Losing Weight with Gastric Bypass Surgery

How does the gastric bypass help you lose weight? What are the health benefits? How long is the recovery? These three questions are always top of mind for our gastric bypass patients.  If you’re considering gastric bypass surgery to help you lose weight, here are a few important facts to know.

Gastric Bypass Surgery Helps You Eat Less & Absorb Fewer Calories

Gastric bypass surgery helps patients lose weight by creating a small stomach pouch and rerouting the path food takes so you feel full faster and absorb fewer calories. After surgery, the food “bypasses” a large section of the stomach and part of the small intestine, creating an early sense of fullness in your stomach. This approach, which is restrictive (restricts the amount of food) and malabsorptive (reduces the amount of calories absorbed), helps jumpstart weight loss. The gastric bypass procedure also reduces the amount of ghrelin (hunger hormone) in your stomach resulting in less overall hunger. 

Many Patients Experience Health Benefits After Gastric Bypass Surgery

Patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery typically lose around 60-80% of their excess body weight. Along with losing weight, gastric bypass surgery can also result in the resolution of obesity-related medical conditions such as: 

Recovery After Losing Weight with Gastric Bypass Surgery

On average, patients usually stay in the hospital 1-2 days following a gastric bypass procedure, and are encouraged to be up and walking as soon as they are able to after surgery. Before patients leave the hospital, the NJBC surgical team will make sure that you are tolerating liquids, your pain is managed and you are comfortable moving around. 

As with any surgery there are side effects and risks to weight loss procedures. To read more about side effects and risks associated with the gastric bypass, visit our Side Effects & Risks page.

If you have more questions about  gastric bypass surgery give us a call at 908-481-1270.

*Metabolic and bariatric surgery. (2018, October). In the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Retrieved November 10, 2020, from https://asmbs.org/resources/metabolic-and-bariatric-surgery

Move It To Lose It: Exercise after Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve or LAP-BAND® surgery

What is the best exercise for weight loss?  The short answer is “anything you’ll stick with long-term!” But when it comes to weight loss surgery (Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve and LAP-BAND®), this often isn’t as simple as it sounds.  Excess body weight, loose skin, a smaller stomach and pre-existing joint or spine conditions are just a few of the things bariatric surgery patients may need to consider when embarking on the fitness portion of their weight loss journey.

Before we get into what bariatric exercises are best or how to exercise, let’s explore why exercise is so important for Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve or LAP-BAND® patients. After all, you’ve probably tried exercise for weight loss before with mixed results so you’re skeptical that you will find something that works for you. Some bariatric patients believe they won’t need exercise because the surgery does all the work to lose the weight. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, studies have shown that a critical factor for the long-term success of weight loss surgery patients is committing to a safe, sustainable exercise program.

Physical activity is the second most important behavioral factor for predicting long-term weight loss success after surgery, second only to improved dietary habits.  By incorporating exercise prior to surgery, patients may experience a boost in metabolism and shorter recovery times.  A recent study also found that adults who add walking to their daily routines following Gastric Bypass improved cardiovascular health and reduced their risk of diabetes.

Are you convinced yet? Before you jump up and tie on your running shoes, you’ll need to learn how to incorporate exercise in a way that maximizes its benefits and minimizes the chances of injury. All it takes is a little careful planning and extra thought and you’ll be off walking, biking and training in no time. And remember, before beginning any exercise or fitness program be sure to consult with your physician or surgeon.

Start SMART. Too often I hear vague statements of intent from my patients, like “I plan to start exercising more.”  I tell them to get SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely – to  improve the quality of their goal and increase the chances it will actually be met. A SMART goal sounds like this: “I plan to start walking on my lunch break at the park near my office beginning next Monday.  My goal is 4 times per week for 30 minutes, weather permitting.”  Now that’s music to my ears!

Start slowly. Don’t make the mistake of going full speed ahead only to regret it the next day.  Start with 5 or 10 minutes and gradually increase to 60 minutes for five or more days per week.  Thinking more like the tortoise and less like the hare will greatly improve the odds of staying committed long term and help lessen soreness or, worse, injury.

