weight loss

Practical Goals for Weight Loss

5 Tips for Practical Weight Loss

group of women joggingWeight-loss scams, crazed fashion diets, and countless pills have promised fast and simple ways to lose weight. In reality, the true foundation for successfully losing weight is developing a realistic and healthy program that fits your body and lifestyle. Here are five simple tips that can help you create practical weight loss goals for yourself.

1.   Commit to Your New Lifestyle

In order for you to successfully lose weight, you must be willing to devote your time as well as your effort. Changing your daily habits and sticking to a set plan takes a significant amount of energy, so make sure you are willing to commit yourself. Once you feel prepared and motivated, choose a date to start your program, and then begin!

2.   Establish Realistic Goals

One of the most important parts of dieting is to create attainable goals. First, determine a realistic target weight that you want to reach. “Most clinicians would say goals of losing five to 10 percent [of your start weight] are achievable,” according to Jennifer A. Linde, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Second, be sensible about the frame of time you have given yourself. “A realistic goal is losing 1 to 2 pounds a week to stay healthy,” says Linde. By planning to lose weight slowly and healthily, you will develop new lifestyle habits and be more likely to maintain them.

3.   Make Healthier Food Choices

Now that you have set realistic goals for yourself, you can begin your weight loss program. Start by evaluating your style of eating and determine what you can change. As you begin to alter your eating habits, keep in mind that you should lower your daily caloric intake, but still eat foods that you find satisfying. One tip is to increase your intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and make sure to eat a hearty breakfast every morning.

4.   Get Active!

Along with eating right, exercising is another key component to weight loss. In order to effectively shed pounds, you must burn more calories than you consume. While it is possible to lose weight without physical activity, exercising can burn some calories that simply can’t be dissolved by dieting. The amount of calories burned through exercise depends on the intensity, frequency and duration of the physical activity. Try thinking of new ways to be active rather than just hitting the gym. Creativity counts!

5.   Stay Motivated

Losing weight can be a long process, but the most important thing is to stick with your new lifestyle. Find different ways to motivate yourself, whether it is through a supportive group of friends or an exciting reward at weight loss checkpoints. Staying positive is essential, and having compassion for yourself is key. Tell yourself you can, and will, obtain your weight loss goals and create a new lifestyle for yourself through hard work and perseverance.

 

A Complete Guide to Following your New Year’s Resolutions

From eating healthy to keeping an active lifestyle, the New Year's Resolutions you set for this upcoming year can pave the way to a healthier & better you.January 1st – a day that commemorates a brand new year and marks the beginning of a new set of New Year’s resolutions. From eating healthy to keeping an active lifestyle, the goals you set for this upcoming year can pave the way to a healthier and better you. Oftentimes, the resolutions we set for ourselves are unrealistic and difficult to sustain, causing many of us to fall back to our old habits after a few days. But have no fear, we came up with a few tips that can help you not only set obtainable goals, but also uphold and maintain them long-term.

1. Set specific goals.
Perhaps the most common mistake that we make while writing our New Year’s resolutions is that we typically make them too broad and not measurable. We vow to “eat healthy,” “stop eating fast food,” and my personal favorite, “exercise every day.” Although these are great objectives, they aren’t exactly quantifiable or specific. Instead, you can commit to eating at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, limiting fast food to once or twice a week, and including 20-30 minutes of physical activity 5 days per week. These goals are much more specific and calculable, making it more likely that you’ll actually follow them.

2. Focus on one goal at a time.
It is unrealistic to expect that overnight, you will adopt healthy eating habits and start exercising. Healthy habits that are sustainable typically develop over time, little by little; with every health-promoting decision you make, your conviction becomes stronger, allowing your next decision to become easier. Ultimately, this will result in the permanent adoption of healthy habits. Therefore, focusing on one goal at a time can help you maintain these resolutions on a long-term basis so that they start becoming part of your routine.

3. Always be prepared.
A wise man once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” This quote can be applied to perhaps any situation, from planning your meals to planning your days, workouts, and so on. If your goal is to limit fast food, make sure that you prepare your meals ahead of time and pack them in containers to take to work or school. You can even make a big batch of a recipe so that you have meals prepared for the rest of the week. If you know that you get hungry around midday and are typically away from home at that time, be sure to have plenty of healthy snacks, such as nuts and fresh fruit, on hand. Lastly, if your goal is to take a 30-minute walk around the block every day, lay out your workout clothes ahead of time so you have no excuses to get out and get moving.

