Melissa Bailey Arizpe, Psy.D.

Archive for June, 2010|Monthly archive page

New Virtual Support Group

In Uncategorized on June 28, 2010 at 2:08 am

In keeping with the promise to provide support, I have added a Google Group where members can join, make comments, ask questions, and receive support from each other.  If you would like to join please copy and past the link below and then in the right hand corner there is a place for you to ask to be a member.


I look forward to helping you through this exciting journey in your life.

Remember virtual support is neve a substitute for professional therapy but it can be useful knowing that you are not the only one out there having issues.



In Uncategorized on June 27, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Please note that at the bottom of the blog page is a place for you to leave comments and questions.  I encourage you to use this in much the way a “web group” discussion works.  I will be monitoring and answering your questions and comments on a regular basis.  I would like to make this a very interactive website for all of those looking for virtual support!


Surgery Doesn’t Solve Everything

In Uncategorized on June 25, 2010 at 5:33 pm

As wonderful as weight loss surgery is, I like to remind patients that it does not solve everything.  Sure there are a lot of things it does resolve.  I have seen patients leave the hospital off their high blood pressure and diabetes medication.   The health effects of weight loss surgery can be literally miraculous.  However, I challenge to find a surgical brochure that will tell you that weight loss surgery will improve your social life, increase you self esteem exponentially, and you will start living the lifestyle you always dreamed of.

During one of my support groups, I asked the participants what they expected to happen after surgery.  They mentioned the health benefits as an after thought.  Instead they focused on, “I thought my social like would increase.”  “I thought my career would take off.”  “I thought that people would treat me differently.”  “I thought I would find my soulmate.”

Guess what?  Those are not in the brochure.  Weight loss surgery does not change everything about you.  That part is the lifestyle change that YOU have to work on after surgery.  I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer here, but you do need to change those things and work on them as well.  Guess what?  If you are not leaving the house after surgery like you did before surgery–your social life is not going to improve.  Guess what? Unless you are incredibly lucky Mr. or Mrs. Right is not going to come knocking on your door.  Well, unless you order one from a catalog–I actually saw one of those ads that there are a ton of foreign women who really want to marry Americans.   If you don’t change how you are at work, you are not going to get a promotion.

Weight loss is only the first step.  (I know–bummer right?)  But there is hope.  Most of you have spent your whole life taking care of someone else, making sure everyone else’s needs are met.  For those of you who went to a trade school or college you had to focus all of your energy on “making the grade” by studying.   That is exactly how you need to treat your “new” self after surgery.  YOU are your new project.  If self esteem is the problem, maybe finding a therapist or a support group.  Or, there are a lot of great books out there that are in workbook format.  Of course, you actually have to use a pen and fill them out and do the exercises in the book.  After you have lost a lot of weight, it might be worth the money for one session with a stylist.  Actually, some stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom’s have them for free!  If you haven’t been in the dating scene for a while–read up on it.  Look on line.  Get your toes wet.

The most important thing is that you recommit to yourself EVERYDAY!  You have been taking care of everyone else and now it is your time to take care of you.   I will let you in on a little secret.  Most people thing that I am really confident and self-assured.  I wasn’t always that way.  I used to be the wall flower.  I hated going to malls.  But I was able to change all of that because I made a commitment to myself to make sure I was going to try and live life to the fullest.  I got myself motivational cds.  I still listen to them in the car when I am feeling down.  I read self-help books.  I found mentors who could really encourage me to go beyond my comfort zone.

You can change your life.  Surgery is just the first step.   In the next couple of weeks I am hoping to put together a live chat room for virtual support so that we can all discuss these things together.  In the meantime, it is about you!

The Never ending battle

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Do you ever feel like weight loss is a never ending battle?  Even after surgery!  Unfortunately for some of it is.  I actually met a woman the other day who was not able to lose weight, tried everything and her endocrinologist finally told her that the gastric bypass was probably her only hope.  She even spent two weeks in the hospital being closely monitored for what she ate and how much she exercised.

