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Advice from a Doctor: Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery

Jan 24 2019
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Dr. Mohamed Dahman, a bariatric surgeon practicing at Mercy Health Weight Management Solutions, discusses weight loss, bariatric surgery, and how to eat healthy in social situations with radio personality Mike McConnell on 700WLW’s Mercy Health Medical Minute podcast.

Mike McConnell: I imagine business is brisk for you, since Americans are getting larger and larger all the time. And not just Americans, it’s a global issue.

Dr. Dahman: Speaking locally, the CDC has been tracking our obesity rates for the past 30 years, and they expect that by the year 2025, almost 50 percent of the population will be obese. In the Tristate area, one in every three people is obese. If you look at obesity rates and diabetes rates, they are going hand in hand. Obesity comes with the bad price of many medical conditions that can affect our bodies.

Mike McConnell: I got out of high school in the 70’s, and if I go back and flip through a yearbook candid photos of students anywhere on the campus you are hard pressed to find anyone who is overweight. Today I would imagine 50 percent of high school student are. In a short span of time, we’ve grown by leaps and bounds.

Dr. Dahman: There are a lot of things that happened in that period of time. There have been changes culturally in how we eat, how we exercise, and how we’re managing stress. All of this has effected the obesity epidemic in our country.

Mike McConnell: I blame the drive through window because you don’t even have to stand up to get your food.

Dr. Dahman: That’s a good point, and one that we try to share with our patients. We tell them it starts with you. You need to have time for yourself. If you look at our fast-paced lifestyles, we are always running. But, you need to make time for yourself, time to eat, to sleep, to exercise, and to relax. And if we can start carving out time for ourselves, I think we can start seeing that change happen.

Mike McConnell: The rule used to be, if you’re cooking at home, don’t make portions any larger than you would get in a restaurant. Because restaurant portions used to be more reasonable than they are today.

Dr. Dahman: Exactly, so one thing we always tell our patients is be prepared. Look at the menu ahead of time, and see if there are lighter options or half portions. If they don’t have those options available, ask for a box with your order. When the meal comes set half of it aside so that it becomes your lunch the next day.

Another point to being prepared is being aware of what you’re drinking. When you are getting free refills, you may drink a lot of pop. The carbonation from the pop stretches your stomach causing you to eat more.

Along with that, pay attention to some of the things they offer you for free. When you go t a restaurant they give you free bread, or chips and salsa. Since most of the time we’re hungry we indulge and we can eat a lot before the meal even comes.

Mike McConnell: Now, do you only focus on what people are eating? Because a large part of trying to drop some weight is getting exercise, too.

Dr. Dahman:  Absolutely, we always say it’s all about balance, eating right, being active and getting time to rest and sleep. If that balance is in place, our patients become very successful in their weight loss journey. We tell our patients that this is a lifelong commitment and that it has multiple phases. The first is preparing to lose the weight, the second is losing the actual weight and then the third phase is maintaining that weight loss.

Mike McConnell: What is one or two of the least healthy things we eat that we eat often? Is it a burger?

Dr. Dahman: I’m not going to lie to you, I like to eat burgers. And so, I’m not going to tell a patient that they can’t eat burgers.  Instead maybe we eliminate the bread or the cheese. Take the burger, the actual meat itself and have some vegetables with it. This way, you have cut out a lot of the additional calories but still enjoy the meal.  At the end of the day a burger is ground beef so it’s high in protein and if its grilled, most of the fat in it will hopefully be decreased. So a burger isn’t bad, but it depends on how you fix it, how you serve it and the portion.

Mike McConnell: So, you are a bariatric surgeon. I’ve known one or two people who have gone through bariatric surgery who didn’t lose any weight at all. Is this a case of them feeling full but continuing to eat?

Dr. Dahman: So, we always say that surgery is a tool. It’s up to the patient to lose the weight. So, it matters what you’re eating and what you’re drinking. If someone eats solid foods, they will probably feel full.  However, if they’re consuming a lot of liquid calories, especially high caloric beverages they may pass through and still cause them to gain the weight. There are a lot of other factors, too. How the patient is prepared before surgery, how the procedure goes and then the follow up after the surgery. We have one of the most successful rates of weight loss in the Tristate area because of the intense follow up that we have for our patents after the surgery.

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