By Lori Skurbe, RD, MPH, CDE
Dietitian’s Corner is a monthly column for post-op and pre-op patients of bariatric surgery in NJ written by Prime Surgicare’s Lori Skurbe. Lori has been a dietitian for over 20 years with an extensive background in weight management, bariatric nutrition and diabetes education. She has worked at the local, state and national levels of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and she has served as president of the New Jersey Dietetic Association.
Most Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) patients know they need to change their lifestyle habits (diet and exercise) to lose weight and keep it off. What many may not know is that diet and exercise are not enough – what is missing? Your bariatric surgery support group! Research shows that regular attendance of a bariatric surgery support groups is vital to your success both short and long term.
Bariatric surgery support groups are a place where all patients (post ops, pre ops or prospective patients) can learn more about what to expect after surgery from people who have actually had the surgery.
Most support groups have a topic planned for each meeting to help educate patients and allow patients to share their experiences to help others. Some topics we have had at our support group meetings are: emotional eating, food addiction, fitting in fitness, addiction transfer and non-scale victories to name a few.
Some WLS patients have gotten off track, fallen back on old habits and may be experiencing weight regain. Returning to your bariatric support group for guidance and to reconnect with other patients and your bariatric surgery team is a good place to start to lose that regained weight. You will find you are often not alone in your struggle and many can offer support and advice.
Many WLS patients who have had surgery 3 or more years ago find it important to stay connected to other WLS patients and their bariatric surgery team to stay on track. Staying involved with their WLS support group not only helps them, but helps newer post ops and pre op patients get advice and support from someone who has been in their shoes.
Even though you may have a supportive family and friends, it is not the same as having friends who are also WLS patients. Many WLS patients meet and make new friends through their bariatric surgery support group.
Bariatric surgery support groups are a place where WLS patients can feel “safe” sharing their feelings, thoughts, triumphs and challenges with other patients. Friends or family outside of the bariatric community may not fully understand what you are going through.
People who regularly attend a bariatric support group may lose more weight than their peers who do not. In addition, WLS patients who attend a support group may have a better chance of maintaining their new healthy weight.
For all the above reasons, attending a WLS support group provides the support, education, comradery and a safe place to discuss your weight loss journey. At our office we provide monthly support group meetings, usually the second Wednesday of the month from 6-7 pm. Check our website primesurgicare.com or call the office at 732-761-1740 for dates, time and location.
Are you part of a great support group? Leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!
We understand it can be hard to fit in fitness, which is why we have fitness groups at Prime Surgicare. Usually once a month on a Saturday morning the Trailblazers, Trotters and Trekkers meet to bike, jog or walk for one hour on the Henry Hudson Trail right here in Freehold. This is a great opportunity to get out, get some fresh air, make new friends and burn some calories! We usually meet during the warmer months – May through October.
Check out our Prime Surgicare Fitness Groups page. Here you can find more information about when and where our fitness groups meet. You can also call the office at 732-761-1740 for more information!
Do you have any fitness routines? Leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!
When people have Weight Loss Surgery (WLS), they often do not realize how quickly they get “full” after eating just a few bites. Your brain (or your eyes) tell you to eat more, but there is no room. For some people this is a relief as they always felt hungry and glad they are now satisfied with meals. For others, sadness, depression and even anger can set in as you do not seem to have the same pleasure in eating as you did before. Food used to be a comfort, your best friend and you may have enjoyed cooking for others – those pleasures are no longer there. This is called food mourning.
How do you cope?
Enlist the help of a bariatric dietitian to help you learn how to manage food choices and a therapist (psychologist or other licensed behavioral health specialist) that has a background in bariatric surgery to help you learn how to manage the depression, anger or sadness you may be feeling.
Some find it helpful to learn new ways to enjoy foods and create new recipes that your whole family will enjoy. It can be helpful to channel your love of food into a more balanced and healthy eating style. In addition, eating slowly post-op not only helps you tolerate foods better, it can also help you savor each bite. Think about quality not quantity.
A therapist can help you learn better coping strategies to get through this part of your WLS journey. The tools that you learn will help you throughout your journey and in other aspects of your life. For additional support, talk to the bariatric surgeon and come to our free monthly support group meetings. Our support group is well attended by bariatric patients who have been in your shoes and can offer sage advice to help you get through this challenging time.
