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.

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Sleep-Obesity Connection

Sleep is easily the most mysterious and least well understood of any of our vital bodily functions. With all of today's vast medical knowledge it's still a fact that scientists are not even exactly sure why we need to sleep, though it's clear that we can't survive very long without it.

As specialists in weight loss surgery in Los Angeles, we're obviously especially concerned with how, on the one  hand, obesity impacts sleep and, on the other hand, how sleep, or the lack of it, may impact obesity. Specifically, obesity is pretty directly associated in many patients with the condition known as sleep apnea. This is a condition in which sleep is constantly interrupted, resulting in fatigue, depressions and numerous other health risks, some of them quite serious.

Even more interesting, however, are a number of studies showing how poor sleep is related to excessive eating, which is obviously pretty closely related to obesity. Indeed, according to one study we came across from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the hunger hormone ghrelin appears to increase as quality sleep decreases. That's especially interesting to us at Dr. Feiz & Associates because we've been at the forefront of spreading the world about how sleeve gastrectomies appears to greatly reduce the production of ghrelin, which is produced in an area of the stomach that is removed during this type of bariatric surgery.

So, if severe obesity is making you lose sleep...or if losing sleep is making your severe obesity worse...there's a lot that we can do. Give us a call.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Remember the Power of Revision!

Both the Lap Band and the Gastric Sleeve have been shown to be extremely effective procedures that allow obese patients to finally overcome the burden of obesity. Yet, there are some Lap Band patients that, for reasons involving both complications and insufficient diet modifications, decide to have their band removed. While this is an appropriate choice for some bariatric surgery patients, it’s important for them to remember that a revision to a gastric sleeve is another option that typically works wonders for struggling Lap Band patients.

At Dr. Feiz & Associates, we give our patients guidance throughout every step of the weight loss journey, and for those who simply cannot adjust to the new relationship with food required for Lap Band patients, a revision surgery may be in order. Of course, every patient is different. For anyone struggling to lose weight with the Lap Band, the first step is always to talk to our expert team and have a one-on-one consultation to determine what the next step should be. If you are concerned in even the slightest way, please do not hesitate to call our offices today!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

It All Comes Down to Appetite

If you've spent much time in organized weight loss groups, you've probably heard more than your share of discussion about the difference between appetite and hunger. The idea seems clear enough, we might feel like eating for a host of reasons, but that's not the same as actually needing to eat. While it's true that sometimes we eat out of boredom or to deal with certain feelings or simply because we love donuts, obesity is not nearly that simple.

While it helps to learn to deal with emotional eating, that's only one small part of the problem. As we have learned at Dr. Feiz & Associates, as we lose get serious about restricting our eating, very strong feelings emerge wich can be almost impossible to distinguish from genuine hunger.

You see, the more overweight we are, and the more weight we lose, the stronger and more impossible to ignore these feelings become. Indeed, even people trying to lose relatively small amounts of weight can find themselves obsessing over food while dieting. That's why there's a need for bariatric surgery; people who have a lot of weight to lose, and who need to keep it off for the long term, need help suppressing these pangs that feel so very close to true hunger.

That's also why many of us get so frustrated when we hear uninformed people describing a weight loss surgery as "the easy way out." The fact of the matter is that, for most people, it's the only workable way out of obesity.

If you've found attempting to lose significant amounts of weight and/or trying to keep it off, an all but impossible task, then weight loss surgery in Los Angeles with Dr. Feiz might your very best option. Call us today.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Making the Best Choices

Earlier today we saw a news story about more diverse food offerings, including some very healthy choices, being promoted as possible movie theater snacks. Moreover, it seems like every day we read an item about this or that giant fast food chain offering selections that might actually be considered compatible with a healthy lifestyle. At the same time, it's hard not to be discouraged when so many of these healthier offerings turn out to be short-lived promotions, not long-term changes.

Yet, if you look at the relatively recent history of food and drink marketing in America, changes do occur. When Starbucks first began opening locations nationwide in the 1990s, many visitors found their coffee unduly strong, simply because it was so different from the typical U.S. coffee of the time. Now, of course, most coffee lovers are used to Starbucks stronger tasting coffee. (Whatever harm they are doing, vis a vis the obesity epidemic, with some of their very sugar and fat laden desert drink offerings is a separate matter.)

Of course, it's up to all of us to actually take advantage of whatever healthy choices we see, whether we're at McDonald's, the local convenience store, a movie theater, or even just shopping at the supermarket. At Dr. Feiz & Associates, we know two things: 1. Our overall health is an accumulation of the big and small choices we make every day and 2. If we buy healthy things, companies will be encouraged to keep offering them.

By itself, none of this is going to cure obesity, but the more healthy stuff we eat, and the more unhealthy choices we avoid, the better off we'll all be.