Is Bariatric Surgery Worth It?

If you struggle with obesity or obesity-related health complications, you may be wondering if bariatric surgery is worth the time and money involved. Researching the subject on the internet can turn up glowing reviews of weight loss surgery, while other results may create confusion, fear, and more questions.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bariatric Surgery

Knowing the facts about bariatric surgery can help address any questions or concerns you may have. The following are some of the most common questions that may arise as you research bariatric procedures:

  1. Am I eligible for weight loss surgery? You may worry that preexisting health issues may preclude you from weight loss surgery, but this is not the case. Most individuals seeking a bariatric procedure suffer from significant health issues due to obesity, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, etc. To qualify for weight loss surgery, you must have a BMI over 40 or a BMI of 35+ and a health condition related to obesity. However, individuals with a BMI over 30 are eligible for a gastric plication procedure like The Wrap.
  2. What are the prerequisites for surgery? After meeting the minimum requirements for weight loss surgery, your surgeon will order several tests, including blood work, an EKG, a chest x-ray, and other tests specific to your health. Depending on the circumstances, you may have to undergo a sleep study for sleep apnea or a psychological evaluation. Your surgeon may recommend that you meet with a nutritionist as well to help you establish healthy eating habits prior to surgery.
  3. What are my options for weight loss surgery? The most common weight loss procedures include gastric bypass surgery, laparoscopic banding, sleeve gastrectomy, and gastric plication. Gastric bypass surgery separates the stomach into two sections, leaving a small portion for food consumption. Laparoscopic banding involves placing a band around the stomach to reduce how much food you can consume. Sleeve gastrectomy (gastric sleeve) removes a significant portion of the stomach to create a smaller, sleeve-shaped stomach. Gastric plication involves creating large folds in the existing stomach to reduce its size.
  4. Which weight loss surgery is best for me? You and your surgeon will make this decision during your consultation. All bariatric procedures are laparoscopic surgeries, meaning they use tiny incisions. This reduces recovery time as well as the risk of infection.
  5. How successful is weight loss surgery? Most patients (75-80%) experience long-term weight loss success following bariatric surgery. Long-term studies show that patients can lose 50-60% of their excess weight and keep it off for over a decade. Depending on the procedure, patients can lose 30-50% of their excess weight within six months.
  6. What is recovery like after weight loss surgery? Depending on the procedure, you can expect to stay 2-4 days in the hospital. After that, it typically takes 1-2 weeks to resume driving and to return to work. If your job is physically demanding, it may take up to six weeks before you can return. You’ll also have several post-op appointments in the first year after surgery and then one or two appointments a year to monitor your progress, health, and address any concerns.
  7. How much weight will I lose? It’s common to lose 50-100 pounds or more in the first year after bariatric surgery. While it’s possible to lose 2-3 pounds per week, one pound a week is more typical. However, how much you lose and keep off depends on your commitment to making a lifestyle change. You will need to adhere to a special bariatric diet and exercise regularly.
  8. Can I afford bariatric surgery? The price tag associated with weight loss procedures can seem daunting. However, the total cost is often less than purchasing a new car. Additionally, many insurance companies provide coverage for bariatric surgery, so it may cost you a great deal less than you expect. You can reach out to your insurance provider to learn more about your specific policy.

Most patients experience weight loss success after bariatric surgery. Losing weight often resolves obesity-related illnesses as well, which makes the procedure well worth the investment. If you’re struggling to lose weight or are experiencing health issues due to your weight, bariatric surgery may be for you. Contact us to learn more about bariatric surgery for weight loss.

6 Tips to Manage Special Occasions After Bariatric Surgery

If you’re considering a bariatric procedure, you may be wondering about how your day-to-day life will change after surgery. You’ll need to make diet changes, learn new bariatric-friendly meals, make sure you stay hydrated, and figure out when to fit exercise into your agenda. The holiday season and special occasions require even more planning, as they deviate from a typical day and can throw off your schedule.

Holidays and events usually revolve around food, which further complicates the issue. Many people use the holidays as an excuse to overeat, but these indulgences happen more often than many realize. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and so on occur with regularity and can slow your weight loss or derail your diet. However, this doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to missing out on festivities. By implementing various strategies, you can enjoy holidays and special occasions while keeping up with your weight loss goals.

