A 5 year love affair-with healthy eating

I still enjoy food.  Very much.  Maybe even more than before because now I appreciate my food as fuel to live a healthy and active and even beautiful (in the eyes of the beholder) life!  I still enjoy the tastes, even more so because I choose only the best.  My plate is colorful with roasted veggies and fresh fruits and salad greens.  I enjoy grilled lean chicken, steak and seafood.  My carbs are high fiber, full of flavor and texture.  I no longer long for the processed foods full of white flour, sugar and fat.

 

One of my all time most viewed posts is a story about my friend Pam and her weight loss journey using the Weight Watchers program.  After successfully reaching and maintaining her weight goal, she started coaching others who have been equally successful. Recently, she was honored for 5 years as a coach.

a smiling woman holding flowers
Pam’s clients showed appreciation for  her for 5 years of service.

 

 

Many of us would like to weight less than we do, but some people struggle with severe excess weight that threatens their health and keeps them from enjoying life as they would like. These are usually people whose BMI, body mass index, is 30 or more. For people with diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, and osteoarthritis, even lower BMI can put them at excess disease risk.

Body mass index chart
A BMI of 30 or more represents obesity. BMI Chart created by Vertex42.com. Used with permission.

 

 

The United States Preventive Services Task Force, USPSTF,  recently reviewed weight loss methods and made a recommendation to physicians about how to help patients with weight.

The Task force encourages  doctors to refer patients for  “intensive, multicomponent behavioral interventions” to successfully lose weight. 

What exactly does “intensive, multicomponent” mean? 

 

 

A Patient Page in JAMA explains it this way- Interventions that are

  • done in a group or individual setting, provided in person or virtually, and use print or online materials
  • occurs over 1 to 2 years and with 1 to 4 sessions per month
  • includes counseling about nutrition and exercise as well as education about how to self-monitor both of these components.
  • includes help to identify barriers to weight loss, and  help with problem solving related to challenges
  • support from other people who are also working on weight loss
  • education  focused not only on weight loss but also on weight maintenance after interventions are completed.

 

 

Here is a link to the page-

Behavioral Interventions for Weight Loss

 

 

a lady in bare feet standing on a scalefeet in sports shoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I haven’t used Weight Watchers but from what I understand about it, this is the type of program they offer. I’m not necessarily promoting WW, as they are called now, but if you want to lose weight I suggest looking for a program that includes these features. It certainly has worked for Pam and those she coaches.

“If we want to be people’s partners in what healthy means to the, it has to be about more than just weight. It has to be a total approach to how they can live their healthiest, best lives.”

Mindy Grossman, CEO of WW, quote taken from TIME magazine, October 15, 2018

 

 

And here is my story about Pam and her break-up with junk food.

How I “broke up” with junk food

and fell in love with healthy eating.

Meet my friend Pam. My husband and I met Pam and her husband in a ballroom dance class. I was immediately captivated by her radiant smile and Southern charm. Since then I have learned more about her and watched an amazing transformation in her life.

Pam and I attending a wedding at the dance studio
Pam and I  at the dance studio

 

 

Pam graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts from Mississippi State University in 1980. With a major in Communications, she started her career as a writer and Account Executive for advertising and public relations agencies in Mississippi and in Oklahoma where she moved after marrying.  She was the Marketing Director for a large medical clinic for several years. Since 1995, she has enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom with involvement in PTA, church and community. In 2012, she was named Volunteer of the Year by her community public school system.

But despite such a charmed life, there was a struggle, one that Pam shares with many people. In this blog I have discussed the physical and emotional consequences of excess weightyou will be encouraged by Pam’s success story which she so generously shares with me and you.

“Breaking up is hard to do. ” By Pam Whitson

“I was happily married to the love of my life and should have been having the time of my life.   Sadly, my self-confidence and my happiness had been stolen, and I was the thief.

For over two decades, I robbed myself of peak energy, vitality, health and beauty by totally disregarding my intake of food.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I thought about what I should do.  I spent money on self-help tapes, gym memberships and weight loss programs from the practical to the extreme.  I whined and wished about it constantly.  And it didn’t help knowing that I was not alone; almost half of adults are overweight or obese.

And I had occasional moments of success.  Like the time I was within four pounds of leaving the “obese” category. (Obese is a BMI, body mass index, of 30 or higher)  After months of hard work, I ran to Glamour Shots for the mid-1990s version of a sequin and big hair make-over.  On the way home from my triumphant photo session, I stopped by my favorite barbecue place and started eating my way right back to where I was before.  I gained all the weight I had lost back and more.

