Web Chat

Slow & Steady Wins the Weight Loss Race

Along your weight loss path, how many times have you wished for a quick fix? While there’s no magic bullet, there are simple, steady steps you can take to meet your weight loss goal.

Joe Before & After Weight LossArvinpal Singh, MD, Medical Director of the Emory Bariatric Center, along with Joe, an Emory Bariatric Center patient on his own non-surgical weight loss journey, hosted an online chat discussing strategies for long term weight loss success. Dr. Singh and Joe answered questions on what it takes to get on the path to lasting weight loss and offered inspiration to help you reach your weight loss goals.

Joe and Dr. Singh fielded lots of great questions, ranging from inquiries on nonsurgical vs. surgical weight loss to those on fat fighting foods. Having already lost 115 pounds by making smart diet, exercise and lifestyle changes, Joe shared some of his best tips for successful weight loss.

You can find a few of the weight loss chat questions and answers below. For more, check out the full weight loss chat transcript!

Question:  “Is it better to exercise for a full 30 minute interval daily or to exercise a total of 30 minutes throughout the day?” – Deborah

Dr. Singh, Emory Bariatric Center

Answer (Dr. Singh): Excellent question! BOTH are equal, 10 minute increments 3 times a day has been shown to be just as effective as 30 minutes once a day. As a rule, every step you take counts. For example, park further away, take stairs and stay active in your daily. Also, try spending some time during your lunch break walking, etc.

 

Joe, Weight Loss PatientAnswer (Joe): To add to that, the key is making sure you’re upping your activity overall and upping the number of calories you’re burning. If doing that in two 15 minute intervals works better for you, that’s great, or 30 minutes at once is good too. Even small changes make a big impact and it’s important to be aware of little steps you can take to get extra activity in. I’ll try to walk to the water fountain that’s furthest away, as an example.

Question: “I’m 55 years old, diabetic, with blood pressure off the chart. How do I lose 90 lbs fast?” – Lynn

Dr. Singh, Emory Bariatric CenterAnswer (Dr. Singh): Hi Lynn, Losing the weight quickly is not necessarily as important as losing the weight in a healthy way. Without seeing you in person, I can’t speak your personal medical situation, but in general, eating the right amounts of the proper foods and making healthy lifestyle changes are the first steps. I can certainly go into more detail after looking into your personal medical history and discussing your case in detail with you.

Diseases of our western society (including heart disease, diabetes & cancers) are not a necessarily an inevitable part of the aging process. Many of these conditions are reversible and preventable with excellent nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.

Joe, Weight Loss PatientAnswer (Joe): Losing a certain number of pounds isn’t as important as it is to regain your overall health. I realized many health benefits before reaching my target weight. As an example, when I began exercising regularly, I actually gained weight, but that was a good thing, as it meant I was developing new muscle tissue, improving my overall health, and getting smaller in the meantime.
 
 
Dr. Singh, Emory Bariatric CenterResponse (Dr. Singh): That’s a great point Joe, many studies show that even as little as 5-10 percent of weight loss dramatically improves a person’s overall health.
 
 
 
 


Have you seen success with your weight loss efforts? Share your best tips with us and our readers in the comments below!

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My Journey To Successful Weight Loss

Joe Before & After Weight LossFor the millions of Americans who diet, stop dieting and then promise to diet again, the constant struggle to lose weight and keep it off can be exhausting, not to mention discouraging. Fortunately, there are success stories that you can learn from to help make this time the one that leads to a successful weight loss and a healthier, happier lifestyle. Joe is one of the most successful patient stories to come out of the Emory Bariatric Center.

You can learn more about Joe’s weight loss journey in this online chat transcript. He joined  Dr. Singh, Medical Director of the Emory Bariatric Center, for an online chat where they shared weight loss tips and best practices and answered your questions live!

When I was in high school, I was a competitive swimmer. Once I got into college, I became a long distance runner, and I even ran a few marathons. I weighed 141 pounds, and was proud of the fact that my waist size and my inseam were the same (30 inches). Once I got into graduate school, I didn’t exercise as much, but I stayed in good shape. I think I weighed about 150 when I finished graduate school.

Unfortunately, when I got out into the world of work, my job involved a lot of travel and a lot of fast food meals on the go. Unfortunately, I quit exercising, and let my eating habits continue to get worse. Not long after we moved to Atlanta, my weight had ballooned to 420 pounds. My waist had grown to 66 inches!

