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How Do I Guarantee My Results After Weight Loss Surgery?

Posted on June 18, 2018 by

everydayThis is a great question and one that isn’t asked often enough.  Understandably, your initial focus is usually on researching the available surgical options.  After that, your next focus tends to be who will perform your surgery, where your surgery will be performed and how much it will cost.  Unfortunately, the focus doesn’t usually turn to one of the most important considerations – what you need to do to guarantee your results after weight loss surgery.

The reality is that everyone loses weight after weight  loss surgery (particularly with the gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy procedures).  It’s exciting!  It’s rewarding!  It’s awesome!  But…eventually…your weight loss slows down and you will plateau.  Don’t despair, with proper support and guidance, you can get through plateaus and the final plateau will ideally be somewhere just above your ideal body weight.

This occurs, especially if you use the time after surgery (particularly the first year) to not only lose weight, but learn how to modify your mindset and your lifestyle habits…for good!  If you do this, your potential for true long-term success is exponentially increased.  Remember, weight loss surgery is a tool to lose weight.  If you don’t fully understand how to properly use your tool, your results can be compromised.  Instead, why not optimize your results?  This is where your post-operative comprehensive program comes in.  Don’t skip this important aspect of your research process prior to surgery.

This may be disheartening to hear because you might think of weight loss surgery as a guarantee.  Don’t get me wrong, I see success each and every day and it is truly amazing!  However, weight loss surgery is not a magic bullet.  Long term success requires long-term changes.  Don’t worry though.  With proper comprehensive support, this process is not only rewarding and fulfilling, it is actually fun!

So…What should you do after weight loss surgery to guarantee your results?  This was reviewed somewhat in Chapter 10 but I am going to expand this explanation.  I will begin with identifying the most common things you should be doing and then I will take a slightly different approach and share with you the five most common culprits to poor/slower weight loss or eventual weight re-gain.

In addition to the actions described in Chapter 10, your post weight loss surgery steps to success should include:

  1. Don’t miss your post-operative visits with your surgeon. It is important for him/her to monitor your recovery and progress.  Sometimes people avoid their visits because either they are feeling so great, they don’t think they need to be seen or they are struggling and too embarrassed to see their surgeon due to a perceived sense of failure.  Unfortunately, this is the time you REALLY need to come in for your visits.  If you feel great, you can confirm your progress and celebrate even more.  If you are doing well, your surgeon WANTS to see you and celebrate with you as well.  If you are struggling, your surgeon WANTS to see you to help you identify the reason(s) why you are struggling.  It is best if this occurs as early as possible so you can take necessary actions to get back on track as soon as possible. You are not alone and recommendations can usually be determined quickly.  You can leave with a plan in hand and the confidence you need to master the use of your new tool and get back on your path to success.
  2. Don’t miss any scheduled visits with your primary care provider. This is particularly important if you are on any medications that need to be adjusted as you lose weight (i.e. hypertension and diabetes medications).
  3. Don’t miss any scheduled visits with your team of weight loss coaches. Included in comprehensive programs such as the one offered at the Center for Weight Loss Success, you will also be coached by a dietician, weight loss coach and/or personal trainer.  These professionals help you navigate the specific barriers or situations that may impede your optimal progress.  They will also keep you on track and guide you through this life changing experience.  In addition, your team loves to help you celebrate your success and assist you to avoid pitfalls and create new habits that keep you headed in the right direction.
  4. Make the most of the educational materials provided to you before and after surgery. At the WMU4WLS hardcover 2018 whiteCenter for Weight Loss Success, you receive a comprehensive  pre-operative and post-operative learning series called Weight Management University for Weight Loss Surgery™.  This program is reviewed at your office visits guides you each step of the way for the first 12 months after surgery.  Each monthly module explains what to expect that month, what to expect the next month, success stories, recipes and educational materials explaining what you need to know.  They also include information regarding nutrition, metabolism, fitness and other topics that assist you to attain your optimal success.  The modules are supported videos in your membership site and homework assignments that help put it all together.  This comprehensive system is well received by patients.  By the end of your first year after surgery, you will feel as if you have earned a new degree in weight loss surgery!  No matter what learning method you prefer, all bases are covered so dive on in and enjoy!
  5. Attend the support group provided by your experienced surgeon/center. These are generally offered in a group setting and often supplemented with online support as well.
  6. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people who have healthy behaviors. Beware of saboteurs.  There will usually be someone at work or at home who intentionally or unintentionally attempts to sabotage your new way of life.  Sabotage comes in many forms.  Here are a few strategies for dealing with the most common types:
    • Self-Sabotage: Hard to admit, but sometimes we are our own worst enemies. Do you have an internal dialogue that sounds like a tug of war between something you want to do and a rationalization as to why you can’t possibly do that today (better known as excuses)? It all starts with a realistic goal, a realistic plan and realizing that you are in control of your own behavior.  Try replacing the word “can’t” with the word “won’t” the next time that happens and your “self-talk” will begin to change!
    • Family/Friends: You like to think they are all supportive but the reality is that those we count on the most for support are often the ones encouraging a “treat”, “celebration”, “one more bite” or those trigger foods that you can’t say no to. The truth is that you are vulnerable right now and they need to understand your dedication to your goal.  You may need to have a “heart-to-heart” asking for their support. Be assertive, keep your goals handy, put treats out of site or give them away, focus on activities rather than food events.  At parties, focus on conversation and go in with a plan of attack you know you can stick to.
    • Vacations: Time away should be a time to enjoy and relax. However, be careful about your sabotaging thoughts to “let loose”, “do nothing” or “blow it out for the week”.  You can have fun in moderation, incorporate a new sport or activity, enjoy new foods (focus on protein, new vegetables or fruit) and feel great by working in a long walk, run or visit to the fitness center at that great resort!
    • Office Life:  Why is it that your office has to celebrate every event with cakes, cookies & donuts?  Let your co-workers know you are trying to get healthier and welcome them to join you.  Start a new office healthy thinking initiative. Avoid trips to the snack-laden break room and take your break outside.  Make a point not to eat at your desk or if you have to, only bring things you know fit into your plan. Keep a stretch band or small weights at your desk to use.  You could use eight different muscle groups in an eight-hour day!
    • Holidays/Parties: We need to celebrate life!  It can be done though without all of the focus being on food and/or alcohol (which diminishes our sense of control).  Plan for the event ahead of time and don’t go hungry.  You will be less tempted. Plan on picking one or two special food items, giving yourself permission to sample what is there…you don’t want to feel deprived.  Keep your alcohol consumption absent or to a minimum and stay hydrated with water with a twist of lemon or lime.  Hold your drink in your dominant hand to avoid picking at food and talk to others…it’s harder to eat while you are talking.