You are not alone if you feel like you miss food after WLS, it is a real phenomenon. Talk to your bariatric surgeon, dietitian, and/or therapist and attend support group regularly to help you get through this challenging time in your weight loss journey.
Do you experience food mourning? Leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!
For those that have had Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) eating protein based meals is important. Making sure you are eating healthfully to prevent heart disease is also important since many bariatric patients have had or still have high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in the United States.
The good news is much of the bariatric way of eating does fall in line with a heart healthy lifestyle. Here are some things you can do to stay on your weight loss journey and have a healthy heart, too!
Learning healthful eating habits and physical activity is a process – set new goals for yourself regularly to help you stay heart healthy and on track with your weight loss journey.
What goals do you have to stay on track? Please share them with us. We would love to hear from you!
With the winter chill in the air and ice and snow on the ground, many of us go into hibernation until the spring thaw.
Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) patients should be active all year round to lose or maintain their weight. It can be hard to get motivated to move during this time of year, but instead of lamenting that you can’t ride your bike, go for your walk or swim in your pool, let’s look at the fun things winter has to offer to get moving! Below are some seasonal activities to consider:
Skiing: Do you ski? Want to learn? There are many places to ski in our area. Skiing gives you a chance to be outdoors, get some fresh air and exercise in some beautiful scenery! Many people enjoy this sport and you may find you do too!
Snowboarding: Many places that offer skiing also offer snowboarding. Another great way to get outside, get moving and enjoy the winter season!
Ice skating: There are many local ice skating rinks in the area that have open skate times and skate rentals. This activity is indoors, so if you are really not a fan of the cold weather this might be an option for you!
Snow shoeing: This can be a fun activity! If you like being outside blazing through fallen snow, this might be your new activity! There are many parks and nature preserves in NJ that offer snowshoeing trails.
Hiking: The same trails people hike on during the warmer months may be open during the winter. Check with your local or state parks for more information.
The above are also great family or group activities! Get the whole family active or get a group of friends together who may also enjoy these activities! Remember to dress appropriately for the weather conditions, check the local forecast and make sure your gear is in working order so you have a safe and fun experience!
What fun activities do you do to stay active during winter? Please share them with us. We would love to hear from you!
At the end of each year, some take time to reflect on their experiences over the past year. Now is a good time to take stock in how you are doing with your Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) journey. Some things to think about are:
What have you accomplished this past year?
What are you most proud of?
What was your biggest success(s)?
What was your biggest challenge(s)?
How did you overcome that challenge(s)?
What did you learn about yourself?
What do you wish could have done better/differently?
What event or individual most influenced your WLS journey?
The above questions can help you understand how far you have come, where you have been and also help you figure out where you would like to be in 2017. Based on your responses to these questions, you can determine what weight loss goal(s) you want to set for the upcoming year.
Having goals helps us stay on track, remain focused and minimize setbacks. People who set a goal that is truly meaningful, usually have a much better chance of reaching that goal, rather than making a generic New Year’s resolution.
What are your goals for 2017? We would love to hear what plans you have below!
Have a Happy and Healthy 2017!
The holidays are a wonderful time of year where we celebrate giving and togetherness with family and friends. However, all of the holiday preparations can get out of control and lead to increased stress.
For many people who have had weight loss surgery (WLS), stress can lead to increased eating and less time for physical activity. Not to mention the holidays are fraught with all types of obstacles to sticking to your bariatric eating and exercise plan. How can you get through the holiday season with the least amount of stress? See the list below for some tips to remain calm and joyful during the holiday season.
What are your suggestions to minimize stress over the holidays? Please share with us what you do to remain calm and joyful over the holiday season. We would love to hear from you!
At our last support group meeting the topic was: What Do You Wish You Knew Before Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) to Better Prepare You for Life After Surgery? What followed was a lively discussion on the long term issues people face post op. Here is a summary of the key points we discussed:
Does anyone else have any thoughts on this topic? Please send us your comments – we would love to hear them!
Many people ask if they can have a “drink” once in a while after weight loss surgery (WLS). According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) the use of alcohol is not advised after weight loss surgery.
