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Nutritional Education

Educating patients about nutrition and healthy eating habits is a key part of the Backus Weight Loss Center program.

Joan Sommers, a registered dietician with Backus Hospital’s Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism Center and a certified diabetes educator, said educating people on smaller portions and mindful eating, such as eating slowly and chewing thoroughly, is an important start, as well as utilizing dietary guidelines, using mypyramid.gov as a tool.

“We work with the whole person, discussing different stages of diets, vitamin and mineral supplementations,” she said.

Although some centers use liquid caloric drinks prior to surgery, Backus encourages patients to follow a 1,000-calorie diet, and teach them how to do that.

“They need to learn for life what their options are,” Ms. Sommers said. “We will have cooking demonstrations as part of the follow-up support, to help them understand that it is not that expensive and not that time consuming to cook healthy.”


The LAP-BAND® procedure reduces their stomach to an egg-size, so paying attention to protein intake and portion control need to become a way of life for the weight loss to be successful. Before the surgery, there is a weight loss goal depending on the patient, to help reduce liver size and improve blood glucose levels.

“Surgery is a tool, but they have to understand why they eat,” Ms. Sommers said. “Our team approach will help them along the road to discover their new life.”

Examples of post operative dietary and physical activity rules include:

  • Eat only 3 small meals a day
  • Eat slowly and chew thoroughly
  • Stop eating as soon as you feel full
  • Do not drink while you are eating
  • Do not eat between meals
  • Exercise 30 minutes per day.

Psychiatric Screening

People eat for a variety of reasons, and sometimes being hungry isn’t one of them. They eat when they are depressed, when they are bored, in social settings and for a variety of other reasons. But successful long-term weight-loss surgery requires major lifestyle changes —physically and mentally.

Thomas Dziadosz, PhD, of the Center for Mental Health at Backus, meets with bariatric patients prior to their potential surgery for a psychological evaluation to determine if they are good candidates for weight loss surgery — and the commitments that come along with it.

“The psychological evaluation covers a wide range of areas, including behavior, cognitive and emotional status, stressors in their life, what they expect from the surgery and more,” he said.

Dr. Dziadosz does an initial evaluation and gives a report to Mark Tousignant, MD, Medical Director of the Backus Weight Loss Center.

The report identifies any barriers a patient may have and identifies areas where the patient needs more education, such as about the surgery itself or the expectations after surgery.

Bariatric Surgery – Gastric Banding

The LAP-BAND® Adjustable Gastric Banding System is an adjustable gastric band designed to help severely obese individuals achieve sustained long-term weight loss and has been demonstrated to lead to resolution or improvement in co-morbid conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and hypertension. It induces weight loss by reducing the stomach capacity and restricting the amount of food that can be consumed at one time, but it is unlikely that it will interfere with normal digestion and absorption of food and nutrients. The differentiating factor for the LAP-BAND® System from gastric bypass is that it does not require stomach cutting, stapling or intestinal re-routing.