weight loss

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 <<< 

Top Five Ways to Boost Your Metabolism & Lose Extra Weight

Because of words like diet, cleanses and fasts, our definition of normal eating has gotten lost. Normal eating should be flexible, and it should change based on your response to hunger, your schedule, your feelings and your proximity to food. A lot of people want to know how to jumpstart their metabolism, normalize their eating pattern and utilize what they eat more efficiently. We all know that if your goal is to lose weight then you must expend more energy (calories) than you take in. With that in mind, here are five tips to boost your metabolism.

Do You Have to Choose Between Wine & Your Waistline?

Alcohol Weight Gain

When it comes to drinking alcohol and your health, thousands of experts have weighed in. One thing that they can all agree on is that when it comes to drinking alcohol and your weight, moderation is key.

A recent article on CNN.com shed some light on the fact that alcohol not only adds hundreds of calories to your diet – a regular beer can add up to more than 150 calories while a glass of wine can cost you 100 calories – but it also temporarily halts your body’s ability to burn fat. So, while the beer you had with pizza and wings might not be a major caloric offender, your body insists on breaking down the calories from the alcohol first, leaving the calories from what you ate to get stored as fat.

So, does this mean that you must resign yourself to teetotaling? No, says Meagan Moyer, registered dietician for the Emory Bariatric Center. But you do need to follow a few rules to keep from growing a beer belly or wine waist!

  1. Keep it simple – A good rule of thumb is the fewer ingredients the better. It’s generally safer to go with a glass of wine or a beer rather than a fancy mixed drink that is loaded with sugar or salt from added juices, soda and mixers.
  2. Eat before you drink – It might sound counterintuitive if you’re trying to skimp on calories, but eating a snack or meal with healthy fat, fiber and protein can help stave off the sugar crash that often comes after a night of drinking. It also can help you feel full so that you’re not picking off of every tray being passed.
  3. Keep count – Conventional wisdom points to the one drink a night rule for women. So, does this mean you can abstain all week and then blow it out on Saturday? Not so fast. Drinking several drinks in one night will mess with your blood sugar, add hundreds of calories to your diet and decrease your judgment in making good food choices – a trifecta of disaster for your waistline.

Author: Meagan Moyer, RD/LD, Emory Bariatric Center



Renew Your Weight Loss Goals for 2013

Exercise Fitness Weight LossThe new year is an exciting time. As 2012 comes to the end, it is the perfect time to renew your commitment to the goals you want to achieve.  Set yourself up for success by following these tips for setting achievable goals.

Tip 1: Set SMART goals

SMART goals are:


Tip 2: Set a Lifetime Goal

The best goal you can set would be a lifetime goal. Why? Because it is a goal that you can always improve on, and it shapes the way all your other goals are attained. Set a goal that you want to achieve, not what others feel you should accomplish.

Tip 3: Set small goals

Setting smaller, achievable goals will help you reach your main goal by achieving  smaller milestones along the way. By setting smaller goals, you allow yourself to specialize and focus in one area at a time. It is easier to stay motivated when you are accomplishing many small goals rather than falling short on one large, unrealistic goal. Stay positive, smaller goals add up over time.

Tip 4: Reward Yourself

Once you complete a goal, take time to enjoy your accomplishments!  A reward should be something for yourself that you enjoy and deserve. It can be tangible or intangible such a buying a new shirt or going for a walk to clear your mind. These rewards will give you motivation to continue setting new attainable goals since you know there is something at the finish line.  Never reward yourself with food.

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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6 Healthy Eating Tips To Stave Off Holiday Weight Gain

Tips to Keep Holiday Weight Gain Off

As the year comes to an end, so often do the thoughts of healthy eating habits.   the thought of keeping the pounds off during the holidays.  With multiple holiday parties throughout December, it may seem hard to keep the weight off, but preparation is the key to success.

1) Have a Plan
Plan to succeed or plan to fail. Plan accordingly if you know you are going to be limited on the foods you can eat at holiday parties. Bring some healthy snacks to eat at the party or eat a light meal before going to curb your appetite. Sample the foods at the party, rather than eat a plateful of each dish. If it is a party where you bring a dish, bring something that you know you can eat and enjoy. Vegetables and low fat dip are always a good option to add color to the table.

2) Everything in Moderation
There is no need to avoid your favorite holiday foods if you eat them in moderation. Portion sizes are important in weight management and weight loss. Controlling portions allows you to eat the foods you like without depriving yourself. Take one serving of the food you want to eat and walk away from the table. It is more satisfying to eat smaller portions of a variety of foods than a big portion of one food.

3) Exercise
Keep moving to stay warm as well as burn off those holiday calories. Walking 30 minutes a day, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and doing some light weight resistance training can help keep you on track with your weight loss goals.

4) Drink Right, Feel Right
Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated. Drinking water can make you feel fuller and help prevent overeating. Avoid alcoholic beverages since they add extra calories and sugar. If you do chose to drink alcoholic beverages, drink wine, light beer or spirits with no-calories mixers.

