Friday, June 24, 2016

Keep on Truckin': One Man's Weight Loss Journey

Just this year, loving husband and devoted father, Lorne Johnson made one of the most important decisions of his life. Prior to his weight loss surgery with Dr. Feiz on May 20th, 2016, Lorne Johnson was worried that his weight might keep him from being around for his family further down the road. Lorne didn't specifically suffer any health issues prior to the surgery, however, he knew he had to make some changes now or deal with complications in the future.

Before this point, Lorne was very discouraged and wasn't sure whether weight loss surgery was right for him. He had struggled with his weight his entire life and even though he was able to lose weight without surgery before, Lorne had trouble keeping it off.

"I'm tired of being the big guy in the's time for me," he said. So with that in mind, Lorne Johnson made an appointment with Dr. Feiz. Upon meeting him, Lorne knew that he had made the right choice. "His team made a huge difference in my life," he said. He liked the fact that Dr. Feiz was friendly, approachable and immediately treated him "like family."

After undergoing gastric sleeve surgery, Lorne was able to notice the difference in the way he looked and felt in the first couple of weeks. Today, weighing in at 272 pounds only a few short weeks after his procedure, Lorne lost a whopping 32 pounds. He couldn't believe how fast he was losing the weight.

A constantly on the move truck driver living in San Jacinto, CA,  Lorne Johnson says that he greatly values the time he gets to spend with his beloved family. Intriguingly, one of his many passions includes cooking. Coming from a large Italian family, Lorne was always surrounded by wholesome, homemade food. However, undergoing the weight loss surgery didn't diminish his passion and love for food. Lorne loves to cook, and after having his the surgery, he understands that he has a greater responsibility to his health than ever before. He continues to experiment with healthy food ingredients in the kitchen and shares his delicious home-cooked meals with his family today.

"My goal weight is 210 or 200," says Lorne. He still has a little ways to go but he is very excited for the future.

Friday, June 17, 2016

There's Only So Much Time...

If you follow the news around weight loss medicine and bariatric surgery, you are likely to see a fairly steady stream of stories about brand new techniques. Some of them might seem promising, others might seem very unattractive for any number of reasons. However, one thing they all have in common is that they are new and, therefore, far from proven.

At Dr. Feiz & Associates, we've seen first hand the good results that procedures like the gastric sleeve can achieve for the large majority of patients. We also see the growing mountain of evidence proving just how effective they are. Of course, it's only natural for patients to wonder if the grass might be greener on the other side of the weight loss fence. There's nothing wrong with that, and a bit of curiosity is never a bad thing. At the same time, severe obesity is an urgent health issue and there really isn't time for patients to wait, hoping for some kind of perfect medical miracle which will likely never arrive.

Right now, only proven bariatric procedures truly seem to help patients achieve the kind of consistently healthy lifestyle that's required to defeat severe obesity over the long haul. Your health is on the line and, honestly, there is only so much time.

Friday, June 10, 2016

What Type 2 Diabetes Can Actually Mean

There's been a great deal of good news recently about the impact of bariatric surgery on type 2 diabetes, in terms of improving or, in many cases, actually reversing the illness. Still, one issue that just about  all medical professionals come across when trying to persuade patients of the importance of preventing diabetes is that the disease itself, though all too real, can seem like something of abstraction.

The problem is that, on the one hand, type 2 diabetes is a chronic illness that can be managed if patients work hard at maintaining a truly healthy lifestyle. (Easier said than done, of course.) On the other hand, at least in its early stages the disease is typically asymptomatic. Moreover, while most people understand in an abstract way that diabetes makes you prone to more health problems and can easily shorten your lifespan, that's not the same thing as truly understanding what it can do to you.

So, we'll take a second to describe just two specific complications that most people might not know much about but which can be truly devastating. One issue that frightens many diabetics, once they start to develop symptoms, is that the nerve damage that can be caused by diabetes can often threaten the extremities, with far too many patients losing all or part of their feet in particular. Especially as people are aging and concerned with being able to stay active, this consequence is easy to understand.

One that's less well known, but actually far more devastating, is the fact the diabetes, especially in combination with high blood pressure (another very common obesity comorbidity) can essentially destroy kidney function. This puts patients in the terrifying position of having to choose between death and kidney dialysis. While dialysis saves lives, it is a hugely draining and time consuming process that takes about 12 hours a week and has many side-effects, many of which can be unpleasant. While many of us might find it bearable as a temporary stop-gap on the way to a kidney transplant, transplants are difficult to obtain and many older patients in particular might not even be candidates.

Of course, that's just two particular scenarios. Diabetes can also spur such debilitating conditions as strokes, Alzheimer's/dementia, blindness, hearing loss, not to mention the usual laundry list of life-threatening conditions such as heart disease. All of these conditions not only reduce lifespans, their impact on quality of life can be far more severe than you might imagine.

Fortunately, if patients are able to defeat their severe obesity, type 2 diabetes really can be reversed or, at least, greatly lessened in severity. Obviously, that's something we're able to help out with at Dr. Feiz & Associates, If you'd like some help defeating your severe obesity, we're here to help.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Portion Control

When it comes to incorporating a healthy diet in order to maintain our weight, we at Dr. Feiz & Associates emphasize balance and portion control. Just because we're filling ourselves with plenty of fruits and vegetables and stay away from junk food, it is still very possible to overwhelm ourselves with too much high calorie fruits.

