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New Year, new you: Experts to offer tips at free program
Bolingbrook – Now that the New Year is here, Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital wants to help make your weight loss resolution successful.

A panel of experts will discuss a range of weight loss options – from healthy eating habits to surgery that can help drop unwanted pounds and keep them off – during “The New You,” a free event at 6:30 p.m. Jan 27 at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, 500 Remington Boulevard, Bolingbrook. The panel features Dr. Rama Davarapalli, internal medicine specialist, Dr. Vafa Shayani, weight loss surgeon, and Sonal Choudhary, registered dietitian. The class is free, but space is limited. To reserve a seat, call (630) 856-7525 or visit

The best weight loss program tosses out the word “diet” and replaces it with “lifestyle change,” because the goal is not simply to lose weight, but to create a healthier you. Excess weight contributes to a multitude of physical problems: hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea and back pain.

“If people who are overweight or obese could lose 10 to 20 percent of their body weight, they would see an improvement in their medical problems,” Davarapalli said. “Sometimes patients are able to completely eliminate their medication or get by on the barest minimum. The key is to set small challenges, such as, ‘In three months I will be at this level of my medication’ or ‘I will have control of my blood sugar’ or ‘I will have lost five pounds.’”

When making those dietary changes, don’t forget to include all three types of exercise: cardio-aerobic activity, weight training and yoga or similar routines that encourage flexibility. Best of all, you won’t need a gym membership or heavy weights to get started.

“Small weights will do,” Davarapalli said. “This is something you can do at home. Popping in a $10 DVD should do the trick.”

Shayani agreed that medical management and coaching through one’s primary physician is still the best way to lose weight. However, if that method does not give favorable results, weight loss surgery may be an option.

“It used to be a last resort for patients in dire need of intervention,” Shayani said. “Today, we have procedures that are much less invasive and are tolerated more easily by patients.”

Most patients, he added, require very little follow-up in the weeks and months after the surgery, especially once they have reached their desired weight. However, weight loss surgery is not for individuals who want to lose pounds gained during the holidays.

“We still only use these procedures for patients who are significantly heavier than they should be,” Shayani said. “We wouldn’t recommend it to someone who had only 10 pounds to lose.”

To help patients reach their optimal weight, Choudhary will offer suggestions for healthier eating, along with some of her favorite cooking and weight loss tips. For instance, she said, when grocery shopping, select lean cuts of beef and pork. Words such as “loin” and “round” are clues the meat contains very little fat.

“Balance healthy eating with physical activity,” Choudhary said. “When weather permits, take a walk around the block after dinner.”