Pam Savage, RD
Beauty In & Out
Hi I would like to introduce myself, I am Pamela Savage and I just celebrated my one-year anniversary for weight loss surgery. Today I going to talk about my journey through weight loss but also want to give you some valuable information that may help you maintain your success, It’s important to develop good eating habits when you are in the honeymoon phase so you can maintain you weight loss.
Prior to surgery to say I was miserable would be an understatement. I was 5 Ft 2 inches and 240 pounds and wore a size 24-dress size. The weight just kept coming on year after year and I was so uncomfortable. I had high blood pressure, sleep apnea and chronic back and leg pain. Sleeping with the sleep apnea machine was even more uncomfortable. Every time I would start a diet and exercise program I would re-injure my back, my legs or my knees. Even being a Registered Dietitian did not help me. It wasn’t a matter of knowing what to do to lose weight it was that my body was fighting me all the way. I kept trying to loose weight but it kept finding me.
I spent 2 years doing research on Gastric Bypass and went to 3 different information sessions and by far Dr. Sandor’s information session was the best. He really explained how the body works against you when you are over 100 pounds overweight. I learned in school that if you are over 100 pounds overweight you have less then a 5% chance of taking the weight off and keeping it off for over 5 years. With Gastric Bypass your odds increase to greater then 85%. What does it take to be a weight loss winner? Having a positive attitude, performing regular vigorous exercise and being mindful of what you eat.
Now there is a failure rate with Gastric Bypass because it is a tool and not a cure. For Compulsive overeaters you need to get to the root of your emotional eating. I have been working with a skilled therapist and psychiatrist including 6 months prior to surgery. The question that changed my life happened during a visit to the doctor’s office during pre-opt testing. Have you ever been sexually abused? I answered yes and the doctor asked don’t you think you should get help for that? By my physician asking the question and me answering honestly I started the journey to change my life.
Now a year after the surgery I have lost over 100 pounds and can wear a size 4 petite. My favorite pastime is to go shopping or try on cloths. I also enjoy going to the gym because it makes me feel strong and helps boost my metabolism. I know it will be a lifetime new habit for me and help me to reach my goal weight and maintain my weight loss. It’s important the you do 3 types of exercise. First is aerobic exercise. How many people just had an eighties flash back to Jane Fonda in a leotard? Well you don’t need to go to that extreme simple walking at a vigorous pace will do. Second is strength training. Now you don’t need to turn into an Arnold Swartzsneger, just even using light weights or your body such as push ups and lunges will do. Working with a personal trainer would be a great option. The third would be stretching. Yoga is a great example of flexibity training. Now how many people know how far you would need to walk off a Big Mad, Fries and a Shake? Total calories 1411 and 9.5 miles How about a pizza dinner? Total calories 930 and 6.2 miles. How about an apple? 45 calories and .3 mile.
I also plan in advance and pay attention to what I am eating and the portion size. It is very important to eat breakfast. Your body has been sleeping and you need to break the fast so your body doesn’t go into starvation mode which will slow your metabolism down. I’m still in the honeymoon phase so I never feel hungry but need to eat every 3-4 hours or I will get low blood sugar. A good way to make sure you eat every 3-4 hours is to eat on a schedule or the same time each day. I will have 3 small meals and 2 snacks. I like to have a piece of fruit or a yogurt for snacks. I make sure to eat protein first and concentrate my diet on nutritionally dense foods. I avoid eating out because that is usually when I run into trouble because a lot of restaurant foods contain hidden sugar and fat. Dumping syndrome is great behavior modification.
Now I hesitate to use diet because it is a dirty word, but the food plan I would recommend and use myself is a modified Mediterranean diet. What it consists of are whole foods which are foods your great –great grandmother would recognize in the 1800’s. They would be concentrated proteins such as lean Meat, poultry, and fish. I recommend grilling, baking or roasting the meats to reduce fat. One of the best tips that I received at these support group meetings is to take a whole chicken put it in the crock pot and put spices on it. The chicken comes out excellent. I usually just do the bone in breast or chicken thighs to reduce the fat and come out excellent or use Turkey thighs. Eggs and tofu are also good concentrated proteins. Beans, dairy and nuts and seeds are also great food choices. You want to limit your grains and only eat whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal and whole grain bread. You want to eat lots of fruit and vegetables either raw or steamed. One trick I do to increase my consumption of fruit is to put it in a bowl and place it on the kitchen table or counter. So you’re visually reminded to eat them. Most houses I go in have the cake, chips and cookies on the counter encouraging consumption of these items and the fruits and vegetables hidden away in the refrigerator left there to rot. Oils I recommend are olive oil, sesame oil and coconut oil. Try to limit salt in cooking and do not add it at the table. Most Americans get way to much sodium because it is added so much to processed foods. And the most important nutrient is water. Be sure to get 8 glasses of water in a day. Fill up a 64-ounce jug and drink it through out the day. Always have a glass of water at your desk at work or while you are driving. Try not to drink your calories with mocha chinos and sugared drinks. Be sure to take a multivitamin and calcium citrate. Always take what your doctor recommends and be sure to make all appointments and take all labs so he can monitor your nutritional status. Following these nutritional recommendations is a cost effective way to maintain your weight. Processed foods not only are they unhealthy but bad for your wallet also.
Overall I am happy that I decided to take control of my health and had the courage to undergo surgery. Being a Registered Dietitian, a lot of my friends thought I was taking the easy way out. Through my research and working with Dr. Sandor, I learned it was not my fault that I was failing at diet and exercise programs. If I had Cancer and with out surgery my success rate was 5% and with surgery my success rate was greater then 85%, I would have the surgery. In just a year. my health has significantly improved and I look forward to the future. If I did not have the surgery, I am sure I would not be so optimistic. If you feel you need help with your food choices or mental health please reach out to a registered dietitian and / or therapist. Your body is the baggage you must carry through life, The more excess baggage the shorter the trip.
Thank you for your kind attention
Pamela Savage, RD