You can overcome these problem areas!  Make sure you identify what is risky for you so you can have a game plan to combat the situation(s).  Don’t prevent yourself from enjoying life but sometimes (especially early on in your weight loss until new habits are developed) it is easiest to limit exposure, make small strides, build your confidence and then celebrate your success!

Another way to look at how to achieve long-term success is to know and understand the most common reasons you might not get the results you desire and what to do about them.  Below are the five most common culprits to poor/slower weight loss or eventual weight re-gain:

  1. Depression – Emotional health is as important as physical health.  Although depression is not a problem for most after surgery, it can be a significant deterrent to optimal weight loss.  It is important to identify depression (admit that it is ok) and seek appropriate treatment so you can move on with your weight loss journey.
  2. Not Exercising – We require each of you to complete a fitness evaluation with a personal trainer which is included with the program.  The reason for this is because we believe some form of consistent exercise is essential for optimal success.  You should determine what form of exercise is right for you and begin your exercise plan before surgery.  We cannot over-emphasize the importance of this factor.  Although most find it difficult to begin an exercise plan, those that take that plunge never regret it.  It can only enhance your weight loss experience and progress.
  3. Drinking High Calorie Liquids – Many do not realize the excessive amount of sugar and calories contained in some liquids (i.e. Gatorade, Juice, Soda).  As a result, you may “waste” calories on such liquids.  This can significantly impede your weight loss.  It is better to choose water, water with lemon, Fruit2O, Crystal Light or other low or no calorie drink options.
  4. “Grazing” – After the first 2 months or so, you should have progressed to three meals per day with some higher protein snacks in between.  If not, you may develop the habit of “grazing” or eating throughout the day.  If this is the case, you tend to take in a significantly higher amount of calories throughout the day (more than what your body needs).  This will slow down your weight loss and can potentially cause weight re-gain.  Please guard yourself against such habits.
  5. Eating and Drinking at the Same Time – When you eat and drink at the same time, the food is “washed through” the stomach quickly.  It is important to hydrate yourself by drinking a low/no calorie beverage approximately 30 minutes prior to eating.  In this way, your hunger will be decreased.  When you eat, you should not drink at the same time.  As a result, your “pouch” will remain fuller for a longer period of time.  Thus, you will remain satisfied for a longer period of time.  Be sure to stop eating before you truly feel “full”.  It is a slow communication from your stomach to your brain to indicate a feeling of fullness.  Thus, you may overeat and realize it too late.  This can be a very uncomfortable feeling.

