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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.

Pumpkin Sausage Soup

Posted on November 01, 2019 by

Perfect for a chilly Fall evening!

Ingredients
1 lb. pork sausage
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
¼ cup half & half
Salt & pepper to taste

 

Directions

  1. Brown sausage with onion and garlic. Drain excess fat and set aside.
  2. In medium saucepan, whisk together chicken broth and pumpkin puree.
  3. Add sausage mixture and stir. Heat over medium high heat until hot and turn down heat to simmer. Add half & half and season to taste.
  4. Garnish with pepitas or toasted pumpkin seeds.

Makes 6 servings

Nutrition Facts:
Calories                       224
Total Fat                       12g
Total Carbohydrates       9g
Dietary Fiber                   3g
Protein                          20g

Print Recipe: Pumpkin Sausage Soup

Note: You may substitute turkey sausage for the pork.

Overeating…How Common Is It?

Posted on October 28, 2019 by

We’re all guilty of overeating. Overeating is eating more than what’s on your diet plan. Or, it can be just eating more than what you had planned. It’s also when you continue to finish your meal even though you feel full partway through it. Binge eating is different. It’s an extreme form of overeating. It’s eating an abnormally large amount. For someone who has a normal size stomach and hasn’t had weight loss surgery, that would be consuming around 5000 calories.  It means you are feeling out of control and you should see a mental health professional. If you have a small stomach from weight loss surgery then you can’t really ever binge eat, right?! The issue isn’t the amount. It’s the feeling out of control with your eating. If that is the case you need to seek professional help. It’s out of the scope of this discussion.

Sometimes we “justify” overeating. When you go out to eat, you want to get what you’ve paid for. Maybe you’re celebrating a birthday or anniversary.  When you go on vacation and let loose. Someone might be urging you to eat. Another justification is that the food is free.  When this happens we often get into the mentality of, “Since I’ve strayed, I might as well just keep eating.” “I fell off the wagon and ate the candy bar. I might as well eat the whole bag of candy bars.” We discourage that type of “all or nothing” thinking.

There are lots of different causes of overeating. Some of the common causes are: stress, irritation, frustration, habit, boredom, overwork, and worry. Often it has to do with some type of emotion. We’re going to go over 10 common “triggers” for overeating and also what you can do about them.

The first common “trigger” for overeating is boredom. It leads you to TV watching (TV commercials) which leads you to the refrigerator/pantry. What can you do? You can watch commercial free TV and prepare healthy snacks to keep on hand (cut up veggies are a good choice).

The second “trigger” is feeling deprived. This tends to come about by completely avoiding certain foods. We talk a lot here about avoiding simple carbohydrates and processed foods. We’re trying to avoid a whole category of foods. It’s easier said than done. It’s difficult for an extended period of time. I’m not a big fan of true “deprivation diets.” It’s the thinking that, “I can never have this again because I’m on a low-carb diet.” “I can never have ice cream.” You want to focus on a balanced diet and healthy eating and exercise habits.  We also need to have that portion control. “I’m just going to have this little bit…” Deprivation doesn’t work very well. There is an exception to that. The exception is if you have a true trigger food. That means if you have one piece of that trigger food I’m going to eat the whole bag. You need to avoid those foods.

The next trigger for overeating is feeling self-disgust or hating your body. What you’re really doing is focusing on what’s wrong with your body and some societal ideals. We often see the societal ideals on TV. Realize your body is only a portion of who you are. Your body is just a part of you. It’s not all of you. If this is a significant problem you should seek professional help.  I see this in many patients who have lost a lot of weight. They still see themselves as who they were, not who they are.  It usually fixes itself over time.

Carbohydrate sensitivity or glucose intolerance are the next common trigger. This means you’re prone to big blood sugar swings. This is a true physiologic trigger. Blood sugar swings lead to insulin swings resulting in hunger/cravings. It’s really hard to ignore this. If it comes from blood sugar swings, the answer is to avoid blood sugar swings. Avoid simple carbs and increase your protein intake. If you’re having carbs they should come from vegetables. Chromium is a mineral that helps with blood sugar swings. Usually you need to take it three times a day for the blood sugar swings.

Another trigger is Habits. It’s what “you’ve always done.” It’s like when you go to the movies and always have a tub of popcorn. Try to engage your mind and hands in some type of new activity. It could be as simple as reading a book or playing an instrument. You need to break the habits or break the routine.

