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Showing content with the highest reputation since 02/15/2005 in Magazine Articles

  1. 4 points
    First off, I just want to say this very important thing, if you take nothing else away from this article, let it be this- People’s reactions to you are based on their relationship with themselves, not you. Always. Someone who is living at peace with themselves will have no need to harshly criticize, no desire to humiliate, and no feelings of unresolved jealousy. Sadly, once you understand this, you also realize how many people in your life are unhappy with themselves on some level. It makes it a little easier not to take things personally, but I would be lying if I said those things don’t hurt anymore. So how do you deal with friends and family members who are not living at peace with themselves? What practical steps can you take to be at peace with yourself so that you are able to reject those statements and hurtful judgments instead of internalizing them? Here’s the bottom line- You will always have people in your life who do not wish you well, who want to see you fail. If you do not learn to look past them and stay focused on you and your progress, and live at peace with yourself- you will experience re-gain. I love the words from Eleanor Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” 1) Start with yourself- You need to be at peace with yourself. Who you are, what you weigh, your progress level, etc. Easier said than done, I know. But working towards that will allow you to bypass other’s opinions of you because you know who you are and where you’re going. A simple way to begin embracing yourself is positive self-talk. Start by looking into the mirror as often as you can, and saying things to yourself like, “I am a beautiful, peacefully person and I love me.” Say hello to yourself. “Hi Ash, you are a wonderful, beautiful person and I am SO proud of you.” It’s going to feel super painful and may trigger some emotions. Process those as they come, don’t shy away from the feelings that embracing yourself brings. If you need to cry, do so. If you smile, embrace it. Enjoy yourself. Changing that negative narrative in your head that so many of us carry around, is step one. 2) Be honest- When someone says something that’s offensive, it usually comes from one of 2 places: a poor relationship with themselves, or a lack of education. Use your best judgment to determine which it is. Keep in mind, there are a LOT of myths and misinformation surrounding bariatric surgery. Don’t assume people know more than they do. Think back to before you became an expert on Bariatric Surgery. How many questions you had, how many myths you thought were accurate. Seek to educate. But be honest, if someone makes a hurtful comment, let them know. Keep it simple, “Hey, that was uncalled for.” or “Please don’t say things like that to me.” Try to stay calm and in control. 3) Take a break- If you need a break, take one! Go for a walk, get out of the house, go listen to music alone. Don’t feel bad for needing a break. Family time can be stressful, don’t allow others to jeopardize your progress. When you’re stressed and anxious, you’re more prone to overeating which puts you back on that harmful cycle you’re working so hard to stay off of. Give yourself permission to stay home sometimes too, you don’t need to be at every single family gathering. It’s okay to opt out. People may get offended, they may try to make you feel guilty, but remember- it’s not about you. It’s all about how they feel about themselves. Those who are at peace with themselves will support you and do their best to understand where you’re coming from. 4) Stay focused- This is a tough one. Holidays pull our focus in so many directions, it’s easy for us to lose focus on our goals. Be proactive about making plans for yourself for food and exercising during the holidays. Being ahead of the game and staying on top of your plans will make you feel peaceful and accomplished. When you feel this way, your confidence is harder to shake and you will feel more secure. When you’re focused on a goal, it consumes your focus and the other things that pop up to derail you just fade into the background. Stick to your routine, take your supplements, and stay on track. You can do this! 5) Stay connected- Join a support group in-person or online, find an accountability buddy, hire a coach, or grab a friend who will keep you focused without judgment. Someone you can call, text or write to keep them updated so they can provide you with the encouragement you may not be getting from others this season. Having connection fills an emotional need that many try to fill with food. If you’re getting that need met, you won’t be as tempted to eat for comfort. Connection is something we all need, so make it a priority to have someone in your corner this holiday season. Remember, at the end of the day- this season is temporary. All the food, all the family, all the hustle and bustle. The things that can make or break this season. It’s all temporary. You are what you carry into the New Year. Your health journey is what lasts. Keep your sights on the long term. You can do this, I believe in you!
  2. 4 points
    Louisa Latela

    Keep Your Word To Yourself!

