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The obesity epidemic in America continues to grow and more people are turning to weight loss surgery as an option to help them lose weight and keep it off.

One misconception for many people considering bariatric surgery is that most people who undergo weight loss surgery will eventually gain back the weight lost, perhaps even more. This is often also a real fear for patients who have had bariatric surgery as any weight gain after surgery can be discouraging.

It is important to remember that weight loss surgery is not designed to work alone. Bariatric patients must make a commitment to healthy lifestyle changes including adopting a diet and sticking to a regular exercise plan. Patients who are unable to maintain these recommended lifestyle changes may struggle to lose weight after surgery, or they may experience weight regain after bariatric surgery.

First, let’s address the misconception that most bariatric patients regain weight after surgery.  While it is true that about half of all weight loss surgery patients do regain a small amount of weight (on average, about five percent) in the years following weight loss surgery, long-term post-op studies of bariatric patients show the majority of these patients are able to maintain long-term weight loss.

According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), “successful” weight loss surgery is considered weight loss equal to or greater than 50 percent of excess body weight. Although some bariatric patients may regain a small percentage of weight, very few will regain all or more weight. The results of weight loss surgery are far more effective than a cycle of yo-yo dieting and fad fitness plans most bariatric patients have attempted prior to choosing surgery.

Bottom line: a small amount of weight gain after bariatric surgery is normal, but most patients are able to maintain the majority (at least 60 percent) of their weight loss after five years.

While weight loss surgery is a proven effective tool to help patients lose weight, it should not be considered a “cure” for obesity, as it requires patients to maintain a strict diet and healthy lifestyle with regular exercise after surgery. Patients who approach bariatric surgery as a tool to help them achieve their goals or expectations, rather than a “quick fix” are more likely to be successful in achieving their weight loss goals after surgery.

Here are some of the common reasons bariatric patients experience weight gain after surgery:

Medical or anatomical problems can arise in the months or years after surgery, causing the patient to regain weight. However, in most cases of weight gain after gastric bypass surgery, the patient has fallen back into old lifestyle habits. Patient education, early intervention and long-term support services following weight loss surgery are key in helping patients prevent weight regain and quickly addressing it if it does occur.

When patients receive nutritional counseling, personal fitness training and psychological support to address the patterns of behavior that may have contributed to the patient becoming overweight, they are better prepared to maintain the necessary healthy lifestyle changes in the years following bariatric surgery.

Here are some tips to help bariatric patients avoid weight regain, or to get back on track if you have experienced weight gain after bariatric surgery.

Keep all of your post-op appointments. Post-op appointments are essential in helping patients stay on track with their weight loss. During post-op appointments, the patient’s health is evaluated to ensure they are getting all essential nutrients after surgery.

Take advantage of all post-op support opportunities. Surgical support services, such as nutritional counseling, psychological support and fitness training are available to help bariatric patients reach and maintain their weight loss goals. Patients who surround themselves with a positive support system, including family and professionals, are better able to maintain their weight loss over time.

Consider a reset diet. If you have experienced some weight regain after weight loss surgery, talk to your doctor or nutritionist about a reset diet to help shrink your stomach pouch and again restrict the amount of food you are able to consume. A reset diet typically lasts a week to 10 days and takes the patient back to the liquid post-op diet in order to give the stomach time to contract back down to its smaller size. Many patients who experience a weight loss plateau or weight gain after surgery have found great success with a reset diet.

Talk to your doctor about bariatric revisional surgery. There are limitations to every weight loss procedure and weight regain can occur for a variety of reasons after bariatric surgery. Sometimes patients experience weight regain due to a treatable medical condition. In cases where weight regain may be due to a treatable medical condition or complication from the original surgery, bariatric revisional surgery, such as bypass-to-sleeve, band-to-sleeve revision or the duodenal switch procedure may be a viable option to help the patient get back on track with weight loss.

If you are a bariatric surgery patient who has regained some weight after bariatric surgery, do not be discouraged. Weight loss and weight regain do not happen overnight. Although it can be frustrating, be diligent with your diet, focusing on getting plenty of protein and increase your level of daily physical activity. Contact the First Baptist Medical Center bariatric surgeon to help you get back on track and lose with your weight loss, or to learn more about bariatric revisional surgery.

One of the most common questions weight loss surgery patients ask about surgery is, “Will my stomach stretch after surgery?”

Bariatric surgery procedures work through one of two mechanisms: restriction or malabsorption, or a combination of both. Gastric bypass and the gastric mini sleeve both restrict food consumption by reducing the size of the stomach.

How do bariatric procedures shrink the stomach?

Gastric bypass is considered both a restrictive and malabsorptive operation. During the procedure, a small stomach pouch is created, which is then connected to the middle portion of the small intestine, “bypassing” the remainder of the stomach, along with the first portion of the small intestine. Gastric bypass reduces the size of the stomach from the size of a football to approximately the size of a lemon. The smaller stomach pouch limits the amount of food the patient is able to eat. The procedure also limits absorption of calories and nutrients by the small intestine.

Gastric mini sleeve surgery reduces the size of the stomach by about 85 percent. During the procedure, a large portion of the stomach is resected and removed. Like gastric bypass, the new stomach pouch created with gastric mini sleeve surgery greatly reduces the volume of food the patient can consume. The part of the stomach that is removed is the portion responsible for producing the hunger hormone, ghrelin, which also aids in reduced hunger.

Will the stomach stretch after surgery?