Next is depression and/or lack of energy. You often turn to food as that “pick me up.” Yes sugar is an energy source. Your body has plenty of energy. You just need to access that energy that’s there, meaning the fatty tissue. In order to accomplish this, the carbohydrates need to be low. The food gives you a pick me up but it’s not a long-term answer. Try to identify those low energy times of your day and take a brisk walk. Don’t ignore depression. It can happen frequently in a weight loss plan. Don’t ignore it. It tends to be relatively fleeting. It’s very real for someone who’s losing weight fairly quickly that they get a chemical imbalance. Seek professional help.

Needing comfort is the next trigger for overeating. There are pressures at work and home. There’s lack of appreciation. Everyone tends to have their favorite comfort foods. Baked potato to pizza to ice cream. How do you beat it? Take some time out for yourself. Go get a massage for pedicure/manicure. Make sure you schedule “me” time.

Feeling overwhelmed can be a trigger. It happens sometimes a couples times a day for me. You have too much to do and not enough time to do it in. Realize you can only do so much. To get a project done we have to make the first step. The 2nd and 3rd steps will be easier. We all have a lot to do and can’t get it all done. It’s often prioritizing.

More common trigger: being emotional. Emotions tend to bring on eating; being upset, hurt, anxious, stressed, sadness, or happiness. Go outside for that quick walk. Remove yourself from the situation if it’s a negative emotion.  Deep breathe/stretch.  Exercise is a great stress reliever.

Lack of willpower is a common trigger for overeating.  Willpower is like a muscle. We can train ourselves to use and slowly improve on it. Exercise your will power. It will get stronger.  How many times have I heard, “Gee I don’t have any willpower?” Everybody has willpower, it’s just how much.  Every Wednesday I was fasting. I did some videos on fasting. It works. After a while you get used to it. Anything we practice we get better at. Fasting got easier for me as time went on. If you think about it, we make thousands of food decisions just about every day. When to eat? How much to eat? What to eat? Is it time to eat yet? Fasting frees up a lot of time and energy. There’s no thinking about food because it’s not happening. You just have to figure out what the best times are for you to do those things. I did videos on Losing Weight USA as well as our YouTube site. It can be very helpful with weight loss. Time yourself. I assure you no one has ever starved in a few hours.

Here are some tips to avoid overeating. These are things we should ask ourselves all the time.

Get in the habit of asking yourself 2 questions: why am I eating and am I still hungry? Part of it may be that it’s time for lunch. Maybe you haven’t eaten all day. Literally bite-to-bite you can ask yourself, “Am I still hungry?” You want to stop when you feel satisfied. Make sure you’re avoiding the “overeating” foods; simple carbs. If you’re going to overeat, have more protein.  The simple carbs are like a drug. If you have a little bit, you’re going to want more. You’ll crave more. One of my favorite eating rules is eat only when seated at a table. The other eating rule is always use utensils and a plate. That’s gets away from wandering through the pantry and grabbing something or eating something over the kitchen sink. It doesn’t necessarily mean it will change what you’re eating. It will change what you’re eating if you have to be seated at a table and use utensils and a plate, it gets rid of a lot of the eating on the fly. There are a lot of decisions that have to be made when you eat that way.  For example, if you grab a handful of M & M’s. You put them on a plate, get a spoon and you sit down at a table to eat them. By the time you actually do that, you may not even eat them. If you just walk by and grab a handful, you’re likely to eat more because you’re eating them “on the fly.” It’s an eating rule that is very simple but effective.

Avoid “family style” eating. This means bringing all the food to the table and passes it around until it’s all gone. You need to leave the food in the other room, make your plate, and go sit down and eat it. You can still get more but you have to physically get up, go into the other room, stand there and figure out what you’re going to put on your plate, and walk back to the table and eat. This is better than having a person pass you the food dishes at the table. Little things might be what the difference is between being successful and unsuccessful. Use small plates and small utensils. Remember propinquity. It’s about shaping our environment for success. Measure your portions. You will likely be at least 30% off when “eyeballing.” We all tend to drift with portion sizes. Eat slowly. Chew slowly and set your utensils down between bites. Give your body time to tell your mind that you’re done.  Wait 10-15 minutes before you get more. Ask yourself, “Why do I need more?”

