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What to Know & Ask When Choosing a Balloon Weight Loss Specialist

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Questions to Ask When Choosing a Balloon Weight Loss SpecialistSo you’ve been reading a lot about gastric balloon weight loss, and you think it might be right for you. You’ve filled out the questionnaire, and it seems you might be an excellent candidate. Great! So what’s the next step?
The next step in your weight loss journey is to find a trained physician who performs gastric balloon procedures. It turns out that a variety of different types of physicians perform the balloon weight loss procedures. The specialists that perform them the most include bariatric surgeons, plastic surgeons, and gastroenterologists.

Types of Specialists that Perform Balloon Weight Loss Procedures:

Bariatric Surgeons

The specialist that probably performs the most balloon weight loss procedures is the bariatric surgeon. Bariatric surgeons are the surgeons that perform weight loss surgeries such as the gastric bypass, Lap Band and other various procedures that promote weight loss, so the gastric balloon procedure is right up their alley.
Bariatric surgeons are medically trained specialists who after completing medical school and a surgical residency proceed on to specialized training specifically in the field of bariatrics. Bariatrics is the specialty branch of medicine that treats obesity while also identifying it’s the causes and formulating methods of prevention. Physicians who are board certified by the American Board of Surgery or the American Osteopathic Board of Surgery, have completed rigorous training and met specific established standards. They must undergo recertification every ten years to prove they are up to date with current practices and standards of care.
Because they are experienced with the complexity of obesity and its many causes, bariatric specialty offices are often well-equipped with other support staff such as dietitians and counselors. Weight loss involves more than just a procedure and having guidance from well-trained dietitians, and counselors can be an invaluable tool during your weight loss journey. Bariatric specialists also usually provide structured follow up care to ensure long-term weight loss success.

Plastic Surgeons

Plastic surgeons are also among the many types of physicians that perform balloon weight loss procedures. Plastic surgeons devote their practice to improving the overall appearance and function of the human body so it’s not surprising that they too would be interested in helping people look and feel their best with the gastric balloon.  Their attention to detail and familiarity with surgeries and procedures give patients great confidence in receiving their gastric balloon procedure from a plastic surgeon.
A well-trained and trustworthy plastic surgeon will be board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. To be certified by the board, the physician must complete several years of a surgical residency after medical school. This residency includes years of general and plastic surgery training in combination or solely in plastic surgery.
Plastic surgeons are also great at giving you all-around excellent cosmetic results, so if you are interested in doing more for your general appearance, a plastic surgeon may be the specialist for you. Not every plastic surgeon performs balloon weight loss surgery, but if one comes up on your list of the physicians that do, you’ll understand what a plastic surgeon can offer in comparison to other specialists.

Gastroenterologists

Gastroenterologists perform probably the most endoscopic procedures out of all the specialty groups. They are physicians that specialize in caring for all kinds of digestive disorders. They frequently perform procedures called endoscopies that involve inserting a long flexible camera, called an endoscope, into the stomach and intestines for diagnosis and treatment of various digestive conditions.  Since the majority of gastric balloons are placed in the stomach with an endoscope, it’s only fitting that gastroenterologists would be among the specialists that are performing balloon weight loss procedures.
Gastroenterologists are trained in the field of gastroenterology. After completing medical school and a residency in internal medicine, they then complete a few additional years of training specifically in gastroenterology.  This training includes countless endoscopic procedures and an in-depth understanding of the entire digestive tract.
Although not all gastroenterologists perform balloon weight loss procedures, many are joining the list and understandably so. Gastroenterologists often have their own outpatient procedure facilities, reducing hospital fees and often employ dietitians to help patients manage their diet and understand how food affects them. They can also easily address other digestive complaints such as acid reflux, nausea and much more, should they occur.

Other

Various other types of physicians can and are performing balloon weight loss procedures including family medicine physicians and cosmetic surgeons. As long as the physician is board-certified and trained to insert the particular brand of gastric balloon you are interested in, they can perform balloon weight loss procedures. However, it’s up to you find a reputable and experienced professional for optimal results and lower risk of complications.

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Balloon Weight Loss SpecialistQuestions to Ask When Choosing a Balloon Weight Loss Specialist:

What does your training include?

Remember the balloon weight loss procedure doesn’t have to be performed by a surgeon, but you do want a medically trained professional with experience doing endoscopies or inserting catheters into the stomach.

What board are you certified with?

Board certification is evidence that a physician has completed rigorous training, passed oral and written exams and met specific standards of care. The specific board they are certified by will inform you of the type of training have had. If they are board certified in a field that is not particularly familiar with weight loss procedures, for example, nephrology (kidney specialty), it’s up to you if you want to proceed with that specialist.

