Friday, July 31, 2015

Teach Your Children

There's no getting around it, a major part of of the ongoing obesity epidemic is directly related to the frightening increase in childhood obesity that has risen up alongside the adult version. It’s an important matter, because childhood is the time when both unhealthy and healthy lifestyle habits are both formed. Indeed, our brain appears to be more malleable at that age and it may be easier to make big adjustments than later on in in life.

The reason we are talking about this today is because of a pair of studies that have popped up this week about kids and obesity. One noted an increase in the problem during the summer months, when many kids are out of school and have fewer restriction, and other noted that children of parents who are less knowledgeable about health were also less likely to engage their children in various types of weight loss efforts. Of course, as all adult dieters know, trying to lose weight and actually losing weight over the long term are two very different things, and many of us grown-ups also tend to eat more when idle and a bit bored. The bottom line is that it's clearly important to work on children's health habits, particularly if they appear to be obesity prone.

The fact of the matter is that bariatric surgery really does appear to be the best solution for most adults with severe obesity, since significant and permanent weight loss appears to be nearly impossible for most people of that age to achieve. At the same time, being able to prevent adult obesity by nipping it in the bud in childhood, when that might well be a vastly easier goal, is clearly the best solution of all.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Shedding the Myths Surrounding Weight Loss Surgery

When someone searches for news involving bariatric surgery, they can nearly always find recent article or opinion piece explaining either the benefits or the low risk of complications associated with the procedures. Yet, in 2015, it is not as though these facts are new.

The repetition of these stories points to the fact that many people hold on to preconceived ideas of the safety and efficacy of procedures. While some of these opinions may have been rightfully formed in the early days of bariatric surgery where a gastric bypass is the only option, new procedures like the sleeve gastrectomy have been shown time and time again to be relatively safe and effective.

While there are certainly many paths to a healthy lifestyle, weight loss surgery can be the most effective methods of weight loss for severely obese patents. Because individuals are realizing this through their own research everyday, it may seem like many of the press surrounding weight loss surgery is saying the same thing. Either way, the things that are being said are overwhelmingly positive. And, while the benefits of the procedures certainly outweigh the risks, it is still important to trust your surgery to a talented team like Dr. Feiz & Associates.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Good Health Without Shame

A number of news stories and social media items over the last few days are dealing with the concept of fat shaming. From the young Christian newlywed who gently responded when Reddit users made fun of her new husband's weight, to the #NoOneBody campaign to fight the emphasis on ultra-skinny/perfectly toned models in advertisements in the UK, there are times when it seems like the body positivity movement and the all too real obesity epidemic are at cross purposes. We don't think it's quite the case. For starters, fat shaming has never made anyone healthier; there's nothing good about making people feel bad about themselves.

Moreover, as to our work in work in weight loss medicine, it's worth pointing out that, first and foremost, bariatric surgery has never been intended to be a cosmetic procedure. In fact, while patients may find that they like their appearance better once they have lost their weight, relatively few of them end up with the kind of "beach bodies" we see on TV every night. It's not about looking perfect (whatever that means) and it's all about being healthy.

The fact of the matter is that, whatever shape we are in, we should feel as good about ourselves and our appearance as we can, and this includes people who might medically be defined as obese. It's just an unfortunate fact of life that obesity, particularly in its more severe forms, has a large number of physical consequences that can shorten a life and drastically reduce its quality. Our goal at Dr. Feiz and Associates is simply to make it more possible for patients to maintain the healthy lifestyle they need to have the longest, best life possible. There's definitely nothing to be ashamed of in that.

Friday, July 10, 2015

What's New With Weight Loss Surgery?

As the world obesity epidemic continues to be a problem, and the field of weight loss surgery continues to grow, more and more medical research is being focused on the short and long term benefits of weight loss surgery. Several times a month the results of one of these studies is released with news that far more often than not shows various health benefits that weight loss surgery can have.

