Posts Tagged ‘Emory Bariatric Center’

Understanding Some Basics of Mindful Eating

mindful-eatingEating mindfully is not something we learn as a child. As a matter of fact, we are often taught the exact opposite. As children, how many of you were told by your parents “Clean your plate!”? This idea can actually lead to a lifetime of overeating, as many of us feel guilty leaving food on our plate, especially when there are “starving children” in the world. But the concept of mindful eating can lead to healthy habits and lead to less waste.

So what is mindful eating? Simply put, it is eating with awareness. Your focus is on your food, your body, and your body’s response to the food you eat. We put forth time and effort when we review bills and bank statements or when we plan a meeting, but when it comes to eating, we do so absent-mindedly. Even when we are in the act of eating, our minds drift or we are in the midst of conversations with others, that we don’t focus on how much food we put in our mouth, the texture of the food or the taste.

So how can mindful eating help with weight loss? Many of us struggle with food. We react mindlessly to it. We eat when we are not hungry. We continue to eat even though we have eaten enough already. And often, we do not use food for its intended purpose – to nourish our bodies. With that being said, if we started asking ourselves, “Is this food I am about to eat nourishing to my body?” our response to food would likely be much different. If you answer truthfully, you may find yourself choosing a healthier option altogether.

Another great question to ask yourself before eating is, “Am I hungry?” We find ourselves eating whenever it is convenient or whenever food is present, regardless of whether we are hungry. And when you ask yourself that question, you open the door to other mindful questions which, when answered truthfully, can impact your eating habits and food choices tremendously.

The great thing about mindful eating is it is a way of life – a lifestyle. It is not a diet. It is just you treating your body, and the food you allow to enter your body, with respect. It increases your awareness and attitude toward food without judgement. It allows you to think, and not react, to food.

Moving forward, consider the following choices in planning your meal: the type of food you eat or drink; where you eat; when you eat; how often you eat; the amount of food you eat; the size of the bite you chew; how fast or slowly you chew; how thoroughly you chew; when you swallow; how much time you take between bites; and when you stop eating . The list can go on and on – go ahead and add some of your own thoughts or questions. And let’s begin the practice of mindful eating today.

For more information or questions about weight loss services offered at Emory Healthcare, call 404-778-7777 or visit

Fletcher, Megrette, MEd, RD, CDE; Frederick Burggraf, MEd; Discover Mindful Eating, 2010

Power Up with Breakfast

oatmeal-breakfastYes, the old adage is true…breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Why is that? Research has shown breakfast eaters are more alert during the day, perform better at work and school, and are more likely to exercise. Eating breakfast can also help trim your waistline. When we eat breakfast, our metabolism is given a boost that last throughout the day. Eating in the morning also helps us to not overeat at lunch and dinner. Some people even feel less hungry at night when they eat breakfast compared to when they don’t.

The two most common reasons people don’t eat breakfast is: 1.) “I don’t have time.” and 2.) “I’m not hungry in the morning.” The answer to prevent number 1 is to plan ahead. Have “grab and go” foods in the house as you run out the door. Do any prepping or cooking the night before so you don’t have to in the morning. Try cooking a large batch of steel cut oatmeal on Sunday night and keep it in the fridge. Scoop out a serving each morning during the week, and then heat and eat.

Addressing number 2 is a little trickier. The reason most people are not hungry in the morning is that they have trained their bodies to not expect food (or they may have eaten too much the night before). Our bodies are meant to have food in the morning; therefore, it is up to us to train our bodies back. Try eating something light like low-sugar yogurt or a homemade fruit smoothie until your body gets used to eating in the morning again.

Here are some quick and easy breakfast ideas:

  • Oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts
  • Low-fat yogurt with granola
  • Whole-wheat pita with hard boiled egg and spinach
  • Whole-wheat tortilla, peanut butter and banana wrap
  • Leftovers from last night’s dinner

Below is a recipe to one of my favorite “grab and go” breakfast items. It is full of protein and will give you plenty of energy to get you through the morning:

Overnight Peanut Butter, Banana and Honey Oats

– ¼ cup steel cut oats
– 1 cup light vanilla soy milk
– 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
– ½ tbsp honey
– Dash of cinnamon
– ½ banana, sliced

Mix together all ingredients and place in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Let sit overnight and enjoy in the morning. You can heat it in the microwave or eat it cold.

Lombardo M, Bellia A, Padua E, et al. Morning meal more efficient for fat loss in a 3-month lifestyle intervention. J Am Coll Nutr. 2014;33(3):198-20

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

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

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

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 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.

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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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.

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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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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