Where did you receive training for this balloon weight loss procedure?

Most of the gastric balloon manufacturers/suppliers will train the participating physician on how to insert that particular brand of gastric balloon. The different brands of balloons are similar but still different, and each brand may have specific techniques or considerations that the physician should be aware of when placing it. Be sure the physician you choose has been trained in placing the particular balloon you are interested in.

How many gastric balloons have you placed?

You want to be sure they have experiencing placing the specific gastric balloon you are interested in. The specialist’s training should require several procedures that were supervised by a more experienced specialist. To be considered “well-experienced,” this type of procedure should be performed at least once per week for five years or more. Several times a week for fewer years is comparable.

What hospitals or other surgical facilities are you affiliated with?

Hospital or facility affiliation usually means that they are in good standing the medical community and likely do not have any credible offenses against their medical practice.

Do you provide dietary or other forms of counseling throughout the process?

As we’ve mentioned before, dietary guidance and counseling can be a considerable advantage in your weight loss journey. The gastric balloon itself is a weight loss tool, not a magical cure. You will learn how to eat wiser and in healthier portions, but a dietitian or other trained medical provider can help you identify unhealthy habits, triggers that drive you to overeat and other helpful tools to have long-lasting results.

What type of follow-up care do you provide?

Having the gastric balloon procedure is just the beginning of your weight loss journey.  Follow-up care is essential to long-term success, and many practices that specialize in weight loss understand that. Not only should your specialist be concerned that you don’t develop complications from the procedure, but it should also be evident that your overall health and weight loss goals are their priority as well.

Other Things to Consider When Choosing a Balloon Weight Loss Specialist:

Type of Balloon

Currently, there are three gastric balloon devices approved by the FDA in the United States. They are Orbera, Reshape and Obalon. On www.balloonweightloss.com we’ve outlined the basics of each device. If there’s a device you specifically want, you can then search for specialists that place that particular device.

Proximity

Obviously, you’ll likely want to choose a practice that is somewhat close to where you live or if not, in a location that you can stay for awhile or get to easily.  Balloon weight loss procedures will require routine follow up visits every few weeks, sometimes every week the first month or so. Visits for dietary counseling or support groups may also require you to travel to the practice location so be sure you take proximity into consideration.

Reviews

Learn from those who have gone before. Nothing is a more significant testament to a physician’s care than the reviews of those he or she has cared for. Of course, there will always be a few unhappy customers no matter how impressive a physician is but if the balance rest on the negative side, keep looking. Google, Yelp and other forms of third-party reviews exist. Testimonials on the practice’s website will likely only be positive but are still helpful.

Support Staff

The people that answer the phones, greet you when you arrive, take you back to the exam room and aid the physician during the entire process can make for a pleasant or not so pleasant experience. It’s not just the physician you’re hiring but the entire support staff. You’ll want to feel cared for by not only the physician but the other staff that you interact with. More often than not, it’s the support staff that makes a greater impact on your experience than the physician. If you don’t feel like you’ll get the support you need from the entire team, you may want to keep looking.

Education

Here I’m talking about how well you are educated about the procedure and entire process by the specialist and his or her team. Again, the balloon weight loss procedure is just the beginning of a healthier lifestyle for you. You need to equipped with a good understanding of how to maintain healthy eating habits and avoid falling back into routines that could sabotage your success.

We are so excited you are taking the next steps in becoming a healthier, happier you. We are here to help and want to be your resource all things Balloon Weight Loss! Are you interested in Learning more about the Gastric Balloon or would you like to see if you qualify for the Gastric Balloon.

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Welcome Ideal Physician Weight Loss

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BalloonWeightLoss.com would like to welcome Ideal Physician Weight Loss. Ideal Physician Weight Loss saw the vast amount of benefits partnering with us here a BalloonWeightLoss.com. Here at BalloonWeightLoss.com, We believe in providing education to the public. We serve people struggling with weight issues by providing effective ways for people to find bariatric surgeons. In addition to bariatric surgeons, we plan to connect patients with all the medical professionals who can support them on their journey.

Ideal Physician Weight Loss is located in the Paradise Valley Medical Plaza serving North Phoenix and Scottsdale. Our staff and physicians are dedicated to helping people achieve safe, effective and permanent weight loss. Ideal Physician Weight Loss services provide comprehensive treatment options including high-quality protein meal plans to promote the body’s ability to maintain muscle mass during the weight loss process. Our meal plans are supplemented with electrolytes, minerals, and vitamins. Because the meal plans are nutritionally sound, and because you are carefully monitored during the weight loss phase, we can put you on a diet that is much lower in calories than is possible in a non-medical setting. Balloon weight loss procedures can mean faster, safer weight loss in a carefully monitored environment compared to other forms of weight loss.

