Winter Storm Warning: Hibernation Ahead!

By Mary Beth Sodus, RD/LD,ACE-CPT/RYT
Personalized Bariatric Nutrition Coaching
Center for Weight Management and Wellness

With a few days notice that a snowstorm is on its way, you’ve probably had time to make a run to your local grocer to stock up on essentials and favorite foods. Like a bear who eats as much as possible to store up calories for a long hibernation.

Bears need those extra calories for an extended period of no eating or drinking, but most of us will not. We’re more likely to eat because we’re inside and bored.  Here are some tips to avoid setting a trap for yourself:

Healthy Hibernation Habits

  • Practice mindful eating. Ask yourself this question:  What am I really hungry for?
  • Think: Are you eating from emotional triggers or true physical appetite?
  • Pay attention to boredom eating versus physical hunger. Physical hunger builds gradually, occurs several hours after a meal and eating results in a feeling of satisfaction.
  • Boredom eating can be triggered by the sight or smell of food, watching cooking shows or just because something tastes good.

To avoid that winter weight:

  • Focus on healthy and wholesome stews, soups or chili with a lot of vegetables.
  • Pause between each bite to focus and enjoy the sensation of eating.
  • Cultivate a strong support system that includes family and friends that you can call on.
  • Make sure to stay hydrated. The human body is approximately 75 percent water and needs every drop to function, especially if you are outdoors.

As you hibernate from winter’s cold, snow and wind, know that you can stay healthy for the warmth of spring in Maryland.

Mary Beth Sodus is a registered dietitian and nutritionist and a personal trainer and expert in all things healthy.  She provides personalized bariatric nutrition coaching in the University of Maryland Center for Weight Management and Wellness. 


Bariatric Surgery Patient: “I Have My Health and Life Back”

By Jilly Durbin

Editor’s Note: On December 4, 2008, Jilly Durbin underwent Roux-en-Y surgery performed by Dr. Mark Kligman, director of the Center for Weight Management and Wellness at the University of Maryland Medical Center. On the morning of the operation, she weighed 311.4  pounds. Fourteen months later, she is down to 156 pounds.

Jilly Durbin before surgery
Jilly Durbin after surgery

Why did you decide to undergo bariatric surgery? What was your life like before the surgery?

When I came to Dr. Kligman I was miserable and morbidly obese, weighing in at 329 pounds. I could not walk from room to room without losing my breath and getting dizzy. I had very high blood pressure, GERD and sleep apnea. I was also diagnosed as pre-diabetic. My health was deteriorating fast and I knew this was a big decision that would change my life forever! I knew if I didn’t lose weight my health would go from bad to worse. I am a mom and a full-time daycare provider, so I knew I had to have this surgery.

How did you find out about Dr. Kligman and what made you decide to see him for a consultation?

I actually researched several surgeons that I found on the Maryland Obesity Help Board. I attended many of their orientations and I can honestly say that Dr. Kligman’s seminar was the only one that made me say, “I can do this and he is the best one to help me.” He has a confidence about him and he expects his patients to succeed. He strives to make sure that we do. When I got home from his seminar, I read up on his credentials online and that sealed the deal. I knew I would be in amazing hands with him doing my surgery at UMMC.

When did you have your surgery?

December 4, 2008.

How has your life changed since surgery?

On the day of my surgery, I had lost a small amount of weight and weighed in at 311.4 pounds. I had no idea how long it would take the weight to come off; all I knew was that I had better follow Dr. Kligman’s rules, and I did just that!

I am now 14 months post-op and I weigh a very humbling 156 pounds. I have lost over 155 pounds since my Roux-en-Y surgery and I feel amazing! My sleep apnea is gone, my high blood pressure is gone and I am no longer pre-diabetic. I have so much energy (so far I have run two 5K races) and I do not suffer from heartburn any longer. Dr. Kligman saved my life!

I feel so blessed to be able to play with my children and not get short of breath or dizzy. I love that I am more conscious of what I put in my mouth and what effects it will have on my body. I read food labels all the time now. I went from a size 4X in tops to a medium, and from a size 26/28W in pants to a size 8 slim, all in under a year’s time. This new lease on life is amazing, and there is not a day when I take it for granted.

How do you feel about Dr. Kligman and the rest of the staff at the Center for Weight Management?

I can’t say enough about Dr. Kligman and his staff. They are lifesavers! Dr. Kligman has not only saved my life, but he has prepared me for the real world and has taught me how to tackle hurdles that may get in my way. I adore him and feel so blessed that he was my surgeon. He is one of a kind and is incredible at what he does! As for Nadja Muchow, his head nurse, she is just simply irreplaceable. Everyone loves her! She makes you feel so comfortable and is very kind-hearted and patient. She is also very thorough, which is another reason I just adore her! Everyone at UMMC was wonderful! If I had to have any surgery, I would go back to that hospital in a heartbeat!