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Should Weight Loss Surgery be My Last Resort?

Posted on March 19, 2018 by

MaryYou may think this is a strong statement but…ABSOLUTELY NOT!  However, weight loss surgery shouldn’t be your first option either.  The purpose here is not to create confusion but to reinforce the fact that for people who are morbidly obese and have tried other nutritional, behavioral and fitness programs without success, weight loss surgery can be a great option.

An ideal candidate is someone who is somewhere between 75 and 150 pounds over their ideal body weight.  As your weight increases, generally so does the incidence of other health problems.  With the additional weight and health problems, your risk for weight loss surgery increases significantly as well.   Thus, you take the risks associated with surgery and increase them which is not the most desirable situation for your or your surgeon.

The fear and negative connotations surrounding weight loss surgery has significantly decreased since 1994 when I began my weight loss surgery career.  Thank goodness!  In addition, the procedures have evolved and become safer and more effective.  However, the higher your BMI and co-morbid conditions (other health problems) the higher your surgical risk will be.  In addition, the higher the BMI and co-morbid conditions, the higher the possibility is that you may not be a candidate for weight loss surgery.




Rhonda’s Opinion:  I should have done surgery a long time ago before I yo-yoed all those years.


View our Weight Loss Surgery Webinar now!

Is Weight Loss Surgery Right for Me?

Posted on March 12, 2018 by


As you have read, weight loss surgery is a decision that requires research (like you are doing here), a risk/benefit comparison, an evaluation by an experienced bariatric surgeon and soul searching on your part to make sure you are committed to long term changes.  These changes can drastically improve your health, your ability to live your life to the fullest and potentially extend your lifespan.  This may seem overwhelming but the important thing for you to know is that you are not alone.

There is a delay with regards to documented statistics, but here are the clear trends:

  • About 15 million adults in the U.S. have morbid obesity which is associated with more than 30 other diseases and conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, hypertension, asthma, cancer, joint problems and infertility.  The direct and indirect costs to the health care system associated with obesity are about $117 billion annually.5
  • In the United States, the number of people who qualify for weight loss surgery is increasing as the incidence of obesity and morbid obesity is on the rise.
  • In the United States, the number of weight loss procedures performed each year continues to rise with an estimated 177,600 procedures performed in 2006 (an increase from about 16,000 in the early 1990’s).5 In 2008 the number of weight loss procedures was up to 220,000 and remained there in 2009.  Numbers for subsequent years have not been published as of this publication.


Telling you that you are not alone and sharing these sobering statistics doesn’t solve the problem for you or the general population.  There has to be a need (and clearly there is a need), there has to be a want (which usually results from the pain endured as a result of being obese or morbidly obese) a viable solution (in this case, surgical weight loss with an experienced bariatric surgeon who is passionate not just about surgery but your long term success).  Sounds like a recipe for success but there is an ingredient that is missing.  You can have a need and a want and a viable solution but if you don’t have the commitment and motivation to follow through and create lasting change for yourself, you may never experience the optimal success you deserve.

If you decide that you have the want, the need and the commitment, you are a great candidate for weight loss surgery.  Now you just need to explore the rest of the questions in this book and get started on your path to success.

View our free Weight Loss Surgery webinar now and then click to schedule your conversation with Cat Williamson, our Surgical Coordinator.

How do I know if I qualify for weight loss surgery?

Posted on March 05, 2018 by

gastric sleeve sleeve gastrectomy GeorgiaIf you are at least 50 pounds over your ideal body weight and have been unsuccessful with other methods of weight loss, you may be a candidate for weight loss surgery.  However, most insurance companies additionally require a BMI of 40 or greater or a BMI of 35-40 with other potentially life threatening health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and/or sleep apnea.  Your BMI is your weight in relation to your height.  So how do you calculate your BMI?  You need to take your weight in kilograms and divide by the square of your height (meters).  For example, If your weight is 80 kilograms and your height is 1.8 meters, you would square your height (1.82=3.24) and then divide it into your weight (80 divided by 3.24 = a BMI of 24.69).  Or you can simply enter your information online for quick results with a BMI calculator.4

General BMI classification guidelines include:

BMIClassificationHealth Risk
Under 18.5UnderweightMinimal
18.5-24.9Normal WeightMinimal
35-39.9Severely ObeseVery High
40 and OverMorbidly ObeseExtremely High