The following can help you stick to your bariatric diet while enjoying holidays and celebratory events:

  1. Don’t save your calories. The allure of a large and savory dinner may tempt you to forego breakfast and skimp out on lunch to save calories. However, this can backfire in several ways. If you show up hungry, you’re more likely to eat more than if you’d eaten your regular meals. Your new anatomy has pretty stringent food limitations as well. Consuming more than your new stomach allows can lead to dumping syndrome, vomiting, or stretching out your stomach over time.
  2. Remember the basics. The rules for your new diet don’t change around the holidays or special events. Remember to stick with appropriate portion sizes, start with your protein first, and practice mindful eating. Adhering to the basics can help you track your food intake and notice when you’re full.
  3. Don’t eat while socializing. Mindful eating is difficult if you’re catching up with a family member or chatting with a friend. You’re much more likely to overindulge when you’re not paying attention to how much you’re eating. When you are socializing, keep a glass of water in your hand to help with hydration.
  4. Read the menu in advance. It’s not always possible to know what food options will be available, but it can be a helpful tool if it’s available. You can look for options that suit your new bariatric diet and remove the guesswork of trying to figure it out on the fly. You can also bring your own meals or a dish to share to guarantee that there is an acceptable food option for you.
  5. Stay active. Holidays and celebrations often go hand-in-hand with savory meals and decadent desserts. If your friends and family overindulge, they’re more likely to be interested in doing physical activities with you. Ask if anyone wants to take a walk with you or organize a family group activity to elevate your heart rate. Skipping one workout can lead to scrapping another and eventually cause you to fall out of the habit.
  6. Don’t judge yourself too harshly. No one is perfect. Temptation may get the better of you, or you might allow yourself too many days of indulgence. You haven’t ruined your diet by skipping a workout or eating too many desserts. Remember, it’s just a meal!

Having a plan can help you stick to your bariatric diet while enjoying holidays and special events. The above tips can help you stay committed to achieving your weight loss goals. Contact us to learn more about weight loss surgery.

What Weight Loss Surgery is Covered by Insurance?

If you’re considering weight loss surgery, you’ve likely done preliminary research about the benefits, risks, and cost. Given that weight loss procedures can cost upward of $20,000 out of pocket, sticker shock may bring your weight loss journey to a halt. However, many insurance providers now offer coverage for bariatric surgery. In fact, most insurance companies that cover weight loss surgery will cover gastric bands, laparoscopic gastric bypass, and gastric sleeve surgery.

Policy Matters

Although many insurance carriers offer coverage for bariatric surgery, not every policy includes this benefit. Some policies may only provide partial coverage, while others may outright exclude bariatric procedures. You can call your insurance provider to see how much coverage they offer to help guide your next steps.

If you’re covered, you can continue your weight loss surgery journey. Consider attending seminars to meet with others who had bariatric surgery to learn more about their experiences. If you don’t have coverage, you have a few options to explore:

  • Get in touch with HR. Insurance providers have an annual open enrollment that allows you to make changes to your coverage. While some policies that provide coverage for bariatric surgery are more expensive than those that don’t, it’s a fraction of the cost of the procedure itself. HR will be able to tell you which policies provide coverage for bariatric procedures. If none of the policies offer coverage, inquire as to why. A plethora of evidence demonstrates the benefits of weight loss surgery and why employers should include policies that cover it.
  • Look into your state’s laws. Some states stipulate that insurance companies must cover weight loss procedures if the individual meets the NIH criteria for bariatric surgery. However, it’s important to research how much coverage you will receive. Some insurance carriers only cover the procedure itself, which leaves you responsible for the anesthesia and hospital stay. Even so, this is significantly less expensive than paying 100% out of pocket.
  • Consider a medical loan. This type of loan often has 0% interest, meaning you won’t pay more than what the procedure costs. Some bariatric surgeons offer the procedure at a discounted rate when insurance doesn’t cover any of it. Your surgeon may also be able to recommend financial institutions that offer medical loans.

The Approval Process

Once your insurance provider approves the procedure, your work isn’t done. Many insurance carriers require you to meet with your doctor several times, undergo various tests, and keep detailed records. Contact your insurance provider or HR department to find out exactly what you need to do.

You should make changes to your diet and exercise habits as well. Weight loss surgery does not guarantee you will lose weight. While it is a tremendous help, your habits will play a much larger role in your weight loss success. For instance, if you are an emotional eater, this isn’t likely to change after surgery. Trying to change this behavior after surgery is much harder with your reduced stomach size.