Click Here” If you would like more information on Balloon Weight Loss and or to see if you qualify for the Gastric Balloon. If you are a Physician and you are interested in Partnering with us or you just want to see what we can offer “Click Here”.

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Managing Common Side Effects From Gastric Balloons

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Managing Common Side Effects from Gastric BalloonsHaving a gastric balloon placed in your stomach comes with expectations that your body may take a little while to get used to its new, ever-present companion.  Naturally, the gastric balloon will make you feel full, that’s the whole purpose, but other common side effects include nausea, vomiting, gas and more.  Most cases are mild and annoying but rarely bothersome enough to prompt removal of the balloon.  Side effects also improve with time as individuals and their bodies grow accustomed to the balloon.  Most bariatric surgeons offer their patients medications and other advice to help minimize side effects.  Dietary recommendation are also designed to help individuals with gastric balloons avoid unpleasant reactions.

Here, we’ve listed a few common side effects and tips to manage them so you can have an optimal experience with the gastric balloon and long term weight loss success.

  • Nausea – Probably the most common side effect associated with balloon weight loss, nausea can be a frequent visitor due to the fact the body thinks there is something in the stomach that shouldn’t be there. It’s more pronounced during the first few weeks and gets better as time go by. Things that help include:
    • Diet – whenever nausea hits, reduce intake and return to liquids until symptoms improve; chew on ginger (cut in slices and chew or suck, tea, gums, chews, hard candy), eat saltines or something just a little salty, eat low-fat foods because fatty foods can cause further delay in digestion, mint – chew a leaf or mint tea can help significantly.
    • Prescription meds – ondansetron, promethazine, compazine, scopolamine patches can be prescribed by your healthcare provider.
    • OTC meds – meclizine (a.k.a. Non-drowsy dramamine, Bonine), activated charcoal, vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine.
    • Alternative Therapies – Acupuncture; Aromatherapy – inhaling peppermint, lemon oil or others, applying small amount camphor (i.e. Tiger Balm) to the temples.
  • Bad breath – Bad breath after balloon weight loss surgery can occur when you’re slightly dehydrated, food isn’t moving through in a timely fashion or certain foods (typically starchy) are sticking to the balloon. To help:
    • Drink water frequently – Sip water frequently. A general rule of thumb is to divide your weight in pounds by 2 and drink that much fluid ounces a day. (i.e. If you weigh 250 lbs, you should be drinking approximately 125 fluid ounces a day).
    • Brush your teeth after every meal, liquid or solid. Also, brush your tongue, gums and inside of your cheek since bacteria and food particles can build up on these surfaces as well.
    • Chew cinnamon sugar-free gum to stimulate the production of odor-fighting saliva. Research suggests that cinnamon can decrease the amount of bacteria in the mouth.
    • Floss or use a waterpik to get in between the teeth to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
    • Stay on top of dental cleanings and visit your dentist to rule out other possible causes of bad breath.
  • Gas – The delay in digestion and dramatic change in your diet can contribute to an increase in gas which then can lead to discomfort and cramping. Although this too should improve as time goes by, here are few things that can help.
    • Activated charcoal works to absorb excess gas and fluids which then can ease bloating and discomfort.
    • Beano, GasEx and Phazyme can aid in digestion as well as the absorption of gas.
    • Eat slowly
    • Take a little walk to help move the gas a long
    • Applying a heating pad to your abdomen can aid in dissipating the gas
    • Certain yoga positions and exercises can help you pass gas and relieve the pressure.
  • Cramping – Usually caused by excess gas and pressure, cramping can range from mild to outright painful. Definitely see your healthcare provider if the pain is significant. For more milder symptoms, some things that can help include:
    • Peppermint oil – often found in the herbal supplement section of most stores, especially natural food stores
    • Heating pad applied to abdomen
    • Eating slowly or go back to fluids for a time
    • Activated charcoal – by absorbing fluids and gas, charcoal can also relieve any subsequent cramping.
  • Belching – Often related to trapped gas, belching can be mild or extremely foul smelling and bothersome. If it is severe, we recommend seeing your provider to make sure all is okay with the balloons. Otherwise, a few tips that can help include:
    • Drink fluids regularly to rinse off the balloons
    • Activated charcoal works to absorb excess gas and fluids
    • Beano, GasEx and Phazyme can also aid in digestion as well as the absorption of gas.
  • Constipation – Due to the drastic decrease in intake and likely lack of fiber the first few weeks, constipation is a common occurrence after gastric balloon procedures. To avoid severe constipation and the discomfort and pain that can accompany, here are few tips:
    • Stool softeners – have a low threshold to use a gentle stool softener like MiraLAX, dulcolax or colace. They are non-habit forming and are not likely to cause cramping unless you’re already pretty backed up. If you are having severe pain with constipation, you might have an obstruction and should call your physician and/or go directly to the nearest emergency department.

