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If you have just undergone bariatric or weight loss surgery, you may be anxious about surviving your first Thanksgiving after the procedure. After all, it’s the time of the year where hearty, large meals are served.

Proper preparation is the key towards enjoying this holiday unscathed. Foothills Weight Loss Specialists in Knoxville share some tips to help you survive Thanksgiving after bariatric surgery:

  • Plan your meals
    If you’re cooking the meal, make sure to have healthy meal options you are comfortable eating.Choosing to eat healthy doesn’t mean depriving yourself of the good food you love to eat. A trick to sticking to your diet plan without feeling deprived is being smart with substitutions. For instance, you can use a low-sodium fat-free chicken broth for your stuffing and gravy instead of the typical chicken broth. Doing this can be a good way too to introduce healthy and mindful eating to your family.
  • Say ‘no’ to leftovers
    As tempting it may be to keep leftovers, they will only encourage you to eat more often. A neat trick to keep it from happening is by handing leftovers to your guests. Make it easier for people to take food home by buying ahead those “take out” containers.
  • Keep yourself busy
    Whether it’s taking a long walk or playing games with family and friends, keeping yourself active all throughout the holiday can help encourage good digestion. This will also give you more quality time with your family and can help you keep the focus on family and friends, instead of food.

Although Thanksgiving is a day of celebration, don’t lose sight of the meal plan you and your dietitian have built together. With preparation, determination, and support from your loved ones, you can make it through anything.

Keep long term goals in mind, and be grateful that you have made it to where you are now.  Call our office today at (865) 984-3413 to learn how Foothills Weight Loss Specialists in Knoxville can help you start your bariatric surgery journey.

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News from Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center

He said he wanted “a second chance at life.” She said she wanted a family.

Together, Caleb and Danielle Neeley are on their way after surgeries by Jonathan Ray, MD, a bariatric surgeon at Fort Sanders Center for Bariatric Surgery and Foothills Weight Loss Specialists in Knoxville. Since her gastric sleeve surgery in May 2016 Danielle has shed 100 of her 250 pounds. Caleb lost 230 of his 470 pounds through a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass almost six months after his wife’s procedure.

Now more than 330 pounds lighter, Caleb and Danielle volunteer at Fort Sanders, lending support to other bariatric patients.

“It came up in conversation one day, and I decided I wanted to do it,” said Danielle, a 26-year-old who had tachycardia (abnormally rapid heart rate), high cholesterol and high blood pressure. “I told Caleb I would like to do it as a couple, and he agreed.”

“Even as big as I was, I didn’t really have health problems like she did,” said Caleb, a 29-year-old who stands 6-foot-8. “She had a whole list of stuff bringing her down. If we wanted to start a family, we couldn’t without risking that we’d lose the baby or lose her.”

Dr. Ray says he’s seeing more couples in his office these days. “Usually the wife does it and then the husband follows,” he said. “The wife has more energy, and the husband wants to keep up with her. They can both become half the person they were.”

Married five years, the Neeleys tried diet pills and fad eating plans, but nothing worked until they took the bariatric route.

“It was hard mentally sometime to keep going,” said Danielle.  “I had to pick myself up and say, ‘OK, I’ve got to do this. I have to do this for myself, for my future family, for me and my husband.’ It’s not easy to do on your own – it’s not even easy to do as a couple. You have to have outside help.”

The couple weighed a combined 720 pounds before undergoing bariatric surgery together at the Fort Sanders Center for Bariatric Surgery.

She and Caleb found help through parents and the bariatric support group at Fort Sanders Regional. Now they are giving back by joining the hospital’s volunteer team that supports other bariatric patients.

“People in the bariatric community know all the struggles, and I wanted to give back to that program because it’s changed our lives for the better,” said Danielle. She said  she and Caleb plan on becoming active hikers and she even wants to zip line now that she is no longer over the required weight limit.

The Neeleys each credit Dr. Ray for giving them motivation, and the bariatric staff and floor nurses for “amazing” care “I love Dr. Ray!” said Danielle, adding that he prayed for her before the surgery. “That made my day because I had never had any kind of big surgery before. That made everything better.”

To learn if bariatric surgery may be an option for you, register to attend a free seminar with our Foothills Weight Loss Specialists surgeons. Call 865-984-3413 or CLICK HERE for a list of upcoming seminars today!

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Bariatric or weight loss surgery has become the preferred weight loss option for those who are obese. Some studies have found out that the procedure doesn’t just address obesity; it can also benefit those with coexisting morbidities such as diabetes.

About Diabetes

The latest report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that over 29 million Americans have diabetes and about 1 in 4 doesn’t know about it.

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how the body utilizes the energy found in food. In type 1 diabetes, the body doesn’t make insulin as a result of damage to the pancreas. Insulin is the hormone that transports the glucose from the bloodstream into the cells, to be used for energy.

Type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form of diabetes, results from the body’s inability to use the insulin efficiently. This can be brought about by several factors including obesity.

How Bariatric Surgery Can Improve Type 2 Diabetes

Losing weight, even if it’s just 5 or 7% of your weight, is associated with lower blood sugar, less insulin resistance, low blood pressure, low blood cholesterol, and reduction in the overall risk for diabetes-related complications. Hence, people who are obese and with type 2 diabetes are recommended for dietary changes and an increase in physical activity. Unfortunately, this traditional route for losing weight doesn’t work well for everyone.

