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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Misconceptions About WLS

As weight loss surgery becomes an increasingly popular treatment for morbid obesity misconceptions abound. Patients who undergo gastric bypass or gastric banding surgeries are often depressed and disappointed after surgery because they believed the popular misconceptions.

Some common misconceptions about WLS:

- Surgery brings joy and boundless energy instantaneously
- Laparoscopic surgery is painless
- WLS is an easy fix and permanent fix to obesity
- WLS guarantees happiness
- Others will support the WLS decision
- After reaching goal weight patients can go back to normal

Because patients read about the joy and boundless energy enjoyed by others after surgery they assume these feelings occur immediately. Joy is felt after massive weight loss, not after surgery. In fact, for many patients the first six weeks out of surgery are emotionally draining as they grieve for food and feel fatigued and disoriented.

We read the laparoscopic technique used for 85 percent of all WLS is minimally invasive requiring little recovery time. In truth this technique bruises the intestines, liver and ribs. The surgery is painful and recovery is not as rapid as most patients expect. Patients express feelings of failure when they are sore and exhausted from surgery.

For most patients weight loss happens quickly and easily. True to dieting tradition when patients reach goal weight they tend to go back to “normal” disregarding the high-protein low-volume diet. Weight gain results. Unless patients follow the strict WLS rules daily they regain weight.

WLS does not guarantee happiness. In fact, patients commonly describe feelings of anger, bitterness, resentment, panic and self-loathing as they lose weight. They also express happiness, satisfaction, pleasure, delight and self-love. The pendulum of emotions swings wide.

Having WLS exposes one to attacks from others who feel entitled to criticize the gluttonous sloth that could not lose weight by eating less and exercising more. Not all people, including spouses, siblings, parents and friends will support the decision for WLS.

WLS is a lifetime commitment to an extremely restrictive lifestyle that if used successfully will enable a former morbidly obese person to maintain a healthy weight and diminish the co-morbidities of obesity. It should never be considered the “easy way out” or a “quick fix.” It is a lifetime commitment with no returning to normal.

Learn more about the first year post-op in the LAWLS Library

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

100-Calorie Snack Packs:
Do or Don't?

The 100-Calorie snack pack is all the rage right now with Oreo, Nabisco, Ritz, Keebler and other food producers filling the snack aisle with assorted 100 calorie offerings. But are these really smart choices for weight loss or weight maintenance with WLS? According to Supermarket Sleuth in the latest Food & fitness Advisor (February 2007) the 100-calorie packs contain as much as 23 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams or less protein and 3 grams or less dietary fiber. Many also contain trans fats without being required to list it on the label.

I believe there may be a tendency to say, “It’s only 100 calories, how can it hurt if it curbs my carb-craving?” Have you found yourself in thinking this way? And while portion control is always important, we also must focus on the nutritional value of even small food portions.

“Snacks are snacks no matter how you package them. These 100-calorie packs can be a useful tool for those trying to lose weight; however I would not describe most of them as healthful food choice, since nutritionally they don’t offer much,” says Allison Stevens, RD, a Kansas-based nutrition consultant.

Better 100-calorie snacks that provide nutritional value are:

6-ounces Yoplait Light
1-medium banana
1 slice whole-wheat brad
8 walnut halves
1.5-ounce light string cheese

The calorie-control packs, can however, be a good training tool in portion size and control. We hear all the time that “super-sized” is to blame for our national obesity crisis. Using the 100-calorie packs is an effective means to retrain our thinking (and perhaps our children’s perception) of what a portion size is.

So what do you think?

Are 100-calorie packs a Do or a Don’t for WLS post-ops?

Are 100-calorie packs a Do or a Don’t for children?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Are You Rebelling Against Your WLS?

It seems I've received many emails lately from people rebelling against their weight loss surgery. After months of faithful compliance they have returned to some of the habits that made them obese in the first place. And they are frustrated! Do you find yourself rebelling agasint your weight loss surgery? It happens to most of us at some point.