Alcohol, whether it is beer, wine, liquor or mixed drinks, contains a lot of calories and minimal nutrition. The poor nutrient content and high calories found in alcohol can sabotage your weight loss goals and may cause weight regain. In addition, your body absorbs and metabolizes alcohol differently after WLS. Many people find they get “drunk” faster and with much less alcohol than before surgery. Alcohol is absorbed more quickly, is “stronger” and takes longer for blood alcohol levels to return to normal after WLS. These variations in how alcohol affects WLS patients are more prominent in those who have had the gastric bypass, but similarly affect people who have had the sleeve gastrectomy.
The use of alcohol after WLS can be dangerous for many reasons. When you become intoxicated quickly, it can impair your judgement and your ability to safely drive or operate heavy machinery. In some WLS patients, it may lead to alcohol dependence, organ damage and weight regain.
Since alcohol is absorbed and metabolized differently after WLS, patients are more vulnerable to becoming addicted (especially in those that already have an addiction, even if that addiction is to food). After WLS, people cannot get the same “high“ from food, so they switch to alcohol because it works faster and is stronger. Alcohol addiction can replace the food addiction or other addictions, which is called Cross Addiction or Addiction Transfer.
Alcohol irritates the lining of the stomach and can damage other organs, even your brain. In addition, drinking alcohol can affect your ability to lose or maintain your weight as you are consuming lots of empty calories and the lack of inhibition increase your chances of making unhealthy food choices.
If you can stop drinking — do it! If you cannot stop drinking — GET HELP!! Call our office at 732-414-2707 or speak to your primary care physician to get information on your treatment options. Alcoholism can ruin your life – not just your weight loss.
Questions, comments or concerns? Send me a message below! I’d love to hear from you.
Shadle, Benjamin, MD, Should WLS Post-ops Drink Alcohol After Surgery?, July 15, 2016, ObesityHelp.com, accessed 9/8/16.
Stapleton, Connie, Drinking Alcohol After Weight Loss Surgery, September 30, 2015, ObesityHelp.com, accessed 9/8/16
Wilson, Cathy, Crossing the Line to Cross Addiction, December 15, 2014, ObesityHelp.com, accessed 9/8/16
Staying hydrated after Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) can be a challenge. You can no longer guzzle down your water or other beverages the way you did before WLS — you now have to sip fluids slowly. You can no longer eat and drink at the same time — you have to get your fluids down in between meals. You also cannot drink a lot at one time as you may get full quickly. In addition, physical activity and hot weather may increase sweating, which increases your need to drink even more fluids each day.
We recommend getting in 64 or more ounces of calorie free (or very low calorie – 10 or fewer calories per serving), non-carbonated and caffeine free fluids in daily. If you are having trouble getting in your fluids, here are some tips:
If you have any further questions about staying hydrated – do not hesitate to call the office at 732-414-2707 or leave a comment below. We are happy to help!
Summer months are often filled with trips to the shore, BBQs and family vacations. Whether you’re taking a day trip or traveling for an extended period of time, some pre-planning is necessary to help weight loss surgery patients stay on track. Below are some tips to help guide you when planning a family vacation or even a business trip.
Whether you are driving, flying, taking a train or going on a cruise, you want to make sure your food environment is supportive of your weight loss/maintenance goals.
If you are driving make sure you bring a cooler that has bottled water or any calorie free beverages to stay hydrated. Pack protein-rich, high fiber foods such protein drinks or bars that you can grab in a pinch if you need a quick meal. Also pack fresh fruit and 100 calorie packs of nuts if you need a quick snack and nothing else is available.
If you’re traveling by plane or train, call the airlines, transit company or travel agent to find out what type of meals (if any) will be served. You may be able to get a lower fat, healthful option if you ask.
If you’re going on a cruise — do not make the trip about the food and beverages. Take advantage of the onboard activities and ports of call.
In addition, most cruise lines offer special “spa menus” with more healthful options so you can still enjoy your meals while staying on track. You will also find many cruise lines have state-of-the-art fitness centers and walking/jogging tracks on board so your physical activity does not take a vacation.
Check out what type of eateries are in or around your destination so you can review the menu options beforehand and plan what your best choices are. Many restaurants have their menus online and some chain restaurants have the nutrition information on their websites. You can also find menu information in smart phone apps such as My Fitness Pal.
