weight loss

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.

Related Resources

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.

Related Resources:

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.

Related Resources

Exercise: A Sometimes Forgotten Key to Weight Management

Exercise Fitness Weight LossIn today’s market of many different diet plans, it is easy to forget about the role of exercise in managing one’s weight. After all, counting the calories used up during an hour on the treadmill or at the gym can be a bit depressing when one realizes that those calories amount to only one-seventh of a pound and are completely reversed if one eats a nice piece of pie as a reward for doing all that exercising. Indeed, one only burns about one M&M candy’s worth of calories in 50 yards of walking. This has led some to suggest that exercise is not that important in weight management and that people should focus their attention on eating less and not worry too much about exercise.

However, there are other data that would argue against ignoring exercise as an important component of weight control. If one thinks historically about the nearly tripling of our nation’s obesity rate in the last generation or two, much of that has happened with reduced exercise. As we have moved away from an agrarian economy to one based on information, more and more people have desk jobs and there is no need for almost anyone to burn many calories to survive. Cities in which people walk a lot, such as New York, have a significantly lower obesity rate than the nation as a whole, and the state with the lowest obesity rate is Colorado, which is famous for outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing.

If one takes a long-term view, there is good reason to expect that exercise can help a lot with weight, aside from its many benefits for general health. After all, if you weigh 175 pounds, increasing walking by a half-hour a day at a moderate pace translates into an extra weight loss of about 25 pounds per year, and even a 10-minute daily increase is worth about 8 additional pounds off per year. It is much more important to develop an exercise/activity plan you can stick with that is very feasible and moderate than to “go like crazy” once in awhile to lose as much weight as possible. Just as in the famous fairy tale, the tortoise, known for persistence and continuous plodding ahead, beats the hare, known for jump starts and sprinting ahead at an unsustainable pace.

Given that maintenance of exercise is a key, we all might keep in mind some factors that help us stick with a behavior:

  1. Make it fun. We are much more likely to walk or do anything else if we enjoy it. Many people will walk a considerable distance with a friend, for example, while considering walking on a treadmill to be drudgery, particularly if there is not something to watch while walking, such as a movie or television show.
  2. Make it regular and structured. If we get ourselves into a routine, it often can be maintained. Consider setting regular times to exercise, whether they be gym visits, walking during the lunch hour, or arrangements with friends to exercise together.
  3. Make exercise feasible and reasonable, even if it seems to be a small increase. Make sure you exercise within your medical limitations.
  4. Think of things you can do on a daily basis to increase your exercise. Examples might be to park further away from stores, have a policy to use the second-closest rest room, take stairs at work rather than the elevator, and/or walk while talking on the phone.
  5. Use the three principles of behavior change to help you maintain exercise. Keep track of what you are doing, set goals regularly, and set up a support system which will cheer you on and encourage you to continue.

Do you have other tips? Share them with me and our readers in the comments below!

Author: Stanley L. Chapman, PhD – Emory Bariatric Center

Makeover your Exercise Routine for Maximum Fat Loss

Meagan Mohammadione, RD/LD Emory Bariatric CenterIt is well known that when you reduce your calorie intake, you will lose even more weight if you exercise too.  More exercise is always better than some and some is better than none at all.  But what does more mean?  How much do we really need to exercise to lose weight and improve our health?  A 2009 study found that people who did 225-420 minutes a week of moderately vigorous exercise lost the greatest amount of weight.  This same study also found that exercise is the best way to keep weight off that you have already lost.  People who were able to maintain their weight loss, exercised for 150-250 minutes a week.

So we now know how much time to devote to exercise, but what kind of exercise should we do?  The short answer is any exercise that you enjoy so that you keep doing it.  For the long answer, let’s take a look at this Ultimate Metabolic and Calorie Burning Makeover, adapted from a recent lecture by exercise expert, Len Kravitz, PhD.

