7 Tips to Spring Clean Your Diet

Eating a healthy diet after bariatric surgery is essential for long-term weight loss success. However, with cold winter weather and COVID-19 forcing everyone indoors, you may have slipped into old, unhealthy eating routines. If your weight loss has plateaued or you gained weight this winter, your food choices may be the culprit.

With winter coming to an end, you may be gearing up for spring cleaning. Now is a great time to clean up your eating habits as well. The following tips can help you get back on track with your bariatric diet:

  1. Clean out your fridge and cabinets. It’s easy to overindulge or make poor food choices when you store them in your fridge or pantry. Removing junk foods and replacing them with healthy options can help you eliminate the temptation. If you don’t like the idea of throwing away food, consider giving it away to friends and family.
  2. Keep up with your hydration. Dehydration is the leading cause of rehospitalization after bariatric surgery. During cold weather months, you may have opted for hot chocolate, coffee, or tea to keep you warm rather than reaching for your water. Unfortunately, caffeinated beverages are diuretics, and sugary drinks are empty calories. Water is hydrating, zero calories, and can help you feel full for longer.
  3. Cook at home. Between the pandemic and gloomy winter weather, you may have had limited energy for cooking. While ordering takeout or heating a microwave meal may sound appealing, they often come with excessive calories, fat, and sodium. Cooking healthy meals at home allows you to know the exact nutritional information of what you’re eating.
  4. Opt for colorful foods. Colorful foods make your meals more visually interesting, and they are usually healthy choices. Fruits and vegetables can brighten up your plate, as well as provide essential vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients. For example, if you’re tired of ho-hum scrambled eggs for breakfast, you can incorporate bell peppers and spinach to add flavor and aesthetic appeal.
  5. Avoid added sugars. It’s easy to identify sugar-heavy drinks and snacks, but many pre-packaged products include added sugars as well. While a food may have a low amount of naturally occurring sugar, the manufacturer may have added a significant amount of sugar during the packaging process. Reading labels can help you understand exactly how much sugar you’re eating. You can eliminate the confusion altogether by reaching for raw fruits when you’re craving something sweet.
  6. Eat more raw foods. It may sound odd, but scientific studies have shown that cooked foods often contain more calories than their raw counterparts. When you cook foods, you’re aiding in the process of breaking them down. Your body has to do less work to obtain the nutrients, so you burn fewer calories during digestion.
  7. Stop grazing. You may think that a bite of a cookie, one cheesy French fry, or a sip of a sugary milkshake aren’t a big deal. However, these snacking habits add up over time without you noticing it. Not only that, but grazing is usually exclusive to unhealthy foods as well, as you may think a small taste won’t hurt. Practicing mindful eating helps you recognize when you’re truly hungry and when you’re full so that you don’t overeat.

The above tips can help you overhaul your diet for a healthier spring season. Leaving poor eating habits behind can reignite your weight loss efforts and help you achieve your goals. If you’re struggling to lose stubborn weight despite cleaning up your diet, bariatric surgery may be right for you. Contact us to learn more.

 

What is The Wrap? 5 Advantages of Gastric Plication

The Wrap is one of the latest innovations in weight loss surgery. This laparoscopic procedure is significantly less invasive than other bariatric procedures. The Wrap uses a technique known as gastric plication to reduce the size of your stomach dramatically. This decreases the amount of food your stomach can contain, improves satiety, and expedites weight loss.

What is Gastric Plication?

Individuals struggling with obesity have several factors working against them when it comes to weight loss. Hormones trigger cravings and drive them to seek out food. This problem with achieving satiety makes dieting a much more complex challenge than it seems at face value. Obesity can also make exercise a struggle due to the strain on the individuals’ joints.

Gastric plication is a type of bariatric, or weight loss surgery that reduces the stomach’s size. Bariatric procedures like gastric plication help address these issues by reducing the stomach size. Unlike other bariatric procedures, gastric plication doesn’t involve cutting the stomach or rerouting the intestines. Surgeons make minuscule incisions and use the latest laparoscopic techniques to create folds in the stomach to reduce its size.

While gastric plication is a comparatively new procedure, this latest approach to weight loss surgery is effective. A four-year study examined 202 gastric plication patients and monitored their weight loss. The study found patients had lost 57.84% of their excess weight one year after their procedure. At four years post-op, this increased to 68%.

What are the Advantages of Gastric Plication?

