All posts by Dee Anne Agonis

The Price Society Pays For Obesity!

Heavy Women Walking price of obesity kc bariatric kansas city

For years we have heard that America’s obesity is higher than any other country on planet Earth. It is estimated that two-thirds of the United States is either obese or overweight. This has lead researchers to study the reasons and results of this epidemic. Studies have focused on causes (trauma, genetics, self-esteem, stress, availability, coping, etc.) and effects (health, depression, relationships, etc.). A recent study has found that this epidemic is having a major impact on our nation’s economics.

The study completed in 2017 finds that one “healthy” but obese individual can impact society by tens of thousands of dollars. Traditionally, obesity has been viewed as an individual burden. This study finds that being overweight actually has a far reaching effect on society. An obese 50-year-old, with normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels, will cost society more than $36,000. That figure includes direct medical care for obesity-related diseases, insurance costs, and lost work and time off, not only for the individual but their friends and family as well.

“When folks struggle with their weight, it ends up affecting everyone,” said senior researcher, Dr. Bruce Lee. Dr. Lee is an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD. The study points to factors such as Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, and the 13 Cancers linked to obesity for the rise in insurance premiums. The more obese individuals who need additional care, the more the insurance companies have to charge its members to compensate and offset the costs.

If a 50-year-old obese individual can cost society more than $36,000 – imagine what an obese 20-year-old can cost! The study did look at this and found that there were ways to lessen the costs. If a 20-year-old could lose enough weight to drop to a category of “overweight” and maintain that level, he/she could cut the total cost of their lifetime by almost two-thirds. The good news is, even for a 70-year-old who drops to “overweight”, the savings are about 40 percent of the cost for staying obese.  “So weight loss is cost-saving at any age,” Dr. Lee said.

Ted Kyle, a spokesperson for the Obesity Society and founder of ConscienHealth, which advocates for “evidence-based approaches” to addressing obesity, has shared his thoughts, “This study really documents the costs of untreated obesity — which is the norm in this country”.  He said that Americans who are struggling with their weight usually just get “casual advice” from their doctors to eat better and exercise.

As an example, he pointed to the Diabetes Prevention Program, which involves “intensive” counseling on diet, exercise and behavior modification; however, a large U.S. government study found that the program slashed the risk of type 2 diabetes among overweight, at-risk adults — after only a modest amount of weight loss. Kyle stance is that people “do not get the kind of help that research has shown to be effective.”  

Dr. Lee, when asked about the challenge of losing weight also stated, “…the biggest challenge is, of course, that you want permanent weight loss, not yo-yo dieting”. He went on to add, “There are no overnight solutions…It takes long-term changes in diet and physical activity. And for some people, medication or surgery are appropriate.”

Further study may be needed to determine which approach to weight loss is most cost effective (medication, surgery, diet & exercise, etc.), but what is clear is that the sooner you start your weight loss the more you and society save. For more information about weight loss, feel free to contact The Bariatric Center of Kansas City

April 3, 2018 – Beyond the Scale

Facilitator:  Dr. Ravi Sabapathy

Dr. Sabapathy started by explaining that since a scale is just a unit of measurement, it can become an interference in our weight loss process if we let it.  He wanted to address how you keep it from becoming a mental hurdle.

He pointed out that there is a process to learning anything we achieve, and that this process goes beyond just a metric, like our weight, and we can start by thinking about why we had surgery in the first place.  It wasn’t just to weigh less.  It was about getting healthier and increasing quality of life.  Research shows that patients are more successful when they don’t make the number on the scale the focal point.  All the recommendations suggest weigh once a week, on the same day of the week, same time of day, with the same clothing.  But he asked what other things we each measure to track our success:

  • How clothing fits
  • Inches lost from waist, arms, legs, etc.
  • Blood Pressure
  • Stamina – how long can I exercise without getting winded
  • Increased flexibility from before surgery, e.g. bending over to tie shoes, crossing legs, painting own toenails
  • Financial savings – one patient pointed out she is saving $400 a month on medication and food since surgery – that’s almost $5,000 a year!

Another measure is having less pain.  Most pain is the result of inflammation, and we know that the surgery reduces inflammation.  Inflammation is part of all disease, so as you are losing weight, you are having less inflammation leading to less pain in joints, less headaches, less pain from fibromyalgia, all of these are improved and are great ways to measure success.