Meeting with a nutritionist can help you develop a healthy diet. Psychotherapists can help you if you struggle with using food as an emotional crutch or if you’re worried you have a food addiction. Taking steps to improve your diet and exercise habits now can also help you lose a bit of weight prior to the surgery. This helps to reduce your liver size, which makes it easier for your surgeon to perform the operation.

Finding out which bariatric procedures your insurance carrier covers may require you to jump through some hoops, but it’s well worth the effort. Bariatric surgery can help improve obesity-related illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart disease, fatty liver disease, asthma, sleep apnea, and more.

 

T0 learn more about the benefits of bariatric surgery, contact Dr. Waldrep.

 

5 Tips for Successful Weight Loss After Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a helpful tool to jumpstart weight loss for people who haven’t had success through diet and exercise. While all surgeries come with risks, doing nothing is often much worse. Obesity can cause several significant health issues, and bariatric surgery can help patients achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Bariatric surgery isn’t a quick fix, however, and patients need to take steps to ensure their weight loss success. If you’re considering bariatric surgery, here is what you need to know about achieving your weight loss goals after the procedure:

1. Focus on Hydration

Dehydration is the number one cause of hospital readmittance after surgery. You will need to drink eight glasses of water (64 ounces) per day. While this may not be an issue for you before surgery, it can be a challenge when your stomach is smaller. You have to take small sips throughout the day and also plan your water intake around your meals. A good strategy is to sip a cup of water before and after every meal. Be sure to wait at least 30 minutes after a meal to drink anything and avoid drinking anything 30 minutes prior to meals as well.

2. Eat Small, Frequent Meals

Instead of the traditional three meals per day, you should aim for six smaller meals of ½ to one cup of food. Take your time when you eat your food. You should chew it slowly and thoroughly without distractions (e.g. eating in front of the TV, eating while checking emails, etc.). This practice is called mindful eating as it allows you to take note of when you are hungry instead of eating out of boredom or due to emotional triggers. It also allows you to take note of when you’re full to avoid over-eating, indigestion, nausea, and so on.

3. Make Protein a Priority

When people think of protein, they often associate it with building lean muscle. However, it’s also a critical component of a healthy diet. It’s even more important following bariatric surgery because protein plays a significant role in maintaining existing muscle mass as well as keeping your hair, nails, and skin healthy.

When you lose weight, you lose it from fat and muscle. The body can’t synthesize protein on its own, so it’s critical to consume enough through food. Fruits and vegetables are part of a healthy diet, but they’re also low on protein and high on carbs. Aim to consume 60-80g of protein per day.

Chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, tofu, beans, and nuts are all great sources of protein. In the first couple of months following your surgery, you will start with a liquid diet. It’s not as critical to meet your protein goal during this phase, but adding protein powder to drinks can help.

4. Prevent Nutrient Deficiencies with Supplements

Most people obtain the vitamins and nutrients they need through their diet. Following bariatric surgery, it’s critical to take supplements and vitamins to bridge the diet gap as you will be consuming significantly less food. Your doctor will advise you on a supplement and vitamin regimen, but you can expect to take multivitamins, calcium supplements, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B12. Women may need an iron supplement as well. Depending on the type of bariatric procedure, you may need to cut or crush the pills into small pieces as whole pills are harder for your new anatomy to absorb.

5. Download a Diet and Fitness App

It’s hard to keep track of your nutrition without writing it down. Downloading a diet and fitness app allows you to track your food intake to make sure you’re following your diet correctly and keeping within your calorie limits following surgery. Many apps track nutrients as well, which is convenient for making sure you eat enough protein.

For the first two months post-surgery, you will only consume around 300-600 calories per day. This is due to your dramatically reduced stomach size as well as the slow re-introduction of solid foods. Once your diet stabilizes, you should aim to consume 900-1000 calories per day. You should also limit bread, rice, and raw fruits and veggies (particularly if they have skin) as they are harder for your new stomach to digest.

Also, avoid carbonated beverages or drinking with straws as they introduce air into the stomach. This can cause discomfort and stretch out your stomach, which negates the point of the procedure. You should also avoid sugary foods and drinks as your stomach may dump them directly into the small intestines without digesting them first. This can make you feel dizzy, nauseous, and sweaty. It can also cause bloating, stomach pain or cramps, and diarrhea.