For cravings use distractions. You need to use that willpower muscle. Change your activity. Distract yourself until the cravings go away. Chromium can help. You usually have to take it 3 times a day. Practice! Always leave a little food on your plate. If you’re out at a restaurant and you leave some food on our plate, typically people aren’t going to be bugging you about bringing you more food. Finally, a carb blocker can be helpful. Also an appetite suppressant, especially for cravings.  The FDA regulates appetite suppressants very carefully.  So there are a number of hoops to jump through, but they’re all very doable.

Remember, you do NOT have to be a member of the “Clean Plate Club.” It’s really not going to help any starving children anywhere!

Questions? “What’s a good snack food to avoid blood sugar swings?” Well anything that has carbohydrates will typically cause blood sugar swings. Simple carbs are much worse than complex carbs. It depends on what you tend to drift toward. The snack should be low-carb. That can be meat, cheese, or eggs. A lot of that is snack-worthy. Nuts are OK as long as you limit them. Be careful there. Cut up veggies are good. The flip side is that any food potentially can cause a blood sugar swing, even something with 0 sugars in it. I see this all the time with diabetics drinking why protein shakes. Typically 95% of my surgical patients are really sensitive to carbohydrates. Whey is efficiently absorbed. If you drink a whey protein shake that’s filled with amino acids and your body doesn’t need all those amino acids at that one time, your body will just convert it to sugar. Your body is good at doing that. Protein with any carbohydrate will smooth out the blood sugar somewhat too.

If you think of other things, just give us a yell 757-873-1880. Stop by and get your body comp done. Remember!  It’s your life. Make it a healthy one! Have a good evening everyone. Take care!

What About Fasting?

Posted on October 28, 2019 by

Is fasting something that could be helpful to you? Could it help with your health? Could it help with your weight? The short answer is yes!

Fasting is a pattern of eating. It’s been around forever. Food was scarce. Now….not so much. People fasted all the time thousands of years ago because food wasn’t available. We have plenty of food available now. Is this something that can actually be helpful? Is it a form of “fad” diet or are there any health benefits and could it help with weight loss? Fasting versus starvation are two different things. Starvation is never really a good weight loss plan. Fasting is something we choose to do. Starvation is something forced on us. We don’t know where our next meal is coming from. With fasting we know where our next meal is coming from. It’s readily available. We’re just choosing not to have that meal. Your body’s response to those two things is completely different. There can be some health benefits or hormonal changes that occur with fasting. Not with starvation. In the early 1900’s fasting was one of the only ways to treat diabetes. They realized they could at least keep blood sugars decent and controlled.  I’m talking about type I diabetics.  They also found they could treat some medical problems with avoiding food completely. It fell by the wayside when some of the new medications came along, as well as all the marketing with the food companies. Fasting doesn’t make those huge corporations any money. The last thing they’re going to tell you is to fast and skip a few meals. No one was talking about fasting after that because it didn’t make the big corporations any money at all because it’s free.

Fasting came back into vogue in the 1960’s. In 1965 a 27-year-old Scotsman, at 456 pounds, saw his doctor who suggested he shouldn’t eat for a few days. So he didn’t eat for 382 days!! He lost 276 pounds. He was monitored very carefully by the physician, took vitamins, drank broth, and took extra sodium/potassium. He only regained 16 pounds in 5 years! The point of this is it can actually be done very safely and can show good results. We all fast. Every single night we go to bed we are fasting. That’s where the word breakfast came from. You are breaking the fast. In the 60’s and 70’s most people fasted for about 12 hours a day because you ate breakfast at 700am, lunch at noon, and dinner around 600pm. So most people fasted for a good 12 hours a day. That was pretty normal. Nowadays that’s not so true. The real question to figure out for any individual is how long to do it? It can be done for an extended period of time, and very safely. It should be monitored if you’re going to do it for an extended period.