While writing your New Year’s resolutions, remember that it’s not the end of the world if you have setbacks. Welcome each challenge you encounter with open arms, and have a plan in mind to overcome it. Ultimately, the key to keeping your New Year’s resolutions lies in upholding your goals and objectives with every health-forwarding decision you make and every health-forwarding action you take.

If your resolutions include improving your health and weight loss, let Emory Bariatric Center help you. We offer both surgical and non-surgical weight loss programs. View our website www.emoryhealthcare.org/bariatrics for program options or call 404-778-7777 for more information.

Energy Balance and Body Composition

It is most meaningful to discuss and set goals in terms of body composition, rather than simply in terms of weight. Learn more about body composition.What if I told you that you have to eat to lose fat? This may sound contradictory, but it’s true. The human body is an extremely efficient organism. If you are not getting enough energy from food to meet your minimum energy needs, your body will begin burning muscle, instead of fat, for energy. When you break down muscle, you effectively decrease your metabolism. This is the plight of the so-called yo-yo dieter. A person who loses weight on an overly calorie-restricted diet loses muscle and decreases their metabolism. They often regain the weight and once again struggle to shed those pounds. Sound familiar?

It’s important to remember that the number you see on the scale represents more than just fat. That number is the combined weight of your fat, muscles, organs, bones, and fluids. The goal of weight loss is to maintain or increase muscle, while decreasing fat. Therefore, it is more meaningful to discuss and set goals in terms of body composition, rather than simply in terms of weight.

Strategy to maintain/increase muscle mass and lose fat:

  • Weight bearing and resistance exercise: The only way to make a meaningful and lasting increase in metabolism is to increase muscle mass. This is achieved with resistance and weight bearing exercises. A personal trainer can help create an exercise routine that is right for you and to be sure your form is correct to avoid injury!
  • Cardiovascular exercise: Include cardio into your routine to burn extra calories.
  •  Eat enough to support muscle mass: Your body needs energy to maintain and build muscle. Make sure you are getting enough (but not too many) calories through balanced meals. Aim to eat a small meal or snack at least 3 hours prior to working out. Have a post-work out snack that includes 15-20 grams of protein and some carbohydrates. See a registered dietitian to help determine your individual calorie requirements and develop a healthy meal plan that is right for you.
  • Eat every 3-4 hours: When you determine your approximate calorie needs, spread these calories over 3 meals and 2 snacks. Start with a healthy breakfast within the first hour of waking and don’t go more than 4 hours without eating something throughout the rest of the day. This will help maintain blood sugar and appropriate levels of hormones related to fat management, such as insulin.
  • Stay hydrated: Your body needs water to stay cool and perform the metabolic processes that keep you alive, including burning fat for energy.
  • Decrease stress: Stress can alter the way your body uses energy and make it harder to lose weight. To help manage stress, learn a relaxing breathing exercise. Just a few minutes a day can make a big difference.

Following these simple tips will help you lose weight the right way, and keep it off. Don’t hesitate to seek the help of qualified and highly trained healthcare professionals, such a registered dietitian, ACSM certified fitness professional, or a medical doctor in your weight loss journey.

Takeaways from Emory Bariatrics Live Chat, ‘New Year, New You: Successful & Lasting Weight Loss in 2016’

weightloss2016-cil638Thank you to everyone who joined us on Tuesday, January 19th, for our live online chat titled “New Year, New You: Successful & Lasting Weight Loss”, hosted by Emory Bariatrics registered dieticians, Victoria Delgado, RD, and Kasey LaPointe, RD.

During this live chat, Victoria and Kasey provided healthful living tips to lasting weight loss for those who have made weight loss a part of their New Year’s resolution. They also answered questions about surgical and non-surgical weight loss.

We were thrilled with the number of people who registered and were able to participate in the chat. The response was so great that we had a few questions we were not able to answer so we have answered them below for your reference.

Question: Does wrapping your body with Saran wrap while you work out help shed inches/pounds? If so, how does it work?
Answer: No, this is a myth. It may increase sweat which can result in water loss, but not fat loss. To lose inches and pounds, we must combine physical activity with a healthy eating plan.

Question: Am I too old to go on Optifast (a liquid meal replacement program) to reduce my weight?
Answer: Due to risk of losing muscle mass, we encourage our patient who are 70 year or older to follow a Partial Meal Replacement Meal Plan instead of the Full Meal Replacement Meal Plan. The partial plan includes using Optifast and whole foods, while the full plan consists of using only Optifast products for a short period of time. All patients are assessed individually by a physician prior to getting started.