Your diet will need to undergo a radical change following surgery to experience the best weight loss results. You will want to focus on eating low-fat, low-sugar, and low-calorie foods. Eating adequate protein, vitamin supplements, and hydration are also critical to your health and wellbeing after bariatric surgery. It may seem daunting at first, but surrounding yourself with supportive friends and family can help keep you committed and upbeat about achieving your weight loss goals. Contact us to learn more about bariatric surgery and if it’s right for you.

 

 

Is Bariatric Surgery Right for Me?

With COVID-19 keeping many people at home, some individuals decided to use the downtime to kick start new diets or at-home exercise routines. However, as the pandemic stretched from weeks into months, many lost their motivation. Maintaining enthusiasm is a common struggle among dieters as many fail to see measurable results despite weeks of healthy eating and exercise.

Why Some People Struggle to Lose Weight

A quick scan of diet and exercise communities online will yield a common complaint—losing weight is hard boarding on impossible for some. When people see others lose weight or inches while they stagnate, it’s difficult to see the point in continuing with their health and fitness journey. Several factors contribute to the issue of slow to no results:

  • Metabolic problems. Many people complain about their metabolism slowing with age, but there is more to it than that for people who struggle to lose weight. Most overweight people no longer have the feedback mechanism that tells them they are full. This often means they experience constant hunger, which goes well beyond simple willpower.
  • Insulin resistance. The pancreas produces insulin, which helps decrease blood sugar and fat after meals. It then directs those excess calories to muscle cells to use as fuel. However, when muscles become insulin resistant, those calories redirect to fat cells. This creates the vicious cycle of constantly feeling hungry and needing to eat to refuel only to have more calories wind up in fat storage.
  • Metabolic syndrome and prediabetes. As individuals accumulate more fat, their liver and pancreas grow fatter as well. This interferes with the body’s ability to produce insulin, which causes average blood sugar levels to rise. Once an individual tips over their Personal Fat Threshold, health problems like prediabetes can worsen to full diabetes. Individuals may begin to experience heart and liver health issues as well.

Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery

When individuals weigh 100 pounds or more over their ideal weight (BMI of 40), losing weight becomes vital to improving their long-term health outlook. The same is true for individuals with a BMI of 35+ and a serious health problem related to their obesity such as Type 2 diabetes or severe sleep apnea. However, these same individuals will have a disproportionately harder time losing weight than people slightly over their ideal weight would. Because of this, these individuals are good candidates for bariatric surgery.

How Bariatric Surgery Works

Bariatric surgery is not a quick fix, as individuals will still need to make lifestyle changes to stay healthy and keep the weight off for the long term. Because there is often a hefty price tag associated with the procedure, many people wonder if bariatric surgery is covered by insurance. While each insurance provider is different, many do offer coverage for the procedure as it will reduce health expenses later on by improving the individual’s health and reducing their risk of obesity-related diseases.

However, many insurers require a six-month pre-surgery period to ensure that the individual can receive proper education and tools to overcome poor eating habits, to commit to eating small portions, and to understand that overeating on a regular basis will sabotage weight loss despite the surgery.

There are several bariatric surgeries to help individuals achieve significant weight loss, many of which focus on reducing how much food it takes for the individual to feel full. By eliminating the feeling of constant hunger combined with better eating habits and exercise, many individuals experience dramatic weight loss in the first six to 12 months following the surgery.

Key factors that determine successful weight loss following bariatric surgery include:

  • Individuals will need to increase their activity following the surgery to maintain results. For people who led sedentary lives prior to the surgery, this often means starting with walking for five minutes a day until they can comfortably walk for half an hour.
  • Eating high-quality foods. Sugary foods will run through the digestive system quickly after surgery, leading to nausea or diarrhea. Instead, once individuals are back to eating regular foods following the surgery, they will need to eat foods high in protein. They will also need to limit snacking to two or three times per day or they risk undoing the effects of the surgery.
  • Avoiding caloric, sugary beverages. Many people fail to realize how many calories they consume through their drink choices. Even if individuals stick to the appropriate number of ounces they consume following bariatric surgery, high-calorie drinks can derail weight loss while excess sugar can contribute to ongoing insulin resistance challenges.

If you’re struggling to lose weight and health issues are starting to give you significant concerns, bariatric surgery may be for you. Contact us today to learn more.