Book a hotel that offers rooms with a kitchen. This allows you to bring in your own food and increases your control over what you eat. It’s also a lot more healthful (and cheaper) to cook some of your meals instead of dining out all the time.
Always remember your bariatric basics which are:
Most restaurants offer grilled, baked or broiled meat, seafood and poultry, a variety of vegetables and healthy carbs for the choosing. Don’t come back from your trip heavier than you left. You worked so hard to lose the weight, a little pre-planning can help you continue to lose or maintain your weight, even when traveling.
If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to call the office at 732-414-2707 or leave a comment below.
The summer time is usually a season filled with trips to the beach and summer BBQs. For some, all the eating and extra drinking can lead bariatric surgery patients off track. How can you still enjoy all the summer fun without undoing your hard work? Below are some tips to get through the summer months like a pro.
For Weight Loss Surgery patients, high protein foods are always the focus at each meal and/or snack. Since protein gets top billing, other foods may get over looked. Some of those foods are fruits and vegetables. Spring and summer are great times of the year to explore the rich variety of fruits and vegetables available, especially the ones that are locally grown right here in the Garden State.
After you get your protein in, try to get in a variety of produce. Look for vibrant colors in your fruits and vegetables to ensure you are getting in a lot of vitamins such as vitamin C, Vitamin A and folate. Fruits and vegetables are also a good way to get in extra fiber.
With a huge assortment of locally grown fruits and vegetables to choose from, such as cranberries, bell peppers, spinach, summer squash, snap peas, cucumbers, peaches, blueberries and world famous Jersey tomatoes and sweet corn, you can’t go wrong! Some fruits and vegetables you can get at your local grocery store or road side farmers market, and others you can get directly form a local farm in your area.
Some local farms have you pick your own options. Picking your own fruits and vegetables is a great way to get out into the fresh air, get some exercise and teach your families about how and where food is grown. To find a local farm near you, go to: jerseyfresh.nj.gov, then click on the “Find Jersey Fresh” tab.
Here is a great recipe to get in those Jersey Fresh vegetables:
Roasted Summer Vegetables
2 Jersey Fresh yellow summer squash
1 Jersey Fresh green bell pepper, sliced
1 large Jersey Fresh onion, sliced
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp Jersey Fresh thyme salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 small Jersey Fresh eggplant
1 Jersey Fresh red bell pepper, sliced
½ pound white mushrooms
3 TBS balsamic vinegar
Cut vegetables into chunks, about one-inch in size. Place in a single layer in low-sided rectangular baking pan. Drizzle oil over the pieces and, using your hands, rub vegetables to distribute oil. Drizzle vinegar over all. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme (or any herb you prefer). Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender. Some vegetables may become caramelized. This can be served hot, warm or at room temperature.
Contributed by Donna D’Amato, Maplewood, NJ
Recipe from Jersey Fresh website accessed 4/26/16.
I posted a similar article a while ago about choosing and taking vitamin and mineral supplements after bariatric surgery, but I think this information bears repeating. Too many weight loss surgery (WLS) patients:
All weight loss surgery patients must be on a daily regimen of vitamin and mineral supplements to prevent nutritional deficiencies – this is for life. All, if not most, bariatric surgery patients must be on a high potency multivitamin and calcium with vitamin D. Some patients may need additional iron and B12 depending on blood work results. Let’s take a closer look at the supplements needed after WLS.
A good quality, high potency multivitamin is an essential part of the weight loss journey. There are many different types of multivitamins on the market, but not all of them are the best choice for weight loss surgery patients. According the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery’s Allied Health Nutritional Guidelines for the Surgical Weight Loss Patient, gastric bypass and gastric sleeve patients should have a high potency multivitamin with 200% Daily Value of at least 2/3 of the nutrients. Additionally, we recommend the following:
It is very difficult to get all nutrients from foods alone due to the limited amount that can be eaten after WLS. Also, patients who have had the gastric bypass or duodenal switch do not absorb all the vitamins and minerals that are in foods. To avoid osteoporosis and dental issues, it is important to take calcium with vitamin D.