In order to achieve your goals, you have to have some “process goals” that help you achieve your measurement goals:

  • Slower and mindful eating is a process goal
  • Saying no to people trying to get you to eat something you know you shouldn’t
  • Setting boundaries with people
  • Journaling about food and emotions

It is important to reward yourself with a non-food reward as you meet your goals and learn to celebrate in other ways.  Do something for yourself that you weren’t able to do before – go to the theatre, buy a new book, get a pedicure, buy a new piece of clothing. 

You have invested a lot both financially and emotionally to reach your goals, but don’t stop investing in your continued health.  Come back and follow up with the clinicals in the program, come to support groups – especially if you find yourself struggling at any point.  Everyone experiences a little bit of weight regain, but you don’t want to let it get out of hand before you come get help from a dietitian, a psychologist or one of the physical therapists.  We have a lot of clinicians that love working with our patients and want nothing more than for you to be successful.  Remember that the toughest times after surgery are going to be weekends and evenings, so plan ahead, and decide what to fill those times with, or what you will be eating, so it doesn’t sneak up on you. 

And keep a “Before Surgery” picture to remind you of where you’ve been so you can see the progress you’re making toward your goal.




Childhood Obesity Could Be Linked To Cancer in Young Adults

bariatric weight loss childhood obesity cancer

Childhood obesity has been a topic for some years now in the United States. Doctors and researchers have spent hours collecting and reviewing data on the effects of obesity in children. Despite efforts to get kids more active and to make healthier dietary choices, childhood obesity is on the rise. Also on the rise is cancer in young adults. 

Some types of cancers, generally seen in people over 50, are now being found more often in younger adults. Of the 20 most common cancers in the United States, a recent study found that nine are occurring in young adults. Experts generally agree that 13 cancers have clear ties to obesity. The nine that are increasing in younger people are actually 9 of the 13 linked to obesity. The nine cancers, and the percentage of new cases in people from 20 to 44, include:

  • Thyroid cancer — 23.9 percent,
  • Meningioma (cancer in the lining of the brain and spinal cord) — 16.8 percent,
  • Ovarian cancer — 10.6 percent,
  • Breast cancer — 10.5 percent,
  • Kidney cancer — 7.8 percent,
  • Endometrial cancer — 7.3 percent,
  • Gastric cardia (cancer at the top of the stomach) — 6.2 percent,
  • Colon and rectal cancer — 5.8 percent,
  • Liver cancer — 2.5 percent.

This new study does not prove that childhood obesity causes cancer; however. the findings do emphasize the critical need for obesity prevention, especially when we are seeing a rise in both childhood obesity and obesity related cancers in younger adults (over 140,000/year). This is a big deal, according to the author of the study, Dr. Nathan Berger, director of the Case Western Reserve University Center for Science, Health and Society, in Cleveland, OH, “Scientists have known for some time that obesity increases cancer risk, and when obese people get cancer, they’re more likely to have a worse prognosis. And now it appears that obesity accelerates the development of cancer.”

It is not clear exactly how obesity might increase cancer risk. Researchers agree that there is much more collecting of data and analysis that must be done. Most also agree that obesity is a significant factor. Boston oncologist Dr. Jennifer Ligibel said this study is a “really interesting first look at the incidence of obesity and cancer risk in young adults, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.” She went on to note, “Obesity causes higher levels of inflammation. It also causes higher levels of insulin and other growth hormones. Obesity leads to higher levels of sex hormones. Also, there are related factors, including diet. There’s a lot we need to learn,”.

The study looked at 100 publications worldwide, with data reaching back more than four decades. As a result of this study, researchers and professionals agree further study is needed to determine the effects of weight loss, in childhood or adulthood, on cancer cases.  Berger related this aspect of further research to that of smoking and cancer risk. When people quit smoking, their risk of cancer drops dramatically, but never completely disappears. He pointed out in his review that even though the risk might not go away completely, it’s still important to try to lose weight. He said, “Cutting down obesity impacts cancer risk, as well as the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Losing weight helps,”. Ligibel agreed, citing studies that showed the risk of cancer was cut by half for people who’ve had weight-loss surgery.      