This is an important question to answer for those considering bariatric surgery. The natural stomach stretches as it fills with food and contracts when it is empty. As your stomach expands with food consumption, it sends a signal to your brain to stop eating because it is full. Food in the stomach is then broken down by stomach acid and moved to the intestines where it continues in the digestive process.

People who are overweight or obese may overeat beacuse they don’t get the signal that the stomach is full, continuing to stretch the stomach overtime. Over time, the stomach may not send the fullness signal until it is stretched to the brim. On the flip side, it may sends a hunger signal when it is still half full.

After gastric mini sleeve or gastric bypass surgery, it is important to avoid overeating, which can lead to a stretched stomach over time. With one meal, the stomach stretches and contracts as it should, but eating too much food regularly puts you at risk of permanently stretching the stomach, skewing the signals of hunger and fullness sent to the brain and leading to weight regain after bariatric surgery.

Can stomach stretching after bariatric surgery be prevented?

Bariatric patients are instructed to follow a strict post-op diet to avoid permanently stretching the stomach after surgery. In addition to the restricted diet, here are a few pointers to help prevent stomach stretching.

Eat only small meals. Immediately after surgery, the stomach can only hold about two to four tablespoons of food or drink. Over the next year, it will expand to hold about 16 tablespoons of food or drink, still much less than you were ever able to eat before surgery. Keep all meals and snacks small to prevent permanent stomach stretching.

Do not drink with meals. Weight loss surgery patients should avoid drinking anything within 30 minutes of mealtime. Because stomach capacity is so limited, it is important to be able to fill the stomach with only food at meal time.

Stop eating before you are full. Learn to listen to the signals your stomach sends your brain and stop eating before you feel full. Keep in mind that every bite takes some time to get to your stomach, so if you wait to take your last bite until you feel full, you may actually overeat.

Add in small snacks if you are hungry. If you feel hungry between meals, eat a small, healthy snack to help keep you satisfied. This way you won’t be tempted to overeat at mealtime.

Can the stomach pouch be reset?

Don’t be discouraged if you find yourself overeating. It is never too late to get back on track with your weight loss diet.

When weight loss stalls, many patients find success with a 10 day reset diet, which helps to reset the stomach to its appropriate size by severely limiting food intake, beginning with three days of liquids only, then adding in pureed foods, soft foods and eventually healthy whole foods. Click here for an example of a 10 day pouch reset diet. It is suggested that this diet is done under the supervision of your weight loss surgeon or dietitian.

If the pouch reset doesn’t work, or the patient continues to gain weight after bariatric surgery, surgical revision surgery is another option to help the patient get back on track and begin losing weight again. The goal of a bariatric revisional procedure is to modify the original procedure to a different mechanism.

For example, patients who have previously had gastric bypass surgery may choose to have a bypass-to-sleeve revisional surgery. The most effective options for gastric sleeve revision are revision to gastric bypass or duodenal switch (gastric sleeve and intestinal bypass). Original lap band procedures may be revised to gastric bypass or gastric mini sleeve. Band-to-sleeve revision is the most common weight loss revisional procedure chosen by gastric band patients.

If you are considering weight loss surgery, or you are concerned that your stomach has stretched after a bariatric procedure, contact the weight loss doctors at First Baptist Medical Center today to schedule an appointment.

If you’re trying to lose weight, making changes in your daily nutrition is paramount. By replacing one meal or snack each day with a healthy smoothie recipe for weight loss, you can boost your metabolism, aid digestion, decrease inflammation in your body and achieve your weight loss goals.

Here are seven smoothies for weight loss to try, each made from healthy, whole foods.

Maple Cinnamon Blueberry Smoothie
View the original recipe here.

If you love blueberry pancakes drizzled with maple syrup, you’ll love this blueberry breakfast smoothie.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Add all ingredients except ice to the blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Add ice and blend until you achieve desired consistency.

Superfood Power Smoothie
View original recipe here.

Full of superfoods such as spinach, strawberries and apples, this is a nutrient-packed, double layer smoothie with no added sugar.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Peel apple and blend together with one banana, spinach, ¼ cup almond milk and flax until smooth. Add more milk to achieve desired thickness. Pour equally into two glasses.
  2. Rinse blender and blend together the remaining banana, ¼ cup almond milk and strawberries until smooth. Add more milk to achieve desired thickness. Pour strawberry and banana mixture into the same two glasses on top of spinach and banana mixture. Serve immediately.

Almond Butter Chia Smoothie
View original recipe here.

This four-ingredient smoothie packs a punch of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants making it a great option for breakfast or a snack.

Ingredients:

Optional add-ins:

Instructions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together and blend until smooth.

Raw Banana Bread Smoothie
View original recipe here.

Feeling snacky? Whip up this delicious banana and walnut milk smoothie for a midday snack or meal replacement.

Walnut Milk Ingredients:

Smoothie Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. To make the walnut milk, strain soaked walnuts and place in a blender. Add water and blend on high for about two minutes, or until you have a creamy “milk.” Strain with a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl. Refrigerate in a sealed container until you are ready to use it. Shake before using, as walnut milk will separate.
  2. Combine walnut milk, sliced bananas, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, maple syrup and ice. Blend until creamy and smooth. Add cacao nibs and blend for 10 seconds. Pour smoothie into glasses and garnish with toppings of your choice.

Strawberry Beet Smoothie
View original recipe here.