The decision as to whether or not weight loss surgery is right for you is ideally made by you and your surgeon after careful consideration of your weight, your past medical/surgical history and your current health problems or co-morbidities.  However, there are general guidelines that most surgeons and insurance companies adhere to when choosing who an appropriate candidate for weight loss surgery is as noted below:

General Guidelines for Weight Loss Surgery Candidates3:

  • BMI of 40 or greater
  • Comorbidity: You have a life-shortening disease process, heart disease, diabetes or obstructive sleep apnea that can be improved by losing weight.
  • For at least two years, you have attempted to lose weight.
  • You have been obese for an extended period of time, at least three to five years.
  • You are able to effectively care for yourself and follow a physician’s instructions.
  • You are motivated to lose weight and maintain a healthful lifestyle.
  • You do not abuse drugs or alcohol.
  • You are a nonsmoker or have quit smoking.
  • You are an adult under the age of 65.

These guidelines vary by insurance carrier and your individual policy.  Your insurance policy is an agreement between you and your insurance provider.  However, if you are working with an experienced bariatric surgeon/center, they can easily help you navigate through your particular insurance requirements and efficiently submit your information for surgery authorization. This topic is covered in Chapter 6 of the book, Less Weight…More Life! Is Weight Loss Surgery Right for You?

As with any general guidelines, there are caveats that cannot be ignored. Some of the ones we find most important include age, motivation and mindset.  With regards to age, you can see by the general guidelines listed previously that it is recommended that an adult be under the age of 65.  At the Center for Weight Loss Success ( we do not put a cap on age for good reason.  Age is just a number.  You likely know someone who is over 65 years of age yet physically, emotionally and intellectually they are really more like a 40 year old.  Conversely, you likely know someone around 40 who walks, talks and acts as if they should be 80+ years old.  In terms of lower age restrictions, although there are a few centers in the United States performing weight loss procedures on patients under the age of 18, most surgeons prefer to wait until you are 18 years of age or older and able to better decide and commit to such a life changing procedure.

Of great importance is your motivation and mindset.  If you are considering weight loss surgery, you need to be motivated and an active participant throughout your entire pre-operative and post-operative phases.  This is how you will experience the best results.  Weight loss surgery is something you need to do for yourself, not someone else.  You need to prepare yourself physically and mentally prior to surgery and proactively plan for your post-operative phase.  If you believe surgery is a “quick fix” or the “easy way out” you likely should not pursue weight loss surgery.  With this mindset, you may not fully commit to the lifestyle changes that result in the rewarding outcomes that will transform your life in so many positive ways.  However, if you do commit, get ready for an amazing journey.  Try not to get overwhelmed here.  An experienced bariatric surgeon/center will provide a comprehensive process to help guide you through these considerations.

Finally, it is important to note that some people are actually too obese to qualify for weight loss surgery.  If you are too heavy, you will usually be instructed to lose weight before your surgeon can proceed with weight loss surgery.  Once again, an experienced bariatric surgeon/center will guide you through this process and help you optimize your physical and emotional health prior to surgery and beyond.

3 Bariatric Surgery for Severe Obesity. Consumer Information Sheet. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. March 2008. http://


If you don’t qualify for weight loss surgery under your insurance provider, contact my Surgical Coordinator, Cat Williamson at CFWLS to discuss your options.

Best of CoVa Contest!

Posted on January 21, 2018 by

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We have to admit it.  We know we have the very best patients around!  We drive to work with smiles on our faces. looking forward to helping our patients improve their health by losing weight.  Your success makes us happy!

If you’d like to let others know about Dr. Clark’s Center for Weight Loss Success, please take a minute and VOTE FOR US in Coastal Virginia Magazine’s Best of Readers’ Choice Awards for 2018!

You will find us under HEALTH and BEAUTY in THREE categories

  • Best Gym/Wellness Center
  • Best Specialty Fitness
  • Best Weight Loss Center

You can also nominate/vote for us in SHOPPING

  • Specialty Foods

You can vote ONCE each DAY through Friday, March 30, 2018

Share the Love!

Walk Your Way Healthy

Posted on October 16, 2017 by

So often people want to exercise, but they don’t know where to start. Walking is a great place to start. Walking is typically easy on the joints, can be done anywhere, and all you need is a comfy pair of shoes.

HOW TO GET 10,000 STEPS A DAYfeet on sidewalk
Everyone knows movement is good for the body. The hardest part is often finding the time, especially if you have an office job. However, 9-5 is a long time to be sitting at a desk. But don’t worry, anything is possible with a little bit of change.