 

How Obesity Increases the Risk Profile and Severity of COVID-19

COVID-19 has dominated headlines for months as the disease spread across the world, leaving more than 4 million people ill and causing just shy of 285,000 deaths worldwide. Most people know the leading risk factors such as being 65 years of age or older, being immunocompromised, or having an underlying health condition like asthma, chronic lung diseases, or severe heart health issues. However, there are lesser-known and sneakier preexisting health problems that can mean the difference between a mild case and a potentially lethal one. As doctors scramble to understand this novel illness, one thing has become clear—COVID-19 hits obese patients hard.

Why Obesity Makes People High-Risk

Medical professionals don’t fully understand the disease and have struggled to keep up with risk profiles. In China, the disease hit people who smoked harder than it did nonsmokers. In Italy, the disease targeted the aging population and those who lived with extended family members. In America, BMI (which stands for body mass index) seems to be the latest high-risk factor the disease targets. Hospitals across the country are noting that obesity is one of the most common underlying health conditions of patients hospitalized due to COVID-19. Some are noting that young people in otherwise good health outside of their obesity are sicker than other COVID-19 patients are and that many are dying despite their young age.

Given that 42% of adult Americans are obese with 9% being severely obese, the link between a high BMI and COVID-19 hospitalizations is particularly concerning. Research is still preliminary, but multiple teams are finding that obese patients are twice as likely to need intensive care compared to individuals with healthy BMIs. Of those obese patients that require hospitalization, they’re three times as likely to die than patients with lower BMIs are.

The likelihood of needing a ventilator is also higher for obese patients suffering from COVID-19. Obese patients are more likely to have breathing problems when not sick from carrying more weight on their chests. This compresses their lungs and makes it more challenging to breathe under normal circumstances.

Adding a layer of complication is the fact that obesity increases the risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). This makes it challenging for doctors to provide respiratory support as ventilators are their only option. Patients with ARDS have a high mortality rate as do COVID-19 patients that require ventilation. In addition, obese patients are at increased risk for other health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, and more. Many of those conditions can also increase the severity of COVID-19 symptoms, which makes obesity even more concerning during this pandemic.

Actions People Can Take

Social media posts exploded in the early weeks of the pandemic with tongue-in-cheek comments about gaining the COVID 19 while others focused on how to keep pandemic weight gain at bay. However, while a few pounds won’t tip the average person into a high-risk category, individuals flirting with the line of obesity have much more at stake.

Social distancing, making healthy dietary changes, and starting a workout routine after consulting with a physician can help improve health. For obese individuals with underlying health conditions, they need to take any existing prescriptions exactly as directed. Obese individuals should also take extra precautions like ordering grocery pickup or having groceries delivered to avoid interacting with crowds. If they can’t avoid it, they should wear masks and gloves when they have to come in close proximity to other people.

Trying to lose weight is challenging, but with experts predicting a second wave of COVID-19 in the fall, individuals with high BMIs will continue to be at high-risk. Contacting a medical professional for advice on dietary changes and exercise routines is a great start. Whether you’re just beginning a health and fitness routine or you need more help reaching your healthy weight loss goals, we can help. Contact us to learn more about weight loss and improving your health.

 

What Happens After Weight Loss Surgery?

Undergoing bariatric surgery is a life-altering event for many people. After struggling unsuccessfully to lose weight, many overweight individuals feel defeated and hopeless about losing the excess pounds. However, health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, and more loom on the horizon for overweight individuals. As a result, many people struggling with obesity or weight-related health problems turn to bariatric procedures when traditional weight loss methods fail to produce measurable results.

Is Bariatric Surgery Safe?

Like all surgeries, there are risks associated with undergoing bariatric procedures. However, individuals can take several steps to reduce these risks including smoking cessation if they smoke, exercising regularly, and decreasing their BMI by adhering to the post-operative diet instructions surgeons provide. Surgeons will discuss all the potential risks involved with bariatric surgery with individuals prior to their procedure. However, for most individuals, the long-term health benefits outweigh the risks. Most bariatric surgeries will include follow-up appointments at the three, six, and one-year mark. However, there may be additional visits if the surgeon or the individual raises any concerns.

How Much Weight Will You Lose?

Ask your doctor exactly what you can expect. It usually depends, in part, on what you weigh now and the type of surgery you get. For example, Patients weighing as little as 15-20 pounds over their ideal body weight have raved about the WRAP procedure.  View some testimonials.

Sleeve gastrectomy is becoming a more popular weight loss surgery. People who get sleeve gastrectomy lose about 40% of their extra weight.

On average, people lose 60% of their extra weight after gastric bypass surgery.

