Category Archives: Uncategorized

Celebrating Well

walking-in-snowIf you are celebrating this month in some way – how do you celebrate well?  Meaning, how do you celebrate and still stay well – healthy, happy, balanced, active, nourished, rested, energized, calm?

The answers will vary with each person reading this.  I don’t have the answers, but you do.  What are you doing to maintain both your mental and physical well-being this season?  Take a moment to brainstorm all you or doing that works to some degree or another.  Make one section just on all the ways you move that makes you feel better.

Why?  First, because we can be so busy we don’t take time to appreciate what we are doing, only what we are not doing this season.  Second, because now you have a list of all the ways you can stay well this season.  When you start feeling out of balance, pull out the list and do one of those things to regain a sense of well-being.

That list of movements that work is a key part. When we are stressed, the body is preparing for movement.  Movement is an essential antidote to the stress response.  Sitting at the dinner table, at our desk, laying in bed, or in front of the TV stressed is only draining energy and health.  Something is definitely better than nothing here.  A quick 5-10 minute walk, stretch, dance,  a few weight lifting exercises… all great for lowering stress and regaining a sense of well-being this season.

Happy Healthy Holiday’s to all of you!  Enjoy!!!

Keep moving, be well,


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by | December 21, 2016 · 4:48 pm

21 Days to Change a Habit by Sherry Pagoto, PhD

Check out the latest article by  UMass Medical School’s Sherry Pagoto, PhD entitled:

21 Days to Change a Habit? Why it is not that simple.

Does it really only take 21 days to create a habit? This hopeful concept has sold a lot of books. But if it were true, we’d all be slim, avid exercisers, nonsmokers, and achieving huge work successes by next month. Instead, we muddle through on a much rockier road to behavior change…. Click here to read more of my latest post on US News and World Report.

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by | October 26, 2016 · 2:38 pm

Surgery Support Group


The surgery support group open to all UMass Weight Center surgical track patients is this Thursday 10/20/16 from 6pm to 7pm.  It is held in the Hiatt Auditorium in the UMass Medical School building.

This group is for patients before or after weight loss surgery and is held on the third thursday of each month from 6pm to 7pm.  Next dates:

November 17th, 2016

December 15th, 2016

No need to register for this group.

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by | October 18, 2016 · 5:46 pm

Exercise is Medicine

This New York Times article was sent to me by a patient – Thank you!

Below are my comments on certain parts of the article, and one very important clarification.

Of all the things we as physicians can recommend for health, few provide as much benefit as physical activity.

Absolutely!  Exercise is medicine! In the article he gives a link to study that looks at all of the most powerful research on exercise as medicine.  So the results are not just from one study but looking at the trend in a group of well-designed studies.  In other words – it is good, reliable information.  What did they find?

  • Improving stamina and strength is possible for those with a wide variety of different health concerns.
  • Exercise training is safe for those with disease when patients are guided by exercise professionals.
  • Exercise training improves the prognosis in many diseases.
  • In some diseases such as arthritis, pain symptoms are reduced.

For people (mostly middle-aged men) who had a heart attack, exercise therapy reduced all causes of mortality by 27 percent and cardiac mortality by 31 percent.

That means if you have heart disease and you exercise regularly you are 27% less likely to die from ANY cause and 31% less likely to die from a heart incident!  I don’t know how that compares to the benefits of the top cardiac medication – but wow!  That is like adding another powerful heart medication, with GREAT side effects.

ATTENTION all people with diabetes and concerned about complications of the disease.  Attention all of you worried about getting diabetes.  And a special shout out to those of you  trying to lower your A1c in order to qualify for weight loss surgery:

People with diabetes who exercise have lower HbA1c values, which is the marker of blood sugar control, low enough to probably reduce the risk of complications from the disease.

Does shortness of breath limit what you do in life.  Our body is a “use it or lose it” system and this is one of the best demonstrations of that:

Twenty randomized controlled trials have showed that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can walk farther and function better if they exercise.

I could go on with the benefits but I wont because the article gives great information about how powerful exercise is as medicine.

Many people will be surprised at how little you need to do to achieve these results.

This point cannot be overstated.  In popular media the tendency is toward a “prove-yourself, exceed” mentality with exercise.  It cannot be more clear -if  your goal is health – more is not better.  After a certain point too much exercise strains the body instead of heals it!  How do you know how much?  If exercise gives you energy and you are feeling stronger, you found the right amount.  Exercise is no longer medicine when we overdo it -exercise then becomes a sport or a hobby.  This is a very important difference.   Accumulating 30 minutes of movement bouts a day can do it.  That means that even if you cannot do 30 minutes all together, split it up into shorter bouts throughout the day- it is WAY better than nothing.

Here is the important clarification:

Moderate intensity is probably much less than you think. Walking briskly, at 3 to 4 miles per hour or so, qualifies. So does bicycling slower than 10 miles an hour. Anything that gets your heart rate somewhere between 110 and 140 beats per minute is enough. Even vacuuming, mowing the lawn or walking your dog might qualify.

This is where exercise recommendations can get very confusion and sap motivation.  

When finding the right level for exercise, it is much more accurate and reliable to listen to your body than how fast you are going.  This gets mixed up in the media so often. 