While bariatric surgery can help diminish the urge to overeat, it is still important to remember to practice portion control with anything we consume. Including a healthy amount of protein as well as some complex carbohydrates into our meal plans is perfectly fine as long as we eat in moderation.

Undergoing a Lap Band or a gastric sleeve procedure can help an individual lose weight, however, it is up to the patient to make healthy food choices to maintain their weight for the rest of their lives. There is such a thing as eating too many fruits and vegetables. By choosing to include a variety of foods and practicing portion control, patients can keep a healthy weight for their entire lives.

Friday, May 27, 2016

A Weight Loss Surgery Enthusiast...for a Reason!

Jessenia Reyes is enthusiastic when it comes to the possibilities of weight loss surgery, and it’s easy to see why. Prior to her surgery with Dr. Feiz in July of 2013, her dreams of motherhood seemed remote. Weighing 220 pounds at only 5’1” and with multiple health problems, the health risks associated with gaining as much as 40 additional pounds seemed too much to bear.  Just a few years later, however, she is over 90 pounds lighter and has two highly successful pregnancies behind her.  Specifically, she lost all of her baby-weight both times and is now the proud mom of two healthy and adorable daughters Lila, 1½, and Mila, 3 months.

Discussing the matter today, Jessenia is clearly an effective evangelist for bariatric procedures and a supporter of those who obtain it. “I would do it again in a heartbeat,” she says without being prompted. 

Clearly, her persuasive powers may have encouraged others in her sphere to explore a weight loss surgery. That includes her sister, who has lost some 70 pounds, but that’s only the beginning. A manager of multiple car-washes with a husband in the armed forces, Jessenia tells us that five of her clients have obtained the procedure, and she has also offered support to a number of her fellow military wives. She’s also pen pals with a number of other post-surgical patients of Dr. Feiz.

Still, what may be most interesting to people considering a weight loss procedure is the internal change that allowed Jessenia to achieve her ideal weight. She says that, since the surgery, her entire relationship with food has changed. It just doesn’t have the same power over her as before. “Today, sometimes the smell of food, which before would have made me want to eat, just kind of makes want to leave it alone. I used want to eat meat all the time, but now just a very small amount is fine with me. A lot of the time now, I just eat off the kids’ menu.”

Jessenia, who had a gastric sleeve procedure, may very well be benefiting from the hormonal benefits involved with the procedure. Sleeve gastrectomies typically remove roughly 75-85% of the stomach, which also appears to drastically reduce the body’s production of ghrelin, an important, appetite-inducing hormone. Regardless, she also knows that the change following a weight loss procedure is not only physical.

“Social support is really important. Sometimes people can be discouraging, but I’ve been lucky that my husband has been really supportive. Really, everything has been good for me since getting my gastric sleeve. No complaints at all.”

Friday, May 20, 2016

Don't Believe the Hype

The struggle to lose weight and improve one's health is nothing new. So, if you’ve followed or dabbled with a fad diet, you’re certainly not alone. And if you actually lost weight with one of them, the pounds probably didn’t stay off for long, did they? What happened? Even in our era of unparalleled knowledge of the human body, we are sometimes still uncertain about what works and what doesn't, although that’s changing. It all comes down to leading a healthy lifestyle that’s rife with physical activity and the right portions of food you enjoy.

But we all know this. Yet we still see similar trends and fad diets come and go. And while we now have a better understanding of what constitutes a healthy diet and lifestyle, people with significantly high amounts of weight to lose experience a great degree of difficulty in achieving their weight loss goals. Fortunately, bariatric surgery is the only approach proven to help people with severe obesity lose weight and keep the pounds off.

We at Dr. Feiz & Associates have a comprehensive understanding of the struggle that obese patients endure in their weight loss journeys. When diets fail and exercise doesn't seem to be helping, bariatric surgery, while not a cure-all or miracle pill, is actually proven to work.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Eye of the Beholder

It's a bit of a cliche to say that perception is everything, but it is an awfully big part of just about everything we do in life. At Dr. Feiz & Associates, we are particularly concerned with, naturally, how people perceive food and representations of food. We were thinking about this as we contemplated a picture of a pile of cheeseburgers and fries that accompanied a recent Facebook post.

Here's what interesting: While the picture clearly was meant to be less than appealing, it was before lunch and we found ourselves thinking about those cheeseburgers in a way that was clearly not intended. That, in a nutshell, is the problem that obese people have. We might know intellectually very well that certain kinds and amounts of food are very bad for us and, over time, will make us less happy as well as less healthy, but their short-term appeal overrides just about everything...even if we know the foods themselves might not even taste particularly good!

Fortunately, it's those kind of impulses that procedures like the gastric sleeve can help us deal with. Like all forms of bariatric surgery  it makes the available stomach area a great deal smaller, making overeating acutely uncomfortable. However, by removing roughly 75-85% of the stomach itself, it also greatly reduces the production of an appetite stimulating hormone called ghrelin. While patients still have to do a great deal of the work of weight loss on their own, reducing the number of powerful brain signals which cause us to be driven to eat food that we would be able to easily avoid if we were in our right mind, is an enormous help.