FAQ

Safe Weight Loss

A safe rate for losing weight depends on each individual. We focus mostly on body mass index or BMI to determine how quickly — or how — you should lose weight. With medical weight loss or non-surgical weight loss, typically one to two pounds a week is a healthy rate to lose weight. With surgical weight loss, of course, the weight loss is more rapid for the first 6 months, but average weight loss occurs over 12-18 months postoperatively.

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A goal for weight loss is mostly based upon what you want to accomplish — whether you want to get off medications, prevent yourself from going on medications, have more energy. We get too bogged down worrying about weight as a number versus the quality of life someone has or the health problems people have. So looking at your goals — whether that's getting off diabetes medications, getting off blood pressure pills, spending more time with family, or playing with your children — those are the goals we really look at for weight loss.

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Losing weight too quickly can actually negatively impact your health. We want to lose weight in a healthy fashion, in a sustainable continual fashion, and rapid weight loss actually can affect your kidneys and your liver in a (bad) negative way with too much of a drastic change. So, a lot of the programs that advertise 30 pounds in 30 days or 60 pounds in 60 days are actually not the most healthy way to lose weight. We want you to lose weight in a way where you're getting adequate nutrition and yet maintaining healthy habits.

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Long-term success with weight loss is focused around looking at it as a lifestyle, not necessarily a diet or a fad diet. Every six months there's a new fad diet to try or a new thing everyone's looking at — and these are all ineffective ways to lose weight long term. So really you should look at this not as a diet or something to try, but more as good habits to get into to develop a healthy lifestyle. We don't expect anyone to be perfect. People still have dessert and food they enjoy, but on a day-to-day basis, they have to be eating much better, smaller portions and have more good days than bad days. Developing good habits long term with diet and exercise, will make you more successful for the rest of your life.

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Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery adjusts the amount of food a person can consume and/or absorb. The most common procedures are:

  • Restrictive procedures, which reduce the amount of food your stomach can hold but do not interfere with your digestion
  • Restrictive and Malabsorptive procedures, which restrict the amount of food you can comfortably take in, as well as the amount of calories and nutrients your body can absorb

Those who meet the following requirements are generally considered good candidates for bariatric surgery:

  • Body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher with associated health condition or BMI of 40 or greater with or without an associated health condition
  • Previous unsuccessful attempts at traditional weight loss efforts
  • Willingness to make long term dietary and behavioral changes to be successful after bariatric surgery

The amount of weight you lose varies from individual to individual and depends on the procedure. Your goal weight will be determined by you and your doctor based on a healthy weight for your height.

  • Sleeve gastrectomy. Weight loss occurs steadily for at least 12 to 18 months. Most people experience a weight loss on average of 60 percent of their excess body weight.
  • Gastric bypass surgery. Weight loss occurs steadily for at least 12 to 18 months. Most people experience a weight loss on average of 70 to 80 percent of their excess body weight.
  • Adjustable gastric banding. Weight loss occurs steadily over two to three years.

Your surgeon will help you determine which procedure is best for you, taking into account your weight, medical history and lifestyle. You should also educate yourself on the different procedures available and, when possible, talk to people who have undergone the surgery.

Weight loss surgery can eliminate or improve most obesity-related medical complications, including:

  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Hypertension
  • Infertility
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Reflux
  • Sleep apnea
  • Stress incontinence

Choosing a surgeon to perform your weight loss surgery is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Take the time to do some research and be sure to ask:

  • How many years of experience do you have in bariatric surgery?  Are they fellowship trained in bariatric surgery (extra training in bariatric surgery beyond residency)?
  • How many operations have you performed?
  • How many times have you performed a specific procedure?
  • Are you board-certified?
  • Are you a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery?
  • What is your commitment to follow-up care?
  • What is involved in preparing for surgery?

You will first undergo a rigorous medical and psychological screening. This process helps to identify the aspects of your health that will improve after surgery, as well as the risks associated with surgery.  At your first appointment, you will receive a list of additional appointments/clearances required for surgery.

This is also the time to gain a complete understanding of the life-long lifestyle changes you must commit to with weight loss surgery.

Depending on the procedure, most patients have a hospital of stay of one to two nights.

Recovery times differ by individual and by procedure and will be discussed prior to your surgery.

Weight loss surgery is a life-long journey. Lifetime follow-up care is recommended, and attending support groups is encouraged. You will need to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes a nutrition plan and regular exercise.

Medically Managed Weight Loss

Non-surgical weight loss is a component of our comprehensive weight management program. We've had a lot of experience here doing weight loss surgery, but we want to build our program into the most comprehensive and robust program we could possibly make to take care of all patients who desire to live a healthier life and want to seek out weight loss.

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Non-surgical weight loss is more about overall behavioral change for patients. It's not a diet, a fad, or a trick. We have different components and different avenues for people to achieve their weight-loss goals. Things like diet and exercise education, a fitness component and training sessions, as well as meeting with dietitians on a monthly basis.

We also have meal replacement programs for our patients to control their calories and intake, as well as some of the newer weight loss medications that have been very successful in certain patients.

This program is different from a weight management perspective in the fact that it's not a traditional diet. When patients look at diets, they think of tricks and eliminating this or changing this or fad diets. Those are just not successful long-term. It's been proven many times in the literature not to be successful. We focus on behavioral change and don’t look at it as a diet, but simply as education and changing people's lifestyles to help them lose weight.

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A candidate for our weight loss program is anyone who wants to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle. As a comprehensive program, we have aspects that range from surgical weight loss, to meal replacement programs, to weight loss medications, to simple diet and exercise counseling, so anybody who wants to take a few pounds off or to lose substantial weight is more than appropriate for our program.

The biggest thing I think patients — and even physicians — don't realize is the role of body mass index, or BMI. It's a simple formula that tells you how much you should weigh for how tall you are. Based on your body mass index, we can determine the most appropriate strategy to help you lose the most weight and keep it off for a long time.

Determining whether patients will benefit more from surgical weight loss or non-surgical weight loss is mostly based upon their body mass index. Patients with a BMI of 35 and higher have much more success with weight loss surgery, whereas patients with a BMI of 35 and under are much more successful with non-surgical weight loss in most aspects.

However, that being said, a lot of patients who qualify for weight loss surgery may not even be interested in it, or it's something they haven’t considered yet. So even though your body mass index might be 45, you may not be ready or right for it yet.

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When you look at success rates from any type of weight loss program, the surgical weight loss is actually more successful, but those patients have more weight to lose and the statistics and data are much more studied and researched, so we see substantially higher weight loss from surgical patients.

However, with non-surgical weight loss, even though the outcomes are highly variable, we do see tremendous success with those patients being able to lose weight and maintain it. The reason is that we focus not on a fad diet or a gimmick, but instead on education, behavioral change, exercise components, those sort of things to help them not only have success in our program, but we give them the tools to be successful long-term.

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The majority of our program is actually covered through insurance. Most of the time we're able to get patients seen under physician visits so that the majority of that is covered. We do have a program fee to cover our monthly visits to support groups, dietitians, and for our fitness component as well.

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