We recommend 1200-1500 mg calcium for gastric sleeve and gastric bypass patients (some gastric bypass patients may need 1500-2000 mg calcium daily). Calcium citrate is the preferred form of calcium as it is better absorbed. We suggest starting a chewable or liquid calcium citrate with vitamin D by week four post-surgery. Calcium usually comes in 400 mg, 500 mg or 600 mg doses. Make sure you read the supplement facts labeling carefully so you know:
Calcium should not be taken at the same time as iron or iron containing multivitamins because it can affect how you absorb them. In addition, you can only absorb up to 600 mg of calcium at a time, so all calcium doses should be taken 3-4 hours apart.
In our practice, we often give our patients a prescription for Ferocon®, which contains both iron and B12. You may get this prescription at your 1 or 5 week post op visit to the office. Ferocon® also contains digestive enzymes to help you absorb it better. If you are taking Ferocon® you usually do not need to take any additional iron or B12.
If you are not taking Ferocon®, and take a different iron or B12 supplement, be sure you know what the dosage is for the iron or B12 supplements you take. Iron and B12 supplements come in different doses and it is possible to take too much or not enough.
If you have trouble remembering to take your vitamins – put reminders on your smart phone and/or put your supplements in a place you’ll remember to take them. There are also apps to help remind you as well!
If you need help selecting a multivitamin or cannot tolerate the one you are taking – call the office for guidance. We have a Vitamin and Mineral Shopping Guide to help you choose supplements that are right for you.
Post a comment or question below! I’d love to hear from you.
Source: ASMBS, Allied Health Nutritional Guidelines for the Surgical Weight Loss Patient, L. Aills, et.al. 2008.
Even though bariatric surgery helps people eat less food in one sitting, it’s still important to keep an eye on portion sizes. When you first had weight loss surgery you might have struggled with getting in protein and fluids. A year or more later, you may notice you can eat more. At this point in your journey, calorie levels can quickly increase above and beyond what we need to lose or maintain our weight loss.
These are very simple tips that you can easily use to help get portions under control.
If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to call the office at 732-414-2707 or leave a comment below.
In the early months after weight loss surgery, it may be difficult to eat — getting your protein and fluids in each day is a challenge. Overtime, meeting your daily protein and fluid goals gets easier.
However, with being able to tolerate more foods and beverages, it is easy to start to slip back into old eating habits. At this point in your weight loss journey, it is more important than ever to stay true to your bariatric basics.
I often say to patients: “The strategies you use to lose weight are the very same strategies you use to keep the weight off for good.”
Notice the strategies are identical — the plan does not change. If you find you are regaining weight, start to log all foods and beverages into MyFitnessPal app (or a similar app). Logging foods and beverages creates a sense of awareness and accountability needed to help get back on track. Be sure to be as detailed as possible; sometimes it’s something like a condiment or a cooking method that’s increasing your calorie intake.
Has your physical activity levels decreased? Get moving! Exercise is a critical part of weight loss and weight maintenance. Still struggling? Call the office at 732-982-2002 for an appointment with the dietitian and start to attend our bariatric support group meetings regularly.
Post a comment or question below! I’d love to hear from you.
*protein needs may vary depending on the individual
When I meet with bariatric patients I often explain that Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) limits how much you can eat in one sitting, but it does NOT change the types of foods you eat or affect emotional eating issues. We make many food related choices each day. Our food choices are largely driven by many factors – emotional eating being one of these factors.
For the first 6 months to 1 year post WLS, many people do not feel the same level of hunger or food cravings they did prior to surgery. In addition, your pouch limits what you can eat and you may not be able to tolerate certain foods. But for many bariatric patients, the appetite and cravings return. As the appetite and cravings return, weigh regain may be an issue and emotional eating plays a large role in this process.
Emotional eating is when you eat in response to an emotion (stress, anger, boredom, etc.) and not physical (true) hunger. Physical hunger is when you have not eaten for at least 3 hours, your stomach is empty, blood sugar might be dwindling and your body needs fuel. Emotions are often a trigger that makes us “think” we are truly hungry, when we are not. We were all born with the ability to feel true hunger and fullness. Babies cry when they are hungry and stop eating when they are full. Somewhere along the line we lost touch with the feeling of true hunger and fullness. To control emotional eating one must relearn how to feel true hunger and separate it from the false hunger/emotional hunger.