Count it all. Activities of Daily Living or ADLs include things like cleaning the house, grocery shopping, doing laundry, parking the car further away and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.  These little things can add up when done consistently over a period of time, and they don’t require a gym membership or huge time commitment.

Consider the impact. If you have a BMI greater than 30, you’re at increased risk for joint injuries when exercising.  For this reason, it is generally recommended to avoid high-impact activities such as running, jumping and contact sports.  Some of these activities may be accessible post-surgery once you are at a healthier weight, but they are generally not safe choices for beginners.

Track wisely. Using a pedometer or app to count steps and record completed activities can be a great motivator, but be wary of the features that estimate the number of calories burned.  Too often these calculations are inaccurate, sometimes by as much as 30%, and there’s a tendency to overeat as a result of believing you expended a specific amount of energy.  If you find you fall into that trap, try setting a non-food reward for meeting a fitness goal, such as a new book for walking 10,000 steps every day for a week.

Train smarter.  Exercise for maximum effectiveness by choosing a plan that incorporates both cardiovascular and strength-training activities. Strength training should consist of two to three sets of 8-12 repetitions for each major muscle group. Aim to do total body resistance exercises two or three times per week.  Lower impact aerobic exercise that raises your heart rate to 50% to 80% of your maximum target and lasts at least 30 minutes should be the daily cardiovascular goal.  And always allow time to warm up and cool down before and after any exercise session. This helps reduce both soreness and the chance of injury.

Get offensive. While I don’t suggest reusing yesterday’s t-shirt, it is a good idea to get offensive when planning your exercise routine.  If joint issues or prior injuries are a concern, consider working with a certified personal trainer to develop a safe and effective routine.  Many strength exercises can be done from a seated position, and activities such as water aerobics or stationary biking may be less likely to cause new or repeat injuries.

Support your skin. Post weight loss surgery, patients may experience loose or sagging skin.  This poses a unique challenge when exercising as chafing can result in discomfort or open wounds.  So what is there to do short of having plastic surgery?  Topical lubricating gels that decrease friction and supportive workout clothes or undergarments can help make exercise more tolerable.

Forget “no pain, no gain.” Or at least learn what type of pain is reasonable versus what isn’t.  Muscle soreness, especially at the beginning, is almost a given.  Cooling down and stretching can help reduce the severity and duration, and it should improve within a few days.  Joint pain, however, is never OK and it is always an indicator to slow down or stop.  Also be sure to get permission from your surgeon before lifting weights as it is generally advisable to avoid anything heavier than 10 pounds for at least the first month after surgery.

Choose the right fuel. Finding the right balance of nutrients to fuel your workout is key. Limitations on portion size and the emphasis on high-protein, low-carbohydrate foods can make this challenging, but it is manageable.  Be aware that extremely low carbohydrate intake can cause dizziness or lightheadedness in some people, so it is important to stop any activity and seek guidance from your doctor or dietitian if this occurs.  Meeting your fluid goals, generally 64 ounces per day, is also essential to reduce muscle cramping and prevent fatigue.  Just be sure to separate eating and drinking by at least 30 minutes before and after to prevent flushing of food or dumping syndrome.

Make some space. Just as important as deciding which exercises to try, is designating time and space to actually do them.  Scheduling time on your calendar for fitness increases the likelihood of following through.  And designating a space for your activities, such as a room in your home, the gym or a nearby park, will help you establish a routine and minimize distractions.

By choosing bariatric surgery, you are making a valuable investment in your future health status.  Regular exercise is the insurance policy that will help support your recovery after surgery and guard against future weight regain.  Follow these tips and you’ll be fit and healthy for many years to come.  Now lace up those sneakers and get moving!

4 Facts About Gastric Sleeve and Weight Loss

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

The gastric sleeve, also known as the vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG), is one of the most popular weight loss procedures in New Jersey, and the most performed weight loss surgery here at New Jersey Bariatric Center. 