I joked my way through feelings of depression, because  I had an unhealthy relationship with food.    I thought about it way too much.  I ran to it for instant gratification.  I was too in love with the tastes, the textures, the sheer delight of food.  Even now, I love to grocery shop.  One of my favorite places on the planet is the cereal aisle of the grocery store.

cereal boxes in a store
“One of my favorite places on the planet is the cereal aisle of the grocery store.”

 

 

Finally, at age 53, after twenty years of carrying way too much weight for my 5’7 ½” (1.7 meters) (yes, the half inch counts!) frame, I was ready for a change.  Really ready.  Change isn’t easy.  Change hurts.  I walked into Weight Watchers and pretended it was my first time ever.  I read everything.  I listened and participated.  I went to every meeting.  I hung around afterwards and pestered my leader for every little nugget of information I could cling to.

Pam before weight loss
Pam and her daughter

 

 

I rejoined Weight Watchers in July, 2012, with 20 pounds (9 kg) still off from a previous Weight Watcher effort. I lost 40 pounds (18 kg) in 4 1/2 months to be at goal before Thanksgiving! I learned to maintain this loss during the required six week maintenance period with Weight Watchers and became an official Lifetime Member before the year’s end of 2012. This meant a lot to me because my birthday is New Year’s Day. How wonderful to start the year at a healthy weight!

At Weight Watchers I learned I could change.  I could change what I put in my grocery basket.  I could change what I ordered in restaurants.  I could change how much I moved.

I could change my relationship with food for good.

I still enjoy food.  Very much.  Maybe even more than before because now I appreciate my food as fuel to live a healthy and active and even beautiful (in the eyes of the beholder) life!  I still enjoy the tastes, even more so because I choose only the best.  My plate is colorful with roasted veggies and fresh fruits and salad greens.  I enjoy grilled lean chicken, steak and seafood.  My carbs are high fiber, full of flavor and texture.  I no longer long for the processed foods full of white flour, sugar and fat.

By pairing healthy eating with increased physical activity, I changed my weight dropped from 226 lbs (102 kg) to 150 lbs (68 kg).  Now 70 pounds (31 kg) lighter and at a healthy BMI of 23, I feel so much happier and healthier.

But once I started eating better, even before I was near my goal weight, my self-esteem and confidence were instantly restored.  Just knowing that I had a plan gave me optimism and excitement.  I’ve been at goal for almost three years and I wouldn’t trade it for the world (or even a crisp cookie). And I now stay about 10 pounds (4.5 kg) below goal as a safety net.

Pam on a well deserved vacation
Pam on a well deserved vacation

 

 

In addition to my daily walks, I enjoy ballroom dancing, Jazzercise, swimming and an occasional bike ride.  I wear a Fitbit and accomplish 15,000 steps a day.

I’ve been a Weight Watcher leader for two and a half years and just LOVE it! I never imagined I would do this; you might as well as told me I would become an astronaut. While helping me stay at a healthy weight, I enjoy the privilege of making new friends and helping other people be their most confident and healthy selves.

Just for fun, I’ve started a Park Walking group that explores different parks in our city every two weeks. We took a summer break (Oklahoma gets real hot in the summer) but will be back on the trails in September. Along with my awesome Weight Watcher members, I’m enjoying a new healthy relationship with food for good. ”

Pam leading a Weight Watchers meeting
Pam is now a WW coach

 

 

Weight Watchers may not be the answer for everyone, but Pam’s idea of changing our relationship with food should be a part of any weight management plan.  Our eating habits affect our health in other ways, so even if you are not overweight, using food appropriately is important.

Physical activity  has health benefits beyond weight loss. I joined Pam’s walking group and find it a fun way to exercise and make new friends. (My favorite walking shoe is Go Walk by Skechers.)  In addition to social dancing with our husbands, Pam and I were in a ladies dance team. We performed a Western theme dance routine to the song “These Boots are Made for Walking” . That’s so appropriate for someone who walked her way from a BMI of 35 down to 25. If she can do it, so can you.

( This post contains affiliate product links; purchase through these links pays a commission to this blog; thank you)

 

Our son introduced my husband and I to Hello Fresh delivery meal kits and we’ve enjoyed the convenience, taste, variety, and quality. The meals feature lots of fresh vegetables with vegan  and “fit” choices. We think we are eating healthier and ever with less work. Here is a link through which you can get $40 off your first order.