Isn’t this just calorie restriction? Your body’s response between 0 calories to calorie restriction is different. Everybody knows that when you cut way back on calories you’re going to lose decent weight in a short period of time. And then it quits working. Your body’s response to just decreasing your calories is to slow your metabolism down. Many studies have shown that if you cut your calories back enough you can actually slow your metabolism down to 40%. That’s a big number. If you normally consume 2000 calories and you cut back to 1200 calories, that means you slow your metabolism down to 1200 calories as well. You’re not losing weight anymore. Calorie restriction is a little different because you will slow your metabolism down. With short term fasting, you actually increase your metabolism. Inherently it doesn’t make sense. Think about it this way. Fasting is just a short term acute stress. An acute stress is much different than chronic stress. Chronic stress is when you slow your metabolism down because of severe calorie restriction. Acute stress hormones will go way up. It’s like a Fight or Flight kind of response. Those same hormones come in to play. Growth hormone goes way up. Growth hormone secretes during the fasting. Growth hormone is one of the best hormones to help you lose weight. It’s a fat burning hormone. Studies have shown that with a 24 hour fast, GH will increase 130% in females and 200% in males. If we can boost up our growth hormone it will help us significantly. Fasting decreases fasting insulin levels. Insulin inhibits fat burning. It also improves insulin sensitivity. Fasting increases catecholamines, acute stress hormone (epinephrine and norepinephrine). They are sometimes called adrenaline/noradrenaline.  They both help mobilize fat. They both activate the hormone-sensitive Lipase. Lipase is an enzyme that helps break down fat.

Is it just calorie restriction? The answer is NO! It increases your metabolism short term.  The real question is when does acute stress turn into chronic stress? It’s hard for me to tell you that in any individual. At some point after so many days acute stress starts turning into chronic. For any individual you need to figure out how long to do it and how often to do it. I can’t actually tell you what the answer is. I can tell you different ways to do it, but you have to figure it out.

Fasting and calorie restriction are equally effective in decreasing body weight and fat mass, but fasting is more effective in retention of lean body mass.  You can do it for an extended period of time (382 days). Fasting can be very helpful for weight loss and breaking through plateaus. We’re going to talk about how you do it and how to get started in a few minutes.

There are some other health benefits to fasting. A natural response to illness is often fasting. We’re not hungry when we feel bad. Hippocrates said, “To eat when you are sick is to feed your illness.”  Plutarch said, “Instead of using medicine, fast a day.” This has been around for a long period of time. Physicians realized that it actually could be helpful.

Fasting could help with cancer. Rats who had breast cancer lived longer when they fasted. Fasting seems to protect normal cells and “starves” cancer cells. It starves cancer cells.  Many cancers survive on sugar.  If we take the sugar away and your body is utilizing your fat to give yourself energy, the cancer cells can’t utilize the fat as an energy source. The cancer cells can die. There are some studies that are looking at brain cancers where very low carbohydrate can kill the cancer.

A study was done on mice and longevity. The mice fasted every other day. They kept the calories the same but they kept the food away from them every other day. The mice that fasted lived almost twice as long! The short (acute) stress may be better than chronic stress.

I want to go back to weight again. I’m going to give you an example. Let’s say you’re trying to be on a 1000 calorie a day diet. That’s a really low calorie diet. That’s 7000 calories a week. What if you did a 1200 calorie a day diet? That could be much easier to tolerate. It probably won’t slow your metabolism down because it’s not so calorie restrictive.  You could fast one day a week. The numbers come out about the same. It’s still 7000 calories a week. The 1200 calories a day is much more tolerable and you get the hormonal benefits of fasting.

Fasting increases Neuronal Autophagy. That means the breakdown products around the neurons which have to be removed. Subsequently fasting helps do this. It also increases Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). This helps regulate memory, learning, and cognitive function. Your brain uses ketones wonderfully. Fasting increases ketones. You don’t need sugar for your brain! Keystones actually work better. They’re made from B-hydroxybutyrate which is neuro-protective. There’s some good evidence that is can protect your brain long term and make it less likely to get Alzheimer’s.

What about exercise? We tell you all the time to eat your protein to improve exercise benefits. How could fasting possibly help? First of all, don’t even consider fasting and training if you’re not going to hydrate well, sleep well, and become fat adapted (low carb diet).  There is good evidence that well-trained athletes who live in ketosis actually perform better once they adapt to it. Most people don’t take the time to get adapted to ketosis.  Fasting likely improves your adaption to exercise by forcing you to train in a less optimal state, which can boost performance down the line. It likely won’t improve your performance right then, but you’re working in a stress condition.  It can actually could benefit exercise.

