Friday, April 18, 2014

Body and Spirit

As often happens during this time of the year, two of the world's most important religious celebrations are coinciding.  This week is the ongoing Jewish celebration of Passover, today is Good Friday, and Sunday is Easter.

As the offices of a bariatric surgeon, we obviously concern ourselves with matters that are much more medical and scientific than spiritual. However as we fight the ongoing obesity epidemic, it's not a bad thing to reflect a bit on some of the universal values that, believe it or not, animate a lot of what we do.

What many people don't understand is that a weight loss surgery in Los Angeles or anywhere else is about many things but, among them, are two items most people wouldn't immediately associate with our work: freedom and love. We don't want to directly invoke the religious meanings of this week's holidays but, clearly, the Old and New Testament episodes celebrated this week involve these universal values in a very deep way, and -- in a way -- so does weight loss surgery.

Freedom comes up because the fact of the matter is that seriously overweight people are not completely free. The hormonally-driven compulsion to overeat that only gets worse when people lose weight on their own can feel like almost like a form of enslavement. It's often easy for thinner individuals to sit in judgement of people who are morbidly obese and dealing with issues like type 2 diabetes because they've never really had to struggle with an irrational, but impossible to ignore, drive to repeatedly overeat. People with weight issues don't actually choose to overeat, they are driven to it.

As for love, well, anyone who has performed a job as difficult as surgery might understand what we're struggling to say. Yes, this is what we do for a living, but every time we help a patient by freeing them from the persistent drive to overeat, we are motivated by a drive that goes beyond simply wanting to do a good job on behalf of our patients. We're not sure what to call it, a love of our work and a genuine concern for the people we're trying to help really does play into it, though. Call it what you will.

Have a very happy and peaceful holiday, everyone and, if you or someone close to you is struggling with severe obesity and feels trapped, please feel free to contact us at 310-855-8058.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Go From Shopping In the Plus-Sized Department to a Size 6-12 with Dr. Feiz!

As Dr. Michael Feiz' patient Andee Granados can tell you, living life over 250 pounds (especially on a petite frame) is something that is painful in more ways than one. Andee decided she needed to get the LAP-BAND surgery in Los Angeles, and was happy to have found a competent, caring doctor in board-certified bariatric surgeon, Dr. Feiz. Now at a healthy weight after losing more than 120 pounds since her lap band procedure, Andee lives life to the fullest and feels better than ever. In fact, since her 2009 surgery, Andee is proud to go clothing shopping at regular, fashionable stores that don't specifically cater to plus-sized women. She has maintained her healthy weight and a size 6 clothing size, and said she couldn't feel better.

Watch Andee's story on YouTube here:
As she mentions in her patient testimonial, Dr. Feiz and his staff have been at her side through the first consultation through the surgery itself, and most importantly, aftercare. She no longer feels the urge to go through the drive-through for a quick, calorie-packed meal, and is content eating meals that are healthy. Andee also was championed by her mother during her Lap-Band journey, and credits her for a great deal of support. As Dr. Feiz would tell his patients, a group of support is a very helpful way to get through any surgery, especially one as life-changing as bariatric surgery. Even if it's just from your peers in a patient support group or an online message board, any form of encouragement can help a patient get through the ordeal of losing weight.

If Andee or any other of Dr. Feiz' patient ambassadors have inspired you to make a change, simply call his offices to book an appointment. Remember that while you may have more than 100 pounds to lose, it can be done, and every journey begins with a first step. Call 310-855-8058 today to speak to a friendly consultant at the offices of Dr. Feiz & Associates!

Friday, April 4, 2014

In Medicine, Never Say Never

We all know that the obesity epidemic often seems like a never ending struggle, which is why the rise of bariatric surgery over the last twenty years has been such a ray of hope for so many people. At the same time, it's important for us in the medical community to not be cowed by thinking that some sort of medical achievement which, in theory, should be possible, is impossible because it just seems to difficult or even unlikely.

We're thinking, of course, about the new study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, documenting remissions in type 2 diabetes. In the past, type 2 diabetes has been thought primarily as a chronic disease that could be controlled, but not really put into remission, much less cured. However, looking at obesity surgery patients, researchers have found that about one-third of the patients actually did go into full-blown remission for a period of years.