The Bariatric Center of Kansas City is constantly following stories, studies, reviews and reports on the effects of obesity and weight loss. We are available to answer your questions and concerns as well. 



March 22, 2018 – Hair Loss After Weight Loss Surgery

Facilitated by Chris Bovos, BSN, CBN

91% of hair is made of a structural protein called keratin, with the rest being trace vitamins and minerals and melanin for color. You are born with about 5 million hair follicles on your body and the average hair will grow about ½ an inch a month or 6 inches a year.

There are 4 stages of hair growth:
• Anagen stage – lasts from 2 – 7 years, and hair below the surface is growing
• Catagen Stage – a transition phase where the hair follicle shrinks, lasts 1 – 2 weeks
• Telogen Stage – resting stage lasting 6 weeks – 3 months, where new hair root start to develop under the existing hair and begins to push it out
• Exogen Stage – this is the shedding stage where the hair falls out.

About 50 – 100 hairs normally fall out daily. But when you have a major illness or stress to the body or emotional stress, such as divorce, death of family member, surgery, or childbirth, the body’s resources no longer go to your hair. They go to heal the physical or emotional stress. This pushes your hair into the Telogen Stage, and that cannot be reversed. You prematurely see a lot more hairs begin to shed, and this lasts for about 3 months. Once those hair have been shed, then you will begin to grow more hair.

To prevent as much thinning as possible, be sure to do the following:
• Get more protein into your diet
• Take your vitamins daily, including calcium
• Drink plenty of water
• Avoid chemically treating your hair
• Extra collagen may help – you can get this from bone broth or gelatin

Your hair should begin to grow back 3 – 6 months after thinning occurs. If it goes on for longer, it is usually because of a vitamin or mineral deficiency, such as iron or zinc. You need to get lab work done to check both of those if you see that, and the test for iron needs to be a ferritin level. Continue to stimulate your scalp with massage or brushing to encourage circulation which helps growth.

Some people are afraid to shampoo their hair too often thinking it is hard on it, but the opposite is true. Some hair loss may be from inflammation of the hair follicles that can cause dandruff, so use a dandruff shampoo containing zinc. Some shampoos are thickening agents that contain amino acids and biotin. Biotin helps to metabolize the amino acids that help to strengthen hair.

If you take biotin supplements, please stop them 1 week before getting any lab drawn as it can alter your results.

Shampoos with vitamin E and ginseng have anti-inflammatory effects. The shampoos that were most commonly cited in the literature were:
• Nioxin 2 (for noticeably thinning hair)
• Living Proff full shampoo
• Laritelle Diamond Strong shampoo
• Dove Dermacare Scalp shampoo
• OGX Rejuvenating Cherry Blossom shampoo
• Shea African Water Ming & Ginger shampoo

Some of these are available in drug stores, many online, and at Beauty Brands or Ulta.

Then Michelle Coyne talked about her company, DigUrWig, which she started after her hair thinned dramatically on top following bariatric surgery many years ago. She provides toppers, which are small hair pieces to fill in any areas of the scalp where thinning is most noticeable. She has a wide variety of toppers and full wigs in many different colors – some synthetic and some with human hair. You can go online to to see about her products, or call her at 913-839-9298 if you are interested. Chris Bovos has some extra brochures if you want to pick one up at the next support group meeting.

How We Sabotage Our Weight Loss

The Bariatric Center of Kansas City Weight loss sabotage

Ever feel like your own worst enemy?  We certainly can be when it comes to working a successful weight loss program, whether related to having had gastric bypass or gastric sleeve weight loss surgery, or for anyone simply trying to lose a few pounds or maintain their weight.  Weight loss is a complicated matter with so many factors playing into our potential success.  Consider the following ways we work against ourselves and our goals at times . . .

We tend to overestimate how many calories we burn.  We also underestimate the number of calories we take in!

We don’t get enough sleep – this turns on the stress hormone, cortisol, which causes your body to produce more insulin and make you hungry and start craving.

We have too much stress in our lives, or don’t deal with it in a healthy way – eating is a common way to deal with stress.  We all need to find ways to deal with that stress in other ways such as going for a walk, meditation, playing music, calling and talking to a friend, etc.

When we are in a hurry, we skip meals and eat inconsistently – when your body doesn’t know when to expect its next meal, it goes into a fat-storing mode and lowers your metabolism to hang on to fat.

