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Weight Loss Q & A

We hosted a live Facebook web chat where our experts answered some tough weight loss questions.

Q: What type of exercise is the best to lose weight?

A: Weight loss is best achieved through continuous cardiovascular/aerobic activity;  e.g., cycling, walking, swimming, etc.

Q: I’m a 55-year- old female who needs to lose 80 pounds. Is Atkins a safe diet?

A:  Atkins is a very restrictive diet. Though there may be significant weight loss initially, it can lead to carbohydrate intolerance and weight gain in the future.

Q: Do I really have to exercise 6 days a week to lose weight?

A: To lose weight, the body must be active as much as possible on a daily basis to assist with energy expenditure. Everyday activity is definitely needed for weight loss. This does not mean that 6 days a week must be spent at the gym or engaging in the exact same activity, but be aware total daily exercise is the first step. Some type of activity is always better than no activity at all. More weight loss will occur with increased expenditure of calories.

Q: I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). I exercise 5 to 6 days/week and watch what I eat, but have problems keeping the weight off?

A: Due to insulin resistance, it is advisable to watch the simple carbohydrates ingested and consume complex carbohydrates such as fruits and vegetables to help keep your appetite controlled. You want to vary your mode of exercise and monitor your heart rate intensity.

Q: What's a good alternative for a healthier recipe for stuffing for Thanksgiving?

A: Pumpernickel or sprout/spelt which is lower on the glycemic index would be a good alternative as the bread base. Use low-sodium chicken stock. You can also add walnuts, onions or celery (lots of veggies).

Q: Is any portion of this program covered by medical insurance? Is the program just for those who want to have gastric bypass?

A: The Medical Weight Loss Management Program is not for patients who want to have gastric bypass. It is for anyone who is has a BMI of 25 or greater and wants to lose weight non-surgically.

Q: Is Weight Watchers a safe weight loss program?

A: According to Annals of Internal Medicine, Weight Watchers is the most successful commercial weight loss program. However, lifetime sustainability is a concern, but it does focus on healthy food choices.

Q: I have PCOS and even on a 1,300-calorie diet and daily exercise, I struggle to lose weight. What will help?

A: We would need to evaluate your exercise program – mode of exercise and heart rate levels – and frequency of meals; e.g., through a one-on-one evaluation. To schedule, you can call (330) 375-6590 or go online at http://bit.ly/HXkXqc.

Q: How do I fight food cravings without gaining weight?

A: If you have a particular food craving, whether it’s for sweets or salty foods, consider when you last ate. Artificial sugars and simple sugars can cause sugar cravings.

If you’ve recently eaten, you may need to change what you are doing to help get your mind off of it. If you’re craving salty, you may need a snack or vary the timing of your meals. A good mixture of complex carbohydrates and well-spaced meals and snacks will help.

Q: What type of food should I be eating to lose weight?

A: A meal plan that includes fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy products is a good start. Minimal added sugars and refined grains should be kept to a minimum.

Q: I had the gastric bypass in 2006. I have about 72 lbs. to lose. What is the best way to lose this amount of weight?

A: Bariatric surgery patients need ongoing support and monitoring. It is advisable to eat frequent, small meals with an adequate intake of protein along with regular, continuous exercise. We welcome you to come to our FREE monthly support group for more information http://bit.ly/17ljGD5.

Q: I am skinny fat (higher body fat than what I should have at my current weight). Do I need to lose additional weight?

A: You may not need to lose weight. You may need to address diet needs to make sure that you’re getting enough protein. It’s 1 gram of protein per kilogram of weight. Make sure that your exercise program includes aerobic and resistance training on a regular basis.

Q: What can I do to avoid weight gain over the holidays?

A: Maintain a normal meal and snack schedule as best as you can. This will prevent you from arriving hungry at a holiday party and overeating.

Increase physical activity. Wear a pedometer to monitor your daily step count.

Socialize away from the buffet table. This will reduce the temptation to snack while chatting.