    If you’ve made a commitment to change your diet, learn a new exercise routine, start or complete a project, be more assertive, or maybe connect with your intuition on a daily basis, know that you DO have the POWER to follow through with this. Set an intention to connect with and magnify your inner strength and focus. Often when we set out to make changes in our life we start obsessing about it and think way too far into the future which can overwhelm us: then we just say “Oh the heck with this: I’ll never be able to do that huge project or maintain that habit forever, why even bother?” If you notice your thoughts going in that direction slow down, take a deep breath, and get out of your head and into your body. Come back to the present moment. Take another breath. Ask “Is there one simple thing I can do in this moment to honor my commitment?” That might mean just not putting a piece of chocolate in your mouth in this moment: That’s it you did it! And I know you can do that again in the next moment!! Perhaps you will be guided to make a phone call. Pick up the phone and make that call. Or, there might not be anything you need to do in this very moment so relax into the not doing. It is important that you keep yourself surrounded by upbeat positive people and that you raise the vibrations of your surroundings as much as possible. Burn sage, put a crystal on your night stand or desk at work, keep plants and flowers in your environment, listen to uplifting music. Shield yourself from negative energies. Many of you who are drawn to read this are highly intuitive empaths: your are like psychic sponges who absorb the energies of the people near you and your environment. As part of your morning routine surround yourself with a beautiful white light ( or whatever color feels most safe and loving for you). The only thing that can penetrate this light is love and healing energies, no negative energy can pass through this. If you believe in angels, spirit guides, or any other sort of deity invite them to be with you throughout the day guiding you and keeping your thoughts and feelings uplifted and positive. Whenever possible remove yourself from negative situations, decline to engage in gossip or fear based conversations. Anger, negatively, jealousy and fear will only cause you pain. Clear your energy field daily: meditate, spend time in nature barefoot, take baths in epsom sales, move your body, drink plenty of water, etc. Law of Attraction/Source Energy is rooting for you and right by your side giving extra added energy to your thoughts. So keep your thoughts and focus on what you DO want to manifest. See yourself as happy fulfilled and loved….and know that is is so….. Feel gratitude knowing that your life is moving in the direction of your dreams gaining more and more momentum as your willingness to believe and receive all that is being offered to you opens and increases. BELIEVE and RECEIVE!! I'm sending you so much love! Go have an awesome day!! ❤️ Louisa!!
  3. 3 points
    Louisa Latela

    A Valentine Reflection

    In this space remember the importance of prioritizing good self caretaking, talking more kindly to and about yourself, embracing and feeling your feelings, setting boundaries, declining to engage in gossip or negative chatter, walking away from low energy people and situations, being gentle with yourself, not putting unrealistic demands on your time or energy, and understanding that it’s actually GOOD to be SELFish. Bring to the forefront of your mind your innate knowing of the absolute necessity of nurturing your soul with things like art and music and movement and nature and deep conversations with people you love, respect and admire. Let this Valentine’s Day be a Reminder that you need to Love YOU FIRST. That you need to be your most significant other <3! Live In Love, Louisa
  4. 2 points
    If so you might be an EMPATH. An empath is a person with the ability to sense the mental or emotional state of another individual. An empath can psychically feel the emotions, feelings, energy and even thoughts of others. A few common traits of an empath: Highly intuitive Emotionally sensitive (often labeled by others as “overly sensitive” or “too emotional”) Can feel in their own bodies the emotions of others Often absorb other people’s energy Frequently feels overwhelmed in crowds Typically have accurate initial gut feelings about people/situations Need a lot of alone time Have big hearts and can be taken advantage of Because they can see and sense problems (and what needs to be done to resolve them) in other people’s lives they often feel responsible to fix them. What’s all this got to do with food? If you are an empath there is a good chance you are not using food to manage YOUR energy but to manage OTHER PEOPLE’s energy. It’s like you are psychic/energy sponge who absorbs other people’s energy throughout the day, whether it be the co-worker who is cranky, the happy giggly girl in line at Target, your good friend who is going through a break up, or the heated political debates on television. When you unknowingly absorb these energies you can be left feeling anxious, drained, depressed, overwhelmed, and even confused by the end of what seemed to be a normal, productive ‘uneventful’ day. Such feelings can be a trigger to overeat. If you are familiar with emotional eating you KNOW that overeating is a good way to escape or calm such emotions. So what’s an empath to do to stop from picking up and taking on everyone else’s emotions? Start to notice energy. Notice how you feel in different situations, around various people. Connect to your body: does your body feel calm and relaxed around this person or uptight and anxious, do