Lose Weight, Lift Weights

Lose Weight, Lift WeightsMany people are tempted to overlook strength training after having weight loss surgery. After all, if the goal of working out is to burn calories, it would seem the most effective workouts would be aerobic activities like walking, swimming or cycling. Besides, pumping iron is what you do to pack on muscle weight, not lose excess fat, right?

After weight loss surgery, some people make the mistake of viewing strength training in this way. The reality is that skipping out on the weight room will cause you to miss out on many health benefits. Strong muscles are the basis of a healthy, physically fit body. Strength training can help you avoid injuries and enhance your weight loss efforts among other health benefits.

Not convinced enough to pick up the barbell? Here are a few ways that strength training is good for your health after Lap Band surgery:

  • Fight bone and muscle loss. After puberty, your body naturally begins to lose bone and muscle mass at the rate of about one percent per year. Strength training can prevent and even reverse that trend. Transitioning to a healthier, fitter body means more than just losing body fat—you need to build up lean muscle mass to keep your body strong, and strength training can help with that.
  • Improve balance and coordination. Strength training reduces the risk of falling by as much as 40 percent in those who have poor flexibility and balance. As you build your muscle strength, you’ll find yourself more capable of performing physically-demanding activities.
  • Burn even more calories. Building muscle won’t just burn calories as you’re lifting weights—calorie burning continues even after the workout is over. Muscles burn more calories than fat and require constant fuel to grow and recharge, meaning they’ll continue to burn a few calories even as you rest. Though the caloric effect of strength training is relatively minor, it can make a difference when combined with an aerobic workout.

Before heading to the gym to lift some weights, talk with your bariatric surgeon to make sure you are ready for the intensity of strength training. Most weight loss surgery patients can begin basic resistance training with dumbbells, weight bands and gym machines within six months following surgery.

Time for Tea

Time for TeaAfter getting weight loss surgery, you might feel like the list of things you can’t have gets longer and longer the more you think about it. Sugary beverages like sodas and juices are out of the question as they can fill you up on calories without giving you any nutritional benefit. Instead of concentrating on the drinks you know you shouldn’t have, stay positive by thinking of all the new drinks you might not have tried in the past.

It might not be the norm in Albertville or Guntersville to sit down for tea every day as it is in other cultures, but perhaps tea drinking is a habit that is worth picking up. Green tea in particular is loaded with antioxidants and is recognized as being able to promote heart health, improve digestion and even provide enhanced mental clarity.

Health Benefits of Green Tea

Countless studies have looked at the health benefits green tea offers. One longitudinal study of over 40,000 Japanese adults found that those who drank green tea throughout the day (an average of five cups daily) were 31 percent less likely to die of heart disease and 42 percent less likely to experience a fatal stroke. This was in comparison to those who drank just one cup of tea or less every day.

Other research shows that green tea is beneficial for the body inside and out. The antioxidants are recognized as beneficial for hair and skin health, and the drink is also recognized as a natural calming agent that can sooth anxiety and improve attention levels. Though some green teas do have caffeine, the quantity is significantly lower than a cup of coffee, with many types of tea offering one-tenth the caffeine level of a standard cup of coffee. If you would rather avoid caffeine altogether, there are plenty of green tea options available that are naturally decaffeinated.

How to Brew Green Tea at Home

One problem that a lot of people encounter is that bottled versions of green tea are loaded with added sugars. Tea is inexpensive and easy to brew yourself, so you can save yourself a few dollars and calories by making it at home.

To brew a cup of tea all you will need is tea leaves, hot water and a mug. Tea is available for purchase at just about any food or wellness store. While pre-packaged tea bags are the easiest place to start, you can also purchase loose tea leaves and a tea ball for more robust flavors. There are thousands of options of tea to choose from and that can be intimidating for many people. For starters, try sticking with basic green tea like a matcha or zen-inspired variety. If you prefer a sweeter drink, try a berry infused tea like a goji berry green or a blueberry-infused herbal tea blend. Once you find your tea bag you are ready to start brewing.

You can use a coffee pot, kettle or just a plain old saucepan to warm water for tea. Don’t put the tea bag into boiling water. Instead, heat the water to about 180 degrees so that steam comes out of the mug or tea pot but the water is not burning hot. Once you have your hot water, place the tea bag or metal ball of loose tea leaves into the tea and let it steep for four to five minutes. Once the flavors are infused you will notice that the color of the water changes to a light green color. You can then remove the tea bag or let it sit as you sip. The longer you leave the tea bag in the tea, the stronger the flavors will be.