It is not a simple task to start to relearn your body’s true signs of hunger and fullness. But with consistent practice you will begin to recognize and separate the true hunger from the false hunger associated with emotional eating. Ask yourself, “Am I truly hungry?” If you are truly hungry you will eat whatever is there even if it is something you are not crazy about. However, if you are experiencing false hunger from emotional eating, you might be looking for a specific food or “comfort” food. If you are not truly hungry, find something else to do instead of eat (e.g.: if you are bored – find something to do or if you are stressed, look for alternatives to stress relief, etc.)
One strategy to reign in emotional eating is to use a hunger/fullness scale. The scale below can be used as a tool to help begin the process.
|Neutral (not hungery or full)||4 – 5|
|Comfortably full||6 – 7|
|Very full||8 – 9|
1 = absolutely famished, will eat anything!
2 = need to eat now, stomach is growling
3 = just starting to feel hunger, stomach not growling yet
4 – 5 = do not feel hungry or full
6 – 7 = full, but not uncomfortable
8 – 9 = getting uncomfortably full
10+ = you overdid it, feeling stuffed
The goal is to avoid the extremes. You do not want to allow yourself to get to a 1 on the scale. When we are overly hungry we do not make sound food choices, we eat too fast and overeat. Make sure you plan your day’s meals and snacks so you rarely get overly hungry. When eating, try not to go over a 5 on the scale. Anything higher on the scale and you’ve overeaten.
Remember your bariatric basics — eat slowly, cut food up into tiny pieces and chew each bite 20 – 30 times. Eating slowly allows you to pay attention to fullness cues so you stop eating before you get overstuffed. Put your fork or spoon down between bites and reassess your level of fullness on the scale throughout each meal. Truly taste your food and enjoy the textures – savor the experience of eating. When you savor the eating experience you might find you are satisfied with less food.
Keep a record of your level of hunger and fullness at these 4 times using the hunger/fullness scale above:
Make notes of any trends – are you allowing yourself to get overly hungry? Are you overeating? What emotions where you experiencing? This information can be invaluable to help you, your therapist or dietitian work with you to come up with a plan to control emotional eating for good.
And if you have any further questions, do not hesitate to call the office at 732-414-2707 or leave a comment below
Source: Celebrate Vitamins Website accessed 11/2015
Starting with Halloween and ending with New Year’s Day, we face a full 2 months of temptation, stress and less time for physical activity. Holidays do not have to lead to weight gain – with some smart strategizing and careful pre-planning, you can get through without those added and unwanted pounds!
Here are some helpful tips to keep you on track and still enjoy the holiday season:
Don’t regain the weight you worked so hard to lose. Weight gain does not have to be inevitable during the holidays. Plan ahead, stay hydrated, get in your exercise and make memories!
If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to call the office at 732-414-2707 or leave a comment below.
Many of our patients lament that they are fine with following their bariatric meal plan during the day, but as soon as they get home from work or school, they start snacking and it is hard to stop.
Night time snacking is a common problem and can sabotage your hard work. Let’s look at some of the causes of night time snacking and what you can do to stop.
There are many reasons people snack during the evening hours. Some of the causes are:
The first step is to figure out if you are setting yourself up for night time snacking. Do any of the scenarios below sound like you?
Solution: Start planning out your meals and snacks the night before. Make sure you eat three protein based meals daily and if your meals are more than 5 hours apart, plan a healthy snack to tide you over until the next meal. What is a healthy snack? 100 Calorie Greek yogurt, low fat string cheese, 1 small fresh fruit or a 100 calorie pack of almonds.
Solution: Did you get your 64 ounces of fluids in? If not, drink a calorie free beverage instead of eating something. Make yourself a hot cup of herbal tea or low calorie hot chocolate to sip on when you get home from work/school — it may quench your thirst and keep you from snacking while you prepare your dinner.
Solution: Allow yourself to have a small portion of a special treat once in a while. Your diet does not have to be perfect, but as long as you are following your bariatric eating plan most of the time, the occasional treat should not prevent you from reaching your goal weight and staying there.
Solution: Commit to undistracted eating. When you eat, the TV is off, the phone is put away. You are sitting at the table focusing on eating (tasting) and paying attention to your pouch “telling” you when you are full.
Solution: Learn to separate head hunger from belly hunger. If you think you are hungry ask yourself: When did I last eat? If you ate within the last 2 hours, most likely your hunger is head hunger. Try to find something else to do that does not involve food — go for a walk, read a book, listen to music, call a friend or take up a new hobby.