So how do you do this? Implementation is the only way that any of the theoretical benefits will help you! Extended fasting can be done for long periods. If weight loss is your main goal, I don’t recommend doing multiple extended fasts. You don’t want to transition from acute stress to chronic stress. Typically it’s going to be in that 2-3 day range. Again, you’d have to play with that. See how you feel and how you do. You don’t want to lose those acute stress benefits. Again, it can be done indefinitely.

Sleep Deeply~

A couple of rules apply. You want to make sure you get quality sleep. Sleep counts as fasting hours. Fasting doesn’t make up for a poor eating plan. You have to have a good eating plan. If you don’t eat well, no method of fasting is helpful besides possibly a few less calories. Fasting is always easier to do on a low carb diet (controls blood sugar swings and cravings). When you first start fasting, I assure you that you will have hunger and cravings. Hunger tends to go away. It doesn’t just keep increasing. It comes in waves. Most people notice after the 2nd day that hunger goes away. It’s much easier to get there with a low carb diet.

There are a lot of different ways to do fasting. There’s one that’s fairly popular. A lot of people talk about it. It’s referred to as Leangains. (16/8). In a 24 hour period you fast for 16 hours and there’s an 8 hour window when you eat. For 16 hours you push non caloric fluids. It can include tea and black coffee. If you’re going to fast, I encourage you to avoid anything that’s artificial (flavors, sweeteners and colors).  The best way to break the fast and get results is after a workout. People often do this every day. Some people narrow the window down. That means a 20 hour fast and a 4 hour window. There are a few people out there that do 1 meal a day.

Another way to fast is Eat-Stop-Eat. Once to twice a week you don’t eat for 24 hours (you pick the time). There is good evidence that the later you have your dinner, the bigger the insulin response. The same meal you eat at lunch is going to have a different insulin response than the one eaten at dinner.  Having your main meal earlier is a good thing.

The 5:2 Diet is not a true fast. It’s eating healthy for 5 days a week. For 2 non-consecutive  days you cut the calories down to 400-500 calories. That adds up to about 1 day of a fast. Some people find this a lot easier to do. You can drink protein shakes for your meal.

Feast, then fast is eating one big meal a day then fast the remainder of the 24 hours.

Alternate day (often used in research) can work really nicely. You eat normally one day, then don’t eat the next day. Some people will do that with a true 36 hour fast. You can do this 1-2X a week. It’s hard to start. Once you get used to it, it’s very doable.

You can do extended fasting.

There are a few questions that always come up. Won’t you lose lean body mass? It works best when you’re keto-adapted; burning fat as energy. You actually don’t lose lean body mass. There’s been a good study that looked at alternate day fasting for two months. The people lost no lean body mass. It was all fat. Can you exercise during a fast? It really depends on your response to the exercise. You might want to cut your exercise back a little bit. You want to stay active because “slugs” tend to dwell on food. Stay busy so you’re not thinking about food. How often should you fast? You can do it daily and have that window (leangains). You can do it 1-2 times a week. Or you can do it for an extended period of time. You have to figure it out. I’d love to be able to tell you what the right answer is but I can’t. You need to figure out how long to do it and how often. Should you take your vitamins on fasting days? It depends on how well you tolerate them on an empty stomach. You can skip those days if you’re not able to tolerate them. No one ever got vitamin deficient by missing one day of vitamins. Vitamin deficiency is a long term issue, not a 1 day issue. Who shouldn’t fast? The following people should not fast: if you’re under high stress, over-training, chronic poor sleep habits, eating the standard American diet, underweight, pregnant, breastfeeding , or if you’re a child (if you’re still growing).

What are the advantages of Intermittent Fasting? It’s available immediately to anyone! It’s simple, effective, no skill needed, and it will work. It’s free and will save you money! Fasting is convenient and saves time! We make thousands of food decisions every single day (What am I going to eat? Where am I going to eat? How much am I going to eat?). If you’re not eating, you’ve gotten rid of all the anxiety about what where and when? It’s flexible and you can add it to any diet. You can do it wherever and whenever you want. It gives you unlimited power. You decide how long and how often. You’re in control.

