Center for Weight Loss Success

Call Now!

757-873-1880

success@cfwls.com

Watch a Weight Loss Surgery Webinar Now

FREE WEIGHT LOSS GUIDE!

Food Pyramid & Habit Guide for Weight Loss Success
Keys to Successful Weight Loss and Long-Term Weight Control

captcha
.

Author Archives: Dawn Olson

Meal Planning Tips and Menu Ideas

Posted on March 24, 2020 by

Now, more than ever, it’s important to plan your meals and snacks.  If you’re working from home, the kitchen & pantry are just too close for comfort! Really, the last thing you want to get out of your time in quarantine is a larger waistline.

Take the time you’re saving by not commuting and plan your next week or 2 of meals and snacks.  It’s easier than you may think.  Use this handy template or create your own on a whiteboard – whatever works for you!  CFWLS Weekly Meal Planner

Where to start?

  1. Consider how much protein you need for your day.  What is your carbohydrate cap? These are the first 2 things you need to think about.
  2. Make a list of all of the proteins and vegetables in your freezer, refrigerator & pantry. These are things you won’t need to add to your grocery list and a good start for your menu plan.
  3. Find recipes that use the primary ingredients that you have on hand. A great place to start is our Blog page or our Pinterest page. Pick out 4 or 5 to try this week. Most of them are quick & easy and use ingredients that you have on hand or are easy to find. The nutritional information is included but you may need to adjust for serving size if you’re eating less than indicated.
  4. You will want to use the perishables first so look at the proteins & veggies you found in the frig. They will be the key additions to your meals and snacks the early part of your week. I find it easiest to start with dinner (or the main meal of the day) and work from there. Pencil in those meals and you’ve begun!
  5. Fill in the remaining main meals with recipes that contain the items that you found in your freezer and add any missing ingredients to your shopping list.
  6. Breakfasts don’t have to be complicated. Protein shakes, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese and the like can be quick and satisfying options. Stay away from any starchy items in your pantry as they tend to lead you toward a slippery slope when it comes to carbs later in the day. Pencil in your week with healthy options that you have and add any missing things to your list.
  7. I leave lunches until last because it’s a great place to use the leftovers from any previous meals. Figure out what you will have left over and slip it into your lunches for the week.  Keep in mind that the end of the week dinners may slip into next week’s plan.
  8. Snacks will be used to make up the rest of your protein target.  Keep in mind that many of these sources will also have carbohydrates so choose wisely.  Here’s our handy ‘Sack Lunch and Snack Ideas Trifold‘ handout for reference.
  9. Now, before you forget, order those missing items from your local grocery store.  Online shopping has made it easy but keep in mind that the wait time right now is longer than normal. You may need to plan on picking up your items (or having them delivered) will be 2 or 3 days out and some items may be out of stock. (plan for allowances) You can refer to our Low Carb Shopping List for more ideas to keep on hand for next week.

Additional resources:
Low Carb Substitutions for Cooking & Baking
Tips on Cooking and Low-Carb Eating
Baritastic Tips – A Great Tracking Tool!
CFWLS Monthly Menu Planner – for long range planning
Kids lunch and snack handout
Menu planner – 3 weeks – these are done for you but you can switch it up a bit!

Enjoy! This can truly be a fun and rewarding experience and is a great teaching tool for family members. Get the kids involved – they catch on quickly.

Reach out to me with any questions! Dawn@CFWLS.com

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

Posted on March 13, 2020 by

Wholesome goodness – substantial enough on it’s own or serve it with a salad 😊

Ingredients
1 small head cauliflower, broken into flowerets
1 cup shredded carrot
1 stalk celery, diced fine
1 small onion, diced fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup water
½ cup chicken broth
1 packet protein Cheese Dip mix
½ cup half and half
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Bacon bits for garnish
Green onion for garnish

Directions

  1. Cook cauliflower, carrots, celery, onion & garlic in 1 cup of water until cauliflower is tender. Remove from heat and mash with potato masher.
  2. Prepare Cheese Dip mix according to directions for soup. Add to cauliflower mixture.
  3. Add chicken broth and half & half. Return to heat and bring to a simmer. Stir in ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese.
  4. Serve with bacon bits and green onion garnish (if desired).