you have a knot in your stomach, are your shoulders scrunched, do you feel the need to be defensive, or do you feel calm and safe? Notice how you feel in a cluttered room vs. a bare room, how you feel listening to different music, how you feel when you wear certain colors, etc. Protect your energy; before you leave the house in the morning imagine yourself being protected by a sparkly white or golden bubble and the only thing that can penetrate this bubble is love and healing energy, no negative energy can get through this beautiful circle of light. If you’ve been around someone who’s uptight anxious or angry literally brush their energy off your body with your hand. Hold your hands about and inch away from your body and brush around your head, down your opposite arms, down your chest stomach and legs. Or even just shaking your hands down by your side with the intent of shaking off their energy can help. If you are in a conversation with someone who is angry or anxious you can imagine you are behind a one way mirror and everything they say just bounces right back to them, or imagine you are wearing a suit of teflon and everything they say just slides right off. Stretch your body (we hold emotions in our muscles… when you stretch it helps release stored emotions). Spend time in nature. Walk barefoot in the grass. Take a bath in epsom salt. Create a transition ritual for when come home from an event, or work, or school, etc. It can be something like deciding to change your shirt and while changing your shirt ask that any energies that you've absorbed that are not yours be released saying ”I now release any energies that I may have absorbed that are not mine. I send them to be transmuted to light and love and sent back to their rightful owner!” Spend time near water. Meditate. I am seeing this more and more in my practice that energy sensitive people often struggle with food or some other addiction as a way to manage all the intense emotions of the world these days. If this article resonates with you it is important to understand that this is very real and that you begin to truly honor your intuition and energy sensitivities. Then set out to learn positive self nurturing rituals to protect and heal you own energy. I will be offering Zoom groups to discuss emotional eating, eating as a reflection of self love and respect, and learning to notice and protect your energy. If you have any questions or comments do not hesitate to contact me!
  5. 2 points
    With the New Year comes the New Year Resolutions. For many people, one of the largest resolutions is a change in lifestyle - that includes losing weight! I remember my resolution in 2012 was to lose weight and get healthy. And I was able to do that with the help of the vertical sleeve. 2015 is going to hold that for many people and thousands of people undergo weight loss surgery to help them achieve their healthy goals for the new year. For those of you that are just thinking about surgery, I want to encourage you to know that you are not alone! You have a wealth of resources at your fingertips. I wanted to take a moment to share with you some amazing resources that you may find helpful on your journey! Websites BariatricPal.com Of course, BariatricPal is one of the very best websites to find information and support. Here there are “rooms” geared for each surgery as well as pages for recipes, articles, and much more. You will find information on everything you might want to know from before surgery to years after. I suggest checking out the Before/After pages for a good dose of motivation and inspiration! 7BitesShow.com 7 Bites is the first cooking series on YouTube geared specifically toward the bariatric community. The website has videos, recipes and blog posts. weightlosssurgerychannel.com Weight Loss Surgery Channel has a collection of videos on everything WLS related weather it be health, food and recipes, and more. BariatricFoodie The Bariatric Foodie has some great recipes for those that still love food, but want to stay on track TheWorldAccordingToEggface Eggface is one of the most popular of the bariatric cooking blogs. You will find great recipes, blog posts and giveaways on her blog. BariatricCookery.com This is a great resource page for everything from recipes to products. Books The “Big Book” series by Alex Breacher and Natalie Stein. There are four books in the series and all are great reads. They have a wealth of information on everything you need to know before, during and after surgery. The very best thing about these books is that they include personal stories from people that have been there. Breaking The Chains: A Guide To Bariatric Surgery by Jennifer DeMoss and Suzette Munson. The ladies of 7Bites pull from their and others’ experiences with weight loss surgery to provide a simplified, but comprehensive guide. Information on everything from how to pick your surgery and doctor to how to survive the first two weeks after surgery are included. The Sleeved Life by Pennie Nicola. This book tells about Pennie’s experience with the Vertical Sleeve procedure and discusses the ins and outs of the surgery from start to finish. Weight Loss Surgery For Dummies. The everything you ever wanted to know and then some guide to all things weight loss surgery. Many, MANY doctors and nurses recommend this book to their patients. Another great resource not listed here is your local bariatric support group! If you haven’t found one yet, contact your Surgery Center of Excellence or your nutritionist, they should be able to give you a good idea of one or two in your area. Or you can check out the list here on Bariatric Pal - it’s a very comprehensive list of support groups around the world!