If you find your “hunger” is from an association between food and an activity you often do while eating
Change your routine. Instead of watching TV find another activity you can do in the evening. Preferably an activity that requires you using your hands — crafting, gardening, wood working, etc. These all take your mind off of food, keep your hands occupied and do not have the association with eating.
Solution: Go to bed earlier. Not only is getting more sleep keeping you from eating at night, getting enough sleep aids in weight loss and weight maintenance.
If you tend to snack at night, figure out what is causing the night eating. Logging all foods eaten, getting tempting foods out of the house and eating regular meals can aid in reducing night time snacking. Once you know the cause you can come up with a solution!
If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to call the office at 732-414-2707 or leave a comment below
It has been a few months (or even years) since your weight loss surgery.
You have been eating your protein based meals, taking your vitamin and mineral supplements, getting in your exercise and drinking plenty of fluids.
You’re getting tired of the same old protein drinks, eggs, turkey and grilled chicken and want something different, but also want to stay on track. What can you do?
There are many resources available to WLS patients, from websites to cookbooks. Some websites for bariatric patients offer a lot of great advice and really delicious recipes to change up your menu.
Here are our top suggestions:
The above websites and cookbooks are not a complete list, but they can help get you started finding new bariatric-friendly meal ideas.
What are some of the cookbooks and websites you use for new, interesting meal ideas? Please share below in the comments.
However, once it starts getting dark earlier and the cold winds of winter start blowing, people go inside and hibernate until spring returns again.
I have noticed many people do not exercise much over the winter or their physical activity drops off a lot. Many patients lament that it’s too cold outside to walk. Or they say, “I’m afraid I’ll slip on the ice or snow.” While these might be legitimate reasons to not want to exercise outside in the winter, that does not mean you stop exercising all together.
When people have had weight loss surgery, it is very important to be physically active to lose weight AND keep the weight off. Physical activity needs to be done most days of the week and done consistently.
If you normally do your physical activity outside, you need to have a plan B during the colder months. That means coming up with a way you can exercise indoors and/or plan for colder weather outdoor activities.
Weight loss surgery patients may experience weight regain or hit a weight loss plateau due to less physical activity. If you tend to exercise mainly in the warmer months and your workouts drop off in the winter, now is the time to come up with your Plan B.
If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to call the office at 732-414-2707 or leave a comment below
Most weight loss surgery patients know they need to reach their protein goals on a daily basis. Using a “ready to drink“ (RTD) protein drink or making your own protein drink with a protein powder can aid in reaching your goal.
But not all RTD protein drinks and protein powders are appropriate for bariatric patients — some of the protein supplements may be formulated for other purposes such as body building or for people who need to gain weight.
When choosing a protein supplement, it’s important to look for some general nutritional guidelines. In addition, if you like to make your own protein drink (smoothie or shake), be careful what you add to it. Some people go overboard with adding fruit, fruit juice, peanut butter and other ingredients, which can raise the calorie level of your protein drink well beyond what you need.
There are many RTD protein drinks on the market which can make selecting an appropriate one more difficult. Typically, you’ll want to look for a protein drink that has at least 20 grams of good quality protein (preferably whey protein isolate), no more than 300 calories and less than 15 grams of sugars.
Some of the RTD protein drinks we recommend are:
Some protein powders we recommend are:
If you are vegan, vegetarian, do not or cannot use artificial sweeteners, there are specialty protein drinks for you. Ask your bariatric dietitian or bariatric surgeon for suggested products.
If you like to make your own protein drink, first start off with one of the protein powders or RTD products suggested above. If using a protein powder, you can add the recommended amount of water, skim (fat free milk), fortified almond milk or light soy milk. Check the product for directions as each brand of protein powder may be different.
If you want a bit more flavor, fiber and nutrition, you can add 2 tablespoons of PB2® (a low calorie peanut powder), a small amount of fresh fruit (1/2 cup at most), ice and/or leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc.) if desired.
Even though fruit, fruit juices and peanut butter are healthy, they can pack a high calorie punch. Just two tablespoons of peanut butter alone has 190 calories, which is more calories than some of the RTD protein drinks! Adding fruit juice adds a lot of calories and increases the sugar count. Higher sugar counts may cause dumping in those that have had gastric bypass.