Question: I am interested in learning more about the lap band surgery to help with weight loss.
Answer: I recommend clicking on this link to learn about lap band surgery. Once you decide which Emory location is more convenient to you, you will find details about each of the surgical weight loss options we offer. You may also register for a seminar. Our video seminars define the three procedures we perform: the band, sleeve and bypass. There is also contact information and other resources at these sites.

Question: Can I go from the lap band to the gastric sleeve?
Answer: Absolutely. The surgeon can remove the band and convert to the sleeve all during the same procedure. You may click on the following link to choose a location and get started: http://www.emoryhealthcare.org/emorybariatrics/index-nav.html.

If you missed out on this live chat, be sure to check out the full list of questions and answers on the chat transcript. You can also visit emoryhealthcare.org/emorybariatrics for more information.

Also, if you have additional questions for our registered dieticians, Victoria Delgado, RD, and Kasey LaPointe, RD, please feel free to leave a comment in our comments area below.

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New Year, New You: Successful & Lasting Weight Loss in 2016 Live Chat- January 19th

weightloss2016-cil638Is weight loss part of your New Year’s resolution? Let Emory Bariatrics help you make 2016 the year you commit to getting healthy through weight loss.

Please join us for a live chat on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. EST with Emory Healthcare registered dietitians, Victoria Delgado, RD, and Kasey LaPointe, RD. They will discuss healthful living tips to get you on the path to lasting weight loss and answer your questions about surgical and non-surgical weight loss. Weight loss can be a big challenge, both physically and mentally, but with hard work, a strong support system and a positive outlook, you can achieve better health in 2016. Register here for this chat!

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Your Path 2 Health – A New Addition to Emory Bariatric Center’s Non-Surgical Weight Loss Program

healthy-walkers-withdog (1)The Emory Bariatric Center has added a new offering to their non-surgical weight loss program. Offering non-surgical weight loss options are ideal for patients who have smaller weight loss goals in mind or those that are not appropriate candidates for weight loss surgery.

Path 2 Health is a 6 month program that provides you with the tools needed to hone in on your ideal body weight and optimize your health. So you may be wondering, how is Path 2 Health different from other weight loss programs? As a Path 2 Health participant, you will gain knowledge and support from our expert team of doctors, psychologists, nurses, and dietitians, as well as from fellow participants. We understand life is busy and sticking to a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge. Path 2 Health offers you support every week during your 6 month program, and includes monthly group visits. “Virtual” visits will also occur once per month allowing you to participate from your home. These virtual visits are online education webinars led by our dietitians or psychologists. You may log in to the webinars or watch them later when it is convenient for you. Participants will also be supported by our dietitians through bi-monthly phone check-ins.

Path 2 Health encourages you to eat real nutritious foods. We provide you healthy eating instructions and sample meals at your first appointment. Throughout your program, we will teach you to improve your eating habits, lose weight, and better your health.

“Real, unprocessed foods have more nutrients that our bodies need, and less of what our bodies don’t. Real foods are less likely to have added fat, sugar, salt and chemical preservatives than processed foods.”, explains Meagan Moyer, MPH, RD, LD, Emory Bariatric Center dietitian.

Path 2 Health not only focuses on nutrition, but also on behavior change. Our licensed psychologist will help you understand how your daily behaviors affect your health, eating habits, stress, emotions, and exercise habits. “All of us have the capacity to make healthy changes in our lives provided we have the structure, support and knowledge to effect these changes. The team at Emory Bariatrics creates the structure, provides the support and imposes the education to facilitate growth and change.”, says Dr. Pegah Moghaddam, Emory Bariatric Center psychologist.

Path 2 Health is intended to not only help you reach your weight loss goals, but to provide you with the tools and knowledge to maintain weight loss long term and live a longer, healthier life.

For more information about the Path 2 Health program offered by the Emory Bariatric Center, call 404-778-7777 or visit emoryhealthcare.org/emorybariatrics.

Required Supplementation Following Bariatric Surgery

protein-shakes (1)Bariatric surgery is a major event in a patient’s weight-loss journey, but the event is best seen as a new beginning. Surgery with good aftercare and moderate lifestyle changes can give wonderful long-term results for health and weight. One of the requirements after surgery includes the need for lifelong daily supplements. Lifelong supplements are required to prevent nutrient deficiencies.

The need for supplementation arises from the following:

  1. The bariatric procedure is restricting how much you are able to consume. This restriction results in an inability to consume all the necessary nutrients via your food.
  2. The bariatric procedure may be malabsorptive. This means that even though you are consuming nutritious food, your body’s ability to absorb all the nutrients is inhibited.
  3. A combination of the two above.