Recently, many publications have picked up on a study that showed how weight loss with weight loss surgery may actually be a better approach to combat obesity-related type-2 diabetes compared to traditional behavioral modifications. While simply adopting a healthy lifestyle may work for some patients, the results showed that, on average, weight loss surgery patients fared better on all accounts.

These results are great news for any diabetic patient considering weight loss surgery. While previous studies had already shown that weight loss surgery can often lead to better blood sugar levels or even remission of the disease, this comparison to other methods of weight loss makes the choice of bariatric surgery that much clearer.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

What's in a Name?

A lot, apparently, if you're marketing food items. A new study in the Journal of Market Research found that people who were trying to lose weight ate more of a trail mix-type product if it was called a "fitness snack," even though trail mix is not exactly a low calorie food.

Alas, this is not surprising news if you've been following the attempts of Americans to pursue a more healthy lifestyle over the last few decades. Many of us can remember the mania for fat-free foods, which were often filled with sugar and plenty of calories. Today, no doubt, some people think that gluten-free pizza is a health food when, in fact, it's often simply the same fattening, starch-and-fat laden product, only without gluten.

It would be a little bit silly to blame all of America's very serious obesity epidemic on labeling fads and fancies alone, but the truth of it is that people facing these issues are often subconsciously looking for excuses to engage in the kind of eating that led them to their obesity in the first place. It's no panacea, but one good habit to take up is actually looking closely at the labels of the foods you buy. Look beyond the name and the packaging and ask a few crucial questions: How many calories does a product have? How much fat and added sugar? Does it have any fiber to speak of? What about protein and carbs? How about vitamins and other nutrients?

It's just one small part of the puzzle, but here at Dr. Feiz & Associates, we encourage people to really do their best to understand the foods they put in their body.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Keeping Ourselves Accountable

According to a recent article on weight loss, doing daily weigh-ins and continuously tracking your weight during any type of diet, exercise, or weight loss regimen can lead to more positive results. This makes sense, as Dr. Feiz & Associates always stress the importance of being committed and accountable on your own personal weight loss journey.

Especially after bariatric surgery, it is important for a person’s weight loss journey to always be one of their top priorities. While many people may not like the idea of constantly having to monitor what they eat or how much they weigh, being obese can be a detriment to a person’s health, so it is vital that each and every one of us put in the work to ensure success. While putting in the work once your procedure is performed is essential, it is also incredibly important to select the right procedure with the right doctor. By choosing a gastric sleeve with Dr. Feiz, you are taking the first step in keeping yourself committed to a weight loss journey that has transformed the lives of countless similar patients.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Exercise vs. Diet Conundrum

Pediatrician and health care blogger Aaron Caroll has an interesting post up today on The New York Times web site. In it, he takes a strong position that, when it comes to weight loss, reducing the intake of calories through diet completely trumps  increasing the expenditure of calories via exercise. At the same time, he acknowledges the many extremely dramatic health benefits of exercise.

At Dr. Feiz & Associates, our attitude is that much of this is beside the point, particularly for severely obese patients. A great many people try every single day to lose weight primarily by lowering their caloric intake, but the statistics speak for themselves: most people simply can't reduce their intake sufficiently for a long time without the help of a bariatric surgery.The reasons for this are many but boil down to one reality: people who drastically reduce their caloric intake feel hungry nearly all of the time, even though they know intellectually they are consuming enough food.

Indeed, the fact that it's takes quite a bit of time to exercise away the caloric equivalent of a single glazed donut pretty much demonstrates the reality that exercise alone is no magic bullet for obesity. On the other hand, the countless proven and very real benefits of exercise also show that, if nothing else, regular vigorous exercise is perhaps the best antidote we have for the worst ravages of obesity, even if it doesn't do as much as we'd like to cure obesity itself.

The prescription for most severely obese people is pretty clear. Yes, do whatever you can to stop overeating. Execise, too, as much as you can. And, in the likely event you're not making much headway against your obesity, consider exploring whether a gastric sleeve or another weight loss procedures is best for you.