So although you may be focusing on the surgery itself, you will be doing yourself a big favor by not neglecting your post-operative plan.  Use these tips and don’t forget to enjoy this journey of self-discovery.

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Rhonda’s Opinion:  Make yourself a priority and it will work.

What if I Lose Too Much Weight After Weight Loss Surgery?

Posted on May 28, 2018 by

mind over matterYou wouldn’t think this would be a commonly asked question but it is.  You may have heard a horror story about a “person who had weight loss surgery and lost so much weight that they look pale, weak and all of their skin sags”.   This is by far the exception and not the norm.

Weight loss after weight loss surgery is consistent and rapid (primarily with the gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy procedures and not as rapid with the laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding procedure).  Eventually, the body recognizes this rapid weight loss and as a protective mechanism, will slow down your metabolism and you will experience a plateau.  By following your prescribed eating plan (we make it as simple as possible) and incorporating fitness, you can work through these plateaus.  Once you get closer to your goal weight, the body naturally stabilizes at an appropriate weight even if you continue with a lower food intake (if it is the right combination of macronutrients and overall calories).  The industry commonly calls this the “set point”.  If you did continue to lose weight and appear as if you were dropping below your ideal body weight (rare), we can teach you how to use your “tool” to gain weight as well.

If you looked like the person described previously, you would need to be sure you were following up with your experienced bariatric surgeon.  Some things that can contribute to such a situation include poor nutrition, lack of an adequate amount of protein, not taking your daily vitamin, iron deficiency, smoking, depression or a physical malabsorption problem.  Again, this is a rare situation.  If you follow the prescribed post-operative comprehensive program set forth by your experienced bariatric surgeon/center this would be avoided.

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Rhonda’s Opinion:  I actually did lose a little too much weight but worked with Dr. Clark and a trainer to gain back muscle.  The great thing is that now YOU have CONTROL!!!

Will I be Able to Enjoy my Favorite Foods Again after Weight Loss Surgery?

Posted on May 14, 2018 by

you chooseLife after weight loss surgery is not all about deprivation.  In fact, life after surgery is quite the contrary.  It’s about having an extra reinforcement so that you are better equipped to lose weight and keep it off long term.  As we have said over and over, surgery is a tool but you really need to know how best to use this tool for optimal long-term results.  Our society is focused on the here and now.  You will have an excellent tool that will help you quickly in the here and now after surgery.  More importantly it will serve you well for the long haul so you can fully experience your life in a rewarding and active way.  I see dreams come true each and every day!

Sure, there will be changes and I would be lying if we said they were all going to be simple. I am not trying to be vague here but the answer to the question “Will I ever be able to enjoy my favorite foods again after weight loss surgery?” depends upon a number of things.  These include the type of surgery you have and what is included in your favorite food list.   Not knowing exactly what those favorite foods are, I will include those that you will need to avoid altogether or enjoy in small quantities (we always like to focus on what you can have rather than what you can’t have).

The first category you will want to avoid or enjoy in small quantities is sugary sweets.  This can be in solid (i.e. candy) or liquid form (i.e. sweet tea).  After weight loss surgery, you should avoid food with >8 grams of sugar (5 grams if you are diabetic) because they can cause a negative reaction in your system, particularly if you have had a gastric bypass.  These foods can cause what is commonly called “dumping syndrome”.  Dumping syndrome occurs when there is a rapid passage of food into the small intestines causing a shift of fluid to the small intestine.  This usually occurs when you ingest foods that are too high in sugar or fat.  Symptoms include diarrhea, sweating, nausea, cold/clammy skin, dizziness, weakness, flushed appearance, and occasionally headaches.  You will need to stop and rest until the symptoms subside.  Remember to remain hydrated (water is best).  Take note of the food/foods that caused these symptoms so that you can avoid them in the future.

The second category you will want to avoid is alcohol.  Alcohol is full of empty calories, dehydrates the body, and has negative effects on the kidneys and liver.  In addition, because of the small size of your new pouch and the fact that food/liquid now empties more rapidly into the intestines, alcohol will be more toxic and cause a higher blood alcohol level than before surgery.  For these reasons, ingestion of alcohol should be avoided after surgery.  If you choose to have weight loss surgery and then ingest alcohol, please be aware that a small amount can affect you to a MUCH greater degree than prior to surgery.