HELLO FRESH OFFER 

 

Thanks for letting me introduce you to my friend Pam. We would love to hear your weight management stories. Please share in the comments or send me a message if you want it kept anonymous. Remember, support from others is an important step toward success.

Dr. Aletha 

 

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“How I “broke up” with junk food and fell in love with healthy eating”- top post of 2016

my most viewed post this year; how my friend learned to love life and food again

This week I’m sharing my top 5 most viewed posts of 2016. I’m not surprised that any of these were the most popular because a couple of them are among my favorites too. (Well, ok, they all are.)

Here is my most viewed post this year;  it was also my most viewed post of 2015.

I think it is popular because the story is  honest and authentic, and one so many of us can identify with. It would be easy to call it a “weight loss” success  story, but it is so much more. Read about my special friend Pam and you will understand why.

How I “broke up” with junk food

and fell in love with healthy eating.

 

 

Meet my friend Pam. My husband and I met Pam and her husband in a ballroom dance class. I was immediately captivated by her radiant smile and Southern charm. Since then I have learned more about her and watched an amazing transformation in her life.

Pam and I attending a wedding at the dance studio
Pam and I attending a friend’s wedding at the dance studio

Pam graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts from Mississippi State University in 1980. With a major in Communications, she started her career as a writer and Account Executive for advertising and public relations agencies in Mississippi and in Oklahoma where she moved after marrying.  She was the Marketing Director for a large medical clinic for several years. Since 1995, she has enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom with involvement in PTA, church and community. In 2012, she was named Volunteer of the Year by her community public school system.

But despite such a charmed life, there was a struggle, one that Pam shares with many people. In this blog I have discussed the physical and emotional consequences of excess weightyou will be encouraged by Pam’s success story which she so generously shares with me and you.

“Breaking up is hard to do. ” By Pam Whitson

“I was happily married to the love of my life and should have been having the time of my life.   Sadly, my self-confidence and my happiness had been stolen, and I was the thief.

For over two decades, I robbed myself of peak energy, vitality, health and beauty by totally disregarding my intake of food.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I thought about what I should do.  I spent money on self-help tapes, gym memberships and weight loss programs from the practical to the extreme.  I whined and wished about it constantly.  And it didn’t help knowing that I was not alone; almost half of adults are overweight or obese.

And I had occasional moments of success.  Like the time I was within four pounds of leaving the “obese” category. (Obese is a BMI, body mass index, of 30 or higher)  After months of hard work, I ran to Glamour Shots for the mid-1990s version of a sequin and big hair make-over.  On the way home from my triumphant photo session, I stopped by my favorite barbecue place and started eating my way right back to where I was before.  I gained all the weight I had lost back and more.

I joked my way through feelings of depression, because  I had an unhealthy relationship with food.    I thought about it way too much.  I ran to it for instant gratification.  I was too in love with the tastes, the textures, the sheer delight of food.  Even now, I love to grocery shop.  One of my favorite places on the planet is the cereal aisle of the grocery store.

cereal boxes in a store
“One of my favorite places on the planet is the cereal aisle of the grocery store.”

Finally, at age 53, after twenty years of carrying way too much weight for my 5’7 ½” (1.7 meters) (yes, the half inch counts!) frame, I was ready for a change.  Really ready.  Change isn’t easy.  Change hurts.  I walked into Weight Watchers and pretended it was my first time ever.  I read everything.  I listened and participated.  I went to every meeting.  I hung around afterwards and pestered my leader for every little nugget of information I could cling to.

Pam before weight loss
Pam and her daughter

I rejoined Weight Watchers in July, 2012, with 20 pounds (9 kg) still off from a previous Weight Watcher effort. I lost 40 pounds (18 kg) in 4 1/2 months to be at goal before Thanksgiving! I learned to maintain this loss during the required six week maintenance period with Weight Watchers and became an official Lifetime Member before the year’s end of 2012. This meant a lot to me because my birthday is New Year’s Day. How wonderful to start the year at a healthy weight!

At Weight Watchers I learned I could change.  I could change what I put in my grocery basket.  I could change what I ordered in restaurants.  I could change how much I moved.

I could change my relationship with food for good.

I still enjoy food.  Very much.  Maybe even more than before because now I appreciate my food as fuel to live a healthy and active and even beautiful (in the eyes of the beholder) life!  I still enjoy the tastes, even more so because I choose only the best.  My plate is colorful with roasted veggies and fresh fruits and salad greens.  I enjoy grilled lean chicken, steak and seafood.  My carbs are high fiber, full of flavor and texture.  I no longer long for the processed foods full of white flour, sugar and fat.