We drink too many calories – alcohol has a lot of calories in it, so having even a small glass a wine every day can cause you to take in more calories than you realize. Sweetened drinks are not your friend!

We are lax about diet and exercise – will walk 3 miles and burn off 300 calories, and then celebrate by eating a 300 calories muffin.  You need a 500 calorie a day deficit 7 days a week to lose 1 pounds of fat.  (1 lb. of fat contains 3500 to 4000 calories.)

Slipping on weekends –  we tend to take in more alcohol, more carbs, more food on the weekends if we get together with others socially or go out to dinner more.

We all want to see instant results, but weight loss is not a sprint. Slow and steady wins the race.

We sometimes have a medical condition that prevents weight loss.   There are medications that can promote weight gain, such as antidepressants.   It is important to have those medications re-evaluated periodically.

As the stomach heals, we can eat more in a shorter period of time. Portion control becomes very important.  Many also begin to drink with meals.  Drinking with meals defeats the surgery

We are impatient – we want to see that weight loss continue daily.  When weight loss stalls, it is often just your body needing to adjust to the weight loss.  Keep to the guidelines and it will start in again

 As weight is lost, your body adapts to the new, lower weight as it begins operating much more efficiently.   It requires more effort to lose the weight. This is when we have to work a little harder to stay on track! 

Knowledge is power, so let’s take advantage of this information and strengthen ourselves further for weight loss success . . .


After Gastric Bypass or Gastric Sleeve Surgery – Exercise IS Vital!

gastric bypass blog importance of exercise - hiking outdoors

In working with our gastric bypass patients, The Bariatric Center of Kansas City has learned a few things about the weight loss journey. We know that obesity is not just a struggle with food. Those who struggle with obesity also struggle with physical activity. Exercise is difficult because most people today lead very sedentary lifestyles.  Lack of exercise and movement counts as a major risk factor for chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis (brittle bones). 

gastric bypass blog importance of exercise - family Watching TV
Modern family life is often sedentary

A 2010 study found that, compared to women who spent fewer than three hours a day sitting, those who sat six hours or more were 34 percent more likely to die at a younger age. So, exercise is vital to your post gastric bypass  or gastric sleeve journey!  Movement, becoming more active, is now understood to have the most impact on your health and length of life. The benefits of increasing your movement are plentiful . . .

  • Muscles increase in size, gaining strength and endurance. 
  • Body weight is easier to maintain. Because muscle uses lots of fuel, the rate at which you burn calories increases.
  • Bones thicken under the influence of weight-bearing and resistance exercises (working against weights, bands, or your own body weight), which reduces the risk of osteoporosis. To stimulate bone, do weight-bearing and resistance exercises.
  • Joints become more flexible when moved through their full range of motion. Strengthening the muscles around joints protects them and eases arthritis symptoms.
  • The health of heartlungs, and blood vessels improves with aerobic exercise—the type that uses big muscles and increases your pulse and respiratory rate to the point you can talk but not sing.
  • The nervous system functions more optimally. Mood, attention, learning, and memory improve. 
  • Exercise relieves stress and anxiety and aids recovery from depression.
  • Moderate daily exercise improves nighttime sleep and reduces fatigue, even in energy-zapping conditions such as cancer.
  • Exercise increases tissue sensitivity to insulin, the hormone that ushers blood sugar inside cells. For that reason, the risk of type 2 diabetes declines.
  • Exercise also increases growth hormone, which stimulates growth, cellular reproduction and regeneration, and maintenance of muscle and bone.
  • The digestive system works better. Irritable bowel syndrome improves.
  • Exercise has benefits for your sex life. Working out makes you feel better about yourself, stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which is involved in sexual arousal, and protects arterial health, thereby reducing the risk of erectile dysfunction. A study in women found that a bout of exercise counteracted the libido-dampening effect of antidepressants.
  • Exercise reduces the risk of some cancers.

gastric bypass blog importance of exercise - women being active

Introducing movement into your daily routine is one of the most important changes to embrace after gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery. Exercise is vital to your body’s recovery, inside and out. A little movement increases your energy and leads to more movement. It is possible to leave behind your sedentary life in exchange for a life full of dancing, hiking, cycling, skating, and sledding with friends. Even better, exercise improves your health, protects against stroke and cardiovascular diseases (high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and heart attacks.), lowers LDL (“lousy”) cholesterol and elevates HDL (“good”) cholesterol, reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, and boosts the immune system – all of which means you can do what you love with your friends and family for many more years to come. 

gastric bypass blog importance of exercise - couple being activeIf you would like more information on surgery, gastric bypass or gastric sleeve, or the benefits of exercise post-surgery, feel free to contact The Bariatric Center of Kansas City. We enjoy helping people create healthier lives and are here to help you throughout your entire weight loss journey. 