Do not use intermittent fasting as self-punishment for “bad” eating or to “make up” for a generally poor diet. For any individual you need to determine how long to fast and how often to fast. No one can figure that out for you! What do I do?? I’ve been fasting for years.  I typically fast one day a week. I have my last meal on Tuesday. I will fast until Thursday morning. I push the water like crazy. I typically exercise the way I always do. If I get a little worn out, I cut it short. I try to keep the rest of my routine fairly normal. I stay busy. It works with my schedule. When I first started fasting, it was incredibly difficult. It was hard, but it’s very doable. I originally was going to fast for 24 hours (Tuesday evening to Wednesday evening). Here’s my problem: typically you’re hungry in evening. So if you’re going to break your fast in the evening, it’s a lot harder to break it gently than to just have a normal amount of food. I found that if I could just get through those few hours in the evening and go to bed, I could wake up the next morning not hungry. Most of us don’t wake up hungry. I found it easier to do a 36 hour fast than 24 hour. I routinely do it once a week. If I have some kind of event like a birthday celebration, I don’t fast. I change the day. Nothing is written in stone. You get to make the rules. That works well for me. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you. But, it can be.

Here are a few tips if you’re thinking about it. You want to drink lots of water. Stay busy. I certainly wouldn’t sit around in the kitchen.  Ride out “hunger waves.” Hunger is not something that keeps escalating. It goes away. I would encourage you to not tell everybody that you’re doing this, especially those who aren’t supportive. They’re just going to look at you like you’re crazy. You want to avoid high stress time. If you’re in the middle of a move or you have a big project going at work it will be a lot harder.  Try practicing. Give yourself some time. Try it for a month. Just try it intermittently. Just like everything we practice, it gets easier.  Follow a low carb diet between fasting periods. This reduces hunger and makes fasting easier. Don’t binge after fasting. Break the fast gently. Fit fasting into your own life. Don’t change your life to fit your fasting schedule. Change your fasting schedule to fit your life!

Mark Twain said, “A little starvation can really do more for the average sick man than the best medicines and the best doctors.” There’s probably a lot of truth to that statement.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call or text us at The Center for Weight Loss Success 757-873-1880.  You should be stopping by to get your body composition done. Fasting can help you preserve that lean body mass!

Remember!  It’s your life. Make it a healthy one! Have a good evening everyone! Take care!

Weight Loss Surgery Options

Posted on October 15, 2019 by

Let’s talk about the problem of obesity and what you can do about it. I will preview the operative procedures and the risks of having surgery, as well as the results. I’ll give you my opinion. For most people I think the sleeve gastrectomy is the better option! I see all the nutritional problems that arise and abnormal anatomy problems with the bypass. And I see the device problems with the adjustable bands. There’s relatively poor weight loss with the bands. The sleeve gastrectomy is a fairly low risk procedure.  It’s a quick recovery and we see really good weight loss with it. And, you keep your anatomy normal. I’ve become convinced over the years that keeping the anatomy normal is probably a good thing.

Weight loss is hard. Surgery is an extension of an overall medical weight loss plan. Weight doesn’t magically fall off just because you have surgery. It’s still diet, exercise, and behavior modification. Surgery is a “tool” to assist you with weight loss. That’s all it is. A tool can either be used correctly, or it can be used incorrectly. If used correctly it can be very powerful. If used incorrectly it doesn’t work well and you can get into some real problems. Long term weight control is still very hard. Some people think they’ve had the surgery and lost the weight so they don’t have to worry about it anymore. YES YOU DO! You can regain your weight. It doesn’t matter what operation we’re talking about. You need to do the right thing. You have to know what the right things to do are. Then, how do you implement those things? Sometimes the concepts are really straight forward but you have to know what they are. Implementing the concepts is the hard thing. We have the expertise and support here. We can help you with how you do this in your life. Sometimes life tends to get in the way. Surgery combined with a Medical Weight Loss program gives you the best chance for long term success. It’s not that we’re doing better or different operations but we see better weight loss than other places. We see better weight loss because it’s the education and support side of this whole thing that really gets people optimizing weight loss and then keeping that weight off long term. That’s absolutely key.