Realizing things had gotten dangerously bad with my health, I tried all sorts of things. I tried swimming to lose weight, which worked well for a while, but without changing my diet, my weight loss slowed down and plateaued. I tried increasing the intensity of my swimming, but all that accomplished was hurting my shoulder, which ended my swimming for a long time. I tried the Atkins diet, which led to some weight loss, but the gout and kidney stones I got while on the diet let me know that a high protein, low carb diet is not a healthy long term approach. I tried walking twice a day — our dogs really liked that — but pain in my leg forced me to cut back on my walking.

The pain in my leg kept getting worse, which lead to visits to multiple doctors. I finally ended up at an orthopedist, who explained that degenerative arthritis in my hip and lower spine can cause pains in my thigh and lower leg. It turns out that the damage was caused by forcing my bones to support too much weight for far too long. He told me that there were three things I could do to help get better: lose weight, lose weight and then lose some more weight.

It occurred to me that I had been going about losing weight the wrong way all along. I realized that I had spent more than thirty years working as an IT consultant because I was really good at helping other people solve problems using computer technology. We didn’t expect people in finance, accounting and telecommunications to know their own area of expertise and also know how to use computers to solve their problems. My living depended on other people being willing to hire my special expertise in solving problems. Why not rely on people who are experts at helping people lose weight?

My wife had been telling me about the Emory medical weight loss program for years, which is the Emory Bariatric Center’s customized non-surgical weight loss and weight management program, called Your Weigh. I finally decided to check the program out, reading about it on the web, taking the online seminar about the program and decided to go for it. I spoke with my employer about re-arranging my work schedule to attend the Friday sessions, and began the program in October of 2012. When I started the program, I weighed 377.6 pounds, was developing Type 2 diabetes, had high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Since being in the program, I’ve lost more than110 pounds so far with 80 more pounds to my goal weight, my A1C has gone from 6.4 to 5.4 and my total cholesterol has dropped from 258 to 176. More important than the weight I’ve lost so far — not to mention the related health improvements — I’ve gained friends, support, and the knowledge and tools to help me stay healthy for the rest of my life.

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Strategies for Successful and Lasting Weight Loss

Of the weight loss roller coaster, comedic author Erma Bombeck once said, “In two decades I’ve lost a total of 789 pounds. I should be hanging from a charm bracelet.”

For the millions of Americans who diet, stop dieting and then promise to diet again, the constant struggle to lose weight and keep it off can be exhausting, not to mention discouraging.

Fortunately, there are success stories that you can learn from to help make this time the one that leads to a healthier, happier lifestyle.

If you’re ready for weight loss that sticks, join Arvinpal Singh, MD, Medical Director of the Emory Bariatric Center, on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 to discuss strategies for long term weight loss success. Joining Dr. Singh will be one of our most successful and committed patients, Joe. Together, Dr. Singh and Joe will answer questions on what it takes to get on the path to lasting weight loss and offer inspiration to help you reach your weight loss goals.

>>> Strategies for Successful Weight Loss CHAT TRANSCRIPT <<< 

Take-Aways From Dr. Singh’s Weight Loss Web Chat

Dr. Arvinpal Singh, Emory Bariatric CenterOn Tuesday, I held a live chat on the topic of New Year’s weight loss and how you can take steps now to make sure you achieve your New Year’s weight loss goals and turn those resolutions to reality! The questions I received on in my first live chat on Tuesday were fantastic! It was great to see so much enthusiasm from our community around setting realistic and healthy weight loss goals and taking steps to achieve them. There were a few questions from the chat that we didn’t have time to answer on Tuesday, and as promised, I’ve answered them below in this post. Thanks again for joining me on Tuesday and I look forward to seeing you all at our next bariatric web chat!

Toni: Dr. Singh, what are some foods I can eat to help boost metabolism?
Dr. Singh: Great question, Toni. The best way to boost your metabolism via your diet is by starting your day with a high protein breakfast and incorporating protein into each meal. Green tea may also help improve your metabolism.

Toni: What’s the best overall way to boost metabolism?
Dr. Singh: In addition to starting the day with a high protein breakfast and incorporating protein into every meal, stay active. Incorporate resistance training into your workouts. You can try using resistance bands, for example, to increase lean body mass, or muscle.

Mark: Do you believe surgery is the answer to weight loss or taking the right steps to change our diet first?
Dr. Singh: The right answer is different for each person, and I can’t speak specifically to your situation without seeing you in-person for an appointment. In general, I do believe surgery is a necessary option for some patients. But even for those patients, the best possible results will not be achieved if proper eating, exercise and lifestyle habits aren’t adopted. At the Emory Bariatric Center, we often advise patients participate in our medically supervised diet before their surgery to begin developing these habits early on.