This cheerful red smoothie is both filling and refreshing, perfect for a hot summer day when you don’t feel like cooking.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth (about two minutes).
  2. Pour into glass and enjoy.

Note: If you do not have a high-speed or powerful blender, steam and chop beet before blending. Steam for five minutes and cool in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to ensure your smoothie is cold.

Grapefruit Green Smoothie
View original recipe here.

Need an immune boosting smoothie? Try this grapefruit green smoothie that is full of vitamin C and antioxidants to help fight off illness.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Add additional liquid as needed to adjust thickness.
  2. Pour into two glasses and serve.

Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
View original recipe here.

Fuel your body for breakfast with this smoothie that is both healthy and delicious. It tastes just like a peanut butter cup!

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Place bananas into a high speed blender.
  2. Add remaining ingredients on top of bananas and blend until smooth.
  3. Slowly add more almond milk unto you achieve desired consistency.

If you are looking for a weight loss plan that works, along with nutritional guidance from a registered dietitian, contact the weight loss doctors at First Baptist Medical Center today.

The primary goal of any overweight or obese invidiual who chooses to undergo bariatric surgery is to lose weight. Any medical weight loss procedures, such as gastric bypass surgery, serves as a catalyst to weight loss for people who have tried and been unable to achieve long-term weight loss through diet and exercise programs alone. One of the key gastric bypass surgery benefits is that the procedure reduces the stomach’s capacity, making it easier for patients to eat less. The smaller stomach created during weight loss surgery allows patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery feel fuller much sooner, thereby reducing overall caloric intake and resulting in sustained weight loss.

But weight loss surgery isn’t just about the weight. Making the decision to have gastric bypass surgery or any other bariatric procedure will result in drastic changes that are more than skin deep. Carrying around excess body weight affects every aspect of life, from overall health to sleep, social life and emotional well-being.

If you’ve been on the fence about weight loss surgery, here are a few ways weight loss surgery can change your life for the better.

Decrease or eliminate dependence on medication and insulin for type 2 diabetes.

Bariatric surgery is known to result in the improvement of or remission for type 2 diabetes, which can typically be difficult to control through diet and exercise alone. According to one recent study, many patients who have type 2 diabetes and undergo bariatric surgery are able to remain insulin free for at least three years after surgery.

Improve mood and self-image.

Poor body image and depression are common among people who are overweight. These individuals often find it more difficult to engage in activities and hobbies they enjoy, which leads to isolation, anxiety, low confidence and even depression. By losing weight, gastric bypass surgery patients often experience an improvement in not only their physical, but also their emotional health and well-being.

An end to yo-yo dieting.

Anyone who has tried to lose weight in the past knows the frustration of shedding extra pounds only to regain weight a short time later. Weight loss surgery is not a fad; it is one of the few proven means of helping patients who are significantly overweight or obese lose the weight and keep it off. Studies have shown that 10 years after weight loss surgery, many bariatric patients are able to maintain their weight loss if they commit to the lifestyle changes that should follow gastric bypass surgery or any other bariatric procedure.

Improved sleep.

Being overweight or obese can cause obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that disrupts sleep, causes snoring and can even lead to serious medical complications. Without intervention through bariatric surgery, people with sleep apnea may be prescribed a CPAP machine to use at bedtime to maintain oxygen levels during sleep. Following weight loss surgery, such as gastric bypass surgery, many patients who were once dependent on a CPAP machine are able to achieve a normal weight range, allowing them to sleep without the device.

Improve overall health and eliminate weight-related health problems.

Many bariatric patients suffer from co-existing health problems related to their weight, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, pregnancy complications, gallbladder disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Gastric bypass surgery can improve these and other conditions and reduce or eliminate a patients’ dependency on medication for weight related health problems. Female patients who are of childbearing age may even experience improved fertility.

Regain a social life.

There is certainly a social stigma that comes with being overweight or obese. For this reason, many people who are seriously overweight or obese are unable to enjoy an active social life. Gastric bypass surgery can help restore a patient’s confidence as they are able to regain a healthy social life. Not only do bariatric patients often find a renewed sense of confidence following surgery, they simply feel better and have more energy to participate in the activities they love.

Get relief from joint pain.

Carrying around extra weight only increases stress on the joints and as a result, many people who are overweight (one in three, according to the Centers for Disease Control) suffer from joint problems like arthritis. The excess weight not only causes joint pain, it can result in joint damage over time, increasing an individual’s risk of falls and injury. For every pound of excess weight, joints in the body, such as the knees, are put under about four pounds of added pressure. Excess fat also leads to inflammation, which can increase joint discomfort and pain. By losing just 10 percent of their body weight, bariatric patients are able to reduce inflammation and increased pressure on their joints, reduce discomfort, improve mobility and stop using pain medications.

Experiences can vary from one weight loss surgery patient to the next, but we do know that the gastric bypass surgery benefits go far beyond just losing weight. As obesity continues to rise in America, so do the health and mental problems of those affected. Bariatric surgery is not a quick cure for obesity. And it is not the “easy way out,” but when paired with a healthy diet and regular fitness, it is a powerful and effective tool to help patients lose weight and keep it off for good.

If you are considering weight loss surgery, it is important to choose a bariatric surgeon who provides nutritional, fitness and psychological post-op support. Surrounding yourself with a strong support network is key to your long-term success. If you would like to know more about gastric bypass surgery or any other weight loss procedure, contact the weight loss doctors at First Baptist Medical Center today to schedule a consultation.