We get a lot of questions about gastric sleeve surgery from how it helps you lose weight to the health benefits for the procedure. If you’re considering a bariatric surgery procedure, here’s 4 things to know about gastric sleeve: 

1. Gastric Sleeve Helps You Lose Weight in 2 Ways

First, gastric sleeve surgery jumpstarts weight loss by removing a portion of the stomach and narrowing the remaining part of the stomach into a thin “sleeve-like” tube. The reduced stomach size holds less food so you feel full faster, while still allowing for the digestion of key nutrients. The second way is that the gastric sleeve procedure reduces the secretion of ghrelins in your stomach. Ghrelins are hormones responsible for making you feel hungry. Patients on average can lose about 40-70% of their excess body weight after a gastric sleeve procedure. 

2. The Health Benefits Go Beyond the Numbers on the Scale

Not only does the gastric sleeve help you to lose weight, but it can also offer other health benefits and improvements for obesity-related conditions. In a study by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), after gastric sleeve surgery: 

As with any surgery there are side effects and risks to weight loss procedures. To learn more, visit our Side Effects & Risks page.

3. Gastric Sleeve Surgery is performed Laparoscopically or Robotically-Assisted

During gastric sleeve surgery our surgeons make small incisions in the abdominal wall to remove 75-80% of the stomach. This reduces the capacity of the stomach to 3-4 ounces, resulting in patients feeling full, faster on a smaller portion of food. At New Jersey Bariatric Center the surgery is performed either laparoscopically or is robotically-assisted, and usually lasts approximately 1-2 hours.

4. Hospital Stays are Generally 1 Day 

Both methods - laparoscopic or robotic-assisted - of surgery involve smaller incisions through the stomach, which often leads to, for many patients, less pain and a short, 1 day hospital stay, in general. To learn more about recovery at home, post-surgery nutrition as well as returning to work and regular activity, click here.

For more questions about gastric sleeve or to schedule an appointment give us a call at 908-481-1270. To register for one of our free webinars, click here

*Metabolic and bariatric surgery. (2018, October). In the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Retrieved November 10, 2020, from https://asmbs.org/resources/metabolic-and-bariatric-surgery

Healthy Habits for the Back to School Season Part 2: Healthy Quick Stop Options

At New Jersey Bariatric Center, we understand how hectic weeknights can be between the evening commute, after school activities, and having a healthy dinner. When you’re running low on time and need a quick meal for the whole family, stopping at a fast casual restaurant can be the most convenient option. Here are some healthier quick stop options to choose from:

  1. Dunkin/Starbucks – Try the Dunkin Turkey Bacon Wake-up Wrap (180 calories, 10g fat, 13g carb, 1g fiber, 8g protein) or Starbucks Egg White and Roasted Red Pepper Egg Bites (170 calories, 8 g fat, 11 g carb, 12 g protein). An Egg and Cheddar protein box from Starbucks can also be a good choice if you ditch the included bread or crackers (About 390 calories, 22g fat, 21g carbs, 23g protein). This helps to keep the focus on protein and fiber, rather than simple carbohydrates. 
  2. Chick-Fil-A – This chain offers several protein options like a grilled chicken sandwich. We recommend that you lose the bun. Without the bun the nutrition content is about 230 calories,12g fat, 5g carb, 28g protein and with the bun about 600 calories, 35g fat, 35g carbs, 30g protein. Side salads and fresh fruit are also available, making this a good place to stop. Just remember that salad dressing adds additional calories so stick with 1 serving or less of dipping sauce or dressing to keep empty calories in check.
  3. Wendy’s – A quick stop at Wendy’s can refuel you and your crew with a classic cup of chili (small cup: 240 calories, 11g fat, 18g carbs, 16g protein) and a side of fresh apples (35 calories, 0g fat, 7g carbs, 0g protein). Other good choices include salads (about 400 calories, 22g fat, 10g carbs, 40g protein) or a no-bun sandwich made with grilled chicken (without bun: about 230 calories, 12g fat, 5g carb, 28g protein). Avoid high-carb salad toppings like croutons or chips and anything labeled “crispy” as the chicken is most likely fried. 
  4. Chipotle – This is a great option for when you need a filling and fully customizable meal on-the-go. Choose from one of their protein and veggie packed Lifestyle Bowls like the Whole30, Paleo or Keto options which are low in carbs (about 500 calories, 33g fat, 15-20g carbs, 30-40g protein). You can also make your own bowl with a base of greens and fajita veggies instead of rice. Top with your choice of protein, salsa, veggies, beans and guacamole. Go easy on cheese, sour cream and tortillas. 
  5. Wawa – It seems that Wawa stores are popping up all over the place and they can provide some decent choices if you’re in a hurry and you know what to look for. Try one of their made-to-order breakfast bowls with eggs and turkey sausage. Or build your own salad with lots of fresh veggies and protein options to choose from like roasted chicken, turkey bacon, tuna, boiled eggs and turkey breast (about 350-450 calories, 10-30g fat, 15-30g carbs, 30-45g protein). There are also some protein and veggie based soups and side dishes like chili, tomato basil soup and a side of meatballs with marinara sauce (small dish: 240 calories, 19g fat, 10g carbs, 6g protein). Healthier kids meal options plus grab-and-go choices like yogurt or a small bag of nuts make this a great place to keep on your shortlist if a game runs late and you have to grab something fast. 