  6. 2 points
    Bigger from Birth…And Then College Hit Michele was always big. She was at the top of her height and weight charts from the time she was an infant. She remembers times in her childhood when she couldn’t or wouldn’t participate because she was so big. She didn’t like physical education or sports, and the other children teased her. Food was a comfort. Michele describes the situation as a vicious cycle. The more kids teased her, the worse she felt. The worse she felt, the more she ate. The more she ate, the more she weighed. The more she weighed, the more she got teased. College was a disaster in terms of her weight. Forget about the freshman 15. What about the freshman 40? And the sophomore 40? Add to that the junior 40, the senior 40, and, for good measure, the super-senior (fifth-year) 67, and you now know how Michele Elbertson got to be 427 pounds at the age of 22 years. A Young Weight Loss Surgery Patient with New Relationships Michele made the decision to get the lap-band on her own. She needed a tool to help her control how much she ate, but understood that it was up to her to control what she ate. She only told her parents about her decision after she was sure about it. They were supportive, and have been since then. Michele has taken full advantage of and responsibility for the band. She has lost 260 pounds – 260 pounds! – in less than four years. As she says, she’s a determined person who will accomplish anything she sets her mind to. Michele began to “eat to live” rather than “live to eat.” As her relationships with food and exercise changed, so did her relationships with some friends. She lost some friends whose relationships centered only on food. She gained many more, though, through her new activities. She says the friends she’s gained through running and fitness far outweigh those she lost by changing her lifestyle. An Athlete Is Born Michele ran her first 5k after losing 100 pounds – when she was still 327 pounds. She was hooked. She loved the training, the atmosphere of the race, and the accomplishment. She has never looked back. Since then, she has run countless other races, including 38 half-marathons, 6 marathons, and a 50-miler ultra-marathon. She has also competed in triathlons. Now at an athletic 159 pounds, Michele has her sights on even greater challenges. In the near future, she wants to run a 100-miler and complete an Ironman. Both are feats that most people wouldn’t even dream of. Marathons, Ultras, and Ironmans Now, not everyone’s a distance runner or triathlete, so to understand Michele’s accomplishments, here are a few facts about these endurance sports. A marathon is 26.2 miles. All marathons are 26.2 miles. An ultra-marathon is anything over 26.2 miles. Michele’s recently completed ultra-marathon was 50 miles, and she is training for a 100-miler. A triathlon includes swimming, biking, and running. An Ironman triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile marathon. Fitting It All in Every Day Michele works out 6 days a week. Currently, she’s training for an ulta-marathon and is running 5 days a week and lifting weights 3 times. She also does Zumba classes. She takes a rest day once a week. Michele has built her life to be able to accommodate her training schedule. She recently quit her teaching career to focus instead on helping others achieve their fitness and health goals. She is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Working at a gym is pure genius – it leaves her with no excuse not to get her workout in! Eating Like a Bariathlete How do you have energy to train like an athlete and work full-time while losing over 200 pounds in 4 years? Ask Michele. Here’s how she eats and works out in a typical day. 7:00 a.m. breakfast: almonds and yogurt or eggs/romaine lettuce 9:00 a.m. snack: protein bar Workout, such as running, lifting, or group fitness class, such as Zumba or bokwa Noon. lunch: soup or salad, usually the largest meal of the day 2:00 p.m. snack: cheese and crackers or something small, equivalent to 200 calories (may include a fruit or vegetable) 4:00 p.m. snack: hot tea 6:00 p.m. dinner; lean protein, veggie, possibly a carb 7:30 p.m. snack: lemon water/hot tea. The number of calories Michele eats during a day is 1,800 (her resting metabolic rate) plus half of the calories she