Obesity has become an epidemic in the United States as the number of adults and children classified as obese continue to rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one out of every three Americans (nearly 40 percent) are obese, with a body mass index over 30. When looking at overweight and obesity, that number jumps to two-thirds of American adults.

As obesity rates rise, so does the prevalence of serious weight-related health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and certain types of cancer. These health conditions are some of the leading causes of premature death, and in many cases, are entirely preventable.

Unfortunately, people with a BMI of 40 or greater, who are often battling life-threatening health conditions due to their weight, typically do not respond well to traditional lifestyle modification weight loss methods, such as diet and exercise. While some may lose weight in the short term, weight regain is not uncommon, and many people gain back more pounds than they lost in the first place. What is the answer for this rapidly growing epidemic?

For many patients who suffer from obesity, the answer is in bariatric surgery. Often stereotyped as “taking the easy way out,” the reality of bariatric surgery is quite the opposite. Patients who opt for surgical intervention have tried — and failed — at losing weight through diet after diet and various fitness programs. For many of these patients, bariatric surgery is the last resort.

There is good news for individuals considering weight loss surgery procedures. Bariatric surgery is proven tool to help patients lose weight and keep it off long-term. Many weight loss surgery patients lose between 30 and 70 percent of their excess body weight in the first 12 months after surgery.

As obesity rates increase, more and more patients are turning to bariatric surgery for help. In fact, nearly 200,000 patients will undergo weight loss surgery procedures this year.

If you are considering bariatric surgery to help you lose the extra weight and reclaim your health, you have options. The various weight loss surgery procedures, including gastric bypass surgery, gastric sleeve and gastric banding surgery (LAP-BAND), work differently, but with the same ultimate goal: to help the patient achieve significant weight loss.

Weight loss surgery is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Before deciding on a bariatric surgery procedure, it’s important to research the options, and have a conversation with your weight loss doctor to determine which procedure is best for you and your individual needs.

Gastric Bypass Surgery

Once considered the “gold standard” of weight loss surgery procedures, this laparoscopic procedure works through the mechanisms of restriction and malabsorption. During the procedure, a small stomach pouch is created and connected to the middle portion of the small intestine. The remainder of the stomach and small intestine is “bypassed.” Not only is the size of the stomach reduced from about the size of a football to the size of a lemon, the bypass procedure also limits absorption of nutrients by the body.

Patients who choose gastric bypass surgery typically lose 70 to 80 percent of their excess body weight in the first year after surgery.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery

In recent years, gastric bypass surgery has declined in popularity, with more patients’ option for procedures like the gastric sleeve. The patented mini sleeve procedure, performed by First Baptist Medical Center weight loss doctor, Todd McCarty, M.D., is rapidly becoming a patient favorite due to its true minimally invasive nature, reduced recovery time and less post-op pain.

Sleeve gastrectomy, also known as the gastric sleeve, is a restrictive weight loss surgery procedure during which a portion of the stomach is resected and removed, leaving just a small pouch remaining. The smaller stomach is only about 15 percent of the full size of the stomach, so the volume of food a gastric sleeve patient is able to consume is significantly restricted. In addition, the portion of the stomach responsible for production of the hunger hormone, ghrelin, is also removed.

Gastric sleeve surgery has fewer risks than gastric bypass, but patients choosing gastric sleeve can expect to lose about the same amount of weight (70 to 80 percent of excess body weight). Dr. McCarty’s improvement on the gastric sleeve procedure with his invention of the gastric mini sleeve surgery uses the natural entrances to the abdominal cavity, avoiding the many painful incisions required with a laparoscopic procedure. The result is less risk for complications, faster recovery, fewer scars and shortened hospital stay (if an overnight stay is required at all).

Gastric Banding Surgery

Unlike gastric sleeve and gastric bypass surgery, gastric banding helps the patient lose weight strictly through portion control, making it a purely restrictive procedure. Gastric banding surgery is also the only of the weight loss surgery procedures that is entirely reversible.

During a gastric banding procedure, a small, adjustable hand is placed around the upper stomach, creating a small stomach pouch. The band, which is attached to a catheter, is then filled with fluid, which can be adjusted as needed to fill the band. Patients who choose this option can expect to lose 30 to 40 percent of their excess body weight in the first year after surgery, ultimately losing as much as 65 percent in three to five years, providing they do not experience any complications.

Gastric banding surgery requires no cutting, stapling or intestinal rerouting, which explains why the procedure was once very popular among weight loss patients. In recent years however, the risk for complications with the band, along with innovations in other bariatric surgery procedures, such as the gastric sleeve, fewer patients are choosing gastric banding as their preferred weight loss surgery procedure.

If you are considering one of these weight loss surgery procedures to help you lose the weight for good, contact the bariatric team at First Baptist Medical Center today to schedule your appointment. Our surgeon, who has more than 20 years of experience as a bariatric surgeon, will help you select the procedure that is best for you.

If you’ve been battling weight gain, you’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of adults in the U.S. have obesity. That extra weight can cause other health conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Weight loss surgery has proven to be effective at improving these and other health conditions, and reducing dependency on medications for treatment of obesity-related health problems. Patients who undergo bariatric surgery typically lose between 30 and 70 percent of their excess weight, often within the first year.

When you are considering your weight loss options, including bariatric surgery, cost is an important factor to keep in mind. Will your insurance company cover the weight loss surgery cost? How much will bariatric surgery cost you out of pocket? These are all good questions to ask, but there is another factor anyone considering weight loss surgery should also consider.