The Serious Stuff

Above we’ve talked about some of the common, day-to-day side effects that can occur during gastric balloon weight loss but there are some things that may require immediate attention. These include:

  • Increased hunger, weight gain and no full feeling – May indicate deflation of the balloon(s), check in with your physician.
  • Increasing nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain, inability to keep food or fluids down – May be from an obstruction, call your physician asap.
  • Intense abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, blood in vomit or stool – May be signs of an ulceration in your stomach or intestinal tract.
  • No urination for 8-12 hours, headache, lightheadedness, increase heart rate, dry mouth or intense/constant thirst – May be signs of dehydration, contact your physician asap, you may need some IV fluids.

Are you interested in Learning more about the Gastric Balloon or would you like to see if you qualify for the Gastric Balloon.

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Tips To Refocus And Get Back On Track

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Did you know that approximately 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week in  February?  So if you’ve found yourself falling back into old habits as the shimmer of the New Year has faded, you are not alone… and it’s not too late to get back on track!  One thing you have to remember is, you only fail if you stop trying, so any time you fall off the proverbial horse, … Get Back On!

Tips to Refocus and Get back on TrackHere are few tips to remember that can help:

  1. Visualize It – See the end goal and stay focused on that.  Also visualize the possible bumps along the way and prepare for them.  Have a plan on how you will resist temptation and avoid getting derailed.
  2. Accentuate the Positive – Focus on the positive!  There are a lot of things in life that you can’t control but you CAN control your attitude and your response to life’s challenges. Chose to be positive and move forward rather than dwelling on slip ups, etc… Move on, look ahead, take care of your self and be positive.
  3. Be Specific – Make specific goals each day that will get you closer to your long-term goal. One day at a time, the little steps will get you far.
  4. Get Competitive – Find someone who can challenge you. Secretly compete with the guy or girl you always see at the gym with the body you envy and start pushing yourself to keep up with them. Or, find a friend who will do the same and keep you accountable, you get the idea.  Make it fun and energize yourself with a challenge.
  5. Celebrate – Celebrate the little victories and the victories will get larger the more you stick with your goals. Build your confidence and you’ll be impressed at how far you can go.

Remember, you can do this!  Get back on track, keep these tips handy to remind you what you need to focus on and it’ll be easier to STAY on track.  Focus on how much you’ve invested in your health by undergoing the balloon weight loss procedure.  You are worth this and it will be worth the effort!!

If you would like to Learn more about the Gastric Balloon or See if you qualify for the Gastric Balloon.

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Eating With A Gastric Balloon: Making Meal Prep Easy!

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Eating with the a gastric balloon in you stomach can take some getting used to.  It will be different from how you’re used to eating…which is really the whole point of gastric balloon weight loss – learn to eat healthier portion sizes and healthier foods for long term weight loss and healthier living.  Although different, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.  A little bit of planning and preparation will get you going in the right direction and on your way to a slimmer, healthier you.

Once you’ve completed the first week or two of a liquid to semi-liquid diet, you’ll likely be cleared by your surgeon to progress to more solid foods.  Meal prep is going to be a tremendous aid in keeping you on course.  If you haven’t done it before, meal prepping simply involves setting aside some time once or twice a week to make meals for when you’re too tired or busy to cook.  It’s like homemade TV dinners, ready and waiting for whenever you are.  Meal prepping reduces the chance of poor eating decisions dictated by hunger and tiredness.  If you don’t have a healthy meal waiting for you at home after work it can be tempting to just grab fast food because you’re hungry and don’t want to cook.  Or if you don’t have something to take to lunch, guess how easy it is just go out to eat with coworkers and be tempted to eat something you’ll regret later? It’s very easy and we’ve all been there.

So, here are a few tips that can get you in the groove of meal prepping and keep your diet and healthy lifestyle on track:

Make Your Grocery List: Have fun and mix things up a bit but plan to get certain “staples” that will be easy to incorporate into any meal. Here are some we’ve found helpful to have handy:

  • Eggs
  • Egg whites
  • Greek yogurt
  • Oats
  • Rice
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Fruits: soft fruits such as berries, bananas and other fruits if you can avoid the skins
  • Vegetables that can be cooked well
  • Protein Shakes
  • Sugar free pudding
  • Sugar free popsicles
  • Sugar free gelatin

Cooking Time: Put your favorite show on or crank the tunes and have fun while cooking your food.  Invest in some little plastic meal containers or mason jars to store your meals.  Make them easy to just grab from the fridge or freezer.

