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Tag Archives: Center for Weight Loss Success

Low Carb Zuppa Toscana

Posted on August 18, 2020 by

Every bit of the flavor & textures without the carbs!

Ingredients
1 lb Italian turkey sausage (I used spicy)
1 medium onion, diced
1 rib celery, sliced
1 small green pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz package frozen cauliflower florets (or 1 lb head fresh)
6 cups chicken broth
6 cups kale, torn into bite-sized bits
½ cup half & half
Salt & pepper

Directions
1. Brown ground meat and add onions, celery, garlic & peppers. Saute until veggies are softened.
2. Add cauliflower & chicken broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.
3. Add kale and cook until tender.
4. Stir in half & half.
5. Serve hot!

Makes 4-6 servings

Nutrition Facts: (for 6 servings)
Calories 205
Total Fat 5.5g
Total Carbohydrates 16g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Protein 24g

Print Recipe: Low Carb Zuppa Toscana

Grilled Pesto Shrimp Kabobs

Posted on August 14, 2020 by

Pair shrimp kabobs with a fresh garden salad and a slice of melon!

Ingredients
1 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 clove garlic
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
3 Tbls olive oil
Salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Toss basil leaves, garlic, parmesan, olive oil and seasonings together in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until blended smooth.
  2. Combine raw shrimp with pesto and allow to marinate for an hour. (I don’t always have an hour and it still tastes great)
  3. Soak 4 wooden skewers in water for 20-30 minutes. Thread shrimp onto skewers and place on metal outdoor grill pan.
  4. Cook over medium-hot grill until shrimp turn pink. Remove from heat immediately to avoid over-cooking. 6-8 minutes should be enough.
  5. Garnish with fresh basil & extra shredded parmesan if desired.

Makes 4 servings

Nutrition Facts:
Calories         220
Total Fat          13g
Total Carbohydrates  1g
Dietary Fiber       0g
Protein           25g

Print Recipe: Grilled Pesto Shrimp Kabobs

Parmesan Meatloaf Minis

Posted on August 07, 2020 by

All of the flavors of Chicken Parmesan without the carbs!

Ingredients
1 lb ground turkey (or chicken)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ small onion, minced
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
2 Tbls fresh basil, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten
1 cup marinara sauce
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese for topping

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with foil.
  2. Mix together ground turkey, Parmesan, garlic, onions, Italian seasoning, basil, salt & pepper and egg.
  3. Divide into 4 equal parts and shape into mini loaves.
  4. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until cooked through.
  5. Remove from oven and spoon 2-3 Tbls of marinara sauce over each loaf and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  6. Return pan to the oven and place under the broiler until cheese is browned & bubbly.

Makes 4 servings

Nutrition Facts:
Calories         305
Total Fat          16g
Total Carbohydrates  11g
Dietary Fiber       2g
Protein           28g

Print Recipe: Parmesan Meatloaf Minis

Tomato & Spinach Frittatas

Posted on July 27, 2020 by

For breakfast, brunch or appetizers!

Ingredients
2 cups baby spinach
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
10 eggs
¼ cup milk
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Divide spinach, tomatoes & cheese in the muffin cups.
  3. Mix eggs, garlic, milk and salt & pepper in large bowl and whisk together.
  4. Pour mixture evenly into each cup.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes.

Makes 12 servings

Nutrition Facts:
Calories         82
Total Fat          5.4g
Total Carbohydrates  2.3g
Dietary Fiber       .6g
Protein           6.4g

Print Recipe: Tomato and Spinach Fritattas

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.

Mentally Preparing for Weight Loss Surgery

Posted on March 02, 2020 by

Getting your mind in the right place before undertaking any weight loss plan is a good idea but it is especially important when considering a surgical weight loss procedure.  Awhile ago, I interviewed Dr. Dawn Reese for one of my podcasts.  We’ve transcribed the recording to post for you today.

Dr. Clark:  “Dr. Reese, tell us a little bit about your background and how you got involved with me.”

Dr. Reese:  “Thanks for having me back. I love being here. I love talking with you. We’ve been together now about 10 years. I met you in the hospital and we talked about doing this. I have a PhD in clinical psychology. My specialty is behavioral health (health psychology). I try to help people live healthier lives and do more with their lives then what they want. When you and I first met we talked about what you wanted to do with these surgeries and medical weight loss program. That was right up my alley. We can help people live healthier and take better care of themselves. This is what we need to talk about today when getting ready for surgery or a medical program.”

Dr. Clark: “We have to change our mindset. What do we need to work most on when we start contemplating a weight loss plan or having surgery?”

Dr. Reese: “People have to take care of themselves first. That’s the biggest thing with all of this. That’s the umbrella that we’re going to put everything else under. You have to start taking care of yourself first and start thinking about yourself first. One of your goals for weight loss is to change your mindset. How are you going to view yourself differently? How are you going to view yourself as a priority?”

