Posts Tagged ‘bariatric’

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 <<< 

My Journey Through Weight Loss – Part 5

Tanya McGill enjoying dinner with friends in Barcelona, Spain.

Tanya McGill enjoying dinner with friends in Barcelona, Spain.

Getting back into the swing of things following bariatric surgery was fairly easy given that I was well prepared. The nutritional classes I’d attended at Emory Healthcare prior to surgery, as well as the vast amount of information I’d collected from all the support group meetings I’d gone to really helped take out as many unknowns as possible. I’d even seen a psychologist regularly who specialized in helping weight loss surgery patients prepare for what to expect after surgery.

I thought I had done the entire course of the weight loss surgery’s version of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” but I still wasn’t fully prepared for what life would be like emotionally after surgery. This wasn’t anyone’s fault; this was because life is weird and people are strange and there was absolutely no way to predict how each and every person was going to respond to me after I began losing weight, and I couldn’t know how I was going to handle the huge variance in responses. Finding my center and staying grounded was one of the most challenging things I faced as a post-op gastric bypass patient.

Because hormones are stored in fat cells, as the fat cells begin to rapidly shrink those hormones are released in very quick bursts. This can lead to mood swings or depression in some people. Others may not notice any change in mood whatsoever. Some people in our support group spoke of mourning the loss of their best friend: food! Before my surgery, food was a great companion, a loyal consoler to whom I could always turn during times of stress and pain as well as during times of great happiness and celebration. I could always count on food to be there for me.  After my procedure, that was no longer the case. I had to cultivate new tools in order to move smoothly into my new life as a person whose tiny new pouch could only accommodate enough to maintain nutrition – certainly not emotional eating.

As I alluded to earlier, dealing with others around you can be a little tricky, as well. Those who know you have had surgery may feel the need to scrutinize every individual thing you put on your plate or in your mouth (even if they never went through a weight loss surgery nutritional class in their life). They could be concerned, they may wish to help or support you, or they may just be downright nosey. This might be a good time to whisper a personal mantra to yourself, something like, “I am surrounded by many good people who want only the best for me.” Well, at least something close to that worked for me so I wouldn’t go crazy every time I had to explain to people that yes, I actually could have cheese grits for breakfast if I wanted to and still lose weight!

One of the most poignant moments I remember concerning the topic of my impending  bypass surgery took place in my favorite fondue restaurant. I and dear friend of mine (whom I had known since I was thirteen) were there along with our another close friend and her husband. The four of us were chatting when the theme of the conversation moved to my surgery which was just a few weeks away. The friend I’d known since I was thirteen suddenly became very concerned, not about the surgery itself and how I might fare during the procedure or anything of that nature. She was quite concerned about my losing weight and therefore losing the real “me” in the process. I remember so vividly her saying that she loved me just the way I was and that she didn’t want me to change who I was in this process. I had to assure her that I was, indeed, going to change, but only in the best of ways. I knew in my heart that this surgery was the right thing for me to do. And I still feel that way more than six years later.

Next up: A handful of the countless miracles I have experienced on this journey.

My Journey Through Weight Loss: Part 4

Tanya McGill sightseeing in Paris, a trip she completed following bariatric surgery.

Although it’s been almost six years ago, I remember my laparoscopic Roux en Y Gastric Bypass surgery date like it was yesterday. Most of the time when people are admitted for surgery they are scared, possibly even terrified. There’s a good chance they don’t want to have whatever surgery it is they are having, and all the unknowns can make the day of surgery one of the scariest days of a person’s life.

This was not that day for me.

On the morning of my surgery, Monday, November 15, 2004, I was excited, relieved and giddy with anticipation for the new life that was waiting for me right around the corner. I didn’t know that part of that “new life” would include some of the challenges that it did, and I also didn’t know that there would be amazing experiences on an almost daily basis associated with my weight loss that would lead me to reassess my life in ways I could never have anticipated.

Between the support group meeting I attended monthly to the medical staff at Emory that I saw before and after the surgery, I thankfully had a huge support system in place to help me prepare, and I was able to learn so much about what to expect from life after surgery. As goes with anything of this nature, there is only so much a patient can anticipate and plan for; everyone’s experience is going to be a little bit different.

The evening of my surgery, I was up walking around my hospital room at Emory University Hospital Midtown. It wasn’t easy, and it sure didn’t feel comfortable but I was doing it one step at a time. I was told that getting up and moving around as soon as possible was crucial to my recovery, so I somehow did it. By Wednesday afternoon I was walking laps around my hospital unit and by that evening I was headed home to recuperate for another 10 days before heading back to work. I would soon be very grateful for that recovery time because there would be a lot to learn and re-learn before heading back into the real world with a tiny new one- to two-inch “pouch” instead of a potentially 64-ounce stomach that I had spent a lifetime filling.

Next up: But I’m still me, aren’t I? The psychological aspects of weight loss.

My Journey Through Weight Loss: Part 3

When a person knows they are going to have  surgery, individual preparation can vary depending on the

Tanya McGill in London Following Bariatric Surgery at Emory Bariatric Center

Tanya McGill in London Following Bariatric Surgery

nature of the surgery: for example, post-surgical wound care, guidelines regarding the resumption of normal activity, dietary adjustments. It all depends on the procedure one is going to have.

