All posts by Dee Anne Agonis

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


April 21, 2018 – Back on Track with a 5 Day Pouch “Re-set”

Facilitator:  Chris Bovos, RN, CBN

This support group information is intended for patients who are at least 1 year out from surgery and have experienced weight regain. This information is not intended for patients who are still losing weight or are less than a year out from surgery and their weight loss is stalled – those patients need to make an appointment with the dietitians in the office to assist them.

The information Chris shared about the Back on Track program was taken from author Kaye Bailey and her book “The 5 Day Pouch Test.” The book is available on Amazon for $9.99 and she has other books that she has written about the weight loss surgery journey. Kaye Bailey had a Gastric Bypass surgery in 1999 and lost down to her goal weight. She maintained it for a number of years, and then slowly began regaining her weight. This was so distressing for her, that she began writing about it and developed a program to get herself back on track. She then began sharing that information in books and on her website to assist others, and has devoted her life since then to helping patients with their own weight loss journey.

The program that Chris discussed is a 5 day program that is NOT intended to have you lose any of the weight you have regained. Instead, it is a program to help you relearn how to use your “tool” so that you can get back to the way you are supposed to be eating and resume your weight loss. She reviewed how you have to prepare for the 5 day challenge, pick 5 days where you can focus on following the rules, and get the foods you will need so you don’t go to the grocery store during the 5 day test. The goal is that at the end of the 5 days, you will have cleared the carbohydrates out of your system, you will have decreased the size of your stomach and begin to feel full after eating a small portion of food. This will allow you to get Back on Track with the 4 Golden Rules of Weight Loss Surgery :

• Always start with protein and get in 60 gm a day of high quality protein

• Get in 64 ounces of fluid, but do not drink 30 minutes before, during or after a meal

• Avoid snacking

• Enjoy 30 minutes of activity a day

For more information about Kaye Bailey, the 5 Day Pouch Test and other books and recipes from her, go to:

The handouts provided at the meeting provide pouch “re-set” details, tracking sheets for tracking food intake over the 5 day re-set and a number of recipes.  You can access this information here:   BACK ON TRACK packet

Good luck to all on your pouch “re-set”!  You can do this!!


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.