Lots of different medical problems go along with weight. Every single one I’ve listed on the slide is directly related to weight. When weight goes up, they get worse. As weight comes down, they get better. Some of them completely go away with weight loss. If they don’t go away, at least they get under control. Some of them are very significant: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and more. These things can potentially be life threatening. Weight loss treats them all. If I could boil it down to the biggest problem it’s the risk of dying. It goes way up. For someone who is 75-100 pounds overweight, on average, you’re going to die about 10-15 years before someone who’s not overweight. That’s the issue. We want you to live a long, healthy life and die of old age. Last thing you want is that premature death. By treating the weight, we can treat all those other problems.

To learn more about your weight loss surgery options, check out our informative webinar: Weight Loss Surgery Webinar

Get your free digital copy of my best-selling book too!  (Details here)

A Bit About Micronutrients

Posted on August 19, 2019 by

Let’s do a Micronutrient Overview. They are different from macronutrients, which are what give us calories or energy. Those are fat, protein, and carbohydrate. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals. We’ll go over what the key vitamins and minerals are and what are the components of a good multivitamin. We’ll talk about pharmacy grade vs over the counter (OTC). And, finally, what do I recommend?

Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals your body requires in small amounts to keep you functioning properly. We can’t live without these things. Some of them we can’t store well so we need those daily. Some of them we can store for a certain period of time. A vitamin deficiency is not something that happens in a day. It occurs over a long period of time. They are essential, non-caloric nutrients that assist our body in biochemical equations. They make the biochemical equations run more efficiently. Minerals are elements also needed in your body. Most of them can be obtained from food.  Vitamins are typically divided into two groups: water soluble (B-complex and C) and fat soluble (A, D, E, and K).

We’ll start with the Fat Soluble Vitamins. Vitamin A and most of these vitamins are better taken in combinations. Any one vitamin by itself won’t do you a whole lot. For example, Vit D is best taken in combination with Vit A and Vit K. All the vitamins work in synergy with each other. Vit A is very important in vision. It’s also very important in maintaining the eyes and skin, but also bone and tooth growth as well as immunity. There typically isn’t one thing that each vitamin does. They’re involved in lots of different things.

Vitamin D has gotten a lot of publicity in the media over the past few years. It’s very important in bone health. It aids in bone mineralization by increasing calcium absorption. Many years ago the thought was we had to take massive doses of calcium when what we really needed was Vit D. Very likely most of us get in plenty of calcium. The problem is in the absorption because we’re not getting enough Vit D.  Half the American population runs low on Vitamin D. Close to 90% of my weight loss patients run low on Vit. D. It’s close to 95% of the surgical patients. The higher someone’s weight, the more likely they are going to be vitamin D deficient.  Vitamin D is very important in weight maintenance or weight preservation. When you have low Vitamin D there is a very close association that people with low levels have a much harder time losing weight and a much easier time gaining weight. It actually acts more like a hormone than a vitamin because it does so many different things. It helps prevent certain cancers, heart disease, and neuropsychological problems. If someone asks me what vitamins to take I always start out by saying a good multivitamin. I also tell just about everybody they need extra Vitamin D. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had surgery or not. In theory you can overdose on Vitamin D. You’d have to take massive doses. If you take it with Vitamin A and Vitamin K, you can’t actually overdose on it because they work in synergy. They help each other out.

Vitamin E is a very important antioxidant. It protects cell membranes and helps reduce tissue inflammation. There’s getting to be some evidence that massive doses of Vit E aren’t very helpful either. It could potentially cause other problems.

Vitamin K is very important in blood clotting and prevents abnormal bone formation. You don’t just want to form bone, but you want to form good, healthy and strong bone.

Water Soluble Vitamins are Vitamin C and B vitamins. Vitamin C is also an extremely important antioxidant. It helps maintain connective tissue, supports the immune system, and boosts iron absorption. Connective tissue is what holds us together. It holds the muscle to the bones and the bones to the bones. Vitamin C deficiency is scurvy back hundreds of years ago. People were falling apart. Old scars were actually falling apart. It caused loose and lax joints. If you’re iron deficient, taking iron with Vit C will actually help absorb it.

There are 8 different B Vitamins: thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, folate, B6, B12, biotin and pantothenic acid. They aid in energy metabolism by helping the body metabolize carbs, protein and fats. We often think of the B vitamins as energy vitamins. B vitamins themselves don’t give you energy. What they do is make the energy producing equations run much more efficiently. Symptoms of low B Vitamins: exhaustion, irritability, anemia, depression, forgetfulness, loss of appetite, skin problems, and impaired immunity. Immunity pops up all the time with most of the vitamins.