There are several supplements required and many others that may be recommended. Typically, the required nutrients are:

  • B-12: must be in one of these forms – sublingual (under the tongue), intramuscular (a shot) or intranasal (spray into the nostrils).
  • Calcium: must be in the citrate form.
  • Complete multivitamin/mineral supplement with iron: usually two per day. If your supplement does not contain iron, you must take separate iron.
  • Protein shakes: whey protein isolate is best absorbed/utilized by the body. This is generally temporary for 2-6 weeks after surgery, depending on physician.

This list includes the typical required nutrients, however, your physician or dietitian may direct you to take additional supplements and/or decrease the amount of a supplement.

The important thing to remember about supplementation is that it is required for life. You run the risk of deficiency and its related side-effects if you quit supplementing. Your surgeon will monitor your lab work, which is why your annual follow-up visits are vital.

Life after bariatric surgery is not all easy, but strong planning, appropriate education, and determination can help as you make this journey.

For more information about bariatric surgery offered at Emory Bariatrics, call 404-778-7777 or visit emoryhealthcare.org/emorybariatrics.

Emory Bariatric Center Patient Named 2015 OPTIFAST® New You Weight Loss Winner

tawnismallThe Emory Bariatric Center of Emory University Hospital Midtown is proud to have one of its own patients selected as a winner of the 2015 OPTIFAST® New You weight loss contest. The New You weight loss contest is designed to recognize OPTIFAST patients for their pursuit of and dedication to long-term weight management. Contest winners are living proof that lifestyle changes – mindful eating and physical activity – can help achieve a better quality of life.

The selected Emory Bariatric Center patient is Tawni Taylor from Atlanta, GA. Just less than a year ago, Tawni’s 5’3” frame carried 324 pounds. A walk up three steps of stairs left her breathless. Thirty years of not making the right choices in terms of her dietary and physical fitness habits had finally caught up with her, and she was ready to get on the right path.

On September 26, 2014, Tawni made a commitment to herself to lose weight and enrolled in the OPTIFAST program at the Emory Bariatric Center.

Today at 180 pounds, her whole mindset around food, physical activity and overall well-being has changed. It’s difficult for Tawni to imagine a life where mindful eating and exercise is not routine.

Tawni’s commitment to herself came to life as she went from a size 24/26 to the size 10 she wears today. With every 5% body weight loss, OPTIFAST patients receive different colored wristbands donned with words of inspiration. She cherishes one in particular, inked with ‘PERSEVERANCE,’ – a word that defines her ongoing journey, a symbol of her courage and lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

In her own words, “it takes an OPTIFAST village.” Tawni attributes the success of her ongoing journey to the endless compassion and support of her medical team at the Emory Bariatric Center and fellow OPTIFAST program patients, who inspired her every step of the way.

“OPTIFAST has reset my mind and put me back on the right path. It can change your life – it truly can.”, says Tawni.

Winners of the 2015 New You weight loss contest winners celebrated with an all-expense paid trip to New York City. The weekend of rest, relaxation and rejuvenation included a spa day, makeover and night out on the town with a loved one.

For more information about Emory Bariatric Center’s OPTIFAST program, call 404-778-7777 or visit emoryhealthcare.org/bariatrics.

Takeaways from Emory Bariatrics’ Successful & Lasting Weight Loss Live Chat

successful-weight-loss-cilThank you to everyone who joined us on Tuesday, August 11th, for our live online chat on “Successful & Lasting Weight Loss: Strategies for Reaching Your Goals”, hosted by Emory Bariatrics registered dieticians, Megan Moyer, RD, and Kasey LaPointe, RD.

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. During this live chat, Megan and Kasey discussed strategies for long term weight loss success. They offered healthful living tips to get you on the path to lasting weight loss and provided successful strategies to help make this time the one that leads to a healthier, happier lifestyle. Here are just a few highlights from the chat:

Question: What’s the best way to keep on track: daily weigh-ins? listening to tapes?

Meagan Moyer, RD: The best way to stay on track really depends on the person. Some people choose to weigh themselves everyday, but that can take a mental toll if they beat themselves up every time they step on the scale. That’s why I recommend not weighing yourself more than once a week. It’s also helpful to have a person you can call when you need support and in moments of “weakness.” Some people also choose to track what they eat using a website or app.

Question: Does eating before bedtime make you gain weight? What time should I stop?