RELATED: Bariatric Friendly Fast Food Options

For more information on healthy options at your favorite fast food restaurants and staying on track, make an appointment to see your dietitian at 908-481-1270.

Why It’s Important to Have a Support System for Weight Loss Surgery

Having a support system for weight loss surgery can help you stay on track, keep you motivated and celebrate milestones with you along the way. At New Jersey Bariatric Center we encourage our patients to establish a circle of support early in the process because the months and weeks prior to your surgery are a very exciting and important time when you begin lifestyle changes. Having the support early on can set you up for long term success beyond surgery.

Identify Your Support Circle

Think about the people around you who are supportive. Maybe it’s an immediate relative or friend. Or maybe it’s a neighbor who’s caring and always willing to help. It could even be a coworker, or people that you meet through social media support groups. Start by letting them know that you’ve made a decision to live a healthier life and ask for their help as you begin to prepare for your journey.

How Your Support System Can Help

Support can mean cheering you on as you lose weight, helping you stick to your new eating plan. Or, it could even joining you in your new healthier lifestyle changes. For instance, if you think it’s going to be difficult to break the habit of drinking soda after surgery, the earlier you start to cut back and eventually eliminate soda, the easier it will be. And having an accountability partner who understands the support you need and even suggests healthier options can help. The same can be said for healthy meal plans. The people you spend time with can even benefit by following along with you and learning how to prepare foods the same way. 

Invite Them to Your Appointments 

A great way to include your support system is to bring them with you to your appointments. This way they can learn about the process and feel closer to you on your weight loss journey. Your surgeon, physician assistant and registered dietitian will explain the surgical procedure and the dietary and lifestyle changes. They will also answer any questions about how your circle of support can contribute to your success. 

Find Support at NJBC

At New Jersey Bariatric Center, every patient is paired with a patient navigator who helps them every step of the way. Our navigators help with everything from verifying insurance, going over criteria and scheduling appointments. Our doctors, physician assistants, dietitians and entire medical staff are available to answer any questions about the process. After weight loss surgery, we offer more ways to help you achieve long term success. Our Tuesday Talks support group meetings and our private Facebook community connect you with others who are on the same journey. You can share experiences and get ideas to help stay motivated. For meal planning and healthy recipes, our team of registered dietitians provide tips every month on our blog. 

With a strong support system around you, you will be better positioned to achieve your happiest and healthiest weight. For more questions or to make an appointment, call our office at 908-481-1270. 

Marijuana, Smoking and Weight Loss Surgery

Now that the state of New Jersey legalized the use of recreational marijuana for adults, several patients have asked how using marijuana can affect their weight loss surgery journey.

To start, the use of marijuana should be discussed with your surgeon. Smoking, whether it’s cigarettes or marijuana, is a health risk that can lead to lung and heart complications both during and after bariatric surgery as well as long-term health consequences. Marijuana itself can alter clotting factors in our blood, making our bodies more prone to developing clots which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Your surgeon will discuss these risks and how to safely prepare for surgery.

Marijuana Use when Planning for Weight Loss Surgery

Marijuana use has been studied extensively, and when it is smoked or eaten as edibles, chemicals called cannabinoids are released into the body and can cause increased heart rate, high blood pressure and heart rhythm abnormalities. Transitioning from smoking marijuana to oral formulations, such as edibles or extracts, may lessen the risk of airway compromise and decrease the chances of systemic issues during and after surgery, but must  be discussed with your doctor prior to surgery.