Makes 4 servings

Nutrition Facts:
Calories                                  165
Total Fat                                   9g
Total Carbohydrates               11g
Dietary Fiber                            3g
Protein                                    11g

Print Recipe: Cauliflower Cheese Soup

Look for this new product in the store!

Chicken Crust Pizza

Posted on March 09, 2020 by

Wow! The protein is in the crust so dress it any way you like it 😊

Ingredients
Crust:
8 ounces chicken breast, cooked and shredded fine
1 egg
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup shredded Parmesan

Topping: (nutritional info for toppings used here)
2 Tablespoons pesto sauce
¼ cup sliced red pepper
½ cup packed baby spinach
¼ cup shredded Parmesan

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place baking stone on center rack.
  2. Cook chicken and shred or finely chop. You could use canned chicken breast as well.
  3. Mix chicken with egg, garlic and ½ cup parmesan cheese.
  4. Press chicken mixture onto parchment paper (on baking sheet or pizza peal), making it about 1/4 inch thick. Slide paper into oven and directly onto hot baking stone. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until crust starts to brown.
  5. Remove from oven and add toppings. Return and bake until hot and cheese is melted.

Makes 3 servings

Nutrition Facts:
Calories                                 253
Total Fat                                14g
Total Carbohydrates              4.5g
Dietary Fiber                            1g
Protein                                   28g

Print Recipe: Chicken Crust Pizza

Note: This recipe is easily doubled. You can add whatever toppings you like and substitute mozzarella cheese for the Parmesan as a topping. Nutrition values will vary with toppings.

Riced Cauliflower Paella

Posted on March 03, 2020 by

Smoky & satisfying – you won’t miss the rice!

Ingredients
12 oz package of frozen riced cauliflower, thawed
2 chicken breast halves, cooked & chopped
8 oz chorizo sausage, cooked & crumbled
12 oz raw shrimp, tails on
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 small tomato
1 Tbls tomato paste
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp saffron threads
4 oz chicken broth
Juice from 2 lemons (about ½ cup)

Directions

  1. Heat oil in large covered skillet and add onion & garlic – cook until softened and golden.
  2. Combine broth, tomato paste, paprika, saffron and half of the lemon juice in a bowl. Stir and set aside.
  3. Add chorizo sausage and cook until done, crumbling with spatula as it cooks.
  4. Add bell pepper and tomato, cooking 5-6 minutes until pepper is softened.
  5. Stir in riced cauliflower, chicken and broth mixture. Increase heat and bring to a low boil. Turn down heat and allow to simmer 1-2 minutes.
  6. Top with shrimp and cover. Allow to simmer 8-10 minutes or until shrimp is pink and cooked through.
  7. Plate and sprinkle with lemon juice & parsley (if desired)

Makes 6 servings

Nutrition Facts:
Calories                                 310
Total Fat                                15g
Total Carbohydrates              12g
Dietary Fiber                           4g
Protein                                   32g

Print Recipe: Riced Cauliflower Paella

Hey Doc – Could it be my Thyroid?

Posted on January 08, 2020 by

I routinely hear from patients in the office, “It couldn’t be my thyroid.” It could be. But usually that’s not the real blame for weight problems. It is something to try and understand. It’s commonly a problem, especially in women. When it gets treated people feel so much better.

I probably mention this on every Losing Weight USA Webinar; with all hormones, balance is absolutely key! If you balance one hormone, potentially you can throw off another hormone. You don’t want one working too well and the other not working well enough.  Hormones come from endocrine glands. There are lots of different endocrine glands. They all produce different hormones. The endocrine glands are found throughout the body.  There are lots of different glands in the body: pancreas, testis, ovaries, and more. A hormone is simply a chemical messenger. They communicate between one part of the body and another. The tissue that makes the hormone releases the hormone into the bloodstream. Subsequently the hormone goes throughout the body. The tissues that have receptors can receive the message. It’s that “Lock and Key” type of thing. It needs to fit well into the receptor in order to send the message. Hormones are one of the main tools your body uses to maintain homeostasis (balance).  Hormone balance is a key concept. It’s especially true with Thyroid Hormone.

