Dr. Robert Wegner performed my RNY gastric bypass surgery on November 9, 2015. I was 36 at the time, and while I’ve never been skinny, I have an athletic build and played three sports throughout high school. I started struggling with my weight my first year of college when I was 18 years old. I have tried just about every diet on the market. I had some success with many of those plans, but I never lost more than 50 pounds, and each time I re-gained, I gained more. At my heaviest, I was 353 pounds. I had high-blood pressure, GERD, pre-diabetes, no energy, chronic pain, and depression. The summer of 2015, my employer-provided health insurance changed and no longer excluded weight loss surgery.
I made a decision to change my life and get healthy. I scheduled my initial seminar, and decided to more forward with the process. I was lucky to have 6 months of documented efforts to lose weight with my Primary Care Provider, so it only took a few months to schedule my surgery. Within months of the surgery, I was taken off of all of my medications. I stuck to the prescribed nutrition and supplement plan, and the weight started to fall off. All of the conditions I listed disappeared. I felt great about myself, I had so much energy, and I decided that I was not going to waste the second chance I was given with the surgery. I have lost a total of 173 pounds, and I maintain a weight of between 180-185. I am an exercise enthusiast. I enjoy running, cycling, and CrossFit. I have completed countless 5K, 10K, endurance, and obstacle course races. I ran the St. Jude Half Marathon in December of 2017. I completed the Spartan Trifecta in 2016.
I had the courage to change careers, I met and married my husband, and I love my life. I am setting a positive example for my two children, and I know I will be around as they get older. Dr. Wegner and the St. Francis Center for Surgical Weight Loss team gave me a second change at life, and I feel like I am finally living the life I have always wanted. I will forever be grateful.
I have always struggled with weight ever since I can remember. In the Navy, I had to join the “Fat Boy” program because my BMI was too high. When I got out of the Navy, I started working in a fast food restaurant. This started a 20+ year career in the restaurant industry ranging from fast food to family dining to casual dining finally to fine dining. As one can imagine, a manager has access to all the food in the building in whichever type of restaurant he manages. Therefore, when I finally moved out on my own, buying meals was never a priority for me. I always just ate at the restaurant. The other part of restaurant management is the long and typically late-night hours. This would usually lead to sleeping in very late and very little to no exercise. My wife and I both worked in a restaurant when we met. We married and with 2 ½ years had two children. After our kids were born, she herself struggled with weight loss. She tried every diet known to man with little success. Her doctor suggested Gastric Bypass and after careful research, she had it done. She lost @180 pounds.
Approximately 45% of Americans usually make at least one New Year’s resolution. More than half of those forfeit their resolution within six weeks and only 8% actually achieve their resolution by the end of the year. Here is an idea, don’t make a resolution! Instead, embark on a journey to resolve to take care of you…
With the holidays approaching, food is going to be more accessible. Holiday parties, cooler temperatures, shopping and traveling may also hinder our exercise program.
Below are some tips to help maintain weight loss and stay in control during the holidays!!
Planning our meals and snacks helps us stay on track and make better food choices! If we have quick and healthy options on hand, we are less tempted to frequent the vending machine, run through the drive-thru, or grab that donut or cookie in the break room, etc.
As the temperatures continue to drop those comfort foods start to sound more and more enticing. This is the time of year people start to get derailed from their weight loss and weight maintenance plans. It’s so much more appealing to cuddle up with a blanket on the couch with a comfort food than it is to get your workout in and make healthy choices. Luckily you can do both! Remember there are ways to adapt recipes so you can stay on track this winter season. My favorite foods for this time of year are generally made of chili and different soups and stews. These types of foods can be packed full of protein! Make sure you’re choosing lean meats and adding extra beans for added protein. Try to avoid creamy soups since they have more fat and calories. Below is one of my favorite recipes for these colder temps!
White Bean Chicken Chili
- 2 uncooked chicken breast
- 2 (15 oz) cans great northern beans (or 3 cans if you really like beans)
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 cups salsa verde
Combine chicken, chicken broth, cumin, and salsa verde in crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-5 hours. Add beans (drained) during the last hours of cooking. Shred chicken and you’re ready to eat! I love to add diced avocado, chopped cilantro, and plain non-fat greek yogurt. If you like a little crunch with your soup try adding a few baked tortilla chips.
When the weather gets colder outside it is easy to make the excuses and start hibernating. However, it is still possible to stay healthy and active in the winter.