Marijuana Use after Weight Loss Surgery

There is not enough research available to have a definitive answer to how marijuana use will affect you after your weight loss surgery whether it’s gastric sleeve, bypass or band. In a small, study at a an academic center participants were followed up to 2 years after their gastric sleeve or gastric bypass procedures and the excess weight lost after surgery measured by BMI did not differ significantly between marijuana users and non-users. Even with the findings in this small study, it’s still important to understand that marijuana use is a health risk. 

If you are planning to have weight loss surgery or have had weight loss surgery and have more questions regarding marijuana use related to your weight loss journey, give us a call at 908-481-1270.

Sources

  1. Haskins IN, Amdur R, Vaziri K. The effect of smoking on bariatric surgical outcomes. Surgical Endoscopy.  2014;28(11):3074-3080. doi:10.1007/s00464-014-3581
  2. Haskins IN, Nowacki AS, Khorgami Z, et al. Should recent smoking be a contraindication for sleeve gastrectomy? Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases. 2017;13(7):1130-1135. Doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2017.02.028
  3. Shockcor N, Adnan SM, Siegel A, Wise E, Zafar SN, Kligman M. Marijuana use does not affect the outcomes of bariatric surgery. Surg Endosc. 2021 Mar;35(3):1264-1268. doi: 10.1007/s00464-020-07497-5. Epub 2020 Mar 12. PMID: 32166550.

How to Reset After Holiday Eating

If you’ve overindulged this holiday season and are looking for a fresh start this New Year, you’re not alone. With lots of holiday gatherings, it’s hard not to veer off track a little bit. Rather than searching for a quick fix, cleanse or product, let’s look at some steps to take if you’re trying to get your health back on track or resetting after the holidays.

  1. Resist the urge for a quick fix.

    Cleanses, fad diets and juice fasts are everywhere in the new year but we all know they don’t work in the long run. Set an intention to make better choices starting now and don’t beat yourself up for what can’t be changed.

  2. Make a plan.

    This is so important, and you’ll want to give some serious thought to your next steps in order to be successful in the days and weeks ahead. Grab a blank calendar page or open your Notes app and write/type a list of specific ways to help you meet your goal. It could be resuming a protein focused pre-op diet, exercising 3 times this week or drinking 8 glasses of water. Use the SMART method of setting goals to help set yourself up for success.

  3. Tackle your temptations first. Then restock with healthy choices.

    First, get rid of any lingering temptations that don’t fit with your priorities. Give away or toss leftovers, soda or that half-full bag of chips so they don’t come calling later on. Then stock up on healthy choices and even do some meal prepping if time permits. Chop up fresh veggies, prepare a salad and cook a big batch of soup or crock pot chicken. Grab some cheese sticks, yogurts and hummus for easy snacks and you’re well on your way to a healthier you. 

  4. Weigh yourself as needed.

    While frequent weigh-ins might seem like a good way to track your progress, it’s best to aim for once or twice a week at most and focus on other cues in between. You might notice you have more energy, your pants fit better and your digestion is less sluggish. These are all great ways to check in with yourself to gauge if your efforts are yielding the results you’re looking for. 

  5. Get moving.

    If you’ve been off the exercise wagon for a week or more, it’s best to start back slowly and always check with your doctor if you have any pre-existing health conditions that limit your activity. Choose something enjoyable - maybe a walk, a favorite class online or at the gym or yoga studio to work on flexibility. Whatever you choose, take it easy and listen to your body. Schedule time each day or week for exercise to get back into a regular routine.

  6. Celebrate small wins

    A decision to have bariatric surgery requires committing to a new way of approaching food and health, but there will be bumps along the way. When you meet one of your goals whether it’s drinking 8 glasses of water or exercising, celebrate those small wins and let it motivate you to achieve the next goal on your list.

  7. Be in it for the long haul

    Don’t let a bad day or week undo all the progress you’ve made during your weight loss journey. Every step you take puts you a little closer to becoming a healthier you.  For even more inspiration, check out these daily steps to get healthier each day.