burns through exercise. So, if she runs 10 miles and burns 1,200 calories in exercise, she’ll eat 1,800 plus 600 calories, or 2,400 calories. She allows herself an occasional treat meal with junk food, but still counts those calories. The Accolades Michele is more than your typical bariatric patient, and she’s been getting the recognition she deserves for her extraordinary achievements. These are a few recent examples. Runner’s World magazine Cover Contest Finalist. Makeover on the Rachel Ray Show. Local feature on 6ABC Action News in Philadelphia. Dealing with Negativity – Don’t Worry About It One of the most striking things about Michele is her drive. She has worked very, very hard to get where she’s at today. She’s lost 60 percent of her body weight through being very disciplined every day. And, she has run marathons. Anyone who has run a marathon can tell you that it is was harder than they had ever imagined. Anyone who hasn’t run a marathon cannot imagine how difficult it is. But with all the publicity, Michele has receive a lot of nasty comments. How is she supposed to react when people slam her? They say she hasn’t accomplished anything, that the band has done it all. In fact, they basically say what a lot of weight loss surgery patients hear all the time from people who don’t know any better. So how does Michele react to negativity? She doesn’t want to respond directly and add “fuel to the fire.” She knows they don’t know anything about her, and she’s probably done more exercise and worked harder than they ever have. So, she just goes about her business. Leading by Example Michele says she hopes her successes and story will give others hope. She describes herself as a “real person” and “very down-to-earth,” and she hopes others will see that they can accomplish what she has. In the future, she would like to travel to seminars as a motivational speaker. In the meantime, we congratulate her on her amazing story and wish her well in her 100-miler this spring!
  7. 2 points
    A Attitude “ Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” – Winston Churchill A stands for Attitude. Your attitude will determine how you see the world, whether you see your glass as half-empty or half-full. Focus on having only a positive attitude towards your weight loss surgery. Realize that everything in your life needed to happen in order for you to have the life you have today, even the events that might have contributed to your obesity. Rather than viewing your life as “jinxed” or “cursed,” consider past events as lessons that had to be learned at the University of Life or at the “school of hard knocks”. Your attitude will also affect your aspirations. If your attitude is poor, then your aspirations will likely be small, when the truth is there are no limits to your aspirations. Most people have aspirations, but their aspirations are usually so small and uninspiring. Stop setting “realistic goals.” Instead, why not see how high you can fly? Like the renowned motivational speaker Les Brown said, “Shoot for the stars, so if you fail, you might hit the moon!” Stop staring into the bottom of that half-empty glass, and start drinking from the half-full glass of life. *The previous was an excerpt from Dr. Vuong's new book, Weight Loss Surgery Success: Dr. V's A-Z Tips for Losing Weight and Gaining Enlightenment, now available on Amazon.com.
  8. 1 point
    Like pretty much everything else in your life, the holidays are a whole new ballgame after weight loss surgery. Your weight loss surgery diet is strict. It doesn’t include fatty foods and sugary desserts. Going off your weight loss surgery diet can stall weight loss and also cause complications. You could be prone to dumping syndrome if you have the gastric sleeve or gastric bypass, and lap-banders can face obstructions and acid reflux with the wrong foods or too much. If you let your guard down for the rest of November and December, you can find yourself slipping off of your diet and feeling pretty unhealthy. But by keeping your eyes open and planning ahead, you can keep yourself on track and get through the holiday season feeling proud of yourself. Watch Carefully to Avoid Extra Calories Calories show up everywhere at this time of year. Sometimes they don’t even seem that bad, but they add up quickly. Have a bite