Dr. Clark: “That priority and that mindset are very important. Eighty five percent of my surgical clients are women. They’re often worried about taking care of everyone else first.  They put themselves on the backburner. We need to start planning for shifting that mindset before surgery. Make yourself a priority.”

Dr. Reese: “We start people having a mind shift (fake it til you make it).  For example, you start using the smaller plate. Join the gym. I had a patient come in to my office and tell me he was going to join the gym after surgery. I told him we were going to start tomorrow. You start doing these things now and behaving as if you’ve started your medical or surgical weight loss. Think about how you’re going to plan and cook differently. Get mentally and behaviorally prepared.”

Dr. Clark: “A huge part of this is planning. You alluded to this when talking about the person going to the gym. You need to start implementing that plan even if you’re not able to do much at the gym. Get comfortable with walking in the gym and walking by the class you would like to do. Watch it for a couple minutes. Setting that time aside makes it much more likely that it’s going to happen afterwards. We want to develop skillsets before and after surgery. It could be eating skills or activity skills.”

Dr. Reese:  “Planning is going to be key. How are you going to live your life differently? What are you going to change every day in your life so that you make yourself a priority? Make a list of what your goals are for that day. Preparing people around you is important. If you’re the cook of the family, how is that going to change? Mentally prepare on how this is going to impact other people and how that will make you feel. We have a joke in psychology:  it doesn’t take 20 days to create a habit. It takes a little longer than that. Getting mentally prepared and behaviorally implementing it is so very important. For anything, planning is the key.”

Dr. Clark: “If my norm is getting together with my best friend on Friday nights and going to a movie, that might also include getting a big bucket of popcorn or other snacks. That’s a great part of life. We want to keep doing it, but we have to change some of the aspects. It isn’t that simple to make that change.”

Dr. Reese: “What you’re talking about is really important in terms of mentally rehearsing.  You can imagine yourself at the movies but not having that popcorn.  How is that going to look? How is that going to feel? When we are preparing athletes for an event, we have them imagine themselves in their role.  If you’re an offensive lineman in football we have you imagine doing what you’ll be doing on the field before you even go on the field. That’s a great thing we can do here. How is it going to be Friday night at the movies? What is that going to look like? Mentally rehearsing is wonderful.”

Dr. Clark: “You have to mentally walk yourself through daily situations. Most of us have a routine we go through. I have a routine. I get up in the morning and shower and shave. I can literally write it out. What I find is that if my routine gets thrown off, my whole day starts to fall apart. I might have just told a patient who just had surgery to change their routine. You then have to think about how that will change everything else in your day. A lot of times people don’t think about a disruption or change in schedule. Then, when their routine changes (which causes stress) they revert back to old comfort levels. What does a person do?”

Dr. Reese: “You’re absolutely right. It’s stressful when we don’t have a normal routine. When people get stressed, we’re going to fall back into old patterns. We go back to things that are comfortable to us. We have to start planning. We need to think about what it is that we’re going to do even if we get stressed. How can I not fall back into that pattern and admit to ourselves that it happens? It’s not bad. It’s not good. It’s not anything. It’s just what happens. It’s not a failure. If you plan for it, you’re less likely to fall back into old patterns. You’re more likely to be able to get a new routine going.”

Dr. Clark: “You want to practice these things ahead of time so you’re ready for surgery. It sounds good and you have your plan in place. However, sometimes things don’t work out quite like we want them to. What you do is discuss how to handle things at this point. A major part of what you do is help people figure some of this out. What do we do? How do we change? It really still goes back to the mindset. This is a lot of what you do, right?”

Dr. Reese: “Absolutely! We want you to be successful. If you’re going to start a behavior change, especially weight loss, we don’t want you to be a failure.”

Dr. Clark: “The big message here is changing that mindset. We want to plan for it and practice it ahead of time. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about having surgery or starting on your weight loss plan. Things have to change. Change will never occur if you don’t actually change. You can’t wait for change to happen to you. You’ve got to be an active part of all this. Typically the change that happens to us is usually not a good change. We would like to be an active participant. We really want you to think about that message.”

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!

Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

Posted on December 02, 2019 by

You don’t want to be standing on the scale after the holidays and wondering what happened.  We want to avoid that problem. Holiday weight gain: everyone thinks about and everyone fears it. Is it inevitable?  What can you do to avoid it? How do YOU make the best choices?

Here are a few statistics. It’s often stated that the average person gains 3-5 pounds during the holidays. But, this is not true.  The average American does gain about 1.1 lbs. during an entire year. So, it doesn’t take that many years to start getting into some problems. About 10% of the population gains greater than 5 pounds in a year. This is typically the population that I see.  One of the problems is that it’s not just the entire year. About 80% of the weight occurs during the 6 weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. A significant proportion of people (my patient population) will gain a significant amount of weight during a year. And, most of this occurs over the holidays.