If you want your tea iced, use twice the amount of tea bags as you would for a hot beverage and let it steep in hot water for at least 10 minutes, and then pour the beverage over ice.

Brewing a cup of tea takes only a few minutes and is super simple to do, but the result is a zero-calorie tasty beverage. So, the next time you have a craving for a sugar-laden coffee or soda, try brewing yourself a cup of tea instead and see what you think!

Putting Mind over Matter

Putting Mind over MatterLosing weight is just as much a mental game as it is a physical one. When it comes down to it, it’s your mind that controls your choice to order dessert, go for a walk or even get weight loss surgery in the first place. Your body is just along for the ride.

Unfortunately, your mind can play some pretty mean tricks on you, like when you eat a weight loss-friendly meal but can’t think of anything but the ice cream in the freezer. That isn’t your stomach craving those sweets—it’s all in your head. If you aren’t careful, your mind can lead you to stray from your bariatric center’s guidelines, slowing the progress you’re making towards your goal.

If you want to be successful, you need to be all in with your weight loss goals. That means you need to be mentally and physically prepared for the challenges that will face you at your bariatric center and beyond.

How Are You Approaching Your Lap Band Experience?

The way that you mentally approach your weight loss journey has a big impact on your overall success. To get the most out of your Lap Band experience, you should be positive, realistic and ready for anything.

  • Be Positive: What good has ever come of doubting yourself? The power of positivity isn’t something reserved for motivational gurus—it is a scientifically proven thing, especially in regards to weight loss progress.
  • Be Realistic: Too many people go into their bariatric center with unrealistic expectations, and end up leaving unsatisfied as a result. Weight loss is a process and will not happen overnight. Talk with your Lap Band surgeon about creating goals that are healthy, timely and relevant to your needs.
  • Be Ready: The best way to power through a mental obstacle is to take action. The more you sit and question what is going on, the more your mental block will grow. Don’t overthink it! If you find yourself starting to wonder if you have to go for a walk tonight, throw on your sneakers and finish the thought process on your way out the door. The quicker you push yourself into action, the better you’ll be able to overcome mental trip-ups.

The weight loss process isn’t something you should take on alone. Talk to your friends and let them know about your commitment to Lap Band and a healthier lifestyle. You might be surprised to find out how well a bit of social support can propel you past a mental barrier.

Obesity Bias an Unfortunate Reality

Obesity Bias an Unfortunate RealityBeing obese puts you at a disadvantage. Your health is compromised, you are subject to greater societal pressures and your own confidence and body image may suffer as a result of your excess weight. For help losing weight you can turn to your weight loss surgeon, but Albertville and Guntersville can still a hotbed of discrimination concerns.

Unfortunately, it is a reality for many overweight people that even after losing weight there is residual weight discrimination. After getting weight loss surgery, the Albertville and Guntersville area will be your playing ground—it is just up to you to put on the right mentality.

Understanding Obesity Discrimination

There is an old saying that we hate the most in others what we do not like in ourselves. Maybe that is why there is such a problem with discrimination against the obese in the United States. Despite the fact that a majority of Americans are overweight, there is a large trend of discrimination against the obese.

This discrimination can be subtle at times, presenting itself as a lack of sympathy when we find that an overweight friend is feeling ill or have expectations of laziness from obese coworkers. There are also blatant moral violations against the obese, like when a hospital in Texas posted an employment advertisement noting that the overweight need not apply.

This is an unfortunate reality that a lot of overweight people experience day in and day out. Jobs are harder to come by, health and life insurance policies are more difficult to obtain and your own friends and family may even treat you differently than you deserve.

As you are taking the steps to lose weight it is important that you acknowledge these factors in your own life. By being aware of these issues you can take steps to correct injustices and change perceptions as you develop a healthier lifestyle.

Residual Prejudice May Last Longer than the Weight

For a lot of Lap Band patients, obesity becomes a big aspect of who you are and how you think of yourself. After years of being unnoticed you may feel comfortable in the role of the wallflower and be taken back when you are thrust center stage.

This internalization of weight feeds a residual prejudice that is held by friends and family members. If you want to change how you are perceived then it is up to you to make a stand and take charge of your healthy new lifestyle.

As you are losing weight, build your self-confidence and learn to think like the healthy individual you are:

  • Look in the mirror, take a deep breath and compliment yourself every day. Don’t be generic, either. Find something specific you love about yourself and really tell yourself how great you are. This is a good chance to work on accepting compliments too. Tell yourself thank you with a big smile and leave it at that. When friends and relatives say how great you look this practice will have come in handy.
  • Think of physical pounds as mental rocks and as you lose them let them go. Your body will feel so much freer and lighter after losing over a hundred pounds. Don’t carry that weight around with you emotionally. When a pound is lost, say goodbye to it forever and let your old insecurities and grudges fall away with it.
  • Let your family and friends know how you are feeling. Involving your family in your weight loss efforts, or letting them know that you don’t want them involved in your weight loss efforts can make a big difference in how they perceive your progress.