Go to a gym
The good news about gyms is that they stay the perfect temperature all year round! Many gyms have exercise machines, indoor courts, indoor pools, and group exercise classes. Many local community centers, workplaces, and schools have free gyms you can use. If not you can always buy a gym membership at your local YMCA, planet fitness, etc.
Work out at home
If you do not have the time or money to get a gym membership, don’t worry! You do not need to leave your house to exercise. There are plenty of resources available in your own home.
- Follow a YouTube exercise video
- Run up and down the stairs
- Play music you like and dance as hard as you can for at least 30 minutes
- No equipment? No problem. Many household items such as chairs, sports balls, or cans of food for example can be used instead of expensive exercise equipment.
- Do as many jumping jacks, pushups, crunches, burpees, squats, etc. as you can during commercial breaks
Try out some winter sports
Memphis is not known for getting piles of snow. That does not mean that you have to miss out on the fun.
- Go ice skating downtown at the Fourth Bluffs (Downtown Memphis)
- Go to an indoor ice arena to try out a a new sport such as ice hockey
- Take a trip and go sledding, skiing, or snowboarding
Reward yourself with warmth
If you want to go on a walk or job but need that extra push, try rewarding yourself at the end of the work out so you have something to look forward to while you are cold outside.
- Take a long hot bath/shower
- Snuggle up under some blankets with some hot tea
- Treat yourself to a massage at the end of the winter
Written by: Vidisha Paranjpe, University of Memphis Dietetic Intern
One thing post-op patients must learn to do for after surgery is to sloooooow dooooooown while eating! Eating too quickly can lead to one bite too many and that one extra bite will likely result in nausea, possible vomiting, and stomach pain. We have some great tools and information to help ensure you slow down and enjoy your food.
Many patients find it helpful to use smaller utensils or even toddler utensils when eating to aid in taking smaller bites. It is much easier to chew your foods well when it is a smaller bite. Try putting your spoon or fork down between each bite to allow yourself plenty of time to chew well. It is also recommended you chew your food to “mush” or “applesauce” which can mean chewing each small bite about 25-30 times. Taking extra time to chew well can help ensure you slow down and recognize when you’re full and need to stop.
Eating off smaller plates such as saucers or salad plates can also help by limiting the amount of food in front of you. If there is less food you’re less likely to accidently overeat. Try eating your meals at the dinner table to avoid distractions which may cause you to miss your “I’m full” cue. Many patients report some type of a cue or signal from their bodies that tells them they’ve had enough. Signals such as a small hiccup, small burp, sneeze, nose itch, or just a “certain feeling” in their stomach are some patients have mentioned. Learning to recognize your signal or cue will take time and attention. Savor the flavor and enjoy the flavor of each bite you take! You may encounter foods tasting differently than you remember. Enjoy exploring foods you may now enjoy that you haven’t in the past.
Eating in a social setting can be challenging after surgery. Taking time to learn your “I’m full” cue can allow you to eat with friends or family and avoid potentially getting sick or feeling uncomfortable. Enjoy the conversation but don’t overdo it on the food!
Football season has arrived! It’s a fun and exciting time of year filled with football, friends and yes…food! Many tailgate foods are high in calories, fat and added sugars, but they don’t have to be! It is possible to eat healthy foods and still have fun at a tailgate party.
Eating healthy can be fun! You just have to mentally prepare yourself and have a plan so that you’ll be more likely to stay on track!
Bring your own dish
Fill up on non-starchy vegetables and lean protein sources!
- Black bean chili
- Turkey roll ups
- Deviled eggs made with plain greek yogurt versus mayonnaise
- Buffalo cauliflower bits
- Veggie tray with guacamole or hummus dip. You can also make dips using plain greek yogurt!
Don’t drink your calories
Alcohol and soda contain a lot of calories and sugar. Alcohol can alter cognition and make you more likely to make less healthy food choices and snack. Soda can also cause bloating. Make sure you are staying hydrated and drink plenty of water! Remember to wait 15-30 minutes before and after you eat.
Tailgating involves watching the big game, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit around. Get up and move!
- Play yard games, throw a Frisbee, chase the kids, or toss around the football
- Walk around with friends and family and mingle or if there’s a dog around, walk the dog around or play catch
There’s always a lot of fun going on at a tailgate party. Remember to be mindful.
- Make sure to eat slowly, chew thoroughly and taste everything
- Pay attention to your portion sizes. Use small plates and/or bowls
- Practice bariatric plate distribution…50% protein, 25% vegetables, 25% starch
- Trust and listen to your stomach