone which he described as a cruel hoax. If sustainable loss were solely about energy deficiency most obese people would be able to mathematically chew their way to skinny provided they consumed less calories than they burned. It doesn’t work that way long term. While this is a part of the solution the cause of the ‘plateau’ and why the body fights to regain its previous highpoint must be tackled. The solution is our biology. Instead of seeing the body as a furnace with excess fuel to burn, focus on the hormones that regulate the energy storage and usage – the thermostat. As the body acquires energy through high-calorie foods, overeating and excessive portion sizes the thermostat recalibrates to a new ‘norm’ to process and store excess creating hormonal resistance. This is part of our caveman DNA to ensure we survive by storing energy in the absence of the next meal. Imagine an air-conditioner thermostat is set to a warm temperature (25 degrees). A window is opened, and cooler air enters (15 degrees). The pre-set temperature of the thermostat (similar to hormonal resistance) will work against the drop-in temperature to bring it back to the preset point of 25 degrees. CityLife 6 Magazine

COVERSTORY “I couldn’t feel any better now” DR GAMAL MOUSA March 2018

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