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Katy Residents Find Ways to Shed the Pounds

Monica Romero has plenty of reasons to celebrate these days. Once considered morbidly obese, the mother of two has drastically reduced her weight by 60 pounds. Although she has not reached her goal weight yet, she has made a commitment to herself and is on track to becoming a healthier mom, wife, and daughter.

Romero is not alone in her weight loss pursuits. Obesity is now one of the biggest health issues in the United States. It’s no secret that the dietary habits of Americans are spinning out-of-control. Luckily, there are solutions for everyone.

Surgical Solutions

Romero’s success is a result of the Lap-Band procedure. Laparoscopic adjustable banding and gastric bypass are the two most popular surgical options available for the morbidly obese, which includes those with a BMI of 40 or higher, or a BMI above 35 with an obesity-related disease such as diabetes, hypertension, or sleep apnea. “Studies have shown that diets and exercise alone fail up to 98% of the time in the morbidly obese population,”states Dr. Bradley Waggoner, of Cypress Bariatric and General Surgery. “My interest in weight loss surgery is not primarily cosmetic, but is for the patient to lose the appropriate amount of weight so that they may live a longer and healthier life.”

Lap banding, which is becoming more popular than gastric bypass due to its lower risk and reversibility, is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that usually allows the patient to go home the day of surgery. Romero was up and walking the next day after her Lap-Band was inserted. She admits that adjusting to her Lap-Band was difficult at first. “You have to chew your food 25-35 times every time you eat.” But, with the help of a Lap-Band support group, Romero began to shed those excess pounds. “You have to be focused and have your mind set. If your mind’s not set, you will find a way to cheat.” The Lap-Band must be tightened periodically, but Romero was able to have hers loosened while pregnant and after the birth of her daughter. Now preparing to have it tightened again, she advises others, “I would go with a Lap-Band 100%; it’s a great tool for you to lose weight.”

Group Guidance

Groups such as Weight Watchers provide not only dieting tools and information, but a place where you can get support and encouragement from others. “I had tried to lose weight on my own, and it just didn’t work very well for me,” says Susan Schroder, a Weight Watchers member. Weight Watchers members attend weekly group meetings until they reach their goal weight. Group meetings provide members the chance to learn about healthy eating, share recipes and tips, and recognize weight loss achievements. They are taught appropriate portion sizes and are encouraged to make better food choices. Once members attain their goal weight, they go through a maintenance program, after which they become lifetime members. “I’ve learned that weight loss must be a lifestyle change. The way you eat has to change for the rest of your life, not just until you reach your goal weight,” notes Schroder.


Menu Makers

Not sure how to change your diet? Programs such as Jenny Craig and NutriSystem provide all your food for you. While Jenny Craig has centers around the area, NutriSystem is completely online. Both programs offer menus that are designed to help you lose weight. Jenny Craig provides a personal counselor to help you slowly transition from the food they provide to your own food, in addition to providing advice on physical activity and overall support. NutriSystem has counselors that can be reached by phone, a fitness DVD, and all food is sent directly to your home.

Change for the Better

Weight loss is a journey toward good health that has tremendous rewards for all those involved. It is a very personal matter, and to begin, you must find a program that works for you. There are other options out there, from hypnosis to Bible-based programs. But what matters most is being mentally ready. As Sampson advises, “If you haven’t made up your mind to lose weight, no weight loss program will work for you.” 

Story by Holly Garcia. Copyright Katy Magazine, Cy-Fair Magazine, Sugar Land Magazine 2009.

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