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Medical Weight Loss: How an Expert Can Guide Your Journey

Recently, we sat down with Dr. Kajal Zalavadia, a bariatrician with WakeMed Bariatric Specialists of North Carolina to discuss how working with a weight loss expert can guide you to a more successful weight loss journey.

Managing Weight Loss After Bariatric Surgery

Most patients have heard the saying to lose weight “eat less and move more” [insert eye roll here] and if it truly were that straightforward then it would just work for everyone and no one would struggle with their weight.

Most people, especially those who seek bariatric care, have tried eating less and moving more and found that it really does not work for the long haul.

In fact, we often see patients who, despite eating only 1 to 2 times a day, still struggle with their weight and experience weight gain. Here we use treatments and formulate plans that are based on science, backed by research, and executed in a supportive environment.

After surgery, if a patient wants to learn more or struggles with understanding dietary and lifestyle goals or experiences weight regain, they are referred to me by their bariatric surgeon or find me on their own. I educate patients and guide them into learning how to maintain a lifestyle that is appropriate for their body and goals.

How frequently should you maintain appointments with your weight loss provider?

The frequency of visits depends on the level of aggressiveness of the weight management plan, the medical health of the individual, and how much support they need. Before starting any plan, everything is thoroughly explained to the patient. As a patient demonstrates they are comfortably achieving and maintaining their goals and growing more confident, the frequency of visits lessen.

How many times a year should you see patients? When should they call you?

They should contact us anytime they need support or have questions. We are here for our patients.  After bariatric surgery, within the first year the patients follows up frequently to ensure everything is going well post-operatively. They will be instructed by their surgical team on their follow up care. After a year, their surgeon will want to see them yearly. The bariatric surgeon can monitor you and intervene if he/she sees any issues.

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Why do some individuals put their weight back on?

Individuals can put their weight back on for various reasons.

Sometimes patients begin to revert back to “old ways” such as meal skipping, making poor quality food choices, etc. Sometimes it is related to personal reasons, such as a life changing event affecting their lifestyle, that throws them off their routine.

Hopefully, patients who have bariatric surgery always remember that that the surgery is a tool and will not just do the “work” for you.

Ultimately, we are here to help patients who experience weight regain to get back on track with their body goals.

Can you have another weight loss surgery?

Yes, this is called revision surgery, where your bariatric surgeon can add in or lengthen the malabsorptive component depending on what procedure you had prior.

When do you have that discussion? What are your options?

Our bariatric surgeons will first inquire as to the reason why the patient is seeking this revision procedure. If it is related to regain and an improper lifestyle is noted, the bariatric surgeon will first try conservative measures with me.

This gives the patient an opportunity to get back on track, and then when they go for revision surgery not only will they do better with it by being prepared but they will be in a better position to sustain their results.

Bariatric Surgery at WakeMed

With seven, board-certified physicians, and full cadre of dietitians and support staff, WakeMed Cary Hospital offers the most comprehensive bariatric surgery program in the region. Learn more about bariatric surgery at WakeMed.


About Kajal Zalavadia, MD

Dr. Kajal Zalavadia is a bariatrician, a physician who specializes in treating obesity and weight-loss related medical conditions. She currently sees patients at WakeMed Bariatric Specialists of North Carolina in Cary, NC on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Dr. Zalavadia also sees patients at our new Brier Creek location on Mondays and Tuesdays. 

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