First Month After Weight Loss Surgery

Most individuals will begin a liquid, protein-centric diet immediately after surgery. At the two-week mark, many individuals begin eating soft or pureed foods like cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, and oatmeal. Individuals should also begin walking at this point. The duration depends on the pre-existing fitness of the individual. Individuals should build up their strength until they can walk half an hour a day without issue. For individuals with joint pain, water aerobics is a good alternative.

There may be a few complications during the first thirty days after surgery. Constipation is common from a combination of prescription painkillers and dehydration. Some individuals may experience vomiting, which is often because they’re eating too much. Investing in a food scale can help individuals learn the proper portion sizes. Infection can occur at any incision site as well so proper wound care and hygiene are vital.

One to Three Months After Weight Loss Surgery

This post-operative phase is when many individuals begin to reintroduce regular foods to their diet. Certain procedures require a longer period before beginning regular food back into rotation than others do. However, the end goal is the same—to see which foods the person can tolerate. Some foods won’t sit well after bariatric surgery; individuals can retry those foods every month or so. This period is often difficult for many people as it’s challenging to retrain the brain to accept a smaller amount of food. Investing in smaller plates can help as they visually trick the mind.

Six Months After Weight Loss Surgery

At this point, individuals who adhered to the plan laid out by their surgeon will have lost a significant amount of weight. Most individuals lose 1-2 pounds per week following bariatric surgery, which equates to a 25-50 pound weight loss at the half-year mark. For many, this represents 30-40% of their excess weight. If surgeons note any issues like vitamin deficiencies or insufficient weight loss at this point, they will want to see the individual again at nine months post-surgery.

12 to 18 Months After Weight Loss Surgery

By this stage, many people are close to their weight loss goals. Depending on the type of bariatric procedure, individuals may have lost 100+ pounds by the one-year mark. If weight loss stagnates, surgeons will discuss diet and lifestyle with the individual to determine the reason such as excessive snacking or insufficient exercise.

Strict adherence to diet guidelines and proper exercise are pivotal to the ongoing success of bariatric surgery. The results can dramatically transform the individual’s health for the better, but it’s not a quick solution or an effortless one. Feel free to contact us if you want to learn more about weight loss surgery.

 

Weight Loss: How to Take Back Control Over Your Diet 

Business as usual has a very different meaning than it did a few months ago. With more people working from home without access to a gym, maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine can be more challenging than ever. In this blog, we are going to tackle how to lose weight by taking control of your diet.

With boredom, stress, and anxiety mounting, it’s harder for many people to fight against the urge to binge-watch TV while mindlessly snacking. Escapist behaviors might provide a brief respite from stress, but seeing the scale creep ever higher can send people into a downward spiral. 

Maintaining good health is more important than it’s ever been but getting back on track or starting a health and fitness regimen for the first time can be daunting. Many give up on their diet attempts altogether when their results are slow or inconsistent. However, there is a sneaky culprit behind most failed diets—poor portion control.

Portion Control and Weight Loss

Many people have heard the average diet should consist of 2000 calories, but few if any know what 2000 calories actually looks like. The food service industry has contributed significantly to this problem by increasing plate sizes, offering value meals that encourage people to order more than they normally would, and heaping on two to three times the recommended portion sizes of everything. As a result, many people view restaurant portions as the norm and emulate them in their own homes, sending them hundreds if not thousands of calories over the recommended amount. 

This type of portion distortion is why many individuals fail to see results while counting calories. Their baseline for what is an appropriate portion is way off even when they think they’re eating the right amount. Here are a few ways people can measure food portions:

  • Buy a food scale. This is the most accurate method of measuring food portions, particularly when the label lists the portion size in ounces. However, it’s not always convenient and takes more time than many are willing to spend while preparing food. 
  • Use measuring cups. This is much faster than using a scale and often more practical. While it can be difficult to convert ounces into a measurable volume, there are plenty of charts available online for just that purpose. However, certain foods don’t lend themselves to easy measuring with cups like meats or awkwardly shaped foods.
  • Use your hand. While this method is the least accurate, it’s the simplest and gets people within the ballpark of an appropriate portion size. For example, a clenched fist is about one cup. This is the average serving size for rice, pasta, and fruit. Similarly, the front of a closed fist is around half a cup. The palm represents 3-4oz of meat, which is the typical serving size for chicken, fish, etc. Two handfuls is an approximate serving size for veggies. The thumb also offers some handy measurements as well. From the base to the top of the thumb is around two tablespoons while the tip of the thumb is about one teaspoon. 