Credits to; “Exercise is not Optional: Your Life Depends on It!“, written by: Linda B. White, MD



March 6, 2018 – Muscles & Myokines

Facilitator:  Kari McKeown, RPT

Kari is one of the physical therapists in the Comprehensive Care Office of the Bariatric Center of Kansas City, and has been a physical therapist for many years.  She said the research and her own experience demonstrate that patients who begin physical therapy and become active prior to a surgery have better outcomes after surgery.  There is a new area of research that is discovering why.

Sitting has become second only to smoking as a risk factor for death, according to research from the European Society of Cardiology.  She also shared an article titled “Sitting is the New Smoking – Even for Runners.”  As we become a more sedentary society – sitting in our cars, sitting for each meal, sitting at work, sitting in from of the TV – we are seeing all that sitting associated with heart disease, diabetes, cancer and even depression.  People who spend many hours a day sitting a lot die at an earlier age than those who sit less, even if those people exercise regularly.  “Smoking is bad for you even if you get a lot of exercise.  So is sitting too much.”  Sitting a lot slows your metabolism, your circulation, and the number of calories you burn every day. 

The reason sitting is so bad for you may be discovered in the research that is being done around myokines.  Myokines are proteins secreted from muscles.  These myokines travel throughout the body through your blood stream.  Those who have a strong muscular system, have stronger organs through the body, because these myokines “communicate with,” or send signals to, the other organs. They are seeing a decrease in inflammation in people who are physically active, and especially among people who incorporate weight training into their daily activity.  There are studies showing patients with breast cancer who do muscle training have an increase in myokines that increase the body’s anti-cancer properties.  We are beginning to see different types of exercise resulting in specific types of myokines.  If the research continues to become more specific, we could at some point be able to have control of diseases that result from systemic inflammation by doing specific exercises. 

We’re a long way from that, but clearly activity is crucial to our health.  Many diseases are caused by inflammation, and activity is making anti-inflammatory changes in our bodies at the molecular level. 

Activity provides many other benefits, including signaling the brain to make us happier, to tell us we aren’t hungry, to burn more fat, etc.  One of the best types of exercise is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) which increases muscle mass without being too aggressive or expensive.        

If you attended the February 6th Support Group, Greg Justice, owner of AYC Fitness on State Line, spoke about HIIT training and has many online videos showing different HIIT routines.  By doing short bursts of different activities in a circuit, you get a very good workout in a short amount of time.  He uses a format called Tabatas for HIIT training.

Kari also recommends doing Tabatas, which you can do for 10 minutes. You do each exercise for 20 seconds, move to the next one, and rest for 1 minute after each circuit of 6 exercises.  Greg recommends selecting exercises that involve 6 different areas of the body for your circuit:

  • One pushing exercise
  • One pulling exercise
  • One exercise that strengthens your core muscles
  • One aerobic exercise for cardio strengthening
  • One lower extremity exercise that works both legs together
  • One lower extremity exercise that works legs individually

If you need help finding exercises you can do, make an appointment with one of our two physical therapists in the Comprehensive Medical Office on the 3rd floor in Building A.  Kari or Barb will be happy to help you develop a routine that you can incorporate into your daily activity.  It is important to allow a day in between tabatas to allow your muscles to recover. So if you are walking every day for 30 minutes, throw in tabatas 3 times a week.  They will increase your metabolism and keep it up for 24 hours to help you maximize your weight loss.