  • Marinate meats
  • Bake, broil, grill, pan-cook or crock pot it
  • Boil eggs
  • Measure out ¼ cup of oats for overnight oatmeal
  • Chop veggies to get them ready to steam or bake.
  • Bake, microwave or mash sweet potatoes
  • Cook rice or lentils

Measure Proper Portion Sizes: per meal

  • 3 ounces of meat
  • ½ cup of cooked veggies
  • ¼ cup of starch

Storage:

  • 3-4 days in the fridge
  • 2 months in the freezer

Some Pre-cooked Foods: to further help cut down on prepping.

  • Rotisserie chicken
  • Canned chicken, salmon or tuna
  • Precooked shrimp
  • Greek yogurt
  • Steam in the bag veggies
  • Microwavable brown rice
  • Low sugar instant oatmeal

Just remember, plan ahead and have fun! You can do this!

If you would like to Learn more about the Gastric Balloon or See if you qualify for the Gastric Balloon.

 

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Are You Struggling With Your Weight Loss Goals During The Holiday Season?

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Trust us you are not alone! The holiday season is a tough time to be committed to losing weight. Amazing food is all around, the stress from family being in town and the holiday shopping, oh man! Holiday shopping alone is enough to make anyone sit down with a nice treat to forget about all the craziness. Well we are here to help, come visit our Pinterest page, where we have exercise tips and tricks for any season and level. Our Healthy Recipes Board has fun and healthy recipes that look and taste even better than the classic holiday pie! Even the strongest person knows that some days it is nice to see a motivational quote to help keep pushing you on! Just Think of it this way, in 2018 when everyone is making their new year’s resolutions to better their lives, you will already be steps ahead of them. Your new years resolution will not be, “I want to better my health,” it will be, “I want to keep moving forward and keep doing what I have already been doing!” Happy Holidays to all and keep up the amazing work!

 

If you would like to Learn more about the Gastric Balloon or See if you qualify for the Gastric Balloon.

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HOLIDAY EATING WITH GASTRIC BALLOONS

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Sing with me now…” It’s the most wonderful time of the year” … Well, it can certainly can be, but it can also be stressful especially if you’ve just had your gastric balloons placed and are worrying about how you’re going to face all those holiday parties and piles of holiday food.  I’m sure you’re learning to adjust to eating with your balloons but navigating the season and all the eating that comes with it takes some extra planning and commitment. Not only do you want to lose weight and continue to make healthy choices, you’ll also need to remember that overeating with gastric balloons can make you feel uncomfortable.  But you CAN do it and we’re here to help. Below are a few tips to help make this season enjoyable for all, including you.

  • Go Full. Have a health snack before the party. Don’t go hungry, cookies are so much harder to resist when you’re hungry. Set yourself up for success.
  • Go SMALL. Use a small plate, take smaller portions. You can still enjoy your favorite foods but in smaller bites. This will make you feel less deprived and more comfortable because too much food will not only derail your weight loss goals but make you feel discomfort from being too full.
  • Go S-L-O-W. Graze, nibble, take a bite or two but make an extra effort to talk to your friends and family. Make your focus about the people who are around you not the food.
  • Go Around the Room. Don’t hover around the kitchen, buffet or table of goodies. Work the room, say “Hi” to Aunt Sally and put your back to the food if you need to.
  • Go for A Walk. Catch up with an old friend or family member and invite them to go for a walk or go run an errand for the host. Get moving and stay active not only to stay away from the food but to keep up with your weight loss.
  • Go Home. When it gets tough, have a plan of escape. Go to the gathering, make an appearance, spend time with friends and family, be social, have fun but go home if you feel the pressure and temptation start to build.  Have an excuse ready or just say it’s time for you to go. You’ve invested a lot in your health. Staying too long is not worth the risk.

If you would like to learn more about the Gastric Balloon or to see if you qualify for the Gastric Balloon we have many tools to help.

 

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Is Stress Eating Affecting Your Weight Loss?

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Let’s admit it, life is stressful.  We have several options for dealing with stress and for many, eating is one of them.  Turning to food when stressed and looking for comfort is not surprising or unusual.  It’s actually biological.  When stressed, our bodies release the hormones commonly known as adrenaline and cortisol.  These hormones work to prepare our bodies and minds for whatever challenges we are (or think we are) being faced with.  Adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, prepares our body for the “fight or flight” response and may temporarily suppress appetite in order to prepare for “battle”.  However, if the body remains under a steady stream of attack from stress, cortisol is released in order keep the body alert and motivated.  Alert and motivated, however, often increases appetite and motivates one to eat more frequently and in larger amounts.