The pituitary gland is a tiny gland the size of a berry sitting in the center of your head. It receives messages and sends messages. It works in concert with the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus often sends the message of what the pituitary gland should release. The pituitary gland releases all sorts of hormones. It releases prolactin, growth hormone, thyroid stimulating hormone, FSH, and more. Often it’s the pituitary gland that’s sending the message to the endocrine gland. Then the endocrine gland releases the hormone. The thyroid gland receives instruction from the pituitary gland. There are a lot of places where these hormones can be thrown out of whack.

The thyroid gland sits in your neck. It’s below the “Adam’s apple.” It’s one of the largest endocrine glands. The thyroid comes from the Greek word for shield. It’s protected and covered by some of the neck muscles. The parathyroid glands are adjacent to it. The parathyroid glands influence your bones but they don’t really influence your overall metabolism. They are adjacent to the thyroid glands. The function of the thyroid is directly related to metabolism (how your body uses energy). This is what drives your metabolism—whether it’s slow or fast. This is what overseas our metabolic rate. When someone talks about a slow or fast metabolism, they are alluding to their thyroid gland. If you looked under a microscope at a slice of your thyroid tissue you would see these open areas that have food in there. That’s the thyroid hormone. If this goes out of whack potentially you can get thyroid disease.

A balanced hormone means there’s good communication between different areas. The hypothalamus talks to your pituitary gland. The pituitary gland talks to the thyroid gland. Then the thyroid gland releases the thyroid hormone. There are multiple layers. They are like multiple feedback loops. One of these hormones in the loop feeds back on the other. So you don’t want to get too much of any one thing there. It’s also very dependent on appropriate iodine intake.  Iodine is essential for life. It’s utilized by every single cell in your body. The thyroid uses about 3 mg every single day. The breast tissue uses a couple milligrams every single day because the breast is very receptive to iodine. It’s very important in breast function. Iodine has been added to salt. The iodized salt is one of the only ways we get iodine.

Unfortunately the iodine that’s in the salt can vaporize. Once the iodized salt container has been opened the iodine can vaporize. We often don’t get enough iodine because it’s been released into the atmosphere. It’s very common that people don’t get enough, especially Americans. Iodine used to be added to a lot of different foods. It’s been taken out of a lot of foods and substituted with bromine. In Europe bromine is illegal. The receptors for bromine are very similar to iodine. So if you’re exposed to a lot of bromine eventually the iodine receptors get blocked and then, subsequently even with the iodine, you’re not utilizing as much as you could. Iodine is very important to the thyroid. If you don’t get enough it can lead to goiter. Cysts form because the tissue is trying to work but can’t due to lack of iodine. The cysts can turn into a goiter. They can be very noticeable or very small. Eventually the thyroid could have to be taken out.

Again, the thyroid system runs from the hypothalamus down to the pituitary, and up to the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland then makes the thyroid hormone. Iodine is important in all of this. It releases thyroid hormone into the bloodstream. The thyroid hormone will go to just about every cell in your body.  If the thyroid hormone is unbalanced, then that would be either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. It’s very important for growth and development and overall metabolism.

Is your thyroid functioning normally? TSH is thyroid stimulating hormone. It’s made by your pituitary gland in your brain. The thyroid functioning test is a screening test telling. It doesn’t tell us how well your thyroid is working. If the pituitary gland makes a lot of TSH it basically means your pituitary gland is screaming at your thyroid to get it to work. It often means the thyroid is not working well. That’s a sign of hypothyroidism. If the pituitary gland doesn’t make much TSH that means the thyroid is working like crazy. You don’t need to tell it to work anymore. That’s often a sign of hyperthyroidism.  Again, the thyroid function test is really a poor test. What’s important is not what the brain is telling the thyroid to do. What’s important is what the thyroid is actually doing. To know what the thyroid is doing, we look at the thyroid hormone. The working thyroid hormone is T3. It’s called free T3. What this has to do with is how many iodine molecules are on that thyroid hormone? T4 is levothyroxine. T3 is missing an iodine. Synthroid is synthetic thyroid. The issue there is that if you’re taking synthroid, you’re not taking the working thyroid hormone, T3. Subsequently your body has to convert it to the T3. Some people don’t do that well. If you don’t do that well synthroid (levothyroxine) might not be a good choice.   The reason we would give you T4 and not just T3 is because the T4 is much longer acting. Therefore it’s just one dose a day. T3 is short acting and you have to take multiple doses. Most people will continue to take the T4 and convert it to T3. I want to know what your TSH is (for the thyroid function test). But I also want to know what the free T3 is because that’s the true working hormone. All the others are just working up the working hormone. The T3 is what’s telling all the cells in your body how to act. How do we look at the thyroid physically? We can do an ultrasound or radioactive iodine. Often an ultrasound is a better way to look at the thyroid.