What is it costing you to be overweight or obese?

While the sticker price of weight loss surgery may be overwhelming to some, the unexpected costs of being significantly overweight may cost you much more in the long run. Here’s a look at some of the costs associated with obesity:

Annual health care spending. Studies have shown that people who are significantly overweight or obese spend more on health care each year than people who are not overweight — up to $4,800 more per year. Costs associated with being overweight include treatment for obesity-related diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, cancer and other health problems.

Lost wages. People who are obese take more sick days than normal weight individuals. That time away from work can be costly for the individual, but employers and employees also share the burden in productivity losses, as well as short-term disability and direct medical costs.

Lower pay. According to the Obesity Action Coalition, people who are overweight or obese earn less than their normal-weight peers, and are often passed up for promotions.

Increased spending on clothing. Many clothing manufacturers place an upcharge on plus-size or big and tall clothing. The cost increase is especially notable when it comes to women’s clothing.

These are just a few examples of the added financial burden experienced by people who are overweight. But perhaps the worst consequence of obesity is the risk of premature death. According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office, individuals who have a body mass index (BMI) over 30 have a 50 to 100 percent increased risk of premature death. Even being moderately obese could cut three years off your life.

All things considered, the decision to undergo weight loss surgery can save you thousands of dollars compared to the cost of obesity, but the benefits of weight loss surgery go far beyond the financial. Improved health, greater quality of life and reduced mortality are all worth the cost.

But let’s get down to the dollars and cents of the weight loss surgery cost.

What does bariatric surgery cost?

Weight loss surgery costs between $15,000 and $25,000, depending on the procedure you choose. The average cost of gastric bypass surgery is around $23,000, while the cost of gastric banding and sleeve gastrectomy, such as the gastric mini sleeve surgery cost are lower — around $15,000.

Many major insurance providers offer coverage for bariatric surgery. If you have bariatric insurance coverage, your cost may be reduced to the out-of-pocket costs determined by your health care plan. For patients who do not have bariatric coverage, most weight loss surgeons offer a reduced cash price, which includes office visits, surgery and post-op care. Payment plans and financing are also an option, typically through a third-party, such as Care Credit.

If you are planning to use your health insurance to cover your weight loss surgery cost, there are a few important things to know.

  1. Your insurance provider must approve your surgery. There will be certain requirements you need to meet before you can be approved for surgery. Although these requirements vary by provider, these requirements may include (but are not limited to):
  1. Required nutritional evaluations, psychological screenings, etc may not be covered b y insurance. Although many insurance providers require these services before approving bariatric surgery, the cost for these services may not be covered, requiring the patient to pay out-of-pocket.
  2. Out-of-pocket costs must be paid before surgery. In most cases, the patient will be required to pay his or her out-of-pocket portion in full before surgery.
  3. No insurance approval does not mean no surgery. If you do not have insurance coverage, or your insurance company does not approve your procedure, it does not mean you are out of options. In addition to cash-pay options, many bariatric surgeons also provide non-surgical, or medical weight loss programs.

The weight loss doctors at First Baptist Medical Center have insurance experts with 20 years of experience helping patients receive insurance approval for bariatric surgery. We accept most private insurance plans and work on our patients’ behalf to obtain approval, minimizing out-of-pocket expenses. When paid in cash, gastric mini sleeve surgery cost and the costs of other procedures vary, but remain some of the most competitive self-pay prices in the area.

Are you ready to drop the weight, improve your obesity-related health conditions, and save on your annual health care costs? If diet and exercise hasn’t worked for you, or if you have been overweight for some time, there’s no better time than now to consider bariatric surgery. Contact First Baptist Medical Center today to schedule a consultation with a weight loss surgeon who can help you lose the weight and reclaim your life.

 

Did you know dehydration is the leading cause of hospital readmission after bariatric surgery? Some bariatric practices report as many as 37 percent of their patients are readmitted to the hospital due to dehydration after bariatric surgery.

These statistics — surprising as they may be — point to the importance of water after bariatric surgery. But staying hydrated after weight loss surgery isn’t as easy as it was before surgery.

Weight loss procedures such as gastric sleeve, gastric bypass and gastric banding all limit the capacity of the stomach, facilitating weight loss through reduced calorie consumption. But the new restricted stomach also limits the amount of fluid the stomach can hold. Before bariatric surgery, when you felt thirsty, you may have been able to down a bottle of water in a matter of a few seconds., After surgery, drinking too much too quickly could lead to nausea and vomiting. So being sure you’re getting enough fluids after bariatric surgery requires planning ahead, along with discipline.

Preventing dehydration after bariatric surgery means gradually sipping on water throughout the day, rather than chugging a full glass of water when you feel thirsty.

Why is hydration important?

Your body’s dependence on water doesn’t change when you have weight loss surgery. Just as was true before your procedure, every cell in your body is dependent on water for survival. Water helps your heart pump blood more efficiently through the body, it helps your body maintain a steady temperature, and facilitates the removal of toxins and waste.

Most bariatric surgeons recommend patients drink at least 64 ounces of fluid every day after surgery. Half of a patient’s fluids after bariatric surgery should be from clear liquids, without protein or added sugar. The remaining 32-ounces can be from full liquids and protein supplements.