Moderate intensity means your breathing is comfortable to a comfortable challenge level.  If it feels uncomfortable, it is too intense and time to slow down.  As long as the challenge is comfortable for your breathing you are generally working in the right range for improving stamina with cardiovascular exercise.*  

Breathing measures what is actually happening in the whole cardiovascular system.  Heart rate only measures one piece of that system.  The numbers he gives above are too general to be worthwhile, so please do not follow that advice. Your body does not know how fast you are going, so don’t worry about it unless you are training for a competition.  If health and wellbeing are your goal, listen to your body!

Keep Moving, Be Well


Please share these posts with anyone you know interested in losing weight with or without weight loss surgery. Click here to learn more about the UMass Memorial Weight Center

*These weekly blogs are general guidelines. These guidelines apply to patients who are cleared by a physician for the type of exercise described. Please contact your physician with any concerns or questions. Always report any symptoms associated with exercise, such as pain, irregular heartbeats, and dizziness or fainting, to your physician.

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by | July 8, 2016 · 5:34 pm



Si usted está interesado en la cirugía para perder peso, o ya tuvo este tipo de cirugía en
el pasado, lo invitamos a una reunión de grupo para ayuda y apoyo a la cirugía el día viernes
19 de agosto de 5 a 7 en la tarde. Sandra Cabrera, paciente del Centro del peso corporal (Weight Center), hablará al grupo sobre su experiencia con la cirugía para perder peso. Sandra compartirá con el grupo ideas sobre cómo prepararse para la cirugía para ayudarlo
a lograr la pérdida de peso a largo plazo. Ella también hablará sobre la dieta y el ejercicio antes y después de la cirugía. En esta reunión tendremos la presencia de una dietista del Centro del peso corporal (Weight Center).

El tema principal de la reunión será:

“Antes y después de la Cirugía para perder peso: Consejos sobre la dieta y ejercicios para poder lograr la pérdida de peso por largo tiempo”­­­

  • Conozca otras personas que también están enfrentando los mismos retos que usted.
  • Inspire a otros con sus logros e historias positivas.
  • Conozca dietistas del Centro del peso corporal (Weight Center).
  • Pruebe algunos de platos de comida saludable.
  • Aprenda maneras fáciles y entretenidas de hacer ejercicio.
  • Aprenda cómo el stress afecta el peso.

Le daremos consejos para reducir el stress.

Lugar de la reunión:

Sala S2-310 en la Escuela de Medicina. Camine por el pasillo principal, pase el Centro de control del peso y la cafetería. Al final del pasillo tome a la izquierda, pase los auditorios Hiatt y Lazare a su derecha. Verá un cartel arriba que dice ” Basic Wing Elevator” a su izquierda.Tome el elevador al piso 2, suba sólo un piso. Al salir del elevador tome a su izquierda y siga los carteles que dicen Room 310, enseguida encontrará la sala a su izquierda.

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by | July 8, 2016 · 5:11 pm

Life After Weight Loss Surgery – Patient Perspecitves

“That’s taking the easy way out”, or “yeah, but you kinda cheated”, etc are probably things we’ve all heard, or even thought ourselves, in regards to bariatric surgery. I have to admit that I was of that same mindset before I began this journey. I’m of quite the opposite opinion now. Bariatric surgery is probably one of the most labor intensive, dedicated decisions a person can make…. *if* that person has resolved to change their lifestyle. Surgery is not a magic wand, it is helping hand… Success still depends on change.

I am now almost 19 months from my gastrectomy, and I’m about 50 pounds from my “I’d like to be” goal weight. What I experienced was almost at 6 month intervals…. First was the “holy moley” weight loss, then the less mind boggling, but still rapid loss, then the “little better than average”… If I can offer *any* advice that could help someone else, it would be this…. If you want long term success from the decision to have surgery, you’d better have your lifestyle ducks in a row by this time, or you WILL backslide. Get active, track your food, be healthy… You decided to give yourself a fighting chance… Fight for it. Every pound is a victory, every activity that you can now do that you could never have imagined being able to do is a victory…. LIVING is a victory.

A year and a half ago, if someone had told me “someday, you’ll be able to get up on the stair master and you won’t keel over and die”, I’d have called them a bald faced liar. Today, I do get up there… Most days, it’s for 45 minutes, some days, I do an hour (let’s just say that’s a ridiculous amount of stairs ugh! Lol). I also do weight training and other forms of cardio, and I go to the gym every day… It’s become my routine. I’ve had people tell me that I’m an inspiration, but I don’t see it that way. I see it as part and parcel of the commitment I made when I decided to take back control. If I can do this, trust me…. Anyone can!

Thank you to the patient who submitted this post – if you would like to share your perspective after weight loss surgery, email me
Keep Moving, Be Well

Please share these posts with anyone you know interested in losing weight with or without weight loss surgery.  Click here to learn more about the UMass Memorial Weight Center

These weekly blogs are general guidelines. These guidelines apply to patients who are cleared by a physician for the type of exercise described. Please contact your physician with any concerns or questions. Always report any symptoms associated with exercise, such as pain, irregular heartbeats, and dizziness or fainting, to your physician.


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by | March 17, 2016 · 8:16 pm

March Post Surgery Support Group




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by | February 24, 2016 · 8:16 pm