And get this, stress also has a favorite food.  I’m sure you guessed it’s not salad.  Unfortunately, foods high in fat and sugar are the main cravings of stress. They seem to actually “comfort” the brain through a feedback mechanism that counteracts the effects of stress.  Parts of the brain that produce and stimulate stress and related emotions are lessened when fatty or sugary foods are ingested.  Calorie dense and palatable food seem to play a role in a reward system that scientists are still trying to fully understand.  Studies (and personal experience) show that tasty food can stimulate a euphoric (heavenly) sensation similar to what opioid based pain medications do.  They believe that this is why stress eating can not only be comforting but also addicting.1  Sadly, in this case what comforts us could eventually hurts us.

So now that we know why we stress eat and how stress can contribute to weight gain, the big question is HOW CAN WE PREVENT STRESS EATING to begin with??  Knowing the dangers of stress eating is the first step.  If you don’t know your weaknesses you won’t know how to protect yourself.  The following tips are some techniques that can foster healthy coping tactics when stress leads you to the refrigerator.

Tips to Avoid Stress Eating:

  1. Eliminate Temptations – If those fatty or sugary foods are not accessible, you can’t eat them.  No need making weight loss harder than it already is.  If you’ve made a decision to lose weight, set yourself up for success.  Remove the calorie dense junk food and sugary drinks from your home and workplace, if possible.  Fill it up with healthier choices, fruits, veggies, nuts, etc… When you’re hungry, you’re going to eat what’s in front of you.  If you find that after a while, eating carrots does not satisfy you, you’ll soon drop eating as a coping mechanism for stress. If not, then at least you’re eating carrots and not cookies.
  2. Exercise – Exercising releases endorphins, those “feel good” hormones.  These endorphins also serve to lower cortisol levels and remember, cortisol can contribute to sustained levels of increased appetite and thus overeating.  The exercise doesn’t have to be tortuous running (unless, of course, you like running) but for those a little less motivated at first, just go for a walk, do some jumping jacks or an exercise DVD in your living room.  Just get moving!  It works, it really does.
  3. Keep Busy – Find a hobby, plan your day, especially on the weekends or when you’re not working or otherwise occupied.  Temptations sneak in when you’re not prepared and vulnerable.  Boredom is a true friend of mindless and stress eating.  Again, set yourself up for success, plan ahead and plan for possible temptations along the way.  Hobbies and other non-eating activities that keep you occupied are a great way to release stress and avoid stress eating.
  4. Meditation – Taking deep breaths from the diaphragm while quieting the mind has not only be shown to reduce stress but it in turn reduces blood pressure, improve digestion, reduce cortisol levels, enhance mood and sharpen mental capabilities.  When the urge to eat in order to cope with stress surfaces, meditate instead.  Try this: Inhale while counting to five, then exhale as you count to five, then repeat.  Aim for at least 5 minutes of meditation at a time.
  5. Engage Your Support System – If you have one, use it.  Be sure they are aware of your goals and will help you stick with them. Just being a loved one doesn’t count.  Loved ones may love you but may not always be a great support system if they don’t truly understand what you need when you’re stressed and wanting to avoid stress eating.  For those who are serious about losing weight or have undergone a weight loss procedure like balloon weight loss, choosing a friend or family to act like a “sponsor” does in AA for alcoholics, is recommended.  Having an individual who agrees to be the go to person when temptation strikes, can be invaluable.
  6. Stop and Think – Most stress eating happens in a split second.  You feel stressed, your body knows food makes it feel good, your hand reaches for food and before you know it, it’s in your mouth…  If you could just take a minute to stop, think about whether or not this food is worth it, weigh the pros and cons and determine if its in accordance to your goals, 9 times out of 10, you will probably avoid stress eating and find another way to cope.

If you’ve made the decision to lose weight, whether through a weight loss procedure like gastric balloon weight loss or through diet and exercise alone, you need to recognize the dangers of stress eating.  As we outlined above, there is a biological reason why eating comforts us but it can get out control and even become an addiction so the first thing is to be aware.  Next, you need to plan and set yourself up for success.  You can do this.

If you would like to learn more about the Gastric Balloon or to see if you qualify for the Gastric Balloon we have many tools to help. If you are not finding a doctor in your area or not seeing the answer to your question please feel free to reach out to us. Our goal is to inform everyone about all of their weight loss options and put you in contact with a doctor in your area.

References:

  1. Stress, eating and the reward system; Adam TC, Epel ES.; Physiol Behav. 2007;91(4):449-58. Epub 2007 Apr 14.

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What Is BMI & How Is It Connected To My Weight & Health?