After you are a month or so out from surgery, you can begin to experiment more with various foods.  Introduce raw fruits and vegetables cautiously.  Although many people do just fine, certain foods may be difficult to tolerate because your digestive system cannot n handle them.  The following may cause problems for you and may need to be avoided:

  • Tough meats, especially hamburger. Even after grinding, the gristle in hamburger is hard to digest.
  • Membranes of oranges or grapefruit
  • Cores, seeds, or skins of fruits or vegetables
  • Fibrous vegetables such as corn and celery
  • Hulls, popcorn
  • Breads – Fresh breads “ball up” in your stomach and can block your pouch. Try to avoid breads/crackers/cereals as much as possible.
  • Fried foods
  • Milk – If you are lactose intolerant you may use “Lactaid” products or soybean milk
  • Rice – tends to expand further once in your stomach and can cause pain

This list may seem daunting but realize that the further you are out from surgery, the more tolerant your system tends to be.  However, it is very important that especially throughout the first year you participate in a comprehensive program which should be available with any experienced bariatric surgeon/center.  A comprehensive program should include:

  • Follow-up visits with your surgeon
  • Individualized coaching with a nutrition specialist who understands the needs of the weight loss surgery patient
  • Personal trainer/fitness center that eases you into appropriate exercise activities in a safe and comfortable environment
  • Access to delicious nutritional products that support your need for 90+ grams of protein each day
  • An ongoing support group for you and your family/significant others.

All of this is provided on-site or online at the Center for Weight Loss Success and truly impacts the short and long-term outcomes of our awesome patients.  For those that live farther away, most services are very effectively provided online, via Skype, via webinars and other engaging ways.  Short and long-term comprehensive support is essential for optimal success.

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Rhonda’s Opinion:  Absolutely!  I enjoy food in moderation even more than before because it tastes so much better when you slow down to enjoy it.

Why is Protein so Important After Weight Loss Surgery?

Posted on May 07, 2018 by

can-eat-blueberries-182x300Protein is essential with any weight loss plan.  Protein is essential for muscle and tissue growth and repair.  If you reduce your caloric intake without consuming the necessary amount of protein, your weight loss will be a combination of lean body mass and fat loss.  With adequate protein intake (and exercise), you should be able to preserve your muscle mass, allowing the majority of your weight loss to come from fat stores.  If, over time, you do not meet your daily protein needs, you may experience fatigue, loss of lean body mass, and possible hair loss.

You will need to check with your surgeon, but we recommend that our patients take in at least 90-100 grams of protein every day.  As your weight loss continues, your body will still prefer using your lean muscle as a source of energy.  Therefore, consuming 90-100 grams of protein daily will be a goal throughout your weight loss journey, not just during the beginning phases.

Once your weight has stabilized and you are in a maintenance phase then protein requirements may decrease somewhat into the 60-90 range depending on your weight and overall muscle mass.  The higher your weight the more protein you may require in order to maintain Lean Body Mass.  Men typically require more protein due to their higher total Lean Body Mass.

People seeking medical or surgical weight loss often have many questions surrounding protein intake since it is important for both situations.  How many kinds of protein are there?  Where can I find it?  How much do I need?  What is the best time to have it?  Let’s try to give some straight forward answers to these questions.

The word protein is derived from the Greek word proteios, meaning “of the first quality”.  Protein is essential for life (i.e. we can NOT survive without it!!!) because it contains sulfur and nitrogen, two vital elements for every cell in your body.  Protein also helps produce enzymes and hormones, maintain fluid balance, and regulate numerous vital functions, from building antibodies to building muscle.  The body maintains roughly 50,000 different protein containing compounds, forming the building blocks of muscle, bone, cartilage, skin, hair and blood.

As far at your diet is concerned, there are numerous kinds of proteins, each with their own set of advantages.  The right kinds can make all the difference, especially if you are trying to lose weight and build muscle.  Some of the best protein comes from food. Meat has about 7 grams of protein/oz., large eggs about 7 grams of protein, and milk about 8 grams of protein/8oz.  In a weight loss plan, you have to watch all the extra calories (fat, carbs) that come with food sources of protein.