Mark: So, for a soda addict, would you suggest diet cola with aspartame vs. a soft drink containing high fructose corn syrup?
Dr. Singh: If you must drink soda, then yes, I would be in favor of consuming soda beverages that use a sugar substitute. Aspartame has been heavily research and deemed as safe from that research.

Jo: How much water should we drink a day? Is it half the body weight, example 140…drink 8 glasses?
Dr. Singh: In general, a nice and easy-to-remember rule of thumb is 8×8 for women (8, 8oz glasses of water per day) and 10×10 for men (10, 10oz glasses of water per day), but this is highly variable depending upon how active you are, where you live (climate, etc.), your medical conditions, your age, and various other factors.

Mark: What is your opinion on cleansing the body of harmful toxins?
Dr. Singh: My answer to this question varies based on what cleansing methods are being used. In my opinion, the best and safest way to cleanse the body is by drinking adequate amounts of water.

Carolyn: My weight stays up and dex and fatigue do not help. On chemo, can we take health food aids, such as raspberry ketosis to assist in weight loss?
Dr. Singh: I can’t speak to your personal situation without seeing you in-person, but in general, I wouldn’t recommend any dramatic weight loss program to a patient while on chemo. Any health program conducted under these circumstances should be done solely under your physician’s supervision.

Pearlie: How do you maintain weight when you are prone to a chronic illness that requires you to take large doses of prednisone?
Dr. Singh: Long-term prednisone use can result in the deterioration of bone and muscle mass. Seek the advice of your physician to get specific answers based on your condition and circumstances, but in general, in this situation, it is especially important to maintain an active lifestyle and try to incorporate resistance training in order to preserve bone integrity and muscle mass. Adequate Calcium and Vitamin D intake are essential as well.

Natarsha: How can I get rid of fat behind my thighs and flabby arms?
Dr. Singh: The million dollar question! :) It’s interesting that females typically accumulate fat in the hips/thighs and men in the abdomen. There are several changes that can be made to help reduce fat in trouble areas. Increasing protein, decreasing sugary and processed carbohydrates, and the incorporation of resistance training are all good places to start for most people. It sounds simple, but it’s really about lifestyle change. If you’d like to discuss in more detail, you can come see me for an appointment and we can discuss your situation further and get you on the right track.

Sherri: I am the proud mother of a new born baby girl. She was a miracle since she was a preemie at birth. Big thank you to the NICU staff at Emory Midtown for getting her to where she is today and happy healthy 8 pounds 4 ounces. Anyway, I now have a reason to live more than I did before however I have a MAJOR problem with weight gain. I have gained 30 pounds since her birth…this was 30 pounds from 80 that I lost…This brings me back to nearly 400 pounds. I was so proud of my weight loss… I have not changed much and still work hard at losing the weight… watching what I eat, when I eat, how it is prepared. I have PCOS and I am Hypothyroid which contribute to my weight problem. I cannot exercise much due to injuries in knees and back stemming from auto accidents but find time to walk almost everyday. I hope to start water aerobics soon as I have been told this will be low impact on my aching body parts. I don’t want to result to surgery yet as my little one is to young and I don’t want to take that risk at my current size, but I NEED to do something. What suggestions do you have?
Dr. Singh: Sherri, congrats on your miracle child! Your determination is very admirable. Water aerobics are great! I can’t give a full and fair answer to your question without seeing you in-person and knowing your complete medical history in detail. Once I have completed a detailed history and physical on a patient such as yourself, I can intelligibly discuss: dietary changes, exercise options, psychosocial issues, behavioral changes, medication options for weight loss, review current medications for ones that may be contributing to weight gain, order an appropriate lab panel, discuss surgical options, etc. If you’re interested, you’re more than welcome to make an appointment with my office by calling our nurses at 404-778-7777. Hope to see you soon!

Thanks again to those who joined me in Tuesday’s chat. If you missed it, you can check out the chat transcript here and you can also check out our Emory Bariatric Center website for more information.
See you next time!

New Year, New You – Why it’s Critical to Your Health to Lose Weight in 2013

Now that the holidays are finally behind us, it’s time to get serious about your New Year’s resolutions. With more than a third of the adult population in the United States obese, it’s no surprise that one of the top resolutions every year is to lose weight.

If you’re one of the millions of Americans resolving to lose weight in 2013, it’s important to understand that losing weight isn’t just about looking good. It’s more about getting and staying healthy – and even improving health issues that are associated with being overweight, such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and joint pain.

