Melissa Bailey Arizpe, Psy.D.

Archive for August, 2009|Monthly archive page


In Uncategorized on August 29, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Have you ever wished that you could just “do things over?”  Start again fresh?  Well, we can’t change the past and it probably isn’t a good idea to dwell on it either.  Hanging on to past regrets really only make us angry, resentful and bitter.  Instead, shift your focus to the hear and now–to today.  Everyday can really be a “do over.”  Each day we have a chance to start fresh.  We can start an exercise program.  We can choose to eat healthier.  We can make the commitment to be a better parent, partner, or employee.

If you didn’t follow your after surgery nutrition program yesterday–guess what?  You can start today.  You can make the choice to eat healthier today.    You can even go as far to say that you can literally start over moment to moment.  If you ate too much at lunch time, eat a healthier dinner or go for a walk.  Many times we throw up our hands and say, “Well, I blew it today.  I might as well keep going and have that ice cream, starch, —fill in blank here.”   It is this kind of all or nothing thinking that gets us in trouble and keeps us from eating healthy regularly.  Let’s face it.  We are not going to be perfect weight loss surgery patients all the time.  That is really setting yourself up for failure.  But, the good news is that you can get “right back on the horse.”  The next meal you can make a different choice.

Thinking new everyday can help you recharge your commitment to stay on your weight loss surgery program.   So make today your “do over.”


Portion Control

In Uncategorized on August 22, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Portion control.  We hear so much of it.  When you think about it, weight loss surgery, particularly the gastric band, is forced surgical portion control.  Eating less, moving more.  That is really what it is all about.

The other day I was at one of the places that I consult standing in the lunch room.  I noticed that one of the employees was staring into the vending machine.  She smiled at me and said, “I am trying NOT to get that cinnamon roll.”  I said to her, “Well, everything in moderation.  Why don’t you get it, cut it half and throw the other half away or give it to someone else.”   She looked at me in horror and said, “I can’t do that.  That would be so wasteful. If I get it, I have to have the whole thing.”

This is the exact thinking that many of us have.  As kids, we were drilled that we had to eat everything on our plate; after all, there are starving children in China who would love to have our scraps!   Well, this mentality has also contributed to the skyrocketing rates of obesity across the country.

News Flash!  You do NOT have to finish everything on your plate.  You do not have to finish the whole cookie, apple, protein shake or Grandma’s chicken and dumplings.  As a matter of fact, I challenge you to NOT finish your plate and make sure that there is always food left over on your plate.  You can throw it out.  The food police are not going to come get you.  Your mother will not go into the garbage and point out how your waste could feed a whole village in India (and if she does, you can tell her that I said it was OK).

Ok, I know that some of you are as horrified as that woman standing at the vending machine.  If you are not comfortable with throwing out food–and believe me–I don’t advise being wasteful–then be resourceful.  SAVE it for later.  Give the other half to a friend.  Bring the rest of it to your colleagues at work in the lunch room. Use Tupperware, plastic wrap, Ziplock bags, Glad toss away containers–there is a whole industry dedicated to keeping leftovers and food fresh for later.   Some of the patients at the support groups tell me that when they go out to dinner, they already plan to take half of their meal home.  They request a container right away.

Portion control.  Eating less.  Part of it is getting over that voice in our head that tells us that it is not OK to waste food–so don’t.  Save it for later.  Take smaller portions.  Assume that you are going to only eat half of the food on your plate.  One of the things about weight loss surgery–especially in the beginning–you have to adjust your eyes to match what your stomach can hold.  You are not going to be able to eat as much as you did before and that is a good thing.

Strategy for Success? Take time for yourself

In Uncategorized on August 4, 2009 at 1:39 am

A question that I am often asked by pre-surgery patients is, “what is the difference between successful and unsuccessful patients?”   Obviously there are many factors from compliance to the prescribed health regimes, follow-up, and exercise.  However, one thing that seems to trump them all is focusing on yourself.  Sounds easy enough, I know.  However, the reality is that a lot of people come to the surgery because they NEVER take time for themselves.

The typical scenario is the frenzied working mother who only eats on the go. Or, the shift worker who works nights and only eats when they can grab something.  Or, the caretaker who has spent most of the last years caring for someone else whether that be a child, a relative or an aging parent.  Today’s rat race never seems to allow us to have five minutes to ourselves let alone focus on eating right and fitting in exercise.

Ironically, that is exactly what you have to do to make the surgery work for you.  You have to plan your meals ahead of time. You have to carve out time for activity–whether it is a full work-out at the gym or just increasing your activity during a break at work.  Staying healthy is hard work and it takes time.

So if you want to know a sure fire way to succeed after surgery is to focus on YOU!