Andrew McDevitt, APRN
Preparing for successful weight-loss surgery is more about developing and adopting lifestyle skills than anything else.
Advanced Practice Provider Andrew McDevitt, APRN, works with people to help them develop the skills necessary for weight loss and weight management long after their bariatric surgeries.
He explained, “I help people develop lifestyles that support weight management: behavioral changes, nutrition modifications and medical components that will help them to be more efficient in weight loss post-surgery and possibly even leading up to their bariatric surgeries.”
He said that he has treated many people who do so well in making lifestyle, nutrition and exercise changes that they opt out of bariatric surgeries.
The SBL Bariatric Program is comprehensive and includes experts in nutrition, exercise, psychiatric health and physical therapy. Team members collaborate regularly to discuss issues that their patients are facing, so issues can be addressed appropriately. “We all try to impress upon our patients how important it is to make small, incremental changes,” McDevitt explained.
For example, one soda a day adds roughly 150 calories. Over the course of a week, that is about 1,000 calories. “I talk with them about making better choices all around. I may ask them to exercise two or three times a week,” McDevitt said. “I don’t care what kind of physical activity it is, as long as they move, even if it’s in a chair. Movement helps all aspects of life.”
He stressed that no one should take any kind of surgery lightly, and the team doesn’t want to put anyone at risk needlessly. “If there is something that comes up on the behavioral side, then team members will make us on medical side aware of it, and vise versa,” McDevitt said. “This can happen all the way up to surgery, even up to pre-anesthesia testing. Our goal is to not put anyone at risk unnecessarily, so we’re always assessing patients.” When people are not candidates, the team talks with them to offer alternatives.
People who have bariatric surgery most successfully are those who take it seriously by working on their lifestyle modifications prior to their procedures.
Obesity is a precursor for many chronic illnesses. McDevitt explained that heart disease is the number one cause of death in the nation. “Obesity can cause hypertension and diabetes, not to mention arthritis. It even leads to many joint replacement surgeries due to chronic wear and tear on the knees, hips and ankles. Excess weight contributes to this pain and can make the recovery process difficult. Quality of life comes into play.”
He stresses that any amount of weight loss can be significant. Someone might have lost 20 pounds and not thought that was significant, but if they wore a backpack with a 20 pound weight in it and carried it around all day, I guarantee their hips, knees, feet and back would feel it.”
For more information about the SBL Bariatric Program, call the Medical Clinic at the Center for Healthy Living at 217-238-4961.