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  1. Like
    CharlyScott reacted to Alex Brecher for a magazine article, Kicking Back in the Name of Weight Loss   
    The Right Mindset for Smart Decisions
    It is no surprise that you are at your best when you are rested, relaxed, and confident. That goes for almost every aspect of your life, and it holds true for weight loss. Thinking clearly lets you “weigh” the consequences of the hard-boiled egg versus the French fries for a snack so you can see the benefits of choosing the egg for weight loss outweigh the benefits of choosing the fries for a few minutes of pleasure.
    Self-confidence also lets you make the right choices. When you are confident, you know that you have the power to choose. You realize that are not a victim of circumstances, and you do not need to eat something just because it is available to you. You know that you have the power to say no to the things you should not eat, and the power to find the things you should.
    Better Sleep, Better Choices
    Sleep is not just a luxury to feel guilty about. Adequate sleep may be the missing key to your weight loss program. When you get enough sleep, you have lower levels of a hormone called ghrelin. Ghrelin makes you hungry, and less ghrelin helps keep hunger in check. Getting enough sleep also lowers carb and sugar cravings and gives you the strength to make rational decisions. Think protein and veggies, not potato chips and cookies.
    Stress, Hormones, and Your Weight
    In addition to your daily choices, there are behind-the-scenes factors that can cause weight gain when you are stressed. Hormones affect your metabolism and can cause weight gain when they are not balanced. Too much stress, for example, raises levels of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol increases raise your hunger levels, which can lead to you overeat. It also affects your fat storage. You might gain more fat in your abdominal area, which is a health risk for diabetes, heart disease, and more.
    Tips for Chilling Out
    The first trick for relaxing is to get over your guilt. It is not only okay to kick back, but it is healthy. It may be surprisingly tough when you are out of practice, though. Here are some ideas for stepping back from your busy life and giving your mind a chance to recover for a healthier body.
    Set aside 10 minutes for yourself every day. Meditate, take a bath, read, or do something else that is just for you. Get more sleep if you find yourself waking up tired or struggling to get through the day. Exercise most days. A quiet stroll on the beach or a hike may seem like out-of-reach dreams, but any exercise helps clear your mind. Restorative yoga, a cycling class, and home exercise DVDs all do the trick. Stretch. It loosens your muscles and gives you a chance to think through your day. Weight loss surgery success takes a lot of hard work, but there are some ways to get more bang for your buck without working harder. Take a chill pill, and you might find that the extra relaxation gives you the strength and stamina to lose more weight.
  2. Like
    CharlyScott reacted to BaileyBariatrics for a magazine article, Natural Sweeteners   
    Several powder and liquid forms of water flavors now use stevia. These are easily available in grocery stores. Stevia can be plain stevia or listed as Truvia, which is a combination of stevia and erythritol. Erythritol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol and will have a few calories. For powder forms of water flavors, look for the Crystal Light Pure and the Great Value version from Walmart. Crystal Light Pure does have four grams sugar per half-packet, so some patients may not be able to tolerate this product. In the liquid drop form, brands to look for include MIO with stevia, Great Value version, Skinny Girl, Sweet Leaf and Stur.
    Add enough of these products to taste right for you. Too much can get super sweet in a hurry. For protein powders, look for Jay Robb and Syntrax Nectar Naturals. Even yogurts are joining in the natural sweeteners trend. Look for the Greek style yogurts Chiobani Simply 100 (has stevia and monk fruit) and Oikos Triple Zero (has stevia, look for black label). Experiment with different stevia or monk fruit sweetened products to see what you like.
  3. Like
    CharlyScott reacted to BaileyBariatrics for a magazine article, On The Road Again...   
    For equipment, think about bringing a shaker cup or small blender to mix protein shakes, carry protein powder with you (try single serve packets or put a single serving of protein powder in a small container or small zip bag.), carry a stash of utensils (plastic forks, spoons and knives), and bring clean up helpers (paper towels, napkins or wet wipes). If you are going to a hotel that has a microwave, bring microwave-proof dishes or paper plates to heat a frozen meal or leftovers. A small coffee maker can make a decaf cup of coffee you can add vanilla protein to make a latte or chocolate to make mocha type drink. Drink it hot or cool it down and put ice in it. If make a hot drink, keep the temperature under 140 degrees.
    If traveling in a car, bring a cooler packed with protein drinks, cheese sticks, cottage cheese, hard boiled eggs, light yogurt or protein snacks like the P3 Protein Packs. You can either buy the individual servings of yogurt or cottage cheese or get a larger container of these foods and divide into small, plastic containers. Be prepared to stop by a grocery store to purchase single servings of yogurt or cottage cheese. There are veggie-fruit-protein snack packs now in many of the produce section of grocery stores. Some convenience stores carry protein shakes and protein bars. These are usually found on shelves towards the back of the store. Other protein snacks include protein chips (Quest, Kay’s Naturals) and protein bars. Look for protein bars that have more protein than carbohydrates such as brands like Premier Protein, Pure Protein, Six Star Nutrition, Quest and Nature Valley Protein Bars. Pouches of tuna or salmon, or the tuna and chicken salad kits to make an easy meal. Softer texture jerky and nuts are other protein options. Pack your bags and pack your protein to have a great trip!