  8. Meal plan

    In general, we like to tell our patients to stick to 3 meals and a healthy snack with a focus on protein a day. Below is a sample menu for an idea of what your meals can look like.  

Remember, you can always substitute a protein shake for one of your meals or snacks.

If you need help resetting after the holidays or getting back on track, make an appointment to see a NJBC RD at 908-481-1270.

Avoiding the Office Snack Temptation

Office snacking can be difficult to avoid especially if the break room is filled with snacks, a co-worker has a fully stocked candy jar or someone from accounting is a fantastic baker and brings in the most irresistible baked goods. How do you handle the urge to overindulge and make sure you stay on track with your health goals? Let’s look at what causes us to overindulge in the first place.

Why we feel tempted to overindulge

We can wind up snacking at the office for a variety of reasons. Some of us may turn to food when we are stressed, anxious, or tired. When you know a stressful conference call or meeting is coming up you may find yourself wandering off to the breakroom. Others may turn to food just because it’s within reach and they're distracted by something else. For example, while chatting at the watercooler you may find yourself grabbing a pack of M&M’s even though you’re not necessarily hungry. This is considered mindless eating. Whether it's emotional, stress-related or mindless eating -understanding your triggers and planning ahead can help you resist the temptation.

Pre-pack your meals the night before 

The first tip to help you avoid the temptation to overindulge is to plan ahead. Pack yourself a healthy lunch and a healthy snack. You are less likely to crave another snack if you finish your lunch break feeling satisfied. For meal ideas, click here.

Stay hydrated

Sometimes our body mistakes hunger signals for thirst. Even a mild case of dehydration can lead to cravings. If you suddenly feel hungry after having lunch and a snack, make sure you are hydrated. One way to avoid dehydration is to bring your water bottle and refill it at the watercooler to help keep those cravings at bay. 

Have sugar-free mints/gum handy

Sucking on sugar-free mints or chewing minty gum can help. Studies show that an ingredient in mint helps suppress cravings. When your mouth feels clean, you are less likely to want to eat.

Try an office health drive

Finally, try enlisting your co-workers to join a health journey.  Start a walking lunch group or talk to someone about having healthy snacks in the break room to choose from. Involve your co-workers in your healthier snack ideas and you can all benefit.

For more information or to schedule an appointment to help with meal planning, call us at 908-481-1270.

 

Tackling Childhood Obesity Together

Adult obesity and childhood obesity rates have continued to rise over the past 20 years. Because obesity can pose immediate and future health risks, parents and caregivers are looking for answers to how they can help their children live a healthier and happier life. . 

In the United States, 1 in 5 children or about 19% struggle with obesity. In New Jersey, 14% of children ages 10 through 17 have obesity, which is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater. Just like adults, children who have obesity are more likely to become adults with obesity and are at a higher risk of developing other chronic health issues such type 2 diabetes, hypertension, joint problems and more. 

Research shows that COVID-19 has not only increased the likelihood of childhood obesity, but actually worsened the severity of the disease. This is due to a decrease in physical activity and extracurricular activities, increase in screen time, family financial constraints limiting access to healthy foods and,, the increase of stress and fear of contracting COVID-19. 

As a parent, how can you tackle childhood obesity and help your child live a healthier life? Here are some tips. 

Encourage healthy eating habits

Nutrition is essential for overall health as well as  growth and development. Eating healthy as a family is important to keep everyone healthy and happy. Keep the primary focus on lean proteins and high fiber fruits and vegetables. Check out our blog for dietitian-approved, delicious recipes that the whole family will enjoy. Try preparing new and healthy recipes together or making a healthier version of your child’s favorite food.

Increase movement

Children aged 6-17 should get around 60 minutes or more of activity daily. This will help strengthen their bones, build muscles and encourage a healthy weight. Motivate your child(ren) to get outside and move around daily. That can be anything from running, walking, swimming to playing basketball, soccer, rock climbing and more. Help them find an activity that they enjoy. Or, even better, increase movement as a family. Take nightly walks after dinner. Try hiking or biking on the weekends. It’s a great opportunity to spend more quality time as a family while increasing your daily movement and offering support to your child. 

