Obesity is a growing problem throughout the United States. This issue hits close to home with Oklahoma being one of nine states identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as having more than 30 percent of its population obese.
For some people struggling with obesity, weight loss surgery is one option to beat this disease. Norman Regional’s weight loss surgery program – also called bariatric surgery – is a highly-accredited program dedicated to helping those with weight issues.
Norman Regional’s bariatric program focuses on improving every aspect of a patient’s life. Partnering with Oklahoma Weight Loss Options and Journey Clinic, Norman Regional provides a comprehensive individual evaluation that includes medical testing and consultations with specialists.
Who is a good candidate for weight loss surgery? An appropriate candidate would meet the National Institutes of Health guidelines, said Leah Melton, RN, coordinator for Norman Regional’s bariatric program. Guidelines state a candidate for surgery should have a Body Mass Index (BMI) higher than 40 or if they have another condition such as hypertension or diabetes, a BMI between 35 and 40.
If a person meets these guidelines, insurance companies may cover surgery.
“Since all insurance policies differ in coverage, it would be a good idea to contact your individual insurance provider to inquire if Bariatric procedures are a covered benefit,” Melton said. “If not, there are financing options available through both of the bariatric surgeon's offices.”
Depending on the type of surgery, most patients will lose between 50 to 80 percent of their excess weight. But surgery is only the first step in a patient’s weight loss journey. Patient will eat only about a half to one cup of food total at each meal, depending on how far out from surgery they are.
Protein becomes extremely important after surgery and weight loss surgery patients have higher daily protein requirements than other people, Melton said. Patients are encouraged to eat a protein as the primary portion of all their meals.
“I tell patients you don’t have to forgo good taste just because you have had bariatric surgery,” Melton said. “Recipes can be made in a healthy way and still taste great.”
Here is one of Melton’s favorite protein recipes:
In a large slow cooker, put the chicken in the bottom and top with salsa, yellow pepper, and beans. Don't bother stirring it; it'll take care of itself. Let it cook for 10 hours on low. About 30 minutes before serving place the brick of cream cheese on top and let it melt into the mixture.
Serve with low-carb tortillas and grated low fat cheese or plain!
Serving size: ½ c.