Walking is the best way to start adding movement into your day. Walking is typically easy on the joints, can be added in small time frames, and needs no fancy equipment.

If you have the option, I highly recommend an activity tracker. While pedometers and activity trackers are in no way a necessity, seeing your steps add up can motivate and inspire you to keep moving. Seeing your steps also adds accountability. You may think you are getting an adequate amount of movement, but having a concrete number to track will help you ensure you are hitting your goals.

If you are new to walking try to hit 10,000 steps a day at first. That may seem daunting, but think of reaching 10,000 steps in smaller goals. Set a small goal to hit 250 steps/hour or 100 steps/30 minutes throughout the day. Newer activity trackers can often be set to alert you at different times of the day or a well-placed post-it note can sometimes be all it takes to keep your mind focused on your goal. Also start to recognize what activities equal 100 steps. You’ll be more motivated to continue changing your habits if you can see a concrete benefit that results.

If you are at a desk for the majority of the day there are great ways to sneak in steps throughout your day:

1. First, stepping side-to-side does count! Stand and pace as you read your emails in the morning. Are you brainstorming with colleagues? Don’t be afraid to stand and move as you think. The fun thing about counting steps is every step counts! Even if you’re not walking anywhere.

2. Park in the back of the parking lot. This advice is nothing new. But it still stands as good advice. I bet walking into work in the morning from the last spot in the lot can easily get you 100 steps.

3. Do you take an elevator? Change to taking the stairs. If you are new to stairs don’t feel like you have to conquer them all at once. Simply walk one flight up and then take the elevator the rest of the way. Add in the extra flights as you get stronger. Fitness success is about making a lot of little changes over a long period of time. It’s not about making a lot of changes all at once.

4. Rather than emailing or calling a coworker, walk over to their cubicle.

5. Walk the longest path to the bathroom, printer, scanner, fax, kitchen, water cooler, etc.

6. Take a short walk during your lunch break. Instead of spending your time driving to and from a restaurant, pack your lunch and then squeeze in a short walk with the time you saved.

7. Dress for success! Keep a change of shoes, socks, undershirt, etc. in your car during warmer weather for your longer lunchtime walks. In the winter, keep mittens, hat, and a scarf handy.

8. If it’s still too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer you can head to your nearest mall. Walking end to end one time is sure to add up!

9. Be the one who walks the dog, gets the mail, takes out the trash, and picks up the house before bed

10. Make time with your family count. Take a walk after dinner. Start playing Pokemon Go with your kids. Dance in the kitchen as you cook. Start a new hobby like bird watching, golfing, or hiking. Free time is when you’ll really rack up the steps.

Once you start tracking your steps you’ll be motivated to squeeze in more steps and set new goals. More importantly, you;ll be finding more ways to live a happy and long life. Steps don’t just result in better physical health. Walking will give you more opportunities to de-stress and clear your mind. Innovative ways of hitting your step goals will create new hobbies and create family memories. The more you get moving the more life you’ll have in each step.


Join the CFWLS Steps for Success and add your daily steps to our group walks!  It’s easy – just log into World Walking and join the group.  It’s fun and a great way to stay inspired.

If you would like more advice on reaching 10,000 steps a day contact a CFWLS personal trainer or lifestyle coach today.

Spring Teller croppedContributed by Spring Teller, CPT, Group Instructor

The Best Weigh In Routine – Part 2

Posted on October 02, 2017 by

Dr C with tie croppedI want to complete the video I made last week which was about routine weighing. Should you weigh yourself routinely or not?  My inclination is, yes, people ought to weigh themselves regularly. I think people should weigh themselves daily.

I want to talk about what the real reason is for weighing yourself daily. Especially if you’re in a weight loss program, whether you’ve had surgery or you’re in the middle of a weight loss plan, I encourage people to weigh themselves daily. During the weight loss program, you’re not just weighing yourself to watch the pounds come off. The real reason to weigh daily is to get in the habit of weighing yourself routinely for maintenance.

Maintenance is hard.  It’s actually harder than weight loss. So, you want to get in the habit of weighing yourself routinely during the weight loss plan so that you’re doing it for maintenance. If you weight yourself daily during maintenance you’ll notice little fluctuations.  If you notice little fluctuations you can look back on that 24 hours and figure out, “What did I do differently during those 24 hours that would affect today’s weight?”  Typically there is going to be something. You’ll be able to figure that out a lot easier if you’re weighing yourself routinely (daily).  If you try to look back a week’s period of time you really have no idea what you did differently. So, this is the reason you want to weigh yourself routinely so you can have those little fluctuations under control.