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You’ve probably heard of the Body Mass Index (BMI), a measurement that medical professionals, insurance companies and researchers have used to categorize obesity.  For the past several decades, the BMI has been used as an easy way to monitor trends in obesity for researchers, but when the medical community started using it widely for individuals, they noticed that it doesn’t quite provide the whole picture of health.

While it does provide valuable information regarding societal trends, especially in regards to keeping track of and preventing childhood obesity, the BMI has several limitations when it comes to measuring an individual’s health in terms of weight. One of the biggest limitations of the BMI is that is doesn’t distinguish between fat and muscle, which can be an issue for those who are athletic. An average professional football player, for instance, might have a BMI of 31.35, which is considered obese according to BMI measurements.  Yet he is more fit and has less body fat than his normal BMI peers. Athletes aren’t alone, many individuals categorized as overweight or obese according to the BMI may simply have a broad frame or are muscular yet have very little body fat.

Another limitation to the BMI is race and age. For example, those of African descent genetically tend towards having more muscle than fat compared to Caucasians. Another paradox is that Asians are more prone to heart disease despite their tendency to have lower BMIs. The BMI also fails to take into account growth spurts that children go through. When boys go through puberty they add muscle rapidly yet girls will add fat during puberty, the BMI will miss that nuance as well.

So what can we do? How do we judge health? Do we forget about weight measurement altogether and just eat healthy and work out? Just focus on decreasing blood pressure, blood sugar and unhealthy fats? Well, yes but…

Unfortunately, studies show that those who are “Fit but Fat” can still have a high risk of heart disease just because they are overweight or obese. A new study published in the European Heart Journal highlights one of the dominating controversies in the health world: Can you really be “fat but fit?”1. Researchers provide evidence that carrying too much extra weight still hurts your heart, even if your other risk factors, like blood pressure, blood sugar and triglycerides are kept pretty low with diet and exercise.

Over 520,000 people were follow for 12 years and then evaluated to see who developed heart disease. Result showed that overweight and obese people who did not have common risk factors for heart disease like high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low “good” cholesterol, high blood sugar, were still 26% more likely having heart disease than their non-obese/overweight counterparts. Meaning, weight still increases one’s risk of developing heart disease despite having low risk factors. Argh!

So how do we measure “health” in terms of weight if the BMI doesn’t provide a perfect picture and just keeping risk factors low doesn’t necessarily solve the problem either? Being within the normal weight range for your height IN ADDITION to having low blood pressure, low blood sugar and plenty of “good cholesterol” is obviously the key but are there better ways to measure obesity that would give a more accurate representation of one’s health?

One solution may be measuring waist circumference. It’s different for men and women, but studies show that for those who carry more fat around the waist compared to the rest of their body, the risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes increases dramatically. For women the goal is to have a waist circumference less than 35 inches and for men it should be less than 40 inches. To accurately measure your waist, stand and place a tape measure around your middle, just above your hipbones not at your bellybutton (if your belly button falls there fine, but the measurement should be right above your hip bones. Don’t cheat and suck it, measure your waist just after you breathe out but do stand up straight.

As seen in the European Heart Journal study and several others, the threat for people who tend to be fit, but have big bellies is real. This belly fat can be a greater risk factor for heart disease than any other kind. A study in The Journal Frontiers in Public Health found that using BMI as the lone measure missed 50% of cases of people who had what was determined to be dangerous fat that could hurt their health2. 50%!! Co-author of that study, Paul Laursen prefers the term “overfat” rather “overweight,” because, fat not overall weight, is what negatively affects one’s health.  “We shouldn’t be as worried about the weight. What we should really be worried about is fat…where your fat is concentrated,” according to Laursen. The BMI fails to identify the degree of one’s fat and its concentration on the body.

So again, what do we do now? Should BMI be totally thrown out? Probably not, but time will tell. In the meantime, here’s what you can do:

  1. Keep risks low: Focus on lower blood pressure, low blood sugar and increasing your “good” cholesterol by eating healthy and exercising – all proven methods to keeping heart risk low.
  2. Decrease your weight circumference: Are your risk factors low but you still have fat around the middle? Don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s harmless and that only the blood tests matter. Consider gastric balloon weight loss or other weight loss procedures to help shrink that middle if diet and exercise alone are doing it.

Read more about the BMI and in this article recently published on CNN:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/16/health/bmi-measure-fat-questions/index.html

If you would like to Learn more about the Gastric Balloon or See if you qualify for the Gastric Balloon.

