Posts Tagged ‘Emory Weight Loss Center’

Beware hCG Diets: Unproven and Dangerous

If you have been keeping up with the fad diet scene in the past year, you no doubt have heard of the hCG Diet.  This diet uses a hormone called hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) which is created in the placenta during pregnancy.  Physicians have been using hCG on women with fertility issues for years with great success.  More recently, naturopathic doctors have been touting hCG as a “miracle” weight loss product that will burn fat and decrease appetite, often to the tune of $1,000 for six weeks of treatment.  The hormone is used along with a diet of only 500 calories per day.

A recent report by the FDA however, identified hCG weight loss pills, solutions and injections to be fraudulent with no sound scientific evidence that the hormone itself is causing the weight loss.  It is much more likely that the very low calorie intake is the reason for weight loss.  Eating only 500 calories a day does not provide enough nutrients to stay healthy, even if followed for a short amount of time.  People who follow the hCG diet run a risk of electrolyte imbalances and a decrease in muscle mass (not the kind of weight you want to lose!).  The American Society of Bariatric Physicians (i.e. the people you can trust for reliable weight loss information) has issued a statement saying that the hCG diet should not be used due to lack of evidence that it works and the associated risks.

So, yet another fad diet bites the dust, further proving that the best way to achieve healthy, sustainable weight loss is by eating well, moving more and making small positive changes to your life.  This kind of weight loss takes time, but what you gain is a lifetime of good health.

Controlling Stress While Maintaining Your Weight

Tanya McGill, two years after bariatric surgery.

Tanya McGill, two years after bariatric surgery.

Coping with stress and huge life changes can be extremely challenging as our lives can quickly spin out of control in this zany world we live in. We are  pulled in so many directions, expecting more and more  of ourselves (as we feel others expect an ever-increasing amount out of us). Businesses are running lean and mean and focusing on newer, more efficient ways to do handle transactions which can leave you feeling as if you handle the workload of multiple people at the end of the day!

This is precisely why taking a moment out for yourself is more important than ever, particularly for those of us who used to use food as a way of coping with stress before bariatric surgery. And the great news is that we have more resources than we’ve ever had  to unwind and get in touch with ourselves when things get hairy. My experience has been that I actually live a higher quality life when I make some “me” time on a regular basis, not just when I’m feeling overextended. Of course, one might say that this is easier said than done. With a very long commute into the work place each day, I’ve tried to get creative with my time to maximize my “me” time opportunities.

One of the best things I ever did for myself was get a membership to an online audiobook distributor. Having this has allowed me the opportunity to listen to a myriad of audiobooks on my MP3 player during my two- to three-hour commute each day. A great distributor will give you a free, trial membership so you can see if you like their product, and they usually have tens of thousands of audiobooks, lectures and all sorts of things to listen to. I also have used that time commuting to brush up on other languages I wanted to learn, and to catch up on some of the fabulous podcasts that are out there, most of which are free! May I recommend the Nutrition Diva from the Quick and Dirty network of podcasters? She’s got a wealth of information tucked under her health belt!

Another way I’ve captured a little time for myself is to actually take my lunch to work, find an office or conference room that isn’t being used when it’s time for me to take a break, and I jump in, shut the door, turn off the lights, set the timer on my phone and drift off into about a twenty-five minute meditation. Some people prefer to meditate without guidance, some with guidance, some with music alone and some people (like me) enjoy listening to binaural beats during meditation. If you’re interested, but there are loads of great meditation resources out there. Just grab your headphones and MP3 player on the way out the door before you start your day and you’re set! I often find that this midday reset feels terrific and there’s usually still time to nosh on something yummy I’ve brought from home for lunch (and it’s a terrific money saver, too)!

Lastly, on Friday nights, my finance and I always enjoy “Italian Date Night” which consists of delicious Italian food together at home. It’s become a tradition for us (yes, you can still eat delicious, Italian food after bariatric surgery!). Afterwards we try to make it a habit of dancing in the living room to fun music. If you can picture this in your head, then I’ll go ahead and apologize now.  Seriously, today there are so many fun “games” on the market for anyone interested in shedding some serious calories and simultaneously reliving stress, it’s amazing! One of our favorites is something we recently purchased for the Xbox 360 called “Dance Central.” Any kind of working out indoors is beneficial during what can be the most biting of winter months.

Maintaining a low level of stress in my life and not falling into the old habits I used to have in using food to cope with the stress has been an ongoing challenge for me. But having tools to deal with it which was jump-started with the surgery, has been key for me. It’s my hope that you find the same for your life!

Introducing Your Weigh, Customized Weight Management Program

Lose Weight Your Weigh with Emory

Lose Weight Your Weigh with Emory

Just in time to counter that holiday weight gain, EMORY HEALTHCARE introduces Your Weigh, a fully customized, non-surgical  weight loss program for anyone looking to lose a little or a lot.

With Your Weigh, you can choose from four different weight management program options that range from a total or partial meal replacement plan to a meal plan that features your own food and recipes. Your Weigh allows you to select the program that meets your weight management goals now and can be adjusted as your needs change over time.

The best part about Your Weigh is that you have ongoing support and supervision from the Emory Bariatric Center team of physicians and dietitians. With the latest information on weight management strategies and motivational tips and techniques to keep you on track, the Emory team is there for you at every step.

Every Your Weigh plan includes:

• Initial and ongoing supervision by an Emory Bariatric Center physician

• Medical diagnostics

• One-on-one consultations with a registered dietitian

• Regular nutrition and lifestyle meetings to keep you motivated and focused on your goals

For more information about Your Weigh, view ouronline weight management seminar. Or call our friendly, informative nurses at 404-778-7777 or 1-800-753-6679.

My Journey Through Weight Loss – Part 6

Tanya McGill, two years after bariatric surgery.

Tanya McGill, two years after bariatric surgery.

It seems that no matter how many testimonials I heard from other patients prior to surgery and no matter how many books I read about other people’s experiences, the many miracles I experienced after bariatric surgery blew my mind over and over again! I would get on the scale and some days I would lose two to three pounds from one day to the next. That was insane (and that was mainly in the first month, mind you). My size twenty-eight pants were suddenly falling right off my hips and I just couldn’t wear them anymore. I certainly wasn’t complaining, and a monthly trip to the discount big box store to purchase a couple of new pairs of pants with elastic waist bands became my new reward for another month of weight forever gone.

One of the most mind-blowing things I remember is going to one of these discount stores to look at a few pairs of pants. I thought to myself, “Well, I’ve lost a few more pounds. I’ll grab a size twenty-four from the rack and see how they fit.” I was completely dumbfounded when I zipped them up only to find that they swallowed me. They were super baggy all over! Could it be that a twenty-two would be my size? Nope, those were too big, too! You can imagine my amazement when I found that a size twenty is what I settled on, and I still remember thinking those were a little loose. I don’t think I could wrap my head around the fact that I might have almost made my way out of the size twenties all together.

About ten months after surgery (I was down 129 pounds and 32 pounds away from my goal weight) I went on a Labor Day trip to the beach with some friends. We were all playing cards, having a great time, and one of my friend’s brothers picked me up and started carrying me around the room, acting like a caveman! They were all laughing and cheering him on, but I was in a complete panic. In my head I was thinking: “Marc’s not strong enough to be doing this! He’s going to realize he’s picking up my enormous, fat behind and he’ll drop me any minute!” But he didn’t. See, I couldn’t even realize that I was just a few pounds heavier than all the other gals that were there, and 167 pounds was an easy load for him to lift. But my mind was still thinking it was in an almost 300 pound body.

One of the strangest miracles I encountered which I never, ever expected (and ladies, I thought we’d all be safe here but we aren’t, believe me!) was when I lost a shoe size through weight loss! Yes-you heard it here. It didn’t happen right away but when it did happen, it seemed as if it happened overnight. I used to wear a size 9, sometimes a 9½. And I love shoes-love them! We’ve all heard the adage, “We can gain all the weight in the world, but our shoes will always fit!” I always believed that, and I assumed the opposite was true as well. Well, I’m here to tell you that it might not always be so. I remember the days of feeling deep sadness after an afternoon of plus-size clothes shopping when I felt nothing fit properly. I knew I could always stop by any number of fabulous shoe warehouses where a plethora of gorgeous shoe options were just waiting for me. The only thing I didn’t love about my feet was that they were kind of large; even at only 5’4½” I had these rather large size feet. Well, I’m here to tell you that even your feet can carry the bulge as I was so shocked to learn  when I realized that I was going to have to get all new shoes because my previous size 9’s & 9½’s were slipping from my feet!

This journey of weight loss has brought more miracles into my life than I could ever count and I am so grateful for bariatric surgery each and every day.

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.