Those of us who have struggled with weight gain understand all too well how difficult it can be to shed pounds. Of course, one needn’t be obese in order to feel that struggle, everyone who has ever been on a diet can tell you that it’s no easy task to manage one’s weight.
There are many solutions out there, from changing your diet and lifestyle to engaging in regular exercise, but sometimes, even those tried and true methods aren’t enough. Some people just need a little extra help from modern medicine. Take for instance the boy in today’s miraculous tale…
Subject: Arya Permana (Fat Protagonist), Roberto Firmino (Iconic sports star)
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Myths and a Village
There were rumors about him, as there are always rumors about such things. People had been traveling from all the nearby villages to visit the small, Indonesian hamlet of Cipurwasari and behold the modern curiosity that resided there. It sounded like something out of a turn-of-the-century sideshow ad by P.T. Barnum.
They were calling him the “World’s Fattest Child.” Cruel as this moniker sounded, he was overweight. In fact, Arya Permana was so morbidly obese that doctors were baffled by his condition. When world news stories first caught wind of the boy’s condition, they arrived to find him submerged in a water tank, trying his best to cool down in the oppressive Javan heat.
Arya’s birth was fairly straightforward. He was born at home, naturally, and came into the world weighing a very normal 7 lbs. Soon enough though, the toddler began to pack on pounds at an astonishing and abnormal rate. His parents asked several of the village doctors, but they didn’t seem concerned with his Arya’s rapid weight gain.
As it turned out, Arya’s doctors had overlooked the fact that this wasn’t normal “baby weight,” the two-year-old was ballooning at an alarming rate. Eventually, it got so bad that he couldn’t even walk. He grew out of all of his clothes. His parents had no choice but to dress him in a sarong, just so they had something he’d fit into. Everyone seemed at a loss to explain what was happening.
Obesity itself is a serious and very common medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to such an extent that it will almost certainly have a negative impact on a person’s overall health. It is a growing (pardon the term) problem in the Western world, specifically in the United States and is caused by a number of factors.
Those who are considered obese have an increased chance of a number of various diseases and conditions. Cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, certain types of cancer, osteoarthritis, and depression are all particularly common and dangerous representations of these conditions. Even at 10 years old, Arya was in danger of some of these as well.
Pains and Struggles
At 440 lbs, 10-year-old Arya was experiencing all the tell-tale signs of unhealthy obesity. He would get short of breath and because of this, would end up sleeping with his head leaned against a wall in order to breath properly. This ended up leaving him with a permanently bruised forehead. His size also meant that he needed to submerge himself in a tank of water to cool down.
Many a Meal
Unsure what she could do to stop it, Arya’s mother Rokayah continued feeding her son as she had been. He was feeding him upwards of five times a day simply because her son would complain that he was hungry. The doctors had told her in a recent check-up that the boy was “perfectly healthy” when even she could see that he was clearly not.
Arya’s parents were also struggling to keep him and themselves fed. Their ever-hungry ten-year-old was as demanding as any child his age and their meager monthly salary was simply not enough to satiate his appetite. As such, the couple began borrowing money from friends and relatives to feed all of them.
Arya would go through food like it was nothing. He’d eat enough rice, fish curry, beef, vegetable soup, and chicken to feed two adults for an entire day; and that was just in three of his five meals. In an effort to stop him from growing any bigger, his parents put him on a strict no-sugar diet, but even that did little more than irritate the demanding young man.
Despite making all efforts to get to the bottom of the problem medically, doctors continued to tell Rokayah that there was nothing medically wrong with her son’s health. Try as she might, she couldn’t get a clear answer or reason for why the boy had packed on so much weight so fast. And at this point, it wasn’t as if she could simply stop feeding him.
Fasting to No Effect
There were times when Arya didn’t eat, of course. During Ramadan, Arya fasted with the rest of his family for the first half of each day. Eventually, though, he started to experience excruciating stomach pains from fasting until sunset and the family determined that he could no longer participate in that particular facet of the holy month.
Eventually, even his naysaying doctors had to concede that the something had to be done about the 10-year-old Indonesian boy. They told his parents that he would be put on an emergency diet because the alternative was that the obesity would continue to threaten the boy’s life until nothing more could be done.
The diet was, as most of them had been, a mild success, but after seeing that Arya could indeed lose the weight, his doctors decided they could take a more drastic and permanent step. They suggested Arya undergo gastric bypass surgery to help lose weight and keep it off once and for all. It was a delicate, life-changing procedure, but it was the only hope he had for a normal life.
Hard Work and Diet
The surgery was a success and the follow-up for so drastic a medical procedure was that Arya be kept on a liquid diet for a few weeks to ensure a healthy metabolic reset. After that, the boy was kept on a strict diet and once he was able, began a rigorous exercise program. He began walking three miles a day and the results began to show themselves almost immediately.
Part of what made Arya’s weight loss so substantial was the fact that he himself wanted to lose the weight. He dreamed of becoming a professional footballer like his idol, Roberto Firmino. Today, he weighs just about half of what he previously had and can walk and play soccer with his friends.
Arya Permana went from weighing 440 lbs to an astonishing 225. He lost 215 pounds in a scant three years and his parents are helping to keep it off by making sure he stays away from anything sugary whatsoever. He doesn’t drink soft drinks or eat anything with refined sugar and despite his previous lifestyle, he doesn’t seem to miss it.
Arya is also wearing normal clothes now as well. Gone is the over-large sarong and back is a massive t-shirt that shows how staggering his weight loss has been. He has decided to share his story on Instagram, which has allowed the now 13-year-old to receive support and well wishes from all over the world.
Walking with Friends
The support of his fans has helped Arya to be comfortable in his own skin. “Now I am happy, I can walk. I can play as well,” Arya wrote on his Instagram. “I have become more agile than before. I like playing football too. I can walk 5km with my friends and every afternoon I play football with them.”
Because of the weight loss, Arya has even been able to achieve another one of his dreams as well. He can ride a motorcycle, though with a little help of course. He is currently preparing for junior high and since the school is pretty far from their home, he will be riding the motorbike there on his own before long.
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