Because losing weight truly is a journey, Arvinpal Singh, MD, Medical Director of the Emory Bariatric Center and an American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) Certified medical bariatrician, is hosting an online chat on Tuesday, January 8 at noon EST to share tips on healthful living and weight loss pearls of wisdom, as well as give his insight on different approaches to weight loss, including surgical and non-surgical options.

Get 2013 off to a healthy start and join Dr. Singh and other chat participants to share tips, ideas and get questions answered related to how you can make positive changes to last the new year and beyond.

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Why does Weight Loss Surgery Demand Continue to Grow?

More and more people in Georgia are considering weight loss surgery as an option for returning to a healthy body weight. Because those who are overweight are at a higher risk for the development of conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, for many people, weight loss surgery means both regaining activity and mobility via a healthier body weight and the possibility of a longer, healthier life in general.

Dr. Edward Lin

Dr. Edward Lin

Because the demand for information on surgical weight loss options is growing, Dr. Edward Lin of the Emory Bariatric Center has been taking big action to help educate the community. Today, he held an online chat on the topic of surgical weight loss options (check out the transcript) to help answer questions on the pros and cons of weight loss surgery and dig deeper into the differences between each type of weight loss surgery.

Dr. Lin’s efforts were also recognized by Fox5 News of Atlanta recently, in a story documenting Emory patient, Jim Blackburn’s experience in undergoing a gastric bypass with Dr. Lin as his surgeon.

At 47, and 420 pounds, Jim Blackburn was ready to lose weight in a serious way. “I think I added up 24 different diets that I had been on. I had severe sleep apnea. I had a fatty liver condition, and I was on a lot of medications,” Jim told Fox5. He was worried he wouldn’t make it long enough to watch his children grow up. “My knee joints, ankle joints, hips, I hurt. At 47 years old, that was, that was frightening.”

After Jim decided to undergo surgery, he found Dr. Lin, who looked at Jim’s family history of obesity, his failed weight loss attempts, and identified Jim as a good candidate for gastric bypass.

But according to Dr. Lin, gastric bypass, a permanent procedure, is not for everyone. Pros of the gastric bypass procedure include: dramatic, rapid weight loss and reversal of health problems (including 85% reversal of Type 2 Diabetes cases). However, gastric bypass is a major surgery and is only reversible in a medical emergency. It also comes with a few short term risks, including bleeding and infection. But, because gastric bypass is permanent, it forces patients to adopt new lifestyle and eating habits, typically resulting in better long-term weight loss results.

In contrast, a lap band procedure comes with fewer risks and is a less invasive surgery. The band that is placed around the entrance of the stomach during the procedure can also later be loosened, tightened, or removed, making it less permanent than a gastric bypass. Because of its flexibility, patients who undergo this procedure require “a lot more willpower and mind control,” said Dr. Lin.

Two years after his gastric bypass procedure, Jim Blackburn is now 200 pounds lighter and feeling great. And as findings from a recent study support, family members of weight loss surgery patients, such as Jim’s wife who has since his surgery lost 80 pounds, also benefit from being around relatives who have undergone surgery.

For more information on each of the procedures discussed above and others, check out the Emory Bariatric Center website.

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Weight Loss Surgeries Help Families Get Healthier, Too

Weight Loss Surgery Online ChatA recent study found that family members living with patients who underwent weight loss surgery dropped significant amounts of weight and made more positive lifestyle changes.  In this study, 35 morbidly obese patients underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. Overweight spouses and family members living with the patient attended three lifestyle counseling sessions before surgery and five sessions after surgery. At these sessions, patients and their family members learned about healthy eating habits (portion control and a healthy diet) and how to increase physical activity.

At one year after surgery, patients lost an average of 100 pounds and decreased their body mass index (BMI) from 48.7 to 33.3. In addition, their overweight spouses and family members lost an average of 10 pounds and decreased their BMIs from 38 to 36.3.Family members also watched less television, exercised more, and reported fewer instances of uncontrollable eating.

The result of this study reinforces the importance of social support as a motivator to maintain healthy changes. If we mimic the positive lifestyle changes of those around us, we might find ourselves making healthier decisions more often. You may not realize, but people may use you as an inspiration to change their lifestyles! It is important to remember that over time, small steps turn into large strides.

If you’re interested in learning more about weight loss surgery and the options that exist for you or someone you know, now is the perfect time to sign up for a free online chat with Dr. Edward Lin of the Emory Bariatric Center. You don’t be ready for surgery or live in Atlanta to attend, just sign up using this form, and you can ask Dr. Lin all of your questions on weight loss surgery during the chat on January 26th.

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