By pairing healthy eating with increased physical activity, I changed my weight dropped from 226 lbs (102 kg) to 150 lbs (68 kg).  Now 70 pounds (31 kg) lighter and at a healthy BMI of 23, I feel so much happier and healthier.  But once I started eating better, even before I was near my goal weight, my self-esteem and confidence were instantly restored.  Just knowing that I had a plan gave me optimism and excitement.  I’ve been at goal for almost three years and I wouldn’t trade it for the world (or even a crisp cookie). And I now stay about 10 pounds (4.5 kg) below goal as a safety net.

Pam on a well deserved vacation
Pam on a well deserved vacation

In addition to my daily walks, I enjoy ballroom dancing, Jazzercise, swimming and an occasional bike ride.  I wear a Fitbit and accomplish 15,000 steps a day.

I’ve been a Weight Watcher leader for two and a half years and just LOVE it! I never imagined I would do this; you might as well as told me I would become an astronaut. While helping me stay at a healthy weight, I enjoy the privilege of making new friends and helping other people be their most confident and healthy selves. Just for fun, I’ve started a Park Walking group that explores different parks in our city every two weeks. We took a summer break (Oklahoma gets real hot in the summer) but will be back on the trails in September. Along with my awesome Weight Watcher members, I’m enjoying a new healthy relationship with food for good. ”

Pam leading a Weight Watchers meeting
Pam is now a Weight Watchers coach

 

 

Weight Watchers may not be the answer for everyone, but Pam’s idea of changing our relationship with food should be a part of any weight management plan.  Our eating habits affect our health in other ways, so even if you are not overweight, using food appropriately is important.

Physical activity also has health benefits beyond weight loss. I joined Pam’s walking group and find it a fun way to exercise and make new friends. (My favorite walking shoe is Go Walk by Skechers.)  In addition to social dancing with our husbands, Pam and I are part of a ladies dance team. We performed a Western theme dance routine to the song “These Boots are Made for Walking” . That’s so appropriate for someone who walked her way from a BMI of 35 down to 25. If she can do it, so can you.

 

And if you are wondering how Pam is doing a year later, read this update –

“in love with healthy eating”

( This post contains affiliate product links; purchase through these links pays a commission to this blog; thank you)

 

 

Thank you for joining me for this year end recap, and for reading these and my other posts this year. I appreciate your time and interest in what I have to share.

Please follow this blog in 2017 as we continue to explore the HEART of HEALTH.

 

“in love with healthy eating”- an update

 

( This post contains affiliate product links; purchase through these links pays a commission to this blog; thank you)

Almost a year ago I introduced you to my friend Pam who successfully lost weight a few years ago. Perhaps more important than achieving her weight loss goals, she actively maintains those goals and enthusiastically helps others do the same. 

So I thought you would enjoy an update about  Pam . If you didn’t meet her the first time , you can do so now . Here’s my original post from last September. 

Meet my friend Pam

I am pleased to introduce you to my friend Pam. My husband and I met Pam and her husband in a ballroom dance class. I was immediately captivated by her radiant smile and Southern charm. Since then I have learned more about her and watched an amazing transformation in her life.

Pam and I attending a wedding at the dance studio
Pam and I attending a friend’s wedding at the dance studio

Pam graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts from Mississippi State University in 1980. With a major in Communications, she started her career as a writer and Account Executive for advertising and public relations agencies in Mississippi and in Oklahoma where she moved after marrying.  She was the Marketing Director for a large medical clinic for several years. Since 1995, she has enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom with involvement in PTA, church and community. In 2012, she was named Volunteer of the Year by her community public school system.

But despite such a charmed life, there was a struggle, one that Pam shares with many people. In this blog I have discussed the physical and emotional consequences of excess weightyou will be encouraged by Pam’s success story which she so generously shares with me and you.

“Breaking up(with junk food)  is hard to do .”

By Pam Whitson

“I was happily married to the love of my life and should have been having the time of my life.   Sadly, my self-confidence and my happiness had been stolen, and I was the thief.

For over two decades, I robbed myself of peak energy, vitality, health and beauty by totally disregarding my intake of food.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I thought about what I should do.  I spent money on self-help tapes, gym memberships and weight loss programs from the practical to the extreme.  I whined and wished about it constantly.  And it didn’t help knowing that I was not alone; almost half of adults are overweight or obese.