5) When in Doubt, Fruit and Veggie It Out
Include fruits and vegetables at every meal. Snack on vegetables or fruits throughout the day instead of the holidays goodies at work. Not only are fruits/veggies low in calories, they are high in antioxidants, giving you extra immunity during the cold winter months.

6) Forgive Yourself and Move On
Don’t let the thought of overindulging at Thanksgiving keep you from moving forward in your weight loss goals during the rest of the holiday season and into the new year. Take every day as a new day and a fresh opportunity to get closer to your goal.

Diet Frustrations? 5 Reasons You Aren’t Losing Weight

5 reasonsLosing weight is hard and can be very frustrating at times.  Here are some common pitfalls that people make and suggestions on how to get over them.

  1. You think fat-free also means calorie-free – When a food claims to be fat-free, sugar-free, or light, it doesn’t mean the food is low in calories or even healthy.  Eating these foods often lead people to think they can eat more!  How many times have you thought, “These cookies are low-fat, which means I can eat more.”?  Always check to see how many calories there are in one serving before you begin eating to avoid any unwanted surprises.
  2. You’re not being truthful to yourself – No one saw you eat that handful of potato chips, so it doesn’t count, right?  Accountability is a big part of weight loss, and it’s a lot harder to be accountable to ourselves than to other people.  Many people find using food diary websites or Smartphone apps to log their food intake as a great way to stay accountable.  Try using My Fitness Pal or Lose It!
  3. You are skipping breakfast to save calories – People who skip breakfast actually eat more!  Eating breakfast kick-starts your metabolism for the rest of the day.  Eating only one or two large meals at the end of the day is like throwing wood into a fire that has no flame.   Eat something within one hour of waking up.  If you are not a breakfast person, try having a meal replacement shake or smoothie, which are not as heavy on the stomach.
  4. You think you can’t exercise Anything that raises your heart rate counts as exercise.  Think about what kind of physical activity you enjoy doing — you are much more likely to stick to it if you like it.  For those that are short on time, exercise is cumulative.  You don’t need to exercise for long periods of time to see the benefits.  And most importantly, remember that some exercise is always better than none at all.
  5. You are expecting perfection – We all know that no one is perfect.  But for some reason, we expect ourselves to be perfect when it comes to losing weight.  We get angry with ourselves for “falling off the wagon”.  Learn to forgive yourself.  Remember that we don’t have to hit a home run; we just need to get on base.


Energy Density: How to Eat More with Fewer Calories

Eat More with Fewer CaloriesEating out is typically an opportunity for people to overeat and go overboard with portions. If you are trying to lose weight, sometimes eating out can be a setback. Not only are the portions larger, but the food is typically higher in fat, salt, and sugar. Research has shown that when we have the choice between eating more or eating less, we typically choose to eat more, especially when we have something tasty in front of us!

One approach to combat overeating fatty and highly caloric foods when you are out, is to start a meal with a large salad filled with non-starchy vegetables (with little or no dressing), or a broth-based low calorie soup. Focusing on eating foods high in nutrients and water, but relatively low in calories, also known as “low energy dense” foods, help to satisfy you due to their water content. Low energy dense foods include non-starchy vegetables, some fruits, broth based soups, and non-fat dairy. They may also keep you from eating large quantities of “high energy dense” foods, which will be higher in calories and fat. High energy dense foods include cookies, chips, pasta with cream sauce, and fried foods to name a few. You can eat a lot more raw leafy greens than you can eat French fries, for a lot fewer calories.

Eating a diet higher in low energy dense foods may help with portion control of the higher energy dense foods. For example if you are at a restaurant and you start a meal with a large house salad filled with vegetables and the dressing on the side, and you order chicken parmesan as your entrée, you are likely to eat less of the entrée compared to if you had not eaten the salad. You may even leave the restaurant feeling pleasantly satisfied, without feeling overstuffed. When you are cooking at home, you can also increase the bulk of pasta dishes and soups by adding vegetables.

The bottom line with many eating plans is to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. Not only are they packed with nutrients, but they also have more water and fiber that can help satisfy you and displace your intake of the more “unhealthy” foods available to us.

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Emory Bariatric Center Patient Prepares for his First Peachtree Road Race

Just a couple of years after undergoing gastric bypass surgery, Jim Blackburn prepares for his first Peachtree Road Race. Since the operation, Blackburn has dropped over 200 pounds and no longer needs a C-PAP to help with snoring.  Jim stated, before receiving care at Emory University Hospital, his knees and ankles hurt terribly from carrying his weight. Along with high blood pressure and sleep apnea he began to experience the early on-set of diabetes.

Since surgery, “My life has changed 180 degrees. It’s totally turned around,” said Blackburn.

Check out Blackburn’s interview with Fox 5 Atlanta.

Are you running the Peachtree Road Race along with Jim? Then check out 10 tips that will ensure you get to the finish safely.

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