  • Whey Protein: Whey protein is derived from milk (remember Little Miss Muffet and her curds and whey?).  Many whey protein supplements have had most of the excess fat, cholesterol and lactose removed.  Whey proteins are undoubtedly the most commonly used and most popular protein used in sports nutrition and with good reason.  They are the highest quality protein available with an excellent balance of essential amino acids.  Whey proteins are very efficiently absorbed and this is extremely important but this is also a potential problem.  Because whey protein is so efficiently absorbed (i.e. absorbed quickly) it tends to not keep you feeling full or satisfied for any extended period of time.  For this reason, it also tends to work better if used in small doses (10-20 gms) taken multiple times throughout the day.  Your hunger can potentially return faster than with other proteins.  This brings us to Casein protein.
  • Casein Protein: Casein protein is also derived from milk (the curds part of curds and whey) and is essentially whey’s counterpart.  It also is a very high quality protein with all the essential amino acids.  While whey is absorbed very rapidly, casein forms a slow digesting gel in your stomach.  This in turn promotes a feeling of fullness that can stave off hunger for longer periods of time.  This steady stream of amino acids helps to protect against muscle breakdown.  A good casein based protein supplement made specifically for weight loss is Weight and Inches (29gm protein/serving) which can be obtained from CFWLS.
  • Egg Proteins: Egg proteins digest at a moderate pace.  Eggs are an excellent protein source and mimic the amino acid profile of muscle quite nicely.  Unfortunately, eggs do have a relatively high amount of cholesterol and also arachodonic acid (mainly in the yolks).  Some people are very sensitive to arachodonic acid worsening inflammatory processes.  Egg proteins in supplement form (usually as albumin) have had most of the cholesterol and arachodonic acid removed.
  • Soy Protein: Soy protein is also digested at a moderate pace.  Soy protein contains all of the essential amino acids, but since soy is a plant, it tends to not have quite as good of a ratio of essential amino acids as dairy or egg based protein.  Therefore, it does not tend to protect muscle mass quite as well.  It can still be a good alternative for those who do not tolerate dairy based proteins.

As far as timing goes, ideally you should use smaller doses of protein multiple times throughout the day.  This is especially important after weight loss surgery so even these recommendations will need to be altered somewhat during the phase immediately following surgery.  Starting the day off with a good dose is always a good idea (i.e. that protein shake in the morning).  An example would be 20-30 grams at breakfast, 20-30 grams at lunch and 20-30 grams at dinner.  Then add two 10-20 gram snacks, appropriately spaced between meals.  Positioning a protein snack prior to and immediately after strenuous exercise works extremely well to build/preserve muscle mass.

After surgery, your new stomach pouch will initially only be able to hold about 1-2 tablespoons (15-30cc) of fluid at a time.  This is approximately ½-1 medicine cup.  Your new stomach should eventually stretch to accommodate 6-8 ounces (3/4 to 1 cup) within the first 1-2 years after surgery.  Because your new stomach pouch is so small, you need to follow the guidelines provided by your surgeon to ensure the fluid/food you put in your stomach is the most nutritious possible and does not overfill your small stomach, causing you pain and/or nausea/vomiting.

For delicious recipes that provide adequate protein and are low carb, visit us on Pinterest at: CFWLSVA

What is Life Like After Weight Loss Surgery?

Posted on April 30, 2018 by

necessaryYour feelings regarding life after surgery will likely vary depending upon how far out you are from surgery, your level of preparation prior to surgery, your ability to manage change and your overall attitude/mindset.  Rest assured, there is often not a dry eye in the office as goals are met/exceeded throughout the first year after surgery and beyond.  It’s extremely rewarding for you and everyone involved and you hear more often than not “I wish I would have done this sooner”.  As a generalization, at the Center for Weight Loss Success, we have found that most people go through a few expected phases and the timeframe for each varies:

  • Phase 1: What have I done?
  • Phase 2: I can do this.
  • Phase 3: I am glad I did this.
  • Phase 4: I wish I would have done this sooner!
  • Phase 5: I need to stay on track (especially if necessary long term success habits throughout the first year after surgery weren’t developed)

At the time of this publication, the primary surgery performed by Dr. Clark at the Center for Weight Loss Success is the sleeve gastrectomy.  In fact, most of these patients go home the same day of surgery since you generally recover better in your own home environment.  You go through a thorough pre-operative program and your post-operative program begins right away.

When you first go home from the hospital, here are some general guidelines for what to expect.  Of course, each surgeon has their own particular orders so be sure to follow whatever he/she recommends.