  4. Like
    CharlyScott reacted to Alex Brecher for a magazine article, Your Hospital Packing List: What to Bring and Not Bring   
    Paperwork and Documentation
    Photo ID. Credit card, checkbook, and/or cash. List of contacts. List of questions and notebook to take notes. Insurance card, letter of reimbursement acceptance, or any other paperwork. A list of your medications. Passport or passport card Visa Bring a photo ID and any money you will need. You may not need any if you are going to a local hospital and your insurance covers your surgery. You may need a lot if you are self-pay and payment is due at the time of service. Bring money for any incidentals, such as a taxi ride home or to the airport. Bring any insurance paperwork you have if your insurance is helping to cover your surgery. Also bring a list of contacts such as family and friends that you can call if you need help. Include your doctor on the list. You or your surgeon may need to ask about medical conditions or medications that you are on.
    You need to bring the proper documentation if you are going outside the country for your bariatric surgery. At the least, you need a passport or passport card, and to be on the safe side, you should be sure it expires at least 6 months after your scheduled return date. You may need a visa for some countries, although not for Mexico if you are American.
    Slippers or socks with non-slip rubber soles or grips. Loose-fitting clothes to wear home. A change of underwear. You will wear the hospital’s gown, but should bring something loose-fitting to wear when you are discharged. Be sure the waist is very loose and the outfit is easy to slip on since you will be in some pain and will not be very agile after surgery! A gown or dress can be best. Non-slip slippers or socks will let you walk around when you can without needing to put on shoes and without risking falling when you are tired and weak.
    Do not take expensive clothes, tight fitting clothes, or accessories.
    Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap or body wash, shampoo, and conditioner. Lip balm and lotion or Vaseline. Hair ties. Baby wipes Just take the basics. Keep your teeth clean, and take what you need for a shower, if you have time to take one. You might feel very dry after surgery. Lip balm can keep your lips from getting too chapped, while lotion can keep your skin moisturized. A scrunchie or elastic hair band can keep your hair out of your face if you have long hair, and baby wipes can help you freshen up without much effort.
    Go light with your toiletries. Do not bother taking makeup since you will not have time to put it on, and you probably will not have the energy, either!
    Electronics and Entertainment
    Phone and charger. Book or eReader with books on it. Crossword puzzles or other paper or electronic games. Movies. Do not forget your charger for each device!
    Time will probably pass very quickly in the hospital and you may not have a chance to get to any of your entertainment. You may also be too tired or distracted to focus on it.
    Food and Drink
    Tea bags and water enhancers. Protein powders and shakes. Water bottle. Protein blender bottle. Your first priority after weight loss surgery will be to stay hydrated. Water can taste funny, so you might want to pack some water enhancer powder or flavor drops. Decaffeinated herbal tea bags are easy to pack, too. Just make sure you let the tea cool before you sip it so it does not hurt your surgery scar. A water bottle and protein blender bottle can be useful for the trip home.
    You do not need to take any solid food since you will not be eating it for several days to weeks after weight loss surgery.
    For Your Health and Comfort
    Pillow. Medications. Ear plugs and face mask. CPAP machine. Gas-X. Throat lozenges. A pillow on your lap can make your ride home much more comfortable. It can also help you sleep better in the hospital if you are fussy. Ask the hospital about which medications to bring, whether you should bring your own CPAP machine, and how they feel about you using GAS-X to combat your post-op flatulence.
    Do Not Bring
    Jewelry. Irreplaceable keepsakes, such as photos. A simple rule of thumb is if you do not need it and do not want to lose it, do not take it. This goes for pricey items, such as designer handbags and jewelry, and for anything irreplaceable, such as family photos.
  5. Like
    CharlyScott reacted to Dr. Adeyeri for a magazine article, Five Ways Your Life Will Change After Weight Loss Surgery   
    Food will not rule your life
    Once obesity sets in, life is about food, first and foremost. But after bariatric surgery, you’ll see that food isn’t really your ‘best friend’ anymore; it just keeps you alive, nothing more. Get ready to say goodbye to the constant worry about your next snack, next meal or which drive-through you’re going to visit.
    Going forward, you will learn that food gives your mind and body fuel to perform at its highest level possible. Food is not a crutch or a protector from the challenges of daily life.
    You’re going to feel so much better
    Preparation is the number one key to weight loss success. Before surgery, you’ll work with our Bariatric Navigator to start the process of changing what you eat. Go ahead and dump the junk food, the sugar products and empty carbs now. Your body doesn’t need artificially processed foods (nor does your family). After about a week or two of excluding these foods from your diet, you’re going to feel the difference.