feet on a scale measuring weight loss

Revamping Your Diet During COVID-19

Even with portions under control, most pantries contain too many tempting snacks for the average individual to abstain from for long. To reengage with a healthy lifestyle, individuals should take the following steps:

  • Establish accountability. It’s not reasonable to think a person can keep track of their running calorie total throughout the day. Investing in a calorie counting app can provide a clear picture of calorie intake and remove confusion.
  • Ditch the junk. Junk food provides a short-lived dopamine rush that can influence individuals to eat more unhealthy foods. Getting rid of the temptation eliminates the likelihood of binging on high fat, high sugar, high salt, and/or high-calorie foods.
  • Be realistic. Cutting too many calories at once can have negative side effects like headaches, irritability, and fatigue. This makes it less likely that the individual will stick to the plan. Reasonable weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week, which translates to cutting 500-1000 calories per day. However, cutting 1000 calories is often too restrictive for most people so 500 is a good place to start. It’s important to note that calories burned through exercise can contribute to the 500 total. For example, individuals can opt to cut 200 food calories while burning an additional 300 calories through exercise to hit their goal. 

 

When To Seek Professional Help

Determining the right amount of calories by understanding serving sizes can help people maintain a healthy and balanced diet during social distancing. If you’ve tried self-help options but you still can’t control your diet and eating, consider a stomach reshaping surgery. The Wrap is an outpatient procedure that does not require an overnight hospital stay. If you’ve hit a plateau in your weight loss journey, contact us to learn how we can help

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7 Reliable Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight

Even with regular exercise and decent dietary habits, weight loss can remain a challenge.

Now that many individuals are stuck at home due to the coronavirus, maintaining healthy eating habits and exercise routines are even more difficult.

If you’re noticing the number on the scale creep up over the days spent at home adhering to social distancing, there could be many culprits behind it. This article lists 7 reasons why you’re not losing weight.

1. Not tracking what you’re eating.

Days spent at the office are routine-oriented. People eat breakfast before or on their way to work, they may have a mid-morning snack, and then they eat a lunch they packed if they’re trying to be health-conscious. When working from home, that routine goes by the wayside. Snacking more often or eating leftover takeout on a regular basis can add up to a significant calorie punch.

2. Not eating enough protein.

Numerous studies have looked at the three macros to see how they affect diet. Out of carbohydrates, fat, and protein, diets high in protein almost always correlate to better weight loss. This is because protein helps individuals feel fuller for longer. It also helps individuals retain their muscle mass as they shred fat. Not only that, but it takes more energy to burn protein calories than it does other types of calories.

3. Binge eating (even healthy food).

When people first start a diet, it’s common to feel hungrier than usual. However, just because a food is considered healthy doesn’t mean it comes without calories. Many people restrict their calories too intensely throughout the day and then cave to hunger cravings in the evenings. They may assume eating only fruit is a good option, but those sugars and calories add up when eaten in excess.

4. Your calorie intake isn’t quite right.

Whether too few or too many, calorie intake can make or break weight loss success. Using online calculators to determine your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) can help you stay on track to maintain or lose weight. While most food labels tout 2000 calories as the recommended daily goal, this is assuming a lot of things about the individual reading the label. Women typically need fewer calories than men do because of their smaller stature. On the flip side, men who work out regularly will likely need much more than 2000 calories per day. Just as consuming too many calories can lead to weight gain, coming in too far under calorie goals can hurt metabolic rates and weight loss.

5. Sitting at a desk all day.

This problem predated the coronavirus, but it continues to persist in work at home environments as well. Even with a vigorous hour-long workout, it can’t undo twenty-three hours of sedentary behavior. By getting up and moving around for two minutes every hour, it’s possible to keep the body in a fat-burning-friendly state. Otherwise, within a few motionless hours, the body stops producing the fat-inhibiting enzyme lipase.

6. Too much stress.

Stress is a given during a pandemic like the coronavirus, but it also stimulates cortisol production. This triggers the flight or fight response, which also invigorates appetite. Not only that, but stress increases cravings for carbs. Compounding these issues, cortisol also slows metabolism and influences fat accumulation in the belly area. Thankfully, there are many stress-relieving activities individuals can do while staying at home during the coronavirus. Exercise, yoga, meditation, and eating a balanced diet can help combat the effects of stress on the body.