Gastric plication has several advantages over other kinds of weight-loss procedures. The top advantages include:

  1. It’s a less invasive procedure. Gastric plication procedures like The Wrap don’t involve cutting into or permanently altering your stomach and digestive system. Because it’s less invasive, your recovery time is shorter, and you can resume your normal activities faster. It’s also reversible in the future, which isn’t possible with more invasive bariatric procedures.
  2. It doesn’t require foreign devices or implants. Gastric banding is a popular bariatric procedure, but it comes with potential risks. Band erosion, band infection, band rejection, and band slipping may occur. Gastric banding devices may require adjusting as well. Gastric plication procedures like The Wrap don’t involve implanting any devices, so you don’t have to worry about these issues.
  3. It doesn’t disturb the digestive system. Many bariatric procedures alter or restrict the digestive tract, which can cause issues with absorbing enough vitamins from food. While your surgeon will make supplement and vitamin recommendations, this problem is less prevalent with gastric plication as it doesn’t cut into or reroute parts of your digestive system.
  4. It allows for a wider range of food than other bariatric procedures. Following bariatric surgery, your diet will change significantly. While the same general dietary rules hold true for gastric plication patients as they do for other bariatric patients, the recovery period differs. Because gastric plication is less invasive, recovery is typically much easier on the body. As a result, gastric plication patients can typically tolerate a much larger range of food than other bariatric patients.
  5. It’s available to anyone with a BMI over 30. Most bariatric procedures include a list of qualifiers. Among those is having a BMI over 40 or a BMI over 35 with an obesity-related health problem. Gastric plication procedures like The Wrap are available to anyone with a BMI greater than 30 regardless of other conditions.

If you’re considering bariatric surgery, you may be overwhelmed by all the information and various procedures. You and your surgeon will decide together which bariatric procedure best suits your needs and health goals. To learn more about the benefits of gastric plication surgery for weight loss, contact Dr. Waldrep today.

 

7 Common Mistakes You Make When Weighing Yourself

When you’re struggling to lose weight, the bathroom scale can become a constant source of tension. Even after weight loss surgery, the bathroom scale can have a significant effect on how you feel. If the bathroom scale is driving you crazy because the number seems to oscillate wildly from weigh-in to weigh-in, you may be making some of the following mistakes:

  1. You weigh yourself daily. Some people use daily weigh-ins for accountability. However, obsessively weighing yourself can cause anxiety and stress if the number isn’t consistently decreasing. The scale can’t give you a complete picture of your health, and several factors affect the number it displays. If you’re stressing about your weight, you may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts without realizing it. Stress increases the levels of cortisol in your body, which can cause cravings for sugar and fatty foods.
  2. You weigh yourself before bed. Your weight is likely going to be higher in the evenings than in the mornings. You’ve eaten several meals and drank plenty of water throughout the day, all of which artificially increase your weight. Weighing yourself after a shower can also affect the scale as your skin absorbs moisture and your hair weighs more when wet.
  3. You weigh yourself at different times. Because so many factors affect your weight throughout the day, it doesn’t make sense to weigh-in at varying times on different days. If you weigh yourself in the morning one day, but in the evening on another, it may seem like you’ve gained weight when you haven’t. Weighing in at the same time of day will give you a more accurate snapshot of your weight.
  4. You weigh yourself after a workout. You may expect to see some weight loss after an intense workout since you just burned some major calories. However, any weight loss you see on the scale is likely artificial. If you sweat heavily during your workout, you’ve lost water weight. As you rehydrate, the number will go up on the scale accordingly. You may even see weight gain after a workout if you drank a lot of water as you exercised.
  5. Your floor is uneven. Most people leave their scale in the bathroom, but this may cause inconsistent or inaccurate readings. Carpet, uneven tiles, or wood can cause the scale to wobble or have difficulty calibrating, which can cause inaccurate readings. Make sure your bathroom floor is level, or find a new place for your scale that has a hard, flat surface.
  6. You’re wearing bulky clothes. If you step onto the scale while wearing thick clothes and heavy shoes, your weight may show as higher than it truly is. Clothing and shoes can add 2-3 pounds. If you’re not comfortable or in a position to weight yourself undressed, be sure to wear the same or similar lightweight outfit for every weigh-in. Make sure to step out of your shoes first as well.
  7. You let the scale control your day. Seeing the number on the scale tick upward can be discouraging, but you shouldn’t allow it to sway you into healthy behaviors. Skipping a meal or over-exercising can hurt your weight loss efforts in the long-term; it can also lead to injuries. The opposite is true as well. If you let the scale discourage you, you may use it as an excuse to indulge in a snack or skip your workout.

The scale is a useful tool to monitor your weight loss and help you achieve your weight loss goals. However, like all tools, you have to use the scale appropriately for accurate results. If you’re struggling to lose weight despite consistent efforts, bariatric surgery may be right for you. Contact us to learn how bariatric surgery can help you achieve your weight loss goals.

 

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.