Decrease screen time

Another way to encourage children to move more is to limit the amount of time they spend in front of their screens. On average, children aged 8-12 spend 4-6 hours watching or using screens and teenagers spend up to 9 hours a day on screen. Allow them to use their phones, laptops and video games after they’ve done school work and played an activity. Or even limit screen use to the weekends only. They can use their screen time to find healthy recipes they may want to try or a movement based video game. Challenge your child to use screen time productively. For example, finding a fun and engaging exercise video or attending a live, virtual Zoom exercise class. Find a routine that works for you and keeps everyone healthy and happy.

How a Medical Team Can Help 

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to help your child, the excess weight doesn’t come off. It could be because of the body’s set point. This is when our body is working against us in order to maintain its set point -- a weight range, usually within 5 or 10 pounds, that our body fights very hard to maintain. When our body detects that we’re consuming fewer calories, our stomach sends signals to our brain to eat more -- we’ll even start to feel more hungry. You can read more about the set point theory here

You may be able to help your child reverse this vicious cycle with bariatric surgery or non-surgical weight loss methods. New Jersey Bariatric Center is a part of Robert Wood Johnson’s Adolescent Bariatric Surgery Research Study. The goal of this study is to establish the efficacy of bariatric surgery to adolescent patients between the ages of 15-18 years old. The study will evaluate improvement in comorbid conditions, quality of life, and lower BMI over a 2-year time span. You can read more about the study here

Make an appointment to speak with one of our fellowship trained bariatric surgeons to help you find the best solution. Call us today at 908-481-1270.

Do I have to be on a liquid diet before weight loss surgery?

Patients who plan to have gastric sleeve or bypass often ask if they have to go on a liquid diet before surgery.  When I say yes but only the day before the procedure, it’s often met with a look of surprise and then relief. A quick google search usually explains their reaction. Many websites discuss the dreaded 2-week liquid diet. Patients often express concern about how they’ll survive it. At New Jersey Bariatric Center, we do not require a liquid diet for an extended period of time. Our patients are advised to start the day before. Here’s why.

Extended liquid diets are not sustainable. They make you feel hungry and make the time before your surgery more stressful than it needs to be. We found that a lower calorie diet focused on protein is more sustainable. It also helps to create better habits for your life after surgery. We encourage healthy, low-calorie eating and meal planning from your very first appointment and provide the guidance to get your started. 

Pre-op Bariatric Diet 

We require you to be on a 1200-calorie meal plan two weeks before surgery, substituting one meal a day for a protein shake. Taking a protein shake as a meal replacement gets your body used to the shakes because for the first two weeks after your surgery they will be your primary source of nutrition. This meal plan encourages weight loss before your surgery, and the pre-surgery weight loss can help reduce the size of your liver in preparation for your procedure.

RELATED: Liquid Calories

Day Before Surgery

The day before your surgery, you are on a liquid diet starting at 1pm. This ensures that your stomach is completely empty by the time of your surgery the next day. This helps reduce the amount of stomach acid produced and decreases the chance of having complications. It’s important to follow the bariatric guidelines outlined before weight loss surgery to increase the chances of a better outcome.

If you have any questions about the preoperative process, meal plans or diets, always reach out and speak to your dietitian, navigator or surgeon. Give us a call at 908-481-1270 to make an appointment.

Tips to Handle Pandemic Weight Gain As We Return to In-Person

We’ve been living a pandemic life for more than a year now. Maybe we’ve paid less attention to choices like what we wear each day or how much we’ve been snacking. Talking to friends, family and patients, gaining the “COVID 19” has become something of a running joke until the call comes to head back into the office or take your kids to school IN PERSON. Then the realization sets in that people will see all of us, not just our head in a Zoom square box. Suddenly, the thought of being back out in the world doesn’t feel so fun. If you are facing the struggle with pandemic weight gain, here are a few health tips that may help make the transition easier.

Cultivate Awareness
It’s important to acknowledge where you are in the present moment. This might mean stepping on a scale, trying on those work pants that have made their way to the back of the closet or keeping a food journal to gauge how much you’re eating. Once you have this information, you can begin to make a plan for moving forward.