After gastric bypass, she still struggles to keep her weight at a good place.   She has completely changed her lifestyle.  She changes what and when she eats and she found something that she enjoys that is active.  She has a protein shake for breakfast, plans for healthy snacks and plays handball once a week.

My point here is not to be depressing but to show that weight loss surgery only works in the long term if YOU put the work into in.   It is a complete lifestyle change.  It is saying no to that occasionally chocolate that would mysterious pop into your mouth after walking by your co-workers candy jar.  It is going out to lunch with a group of friends and not using the excuse–just this one time I’ll order that fating BBQ burger.  It is parking the car farther away from the door.  It is going to the mall and walking the whole mall twice even if you don’t need anything.  It is taking the stairs and the not elevator.  ALL of this adds up.  It adds up to your success.  It might seem like small steps but it was probably a whole lot of small steps that help land you in the place where you needed surgery.

Make a commitment to yourself everyday.  A commitment that you will try harder, walk a little extra, and eat a smaller portion.  Study after study indicates that changes are made in small, manageable steps–not by quitting something cold turkey.

What will your small step be today.

Use Support

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2010 at 7:36 pm

I can’t stress enough how important it is to use support after surgery.  Support can come in many forms.  If you like the internet, then you can find a chat room or a group of people who are like minded who you can chat with during the day.  There are plenty.  I had a patient that found a lapband group on Facebook.  The go on hikes and do 3k events and stuff like that.  There is,  Also, many surgeon offices have their own online resource or classes that you can use.

Remember every surgeon’s office has a nutritionist that they work with as well.  You can set up monthly meetings to speak with him or her.

Find a surgery buddy.  You can also ask your surgeon’s office if there is anyone who would be willing to communicate with on a regular basis either by phone or email.

There are support groups galore.  They are generally listed on each hospital or surgery center’s website will list them.  You can also go to  They keep an updated list of support groups all over the country.  They list ones at various sites which they sponsor meaning that you didn’t have to have your surgery with that facility.  Often times you can try a support group at different locations and see which ones suit you.  Every group is different.  Don’t stay with a group that you are not comfortable with or don’t feel like you are connecting with the other people.  Obviously this won’t be helpful.

Studies indicate that the more support you use after surgery, the better results you are going to have overall.  Support can come in any form.  You can even find some books that are helpful.  Remember, the surgery is only the beginning.  The work is after the surgery.  You have to make a commitment each and everyday that you are going to make solid changes.   This means starting out the day taking a few minutes a day for yourself to focus on your needs.  Plan your meals for the day.  Check out what part of the day is going to be difficult for you to handle and plan ahead.  Know your obstacles.

Remember –support is everything.

Rededicate Yourself Everyday

In Uncategorized on June 4, 2010 at 4:11 pm

I know that I have said this before, but today is a new day.  Rededicate yourself today to making your goals one step at a time.   If you fell off the wagon and had a hard time with your eating habits. Guess what?  You can start again today.  Make one small goal a day.  A good start is to get 60 to 100 grams of protein a day.  I can’t stress that enough.  There are a ton of patients who tell me that they have hit a plateau and it is usually because they are not focusing on the protein.  The more protein you eat, the more fat you burn.

Remember one day at a time.

Summer is around the corner!

In Uncategorized on June 2, 2010 at 2:38 am

Summer is around the corner and that means there are a lot of new and exciting fresh fruits lining the marketplace. For those of you who can handle the natural sugar that comes from fruit-start to load up on fruit. A nice bowel of watermelon is going to fill you up way more than a piece of candy. Not only that but the fiber is good for you also. Fruit also has a high water content so that way you are also hydrating as well.

Add fruit to breakfast, lunch and as a snack. Especially for those of you who like juice. Any nutritionist is going to tell you that it is better to get your calories from fruit instead of juice. You are fuller and it takes your body longer to break down the fruit–meaning you starve off hunger longer.

If you are like me, you might not be a big fruit eater. But the ready made packs in the markets that are already cut-up are hard to resist. They might be a little pricey but it will also keep you from reaching for the simple carb that is no good for you!