Importance of Warming-Up Before Working Out

Warming up for 5-10 minutes before your workout increases blood flow to your muscles for better performance.  It also gets your carbohydrate and fat enzymes going.  Translation: you will burn more calories and fat during your workout if you warm up first!

Cardiovascular Calorie Burn

After your warm-up, increase the intensity by 10-15 percent (this can mean going faster, increasing incline, etc.) and continue for 4 minutes.  Increase your intensity again by 10-15 percent for 4 minutes.  Continue this pattern until you have reached your moderately vigorous intensity level.  Maintain this for as long as you feel comfortable.  Then decrease the intensity by 10-15 percent for 4 minutes, and again another decrease for 4 minutes until you reach your original intensity level.

Weight Training Burns Fat!

It was once thought that weight training was only good for strengthening and building muscle.  Turns out we also burn fat during weight training and up to 2 hours after our workout is finished!  Try this regimen: Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions (lifts) at 85% of the maximum amount of weight you can lift.  Rest for only 90 second between sets.

References:

Donnelly, JE. Appropriate physical activity intervention strategies for weight loss and prevention of weight regain in adults. J Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2009, vol. 41, 459-469.

Herrera, L and Kravitz, L. Yes! You do burn fat during resistance exercise. IDEA Fitness J. 2009, vol. 6, 17-19.

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.

Related Resources:

 

 

Helping You Overcome the Exercise Shoulda, Coulda, Wouldas

Exercise excusesReasons we are not Exercising and Strategies to Overcome all of the Excuses

Weight loss is not an easy task to accomplish.  Often times it involves a lifestyle change in which we are forced to change habits we have developed over a lifetime. Many of us have trouble incorporating physical activity into our daily routines and come up with a number of excuses as to why we are not going to do it.  It is time to combat these excuses with pre-contemplated strategies so these excuses cannot hold us back.

With that said, these are the top 5 excuses we hear most often for not exercising and tips to help you overcome excuses:

1) I’m Too Tired

  • Wake up 30 minutes early and work out.  It will increase your energy for the rest the day!
  • Choose to do an activity you enjoy instead of “working out.” Garden in the spring or ice-skate in the winter to burn away the calories.
  • Start small; exercise will increase your energy.  Try going on a 5-minute walk and see how you can progress each day!

2) I Don’t Have Time

  • Utilize your lunch break.  Walk outside, or try going up and down the stairs for a challenge!
  • While watching your favorite TV show, do crunches or push-ups during the commercials!
  • Schedule time to exercise in your calendar, phone, etc the same as you would for a meeting or your child’s play date.

3) I’m Too Sore from My Last Work Out

  • Exercise a different part of your body.  If your legs hurt from walking, focus on your upper body.
  • Stretch!  This can help to improve flexibility and reduce the tension in your muscles.

4) Exercise is Boring

  • Experiment! Try swimming or Zumba — find something you enjoy!
  • Bring a book, magazine, or iPod to entertain you while you exercise.
  • Bring a friend!  Ask someone to join you to chat and the time will fly by.

5) I Hate to Sweat

  • Exercise in the pool! Join a water aerobics class or just kick your feet while holding onto the side of the pool.
  • Walk indoors! Ladies try a walk around the mall, and men try a sporting good store to workout and cool off.
  • Try resistance exercises.  Not all exercise makes you sweat.  Try this website for some great strength training suggestions!

So now it is time to stop with all of the excuses, and get moving.  Incorporate one or all of these strategies into your workout routine to keep you focused and motivated on your long-term goals.  It is not always easy, but when you feel the excuses escape your lips, recall these strategies to keep active!

Looking for even more ways to incorporate effective weight management techniques into your daily life? Tomorrow, Meagan Mohammadione, Registered Dietitian from the Emory Bariatric Center, is hosting a free web chat to discuss healthy recipe modification tips to boost the nutrition of your Thanksgiving menu, while lessening the guilt! There’s still time to sign up and join her!