Resist Judgment and Set New Goals
Try to resist the temptation to judge yourself. It’s been a tough year and what’s done is done. Set an achievable goal or two and create an environment that will allow you to reach it. Keep those work pants front and center to help motivate you. Write out your meals and snacks for the coming week. Get moving by taking a walk, doing some yard work or joining an outdoor fitness class. Focus your energy on reaching your goals, not on the past.

RELATED: Non-Scale Victories

Food as Fuel Mindset
Thinking of food as fuel is a great way to feel in control of our choices with a positive spin. Meals and snacks are a great opportunity to fuel our bodies and help us be at our best. Knowing you’re making healthy choices for yourself and your family, especially during stressful times, is empowering and comforting. Thinking of food as fuel is a great way to feel in control of our choices with a positive spin. Make a plan for defined mealtimes including a healthy snack or two and drink lots of water. Keep a running grocery list in your phone or near the fridge and seek out recipes or meal planning ideas that are realistic for your lifestyle. 

Practice Self Care
Emotional eating has been at an all-time high for many over the past year. Brainstorming non-food ways to comfort and care for yourself in times of stress is essential as we begin to re-enter the world. Some options might be treating yourself to a favorite no-calorie drink like coffee, tea or sparkling water, going for a walk, taking a bath, buying a new outfit, getting yourself some beautiful flowers, or reading a really good book. Keep a list of your favorite non-food treats posted in the kitchen and you’ll be ready when emotions trigger a snack attack. 

Share Your Journey
This could be with the people in your household, co-workers or even a trusted healthcare provider. Chances are they can relate to what you’re going through, and studies show having a support system helps us reach our health goals better than going it alone. 

For more help with pandemic weight gain, goal setting, meal planning and healthy habits visit us at www.njbariatriccenter.com or call to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced Registered Dietitians at 908-481-1270.

Keep Your Weight Loss on Track With NJBC Registered Dietitians

“How often should I meet with the registered dietitian?” “Is it necessary to continue visits after I start losing weight?” These are questions the New Jersey Bariatric Center’s registered dietitians get asked all the time. Our answer is always the same - weight loss after surgery is a marathon, not a sprint. Obesity is a disease that surgery does not cure. Surgery is a tool to jumpstart weight loss, and there are many factors that contribute to achieving sustainable results.  Here at New Jersey Bariatric Center, we’ve found that support can play a significant role to help you stay on track. Particularly the support and guidance of a bariatric registered dietitian. Especially while you’re learning to navigate and find the right balance of nutrition before and after surgery.

Weight Loss is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Whether you are beginning the process or have already had surgery, we recommend weekly or monthly visits to help you achieve long-term, sustainable weight loss. As bariatric registered dietitians, we review your eating habits, assess lifestyle changes, discuss food challenges in addition to helping you create a plan that fits your schedule. 

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Support After Surgery

NJBC’s post-operative program builds upon weight loss surgery and guides you toward optimal results within the first year. From personalized appointments and Tuesday Talks support group meetings to complimentary yoga classes, support after surgery is essential to staying on track. Each visit builds upon the previous. At times you will be able to select specific topics to discuss such as stress & overeating, how to avoid additional weight gain as well as weight maintenance once you achieve your goal weight.

Understanding Health Needs

For patients with a medical condition (diabetes, high blood pressure, pregnancy or heart disease) or who need nutrition recommendations tailored to their individual needs, working with a registered dietitian to develop a healthy, balanced eating plan ensures safe and effective outcomes.

Experience

For pre and post operative weight loss surgery patients in particular, working with an experienced bariatric registered dietitian is vital. We have extensive experience helping patients meet their need for protein and other nutrients. We can help you create long-term healthy habits and monitor metabolic changes. Your dietitian will also collaborate with our medical team to provide the best possible care. Plus, we really want to be there to cheer you on as you embark on a healthier chapter in your life. 

Maintaining Weight Loss

Many patients achieve their desired weight and are concerned about how to maintain it. The registered dietitians here help you set personalized meal plans. We also offer general exercise tips and assess barriers to maintaining all of your hard work. This can be achieved by participating in our follow up program after weight loss surgery. No matter where you are in your weight loss journey, we are here to help to support you through the process and help you stay on track. 

To schedule an appointment with one of our registered dietitians, call our office at 908-481-1270.