Friday, November 27, 2015

Being Thankful

Thanksgiving has come and passed, and although it is a wonderful time to bond with family and friends, the holiday serves as yet another reminder to obese patients of the difficulties of losing weight. Food is such an integral part of how we bond and get together as humans, but too much of it can lead to excess weight, which brings with it a slew of health problems. At Dr. Feiz & Associates, we do everything we can to insure that patients have the best chance of ridding themselves of these health problems, and the obesity that is causing them.

For those obese patients who spent Thanksgiving wishing that good health was something that they could be thankful for, weight loss surgery may be the answer. While no bariatric surgery is, in any way, a silver bullet solution to obesity, they give patients the tools they need to reduce their food intake to a level that will allow for weight loss. Many patients find that, in a matter of years after their procedure, they have lost a substantial portion of their excess weight and are living a more healthy lifestyle than ever before. After all, what most people want more than anything is to ensure they have good health so they can be around for as many Thanksgivings with friends and family as they can.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Food of the Gods?

A lower calorie ambrosia salad might seem like an odd jumping off place for a blog post for the offices of a noted bariatric surgeon like Dr. Michael Feiz, but the recipe we featured earlier today on Facebook got us thinking.

In Greek mythology, ambrosia was the literal food of the gods. A human being who consumed some might gain a greatly extended lifespan or even immortality. An ancient myth this might be, but it still holds more than a little psychological resonance. After all, we humans are still searching for the perfect superfood and/or miracle cure that can go well beyond the ordinary benefits of a simple healthy lifestyle. It goes without saying that such a special food would also cure a host of troubles, obesity definitely being among them.

Of course, there are no end of products being sold as modern day ambrosia, particularly in the weight loss arena. Although we are loathe to issue blanket statements, at least in terms of defeating severe obesity, it's safe to say that none of them actually work.

It's easy to make light of these products and the people who use them, but when it comes to dealing with obesity,their appeal is very understandable. People who have never tried to lose a large amount of weight simply cannot understand how difficult it is because, essentially, our own body is turning against us. It does this by trying to persuade us that we need to overeat through hormones like ghrelin, which at one time probably helped people survive by providing a sort of hedge against the likelihood of a famine. Since it's production tends to increase as obese individuals lose weight, it's main function today is thwarting our most earnest weight loss efforts.

So, there's no food of the gods and no shortcuts in the fight against obesity. Smaller portions and exercise are the only route to victory. However, procedures like the gastric sleeve can reduce the cravings that make serious weight loss so unbearably difficult for most people. It's not like a gift from Zeus that suddenly gives us the literal body of a Greek god, but it's a little bit like being given a fairly powerful new weapon that help a great deal of winning the battle against obesity. It's no miracle, but it's the best we've got. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

You’re Not Alone

The struggle with obesity can often be an extremely isolating and discouraging feeling. The inability to lose weight with traditional diet and exercise or to keep the weight off after losing it initially can make obese patients feel somehow inadequate. What is important for these patients to understand is that not every person has the same path to a healthy lifestyle. While some people may have found a way to maintain a healthy weight, others may be dealing with a variety of factors including stress, hormones, or an overall hectic lifestyle that make this very difficult. In these cases, it is important for obese patients to remember that, wherever they are in their weight loss journey, they are not alone.

Weight loss surgery success is shown to be greater when patients have the proper support, so in addition to providing resources and information about patient support groups, we at Dr. Feiz & Associates also provide close post-procedure support to ensure that patients are on the right track. After weight loss surgery, patients are faced with an entirely new relationship with food, so it is extremely helpful to talk with people who are familiar with the change, or those who have gone through bariatric surgery themselves.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Show and Tell

We at Dr. Feiz & Associates we're thrilled to be involved in this week's American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASBMS) Obesity Week conference held in Downtown Los Angeles. It was a rare chance to show what we can do with the new needlescopic approach to the gastric sleeve. Broadcasting to the conference from our surgery center in Rancho Cucamonga, we showed the assembled surgeons and other medical professionals how just using four three millimeter incision points, we are able to perform this highly effective procedure -- without altering our methodology in any significant manner.