And I had occasional moments of success.  Like the time I was within four pounds of leaving the “obese” category. (Obese is a BMI, body mass index, of 30 or higher)  After months of hard work, I ran to Glamour Shots for the mid-1990s version of a sequin and big hair make-over.  On the way home from my triumphant photo session, I stopped by my favorite barbecue place and started eating my way right back to where I was before.  I gained all the weight I had lost back and more.

I joked my way through feelings of depression, because  I had an unhealthy relationship with food.    I thought about it way too much.  I ran to it for instant gratification.  I was too in love with the tastes, the textures, the sheer delight of food.  Even now, I love to grocery shop.  One of my favorite places on the planet is the cereal aisle of the grocery store.

cereal boxes in a store
“One of my favorite places on the planet is the cereal aisle of the grocery store.”

 

 

Finally, at age 53, after twenty years of carrying way too much weight for my 5’7 ½” (1.7 meters) (yes, the half inch counts!) frame, I was ready for a change.  Really ready.  Change isn’t easy.  Change hurts.  I walked into Weight Watchers and pretended it was my first time ever.  I read everything.  I listened and participated.  I went to every meeting.  I hung around afterwards and pestered my leader for every little nugget of information I could cling to.

Pam before weight loss
Pam and her daughter before her weight loss.

 

 

I rejoined Weight Watchers in July, 2012, with 20 pounds (9 kg) still off from a previous Weight Watcher effort. I lost 40 pounds (18 kg) in 4 1/2 months to be at goal before Thanksgiving! I learned to maintain this loss during the required six week maintenance period with Weight Watchers and became an official Lifetime Member before the year’s end of 2012. This meant a lot to me because my birthday is New Year’s Day. How wonderful to start the year at a healthy weight!

At Weight Watchers I learned I could change.

I could change what I put in my grocery basket.

I could change what I ordered in restaurants.

I could change how much I moved.

I could change my relationship with food for good.

 

I still enjoy food.  Very much.  Maybe even more than before because now I appreciate my food as fuel to live a healthy and active and even beautiful (in the eyes of the beholder) life!

I still enjoy the tastes, even more so because I choose only the best.  My plate is colorful with roasted veggies and fresh fruits and salad greens.

I enjoy grilled lean chicken, steak and seafood.  My carbs are high fiber, full of flavor and texture.  I no longer long for the processed foods full of white flour, sugar and fat.

By pairing healthy eating with increased physical activity, my weight dropped from 226 lbs (102 kg) to 150 lbs (68 kg).  Now 70 pounds (31 kg) lighter and at a healthy BMI of 23, I feel so much happier and healthier.

Once I started eating better, even before I was near my goal weight, my self-esteem and confidence were instantly restored.  Just knowing that I had a plan gave me optimism and excitement.  I’ve been at goal for almost three years and I wouldn’t trade it for the world (or even a crisp cookie). And I now stay about 10 pounds (4.5 kg) below goal as a safety net.

Pam on a well deserved vacation
Pam on a well deserved vacation

 

 

In addition to my daily walks, I enjoy ballroom dancing, Jazzercise, swimming and an occasional bike ride.  I wear a Fitbit and accomplish 15,000 steps a day.

 

I’ve been a Weight Watcher leader for two and a half years and just LOVE it! I never imagined I would do this; you might as well as told me I would become an astronaut. While helping me stay at a healthy weight, I enjoy the privilege of making new friends and helping other people be their most confident and healthy selves.

Just for fun, I’ve started a Park Walking group that explores different parks in our city every two weeks. We took a summer break (Oklahoma gets real hot in the summer) but will be back on the trails in September.Along with my awesome Weight Watcher members, I’m enjoying a new healthy relationship with food for good. ”

Pam leading a Weight Watchers meeting
Pam is now a Weight Watchers coach

 

 

 

Weight Watchers may not be the answer for everyone, but Pam’s idea of changing our relationship with food should be a part of any weight management plan.  Our eating habits affect our health in other ways, so even if you are not overweight, using food appropriately is important.

Physical activity also has health benefits beyond weight loss. I joined Pam’s walking group and find it a fun way to exercise and make new friends. (My favorite walking shoe is Go Walk by Skechers.)  In addition to social dancing with our husbands, Pam and I are part of a ladies dance team. We performed a Western theme dance routine to the song “These Boots are Made for Walking” . That’s so appropriate for someone who walked her way from a BMI of 35 down to 25. If she can do it, so can you.