This is a huge step that few would have predicted before fairly recently, even though bariatric procedures have been with us for decades now, and it's hardly the first time this has happened in medicine. Those of us who are old enough to remember the AIDS crisis know that the idea that an extremely deadly disease could be transformed into a manageable chronic illness seemed beyond remote, yet that's what happened.

In medicine, you really can't say "never" about anything that might be possible, and that definitely applies to individuals and weight loss. If you've tried repeatedly to lose weight and still find yourself severely obese and maybe with health complications directly related to it, now may be the time to stop saying "never" and explore weight loss surgery with Dr. Feiz. Feel free to give us a call to inquire about a free seminar at 800-868-5946.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Farm to Fork - Why Buy Fresh & Local Food?

Board-certified bariatric surgeon Dr. Michael Feiz frequently counsels his patients on healthy eating, and then they often become experts in what is healthy food. One thing patients sometimes ask Dr. Feiz is, "should I buy local food?" Here's his take on local food and healthy eating!

Local food is more sustainable because it is grown on a community farm with different kinds of crops and animals. Because it travels a shorter distance, it doesn't need to be processed to enhance freshness before it reaches your plate. The farms which are local and sustainable aren't owned by big agribusiness companies which strive for a profit above all else. What makes a farm sustainable is the fact that it doesn't rely on artificial fertilizer, pesticides, heavy machinery, antibiotics, feedlots, and processing plants. Sustainable food isn't an industrial machine which relies on massive amounts of fossil fuel to deliver its product. 

Dr. Feiz, a renowned Southern California bariatric surgeon, recommends patients looking to support fresh, local food by the employing the following practices:

           CSA – Community Supported Agriculture
A CSA provides an opportunity for a family to support a local farm for a few hundred dollars a year, and in return they receive a weekly box of fresh produce. By paying in advance, the cost of seeds and planting crops are covered by the consumers. Members are also encouraged to visit the farm and volunteer there to see how their food is grown. 
 Farmers Market
If you’re interested in supporting the local economy, look no further than your neighborhood farmers market. Farmers markets enable farmers to keep up to 90 cents of each dollar spent by the consumer. Farmers markets are comprised of a number of local producers who gather together to sell their wares to residents of the community. By patronizing farmers markets, you help keep small family farms in business, while benefitting both the farmer and yourself. While at the farmers market, you can ask the farmer specifics about their farm and how produce is grown and animals are raised. You can ask include what kind of pest control methods are used, which fertilizers are used, how many different types of produce are grown, and if the farm is certified organic, biodynamic, or naturally grown.
 “Pick your own” Farm
Some farms which offer fruits allow members of the public to come and pick their own produce at farms such as an apple orchard, berry growers, or a pumpkin patch. Usually the producer will set a price for a bushel or pint, and families can go into the fields and pick their own food. Some farms also allow consumers to choose the animal they would like to purchase for consumption before it is slaughtered.
  Food Co-ops -- Co-operative Grocery Stores
These voluntary organizations are controlled by members to provide low cost, healthy food both to members and the public, while individuals belonging to the co-op have a say in decision-making of business practices. Most of these food co-ops are organic or produced with a minimum of processing.
Food buying clubs
By organizing a group of people to buy food in bulk, members can expect to get discounts. Usually the groups are either friends or members of a group, such as a church organization, who share the chores of collecting money and placing orders with the distributor. Regional distributors also provide food to co-op stores.
Home delivery service
Similar to a CSA, this service is a burgeoning industry which takes local food and sends boxes of fresh meat and produce to members. The box’s contents change weekly as seasonal produce changes. Members can choose the type of produce, ready-made items, or meat they want. Boxes can contain fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, fish, poultry, bread, pasta, and dry goods.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Welcome Nicole Jones, Our Patient Advocate and "the Boss of Food"

We just wanted to take a moment today to congratulate Nicole Jones, one of Dr. Feiz's most impressive alums, who will be acting as our Patient Advocate. Nicole, who lost 90 pounds and an enormous number of dress sizes with a gastric sleeve procedure, will be going on all types of social media and explaining how, for many people, bariatric procedures may be the best and only answer to the ongoing obesity epidemic.