Finding a support group can help you adjust through these transitions. Make the most out of your weight loss and overcome discrimination by staying positive and mentally strong.

After Weight Loss Surgery, Eat with Awareness

Workouts, Weight Loss and ZzzzsWhen it comes to your diet after weight loss surgery, the way you eat can be just as important as what you eat. You’ll need to focus on eating nutritious foods in smaller portions after weight loss surgery. It will also help to begin appreciating the healthy foods you eat and the benefits they have for your body.Mindful eating can help you adopt this positive approach to your diet.

The Benefits of Mindful Eating

Mindfulness, in a nutshell, means being mentally present in everything you do. Studies have shown that developing a greater awareness as you eat can help to reduce issues like emotional eating by tapping into your body’s natural cues on when to start and stop eating.

Because you’ll experience hunger and fullness differently after weight loss surgery, staying mindful of your eating habits can be especially beneficial as you adjust to your new lifestyle and diet after weight loss surgery.

Many people lose touch with the physical hunger cues provided by the body. We instead respond to thoughts about eating that may urge us to overeat or eat things we shouldn’t. Mindful eating helps you reconnect your body and mind as you eat, making it easier to appreciate your meals and stop before you go overboard.

To help yourself eat more mindfully, pay attention to:

  • Your food. Take note of every attribute of the foods you eat. Flavor, texture, appearance, nutrition—take the time to notice all of these important elements in every meal. Eat meals at a table and chew slowly and deliberately, focusing on each mouthful. It will be easier to appreciate your food if you cook it yourself, so prepare meals with fresh ingredients whenever possible. Though you’ll want to minimize distractions like electronics, sharing your meals with others and focusing conversation on the experience of the food you’re eating can help you be more mindful.
  • Your feelings. Sensations of hunger will be reduced after Lap Band surgery, but your body will still feel different before and after you eat. When you eat slowly, your body will have more time to tell you when it’s full—pay close attention to what this feels like, and the way that eating a healthy meal helps you feel more energized and invigorated. You can also be mindful of your emotional reactions to your meals. Embrace carefully following an appropriate diet after weight loss surgery and be proud of yourself. Embrace the satisfaction of eating the foods that help your body stay healthy.

The way you eat will be different after weight loss surgery, but it can still be a pleasure. Develop a greater awareness of your eating habits to help yourself adjust to your healthy new lifestyle.

If you would like more information on preparing for your diet after weight loss surgery call us at 256.840.5547 for our Albertville office or 256.571.8734 for our Guntersville office. Also, check out our blog for other diet related articles such as our ‘Power Foods for Weight Loss’ post.

Workouts, Weight Loss and Zzzzs

While it might not seem like being active and resting have a lot in common, exercise can impact your sleep habits after weight loss surgery.

Workouts, Weight Loss and ZzzzsWeight loss surgery will help you lose weight, but you are also going to need to make changes in your dietary habits along with getting some regular exercise. This is easier said than done for many people who haven’t made exercise a regular aspect of their life in the past.

Exercise requires energy and drains you of energy. To get the exercise you need to keep weight off you are going to need to focus on more than the minutes you spend at the gym. How you approach your entire day—including what time you go to sleep at night—can greatly impact your health and fitness level.

Unfortunately, many people have trouble falling asleep on cue. Sure, the clock says 10:30 and you need to wake up at 6am. You have had a long day and would love to fall asleep in your warm bed, but your eyes are telling you a different story. Suddenly the late night shows creep onto your television and before you know it you are nodding off well past midnight to jokes that aren’t that funny. The next day you are barely able to pull yourself out of bed to get to work on time, let alone fit in 30 minutes of exercise before starting your day.

What if you could break the cycle? Multiple studies have found that exercising daily can significantly improve your quality of sleep. What is more, getting enough sleep every night reduces the amount of fatigue you experience during the day, thus improving your ability to keep up with your exercise goals.

The best time of day for fitness is still up for debate. Some find that exercising first thing in the morning will boost energy levels throughout the day until it comes to a natural decline before bed. Others find that a moderate workout in the evening will help them drift off to sleep just a few hours later. The bottom line is that exercise can help you sleep better, and exercising regularly and getting quality sleep can both improve your health and weight loss efforts.