 

 

So what’s Pam doing now?

Pam has maintained her junk food break-up by continuing to make wise food choices consistently. She may have an occasional splurge, especially on special occasions or travelling. But most of the time she sticks with what she has learned works for her.

 

woman drinking tea

Enjoying real tea time at The Kensington Palace Orangery! Cucumber sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and delectable tiny treats – glad I already weighed in!

 

 

 

Weighing in at Weight Watchers

Pam is still a Weight Watchers coach and mentor, posting promotions on social media and inviting people to meetings. Like these recent posts-

 

“If you’ve been thinking of giving ‘getting ‘fit and healthy’ ONE more try, come and join and make it THE try that changed your life.”

“Sixty fun members and lots of celebrations at Weight Watchers today! We may have fun, but we are seriously proud of their achievements!”

“Thinking of using a No Weigh In pass at Weight Watchers tomorrow? Go right ahead! Just be there, 10:30 am,  as we go “beyond the scale.” Happy 4th of July and hope to see you soon!

“Mall Walk for cash and prizes! Meet me this Thursday morning, July 7th, at 9:30 am  for a super fun walking challenge! Bring $2 and any kind of step counter (Fitbit, pedometer, phone tracker, etc) to take part in the cash reward. We’ll also have drawings for prizes! Everyone is welcome and I hope to see you there!

13510943_1375060879174394_6926755158201409177_n
Some of the prizes given at her meetings

 

 

 

“Great meeting today “Clear The Clutter” if it doesn’t spark joy in your life get rid of it!!”

“WW Friends: Let’s attend the “Every Body Happy” free class together this Thursday, 1:30 p.m.. The class sounds super fun – practical tips for looking great at every size and building a transitional wardrobe to feel our best as we lose weight. Hope to see you there!”

“Drinking our life or at least our SmartPoints away? This week at Weight Watchers, we’re learning how to be smart about our coffee drinks, happy hour, even tea, lemonade and slushies! Hope to see you at the  meeting Monday at 12 noon, Tuesday at 10:30, or at the meeting time and place that works best for you!”

 

Keeping moving

Her other “secret” to weight maintenance is regular physical activity. She ballroom dances with her husband and organizes regular park walks with other ladies . She recognizes the power of group support and encouragement, as well as the safety in walking in groups. She even goes to Zumba class with her mother.

feet in sports shoes

 

 

jogging trail sign
At one of the many parks in our city 

A trip to London

Pam and her family know how to have fun. They  make even ordinary occasions special. But recently they had an extraordinary  experience as they toured London. She posted regular updates on Facebook where I noticed  she was doing lots of walking. She even went bicycling one morning through Kensington Park and Hyde Park.

 

woman on bicycle

 

 

 

 

I think maybe for her the highlight of the trip was visiting a Weight Watchers meeting where she was weighed in stones. That’s unfamiliar to us Americans, so she explained that one stone equals 14 pounds.

Queen Elizabeth in the distance
And Pam even met Queen Elizabeth! (well almost, haha)

 

 

And one more piece of exciting news- I think I am as excited as Pam is. This spring Pam’s daughter graduated from college- the same one I went to. And she is now a medical student- also at the same school I attended!

young woman in cap and gown
future physician in training

 

I am happy to see talented young women and men who want to dedicate their lives to the medical profession, and it’s a special treat when they are the  daughters and sons of friends. I look forward to the day I can call her my colleague.

 

 

Update on weight management options

 

(An update to this blog post is in progress. Check back soon.)

This blog has looked at several approaches to weight loss.

First and always are lifestyle changes involving food choices, and eating habits.

Along with that, one needs to start or increase physical activity.

There are many different ways to achieve these, from books, videos, group activities, online programs, counselling and many combinations of these.

For those folks who still can’t reach goal, the next options are weight loss medications, and surgery.

someone standing on a scale
New weight loss options are good news.

 

 

 

Now there are FDA approved options which do not involve drugs or invasive surgery. These medical devices aid weight loss by affecting the amount of food that gets eaten and/or absorbed into the body.

 

The ReShape Integrated Dual Balloon System was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in July 2015. . Candidates for the device are

  • Adults
  • BMI 30-40
  • At least one obesity-related condition- hypertension, diabetes, elevated cholesterol

It is a device placed into the stomach by going through the mouth and down through the esophagus through a tube called an endoscope. It takes about 30 minutes and requires on a mild sedative, not general anesthesia. Once in the stomach the “balloons” are inflated; by taking up space in the stomach it can trigger a feeling of fullness.