I believe there are four stages of personal growth for weight loss surgery patients: Conception, Infancy, Adolescence and Maturity. It stand to reason the rebellion occurs during adolescence. This is an excerpt from an article in the LivingAfterWLS Library:

Adolescence is the stage when patients tend to fight the tool. Many patients don’t dump, vomit, snack or eat the forbidden foods until they reach adolescence. But once they approach or reach target weight they take chances and break the rules. Perhaps they eat sugar which results in a blood sugar imbalance called “dumping” or they may stuff themselves with starchy carbs causing vomiting. In the worst case, a patient returns to snacking, a little treat of hard candy here and a handful of popcorn there. This is when patients report weight regain, panic and self-loathing.

The good news: the duration of adolescence is up to the patient. A patient only hurts themselves when they break the rules. Successful WLS patients commit to themselves early to be in control of their own gastric bypass growth cycle.
Read the Full Article: Four Stages of Growth

If you've found yourself taking a walk on the wild side, take a moment to consider the consequences. Unlike our biological adolescence, we can take control of this one. We can chose to hang on to those rebellious urges or we can step ahead to the safer stage of Maturity.

It's up to you.

Helpful Video: Plateaus After WLS: How to Get Beyond Them.

And remember, you are never alone. In the LAWLS Neighborhood we have many friends, all in different stages of growth from Conception to Infancy to Adolescence to Maturity. You are sure to find a friend who has walked in your shoes. Come visit us today.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Four Proven Strategies:
Successful Weight Maintenance

The January issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter has a comprehensive article on the findings of the "National Weight Control Registry". I'm sure you've heard of this. Started in 1994 the registry collected information from 5,000 volunteers who averaged a weight loss of 72 pounds. The 10-year study revealed that many participants regained some weight, but most maintained a 30-lb weight loss. The researchers identified 4 consistent strategies for maintenance. While these people lost weight with conventional means I believe the maintenance strategies can work for us here at LAWLS - and I think our own JudyPetite (a 20-year success story) can vouch for all four of these. So here they are:

Eating a low-fat, low-calorie diet. "What ever the method, 99 percent of participants somehow reduced overall caloric intake.

Getting high levels of physical activity. "Over 90 percent of participants incorporated physical activity into their life, the average exercise expenditure was equivalent to about one hour of brisk walking every day.

Eating Breakfast. "Nearly 80 percent of the participants reported eating breakfast every day."

Frequent weighing. "Seventy-five percent of participants weighed themselves at least once a week."

Never Alone with WLS

You are never alone in this weight loss surgery afterlife. Each year thousands and thousands of people are proactively fighting their morbid obesity with weight loss surgery. Collectively we are banding together for the long-term to empower one another for enduring success.

The LivingAfterWLS Neighborhood is our online "safe haven circle of friends": men and women who are seeking and offering support. Our Neighborhood includes long-term success stories, new post-operative patients enjoying the exciting phase of weight loss, pre-operative patients who are curious and eager to start their new lifestyle, and WLS patients who may have experienced the dreaded regain but are getting back on track. This is a powerful group of people who are doing their best to be respectful of their WLS and the way of life it brings.

I invite you to visit our Neighborhood to see first-hand the empowering support that is available 24/7. As our New Year's gift to you we are offering a 15-month subscription for the price of an annual subscription ($60 or simply .13 cents a day). You don't have to travel the road of WLS alone: Please come join our safe haven circle of friends and empower yourself for long-term success with WLS. We need you as much as you need us.

Why does the Neighborhood charge a subscription fee?

Learn more about the Neighborhood Subscriptions

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy 2007!

Greetings Friends!

I hope you are healthy and well and living as we begin a new year. One thing I love about the new year is a clean calendar. There is so much hope and potential in crispy white clean calendar pages just waiting to be filled with the signs of living: appointments, schedules, vacations and such. A new year is also a time of reflection and contemplation. For us at LivingAfterWLS it is also the time to complete the LAWLS Personal Self-Assessment Workshet, one of our tools of empowerment.

LAWLS Personal Self-Assessment Worksheet

We will be discussing this more in tomorrow's You Have Arrived Newsletter (January 3) but I thought you might want a head start in using this tool for your introspective look at where you have come from and where you are going. You can read more about this in the Library: LAWLS Personal Self-Assessment

Remember, the more tools we use in conjunction with our WLS tool, the stronger we become. Use the tools.

Best wishes to you and yours in the coming year!