If you want to learn this type of training at Greg’s gym, call Nancy McDonald at AYC Fitness to sign up for the Tuesday evening class at 5:30 that is specifically for our patients. Their contact information is:

 7830 State Line Rd., #101, Prairie Village, KS  66208




February 24, 2018 – Human Microbiome: GI Health After Bariatric Surgery

Facilitator: Laura Hernandez, RD, LD

Laura Hernandez, lead dietitian at the Bariatric Center of Kansas City, explained that the human microbiome is the collection of all the microbes in the human body.  Microbes are tiny living organisms such as bacterium, fungus, viruses, etc, and there are over 300 species of bacteria alone.  Our intestinal tract, mostly the colon, contains about 100 trillion microbes. These microbes control some of the body’s functions. 

While we have microbes all over our body, the most common sites are skin, respiratory tract, GI tract, genital and urinary tracts and external ear canal and eyes.  The jobs of these microbes include:

Prevention of disease – your immunity develops in your gut

Assist in digestion – help break down food

Treatment of disease

Laura talked about something known as Leaky Gut, where if you have bad bacteria in your gut for a long time, the lining of the gut leaks some of the bacteria into the blood resulting in conditions such as food intolerances, nutritional malabsorption, and inflammation throughout the body.  One of the ways Leaky Gut is treated is with probiotic supplements, or foods rich in aminoacids such as bone broth, healthy fats (salmon, avocados, egg yolk and coconut oil), and to avoid sugar, honey, agave nectar, gluten, and genetically modified foods. 

The microbiome can also affect your mood, due to the chemical pathways between the gut and the brain.  The lining of the gut contains 100 million neurons, and good bacteria can stimulate the dopamine and serotonin receptors in the brain. These are the “feel-good” receptors, so bad bacteria can lead to depression and other negative feelings. 

There are probiotics, which are the healthy live bacteria that promote health, and there are prebiotics, which act as a fertilizer for the probiotics.  These are mostly non-digestible fiber that are not alive. 

The health benefits of PROBIOTICS include:

Decrease antibiotic induced diarrhea            

Help cure vaginal yeast infections                  

Help cure urinary tract infections                  

Promote weight loss                                         

Help prevent obesity in children

Improve lactose intolerance

Promote mental, GI and immune health

May decrease abdominal bloating/cramps

Help diminish allergies in children

The health benefits of PREBIOTICS include:

Natural detoxification

Enhance bone density and increase calcium absorption

Improve immune system

Improved digestion

Improve diarrhea an lactose intolerance

Promote regular bowel movements

Suppress appetite

Reduce risk of intestinal infection

Improve food allergies and eczema

Prebiotic Types:

Inulin (not insulin), fructooligosaccharides, galactooligtiosaccharides

Prebiotic Foods:

Artichokes, leeks, onions, asparagus, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, flaxseed, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, apple with peel, berries, citrus fruits, bananas (unripe).

Laura shared a list of common probiotics, and reminded everyone that the Journey Vitamins have 7 different strains of probiotics in them.  The more strains in a probiotic, the more effective it will be. Three that she pointed out that were good for bariatric patients are:

  • Lactobacillus Plantarium and Lactobacillus Gasseri, which are thought to promote weight loss.
  • Bifidobacterium Subtilis is thought to prevent and treat H. Pylori, the bacteria that can cause ulcers.

Common strains of probiotics include:

  • Lactobacillus family: acidophilus, L. brevis, L.reuteri, L.cvasei, L.rhamnosum, L.bulgaricus, L.cellobiosus, L.delbrueckii, L.fermentum
  • Bifidobacterium family: thermophilus, B.infantis, B.longum, B.bifidum, B.animalis, B.Breve
  • Streptococcus family: S. Lactis, S. thermophiu8s, S.cremonis, S.alivarius
  • Bacillus family: Coagulans
  • Pediococcus: P.acidilactici
  • Leuconostoc: L.mesenteroides
  • Enterobacter: E.faecium, E.faecalis

 Fungi:  Aspergillus, A.niger, A.oryzae

 Yeast:  Saccharomyces:  S.boulardii, S.cervisiae, S.carlsbergensis

You need pre and probiotics both to work together to have a healthy GI tract and immune system. 

February 6, 2018 – HIIT Training to Increase Metabolism

Facilitated by Greg Justice, M.ED, Owner AYC Fitness

Greg talked to the group about metabolism, how to boost it, and the importance of mixing strength and resistance training into your routine. 

