Nicole Giguere, MA, RD, LDN is a clinical and bariatric dietitian at Pennsylvania Hospital. As a bariatric dietitian, she sees patients through every step of the process: pre-surgery, post-surgery and follow ups. She does nutrition counseling (medical weight management) for patients, which helps them get ready for surgery and for all their life changes after surgery.
Q&A about Penn bariatrics
We sat down with Nicole to learn more about her role in the program and with patients. Here are the highlights of our conversation.
What’s the process when a patient first meets you?
At our first meeting, patients get a binder that has information on nutrition for the whole bariatric surgery journey. I go over that and teach them about what to expect after surgery. Then we start to make small changes because they see me for three to six months before surgery. We try to tweak their diet and get them on the right path before they actually go in to surgery.
What's your favorite part about your job?
I like that I get to see people throughout the whole process. I love the counseling aspect and being there, helping people. And of course seeing their success. That's the best part. You're working with them so closely and then to see all of this weight comes off. They're usually happier, more upbeat and just so excited that they did this. It’s such a good feeling that you get to be part of that with them.
What tips do you have for keeping off the weight and weight loss?
Exercise is key for a lot of people – it’s important to keep moving. Before surgery it's hard for a lot of people to exercise because of their weight, but after surgery, as people start to lose more, it seems like it's easier for them to move around. We’re not asking them to run a marathon or anything – just to get up and start moving. If your knees hurt, then you can move your upper body – whatever you can do to get your heart beating a little faster is great. It's a good way of making sure you're burning extra calories.
What do you think sets Penn apart?
I love our program! Not to sound cheesy, but I really do. Some patients have started at other hospitals and then they've switched over because other programs aren’t as involved or comprehensive. At Penn, we have a huge Bariatrics binder with bunch of different resources. I think we have a lot to offer everybody, and we're super involved. Our program truly has the whole Penn Medicine system supporting the patients, clinicians and staff.
Favorite healthy food?
I have too many! I love avocados on whole grain toast. I love eggs too. I can eat them any way; they're delicious. And they're a perfect source of protein – really good for Bariatric patients.
How do you exercise?
I do P90X 3, and I really love it. That's what works for me. Whatever exercise people do is great.
Where is your happy place?
I like to be out and about! I'm from the beach and am a beach girl. Whenever I can dunk in the ocean, that's my favorite thing to do.
I used to make jewelry. Haven't done it that much in a while, but yeah, one of my hidden talents.
Meet Nicole and the Penn Bariatric Surgery Team