Just talking to Nicole, you can tell she's a serious person and not one to give up on anything at all. However, even she found that defeating obesity and the threat of health problems like type 2 diabetes was too much to take on without some surgical assistance. Like the vast majority of people struggling with their weight, the constant distraction of feelings of hunger made it just too difficult for her to lose weight over the long haul. Fortunately, of course, her gastric sleeve changed all that.

As she puts it:
A lot of what I'll be doing is just sharing the good experience I had with Dr. Feiz and talking about how different things are now. Before, food was kind of ruling my life. Now I feel like I am the boss of food.
We know Nicole is going to do an amazing job helping people to explore the possibilities in terms of approaches to, well, becoming the boss of food. If you would like to look into the possibility weight loss surgery in Los Angeles or elsewhere in Southern California with Dr. Feiz and Associates, feel free to contact us at 310-855-8058.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Teaching Children Healthy Eating Habits Early in Life

You've probably heard phrases such as "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" or "like father, like son." Well, that's true for many things when it comes to child rearing, including how children will learn their eating habits from their parents. Los Angeles bariatric surgeon Dr. Michael Feiz has even treated entire families who are severely obese and one of the things he often hears from these patients in the same family is that they have had poor eating habits since childhood.

The good news is, parents can guide their children who live at home into better eating habits. Likewise, Dr. Feiz would encourage couples planning to have a family to learn more about nutrition before they welcome home a little one. Are you the type of parent who keeps plenty of sugary snacks around the house, and never sits down to a home-cooked meal with the family; or do you regularly schedule sit-down family dinners at home and encourage your children to play? Whichever one it is, children will often grow up thinking however they were raised is not only normal, but it becomes ingrained in their lifestyle habits for a lifetime, and as we all know, it is incredibly hard to break a habit.

Even for those who have had incredible difficulty losing weight later in life, there is hope to get your life back on track and learn new, healthy eating habits. As the foremost expert in bariatric surgery in Southern California (also called weight loss/obesity surgery), Dr. Feiz has aided many individuals as well as families in getting their lives back on track while regaining their health as they lose significant weight. If you're ready to get started on your weight loss journey, call 310-855-8058 today to get in touch with the offices of Dr. Feiz & Associates.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Portions, Portions, Portions! How Much to Eat of Each Food Group

Los Angeles Bariatric Surgeon Dr. Michael Feiz knows just how frustrating it can be when you want to lose weight, but you get conflicting advice about what healthy eating entails. With all of the diet fads out there, it's easy to get sucked in to a plan that promises quick, easy results. However, Dr. Feiz knows that no sustainable weight loss plan is ever as simple or quick as snapping your fingers.

To take some of the guesswork out of what is a healthy portion size, and how much you should eat of each food group, Dr. Feiz recommends reading up on the Harvard Medical School "Healthy Eating Plate" photo. With the easy-to-understand visual of splitting up your plate into sections, you won't have to be a mathematician or meticulously count out calories to follow it.

Here's some simple pointers:

  1. Eat plenty of produce, and the greater variety of colors, the better.  Make most of your vegetable choices non-starchy, which usually means dark green or leafy vegetables, including but not limited to romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli, or  cauliflower. Most of the vegetables which aren't leafy or green are starchy - think potatoes, corn and  squash, and others. 
  2. Choose whole grains: brown rice, whole-wheat bread, and whole-grain pasta. These keep you fuller longer than refined grains like white rice and white bread. 
  3. Choose healthy sources of protein, such as fish, poultry (not the skin), beans, and nuts. Limit processed meats and red meats, such as bacon or cold cuts. 
  4. Use healthy oils for cooking, like olive or canola oil, and limit butter, and avoid trans fat.
  5. Drink plenty of water, and when drinking other beverages, use little or no sugar and avoid sugary beverages in general.
Interested in learning more about weight loss in Los Angeles with Dr. Michael Feiz? Call his offices today at 310-817-6911!