The TSH is coming down from the brain and tells the thyroid gland to release thyroid hormone. The level will change depending on what it needs to tell the thyroid. If it’s telling the thyroid to release more, the volume goes up. If it’s telling the thyroid to release less, the volume goes down. The T4 is converted the T3, which then tells all the cells what to do. The T4 could actually make what’s called reverse T3. You don’t want to make this. It’s kind of a mirror image of T3. The mirror image of the T3 doesn’t function like the actual T3 does. Reverse T3 really doesn’t do you a lot of good. Some people take the T4, and instead of converting it to the T3, convert it reverse T3. Subsequently you’re thyroid doesn’t work well. But it may not show up on that TSH screening test.

Lots of thyroid symptoms go along with abnormality. The biggest thing we’re worried about is hypothyroidism. If you’re truly hyperthyroid you usually don’t have a weight problem. The symptoms with hypothyroidism are numerous and vague. That’s where the problem comes in. Because they are vague, we just don’t think about these things. For example, there are a lot of reasons to be tired.  You might lose some of your eyebrow hair. You might get a puffy face, enlarged thyroid gland, or be hot or cold all the time.  Cold intolerance is a symptom. You could be tired all the time, have dry skin, menstrual cycles are way off, weight gain, constipation, or brittle nails. Unfortunately a lot of these symptoms are very vague and don’t necessarily point at any one thing. It potentially can be hypothyroidism. There are some overlap symptoms that go with both hyper and hypothyroidism. Part of the problem is how we sort all these things out. Again, we look at those thyroid function tests.

What do you do if your thyroid is not quite abnormal enough to be on thyroid medication? One thing is iodine. It can help. Most Americans don’t get enough Iodine. There are some thyroid support supplements. We have them here is our store. You can also find them in health food stores. They usually have some B vitamins in them. They also have extra zinc, selenium and some herbal things as well. Typically there are some things you can do for supporting the thyroid.  Again, we can’t live without iodine.

Iodine supplements can be purchase in the CFWLS Nutrition Store or online.

 

 

 

 

Thyroid Support Pack also available in store or online!

Creamy Chicken Salsa Verde

Posted on November 12, 2019 by

Slow cookers work magic on this flavor packed dish!

Ingredients
3-4 (1 lb) chicken breast halves
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 jar (16 oz) salsa verde
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp cilantro
1 tsp cumin
1 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
1 package frozen riced cauliflower

Directions

  1. Place chicken breast in the bottom of slow cooker. Sprinkle cilantro & cumin over chicken breasts. Pour salsa over top and sprinkle with diced jalapeno. Add salt & pepper if desired.
  2. Set slow cooker to low and allow to cook for approximately 6 hours. Shred chicken breasts and stir in yogurt or sour cream. Cover for 10 minutes before serving.
  3. Serve over bed of riced cauliflower along with your favorite green veggie!

 

Makes 4 servings

Nutrition Facts:
Calories                                               208
Total Fat                                              3.5g
Total Carbohydrates                              9g
Dietary Fiber                                         2g
Protein                                                  34g

Print Recipe: creamy salsa verde chicken

Golden Mahi Mahi with Citrus Slaw

Posted on June 28, 2019 by

A delicious blen of sweet & savory that’s bound to become a favorite!