here and a handful there without paying much attention, and you might be disappointed when you weigh in on New Year’s Day. Don’t let calories slip into your diet. First, be aware of the extra calories that are around. They can include any of the following. Lunch or dinner out when a friend or family member comes to town. Chocolate truffles on the secretary’s desk or the break room at work. Cookies from well-meaning friends and family who want you to taste-test their creations. Sweetened, pumpkin-spice coffee instead of calorie-free regular coffee. Food court fare when you’re holiday shopping at the mall. Holiday parties, potlucks, and dinners. Stick to Your Good WLS Habits The first line of defense is to stick to your regular good everyday weight loss surgery habits. Log every bite of food you take to keep from getting in hundreds of extra calories from sneaking in a taste here and there. Even if you have to estimate the calories in some of your food, especially if you eat out or at a party, you can keep more discipline if you log your food. Also, think about your other healthy habits. Keep drinking water between meals. And, protein is still all-important. Make sure you have some at each meal and snack. Focusing on finding lean protein can keep you focused when you’re faced with all kinds of other unhealthy choices. Arm Yourself Against Temptation If you’re starving and you’re face-to-face with a basket of chocolate-covered pretzels, you might opt for the sugary, high-carb snack. Unless that is, you have your own weapon. Keep some high-protein and low-calorie choices with you at all times so you never need to go for the junk food in desperation. We have many health snack options at the BariatricPal Store! Take them with you to work, or in your car, purse, or pocket. You can have them if you’re stuck in traffic or at the mall at mealtimes. Almonds packed in 1-ounce portions. Beef jerky (not fatty beef sticks). Apples Cheese sticks Roasted soybeans or garbanzo beans Tuna pouch Work around Your Cravings You don’t need to deprive yourself completely at holiday time. If there’s a particular taste you want, there’s a good chance you can satisfy your craving with a healthier alternative. For example, you can have lean ham and turkey breast instead of brisket and turkey with the skin on it. Roast green beans with onions, rosemary, and balsamic vinegar instead of having green bean casserole, bake sweet potatoes instead of having candied ones, and puree cauliflower or carrot instead of making mashed potatoes. Use the same strategy for desserts. Go for sugar-free cocoa mix instead of chocolate fudge when you’re craving chocolate. Munch on plain popcorn while your friends are passing around the caramel corn. For breakfast, make high-protein oatmeal pumpkin pancakes instead of regular pumpkin pancakes. Plan for a Few Treats Almost everyone has a few holiday treats that are irresistible. There may be some family recipe that you’ve had at every Christmas for as long as you can remember, or maybe a coworker brings in her cinnamon rolls made from a secret recipe. Whatever it is, you feel as though the holidays are incomplete without it. There’s no reason not to plan for one or two key treats. Just be sure you plan for them and stick to a single serving. Savor it, and concentrate on the flavors and on the memories and feelings it brings up. Then get right back on your regular diet. There are a couple of reasons why some weight loss surgery patients might be better off skipping even the occasional special holiday treat. First, don’t start if you’re not sure you can stop. If you’re not confident that you can stick to a single serving, it’s best not to start eating. Second, some weight loss surgery patients can’t tolerate all kinds of junk food. Fried and doughy foods are risky for lap-band patients, since they can obstruct the band. Gastric bypass and vertical sleeve gastrectomy patients are at risk for dumping syndrome from eating too much sugar or fat at once. And, no weight loss surgery patient should eat too much, since that can stretch the pouch or sleeve. The holiday season is a happy time, but it’s a struggle if you’re trying to lose weight and get healthy. You can prevent it from sneaking up on you and interfering with your weight loss by staying alert and having a plan.
  9. 1 point
    The Struggle Often Continues For some patients, Weight Loss Surgery can lower your interest in food, so you are not constantly thinking about it. There’s no question Weight Loss Surgery can help you gain control of your eating, but it’s unlikely to eliminate your struggles with food disappear. A few lucky Weight Loss Surgery patients really do stop being tempted by food. The rest, who make up the vast majority of Weight Loss Surgery patients, continue to struggle. You still may be hungry, enjoy salt, fat, starch, or sugar, or be tempted to use food as an emotional crutch. Your family members may continue to insist on keeping high-calorie foods in the house, or pressure you to eat things you shouldn’t. Your friends may still be going out to eat and inviting you to join them in ordering high-fat, high-sugar items. “Why Me?” Isn’t Appropriate It’s easy, even natural, to think of yourself as unlucky. Why should you have to struggle with food? Why should you have to monitor every bite you take, while some people don’t? The fact is, almost everyone does. Ask almost any skinny person how they stay skinny, and you’ll get some variation of the same answer: “I work hard for it.” Just like you, they are aware of what goes into their bodies. They sometimes may be hungry; they sometimes may want to eat more than they should. But they, like you now, take responsibility for their decisions. They may: Skimp on portions if they over ate at the previous meal. Choose healthy foods first. Have a strategy for dealing with emotions and boredom that doesn’t involve eating. Have a support system that promotes healthy behaviors. Accept It and Manage It If you find you still have a rocky relationship with food after weight loss surgery, don’t conclude that WLS didn’t work for you. Instead, accept that you will need to fight the cravings and urges for months, years, or life, and start making a plan. Don’t be afraid to ask for help in developing strategies – whether you ask other BariatricPal members or an always-thin person you admire! Persist in Order to Get the Answers You Need We all want to be able to trust our doctors. You want to believe your surgeon takes care of all aspects of your Weight Loss Surgery, including your post-op, long-term nutrition. But it doesn’t always happen like that. Nutritional counseling may not be part of your surgery package, or you may only get a limited amount of generic information. Or, your surgeon may simply not know how to help you nutritionally. Remember that many doctors have no more than an hour of nutrition education in medical school. To become a weight loss surgeon, doctors need to learn surgery. There is no dietary education requirement. If you need help finding strategies to satisfy hunger – physical or head hunger – and your surgeon and primary care doctor are not able to help, keep looking. A session with a nutritionist may be more affordable than you think, and worth every penny. Your Emotional Support System and Your Relationship with Food The support system you built so carefully can come in handy right about now. Take advantage of your ability to talk to a therapist or psychologist if you have one to bring up your concerns. Discussing your ongoing struggles with portion sizes, food choices, and over-frequent nibbling with a mental health professional can help you come up with some strategies that work for you. Group sessions are also appropriate forums to talk about food struggles and strategies. Though it may feel embarrassing at first to admit you’re still thinking about food a lot, you will find nearly everyone in that room did or does have that same experience. Most Weight Loss Surgery patients do not find their surgery instantly eliminates their food struggles. You can take months or years to come to terms with a food addiction, and it may be something you need to learn to live with for life, but in a healthier manner than before Weight Loss Surgery. Be honest with yourself and those around you, and be open to suggestions, and you can figure out strategies that work for you. Do not assume WLS did not work for you!
  10. 1 point
    Without a doubt, obesity is stigmatized. The unfair bias that you face may be a major factor in your decision to consider or get weight loss surgery. Unfortunately, you will probably find that the obesity discrimination continues even as you try to use weight loss surgery to get healthy. Obese patients are blamed for their conditions, healthcare providers are not always sympathetic, and coverage for weight loss surgery is not guaranteed. Why Do Obese Patients Get So Much Blame? People are increasingly sympathetic to diseases that used to be stigmatized. Examples include cancer, many mental health conditions, and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS and syphilis. Now, treatment for these and other conditions, such as diabetes, is widely accepted as normal and an entitlement. Each of these conditions is largely the result of lifestyle choices, such as diet, use of tobacco and/or alcohol, sexual behavior, and physical activity levels. More than 80% of cancers are likely the result of lifestyle choices. Ironically, though, many people in our society remain unsympathetic to obese people. They are quick to blame obese people for having no self-control, for refusing to follow a diet, and for not wanting to be healthy. You know, though, that those accusations are far from the truth. If you are considering weight loss surgery, you are confident that you have the self-control for the weight loss surgery diet, that you have tried to follow numerous diets but none have worked for you, and that you desperately want to be healthy! You Did Not Ask to Be Obese: Some Factors are Outside of Your Control More than one-third of American adults are obese, and another third are overweight. That in itself should remind you – and the people who judge you harshly – that fighting obesity is hard! The food environment includes fast food, vending machines, restaurants, food-focused