Bariatric surgery is recommended for those who can’t lose weight through the traditional means. In this procedure, weight loss is achieved by reducing the size of the stomach, removing a portion of the stomach, or re-routing the small intestine to a small stomach pouch.

If you have type 2 diabetes and struggling to lose weight through diet and exercise alone, bariatric surgery may be the solution that you’re looking for.

Foothills Weight Loss Specialists patients have seen significant improvement in their condition after undergoing bariatric surgery. To find out if you’re a good candidate for the procedure, contact us online or call 865-984-3413 today.

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Foothills Weight Loss by Kimberly O'neal - 5M ago
Obesity Care Week

About 70 percent of Americans today, ages 20 and older, are considered overweight. A third of them are obese. This year, October 29-November 4 is recognized as National Obesity Care Week.

The mission of National Obesity Care Week to advance an evidence-based understanding of obesity and widespread access to respectful, comprehensive and appropriate care for those who are obese.

What is Obesity?

Defined as having an excessive adipose tissue (fat tissue), obesity remains to be the leading cause of mortality, morbidity, and disability in the country. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who are obese are at greater risk of suffering from serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, and even some forms of cancer.

Risk Factors

There are several factors that contribute to obesity. Some of these include genetics, family lifestyle, inactivity, unhealthy diet, certain medical conditions and medications, and lack of sleep.

  • Genetics
    Genes can play a role in obesity. One’s genes can affect the amount of fat one has and may also affect how the body converts food into energy and how it efficiently burns calories during exercise.
  • Family Lifestyle
    Families tend to share similar lifestyle habits including diet. Those who are born in a family with a parent or both who are obese, are more likely to become obese too.
  • Unhealthy Diet
    Consuming high-caloric, highly-processed food puts one at a greater risk of becoming obese, especially if this coincides with a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Medical Conditions and Medications
    There are some medical conditions and medications that can lead to weight gain. These include medical problems like Prader-Willi and Cushing’s syndrome and drugs like steroids and beta blockers.
  • Lack of Sleep
    Research has shown that the lack of sleep can cause a change in hormones that can increase one’s appetite and cravings for food high in calories and rich in carbohydrates.
What Can You Do?

Obese individuals can dramatically reduce their risk of developing potentially dangerous health problems by losing weight. This can be done through a change in diet, engaging in a regular physical activity, and getting sufficient sleep.

However, if these alone do not work, one can benefit from a weight loss surgery. Weight loss surgery is indicated for those with a BMI of over 40, or 35 with one or more significant comorbid conditions.

If you or a loved one is obese and have been unsuccessful in weight loss through dieting or lifestyle changes alone, weight loss surgery may be right for you.

The team at Foothills Weight Loss Specialists in Knoxville can help you determine if this is the right option for you or them. Since 2002, Foothills Weight Loss Specialists have helped over 2,000 individuals lose weight through bariatric surgery.

For more information, call 865-984-3413 or request a consultation online.

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Undergoing bariatric surgery is a major event. It is a big step in a person’s weight loss journey. Foothills Weight Loss Specialists provides local monthly support groups in Knoxville and Maryville for patients who have had bariatric surgery. Support groups are comprised of people who have been in your shoes. Joining these groups can provide emotional support especially because these people know exactly what you’re going through.

Each meeting focuses on a different topic based on the challenges faced by those who have undergone weight loss surgery. The purpose is to assist with short-term and long-term goals, questions, and needs. Support groups also provide resources to help patients stay on track. This ongoing post-surgical support helps produce the greatest success rates.

The use of support groups provides weight loss surgery patients an excellent opportunity to discuss various personal and professional challenges. We spoke with Bariatric Coordinator, Rachel Hughes, who is a bariatric patient of Foothills Weight Loss Specialists herself.

“Support groups were essential to my personal path and success after bariatric surgery,” Rachel explains. “There are a lot of misconceptions about people with morbid obesity, so it’s comforting to have like-minded people in the same room and the same environment because they know what you’re going through. It’s a safe, protected space to talk.”

It is normal to vent to our families, but that can be tiring for everyone living under the same roof. Support groups give patients an outlet and can take some of the pressure off of your other support systems. Although it’s important to have support at home from friends and family, being able to share your frustration, worries, and progress with people who can empathize with your situation is a relief and can keep you motivated along your weight loss journey.

Foothills Weight Loss Specialists offers four support groups per month. One in Maryville, and three in Knoxville. This October, they’ve added a new support group that takes place on the last Saturday of the month at Earth Fare in Turkey Creek. Because these meetings are on a Saturday morning, children and families are welcome. The support group features a monthly topic and group discussion.

If you are considering bariatric surgery, Foothills Weight Loss Specialists offers free bariatric information classes led by Foothills surgeons, Dr. Colquitt and Dr. Ray, two to three times per month at various locations in East Tennessee. To learn more about the procedures available, register to attend a free weight loss seminar class, or call our office at (865) 984-3413.

Find a full list of upcoming support groups on our website.
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