Find a time of day that works best for you and start fitting in more fitness. Push through your first couple of days as you adjust to your new habit. You may find that you sleep much better at night thanks to your extra effort.

The Trouble with Sugar

The Trouble with SugarRecently, a lot of attention has been directed at just how devastating sugar can be for our health and wellbeing, and more people have started paying attention to how much sugar they are allowing in their own diets. Following weight loss surgery, many people make the choice to avoid sugar entirely to make sure they are maximizing their intake of healthier nutrients.

If you want to lose weight and improve your health, then cutting out sugar makes sense. Here are a few troubling facts that make reducing sugar consumption in the American diet so important:

  • According to a statement from the American Heart Association, high sugar intake is linked to increased risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity and other factors that increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. The few available studies that attempt to discredit the link between sugary beverage consumption and health consequences have been primarily funded by the beverage industry.
  • The average American adult consumes about 22 teaspoons of sugar every day, which amounts to about 355 calories that are completely devoid of nutritional value. Though this comes from the usual suspects like table syrup and honey, the prevalence of food and drink processed with high fructose corn syrup has also been a major contributor.
  • According to the USDA’s Economic Research service, average daily calorie intake has increased by about 425 since 1970, with between 16 and 17 percent of calories coming from added sugar. Though sugar consumption has gone down 40 percent since the 70’s, increased consumption of high fructose corn syrup has more than made up for the reduction.
  • Weight gain caused by sugar consumption can lead to increased accumulation of fat in the liver, which lowers your body’s ability to control blood sugar and forces your liver and pancreas to work harder. High amounts of fructose in the liver (which come from sugar and high fructose corn syrup) can cause complex biochemical reactions that lead to serious health concerns.

Though companies and advocacy groups with a vested interest in reducing the demonization of sugar make attempts to convince Americans of its minimal impact, the research is straightforward.

Recent studies showed a direct link between excessive intake of sugary food items and high blood pressure, while further study revealed that a reduction of that consumption resulted in a reduction of blood pressure. New studies are released that consistently reinforce the idea that the levels at which we consume sugar make the stuff toxic.

Light Weights can make a Big Impact

Light Weights can make a Big ImpactWith the rise in popularity of tough love reality TV shows like The Biggest Loser, a lot of people who are interested in weight loss surgery have the mantra ‘no pain, no gain’ stuck in their head. There are a number of misperceptions that are stuck in a lot of peoples’ heads when it comes to working out, and this is especially true for women.

One of those misperceptions is that you need to lift heavy weights to get the benefits of strength training, but there is no magic number concerning how much weight you should be lifting for weight loss. Instead, it all depends on you.

There are a lot of questions that you need to answer before you start working out:

  • How much weight are you comfortable lifting?
  • How many times are you able to repeat exercises with that weight before you become tired?
  • Are your joints hurting, or are you just feeling sore in your muscles?

These questions will take some time to figure out, and as you begin working out and lose weight the answers are going to change over time. That is why starting with small weights isoften a beneficial choice.

Benefits of Small Weights

Using small weights regularly can increase muscle mass and enhance weight loss. Small weights will take a longer time to produce results when compared to heavier weights, but for those who have made a lifelong commitment to weight loss and are new to working out regularly, using small weights can help reduce your risk of injury.

After weight loss surgery, it is a good idea to take things slow. Once your weight loss surgeon has cleared you to start exercising with hand weights, the first thing that you will want to do is focus on correct form. Using small weights is a better way to learn proper form. When you are just starting out, find a pair of three or five pound weights and focus on learning the basics. You should find a weight that you can lift without discomfort, and that does not cause any pain to your joints. If you don’t have weights, try using household items like water bottles, canned soup or books to start out.

Here are a few basic hand weight exercises that you can try while either standing or sitting:

  • Bicep Curl: With your elbows held at your waist and your palms facing outwards, slowly curl your forearm up until your hand reaches your shoulder. Alternate hands and repeat as much as is comfortable for you.
  • Shoulder lift: With a weight in each hand, lift your hands so that they are even with your shoulders—as if you are about to push a roof up over your head. Slowly extend your arms upwards, keeping your arms straight and the weights shoulder width apart. Gradually return your arms back to the starting position and then repeat.
  • Triceps extension: With your arms bent so that your hands are resting on your shoulder, lift your arms upwards until your elbow is pointing straight into the air—as far back as is comfortable for you. With your hand now behind your head, slowly extend your arm before gradually returning your hand to the starting position. Alternate hands and repeat as many times as is comfortable.