Maintenance, as I mentioned, is harder than weight loss. It’s easier to make little modifications by looking back over the past 24 hours to figure out what you did differently and then modify what you’re doing.  You can change that fairly easily. So that’s why you should weigh yourself daily.  It’s so that you can be in the habit of doing it for maintenance.

Stop in anytime to check your BCA – and don’t forget to add those pounds to the total on our home page!


The Best Weigh In Routine

Posted on September 25, 2017 by

Dr C with tie croppedShould you weigh yourself routinely or not? You’ll see things all over the map like “You should never weigh yourself” or “You should just go with how you feel” or “If you feel good, you’re good.”  There are a lot of questions out there and I’m going to give you my thought on that whole issue about weighing.  Weighing is the best monitor we have as far as keeping track of your weight and overall health.

Weighing is a good way to look at health because when our weight is stable, we tend to be in stable health. When our weight is changing very quickly one way or the other, potentially there can be changes in health. In a weight loss program we’re obviously trying to lose weight.  So, subsequently then we want to keep track of these things.

Should your weigh in routine be once a week, twice a week, should we step on the scale whenever?? I encourage people to weigh themselves daily and you should weigh yourselves early in the morning.  If you forget to weigh yourself early in the morning, don’t bother.  Wait until the next day. It should be routine weighing.  Why do I say that? Many of the patients I see are very sensitive to carbohydrates.  As we’ve talked about many times in the past, carbohydrates influence insulin level. Insulin is one of the hormones that makes you retain water. It also makes you store fat. If insulin levels go up, you store fat, but the first thing you do is retain water. Subsequently, weight jumps up. So, it’s actually a good monitor to weigh yourself.  Many of our patients are sensitive to carbohydrates and even a little carbohydrate causes a significant weight increase.

If your weigh in routine is daily, it’s relatively easy to look back on the past 24 hours and see what you did differently. Where did you stray?  What happened over the last 24 hours? If your weigh in routine is once a week, it’s hard to look back at a whole week period of time and see what happened differently.  It seems like we’re doing the same things week-to-week. But day-to-day it’s much easier to monitor your weight and notice little changes. And, little changes will matter. If you’re sensitive to carbohydrates, one bad day can cause your weight to jump up significantly. If you wait a week to find that out, you’ll never really know what happened. This goes along with the journaling discussion we’ve had as well. So, write things down and weigh yourself routinely.

I typically like people to weigh themselves in the morning.  Early in the morning is your most accurate weight. As we progress throughout the day, we typically will retain some fluid and weight will go up.  Make it a part of the morning routine.  Get up, weigh yourself, and get on with your day. If you’re someone who is going to obsess about the numbers, understand that the weight does fluctuate day-to-day even when you’re doing all the right things.  Don’t obsess about that number.  What I encourage people to do is to look at what’s happened on average over the past 7 days. But don’t obsess about the numbers because there are lots of reasons to have fluid shifts and fluctuations up and down, and it may not be something you ate the previous day.  It could be that you’re close to your cycle (women).  It could be blood pressure or salt issues. There are lots of little things that will play into that. The biggest thing tends to be the carbohydrate sensitivity. Overall, I recommend you weigh yourself daily early in the morning.  If you forget, wait until the next morning.

Don’t forget to post your weight losses on the Home Page of the website!

What I Have to Share About Weight Loss Surgery

Posted on August 21, 2017 by

Dr. Thomas W. Clark and Allen FabijanMeet Allen Fabijan – you may already know him as ‘Some Guy Named Allen’ from US106.1. What you may not know, is Allen chose weight loss surgery as a tool to help him improve his health and quality of life.

Allen has recently completed Weight Management University for Weight Loss Surgery™ here at Dr. Clark’s Center for Weight Loss Success.  He has lost over 130 pounds since he began his journey to lose weight and improve his health. Join him as he shares his struggles and successes along the way!

“Some people are worried about getting surgery.  I’m not a guy who likes to get surgery. I don’t know anyone who really does. It wasn’t bad. It REALLY wasn’t bad! I’m surprised at how bad it really wasn’t. I was back to work in 3 or 4 days. I don’t know if Dr. Clark recommends that or not! But I only talk for a living. I’m not saying go grab a jackhammer! The recovery wasn’t bad. It was totally something I could have done a lot sooner and wish I would have done sooner.”