There are a lot of factors that lead to overeating during the holidays. There are a lot of social gatherings. We get together for social functions over the holidays with friends and family and it usually revolves around food. The holidays tend to bring about more stress (family, gift buying, decorating).  The stress can lead to exhaustion and we make poor food choices. There’s a lot more emotional eating during the holidays. We can be sad, depressed, or stressed. Cold weather causes us to desire comfort food. One of the issues is the food around the holidays tastes good! It’s very palatable and it’s everywhere! Cookies everywhere!  Plenty of temptation. Often there are treats that only come out during the holidays.

How do you avoid that holiday weight gain? I like to look at what I call the 3 basic pillars of weight management. The three pillars are: eating (home and at parties), exercise, and behavior modification. We’re going to look at these three things and how we can use them to help us.

Eating is the biggest one.  Don’t skip breakfast. A couple of good studies have shown when people don’t eat breakfast they tend to eat more by the end of the day then what they normally would. The exception is if your breakfast is going to be a high carbohydrate meal. You’re better off skipping breakfast. If you start off with a carbohydrate breakfast, you’re going to end up eating more during the day. If you have a good protein start to your day you’ll actually eat less during the day. Recruit family and friends to help you. Let them know you’re trying to lose weight and you need their support. Typically they will be supportive if they know about it. Hopefully they want try and sabotage you. You might need to avoid them for a period of time. At home you might need to have an “off limits” area for yourself. If you have treats in the house for other family members that could tempt you, place them in an “off limits” area. Make it a rule that you won’t go into that off limits area. If you don’t make that rule, it makes it harder to avoid temptation. Don’t purchase or make the things that tempt you the most. If you need to make holiday cookies for your child to take to school, make ones you don’t typically like. Use the “catch and release” program. If someone brings you cookies, try one, and they immediately give it away. Get it out of the house.

A different scenario is eating at parties/functions. They’re occurring all the time during that 6 week period over the holidays. Here are some things to do to help protect you. Don’t go hungry. The last thing you want to do is show up at a holiday party starving because then you’re going to eat everything. Eat something healthy before you go. Bring a healthy choice with you so you know you’re going to have something you can eat. Increase the water. Water loading makes us feel full. It doesn’t last very long but it can prevent over eating. Use small plates and small utensils. If you use smaller plates and smaller utensils you will eat less. This has been shown in multiple studies for multiple years.  Watch the alcohol for numerous reasons. It has a lot of calories in it. Also watch the high calorie drinks like egg nog. We tend to get that “drinking amnesia” where we forget that we had drinks and don’t consider all the calories involved. Alcohol releases inhibitions and we tend to eat more. Do the “walkabout” first. Look around at all the food and figure out what you’re going to have.  Choose the good protein sources and colorful veggies. Choose your poison carefully. You can choose some things you don’t get to eat often. Complete deprivation doesn’t work well. I’m not a big fan of deprivation diets. If you tell yourself you can never eat something, you’re going to fall off the wagon at some point and go crazy. Have the mindset that you can be happy with just a small portion of the food. Don’t stay in the room that has the food in it. Get your food and leave the room. Eat in another room. Keep your hands full (not food related). You’re less likely to eat if your hands are full. Hold your drink in your dominant hand. Most people don’t eat very well with their non-dominant hand. These little tricks can be very helpful in avoiding the dietary disasters of the holidays.

Exercise to avoid weight gain. In encourage people to schedule their workouts. This is the time to go more intense. You’ll boost your metabolism somewhat. You might get a little more leeway with your eating. Make sure you’re doing the weight training. After you’re done eating go for a brisk walk. Get out of the chair and move as opposed to just moving to the couch to watch TV. You could buy yourself an early Christmas present and purchase some personal training sessions. It will keep you accountable. It can help you into the New Year getting your exercise on track.

There are behavior aspects to avoid weight gain over the holidays. Plan! It’s especially important if you’re going to travel and visit family. Once we get out of our usual environment and have less control, it’s important to plan ahead.  A lot of these social things revolve around eating. It’s good to revise your recipes. Nowadays this is relatively easy to find online. You can find many recipes with lower carbohydrates. Remember why you are celebrating the holiday and what the main focus is. Focus on the socializing with friends and family. Keep healthy snacks close at hand. If you know you’re going to struggle, have the better choices readily available. Keep unhealthy things out of sight. Handling stress effectively is easier said than done.  You can take a brisk walk, practice deep breathing, warm bath, or whatever positive thing you can do to keep that stress under control. Finally, get your rest. If you get quality rest, you’re going to handle these situations better. If you do overindulge, get back on track immediately. Don’t let a few bad choices turn into days or weeks. You don’t want to lose the momentum. You have to be very careful. 98% of our patients are sensitive to carbohydrates. If they drift, they struggle. It doesn’t take a whole lot of drift to have a big struggle. It’s like a drug. If you have a little bit, you’re going to want more.

Holiday weight gain is NOT inevitable! You need to plan, socialize with family and friends, watch the alcohol, and bump up your exercise.  When you indulge, get right back on track. Yes, it is that important.

If you need help, let us know! Check out our non-surgical options or Back on Track After Weight Loss Surgery.