Patients still continue to follow their eating and exercise plan and the device is removed in 6 months.

Like any medical procedure, there are potential adverse effects including headache, muscle pain, and nausea from the sedation and procedure; in rare cases, severe allergic reaction, heart attack, esophageal tear, infection, and breathing difficulties can occur. Once the device is placed in the stomach, patients may experience vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, gastric (stomach) ulcers, and feelings of indigestion.

The Orbera Gastric Balloon works in a similar way, with a single silicone balloon. Potential adverse effects are similar to the ReShape.

The Maestro Rechargeable System is implanted under the skin; an intermittent pulse generator delivers an electrical signal to the vagus nerve in the abdomen. The vagus nerve controls stomach action; when slowed down, one feels full sooner and theoretically will eat less.

 

Another interesting device is AspireAssist.

This is a tube inserted into the stomach, from which a portion of the stomach contents can be “aspirated” (removed) after eating.

This device helped 10 out of 11 people loss 18% of total body weight in one year.

An application has been submitted to the FDA but it has not been approved for use in the United States.

 

People lost weight with all of these devices largely due to the intensive counseling and support they received along with use of the device.

tape-403591_1280
Obesity is defined using BMI, body mass index, but waist circumference is also important and may be more accurate.

 

 

 

A success story

After gaining weight with her pregnancies, one woman , J.T. ,successfully lost weight with gastric bypass surgery.

Read about the lifestyle changes she made at this article from American Family Physician journal

 

IN THE NEWS- BIG LOSSES, BIG GAINS

Many news sources have reported  a recently published study about contestants in “The Biggest Loser” weight loss contest. In this contest, severely obese people have lost huge amounts of weight with strict diets and vigorous exercise.

Unfortunately, the study found that most of them gained most of the weight back over time, due to what the scientists called “metabolic adaptation”, popularly called slowed metabolism. This is discouraging news.

However, they also point out that even though the contestants regained a “substantial” amount of weight in 6 years post competition,

“they overall were quite successful at long term weight loss compared with other lifestyle interventions.”

Even though they regained weight, they still weighed less than when they started.

If you want to read the full report with all the graphs and statistical analysis, here is the link

Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after “The Biggest Loser” competition

 

statues of athletes jumping
Contestants in the Biggest Loser competition exercised several hours daily but did not continue this after it ended.

 

 

 

Review  my previous posts about weight management

at these links.

Obesity and BMI defined

How we should view excess weight 

How effective are weight management programs? 

A success story; how a doctor helped her patient lose weight

When diet alone doesn’t work

How my friend lost weight and inspired others with her example

 

Please share your experiences with weight management, good or bad. We’re here to encourage you in your efforts and celebrate with you in your success.

Obesity and pain- you can lose both this year

Whether it’s extra weight gained from holiday eating or excess weight you’ve carried for years, the new year is the perfect time to lose it.

 

I’ve written before about reasons to maintain a healthy weight  at Why Obesity matters. Multiple health conditions including diabetes, heart disease, even cancer can stem from excess weight.

But here’s another reason to shed those excess pounds or kilos- pain.

Obesity increases the risk of chronic pain especially back pain , and weight loss leads to significant decrease in pain, sometimes more effectively than medications and surgery.

 

 

Pain in the spine , hips and knees may worsen with excess weight. (skeleton display at the Museum of Natural Science in New York City)

 

Pain management specialists discussed the relationship of obesity and back pain at the American Academy of Pain medicine annual meeting. Medical research studies conducted at the Mayo Clinic linked obesity to back pain. Other studies implicated obesity in cases of arm, knee, hip and back pain in adolescents as well as elderly people.

 

A study from Norway of 64000 people showed

people with a BMI greater than 30

were more likely to develop low back pain

than those with a BMI under 25.

Body mass index chart
A BMI OF 30 or more represents obesity. BMI Chart created by Vertex42.com. Used with permission.

 

And an Australian study showed that both

obesity and smoking  are related to back pain.

No Smoking sign with pumpkins
sign posted at a produce market in rural Georgia

 

So  don’t just resolve to lose weight,

set a goal

make a plan

put it into action

Here is a recap of this blog’s obesity related information to help you get started.

How achieving emotional healing can lead to weight loss

How a woman kicked her addiction to junk food and now helps others to do the same

Comparing different weight loss programs

How attitudes affect weight loss efforts

 

 

Please  share your goals and how you plan to make it happen.