  • With regards to your diet, you will want to make sure you are staying hydrated by sipping all day. You will usually continue with a liquid diet until you are seen by your surgeon 10-14 days after surgery.  You should not have any carbonated beverages – refer to your the liquid diet instructions set forth by your surgeon.  You need to stay hydrated and do your best to try to get about 80-100 grams of protein in per day with high quality protein shakes (again, follow your surgeons specific orders).
  • You will want to be up and walking as tolerated and rest when you are tired. You are usually permitted to shower.  Common sense comes into play here.  If anything is hurting you then you probably should not be doing it yet.  At the Center for Weight Loss Success, we restrict lifting to no more than 20 pounds for the first two weeks and restrict driving for 3-4 days after surgery as long as you are off of your pain medication.  Getting up and moving is a good thing.  Not only for your body but for your emotional state as well.
  • Your surgeon will have specific instructions for wound care and medications. Follow these as instructed.
  • It is not unusual for you to question “What did I do?” the first days after surgery. It is a big adjustment and although you won’t likely feel hungry, just drinking liquids is a big change and can be difficult to get used to.  The first few days tend to be the worst and then you get used to it.  It helps to focus on your goals.  This will all be worth it.
  • Make sure you go to all of your scheduled follow-up appointments and call your surgeon if you have any questions/concerns.

After the first two weeks, you will generally be able to begin “mushy” foods.  At the Center for Weight Loss Success, we have a thorough educational program that guides you through exactly what to do/eat which is beyond the scope of this book.  Your experienced bariatric surgeon/center will likely have similar resources for you.

At approximately one month after surgery, you will begin eating more regular foods.  You will want to focus on getting in an adequate amount of quality protein (at least 90 grams), staying hydrated (sometimes thirst is mistaken for hunger) and easing into a regular exercise regimen.  Your experienced bariatric surgeon/center will have an entire plan set to help guide you through each phase after surgery.  Remember, it is never too early to begin your habits for success.  As a general rule, these include:

  • Eating – Don’t skip meals. Food choices should be low fat and low sugar.  Think “Protein First”.  Eating should be approached as “how little can I eat and be satisfied”, NOT “how much can I fit into my new smaller stomach”.  You will want to cut your food up into small pieces, use a smaller plate, put your fork/spoon down in between bites and chew slowly.  It is best to eat at a table and not “on the run” so you will avoid eating too fast, overfilling your pouch and end up with unnecessary pain or difficulty.
  • Drinking – Try to avoid drinking with your meals since it “washes” the food through quicker and decreases your ability to stay fuller longer. Beverages should be non-caloric and non-carbonated.  Drinking 8 glasses of water each day is a good idea with any weight loss plan.  Avoid alcoholic beverages.
  • Vitamins – Multivitamins should be taken daily – Forever. Other vitamins and/or supplements may be needed depending upon individual needs.
  • Sleeping – Make sure you are well rested. You will be most successful if you sleep an average of 7 hours each night.
  • Exercise – Regular exercise is extremely important and should be done at least 3-4 times per week for at least 30-40 minutes.
  • Personal Responsibility – Successful patients take personal responsibility for weight loss/weight control. It’s up to you!!  No one else can lose the weight for you.  The surgery is only a “tool”.  You have to use this tool appropriately.

Every person recovers at a different rate.  It is important to take it one day, one week, and one month at a time.  Be involved in your pre-operative and post-operative educational program and try to attend a support group once a month.  Being around others who are experiencing the same thing or who have a long-term success story to share is very helpful.  When you get to that point, be sure to share your success as well.  Celebrate your accomplishments along the way and reward yourself with something non-food related such as a massage, manicure, pedicure, golf club, fitness center membership, new piece of exercise equipment or a great piece of clothing.  You will not want to invest a large amount of money in clothing because of rapid weight loss.  Joining a clothing exchange with other weight loss surgery patients is helpful too.

Finally, surround yourself with like-minded successful people who support you and your goals.  There are plenty of saboteurs in this world – they may even be your closest family or friends.  This is a topic we could write an entire book about!  In short, ask them for their support and explain the changes you want and need to make (use “I” statements and own your goals).  If they continue to be unsupportive, you may need to limit your time with them.  I know this is easier said than done but it is ok for you to be selfish – this is your time to shine!  Go for it!

What is My Expected Weight Loss After Surgery?

Posted on April 23, 2018 by

Expected weight loss after surgery varies depending upon the surgical procedure, your pre-operative weight and your commitment to following the diet/exercise recommendations after surgery.  On an average, people lose approximately 70% of what they were overweight. For example, if you were 100 pounds over your ideal body weight, you would lose an average of 70 pounds – if you were 200 pounds over your ideal body weight, you would lose an average of 140 pounds.

Prior to selecting your surgeon/bariatric center, ask them what the average weight loss is for their clients after surgery.  At the Center for Weight Loss Success, the average weight loss after weight loss surgery is 127 pounds.  That takes into account weight loss for patients who began with a BMI anywhere between 33 and 50+.