Weight loss surgery has its own very special set of pre-operative and post-operative guidelines that are incredibly unique. Not following these guidelines could result in a range of undesirable results varying from  minimal or temporary weight loss all the way to life-threatening complications. As a gal who’s definitely got an affinity for drama, one might think I’m exaggerating this point. But as one of my very best friends likes to say, “this is not a joke!”

To those preparing for or contemplating bariatric surgery I would like to offer this golden piece of advice as it was once offered to me: follow what your doctors and nutritionists tell you as best you can. This is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the best post-surgical outcome possible. I have witnessed individuals first-hand who have had great weight loss success because they listened intently to their doctors, developed lasting relationships with them, and took notes during their office visits and support group meetings. To so many, those notes have become their weight loss bibles and their content is priceless.

I have also had the unfortunate experience to observe weight loss surgery patients who worked so hard to   surgery only to view their surgery as the “magic fix,” expecting it to do all the work for them. This view of weight loss surgery produces less-than-desirable results, I’m afraid. Understanding that weight loss surgery is a tool and not a “magic fix” is another key piece of knowledge. The surgeon and his or her team  give the patient the initial tool to jump start the weight loss process, but after that it’s largely up to the patient to experience the success they really want out of weight loss surgery.

All the effort that goes into the painstaking process of learning what should be done before surgery to change one’s eating habits as well as after surgery is truly a waste if the patient doesn’t view this entire process as a change that will affect them for the rest of their life. It really does lay the groundwork for a lifestyle change, in every way shape and form!
Next up: Let’s do this! My surgery date at Emory Bariatric Center can’t get here soon enough.

Meet Manager Melinda Kane

Melinda Kane, Project Manager, Emory Bariatric Center

Melinda Kane, Project Manager for Emory Bariatric Center, is passionate about helping others attain their health and wellness goals.

Meet Melinda Kane, MS-HCM, Project Manager for Emory Bariatric Center. Melinda joined the Emory Bariatric Center team in 2005 as Operations Manager. Under her guidance, patient processes were significantly improved and the program received national accreditation. Melinda recently transitioned to the role of Project Manager in which she leads specific initiatives to further improve the program, such as the newly completed online bariatric surgery seminar.

I feel fortunate to work with this incredible team of providers and patients. I have always been passionate about health, nutrition and exercise. I have worked hard to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle for myself and my family, so I get excited when our patients reach their personal wellness goals.

I worked with a pediatric outpatient therapy facility before I came to work at Emory and I see amazing parallels between the parents of the children with special needs in that program and the individuals we treat at the Emory Bariatric Center. Both groups have encountered stares, social stigma and discomfort in public. Both groups seek respect, compassion, knowledge and support.

One of my favorite things is to see the impact that a healthier lifestyle has on the family, friends and co-workers of our patients. Of course, losing the weight is a tremendous benefit in and of itself, but when a patient regains his or her life – they can once again travel, or play with their children – it has a profound impact on the people around them. One of our patients was an elementary school teacher who was unable to travel with her class on educational field trips. After bariatric surgery, she was able to travel not only the country but the world with her class and her students benefited from her teaching in a whole new way.

My role – and the role of everyone on the team – is to help guide our patients on their journey. For some, that means bariatric surgery; for others, it involves a nonsurgical approach to weight loss. Regardless of the technique, the team is wholeheartedly invested in helping that individual attain his or her personal goals. We partner with them, provide the tools they need for success, and support them in determining which path will be the safest and most effective way to a healthier new life.

Learn About Bariatric Surgery at Emory Healthcare

Now you can get all the facts you need about bariatric surgery at Emory Healthcare without waiting for the next group seminar. The free online seminar contains the same in-depth information provided in our in-person, group seminars, conveniently available whenever and wherever you want. This means you can watch a segment or two or the entire seminar; plus, you can watch segments as often as you like, and share the information with friends or family.

    In the online seminar, you will:

  • Hear from individuals who have had bariatric surgery at Emory Healthcare
  • Meet members of our surgical and program teams
  • Determine if you are a candidate for bariatric surgery
  • Learn about the bariatric procedures performed at Emory Healthcare
  • Learn about the risks and benefits of bariatric procedures
  • Discover the nutritional steps to success before and after bariatric surgery
  • Hear our step-by-step process that will guide you through bariatric surgery and beyond

Before becoming a bariatric surgery patient at Emory Healthcare, you must attend either the online bariatric surgery seminar or the in-person group bariatric surgery seminar held several times a year. You may view the online seminar as often as you like, but if you are considering bariatric surgery at Emory Healthcare, we require you to register so that you complete the attendance requirement.

Click here to access the Bariatric Online Surgery Seminar

Emory Bariatric Center is the only weight loss center in the region to offer both surgical and non-surgical weight loss options. Plus, the accredited program is the only one affiliated with Emory Healthcare.

Call 404-778-7777 or 1-800-75-EMORY (1-800-753-6679) for questions about the online seminar or about bariatric surgery at Emory Healthcare.