Ingredients
Fish:
1 lb mahi mahi filets
1 ½ tsp paprika
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp oregano
Salt & pepper to taste
1 Tbls olive oil

Slaw:
1 6 oz. package cole slaw mix with carrots
¼ red pepper, sliced thin
½ cup green onions, sliced
2 Tbls lime juice + zest
1 Tbls honey
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbls olive oil
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions

  1. Combine spices & sugar in shallow dish and mix thoroughly.
  2. Coat both sides of mahi filets.
  3. Heat olive oil in cast iron skillet to medium-high heat.
  4. Add fish and allow to cook until golden on one side, then turn gently.
  5. Fish is done when it flakes easily. Remove from heat and plate.
  6. Combine slaw mix, pepper & onion together.
  7. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to mix.
  8. Pour over slaw mix and toss. Serve next to fish.

Makes 4 servings

Nutrition Facts:
Calories                       285
Total Fat                      12g
Total Carbohydrates    16g
Dietary Fiber                3g
Protein                        36g

Print Recipe:  Golden Mahi Mahi with Citrus Slaw

Turkey Sliders with Spinach and Feta

Posted on June 12, 2019 by

Serve as a main entrée or an appetizer – they’re a crowd-pleaser!

Ingredients
2 lbs ground turkey or ground turkey sausage
2 eggs
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz package of fresh baby spinach, chopped
4 oz feta cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

Tzatziki sauce
6 oz plain Greek yogurt
½ c cucumber, grated
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp white wine or rice vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tso dill
Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients for sliders together in a large bowl.
  2. Form 24 small patties on parchment paper or foil.
  3. Fry patties over medium to medium-high heat in non-stick skillet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. (These take a little heat to brown)
  4. Transfer to cooling rack.
  5. Serve with Tzatziki sauce.

 

Makes 8 servings (3 sliders)

Nutrition Facts (plain & with sauce):       Tzatziki sauce
Calories              230                                      20
Total Fat               13g                                    2.5g
Total Carbohydrates          2.5g                         1g
Dietary Fiber                     1g                             0g
Protein                               27g                         2.2g

Print Recipe: Turkey Sliders with Spinach and Feta

Low Carb Diets and the Truth About Water Weight

Posted on April 08, 2019 by

It’s often thought that low carbohydrate diets are only good for short term weight loss because they cause you to lose water.  Isn’t that bad??  Yes it is good for short term weight loss is because you lose water. The reason you lose water is because insulin levels will go down on low carbohydrate diets. Insulin is a hormone that tends to make you retain sodium. When you retain sodium, you’re going to retain water. So, when insulin levels go down on a low carb diet, you no longer will retain sodium. Subsequently you’re going to get rid a lot of that extra water that goes along with the sodium. One of the nice things about that is you can actually have a little bit of extra sodium because you won’t retain it. So, yet, you will lose weight fairly quickly on a low carb diet because you lose some water weight. But you’re also losing fat.

Remember-it’s your life. Make it a healthy one!

fun with eggs

Fun With Eggs!

Posted on April 05, 2019 by

It’s no secret that eggs pack a great little protein punch and are extremely versatile in your diet. They average about 70-80 calories and contain 6-7 grams of protein. They are rich in choline, which helps promote normal cell activity and aids in the transportation of vitamins and minerals through your system. Eggs contain all 9 of the amino acids that are essential to your diet. What don’t they do?  They don’t add to your carb count!

This time of year, you’ll see eggs everywhere – have you colored a batch yet?  (You don’t need a child’s help but it could make it more fun). Pick up a dozen – or two – and make your own this weekend!  We made a batch last weekend with this no-mess trick that’s great for little fingers.

You’ll need a bag of rice and some basic liquid food coloring along with a number of small plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.  I picked up the rice & containers at the local dollar store.

Start with this great tip on cooking the perfect hard-boiled eggs.  Allow them to cool and dry completely.

Put about 3/4 – 1 cup of rice to each container and add 8-10 drops of coloring to each cup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shake the container to distribute the coloring to the rice.  Open the container and add a hard boiled egg, reseal and hand to a small child to shake!

 

 

 

 

Remove the colored eggs from the cups and lay on a paper towel to dry completely. You can make them multi-colored by tossing them into a second color.  If the rice seems to be drying out, add a few more drops of coloring and shake before adding a new egg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy these colorful treats & Happy Easter everyone!