Optimal weight loss results can be attained if you do the following:

  • Attend your scheduled surgeon appointments before and after surgery
  • Attend monthly support group meetings usually provided through your surgeon’s office
  • Strictly follow the diet set forth by your surgeon and if he/she has made nutritional coaching and/or personal training visits available to you through their weight loss surgery program, participate fully and attend these sessions
  • Include your support person(s) in your appointments/classes/support group as appropriate so they fully understand what you need to be doing and how to support you for optimal success
  • Monitor not only your weight but your full body composition (hopefully a service provided at your weight loss surgeon’s office) as you progress post-operatively. You will want to make sure you are losing fat and not your lean body mass (muscle).
  • Be sure to get in enough quality protein (check with your surgeon but usually at least 90 grams per day). This will help with your overall ability to maintain your lean body mass (muscle) which drives your metabolism.  It is also important for healing and prevention of potential long term problems such as hair loss.
  • Incorporate fitness as soon as your surgeon indicates it is safe for you to do so. Walking is a great beginning routine but you will want to incorporate increased cardio training and resistance training with weights.  Your surgeon will likely either provide these services or provide you with an appropriate plan/resource.
  • Immediately after surgery your surgeon will likely be most concerned that you are staying hydrated. Water is very important so be sure to sip all day long and in the long run get approximately 64 ounces of water in every day.  In addition to proper hydration, you need to make sure you are ingesting appropriate amounts of protein as mentioned earlier.
  • Take your vitamins as recommended by your surgeon and make sure they are pharmaceutical grade for optimal quality.
  • Whenever you are trying to lose weight, you can improve your rate of success by journaling what you eat and drink. This also helps as you meet with your surgeon and/or the nutritional coach before and after surgery.
  • Surround yourself with positive people who support your decision to have weight loss surgery. SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE DO

We’re here to help you succeed!  View the Online Weight Loss Surgery webinar now and then schedule your call with my Surgical Coordinator, Cat Williamson: schedule now

How do I prepare for weight loss surgery?

Posted on April 16, 2018 by

sands of timeHow to best prepare for weight loss surgery is one of those questions that might not be on the top of your list, but will contribute to your overall level of success.  As you know, weight loss surgery is an important decision.  If you are adequately prepared, your level of anxiety will decrease and you will be better able to manage the changes required of you after surgery.  In addition, with preparation comes confidence.  This is a great trait to have as you embark upon this remarkable journey.

So how do you prepare for weight loss surgery?  You will want to ask questions.  You will want to make sure that your bariatric surgeon/center has a very thorough educational process in place prior to and after surgery that addresses nutrition, behavior modification and fitness.  These three components are critical to long term success.

You may only be thinking short term.  Let’s face it, you are really busy and have many obligations at home, at work, with school and with friends that take precedence over your needs.  It’s easy to tell yourself “I will figure this out” but it is a lot easier if you have a support system in place at home and with your bariatric surgeon/center prior to surgery so that you can better manage any surprises that may come along the way.

If you have already decided to have weight loss surgery, you will want to think about the positive changes you want to accomplish.  Often people view surgery from a number perspective (i.e. how many pounds they would like to lose).  Weight loss surgery is about so much more than that.  It is about enabling yourself to accomplish things that might not have been possible in the past.  It is about having an exciting life.  Life you can experience to the fullest extent.  It is very important to think about (and document) life goals related to your weight loss.  Then you can celebrate the positive changes transforming your life.  Some of the “dreams” that people have shared include:

  • Walking up the stairs or to the corner of their street without getting short of breath
  • Playing with their children or grandchildren
  • Crossing their legs
  • Painting their toenails
  • Stop worrying about being able to fit into a chair at a public place or worrying that it will break when they sit on it
  • Fitting in a bathtub and having water on both sides
  • Shopping in a store for regular sized people
  • Riding a bicycle
  • Returning to a productive lifestyle
  • Stop worrying about going to a restaurant that might only have booths or chairs with arms on them
  • Going to a movie and fitting into the seat

Take some time to identify your “wish list” and document it.  Then spend some time getting your mind and body ready.  In the weeks or days before surgery, you need to consider yourself in training.  Just as athletes prepare for a race, you can prepare yourself to be in top form for surgery.  When you actively get your body and mind ready you likely will:

  • Have fewer complications from anesthesia and surgery
  • Be able to cooperate with necessary treatments
  • Heal faster and feel better quicker
  • Have better control of your pain

There are some very specific things you need to do to be in the best shape possible.  You need to begin these things as soon as possible.  We know that the very worst time to try to learn things is right after surgery when you may feel foggy from anesthesia and uncomfortable from your operation.  Learn and practice these things now so that you will be able to help yourself after surgery.