Tips to be sure you’re getting enough fluids after bariatric surgery

Whether you are preparing for weight loss surgery, or are struggling to drink enough water after surgery, here are some tips to help you avoid dehydration after bariatric surgery:

  1. Don’t drink water with meals. Drink water and eat meals at separate times to help keep you from filling up too quickly and missing out on essential nutrients. Bariatric patients should separate eating and drinking by at least 30 minutes.
  2. Start drinking water first thing in the morning. Then, sip on it every hour throughout your day rather than waiting until the end of the day to “catch up” on your water intake.
  3. Carry water with you at all times, whether you’re at work, in the car or out and about. If your fluids are not with you, how can you drink them?
  4. Sip slowly. Drinking too fast, or gulping can cause stomach pain, bloating and other problems like nausea or vomiting.
  5. Drink frequently throughout the day. When you first go home after weight loss surgery, you may only be able to drink four to eight ounces of fluid over the course of an hour. As your body heals from surgery, you should be able to drink eight ounces in fifteen minutes.
  6. Measure your fluids after bariatric surgery and keep track of the number of ounces of water you’re drinking each day.
  7. Set a timer to go off every 30 minutes to remind you to take a sip of water. Time can get away from us during the day, so don’t rely on your body to tell you when it’s time to take another drink. Set an alarm as a reminder to ensure you are getting enough fluids throughout the day.
  8. Have a plan to drink a certain amount of fluids by a set time. For example, “drink eight ounces by 10am, 24 ounces by 2pm, 40 ounces by 6pm, 64 ounces by 10pm.
  9. Use a water tracking app on your phone to help. Daily Water Tracker Reminder, Hydro Coach, WaterMinder and iHydrate are just a few examples of apps available to help you track your water intake and meet your goals.
  10. Limit caffeine intake. Caffeine actually works as a diuretic and dehydrates you, so caffeinated beverages do not count toward your daily fluid intake. Some caffeine, such as coffee or tea, is acceptable if you are drinking enough water each day.
  11. Avoid carbonation. The bubbles in carbonated drinks can stretch out your stomach and cause discomfort and bloating.
  12. Mix things up by flavoring your water with lemon, lime or orange. Crystal light, decaf teas and coffee, Vitamin Water Zero and other zero-calorie, decaf and non-carbonated fluids are allowed.

Know the signs of dehydration after bariatric surgery

Just as important as making sure you’re drinking enough fluids after bariatric surgery is knowing the signs of dehydration. Common signs of dehydration include:

Dehydration can lead to serious complications, which is why it is so important to ensure you are getting enough fluids after bariatric surgery. Some of the health complications of dehydration include:

It may be time to call the doctor if you:

Understand the importance of water after bariatric surgery, and arm yourself with these tips to help you stay hydrated and avoid a return trip to the hospital after weight loss surgery. If you are struggling to get in enough water each day after surgery, don’t hesitate to reach out to your First Baptist Medical Center weight loss doctor, who provides post-op support to ensure patients are getting proper nutrition to achieve their weight loss and health goals.

There are countless benefits to losing weight, from improving weight related health conditions, to simply fitting into your clothes better. But loose, excess skin is after rapid weight loss is also a reality for many bariatric patients.

Unlike weight loss through diet and exercise, which typically causes slow results, patients who undergo weight loss surgery often lose weight quickly. Slower weight loss allows the skin, which has been stretched due to weight gain, to adapt and shrink as the weight comes off. When weight is lost more quickly, the skin loses some of its elasticity, resulting in loose, sagging skin.

This is undoubtedly a concern of bariatric surgery recovery for many patients and those considering bariatric surgery as an option to help them lose weight.

What causes excess skin after bariatric surgery?

During a period of weight gain, skin on the body expands to accommodate the growing and increased inches. In pregnancy, for example, as the pregnancy progresses, the mother’s skin stretches to make room for her growing baby. In much the same way, the skin stretches with weight gain. While some mothers experience excess skin after pregnancy, it typically retracts in the weeks and months following delivery as she returns to her normal body weight.

Time is one factor that can contribute to excess skin after bariatric surgery. If you have been overweight or obese for some time, your skin may have been stretched out for years, damaging the components that help to keep it tight and firm. Collagen and elastin allow the skin to retract with weight loss, but over time, their ability to help your skin bounce back can diminish.

As previously mentioned, losing weight at a rapid speed may also contribute to loose skin. Many bariatric surgery patients lose the majority of their extra weight in the first few months after surgery. It isn’t uncommon for patients to lose 50 to 100 pounds in a matter of months. Unfortunately, the downside to this quick weight loss is that the skin isn’t given as much time to adapt to changes in the body and retract down to a smaller size. The more weight a patient loses; the more excess skin they will have.

Age, genetics, sun exposure and smoking are other factors that can influence elasticity of the skin. While age and genetics are out of our control, making healthy lifestyle choices can help improve the appearance of skin and overall bariatric surgery recovery, though it may not be possible to prevent excess skin altogether.

What can be done about excess skin after bariatric surgery?

Excess skin after weight loss can present both physical and emotional challenges for the individual. Not only have you worked hard to lose weight and improve your body image, but the extra skin can be uncomfortable and may interfere with daily activity and exercise. For some patients, excess skin is even painful, with ulcers or infections developing in the loose skin.

The emotional effects of dealing with excess skin can cause poor body image and reduce self-esteem and confidence, making it more difficult or even embarrassing to attend social events. Some patients may avoid going to the gym not because of their weight, but because of the extra skin that is difficult to control during a workout.