Meagan Moyer, RD and Kasey LaPointe, RD: It’s a misconception that the metabolism stops at a certain time during the night. Usually the problem lies more with eating later in the night after your calories have been consumed for the day. Late night eating can be out of boredom or habit. One thing I suggest is asking yourself the reason you are eating, whether it’s out of boredom or actual hunger. Try to occupy your time with something else to keep you from snacking late at night. I keep a crossword puzzle next to my bed if I feel my mind wandering towards hunger.

Question: After months of steady weight loss, I feel like I might be at a plateau. My weight loss has been incredibly slow for the past few months. Any suggestions on how to adjust my diet to see better results?

Meagan Moyer, RD and Kasey LaPointe, RD: Reaching a plateau is completely normal when it comes to weight loss. The body gets used to your behaviors and habits, so it’s good to adjust your routine and diet. Try incorporating new activities into your work outs in order to continue to see results.

Also, while you may reach a plateau when it comes to the scale, the body often continues to change in other ways. Try to focus on other non-scale victories to measure your weight loss success. You can focus on how your clothes fit, seeing a decrease in inches using a tape measure, having more energy, sleeping better and other noticeable changes is a good way to measure your success.

Question: How do I know if I’m a candidate for Bariatric surgery?

Kasey LaPointe, RD: If your body mass index is greater than 40 or if your body mass index is greater than 35 and you have weight related health issues, you are a candidate for bariatric surgery. You also have to be ready to commit to a lifelong healthy lifestyle and be mentally prepared for these changes.

If you missed out on this live chat, be sure to check out the full list of questions and answers on the chat transcript. You can also visit emoryhealthcare.org/emorybariatrics for more information.

Also, if you have additional questions for our registered dieticians, Megan Moyer, RD, and Kasey LaPointe, RD, please feel free to leave a comment in our comments area below.

Bariatric Surgery: What are the Differences in Surgical Options?

bariatric-appleLosing weight with diet and exercise can work for many individuals. However, for some, diet and exercise may not be enough causing individuals to be at high risk for disease-related complications due to obesity. In these cases, weight loss surgery may be an option.

The decision to have weight loss surgery should never be taken lightly. Contrary to popular belief, it is not “the easy way out” and won’t instantly cure the emotional and physical issues which lead one down the path to obesity.

Emory Bariatrics performs three types of weight loss surgery. Below is a brief description of each type offered.

  •  Roux-en-Y, also know as “gastric bypass”, is a combination procedure. It is a restrictive procedure and a malabsorptive procedure. The surgery reduces the size of your stomach, therefore limiting the amount of food you can eat at one time. A malabsorptive procedure means your intestines are rerouted so that your body does not absorb as much nutrients from food. Lifelong vitamin and mineral supplements must be taken to avoid deficiencies.
  • Sleeve gastrectomy, also known as “sleeve”, is a restrictive procedure. About 80% of your stomach is removed, leaving a tube-like pouch that resembles a banana. The stomach and intestines are not rearranged, but since you are eating less, there may be vitamin & mineral deficiencies if the recommended supplements are not taken throughout life.
  • Adjustable gastric banding or “band” is a restrictive procedure. An inflatable band is placed around the upper portion of the stomach, therefore making you feel full on less food. Tubing connects the band to a port under the skin, and the band is inflated or deflated using a needle, as needed. You may have to visit your physician’s office several times for as long as you have the band. Vitamins & minerals must also be taken when you have the band to prevent malabsorptive issues.

All three procedures have pros and cons. Your doctor will recommend a procedure based on many things such as your medical history, your weight, and past surgeries. The most important thing to remember is that weight loss surgery will help you lose weight, but maintaining this loss for years to come is up to you. Weight loss surgery is a tool. Making healthy food choices and exercising regularly are essential to maintaining weight loss. If behavior changes are not embraced, weight loss is not guaranteed. Attending support groups and seeing a psychologist or mental health counselor will help you with these behavioral changes. Remember, it is a “journey”, not a sprint.

For more information about bariatric surgery options offered at Emory Bariatrics, call 404-778-7777 or visit emoryhealthcare.org/emorybariatrics.

Recommended readings:

  • “Weight Loss Surgery for Dummies” by Mariana S. Kurian, Barbara Thompson and Brian K. Davidson
  • “The Emotional First Aid Kit – A Practical Guide to Life After Bariatric Surgery” by Cynthia L. Alexander, PsyD
  • “Eat It Up! by Connie Stapleton
  • “Emotional Eating Toolbox” by Melissa McCreery, Ph.D
  • “Dying to Change” by Katie Jay
  • “Eating Well After Weight Loss Surgery Cookbook” by Patt Levine, Michele Bontmpo-Saray, William B. Inabnet and Meredith Urban-Skuros