Melissa Bailey Arizpe, Psy.D.

Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

Repetition saves the day

In Uncategorized on July 29, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Ok. I know I have posted on this before but it is so important to get yourself into a new routine in order for the surgery to work for you. I have been seeing posts on my chat room on Google about people eating the same way that they were eating before. Yes, you can have a minor indulgence. Think of it like a vacation. You don’t take a vacation every week or every day. If you did you would have no money to live on. Eating is kind of the same way. You need to stay on track for most of the week. Even the Zone Diet has a day built into its program where you can have an “off day.” Having an off day does not mean Thanksgiving dinner once a week.

Many of you have been on plenty of diets before so actually you are filled with lots of knowledge on how to eat–it is the implementation that is difficult. Weight Watchers is about portion control. Atkins is about protein. Look to the past successes that you had and slowly integrate them into your routine. Things don’t change overnight. It is one small step at a time. There is a great book called “The Process of Change” by Prochaska. It talks about how although sometimes it seems like someone is changing a behavior cold turkey, there is actually a lot that goes into making permanent long term changes. It is a good read (I actually did part of my dissertation on it so I know it inside and out). And, guess what, the way people change is different for everyone. So find your groove and see what works for you. One example, don’t keep tempting stuff in the house. If the ice cream is going to call your name when it is in your freezer then it needs to leave. If going to your favorite restaurant is the start of a slippery slop for you–then avoid it. It is these SMALL steps that really lead to big changes. I know it is hard but think of it as one small step at a time.

Every journey starts with one step.


Life after Weight Loss Surgery

In Uncategorized on July 14, 2010 at 4:55 pm

I always find it interesting that before people have weight loss surgery they really have these grand gestures of how life for them is going to be extremely different–like in a fairy tale. Well, as many of you know who have had surgery that is hardly the case. You have a lot of hurdles to overcome. One is that your portion size is dramatically different than what you were used to eating before. This might not seem like something that would be a big deal, but it can be for many people. I had someone in my office shortly after lapband surgery and they were arguing with me about how much he should be able to eat.

Another issue that patients don’t think is going to be a big deal is the excess skin that comes along with massive weight loss. Some people get it, some people don’t. A lot of it depends on genetics. Plastic surgery is often a hot topic of discussion at support groups. However, many insurance companies do not pay for it if it is considered “cosmetic.” So if you think that plastic surgery is something in your future, you want to make sure that every time you go to see a doctor that you mention how it bothers you or if you are having rashes or yeast infections. If it is affecting you emotionally, you might even see a therapist for a couple of sessions. Much like how the insurance companies no longer take a “doctor’s note” that an individual should have weight loss surgery; the insurance companies will not take a note for this either. They need hard core visit notes. So watch what your physician writes.

The other thing people after WLS thing is going to happen is that the weight is magically going to fall off. Now, in some cases like gastric bypass or sleeve, yes, the weight does fall off, but then there can be a plateau if you don’t use all of the information that you were taught pre-surgery like drinking enough water, focusing on protein. Remember how you might have hated exercise before, well, we really want you to exercise after surgery. For those of you who are not so mobile it can be a challenge but not an impossibility.

After WLS your entire social like doesn’t change either–unless you work on it. I know more work. Well, the brain is a funny thing it gets really used to the same thing. That is why lots of time you go to a restaurant and order the same thing each time. If you are taking a course you tend to sit in the same chair. As much as we like to thing we are unique beings we really all have our routines and generally stick to them. After WLS is your change to not just change your body but your mind. Many people say they experience the “I still feel fat” thoughts after surgery. It takes work to change that. It is not going to happen on its own.

I always encourage patients to really start to work on themselves after surgery as if they were a course or a seminar they were taking. Remember in school when you had to memorize stuff, read stuff, take tests on it and maybe even stand-up in class to recite it. Think of yourself like a course like that. You need to rework your thinking. The best place to start is the self-help section of your local bookstore. Find a book that speaks to you. But here is the trick–you really need to do the exercises they suggest at the end of the chapters. Get a note book and use it like you are taking notes in a class. The patients that I work with in private therapy, I require them to get a note book so that they can write down the stuff we talk about. Why? Because usually by the time they leave my office they are in a great mood but in a couple of days they forgot all about what we talked about. The note book reminds them of how to change their thinking.

When you think about it, life after weight loss surgery is really all up to you. The surgeon has done his or her job. It is up to you to follow the guidelines to make it work or not work.

Now go out there and make a project out of yourself!

The Weekend is Here

In Uncategorized on July 9, 2010 at 7:02 pm

The weekend is here. Have you planned out how you are going to handle any family or work functions this weekend? Have you thought about how you are going to get your 60 to 100 grams of protein in each day? For those of you who are social drinkers (you know who you are!) plan your alcohol intake carefully. Remember there are a lot of sugars, calories, carbs in alcohol and it slows your metabolism down.

The weekend is the perfect time to take an extra long walk or go to the park with family and friends to burn those extra calories you might have had during the weekend. Remember–success is in the planning.

Don’t forget to check out and sign up for my new Google Chat Room at

Have a great weekend.

The Holiday? So how did you do?

In Uncategorized on July 6, 2010 at 2:59 pm

With the holiday over the weekend, how did you do? Did you stick to protein first? Fourth of July BBQ are the perfect place to stick to the mantra “Protein First.” Did you eat what was grilled, tried the vegetables and then the fruit? Did you skip the bun on the hamburger? Did you drink water or bring some Crystal Light packets with you to put in the bottled water? These are all little tricks to help you stay on track with your weight loss. As I have said before, success is all in the planning. Plan ahead with each family outing and get together. Plan ahead when you know that there is going to be a meal involved.

Success is planning ahead.