 

Heartburn, hernias, and how to lose weight – a Q&A post

Today I am answering a medical question about my recent post on a new option for weight loss without using drugs or invasive surgery.

The ReShape Integrated Dual Balloon System was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in July 2015.  The device can be  offered to adults with

  • BMI 30-40
  • At least one obesity-related condition- hypertension, diabetes, elevated cholesterol

The device is placed into the stomach by going through the mouth and down the esophagus with a tube called an endoscope. It takes about 30 minutes and requires only a mild sedative, not general anesthesia. Once in the stomach the “balloon” is inflated; by taking up space in the stomach it can trigger a feeling of fullness.

ReShape Dual Balloon
The balloon sitting in the stomach. The esophagus is at the top entering the stomach.

Patients  follow their eating and exercise plan and the device is removed in 6 months.

My reader asked if people with heartburn, reflux or a hiatal hernia can use the device safely and effectively. So first let’s understand what these mean.

Heartburn should probably be called “esophagus burn”. It’s that painful sensation in the chest due to acid from the stomach flowing backwards into the esophagus- that’s called reflux, or gastro-esophageal reflux, aka GERD (the D is added to call it a Disease if it’s frequent, persistent, or severe).

A hiatal hernia is related to GERD but not the same thing. To enter the stomach, the esophagus passes through a hole or hiatus in the diaphragm – the large flat muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. Sometimes this hole becomes stretched so much that part of the stomach gets pulled up into the chest (where it should not be). This enlargement is called a hernia, in this case a hiatal hernia.

In many cases a hernia is associated with  reflux of stomach contents but the person may not experience heartburn. Or,a person can have reflux  and heartburn without the hernia.

Here is an overview of heartburn from FamilyDoctor.org.

Thanks to Pixabay for this nice illustration of the digestive tract.

digestive organs
the human digestive system

Now to answer the question.

ReShape Medical writes on the web site that the device should not be used if the hiatal hernia is larger than 5 cm, about 2 inches.  Even with a smaller hernia, it should not be used if reflux symptoms are severe and persistent.

Persons with any condition affecting the esophagus, stomach or intestines, or previous surgery in these organs probably should not consider this weight loss method. Unfortunately, since so many people experience gastrointestinal disease, this method’s use will be limited.

But there are other weight loss options so just because this one won’t work, don’t give up trying. Here are some other ideas to consider if you want to lose weight.

breaking up with junk food

using weight loss medication

how motivation helps manage weight

Thanks for asking and please, ask another medical question soon.

Good news- more weight management options

I have written about several approaches to weight loss. First and always is lifestyle changes involving food choices, and eating habits. Along with that, one needs to start or increase physical activity. There are many different ways to achieve these, from books, videos, group activities, online programs, counselling and many combinations of these. For those folks who still can’t reach goal, the next options are weight loss medications, which I have discussed previously, and surgery.

Now there is another option which does not involve drugs or invasive surgery. The ReShape Integrated Dual Balloon System was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in July 2015. . Candidates for the device are

  • Adults
  • BMI 30-40
  • At least one obesity-related condition- hypertension, diabetes, elevated cholesterol

It is a device placed into the stomach by going through the mouth and down through the esophagus through a tube called an endoscope. It takes about 30 minutes and requires on a mild sedative, not general anesthesia. Once in the stomach the “balloon” is inflated; by taking up space in the stomach it can trigger a feeling of fullness.

Patients still continue to follow their eating and exercise plan and the device is removed in 6 months.

Like any medical procedure, there are potential adverse effects including headache, muscle pain, and nausea from the sedation and procedure; in rare cases, severe allergic reaction, heart attack, esophageal tear, infection, and breathing difficulties can occur. Once the device is placed in the stomach, patients may experience vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, gastric (stomach) ulcers, and feelings of indigestion.

Follow this link for more info.

After gaining weight with pregnancies, one woman successfully lost weight with gastric bypass surgery. Read about the lifestyle changes she made at this article from American Family Physician journal

 

You can review my previous posts which address weight management issues at these links.

Obesity and BMI defined

How we should view excess weight 

How effective are weight management programs? 

A success story; how a doctor helped her patient lose weight

When diet alone doesn’t work

How my friend lost weight and inspired others with her example

And again, please share your experiences with weight management, good or bad. We’re here to encourage you in your efforts and celebrate with you in your success.

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                              Dr. Aletha