While the pros of weight loss through bariatric surgery certainly outweigh the cons, it is important that the challenges patients face even after surgery can be addressed, so that patients are able to fully appreciate and enjoy their new life. The good news is that weight loss surgery patients have options when it comes to treating excess skin after surgery. There are both natural and surgical remedies for skin removal after bariatric surgery.

Natural remedies to tighten skin after weight loss surgery

Surgical skin removal after bariatric surgery

When natural remedies aren’t sufficient, body contouring surgery is a popular option for skin removal after bariatric surgery. During body contouring procedure, excess skin and fat is surgically removed. A few examples of body contouring procedures include:

Minimally invasive solutions, such as SmartLipo, ThermiTight and ThermiSmooth are also available. Body contouring procedures may be performed on different parts of the body at one time or over time following significant weight loss. Most surgeons recommend waiting at least 18 months after bariatric surgery to allow your body weight to normalize before undergoing skin removal surgery.

In most cases, surgical body contouring procedures require at least a one-night stay in the hospital. As is true with any medical procedure, there are some risks involved. Your surgeon can discuss these risks and help you choose the best option for excess skin removal after your bariatric surgery.

Surgery to remove skin after bariatric surgery can have both cosmetic and medical benefits for patients. Not only does the excess skin removal improve a patient’s appearance, boosting self-esteem and confidence, it also helps to eliminate the risk of skin infections and painful rashes that can develop in the excess skin and hinder a patient’s lifestyle.

Weight loss is essential for improving a patient’s health, but it is also about improving the patient’s quality of life. Weight loss patients often consider skin removal after bariatric surgery is often seen as the final step of their weight loss journey. If you are dealing with excess skin after rapid weight loss, contact your First Baptist Medical Center weight loss doctor today to learn more about your options.

You may have heard that a slow metabolism is linked to weight gain, but is weight loss truly dependent on metabolism? If you’ve been looking for the secret to how to burn calories, is revving up your metabolism the answer?

What is metabolism?

The metabolic process is a collection of chemical reactions that are continually happening within your body. Through this complex process, your body converts food (calories) to energy. Even at rest, your body requires energy to carry out basic functions such as breathing, circulating blood, growing and repairing cells, and more. The amount of energy (or number of calories) your body needs to maintain these basic functions is known as your basal metabolic rate (BMR), or metabolism.

What determines metabolic rate?

The rate at which your body burns calories at rest is dependent on several factors, including?

Metabolism and weight loss

Is metabolism directly linked to weight loss? The short answer: yes. And while a “faster” metabolism burns calories more quickly, it is not always true that a “slower” metabolism causes weight gain. Rather, the foods you eat and how much physical activity you do on a daily basis are more influential on weight gain or weight loss than the rate at which your body burns calories (metabolism).

How to burn calories

How quickly you gain or lose weight is dependent on a complex combination of factors, including genetics, hormones, what you eat, your environment, how much sleep you get, how much you exercise and your stress level. In order to burn more calories and lose weight, you must eat fewer calories than your body burns through metabolism.

Your body’s basal metabolic rate is responsible for burning about 70 percent of the calories you burn each day. While it is true that some people are born with a higher BMR than others, a “slow” BMR doesn’t mean you’re destined to be overweight. While there’s nothing you can do about many of the factors that determine metabolic rate, there are some changes you can make in your daily habits can help you burn more calories. Most weight loss programs are centered around the basic fact that you must burn more calories than you consume in order to lose weight.

Here are some helpful tips to help you burn more calories.

  1. Increase exercise. A healthy weight loss program includes a combination of cardio and strength training exercise. The American Heart Association recommends adults get at minimum, 150 minutes of moderately intense exercise each week. That means you should spend at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week exercising. If 30 minutes is too much at first, break your workouts into three 10-minute segments each day.
  2. Don’t skip strength training. Resistance and strength training exercises increase muscle mass so your body will burn calories more efficiently. At least two strength training workouts per week are recommended, including bodyweight exercises and weight lifting.
  3. Make small changes to increase physical activity. Look for ways to get more movement in your daily routine. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park at the back of the parking lot. Hold walking meetings at work. Walk or jog alongside your kids as they ride their bikes. Do bodyweight movements during the commercials while you’re watching your favorite show or sporting event.
  4. Get more sleep. It is a fact that sleep deprivation makes it difficult to manage blood sugar and resist cravings. Aim to get six to eight hours of sleep each night to help you maintain a healthy weight.
  5. Drink more water. Not only is water a no-calorie option that can help keep you feeling full and flush out toxins in your body, the process of thermogenesis warms the water you drink to body temperature, using calories to do so. The more water you drink the more calories you’ll burn through this process.
  6. Increase protein in your diet. Protein helps your body burn more calories at rest. By eating some protein with every meal or snack, you can keep your body burning calories all day. In addition to meat, you can also get protein from seafood, beans, eggs, nuts, dairy and soy.
  7. Don’t starve yourself. Yes, you must create an energy deficit in order to lose weight, but be careful not to create too much of a deficit or your body could kick into starvation mode and start storing calories instead of burning them.
  8. Drink coffee. To be clear, we’re not recommending a sugar-loaded specialty coffee drink, but a drinking a cup of black coffee (or coffee with a small amount of milk) can boost your metabolism and help you burn more calories.

Is it time to get rid of the extra weight you’ve been carrying around? Contact the weight loss doctors at First Baptist Medical Center today to learn more about the medical interventions available to help you lose weight reach your weight loss goals.