Remember that the holidays are about being with family and friends – not about the food.

Start a new tradition to include exercise during the holidays like going for a nightly walk or playing a game on the Wii Fit.

Q: What are the components of the medical weight loss program?

A: Four visits with our Medical Director that include:

  • An initial evaluation and plan set up.
  • Three additional visits with our physician to monitor your progress and make any changes needed to your program.

3 visits and 2 follow up phone calls with our registered dietitian that include:

  • A bariatric nutrition assessment with our program’s dietitian.
  • Two additional visits with the dietitian to assess your progress and adjust your diet plan if needed. These are scheduled during the mid-point of your six-month program.
  • Two follow-up phone calls from the dietician 3 months and 6 months after completing the program to check in on your progress.

2 visits with our exercise physiologist that include:

  • Review of the important role exercise plays in a successful weight loss management program.
  • An individualized and a group exercise visit with our exercise specialist to assess your progress and help ensure you meet your exercise goals.

1 initial visit with our psychologist that includes:

  • A behavioral evaluation by our psychologist to determine whether there are any underlying eating behaviors contributing to your weight problem. Counseling is available if you’re interested in using additional behavioral assistance to achieve your goals.

Call (330) 375-6590 to schedule an evaluation.

Q: I haven’t exercised in quite a bit of time. Do I need to go 1 hour/day of strenuous aerobic exercises to lose weight?

If you are just beginning an exercise program, it is advisable to begin at lower intensity levels on almost every day of the week. Multiple bouts of activity throughout the day may be as effective for weight loss as exercising in one single bout. The goal is to add to the total daily minutes of exercise aiming for a goal of at least 250 minutes/week. The more minutes, the better.

Q: What’s a realistic weight loss goal in 6 months?

A: It varies per person depending on BMI, prior weight loss, medications, metabolism and genetics. This is a great question to have answered during an evaluation in our office.

Q: What is the fastest way to gain weight?

Retain a balance between calories in and calories out. When there is a change in your job or daily responsibilities, activity levels often decrease. Over time this alters your metabolism which leads to weight gain. Skipping meals is another bad habit that interferes with daily metabolic rate as well as living a sedentary lifestyle.

Q: I need to lose about 80 pounds. My husband has suggested drastically decreasing my caloric intake to under 1,000 calories. Is this a good way to go about weight loss?

No, it is not. Following this type of plan may lead to losing lean muscle mass which alters your metabolism. It can also put you at risk for nutrient deficiencies. It’s not just about the calories; you should be eating well-balanced meals and snacks. You may benefit from an evaluation in the medical weight loss management program. Call (330) 375-6590 to schedule an appointment.

Q:  What is a more beneficial workout for fat loss, a 20-minute jog/run outdoors or a 30-minute walk on a treadmill with an incline?

They are both effective, but if depends on your heart rate response. A longer duration is ideal.

Q: How can I continue losing weight when I hit that plateau where it seems as if I am stuck. My weight won't go down anymore (although it's not going up). Do I need to modify my caloric intake as well as change my exercise routine?

A: First, congratulations on your weight loss! It would need to be determined by your doctor if you have reached a healthy weight. Although weight loss plateaus can be frustrating, there are ways to work through them! Continue to eat regularly throughout the day, making healthy food choices and exercising on a regular basis. Keeping a food/exercise log can be helpful in determining if portions are still appropriate and if your exercise routine is still as regular as it was in the beginning.

Try changing your exercise routine every 90 days, or try exercising when you have 10-15 minute breaks throughout the day. This will increase your daily step count which will help with weight loss.

Q: Do you need a referral to schedule a weight loss consult? Also, is it unusual to be on a strict diet and exercise regimen for a full year including aerobic and free weights and not shed even one pound?

A: You may directly schedule an appointment or we accept referrals. There are a number of factors that may prevent you from losing any weight. We feel an appointment with us would allow a more personal look at your diet and exercise habits.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Summa's Bariatric Care Center online or call (888) 680-1341.