Thursday, September 29, 2016

Different Approaches to Weight Loss

At Dr. Feiz & Associates, we often hear about theoretically new methods of weight loss. Some seem more promising than others, of course. Others are modestly helpful. Lately, there's been lots of talk about weight loss therapy and how it can help people struggling with their weight.

This form of therapy, called Acceptance Based Behavioral Treatment, helps individuals cope with their feelings related to hunger and food. Although this form of therapy may be helpful, particularly for folks trying to lose a fairly small percentage of their body fat, severely obese people for the time being generally need the support of a bariatric surgery in order to make serious progress in the fight against obesity. It has been to actually change the mental impulses that often cause us to overeat in the first place.

Even so, it's important for bariatric surgery patients to remember to be mindful about the things they eat and the amount of physical activity we incorporate in our lifestyles. It's crucial to remember that weight loss always requires some significant effort and commitment. While the thought of having to make efforts to have healthier lifestyles and eating habits after a weight loss procedure may seem daunting to patients who have not yet received a procedure, they generally find their up to the task. That's the good news.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Don't Stress Out About It (Too Much)

Here at Dr. Feiz & Associates, we know that studies that can seem a bit confusing come out on a regular basis. A new one about the relationship between a tendency towards stress and anxiety being linked in some way to obesity got us thinking about how hard it is to figure out just what it is that triggers the overeating which is responsible for obesity, and also about how challenging it can be to achieve the truly healthy lifestyle we need to defeat it.

Indeed, aside from the matter of whether or not anxious people are more likely to be obese than calmer folks, there's the interesting everyday matter of what tends to trigger overeating. Yes, "stress eating" is a very common phenomenon, experienced by obese and non-obese individuals alike, who find that food tends to calm their anxieties.

Others, however, including at least some people with weight issues, actually tend to eat less and may even lose some weight when they are under some amount of stress. These people experience the equally common phenomenon of losing their appetite entirely when they are deeply worried about something. Indeed, for many people with weight issues, it's not so mcuh stress which can make them overindulge, it's boredom. At the same time, it's important to remember that not all stress is a bad thing; it can help us make important changes in our life and, at the right levels, can actually increase our enjoyment of life. It's all a matter of getting the right balance.

With all these subtleties and differences between individuals, it's no wonder that understanding how obesity works, and how to deal with it, has proven so incredibly difficult. Fortunately, we at least know that bariatric surgery really does seem to be the one thing that helps severely obese individuals to permanently reduce their food intake without being constantly distracted by excessive food cravings. At least there's one thing we don't have to stress out about!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Exercise Anyway!

For people trying to lose a lot of weight mostly by exercising a lot, the news has not been good. Evidence seems to indicate that, while exercise is certainly helpful for controlling weight -- and is absolutely excellent at improving our health and staving off the worst impacts of obesity -- it is not as powerful in terms of weight loss to try to expend more calories through exercise as it is simply to ingest fewer calories in the first place.

Here at Dr. Feiz & Associates, we understand why people are not thrilled by this. For many of us, it actually seems easier to increase our level of exercise than it is to eat a great deal less -- and that's because, as we've seen time and time again, while exercise tends to become a habit, curtailing our diet actually gets harder and harder over time for most individuals.

This is why so many people manage to lose a very large amount of weight ultimately regain their weight. It's very much as if the body and the brain, driven by certain key hormones, really wants us to regain the weight and will do everything in our power to persuade us to overeat so that we return to our prior weight. This is why procedures like the gastric sleeve have proven to be such a godsend to severely obese patients; they seem to actually change the metabolic processes that make weight loss so difficult for the large majority of patients.

Even so, whether or not you're are a candidate for bariatric surgery, we strongly advise everyone -- and especially those struggling with obesity -- to work exercise into their daily lives. (Though, of course, if you've been completely inactive, you should consult a physician before embarking on a vigorous new regime.) For nearly all of us, it's one of the best favors we can do for ourselves, with a lot of proven physical and psychological benefits. For those of us with obesity, however, it's one of the few countermeasures we can take that can reduce a great many of the worst impacts of being  overweight.

Health is not always an either/or situation. Sometimes it's more of a "yes, but..." In this case. it's "yes, exercise probably won't cure your obesity by itself" and "but, even if you remain obese, it will make your obesity-related health problems possibly a great deal less severe and, if you lose weight, it will help you stay that way and be as healthy as possible." In other words, just get out and do something. Regardless of whether or not you lose weight, you'll be a lot better off.

Friday, September 9, 2016

It's All in Your Head

Earlier today we were looking at a tasty looking recipe for a low-calorie dish using spaghetti squash in place of actual spaghetti. Of course, squash is a vegetable (well, technically, a fruit) and pasta is a grain-based dish; there really aren't all that many similarities except that it's long and stringy. Still, cover it with the right sauce and it can be a very nice part of a low-cal healthy lifestyle, even if lacks a lot of the yummy starch most of us crave. For us humans, it seems, a lot can be accomplished by fooling ourselves in minor ways with what really amounts to psychological tricks.

At Dr. Feiz & Associates, we're keenly aware that there's no underestimating the psychological side of weight loss. We're not just taking about psychology in the usual sense of dealing with how our thoughts and emotions impact our desire to overeat, we also mean that the only way we know we're hungry -- and we mean physically hungry, not just desiring food in order to pass the time -- is through our brains. Every time we eat, whether we're eating just the right amount to nourish our bodies or far too much, our brain is at the center of the experience.

An example of this that we often discuss involves the production of a hormone called ghrelin. In a person without obesity, this hormone performs the essential function of telling an individual that food is needed. However, obese individuals seem to produce more of it and, worse, its production actually increases when we begin to lose weight. So, our brain actually thinks we need food even when we don't and we feel as if we haven't eaten nearly enough. No wonder the statistics on weight loss are so depressing.

Fortunately, it turns out that bariatric surgery, such as a gastric sleeve, has a pretty big impact in terms of reducing these deceptive and dangerous signals. Specifically, by removing a large portion of the stomach, we also appear to reduce the production of ghrelin, which apparently makes it a lot easier to stick to the reduced calorie regimen we need to lose significant a lot of weight and keep it off over the long term.

So, in a funny way, when it comes to dealing with obesity, the way to a person's brain is largely through their stomach!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day weekend is upon us and while we may take the day to relax and perhaps indulge in some home-made comfort food, it's important to remember that your journey to weight loss should never take a day off. We at Dr. Feiz & Associates understand that there are a variety of reasons that people struggle with obesity and although undergoing a bariatric surgery can certainly help a patient lose a significant amount of weight, the work very definitely doesn't stop there.

Though it's true that a bariatric surgery has proven to reduce lower levels of hunger inducing hormones and has also shown to improve a variety of health complications related to obesity, we still advise our patients to implement a nutritious and healthy diet as well as some exercise into their lifestyle after surgery. The sole purpose of a weight loss surgery isn't just to help you lose the excess weight, it's also about helping you keep it off in the long run and improving your overall quality of life. 

Indeed, a gastric sleeve surgery is an extremely effective method of weight loss, however, paired along with better food choices and more physical activity, you'll not only maintain your ideal weight and enjoy the many health benefits, but you'll feel good doing so too.

Our health is a lifetime project that requires our daily attention, even on holidays.