Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery: Getting Started and Finding Help


By Wendi Hope Bishop, Editor

If you’ve struggled with obesity most of your life you know it is more than just a weight problem. It is a lifestyle problem. It is a self-esteem problem. Above all, it is a major health problem. In fact, clinically severe obesity—at least 100 pounds over ideal body weight—is classified as a serious disease. An estimated two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (2006). Right here in East Tennessee, 25 percent of adults are obese—the fifth highest rate of obesity in America up from eighth highest in 2006. Tennessee also has the second highest teenage obesity rate in the nation.

There are many options to manage weight, including dietary therapy, physical activity, and drug therapy. For some, weight loss surgery, such as laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery and laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, may be the best option. All weight loss therapies, whether medical or surgical, require lifestyle changes to achieve effective weight loss. Fad diets come and go, but choosing to eat healthily and exercising regularly will pay off.

Here are some tips to help you get started on your weight management.

  • Set small goals. A goal of 10 percent is realistic. Losing 10 percent of your body weight benefits your health by reducing several obesity symptoms.
  • Increase physical activity to at least three days a week (i.e., walking, cycling, swimming, etc.). Only 26 percent of U.S. adults engage in vigorous leisure-time physical activity three or more times per week.
  • Record your progress in a diary.
  • Do not weigh yourself everyday. Your body will fluctuate. Give yourself a week before stepping on the scale again.
  • Stop eating fried foods. Choose grilled, broiled and steamed instead.
  • Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat whole grain products.
  • Do not skip meals.
  • Read labels and know what you are buying.
  • Control your portions. Pay attention to serving sizes. When eating at home, use a salad plate to help limit your portion sizes. When dining out, only eat half of your meal. Either share your meal with a friend or ask for half of your meal to be put in a to-go box before it is ever brought to your table.
  • Drink more water. Try to avoid soda and alcohol as these are high in calories and lack nutritional benefits.


In support of your goals, the University of Tennessee Medical Center opened the Tennessee Weight Loss and Surgery Center located on the UT Medical Center campus in Medical Office Building A, Suite 240. This program was established to provide a comprehensive approach to the bariatric surgery process.

The center focuses on lifestyle changes such as eating healthy and exercise as well as bariatric surgery for those who qualify. The center’s multidisciplinary team of consultants made up of surgeons, dietitians, exercise specialists and administrative staff will partner with you to provide a weight-loss program that addresses your individual needs and helps you maintain your weight loss.

Whatever your goals may be – 10 pounds or 100 pounds – making the choice for a healthier you is the first step towards success.
For more information, visit the Tennessee Weight Loss and Surgery Center or call 865.305.WELL (9355).

For those interested in bariatric surgery, please visit our calendar of events to find the next bariatric surgery seminar. YOU MUST REGISTER FOR THIS SEMINAR! The seminar provides an opportunity for individuals interested in bariatric surgery to receive information on minimally invasive surgical options.

Register by calling 865.305.WELL (9355).


If you are having surgery, click here for pre-surgery nutritional instructions.

This information is intended to be used as a guide only. Please consult your doctor before beginning or changing any diet and/or exercise program.