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Why Weight Loss is Not as Simple as Cutting Calories



When it comes to calorie counting, not many people — if any at all — like doing it. It’s monotonous, tedious, and restrictive. It takes all the joy out of eating. You counted all your calories, so you should be losing weight, right? Well, not necessarily. If you stop to think about what a calorie is, you will find that it’s not just how many calories you consume that affects healthy weight loss, but what kinds of calories.

Download the Calorie Equation: Learn to indulge in colorful, flavorful foods without loads of calories with this picture lesson from Dr. Howard Shapiro’s book, Picture Perfect Weight Loss.

Simply put, a calorie is a unit of energy. Our bodies actually need calories to survive because without energy, our cells would die, and our organs would stop functioning. We acquire this energy through food and drink in the form of calories. The number of calories food contains tells us how much potential energy they possess.

Keeping track of how many calories one consumes is, of course, important to weight loss. If you burn off more calories than you consume through physical activity, the body will locate other calories to burn for energy, ultimately using the calories from the body’s fat reserves, and thus stimulating weight loss.

The problem comes in when “empty calories” are consumed; that is, foods high in energy but low in nutritional value. Such foods include fast foods, and foods high in fat and/or sugar, such as ice cream and bacon. More than 11% of Americans’ daily calories come from fast foods, and Americans consume an average of 336 calories per day from sugary beverages alone. To put it more simply, 2,000 calories in the form of vegetables and lean protein will provide a very different result than 2,000 calories in the form of a large fast food burger.

Ultimately, to achieve fast and, most importantly, healthy weight loss, it is important to advise patients to stick to a low calorie diet, but through foods and supplements that are high in nutritional value. Many people continue to find it challenging to stick to a low calorie diet on their own. This is why it is important for health professionals to be proactive in asking overweight patients about their weight loss goals*, and educating them not just about the benefits of achieving a healthy weight, but also about the options that are available to them, such as a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) or Low Calorie Diet (LCD). With a medically supervised VLCD, patients could expect to lose 3-5 pounds a week, enjoying a variety of meal replacements, snacks, and food products that taste great and are scientifically designed to have high nutritional value.

Obesity is on the rise, and healthcare costs and early mortality rates are rising with it. But adding weight loss as a service for your patients is easier than you might think, and can actually get started in 60 days or less with the help of an experienced partner. Contact Robard today and learn how you can increase the quality of care for your patients by starting an obesity treatment program.

*For practical tips on how to speak with patients about their weight, check out this free webcast!

Sources: Medical News Today

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2017 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.


Blog written and edited by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation


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How Being a Physician Living with a Chronic Disease Impacts my Work with Bariatric Patients



“You can make $20 per stool sample?” You would have thought I had won the jackpot! I just thought my colleagues and I were getting one over on the “Diarrhea Clinic” in Guadalajara, Mexico. I attended medical school there and was making a habit of “donating” regularly. What I did not realize was that I wasn’t just suffering from “Montezuma’s Revenge.” It wasn’t until I returned home that I learned I had Crohn’s Colitis, an often debilitating inflammatory condition of the GI tract characterized by abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding. It can often result in multiple surgeries to remove diseased colon and worse, colon cancer.

I spent the next several years on different medications including monthly infusions and weekly injections, all of which had many side effects. During my residency, I spent 10 days in the hospital due to a flare that resulted in over 20 abnormal stools per day, anemia, and almost constant pain. Despite this, I returned to my career determined to not let this disease slow me down.

I became a family doctor and practiced in the primary care setting for nine years. During that time, I discovered a passion for bariatric medicine. This evolved out of a desire to keep myself healthy which required changes in my diet. I found that eliminating processed foods and added sugars, except those naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables, helped me to keep my colitis at bay. With the help of an excellent gastroenterologist, I healed and continued to enjoy excellent health for many years. However, this hasn’t always been easy and this is where bariatrics comes back into the picture.

Taking care of myself every moment of every day requires a lot of work. It means pushing myself to exercise even when I am exhausted. It requires eating salads and protein when others are enjoying pizza or ice cream. It requires actively engaging in positive thinking and using tools like meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy and affirmations to manage stress levels. And I don’t always feel like doing these things. These are exactly the same challenges that, on a day to day basis, my bariatric patients experience.

I find that using these tools myself adds an additional layer of empathy and relatability to counseling my patients that otherwise wouldn’t be there. They often greatly appreciate this and find that I am able to help in a very unique way because I “get it.” I share my story with patients because when a doctor is able to be vulnerable, they realize they are not alone and that anything is possible.

Every day, I continue to discover new and powerful ways to care for myself, mind, body, and spirit. As my practice continues to evolve, I incorporate as many of these amazing modalities as possible. I hired a mind-body medicine physician to teach yoga, meditation and other skills who has inspired many of my patients. I have a behavioral counselor who keeps us all on track. But most of all, my patients, staff and I are all just trying to be the best version of ourselves on this human journey. I still struggle regularly — as do my patients — but we all have found better ways to be in this world. And because of that, I have found this work far more gratifying than anything I could have imagined and I believe my patients are better for it.



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