Metabolism is the total sum of all the chemical reactions that take place in your body. The four components of metabolism are:

  • Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) – what your body burns due to normal breathing, heart pumping, resting activity – accounts for 70% of your daily metabolism
  • Physical Activity Level (PAL) – what you burn when you exercise – accounts for 20%
  • Thermic Effect of Feeding (TEF) – what you burn digesting food – accounts for 5%
  • Non-Exercise Activity Thermogensis (NEAT) – based on genetics – accounts for 5%

The only one you cannot control is NEAT – your genetics.  All the rest you can influence.

Metabolic Training is a way to maximize calories burned and increased your metabolic rate not only while you exercise, but also after your workout.  After you work out, there is something called the Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) or “Afterburn.”  EPOC is the increase in your metabolism and calories burned following exercise.  Resistance training (using the weight of your own body as resistance) and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or circuit training, give you a higher EPOC than cardio training, where you do one type of exercise for 30 -60 minutes. Metabolic training takes much shorter period of time, and give you a much higher EPOC.  All exercise is good for you, but when trying to lose weight, the metabolic training is the best.  Greg demonstrated the typical resistance training workout circuit for everyone, and told everyone to go online to You-tube and there are tons of workout videos.  He also shared a worksheet that he will email to everyone who gave him their email so they can structure their own workout at home. 

You can also work out with Greg at one of the classes for bariatric surgery patients and learn how to do it.  All classes are $10 each, and information on the classes is available from Chris at   You need to be at least 8 weeks post op before you begin training. 



January 25, 2018 – HALT Emotional Eating

Facilitated by Dr. Michelle Coker, Clinical Psychologist

One of the triggers for eating is our emotions.  We use food to soothe ourselves in many stressful situations, but it can be controlled with some awareness.  Dr. Coker talked about a simple way to clarify why we are eating called HALT:

            H – Hungry:     Do I need something physically or emotionally?  Find what will fill you.

            A – Angry:       What is causing me to feel this way?  Express yourself.

            L – Lonely:       Am I having difficulty connecting with others? Tell someone.

            T – Tired:         When was the last time I took a break? Breathe and slow down.

When you find yourself eating when you are not hungry, you need to stop and ask yourself if you are really experiencing one of the above feelings.  If you continue to eat during those times, you will find yourself on an emotional eating merry-go-round:

The problem with soothing ourselves with food is that that good feeling only lasts a moment, and then is replaced with guilt causing more stress and continuing the cycle.  Some common reasons for emotional eating are:

  • The feel good fix      
  • Stress and effort to re-balance
  • Prolong pleasure     
  • Accessibility
  • Media diet     
  • Sheer boredom
  • Habit    
  • Distraction
  • Ignoring internal cues
  • Impulsive

In order to change our behavior we have to look at the steps involved in changing habits:

  1. Pre-contemplation – think about what you want to change and why
  2. Contemplation – figure out what you want to do instead
  3. Preparation – get yourself mentally ready and geared up to make the change; talk to someone about it, get support for making the change
  4. Action – make the change
  5. Maintenance – continue to work on keeping the change by rewarding yourself with non-food rewards.

In order to make the change, learn to “Be” more aware of what is going on with you:

  1. SIT with your feelings. When you want to go eat, first do the following:
  • Stop –  just stop for a moment
  • Inspect – inspect your feelings and why your may be feeling hungry (are you Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired)
  • Take a breath – once you have let the moment pass, address the real feeling you are having.
  1. Recognize your own negative self-talk. We have a lot of negative things we say to ourselves over and over. 
  • Name the critical voice – who is talking to you (is it something your mom, husband, friends says to you)
  • Be curious, not critical – why are they saying it
  • Is it true? Probably not
  • Distance yourself from the thought and shift the negative talk to how you wish to feel
  • You can begin to soothe yourself with positive self-talk  (Vincent VanGogh once said, “if you hear a voice within you say, you cannot paint, then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”)
  1. Eat Mindfully. When you do eat, sit down, slowly chew, sense and savor the food, and smile!
  2. Consciously choose distraction during those trigger moments. Write down and keep handy:
  • 5 people to call
  • 5 ways to relax
  • 5 places to go calm down
  • 5 encouraging statements to tell yourself
  • 5 activities that will keep you otherwise busy & distracted

Food is not the enemy. Anger, sadness, regret and lack of self love are. 

Watch the TED Talk video on breaking habits at: