All posts by Dee Anne Agonis

August 7, 2018 – Sleep: an Essential Element for Weight Loss

Katie presented information on how essential sleep is to weight management.  Research shows that adults need between 7 – 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. That means that over a third of the population is considered sleep deprived, getting 6 ½ hours or less a night.  The reasons include:

  • We live in a very busy society, and sleep is low priority. But constantly feeling burned out is no way to live – one of the clearest reasons to sleep is so you can actually “thrive” and not just exist.
  • Our lives are filled with technology and screen time – exposure to blue light suppresses the body’s production of melatonin, which is our sleep hormone.
  • Sleep disorders affect approximately 50 – 70 million Americans, and these compromise our quality of life. They include:
  1. Sleep apnea – when you stop breathing several times an hour, it disrupts sleep
  2. Insomnia – difficulty falling or staying asleep due to stress, illness, medication or alcohol
  3. Restless Leg Syndrome – unpleasant sensation in the legs with an irresistible urge to move them – can be due to medications, mineral deficiencies, or illness
  • Pain – this can cause some to awaken several times a night and decreases the quantity and quality of a person’s sleep, which can then actually make them feel worse
  • Work Schedule – more people are working evening or night shifts, throwing off our normal Circadium Rhythm to go to sleep when it’s dark and wake up when the sun rises.

Sleep is like nutrition for the brain. In order to get QUALITY sleep, you need to move through 5 stages of sleep 3 – 4 cycles per night.  We cycle between REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, when we dream; and non-REM sleep.  75% of our night is spent in non-REM sleep, and 25% in REM sleep.    If any stage of sleep is interrupted, the cycle restarts. 

  • Stage 1 – light sleep
  • Stage 2 – heart rate slows and sleep is deeper
  • Stage 3 – Deep sleep – if awakened during this stage, you will be groggy
  • Stage 4 – Deepest, restorative sleep. Muscles relax, tissue and organs are repaired
  • Stage 5 – the body is immobile, but the brain is active, dreams occur, and energy is sent to the brain and body

During sleep muscle repair and healing can occur, memory is consolidated, hormones that regulate growth and appetite are released, energy is restored leading to a healthier immune system, and blood pressure decreases reducing stress on the heart and blood vessels.

What happens we are sleep deprived?

  • Our body produces more of the stress hormone, cortisol
  • This leads to and increase in the hunger hormone, ghrelin, and a decrease in the hormones making us feel “satisfied” or full
  • Our willpower is decreased
  • We develop insulin resistance, putting us at higher risk for Diabetes
  • We are more tired and less likely to exercise, and our metabolism is slower

So when we get enough sleep, it can:

  • Help fight food cravings and make healthier choices
  • Help maintain our resting metabolic rate
  • Allow us to increase our physical activity
  • All of which can help maintain a healthy weight

The research around sleep shows that:

  1. Within 4 days of sleep depreivation, insulin sensitivity dropped by more than 30% causing and increase in insulin diabetes, the precursor of diabetes;
  2. Women who are sleep deprived are 33% more likely to gain 30 pounds over the next 30 years;
  3. People who are sleep deprived had a 55% reduction in fat loss when dieting compared to those who got enough sleep.

Keys to better sleep:

  • Shut down the computer, cellphone, TV at least an hour before bed
  • Think relaxation and release rather than work or entertainment
  • Create a bedtime ritual – don’t try to tackle big issues
  • Stick to a schedule of waking up and going to bed at the same time every day
  • Watch what and when you eat – avoid heavy meals and alcohol near bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine 5 – 6 hours before sleep
  • Turn out the lights – darkness tells your body to release melatonin
  • Use your CPAP machine every night
  • The fragrance lavender is helpful for relaxing
  • Take a warm bath
  • Read instead of watching TV before bed
  • Exercise regularly
  • Yoga, meditation, relaxation daily

                                                                     “The 1/3 of our lives that we spend sleeping, far from being “unproductive,” 

                        plays a direct role in how full, energetic and successful the other 2/3 of our lives can be.”





July 26, 2018 – Group Feedback & Suggestions

Facilitator:  Chris Bovos, RN & Program Coordinator

Had a small group today and continued with getting feedback on subjects patients want to hear more about, suggestions for making changes to support groups, and things patients need to know.  Some of the items patients would have liked to know at discharge are:

  • Directions for taking omeprazole after surgery – you are to take 20 mg twice a day for 3 months. Some thought it was only as needed, and others thought they should stop it after 2 weeks. 
  • There is an internal stitch the surgeons take on the left side that can become quite painful for a couple of weeks as it heals and pulls. People think there is something wrong, and it helps if they know this is normal.

We will make sure these are added to patient information.  Some of the patients felt that they were given too much information right before discharge and felt overwhelmed.  Would like to have the class closer to surgery, so they don’t forget anything, and aren’t trying to listen at discharge when they are so medicated.

Some suggestions for support groups include:

  • How to count protein – talked about food scales and other containers that measure ounces of food. Will try to collect some items that can help with this.
  • Would like a group on dealing with awkward situations – especially right after surgery when you aren’t eating much and unable to drink . Wedding receptions, birthday parties, social events can be difficult, and you shouldn’t have to tell anyone why you aren’t eating much.
  • Would like to look at menus from a variety of restaurants to make some good selections before going and having to make an on-th-spot decision about what to eat. Also, how to eat when the only options are on the road, in the airport, etc. 
  • Would like more exercise classes. One of the members recommended a free app on your smart phone called HASFIT, which allows you to select a daily workout at any level – low impact, moderate impact, high impact, etc.  you can do it at home with your phone, iPAD or plug it into the TV. 
  • Another member recommended a shampoo, conditioner and treatment for thinning hair called Ceraphill that her stylist recommended and she liked.
  • Would like to have a closed Facebook group for the Bariatric Center of Kansas City where members could go to check on the topic for the support group, see any changes or updates to them, and keep informed of anything new coming up.

As we look to finishing this year and setting up programs for next year, we will definitely incorporate these great suggestions.  Thanks to all for your feedback. 



Healthy Eating and Weight Loss Begins With Breakfast

Successful weight loss and weight management is dependent on the choices you make day-by-day. From the moment you get up you are faced with choices that shape the day; exercise, food, activities, communications, etc. The first, most important choice of the day is breakfast. Although many skip this meal, dieters will find it easier to manage their weight loss and stay on track with a nutritious first meal.

Weight loss involves making smart choices. “A healthy breakfast should be a variety of foods like whole grains, low-fat protein or dairy sources, and fruit,” says Andrea Gorman, MS, RD, manager of clinical nutrition at Rhode Island Hospital/Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence. “All these food groups provide complex carbohydrates, protein, and a small amount of fat. This combination of nutrients can delay hunger symptoms and keep you feeling full throughout the day.”

You don’t have to be a dietitian or master chef to make healthy breakfast choices. In fact, a variety of healthy combinations are simple to create, once you understand the basics of making healthier choices. Here are the top 10 Healthy Choices to maximize your morning and your weight loss: 

Build on a healthy cereal. Top a high-fiber cereal with a sprinkle of granola, bananas, and low-fat milk or plain yogurt. This combination provides good fiber and protein intake, plus calcium and potassium.

Get off to a berry good start. Another possibility for breakfast is berries and low-fat Greek-style yogurt with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of toasted sliced almonds. These foods are high in protein and volume, which can help you feel full longer.

Take your nutrition to go. Smoothies are another smart choice when made with Greek-style low-fat yogurt, berries, and a touch of sugar. It’s a meal that’s high in protein, dairy, and volume, and it’s very portable if you’re in a hurry.

Get a good “warm-up.” Susan B. Roberts, PhD, author of The Instinct Diet and professor of nutrition at the USDA Nutrition Center at Tufts University in Boston, recommends hot cereal: Microwave 1/4 cup each of instant oatmeal and coarse wheat bran with a cup of 1 percent milk. Served with berries and a little maple syrup, it’s the perfect start to the day with plenty of fiber and volume.

Don’t skip the eggs. Hot breakfasts extend the range of possibilities. Scrambled eggs — one whole egg and one egg white — along with a piece of whole-wheat toast, lightly buttered, and some fruit on the side are high in protein and volume and make a great combination.

Wrap up some burritos. Breakfast burritos can spice up your morning meal. Use the same scrambled egg recipe as in No. 5 as the filling for a low-carb, whole- wheat (for extra fiber) wrap along with some salsa, low-fat sour cream, and a sprinkle of cheese.

Call on cottage cheese. Cottage cheese along with fruit or nuts can be a good breakfast choice that’s high in protein plus some calcium. Look for cottage cheese brands that offer extra fiber.

Ham it up. Even ham and eggs can be healthy when using one whole egg and one egg white in the scramble and two slices of lean Canadian bacon. Add half a grapefruit on the side and it’s a meal full of protein, fiber, and vitamin.

Don’t rule out a.m. vegetables. You can enjoy veggies with breakfast if you add them to some eggs. Dr. Roberts suggests cooking one and a half cups of sliced button mushrooms or one cup of lightly steamed vegetables (like broccoli or spinach), two beaten eggs, salt, and freshly ground pepper in a non-stick pan with one-half teaspoon of tub margarine. Add a dollop of ketchup, if desired.

Think whole grain. Whole-grain English muffins with peanut butter or another nut butter and sliced fruit like apples or pears, along with a glass of milk, can be filling while providing protein and calcium.

These 10 tips can brighten your morning with variety and flavor while improving your weight loss efforts. The combinations improve the most important part of your day by adding good fiber and protein, plus calcium and potassium. The higher protein and volume help you feel full longer. They fit with almost any schedule and allow you to sit and relax or eat on the go. 

For more information on healthy eating and weight loss, feel free to contact The Bariatric Center of Kansas City, 913-677-6319. Our specialists can assist you with information and bariatric support. 

Reference article: 

10 Healthy Breakfast Ideas, By Kristen Stewart,  Medically Reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH


July 3, 2018 – Support Group Roundtable

Facilitated by:  Laura hernandez, RD and Chris Bovos,  RN

The July 3rd support group was designed to be a feedback session to better learn the support group needs of our patients.  We identified and discussed topics that patients felt would be the most helpful to have more  information on.  Chris shared a sheet with “The Basics to Know Before Surgery” taken from a book by Susan Maria Leach, who had surgery.  The list was compiled from patients who have had surgery and is meant to help cover things that may not be covered in classes preoperatively.  Chris wanted to know if the group thought this would be helpful to share with patients in the pre-op education class, and the group felt it was good and would be a nice handout for class.  Two items patients wanted to add were:

            Your bowel movements will change – don’t freak out.

            If you are struggling with weight regain at some point, get back to the basics.

Then Chris and Laura asked the group what changes they would like to see in support groups, either in topics, times, days, etc. and which support groups they found most helpful.  We got some great tips for us to use going forward, but overall most people felt they liked the support groups just as they are, and found them very helpful.  If anyone would like to contribute to the feedback and were unable to be there, please email Chris at

A couple of ideas that we received were:

  • keep the speakers portion short – no more than 30 minutes, as the most helpful part is the sharing with other patients
  • would like more information about meal prep
  • would like a support group just for families of patients
  • would like to learn exercises for core muscles – perhaps post a video with exercises on it as an exercise blog so patients can know what to do for different trouble spots
  • body transformation – how the weight loss affects you physically, alters the way you move which may cause some different pain
  • clarify who to call after surgery – book just says call the office – need to know there is an answering person 24/7 so you will get a live person
  • meditation, yoga, stretching
  • medical ID bracelets

Those are just some of the suggestions, so email Chris if you have other ideas moving forward.  We want this support group to be what you need to be successful!  We love feedback.

Vegetarian Options After Bariatric Surgery

Healthy vegetarian eating after bariatric surgery

Good nutrition is vital to a healthy lifestyle, especially after bariatric surgery. It is important that individuals who have had weight loss surgery consume a diet that is rich in protein and low in simple carbs and sugars. Lately, the staff at the Bariatric Center of Kansas City have been discussing the merits of various diets and one in particular has created a rather interesting dialogue – can a vegetarian diet be a healthy choice post bariatric surgery?

After bariatric surgery, you want foods packed with nutrition in a relatively small portion, which is why meats like chicken and turkey are so effective. A 4-ounce portion can provide ample protein and the 9 essential amino acids your body cannot synthesize; however, many people struggle to comfortably eat meat after bariatric surgery and turn to a vegetarian diet.  Since the goal, post bariatric surgery, is to maintain a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates, sugar, etc. a vegetarian diet may present “balance” issues as certain proteins only come from animal products.

Complete Protein Vs Incomplete Protein

Healthy vegetarian eating after bariatric surgery 9 essential amino acids Each protein molecule we consume is made up of individual building blocks called amino acids. Some of these amino acids can be synthesized in the body, while others you MUST get from food. There are 9 essential amino acids that you must get from food. A protein that contains all 9 essential amino acids is called a “complete protein” and most of these come from animals or animal by-products such as, cheese, Greek yogurt, and eggs.

The challenge with a plant-based diet is in consuming the type of proteins the body requires to thrive. While meats and animal products contain “complete proteins”. Most proteins that come from plants are “incomplete”. They contain only some of the essential amino acids. Since the body cannot synthesize an essential amino acid, you will have to consume a variety of plants to get all 9 essential amino acids in your daily diet.

Example: Almonds/almond butter is a source of protein but lacks the amino acids lysine and methionine…Pumpkin seeds are a complete protein and sunflower seeds contain methionine, therefore all amino acids are accounted for and both are considered low in carbohydrates.  

Vegetarian Type Predicts Dietary Challenges After Bariatric Surgery

Some patients struggle with eating meat after bariatric surgery and others simply get tired of just eating meat. If you choose to go vegetarian or just want to add some vegetarian options to your diet, be prepared for a variety vegetarian types, which leads to a variety of food challenges. Each type (or title) is based on what is consumed. It is important to understand the type of vegetarian diet you choose so you can make healthy choices to achieve your daily dietary goals.

This list should help you understand what is meant when you read through a recipe or select a cookbook. 

Vegan: Avoids ALL animal products (fish, eggs, milk, meat, poultry, gelatin, or anything made from animals)

Vegetarian: Does not eat animal flesh but may consume other animal-based foods like eggs and dairy

Lacto-ovo vegetarian: Eats dairy and eggs

Lacto-vegetarians: Eats dairy but not eggs

Ovo-vegetarian: Eats eggs but not dairy

Flexitarians: Eat mostly plant based foods, but occasionally eat meat, poultry, or fish

Semi-vegetarians: exclude some meat (usually red meat) but still consume limited amounts of poultry, fish, and/or seafood.

When choosing a vegetarian recipe after bariatric surgery, make sure it contains all the essential amino acids.  Adding eggs, dairy and soy will make them complete and a serving size is about ½ cup.  Limit soy-based vegetarian options to 3 – 4 a week as soy products can mimic the effects of estrogen. Continue to follow the guidelines your doctor has given you. Try to get in 20 gm of protein a meal, but getting a total of 45 gm of protein a day is adequate for most folks. 

Some low carbohydrate, high protein snack options include:Healthy vegetarian eating after bariatric surgery meatless protein sources

            ¼ cup pistachios

            ¼ cup edamame (soy based)

            1 mozzarella cheese stick

            1 Tbs peanut butter

            ¼ cup skim Fairlife milk

            ¼ olives with 1 ounce of cheese

The Bariatric Center of Kansas City believes you can eat a vegetarian diet after bariatric surgery. However, it will require careful planning to make sure your diet includes key nutrients. Additional supplements may be required. Be adventurous, enjoy some new vegetarian recipes and live life to its fullest.  Just follow these “Golden Rules”:

  • Ensure that all 9 essential amino acids are met through the diet by choosing a VARIETY of plant sources and/or incorporating eggs/dairy/soy
  • Limit soy based meals to 3-4x/wk
  • Try not to exceed 20g carbohydrate per meal
  • Ensure you are meeting daily protein goal of 45-50g, supplementing if necessary
  • Ensure you are taking 2 Journey vitamins/day and 3 calcium citrate/day, and drinking at least 64oz/day
  • Remember not to snack between meals to avoid weight regain
  • If you are someone who is eating vegetarian due to lack of tolerance of meat alone, continue to try and reintroduce until it is tolerated to ensure gut healing.

Recipes and More:


To learn more about bariatric surgery, contact The Bariatric Center of Kansas City

June 16, 2018 – Exercising Away Those “Jiggly” Underarms

Facilitator:  Barb Cashman, PT

Bariatric Center of Kansas City Physical Therapist, Barb Cashman, came to support group to talk about excess skin and ways to decrease the amount of excess skin that hangs from the underarm after weight loss.  The elasticity plays a large part in how much you can decrease that, including genetics, how long the skin has been stretched, how much weight is lost, and how well hydrated the skin is.  By building muscle in the upper arm, you can fill in a lot of that space not only giving you a large lean muscle mass to increase your metabolism, but also making the underarm “jiggles” less prominent.  Everyone brought 2 cans to use as weights, and then donated them to Harvesters.  Chris took 4 grocery bags of cans to   the Harvesters barrel at Hen House on 87th Street.  Thank you for all the donations!

The exercises centered on both the biceps and the triceps muscles in the upper body.  You can do them with weights (or cans, or bags of beans), but you want to start with light weights and work up to heavier.  You can modify any of the exercises to start at the level you are currently able to do.  Many can be done sitting down.  She emphasized that if it hurts, STOP.  These should not hurt.  You may feel the muscle getting fatigued, but it shouldn’t be painful.  If you need any help with these, please come see the physical therapists and they can assist you in modifying them.  For example, the push-ups can be done against a wall, or using the kitchen counter.  You can do the ones shown on the floor on your bed.  There is always a way to modify it to your level of comfort. Start with 5 repetitions and work your way up to the given amount. You can expect to see some results within a couple of months if you do them consistently 3 – 4 times a week.  Say goodbye to those jiggly underarms!!





HOW TO DO IT: Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Raise straightened arms to shoulder height with your palms facing the ceiling. Curl your arms so the forearms are perpendicular to the floor and hands are directly over the elbows. Keep the elbows lifted and in line with the shoulders. Do three sets of 15 reps






HOW TO DO IT: Hold a weight in each hand. Bring them behind the back of your head, palms facing the base of the skull and elbows out. Raise the weights until arms are straight (hands together at the top), and then lower back down. Keep your neck and spine aligned, maintain a strong core don’t arch your back. Do three sets of 15 reps.





HOW TO DO IT: Stand with feet hip-distance apart and knees bent. Tilt your torso 45 degrees forward, keeping your spine long. Hold a weight in each hand bend at the elbows to bring your hands toward the shoulders in front of you, and then straighten your arms back behind you. Do three sets of 15.






HOW TO DO IT: Squat down and place your palms on a chair or bench with the fingers pointing toward the edge. With feet hip-distance apart and ankles right below or slightly out in front of the knees (harder), begin to dip the body down and up. Try to keep the elbows going straight back (in line with the shoulders and wrists) as opposed to opening out to the sides. Do three sets of 15.






HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your stomach on the floor. Bring your hands under your shoulders and bend at the knees to bring your feet off the floor. Without letting the pelvis sag — keep the core engaged — press yourself up to a modified push-up, balancing on your hands and knees. Lower your chest back to the ground. Do three sets of 15.






HOW TO DO IT: Lie on the floor with your legs extended. Keep your upper back pressing into the floor and your shoulder blades down. With a weight in each hand (or a single, heavier weight in both hands), bring your hands together straight above your chest. Keeping the elbows pointed straight up toward the ceiling, bend the arms and bring the hands toward the face. Then extend the arms back up. Do three sets of 15.






HOW TO DO IT: Start in a side plank on your forearm, keeping the line of your body straight. Stack your feet or knees. If on your knees, thighs should be back and flush with your trunk, so your body forms a straight line from head to knees. With a weight in your top hand, raise the arm straight up toward the ceiling with the palm facing forward. Bend at the elbow and bring your hand toward your head, and then straighten your arm,






HOW TO DO IT: Come into a push-up position (on your knees if you need to modify) with the hands turned in toward each other and the forefingers and thumbs touching, forming the shape of a triangle (or diamond). Position your hands so that, as you perform a push-up, your chest is directly on top of your hands. Do three sets of 10.


The next support group is July 3 at 5:30 and Chris and Laura are taking feedback at that meeting.  We want to know what you want to know more about, and what changes you may want to see in the support group program. Please come and give us your feedback!


June 5, 2017 – Vegetarian Options after Bariatric Surgery

Facilitator:  Annie Epp, RD, LD

While many people prefer a vegetarian lifestyle, it is difficult to meet the protein needs without eating too many carbohydrates.  Also, because some patients struggle with eating meat after surgery, and others get tired of just eating meat.  It is helpful to add in some vegetarian options that may be easier to tolerate while giving you some variety.    

Annie talked about the different types of vegetarians:

Vegan – avoids ALL animal products

Vegetarian – does not eat meat from animals, but doe eat eggs and dairy that come from animals

Lacto-ovo vegetarian – eats dairy and eggs

Lacto vegetarian – eats dairy, no eggs

Ovo vegetarian – eats eggs, no dairy

Flexitarians – eat mostly plant based foods, but occasionally eat meat, poultry or fish

Semi-vegetarians – exclude red meat, but still consume limited amounts of poultry, fish and seafood

  • Each protein molecule is made up of blocks of amino acids – think of pearls on a necklace.
  • Some amino acids are produced by the body, and some can only be gotten through food.
  • There are 9 you MUST get from food, and those are the essential amino acids.
  • A complete protein is one that contains all 9 of the essential amino acids.
  • Proteins that come from animal sources are complete proteins.
  • Proteins that come from plants are usually missing 1 or 2 of the amino acids.
  • By eating a wide variety of plant proteins, you will be more likely to get in all 9 of the essential amino acids. (like beans and rice, almonds and pumpkin seeds, etc.)

When choosing a vegetarian recipe after surgery, make sure it contains all the essential amino acids.  Adding eggs, dairy and soy will make them complete.  Continue to follow the guidelines in the book:  try to get in 20 gm of protein a meal, but if you get in a total of 45 gm of protein a day, that is adequate for most folks.  A serving should consist of about ½ cup of food.

Annie shared an example of a meal plan for a week.  She also said to limit soy-based vegetarian options to 3 – 4 a week.   Soy products can mimic the effects of estrogen. 

Some low carb, high protein snack options include:

            ¼ cup pistachios

            ¼ cup edamame (soy based)

            1 mozzarella cheese stick

            1 Tbl peanut butter

            ¼ cup skim Fairlife milk

            ¼ olives with 1 ounce of cheese

Do continue to introduce meat into your diet, as it is such a good source of protein, and it will get easier.  For recipes that are vegetarian, you can try these websites:

  • will let you know how much protein and carbs are in any food
  • The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition by Jlieanna Hever, MS., RD, CPT



Gastric Bypass: Ways to Avoid Emotional Eating!

gastric bypass emotional eating KC Bariatric Center of Kansas City

After gastric bypass surgery food can be a huge challenge. We find that many people bury their feelings in food. Food is used as a source of comfort. Gastric bypass surgery provides a tool to control portion size but does not automatically change the reason you eat. For successful post-surgery results, one must change old food habits, like emotional eating, and engage in healthier life choices. At the Bariatric Center of Kansas City we work with our gastric bypass patients on all aspects of recovery, including curbing emotional challenges so you are able to choose your foods wisely.

gastric bypass emotional eating KC Bariatric Center of Kansas City Gastric bypass surgery is life changing; however, it does not change your life in terms of job, family and other psycho-social aspects. If you are an emotional eater, your reason for eating will not change until you take a look at why you eat and evaluate the situation that triggers poor food choices. You must find the trigger or source (stress, worry, pain, reward, comfort…) of your emotional eating.

The doctors of the Bariatric Center of Kansas City encourage their patients to set consistent meal times, follow a more strict food routine and engage in programs that build self-awareness. Understanding the difference between physical and emotional hunger is key to post gastric bypass surgery success.

gastric bypass emotional eating physical hunger KC Bariatric Center of Kansas City Physical hunger builds up slowly and is triggered by your body’s need to eat to sustain proper bodily function. Gastric bypass does change the amount you can eat when you feel physical hunger, but you can eat a small portion of food and still be satisfied.

Emotional hunger hits suddenly and is triggered by a psychological incident. A craving is triggered, often a learned cause and effect, due to an emotional event. As the event occurs the craving causes an overwhelming “need” for a particular item. Usually the craving demands immediate attention and is not satisfied by small or moderate portions. 

Am I an Emotional Eater?

gastric bypass emotional eating stressed desserts KC Bariatric Center of Kansas City Suddenly craving a food may be part of the adjustment to your new portions and diet or it could be an indication of a deeper unhealthy physiological relationship with food.  If you are concerned about your cravings after gastric bypass surgery, we suggest you examine your eating feelings with these questions:

  • Why do I want to eat this?
  • Am I upset about something?
  • Am I angry about something?
  • Is there something that I need to do that I am putting off?
  • Will something else satisfy my craving?
  • Do I really need to eat this?
  • Am I lonely?
  • Am I bored?

gastric bypass emotional eating food is fuel KC Bariatric Center of Kansas City


These questions are meant to assist you in examining the root of the craving you feel. This type of mental and emotional quiz may help you identify your true feelings and make healthier food choices. Accepting responsibility for your actions is a very important part of your gastric bypass surgery recovery and long term success.

Blogger and columnist Cathy Wilson had gastric bypass surgery in 2001 and lost 147 pounds. Recently we came across her blog listing 60 ways she found to curb her emotional eating. In hopes of providing you encouragement on your gastric bypass and relationship with food journey, The Bariatric Center of Kansas City would like to share her list with you. 

60 Ways to Avoid Emotional Eating After Gastric Bypass

  1. Hang out on your favorite message board and postgastric bypass emotional eating fill your stomach KC Bariatric Center of Kansas City
  2. Set up (or review) Health Tracker 
  3. Change your environment to change your mindset, i.e., from your family room to go outside
  4. Call a friend or loved one
  5. Take a walk
  6. Do a crossword puzzle
  7. Garden
  8. Brush your teeth
  9. Paint your nails
  10. Take a shower or a bath
  11. Drink water (many times thirst masks as hunger)
  12. Organize a bothersome drawer or closet
  13. Play a video game
  14. Check out new apps on your mobile device
  15. Read a magazine
  16. Try out a new hobby
  17. Catch up on emails
  18. Go shopping at a mall
  19. Walk around the mall while you’re there
  20. Eat a cinnamon or mint flavored sugar free mint
  21. Watch a movie
  22. Make a cup of soothing herbal tea
  23. gastric bypass emotional eating make peace KC Bariatric Center of Kansas City Watch a favorite television showWrite in a journal
  24. Do crunches and/or push-ups
  25. Take a drive – either alone or invite someone to go with you
  26. Create your own goal using the ObesityHelp Goal System
  27. Put in an exercise DVD and workout
  28. Play solitaire
  29. Listen to your favorite tunes
  30. Dance to those favorite tunes
  31. Check out Before/After Photos for lots of motivation
  32. Lift weights, kettlebells or use resistance bands to tone and build muscle
  33. Go for a bike ride
  34. Call, write a note or email to tell someone how much they mean to you
  35. Create a scrapbook of your favorite photos or your own weight loss journey
  36. Color in a coloring book (remember how much fun you had as a child?)
  37. Write down 10 people and things you are most grateful for
  38. Read a book
  39. Play a board game with friends and family
  40. Check out classes or lessons (singing, piano, cooking) that you’re interested in
  41. Paint
  42. Try a hobby that will involve your hands such as looming, knitting, embroidery, counted cross stitch, floral design, etc.
  43. Write down the reasons you had weight loss surgery and wanted to lose weight; post it on your refrigerator
  44. Prepare a new healthy and WLS-friendly dish
  45. Take a nap
  46. gastric bypass emotional mindful eating KC Bariatric Center of Kansas City Take photographs of family, friends, outside and some selfies
  47. Plan your next vacation
  48. Play (or learn) an instrument
  49. Pray or Meditate
  50. Do Yoga
  51. Work on a jigsaw puzzle
  52. Go to the library and check out books
  53. Work on a Sudoku puzzle
  54. Buy an audio book that you listen to only when you are exercising
  55. Make jewelry
  56. Check out volunteer opportunities in your community, i.e. school, church, hospitals, a favorite cause
  57. Read motivational and inspirational quotes
  58. Cruise the Internet to research more about things you’re interested in or, better yet, new things of interest to you
  59. And last but not least, address what’s really bothering you.

If you feel you are caught up in emotional eating and would benefit from therapeutic assistance to help identify the root causes for your eating behaviors, please feel free to contact The Bariatric Center of Kansas City to schedule an appointment with one of our Bariatric Psychologists.  As experts in this field, they are available to help guide you to healthier eating behaviors and practices!


The Significant Role of Acceptance in Weight Loss

weight loss acceptance and self image Bariatric Center Kansas City

During the weight loss journey, reaching goals is key. Maintaining a healthy self-image can be a difficult but powerful goal. Being comfortable in your skin when facing the world in a body with excess weight can make staying positive an overwhelming struggle. Society does not accept being overweight. Fat shaming is real. Staying positive about yourself in public and ignoring the subtle and not so subtle message that overweight is NOT OKAY, makes accepting your body as it is even more difficult to accept and to believe in yourself.

Weight loss through acceptance of your body, exactly the way it is, may sound counter-intuitive; however, doctors, dietitians and centers, like The Bariatric Center of Kansas City, who focus on productive weight loss are finding self-image plays a significant role.  Power comes from accepting who you are, and loving yourself as you deserve to be loved, despite societal norms. An overweight individual has every right to be happy and content with respect to their sense of self as well as their own body.

weight loss self image Bariatric Center Kansas CityIn an article on accepting our body as it is, Caroline J. Cederquist, M.D., a board-certified bariatric physician, asks, “How can a man or a woman be accepting of their body when it falls so far outside of society’s vision of the ideal form?” She insists that her experience indicates those who accept their weight and deal with it powerfully are the ones who achieve the most profound and lasting weight loss results. Her advice is to change the internal conversation.

Most people decide to lose weight because they are not satisfied with how they feel being overweight: unhealthy, defeated, shame, and hopeless, just to name a few. The idea of acceptance is not suggesting that there is no need for weight loss and overweight individuals should just accept being overweight. Acceptance, in this context, means that the weight loss woman with plate of food Bariatric Center Kansas Cityindividual changes the way they view themselves, stops defining themselves by their weight or societies viewpoint, realizes their current weight is suitable, and begins to accept that they are a whole person capable of achieving goals. Acceptance, much like weight loss, is a process.

The first step in any change process is having an open mind. Being open to the change and all the ups and downs along the way is essential to creating lasting change in any aspect of life. Your current weight and your self-image, at this moment, are temporary. Tomorrow is a new day, full of numerous opportunities to form new opinions. Being open to change, moment by moment, allows you to be excited and confident throughout your weight loss.  

Weight Loss Through Acceptance

Step 1: You are an individual – not a weight

weight loss the science of acceptance Bariatric Center Kansas CityPeople tend to identify most with the qualities that they believe stand out the most. This step requires that you begin to identify yourself based on the qualities that make you a person deserving of your own self-respect. Shift your internal conversation away from shame and self-loathing based on your weight and to one of power and possibility. Find a positive quality and make that your most prominent feature. No scale can measure the quality of a person.

Step 2: Define who you are and who you will be

As you continue your weight loss you become less “limited by your mobility”. This exercise asks you to imagine who you are when you are active and mobile. Define your future and include what your life looks like when it is not defined by the shape or weight of your body; imagine a future of “activity and mobility.” Once you can see what your life will become it is possible to take control of life and regain health and wellness.

Step 3: Plan your future reality

weight loss self image  walking Bariatric Center Kansas CityOutline each step that you will take in becoming a lighter, healthier you. An action step is more than a statement like “lose 60 pounds”, which is too large to manage. Be specific and perhaps methodical. Break each goal into tiny achievable steps to reach your desired outcome. “Lose weight” becomes: “research a nearby gym,” or “buy cute yoga pants.”

weight loss self image acceptance  Bariatric Center Kansas CityFat acceptance gives overweight individuals permission to feel good about who they are and confident in the journey. Overcoming weight problems and achieving lasting weight loss is not an easy or quick path. Accepting yourself as a good and decent person who deserves to feel good about your life is essential to creating lasting change in your life. That belief and confidence has nothing to do with your weight. You are a powerful person NOW! You are capable and full of potential NOW! Your acceptance of yourself begins NOW!

May 1, 2018 – Tai Chi for Core Strength and Balance

Facilitators:  Sensai Janelle and Gary from USSD Lenexa

Sensai Janelle first explained the two different styles of martial arts classes that they teach. First being Kempo, an active style- the yang version; and Tai Chi, a slower focused style- the ying version. She went on to explain that during Tai Chi one uses slow, relaxed movements with deep rhythmic breathing. She called this a “sneaky workout.” While you are moving slowly you are using all of your large and small muscle groups for balance and working your core muscles with the movements and breathing. The controlled breathing helps pull everything in, creating a protective armor.

Sensai Janelle reviewed Chris’ (bariatric coordinator) testing numbers. Chris has been practicing Tai Chi for 3 ½ months with them and has greatly improved her balance, flexibility and strength. WOW!

She explained some benefits of Tai Chi:

  • Improving balance by working the stabilizing muscles
  • Improving core strength both upper and lower
  • Stress and grief relief
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Muscle toning
  • Increasing endurance

Sensai Janelle passed out some personal goal questionnaire sheets. There are three types of training:

  • On your own-we are busy and stressed, it is easy to let training and exercise get kicked to the curb. We many times don’t push ourselves and it can be boring.
  • Group training- can be more fun and easier to be motivated.
  • Personal training- most accountable (trainer will call you if you don’t show up), constantly changing the workout so that you are always progressing towards your goals.

Sensai Janelle and Sensai Gary then had the attendees divide into two groups to practice some Tai Chi poses and movements. One group was standing while the other group learned seated exercises. We learned how to bring our movements together with breathing. We were instructed on how to keep our body in line to assist with balance which worked all our muscles. Everyone agreed that their legs were feeling the burn after the demonstration was complete.

They then handed out a card with a free session to sign up for at 

USSD BROOKSIDE-816.437.8762

USSD Prairie Village-913.649.4422

USSD Lenexa-913.283.7844