social gatherings, and inexpensive snack foods. There are also biological and family factors that you cannot control. Skinny people have no idea that you may be feeling extreme hunger all day, every day, or that your metabolism may be slower. Your family might have raised to choose high-calorie, high-fat foods, or even driven you into unhealthy emotional eating. Research shows that some obese patients’ brains even respond differently to food compared to lower-weight individuals. Obese individuals, for example, tend to get less pleasure out of food, meaning they need to eat more to get satisfied. Furthermore, high-calorie foods like sugar can be addicting, leading to the same brain responses as cocaine does. But nobody blames cocaine addicts for their situations! Instead, they encourage counseling and intensive program to help them overcome their addictions, not punish them. Discrimination in Obesity Treatment: A Look at Weight Loss Surgery Versus Dialysis Just as unfair is the fact that the healthcare system continues the discrimination against obesity. Compare weight loss surgery as an obesity treatment with dialysis as a treatment for kidney failure (end-stage renal failure). Far from being blamed for their conditions, kidney failure patients who need dialysis are provided the respect that all people deserve and the medical care that they need. Dialysis patients of all ages in the United States are able to apply for Medicare, the government’s health insurance program normally reserved for older adults. Dialysis treatments can cost about $40,000 per year, not including This is not to mention human factors such as reduced quality of life (the vast majority of dialysis patients are too sick to work) and early death (the life expectancy of dialysis patients is about 5 years). In comparison, a typical weight loss surgery procedure in the United States can cost $20,000 to $40,000, although it can be less, and successful patients are healthier and have more energy than before surgery. The irony increases. The fact is that kidney failure usually results as a complication of type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure (hypertension). Both of these conditions are often caused by obesity; losing weight after weight loss surgery can prevent, eliminate, or reduce these conditions. In addition, it takes years for kidney failure to develop once you have high blood pressure or diabetes – years during which patients are likely to be on costly medications and inconvenient treatments. Targeting obesity through weight loss surgery could prevent cases of diabetes and high blood pressure, reduce their effects in people who already have them, and prevent kidney failure, the need for dialysis, and early death. Searching for Fairness in the Medical Treatment of Obesity Your first barrier in your path to weight loss surgery may be your primary care physican (PCP). Some PCPs do not know much about weight loss surgery, or may be against it because they think obesity is your fault. Some PCPs take a narrow view of obesity, and feel that the only way to lose weight is for patients to “decide they want it badly enough” and “just eat less.” You already know that doesn’t work, so don’t let your PCP discourage you from learning more weight loss surgery if you think it might be the solution to your obesity struggles. Insurance coverage has improved for obesity treatments, especially for weight loss surgery. Medicare and many private healthcare coverage plans cover weight loss surgery if you meet their predetermined weight and/or health criteria. Some private insurance companies, though, take a short-term view because they want to make profits within 3 years. Since most weight loss surgeries do not pay for themselves within 3 years, some private insurers do not cover weight loss surgery despite the likelihood that they would pay for themselves within 5 or 10 years, and in addition improve your health and quality of life. Chance of Reduced Discrimination in the Future? The majority of Americans believe that health insurance should cover weight loss surgery, in addition to other obesity treatments such as dietetic and mental health counseling. The Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), though, is not the ultimate solution. In nearly half of states, obesity treatments are not required to be covered by plans sold on the health exchanges. This determination is based on the available competitive services in the region. Since the most obese states are the ones least likely to have competitive anti-obesity care, these states are also least likely to have obesity treatments covered under the Affordable Care Act. Overcome the Discrimination Discrimination is an unfair fact of life as an obese individual, and it unfortunately does not end when you decide to get healthy using weight loss surgery as a tool. These are some of the ways that you can keep going strong and overcome the barriers you encounter as you work to get healthy. You have the right to a second opinion if your primary care physician recommends against weight loss surgery but you would like to find out more. Do not take “no” for an answer from your insurance company if you know you are entitled to reimbursement for surgery. Do not listen to negative family members or friends who do not understand your obesity or interest in weight loss surgery. It is your life and health. Educate others as much as you can to try to reduce the discrimination. Chances are that they are only being discriminatory out of ignorance, not out of true mean-spiritedness. Like it or not, some discrimination remains as you go through your weight loss journey. You cannot prevent it, but you can change how you react to it. Expect it and respond as positively as you can, keeping your own health and goals in mind. Over time, as you and others prove that weight loss surgery can be a worthwhile treatment for obesity, discrimination by insurance companies, healthcare providers, and the public will decrease.