  • Focus on healthy eating. The better nourished you are, the more quickly your tissues will heal.  Healing is WORK for your body.  Good nutrition helps you tolerate the stresses on your body and to offset limits on food and fluids right after surgery.  Weight loss prior to your surgery can decrease your risk and improve recovery time after surgery.  This is why you should incorporate your new eating plan and individualized weight loss counseling prior to surgery as a part of your overall plan.  Consult your bariatric surgeon for specific options for weight loss prior to surgery.
  • If you are a smoker – QUIT! Even a few weeks of not smoking increases the safety of anesthesia.  You will not be allowed to smoke while hospitalized.  You will need all your oxygen for healing.
  • Build your exercise tolerance. Toning your muscles and building your strength will help you bounce back quicker.  Walking is a perfect exercise for you prior to surgery.  It is normal to feel a little weak after surgery, but you can reduce this by toning up with daily exercise.
  • Exercise your lungs! Practice your deep breathing.  After surgery you will be encouraged to do this.  Expanding your lungs helps your system get rid of anesthesia drugs quickly, helps prevent pneumonia, and speeds oxygen to your tissues to help you heal quickly.  You will also FEEL better.
  • Move your legs to prevent blood clots!!!! After an operation, the best exercise to help your circulation and reduce your chance of blood clots will be walking!  The nurses in the hospital will get you up after a brief recovery period following surgery.  Once you go home, follow the specific discharge instructions set forth  by your surgeon.  In general, you should rest as needed but also get up and walk around as much as tolerated.  You can do these exercises in bed or sitting in a chair during any rest periods.
    • Lying on your back in bed, “walk” your feet toward your body until your knees are fully bent. Tighten your abdominal muscles while you do this.  Now let your legs slide gently back to the flat position and repeat this four more times.
    • Lying in bed or sitting up, point your toes as if you were trying to bend your foot backwards. Hold for the count of five and relax.  You should feel a “pull” on the muscles in the front of your legs.  Next point your heels away from your body, tightening your leg muscles.  Hold for the count of five and relax.  You should feel this pull in the back of your legs.  Repeat the pointing exercises 5-10 times.

If you have decided to have surgery, you also need to focus your mind on a good outcome.  You are the most important player in this team effort, and much will depend on your ability to fully participate.  Your feelings and thoughts will play a very big part in your recovery.  Reassure yourself that the best people, equipment and techniques are supporting you during surgery.

Finally, if you have decided to have surgery, a good way to prepare is to use the power of your relationships to gather a support group.  Enlist family and friends to help you keep your spirits up.  Let friends and neighbors help with chores and meals.  We all do better when we know we are supported by people who care about us and are cheering us on. Don’t underestimate the power of your emotions.  Positive thinking is the biggest help you can give yourself.  Think hopeful, optimistic thoughts about the experience ahead, and start NOW!

If you do all of these things, you will be best prepared for a positive experience and outcome.

We’re ready to help you achieve your dream – view our online Weight Loss Surgery Webinar or schedule the next

 

 

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.

CFWLS-Rhonda-09-

 

 

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

kevin

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.

5http://asmbs.org/benefits-of-bariatric-surgery/

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.

Two Things to Remember About Eating and Weight Loss

Posted on October 09, 2017 by

2017-03-29_17.13.23_smaller squareI’m going to talk about my two favorite eating rules. Eating rules can help you keep on your dietary plan. They don’t make it easier to do, but they’re fairly simple.

The first one is always sit down at a specific location to eat. It doesn’t matter if it’s a snack or a meal.  Always sit down and always have it be a specific location. Eat at a specific location in your home. It gets rid of that eating on the run or eating over the kitchen sink. There are some specific decisions that have to be made.  You’re physically going to get the food, sit down, and eat it in a specific location. That’s the first eating rule.

Number two is always use utensils. This requires more decisions.  Even if it is finger food (which typically isn’t what I call eating clean), you still have to use utensils.  If it’s an Oreo or chips, you have to sit down at a certain place, and you have to use utensils. If you can do this, they’re very simple rules. Simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy. If you can do this, you’ll find it easier to stick to your dietary plan. Multiple decisions have to be made in order to get there. So when you are potentially “straying”, you’ve got multiple decisions points that you can actually change your mind.

Number one, sit in a specific location. 

Number two, always use utensils.