“The whole process from consultation until I was at home in bed recovering was exactly the way the support staff and Dr. Clark told me it would be. It was exactly the way it is. I would say don’t let the fact that it’s a medical procedure hold you back. It was actually a breeze. I only used one pain pill. I didn’t even need it.  That was my experience and I would tell anybody that it’s not scary and recovery is a lot easier than you think it is.”     

To learn how weight loss surgery could change your life, watch our free webclass at:

The Problems I Faced – Big and Small – Weight Loss Surgery Helped Them All

Posted on July 31, 2017 by

Allen Fabijan 4Meet Allen Fabijan – you may already know him as ‘Some Guy Named Allen’ from US106.1. What you may not know, is Allen chose weight loss surgery as a tool to help him improve his health and quality of life.

Allen has recently completed Weight Management University for Weight Loss Surgery™ here at Dr. Clark’s Center for Weight Loss Success.  He has lost over 130 pounds since he began his journey to lose weight and improve his health. Join him as he shares his struggles and successes along the way!

“I’m radio personality.  I’m out and about all the time. I have to be confidant. I have to exude confidence. I think that the hard part for me was that I was faking it all the time. I was worried about my weight so I would make a joke to deflect.”

“Unfortunately, I’m thin now so I lost all of my fat guy jokes. But I’ll come up with new ones! The confidence that I needed with my job, career, family, and friends was really being impacted by my weight. I was internalizing that and it leads to all kinds of problems. Insecurity is a miserable thing.  I don’t think anyone who is out there dealing with weight issues isn’t insecure on some level somewhere, some time. I don’t think people realize that how the guilt and burden of weight you carry isn’t just on your body. It’s hundreds of pounds on your soul. I don’t know how else to really say that. It’s not just the physical weight that you carry. It’s the weight of shame, guilt, insecurity, that drives from being overweight.”

To learn how weight loss surgery could change your life, watch our free webclass at:

What to Do After the Jump Start Diet

Posted on June 05, 2017 by

Dr. Clark's 2 Week Jump Start Plan

Dr. Clark’s 2 Week Jump Start Plan

I have something in common with Blake Shelton.  I have a really hot wife.  I finished the Jump Start Diet a couple of weeks ago.  I still use some of the shakes during the day. It’s relatively easy during the week.  It’s the week-ends that tend to be a little bit harder. But I have been able to keep the weight off pretty well. Initially when I finished I kind of went a little crazy and had little more than I should.  My weight jumped up a couple of pounds.  But checking this morning I was back down to 175.  My low is 174 so I’m pretty happy with that.

I talk about goals, especially in the beginning of the year and encourage people to write them down.  I don’t encourage people to do things that I wouldn’t do.  So I write them down every year in my notebook.  I carry the book with me all the time and it’s got in it what’s important to me.  I write down what I’m doing all throughout the week, I keep track of all the books I’m reading, and I also have my goals written in it. I’ve split them up into my personal goals, family and home goals, business goals, and others.  The Jump Start Diet was one of my goals. I’ m also trying to eliminate excess carbohydrates, excess caffeine, excess artificial sweeteners (which I’ll talk about individually).  It’s going pretty well. I feel better when I can do that. I realize I’m not going to completely give up caffeine. I like coffee every once in a while.  I’ll probably not give up artificial sweeteners completely, but there’s no nutritive value in them.  The bottom line is you need to figure out what your goals are and then write them down.  Post them somewhere very obvious to you.  It could be on your computer screen, mirror at home, or refrigerator door.  Keep track of what’s going on.  It’s not just writing down the goals. Now we have to develop a plan to get to those goals. Its’ the whole point of having a goal and working towards that goal. So you need to develop a plan and then work the plan.  What is working for you and what is not? One of the best ways to do this is write things down.  Journaling is something I encourage all the time.

LWUSA iconIf you want more information, I encourage you to join us at Losing Weight USA.  It’s a live webinar I do every Tuesday at 6:00pm. We talk about all kinds of different things. Each week is a different topic but it all has to do with weight and health.  You can go to the website  If you’re already a part of our medical or surgical plans, you’re already signed up. You should tune in, but if you can’t we record them all and post them in the membership site. The last Losing Weight USA I talked about intermittent fasting and how it potentially could help with overall health. It could be part of a weight loss plan. It’s something I’ve been toying with in my mind about whether  I would try this or not.  I’m leaning towards I might try this in the near future.  I’m going to try if for a month and see how it goes. That doesn’t mean I’m fasting for a month.  I go into the details on Losing Weight USA. I’ll probably talk about that over the next few weeks.