Every year, weight loss (along with eating healthier and exercising more) ranks among the most common New Year’s Resolutions. But actually losing weight can be a challenge, as life gets in the way. Weight loss doesn’t happen overnight, but making simple changes in your daily habits and following basic weight loss tips can help you stay on track and achieve your weight loss goals.

Here are 10 weight loss hacks to help you lose weight and keep it off.

  1. Add strength training to your fitness routine. Cardio is essential for a healthy heart, but it isn’t the secret sauce when it comes to losing weight. Increasing your muscle mass through strength training will help your body burn more calories on a daily basis. Strength training can also help reduce dangerous visceral fat in the belly and is more effective at burning belly fat than aerobic (cardio) exercise alone. You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to lose weight with strength training. Start with simple body-weight exercises like pushups, jumpees and squats, and slowly incorporate weight lifting to maximize the benefits of strength training.
  2. Eat more protein. A high-protein diet is an effective way to burn body fat. It can also help you eat less overall, as protein is more filling than other food options. Protein is also essential at preserving muscle mass and boosting metabolism for weight loss. To lose weight, protein should account for at least 30 percent of your daily calorie intake. To accomplish this, incorporate a protein source into every meal and snack. Choose lean meats like chicken or turkey; fish; nuts and seeds to satisfy your hunger and help your body burn more fat.
  3. Snack on whole foods. Skip the pre-packaged weight loss foods, processed foods and the drive-thru lane and stick with whole, natural foods for meals and snacks instead. Keep fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, cheese and nuts on hand for a healthy, on-the-go snack. Note that although natural, fruit can be high in sugar. Opt for fruits that are lower on the glycemic index, such as raspberries and blackberries.
  4. Watch what you drink. Hydration is absolutely essential in weight loss, but sugar-sweetened drinks such as flavored coffees, sweet tea, soda and energy drinks are loaded with calories but lacking nutritional value. Drink water as much as possible, but when you need a change, opt for calorie-free beverages like green tea or coffee. Green tea contains both caffeine and antioxidants which may increase fat burn and boost metabolism. Drinking black coffee has also been associated with increased energy and weight loss.

Of course, nothing tops water. Not only will drinking water help keep you feeling full so you’ll eat fewer calories, it also helps flush out toxins that cause inflammation that is linked to weight gain.  It is recommended that adults drink at least half their body weight in ounces of water each day. When you feel hunger coming on between meals, reach for a glass of water rather than a snack.

  1. Eat more healthy fats. It may seem counterintuitive, but when you eat the right kinds of fat, you may actually help your body burn more fat, reduce appetite and prevent weight gain. Fat takes longer to digest than other sources of calories, which is why eating healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds can reduce appetite and hunger. Studies have also shown healthy fats to be associated with reduced belly fat. Keep in mind that though it may be healthy, even good-for-you fats are high in calories, so rather than increasing your overall fat intake, try swapping unhealthy fats for healthy fats in your diet.
  2. Stay full with fiber. If you’re trying to cut calories, eating high-fiber foods can help as they keep you feeling fuller for longer. An increase of about 14 grams of fiber per day may help you decrease overall calorie intake by as much as 10 percent. High-fiber foods to boost weight loss include fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
  3. Get plenty of sleep. This is one of the weight loss tips we can all get behind. If it’s routine for you to get fewer than six hours of sleep a night, you’re not doing yourself any favors when it comes to losing weight. Poor sleep habits lead to stress, which increases cortisol, resulting in a lower metabolic rate. Lack of sleep also contributes to increased appetite and higher risk of obesity. Make sleep a priority and stick to a regular sleep schedule to help your body burn fat more effectively. Keep in mind that sleeping too much can also affect weight loss. Aim for six to eight hours of sleep each night.
  4. Cut carbs. While you’re increasing your healthy fat intake, try reducing carbs (especially refined carbohydrates from pastries, processed foods, pasta, etc) to boost fat burn. Refined carbs can cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar that may lead to weight gain. Eating a reduced carbohydrate diet may help you burn more calories and fat than eating a low-fat diet. When you do eat carbs, stick to complex carbs, such as those found in vegetables and fruit.
  5. Incorporate probiotics into your diet. Probiotics are “good” bacteria that help keep your digestive tract healthy and balance the bacteria in your gut. Increasing probiotic intake through food or supplements can help reduce inflammation that causes weight gain and aid in overall fat loss. Supplements are quick and easy ways to incorporate probiotics into your diet, but you can also eat foods rich in probiotics, such as kefir, kombucha, kimchi and sauerkraut.
  6. Watch your portion size. A simple way to cut calories and lose weight is to decrease your portion size. The average American consumes portion sizes much larger than the recommended portions. Take the time to measure your portion sizes, rather than “eyeballing” it. Try weight loss hacks to reduce portion size like using smaller plates, such as dessert plates or a portion control plate.

If you are looking for weight loss tips to lose weight quickly, just keep in mind that weight loss is a process that takes time and dedication. While these weight loss hacks can help increase your fat burn, reaching your weight loss goals and maintaining a healthy weight long term requires a commitment to a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Are you frustrated by a cycle of weight loss and regain, or could you use some help getting started on your weight loss journey? The weight loss doctors at First Baptist Medical Center can speak with you about creating healthy eating habits and possible medical interventions to help you reach a healthy weight. Contact us today to learn more.