References:

  1. Lassale C, Tzoulaki I, Moons KGM, et al. Separate and combined associations of obesity and metabolic health with coronary heart disease: a pan-European case-cohort analysis. European Heart Journal. Published online August 14 2017
  2. Maffetone PB, Rivera-Dominguez I, Laursen PB. Overfat and underfat: new terms and definitions long overdue. Front Public Health. 2016;4:279. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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4 Ways To Care For Your Self To Ensure Weight Loss Success

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Whether you’re just starting on your journey to a healthier you, have already taken the steps towards a procedure like balloon weight loss or have already undergone bariatric surgery, you have probably realized that taking care of yourself is key to your health and success. However, if you haven’t realized it yet, now is the time…

Maybe you spend all of your time caring for and looking after others, leaving scraps of time for yourself, if any at all. Have you thought about how that may have contributed to (or is contributing to) your weight difficulties and perhaps suboptimal health? Have you considered how by taking better care of yourself, you’ll be better adept at caring for others plus provide a healthier example to those around you? By caring for yourself in the sense of taking the steps towards weight loss, you’ll not only be thinner but healthier, stronger, more energetic and likely happier. Balloon weight loss and other procedures can help in achieving a healthier weight, however, if you don’t continue to the process of self care, it’s easy to revert back to old habits of neglecting your health and likely your weight.4 Ways To Care For Your Self To Ensure Weight Loss Success

 

A lot of focus is placed on the idea of self-care these days, particularly as it relates to those who spend their time caring for others such as mothers, fathers, and other caregivers. I believe it is a healthy and useful awareness that can lead to an improved quality of life and development of inner peace and happiness. In this chaotic society where unimportant things somehow get prioritized as urgent too often, we could all use a little more peace and self-care, don’t you think? Instead of just surviving, we need to be thriving!

Just think about it… how can you help others when you, yourself are running on fumes?  Everyone benefits if we take care of ourselves because it frees up a greater reservoir of emotional and physical resources for ourselves AND others.

Here’s how to set yourself up for success:

 

  1. Have a Little Compassion – We all have regrets but give yourself a break. Mistakes are meant to be learning experiences. You can allow those regrettable experiences, big or small indefinitely plague you with guilt keep you down OR you can let it fuel your determination to make better decisions in the future. If you keep beating yourself up about things you get no-where. Why let those poor decision define you? Shrug it off, give yourself a little love and get back on the horse for bigger and better things. By having a generous spirit towards yourself, you can calmly and honestly assess how contributing factors, such as fatigue, stress, anger, etc… may be influencing things. Then you can more adequately recognize what may help you make better decisions in the future. You can turn that regretted decision into empowerment. Multiple things in life benefit from this rule but weight loss especially. Your journey to weight loss success will be peppered with temptation, you’ll win some and you’ll lose some but success is only forfeited if you don’t get back on track. So if you do find yourself regretting that little (or big) indulgence, forgive yourself, get over it and get re-focused on your goals.
  2. Be Honest – Admitting that many aspects in life are difficult can help you face it head on and avoid the pitfalls of disillusionment and depression. Weight loss is not easy. Life is not easy and you will not always have the support or energy to fly through obstacles like you’d like to. So being honest with yourself can help you prepare for hard times and validate the pain and frustration you may be experiencing. Like I mentioned above, have compassion on yourself and be your best support when you can’t seem to find it from others.
  3. Be Your Best Friend – Support from others is awesome but not always there. You, however, are. Be your best support system, commit to being your own cheerleader and confidant. If you go through balloon weight loss or any other program to lose weight or take care of yourself in any other way, you need you. So often we think being our worst critic helps us try harder… WRONG! We need to be our best friend and stop fretting when others aren’t always there to support us because let’s face it, no matter how awesome your friends and loved ones are, they can’t be there for you ALL the time, not the way you can.
  4. Count Your Blessings – I know you’ve heard it before and it may seem remedial but it’s really true and really paramount to getting through obstacles in life, including the ones you’ll encounter when going through your weight loss journey. Life is hard, it will have struggles, heartaches, disappointment, inconsistencies and be down right not fair BUT there are beautiful aspects of life and those who learn to focus on those things will always find ways to keep going and succeed. Humor yourself and just try it on those crappy, “things can’t get any worse days”…over and over count even the tiniest of benefits (even if it’s just the air you are breathing), give yourself a little love and keep going…

 

Loving and caring for yourself is not selfish, it actually helps you love others more and it has been proven time and time again to increase energy, provide inner peace, reduce stress hormones, increase life expectancy and add a little pep in your step. Success in anything including weight loss will be multiplied if you invest in caring for yourself.

If you would like to learn more about the Gastric Balloon or to see if you qualify for the Gastric Balloon we have many tools to help.

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