Dr John Augustine, a Kochi-based orthopaedic surgeon, was in despair just a few months ago. For three years he had starved himself and had not lost even half a kilo. Nearly six feet tall, and 133 kg on the scales, he looked massive and suffered from frequent back pain. “After a four-hour surgery, I would feel very tired,” he says. At the end of his tether, he turned to the Smart Escaso (Spanish word for slim) Club run by Dr Grinto Davy for help.
Davy had a simple formula for Augustine. “When you eat, you should aim not to fill your stomach, but to kill your hunger,” he says.
So, every morning at 8.30, Augustine began taking his breakfast, which consisted sometimes of idlis or upma. At 10.30am, he had three cashew nuts. Then lunch at 12.30pm, was the usual meal of rice, sambhar and vegetables. But at 2.30pm he was asked to eat a few cashews or almonds. “The aim was to keep the energy levels up,” says Davy. At 5.30pm, another small snack, followed by dinner at 7.30 pm “There should be a three-hour interval before you go to sleep,” says Davy. “The problem of having rice or chicken late at night is that it does not get digested, and ends up stored around the stomach.”
In three months, Augustine lost 25kg. And, after a further two months, his weight had gone down to 101kg. “In Augustine’s case, since the muscle weight is heavy, being 100 kg is fine,” says Davy. Today Augustine has a lot of energy even in the evenings, his back pain is gone, and so has the occasional migraine headache.
“This is a scientific method,” says Augustine, who has also tried the General Motors as well as the Atkins High Protein Diet. “In the Escaso method you can have different varieties of food; there is no dieting at all. Many Hollywood actresses, after giving birth, have used the same plan. The best part is that there are no pills to swallow.”
Meanwhile, when patients are too heavy, they suffer from joint pains and are unable to do any exercise. So Davy gives them a neuro-muscular stimulation. “When we exercise two things happen: muscle contraction and relaxation,” says Davy. “If you place an electrode on the muscle, and give an electrical stimulation, the same thing can be replicated.” This stimulation is done on the tummy, waist and hip areas, where there are large muscle groups. “Research has confirmed that this improves the functional capacity,” says Davy.
Many film stars like Kavya Madhavan and Bhavna have also come to the club. Prolonged shooting schedules led to irregular eating patterns. “For two years, I avoided rice and ate only oats to lose weight, but nothing happened,” says Kavya and adds, “But two months after I started following the Escaso method, I lost 8kg.”
Davy says most come to him to enhance their looks rather than for health reasons. He has some unusual treatments like the Dead Sea mineral treatment. “It is a body pampering treatment. Dead Sea minerals are very good for the skin. The mud from the sea is rubbed all over the body. Later, the dead cells on the skin are removed by using a good scrub followed by a steam bath. It ends with a butter massage. It makes the skin soft and leaves a glow. Dead Sea minerals can also be used for those who also suffer from dry or allergic skin,” says Davy.
The doctor’s most gratifying experience was when a 26-year-old girl Sudha, weighing 91kg, came to the clinic. “She suffered from poor self-esteem because she had been teased a lot,” says Davy. “When I met her, she did not even look at me. Instead, she stood in one corner of the room.” Thanks to the treatment, Sudha went down to 56kg and is about to get married. “In fact, the other day, Sudha had come to invite me for her wedding,” says a smiling Davy.