It's all very exciting from a number of perspectives, but one of the most fascinating aspects is being to show a large audience of our fellow medical professionals precisely how we work, directly from one of the places we work most frequently. After all, it's one thing to try and explain in great detail how a certain type of procedure is performed, it's quite another to actually be able to show, in precise and graphic detail, a large audience how our approach to bariatric surgery can be help patients get the best possible results.

It's an honor, of course, but also a tribute to the level of technology we currently benefit from. After all, the same kind of high-tech that allows us to perform ,minimally invasive miniature camera-assisted laparoscopic procedures also allows us to stream our procedures live and really show what's possible to other doctors and the general public. It's an exciting time to be alive and working in medicine.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Understanding the Exceptions

By doing a simple Google search for “weight loss success,” those trying to lose weight will likely see numerous stories of obese people who were able to overcame obesity by sticking to a long term diet and exercise plan. While seeing these stories can be inspiring, they can also lower someone’s self-esteem by making them feel inferior to the success of another. While we should always admire and respect people able to achieve those results, Dr. Michael Feiz explains that it is important to remember that these stories are often the exception to the rule. Put simply, what we don’t see are the millions of stories about people trying to lose weight who struggle more than they succeed.

Yet, just because losing weight without help is incredibly difficult, that certainly doesn’t mean there isn’t hope. With bariatric surgery, thousands of patients around the country have been able to get rid of their excess weight and keep it off in the long term. It is important that patients remember that weight loss surgery isn’t a silver bullet cure, nor is it giving up. Weight loss surgery is simply the best, medically proven method for conquering obesity and achieving a healthy lifestyle.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Out of Sight, Not Completely Out of Mind

At Dr. Feiz & Associates, we do a lot of thinking about the root causes of obesity. After all, it helps to understand what lies behind an issue like America's massive weight problem in order to do our small part in trying to defeat it. Also, if bariatric surgery is to work as well as it should, the medical professionals behind it need to understand exactly how it attacks the problem of severe obesity.

One idea that we've happened upon is that, for people battling obesity, our senses seem almost hardwired to encourage us to eat. Just today, we had a news items about a recent study which shows that the items people place on their kitchen counters actually play a role in their weight. Turns out, it appears to be helpful to keep healthy, low calorie foods like fruits and vegetables in plain site, while it's better to keep the sugary sodas and cereals and the like in a cupboard (assuming you want them in the house at all).

This is just another sign of how hardwired we all are to eat in excess, at least to some degree. After all, historically speaking, it wasn't all that terribly long ago when most of humanity rarely knew exactly where it's next meal was coming from. If we see food, smell food, or maybe even just hear about food, we're likely to want to eat it and, sadly, that's even more the case for those of us who are struggling with severe obesity.

The good news for people with serious weight issues, of course, is that the gastric sleeve and other procedures really can reduce those incessant food cravings and can make permanent weight loss much more possible. It might never be possible to keep fattening foods forever out of sight, but we can make them a lot easier to resist when we do see them.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Obstacle of Time

When explaining their motivations for selecting weight loss surgery, most patients will tell Dr. Michael Feiz that it is not the simple act of losing weight that they find incredibly difficult, but rather the feat of keeping the weight off over time. Dr. Feiz explains that many of his patients are able to successfully diet in relatively short bursts, losing 10, 20, or even 30 pounds when they can commit to a healthy regimen for several months.

Yet, what happens after those several months are over is a completely different story. Where all of us are with our weight in the present is rarely a fluke, but rather an indication of our innate relationships with diet and exercise. And while it is possible for a strong willpower to overcome these innate behaviors and adopt a healthy lifestyle in the short term, it is often impossible to permanently change who we are on our own. 

Dr. Feiz explains that this is where weight loss surgery comes in. By permanently changing the capacity of a patient’s stomach with the gastric sleeve, it becomes much more feasible that patients will continue to eat less for years to come.  This is how so many of Dr. Feiz’s patients have found tremendous success losing the weight, and why they continue to keep the weight off years after their surgery.