As a doctor, I celebrate every small win in my sphere of work because each one is about giving hope or life to someone else. Especially in the niche that I operate in, where every kilo lost by the patient and every reduction in prescription or dosage is a victory.
Which is why Perfect 10, the new calendar from CODS is very special to me.
It’s a new initiative started by my team to give back to all these women who trusted us with their lives and give them their dream years back. It is a platform for these women to step out of their comfort zones and express themselves. It is not about showcasing them in bikinis with perfect bodies, but about showing the world 10 perfectly happy women with a new sense of confidence. They are ready to take on the world on their terms.
As a concept, the calendar is a big victory not only for every single woman in it but also for all the 250 who applied.
You may well ask – why not feature men as well? Why just women?
I believe that obesity affects women much more psychologically and socially, than it does men. A few cases that come to my mind are an obese daughter who hated her thin mother and the mother’s consequent despair. O r a sibling who loathed her younger sister, because she was not so plump, which drove her towards suicidal tendencies. And then there is the large number of young girls who compromise on their choice of life partners as they believe that their obesity will never get them the man of their dreams.
I have noticed that these women, and others like them, shrink into their own cocoons. They are ridden with complexes, and are robbed of the joys of life. They fear that their friends are judgmental, and people do not care for them, which, in some unfortunate cases, is true.
The world of fashion and beauty, too, creates these mirages in which thin is beautiful. The women who come into our clinic battle to conform, and lose out. This causes depression, and, often, binge eating. The vicious cycle gets worse – you feel depressed because you are obese, and overeat, becoming even more so.
For women, these issues also get complicated medically, especially in the age bracket of 20 to 40. Lifestyle diseases such as PCOS are aggravated by obesity. Pregnancy gets tougher, and the resulting weight gain is disastrous.
Until a few years ago, parents in India needed convincing about the benefits of surgery. Now, I find that they have become more supportive. They understand the unique problems of obesity and encourage their children to undergo surgery. They are aware it will not impact their sexual lives or chances of getting pregnant, but instead, give them healthier and happier lives.
I believe that as a bariatric surgeon, I not only cut their stomachs, but also, quite literally, years of regrets and bitterness. I inject a whole new reason to live and smile.
Last week, I was on the sets of the calendar, watching the bustle. There were fittings, hair, make-up and clothes designed by Sheetal Design Studio. It was very magnanimous of my friends Dhiren and Jeetu Shah to have helped me in this endeavor. (Did you know that these were the folks that dressed all the pageant queens that India sent on to Miss Universe and Miss World?)
I absolutely loved to see the looks on the faces of the 10 women. The excitement, and energy were palpable. I was moved to think about the fact that a few years ago, these women would never have imagined they’d be participating in a professional fashion shoot. And yet here they were, getting makeovers and feeling like the most beautiful women in the world!
The calendar has made them feel special. It is their moment in the sun and we are happy to be a part of it. I am thrilled that I accomplished a promise I made to them years ago, when I told them that they were beautiful and would make them believe that in due time.
The CODS calendar is our tribute to all these fabulous women on Women’s Day.
If you would like one, do reach us to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org