Getting started with weight training doesn’t need to be difficult. By starting out with small weights you can learn proper form and prevent yourself from becoming injured. In addition to taking part in cardiovascular exercises like walking regularly, it is a good idea to try these weight lifting exercises every day.

How to Start an Exercise Program

How to Start an Exercise ProgramAs you lose weight after weight loss surgery, you’ll be encouraged to make a collection of changes to your lifestyle. This will include changes to the foods you eat, the way you spend your free time and of course, your level of physical activity.

Exercise is an important part of any health and wellness plan, especially one for long-term weight management. If you’ve exercised in the past, then you may already know what you like and how to go about engaging in certain activities. However, for those who aren’t accustomed to an exercise schedule, adding a new fitness routine into your life can be overwhelming.

Where do I start if I have never exercised?

  • Talk to your doctor. If you’re new to exercise, or it’s been a long time since you’ve taken on a workout, the first thing you should do is talk to your doctor. Find out about any potential health risks or physical limitations you may need to consider.
  • Add more activity into your daily life. Instead of joining a gym, start with small changes in your daily activity level. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park farther away at work every morning. Walk to lunch. Making a point to walk instead of drive as often as possible is a great way to start being more active.
  • Replace sedentary activities with moderate activity. If you usually watch TV after dinner, go for a short walk first. Consider spending part of your weekend at a park instead of in a restaurant. Think about ways you can live more actively as opposed to creating elaborate workout routines that will take time to learn.
  • Set short term, realistic goals. Don’t go crazy promising yourself that you’ll run a marathon. Start small with attainable goals like “I will be active for 20 minutes a day” or “I will take a walk every night after dinner.” Decide which activities you’ll add into your daily routine, and write them down as specific goals.
  • Review your goals. At the end of each week, evaluate how much activity you’ve added into your life. Set new goals for the upcoming week that build on your recent successes.

You don’t have to spend hours inside a gym to see the benefits of exercise. Use strategies like these to start small with creating a more active lifestyle.

The Importance of Weight Loss Support Groups

The Importance of Weight Loss Support GroupsWeight loss surgery can initiate a lot of healthy changes in your life. The foods you eat, your activity level and even the way you think about foods might change as you adjust your lifestyle to better fit your post-bariatric guidelines.

However, it is not correct to say that these changes will come naturally. Change is often stressful, and healthy changes are no less stressful than unhealthy ones. To maintain your weight loss long-term, you’ll have to make sincere changes to your way of life. This may require some mental and physical support as you attempt to incorporate healthy choices and behaviors into your day-to-day routine.

Benefits of Support Groups

Weight loss surgery is a rewarding weight-loss method, but it takes long-term lifestyle changes to manage your weight. One of the most important habits you can adopt as you move forward on your weight loss journey is to regularly participate in support groups.

Many people find support groups especially helpful after weight loss surgery. This is because support groups present a chance for you to:

  • Hear perspective from others on issues you are experiencing
  • Listen to the challenges other people are experiencing in similar situations
  • Gain insight on the obstacles that may be ahead
  • Find comfort in knowing that you are not alone in your journey

Resources for Support

There are a number of types of bariatric surgery support groups, and many weight loss surgery centers offer support sessions monthly or even weekly. Some groups are open to only bariatric surgery patients, while other groups are geared toward anyone that is considering surgery for weight loss.

Online support groups are another option, which enables individuals to receive support online from the comfort of their own homes. Retreats and reunions encompass support groups that meet less frequently, such as annually or twice per year. Psychological support groups help people deal with relationship or body image issues in conjunction with their weight loss surgery.

In addition to these forms of support groups, you may find it helpful to join an activity-based support group, such as a walking or other form of exercise group. This will give you a resource for encouragement as well as workout accountability as you progress towards your weight loss goals.

Some patients report that a support group helps them achieve long-term success in their weight loss by helping them to maintain weight and keep it from coming back. Being able to hear what other patients have gone through and are experiencing often helps to normalize the weight loss process.

By joining a local support group you can learn about what other bariatric surgery patients are struggling with, and encourage them as they experience their own triumphs along the way.

About Surgical Associates
of Marshall County

Destination Weight Loss is a comprehensive medical weight loss practice that uses the most advanced technology to help patients meet their weight loss goals through bariatric surgery and non-surgical methods. Our team of trained professionals includes licensed physicians and specially trained nurses that can provide emotional and practical support.

Together, we combine a small town, customer-friendly atmosphere with expertise in sophisticated bariatric surgery technology. We take pride in providing the personal attention you need and will walk with you every step of the journey toward your weight loss goals.

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133 Wall St.
Albertville, AL 35951
7938 Hwy 69 Ste. 120
Guntersville, AL 35976