7. Not eating mindfully.

While it may sound silly for people to slow down and consider the color, texture, and flavor of the food they’re eating, mindlessly stuffing food into their faces while they binge watch TV shows will pack on the pounds quickly. Choosing snacks and meals with a purpose can help cut down on unhealthy eating and prevent weight gain while staying at home.

If diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes still aren’t getting you the results you want to achieve, you may need additional help to get you there. Contact us to learn more about The Wrap and other effective weight loss procedures to guide you in your weight loss journey.

 

Sources

  1. http://europepmc.org/article/AGR/IND44116071
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21185970
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11838888
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16400055/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1454084
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10617957
  7. https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2011/07000/Quantity_and_Quality_of_Exercise_for_Developing.26.aspx
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5373497/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4289126/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22243980
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21130363
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21181579

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How to Overhaul Your Diet for Better Weight Loss

Thousands of Americans struggle with their weight and many of them are falling victim to common pitfalls that hinder successful weight loss. With the start of the New Year, many people made grand resolutions like nixing alcohol for “Dry January” or starting restricting fad diets in an effort to quickly shed significant amounts of weight.

The problem with massive, abrupt change is it’s hard to maintain. Those individuals may see results while taking on a short-term challenge, but the pounds usually creep back up on the scale once they return to their usual eating habits. What this indicates is that people trying to lose weight need a lifestyle change—not a quick fix.

The following are several ways to overhaul your diet to see realistic weight loss that is sustainable:

  1. Pile your plate with fruits and vegetables. Most people don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables in their diet. In fact, people should be aiming for two cups of fruit and two and a half cups of vegetables every day. While this may sound excessive, it’s easy to achieve when spread out over the course of the day. Salsa over scrambled eggs counts as a serving of veggies. healthy salad on a table outside with bottle of oilOrdering a side salad with lunch or vegetable soup instead of going for the breadsticks is another way to meet veggie intake goals. For people who can’t stand vegetables, there are a lot ofways to hide them in your diet such as cooking them down in pasta sauces or mixing them in with ground beef. Parfaits and fruit smoothies are great ways to mix up fruits to make them more interesting for your palate as well.
  2. Opt for water over sugary drinks. It’s not uncommon for people to swing through the local coffee shop drive-through for a latte or cappuccino before work. Many also order sweet tea, soda, or other sugary drinks with their lunch. By doing this, these individuals are drinking hundreds of extra calories and consuming excessive sugar. Opting for water instead can save those calories. Not only that, but dehydration can make people feel falsely hungry when they’re actually thirsty. Drinking water can prevent people from munching on snacks and adding on extra pounds as a result.
  3. Choose the right fats. Fat became a dirty word for much of the dieting public in past decades, but people need fat as part of a balanced diet. The type of fat, however, matters. Trans fat and saturated fats are the bad kinds as they contribute to high cholesterol and heart problems. Other fats like omega-3s are good for heart health and are commonly found in fish. Making simple switches can help reduce the consumption of bad fats as well such as switching from whole milk to fat-free milk, choosing a turkey or veggie burger over beef, or opting for nut butter like almond or walnut over peanut butter.
  4. Eat appropriate portions. Making simple changes like using smaller plates can go a long way toward reducing portion sizes. It also tricks the mind into thinking you’re full sooner because it visually looks like you ate enough by filling a smaller plate. Knowing basic portion sizes based on your hand can help as well. For example, a serving size of meat is roughly the size of your palm, a clenched fist is about a serving size of cooked rice, two handfuls is good for estimating a serving of veggies, and your thumb represents about two tablespoons—the serving size for peanut butter.soda cans in a row
  5. Pick positive motivators. Many individuals turn to social media for inspiration on their fitness journey. Influencers post diet plans, meal prep ideas, and more thatcan help keep people motivated as they overhaul their diet. However, it’s very easy to develop feelings of inadequacy over what you see on your phone. Many of these apps portray impossible to achieve goals or create unrealistic expectations. Nutrition studies have shown that more time on social media means an increased risk for overeating and body image problems. If your fitness apps aren’t motivating or are making you feel bad, it’s time to delete and unfollow.

Making healthy, sustainable changes to your diet is a great way to kick start your weight loss. However, even with healthy changes, it can be a challenge to lose those last stubborn pounds. If you’re struggling with weight loss, we can help. Contact us to learn how we can support you on your weight loss journey.