    Read articles, blogs, magazines and books about healthy living. Prepare your body and your mind to make changes toward living a healthier lifestyle. By utilizing all of the resources from our comprehensive bariatric weight loss program, you will have many levels of support and education available to you.
    You are not alone in this journey
    Through your surgeon or hospital's bariatric program, you are going to meet people at all stages of the bariatric process. You will garner the tools to live a healthier life and learn how to meet and overcome obstacles. There is strength in numbers so seek out both live and online support groups. Sign up for a few and build relationships with people. You will be as big a help to them as they will be for yo u!
    Only you can change your mindset about food, exercise and weight
    The struggle against obesity is not just physical. It’s also mental and emotional. Having the courage and dedication to have weight loss surgery is a strong statement about your regard for your value and self-worth. The battle against obesity is complicated; if you feel you need psychological counseling services, we’ll be happy to provide you with recommendations based upon our patients’ feedback.
    You will be amazed that you actually like to exercise
    Once you are eating solid foods again, you can incorporate exercise into your routine, in most cases. Many patients enthusiastically report that weight loss surgery gave them a new chance to reap the benefits from working out.
    After weight loss surgery, you call the shots about what happens next.
    How will you reclaim your body, redeem your health, and start a journey toward a healthier quality of life?
    Discover or re-discover activities that you enjoy—start with walking around the neighborhood; jog/walk on a treadmill while you watch your favorite TV show or play ball with your kids (they will be elated, I assure you). Have you always wanted to hike? Take a water aerobics class? Try Yoga or Zumba? Embrace the new life you are creating for yourself. Dive in, try everything!
    The battle against the disease of obesity is often in the mind. When you see the physical changes happening, your mental outlook will improve as well.
    Seize that momentum and go after your goals with everything you’ve got. It’s well worth the effort.
  6. Like
    CharlyScott reacted to Alex Brecher for a magazine article, Weight Loss Surgery: Be Your Own Best Advocate   
    Ask Questions
    Your advocate should get the information you need. Ask your surgeon how you can best prepare for surgery, what you can do to recover faster, and which mistakes he or she sees most often so you can avoid them. Find out how to contact your surgeon for post-op questions, and learn where you can go for support group meetings.
    You will need to ask plenty of other questions, too! As your own advocate, don’t be shy about asking anyone about anything. Read everything you can online and on BariatricPal, then use the forums to ask about anything you’re not sure about. You are sure to get all kinds of helpful hints that you never expected!
    Provide for Your Needs
    Life does throw curve balls, but your basic needs stay predictable. You know which foods and fluids you will need in any given day, so make sure you have them. Plan your menu for each day and go grocery shopping for the week so you are sure to always have the food you need around.
    Always keep a stash of “extras” in case of unplanned circumstances. Have instant protein meals and other staples in your pantry for last-minute meals. Keep protein bars and nuts in your car, your gym bag, and at work. Have different flavors of protein powder for whenever you find yourself hungry and without other options.
    You can also help yourself out by planning ahead. For example, if you’re going to a party, make sure you will have the foods that you will need for that time without needing to wait until after the party to eat or depending on the host to provide healthy proteins. Stick a protein bar or some nuts in your pocket or purse, or bring a healthy dish to share and nibble on yourself.
    Be Your Own Planner
    If you were taking care of a child with certain needs, you would schedule them in, make sure your child had the materials needed, and get your child to where he needed to go. If you have children, you may keep track of their homework, take them to after-school activities, and make sure they get the nutritious meals and proper sleep that they need. You would keep healthy foods around and provide them with the pencils and sports equipment that they need for school and extracurricular activities.
    Why wouldn’t you be just as good to yourself? Provide the same level of self-care for yourself as you do for your family. Keep healthy foods on hand, and schedule your own exercise and meal planning in and keep your commitment just like it was school.
    Prioritize your commitments, just like you would do for your children. Your meal prep and workout time is important, but so is relaxation time with your family or friends, or by yourself. Over the long term, balancing work and play can keep you on track but satisfied.
    Speak up When Necessary
    Keeping quiet can sometimes seem easier or more considerate to others, but keeping a low profile can work against you sometimes. Learn when it makes sense to speak up for yourself. For example, at restaurants, the server may be willing to bring you what you ask for (like a slab of plain chicken breast or the kids’ meal), but will not even know that is what you want (and need) if you do not say something out loud. You may find that you need to explain your weight loss surgery as a medical condition to get your server to honor your request.
    These are some other times when you should not keep your mouth shut:
    When someone pressures you to eat something that's not on your diet. When you do not understand your surgeon’s or nutritionist’s instructions. When you need help around the house or preparing your food. Learning to be your own best advocate can pay off in a big way, as you will always have someone looking out for your best interests. It is one more thing you can do to help yourself succeed in your WLS journey.
  7. Like
    CharlyScott reacted to Alex Brecher for a magazine article, Are You Considering Weight Loss Surgery? Be Prepared for Discrimination Against Obesity to Continue!   
    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.

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