Add a dash to your protein drink for a little bit more flavor. A dash of cinnamon in a vanilla protein drink tastes delicious!
Use just a drop or 2 in a protein drink to add a burst of flavor! A drop of almond extract in a chocolate protein drink makes a tasty treat. Or a drop of mint extract in a chocolate protein drink turns an ordinary chocolate drink into a chocolate mint delight!
All three of these are wonderful sugar free syrups you can add to your protein drink for even more flavor options. Visit the company websites for lists of available flavors and where you can purchase these syrups.
On a hot day, make your protein drink into ice pops. Use any ice pop mold and turn your protein drink into something cool and refreshing!
With so many protein drinks and flavoring options you won’t get bored any time soon! If you are still not sure what to buy or use, call the office at 732-414-2707 and ask the dietitian before you waste money on a product that will not help you achieve your weight loss goals.
We’d love to hear from you! If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to call or just leave a comment below.
Summer is the time of year many of us look forward to the delicious summer fruits and vegetables. Who doesn’t like a juicy Jersey tomato, sweet Jersey corn and fresh Jersey blueberries?
New Jersey is the one of the top 10 producers of cranberries, bell peppers, spinach, peaches, blueberries, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, apples, sweet corn and snap peas. New Jersey really is the Garden State!
Along with getting in our daily goal of protein, it’s important for patients who have had bariatric surgery to try to eat a colorful variety of fruit and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables add vitamins, minerals, fiber and disease fighting antioxidants to your diet.
If you’re eager to lose weight and maintain your weight loss, put a rainbow of color on your plate every day.
Visit your local farm stand, farm or grocery store to purchase Jersey Fresh produce. Go to Jerseyfresh.nj.gov to see where local farms, farm markets and pick-your-own farms are located in your area.
Picking your own fruits and vegetables is a great way to get outside, get some fresh air and is a fun family activity. It is also a neat way to get in some extra exercise and encourage healthy eating for your whole family!
Below is a recipe that includes a variety of Jersey Fresh produce, and packs protein and fiber as well. If you’re on any kind of weight loss regiment and you live in New Jersey, it’s a must-try recipe. Enjoy!
Recipe: Jersey Corn, Black Bean and Tomato Salad
To make the salad, combine the black beans, corn, tomatoes, red bell pepper, red onion, and cilantro in a bowl (if you don’t like cilantro, you can substitute flat parsley). In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients to make the dressing. Pour over the black bean mixture and toss gently. Refrigerate for at least one hour to allow the flavors to blend.
The finished salad is a delicious way to support NJ farmers and your weight loss.
Recipe courtesy of www.thingstodonewjersey.com, acccessed from JerseyFresh.nj.gov website 5/29/15.
Usually when we think about weight loss, we think more about food and exercise. What many people may not realize is that there are many non-food, non-exercise factors that affect weight loss. One of these factors is sleep.
Getting adequate sleep (about 8 hours nightly) helps with weight loss, improves blood sugar, increases the immune system, improves memory and may decrease your risk of heart disease. Getting enough sleep may also improve your mood.
Whether you burn the candle from both ends, have been diagnosed with sleep apnea or have another sleep related issue, you may be hurting your chances to lose weight. Lack of sleep can causes weight gain and makes weight loss more difficult.
Poor sleep has also been found to result in making your metabolism less efficient. Lack of sleep causes your body to respond poorly to insulin (another hormone you’ve probably heard of). When your body does not respond well to insulin, this causes high blood sugars and increased fat storage — leading to weight gain.
There are some very simple things we can do to increase the amount of sleep we get each night.
Remember — adequate sleep is an important part of your overall healthy lifestyle and weight loss success!
WebMD, Sleep More, Weigh Less, accessed 4/24/15.
At our last support group meeting, we had a great discussion about various strategies bariatric patients can use to help them be successful throughout their weight loss journeys. It was great to hear so many wonderful, inspiring and useful tips.
Here are 31 of our favorite tips and tricks to keep your weight loss efforts on track following weight loss surgery.
After looking at all of the responses from our support group members, the overall themes were:
What tip or trick can you add to this list? Add your comment below.