Let’s talk about minerals. They are inorganic, non-caloric substances that your body requires in small amounts to ensure proper functioning. We need them to help run those biochemical reactions and for structure. They perform a number of essential duties including maintaining water balance, assisting muscular contraction, and transmitting nerve impulses. Minerals are extremely important and each of them does different things.

Calcium is the most common mineral in our body because it’s bone formation. It’s essential for bone formation, water balance regulation, muscle contraction and relaxation, BP maintenance, and secretion of essential enzymes and hormones. If you don’t have calcium you’d go into tetanus where all your muscles contract. One of the blood pressure medications works as a calcium channel blocker. It helps to lower blood pressure. But in order to maintain our blood pressure we need calcium. It also helps in the secretions of essential enzymes and hormones.

Phosphorus goes along with Calcium. It’s important in bone mineralization and energy metabolism. It’s also the “money” of our overall energy metabolism because our overall energy is measured in ATP (adenosine triphosphate-which is phosphorus).  We can’t have energy without phosphorus.

Magnesium is very important in bone function but also muscle function. I recommend just about everybody needs extra magnesium. It functions is about 3 or 400 different equations throughout your body. One of the more important ones is muscle function. If you’re prone to muscle cramps or muscle soreness magnesium is one of the best things you can take. It also helps to keep bowels regular. It’s a working ingredient in milk of magnesia. If you take magnesium palates it will help bowels stay more regular. It can help with muscle function in the intestinal tract (which is a muscle).

People are often very careful about their sodium content. We can’t live without sodium. We would die very quickly without salt. It helps maintain a pH balance. It’s also essential in muscle and nerve function. It regulates our body water as well as blood pressure.

We also can’t live without potassium. It maintains fluid & electrolyte balance, assists in nerve function, and muscle contraction. It people have low potassium their muscle contraction will be very poor. They often think about taking bananas if they have cramps. Typically that’s a magnesium problem, not potassium.

Iodine is essential for thyroid function. Most people don’t get enough iodine. It used to be added in all kinds of food. It’s been taken out of almost all food and replaced with bromine. Bromine has been taken off the market in Europe because it’s potentially a toxin. Potentially these toxins have been added to our food. Now most Americans don’t get enough iodine anymore. There’s a little bit in iodized salt but not enough to really matter.

Iron helps carry oxygen in blood and required for energy metabolism. We can’t live without iron. Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies. It’s more common in young women, especially if they’re having heavier cycles. Symptoms of iron deficiency include fatigue, weakness, and impaired immunity. Again, immunity pops in there. If you’re low on iron, it’s hard to maintain immune function.

We talk about immune function with zinc. You often see it advertised on TV. If you think you’re coming down with a cold or exposed to a cold than you take high dose zinc.  They sell a bunch of products, but what they’re based on is high dose zinc. Zinc helps activate many enzymes. Most people could use extra zinc anyway. It also can help improve testosterone function. Magnesium also helps with testosterone function.

Chromium is also a mineral we talk about all the time when talk about cravings. It can regulate blood sugar swings. It works closely with insulin to regulate and release energy from glucose. Low levels impair insulin activity. Just having low levels of chromium means insulin won’t do what it normally needs to do as effectively.

What are the components of a good multivitamin? There are a lot of brands out there.  Let the buyer beware because the FDA does not regulate multivitamins. A good multivitamin should provide all the items and doses close or exceeding the RDA (recommended daily allowance). You just have to remember the RDA is the absolute minimum amount which will help prevent a deficiency syndrome.  It has nothing to do with an optimal dose. Some people are afraid there will be a problem if they take more than the RDA. Absolutely not!!  For most nutrients the actual optimal dose is unknown. The other end of the spectrum is that there’s probably not a whole lot of benefit of taking 5000% of what the RDA is. It’s probably somewhat superfluous.

The pharmaceutical grade vs OTC. Pharmaceutical grade vitamins basically mean they’re made under the conditions set forth by the American Board of Pharmacy. This means that, hopefully, you can really trust its content as well as ensure the best absorption and utilization. It’s very important that vitamins need to be absorbed well.  Your body has to utilize it. I encourage people to use pharmaceutical grade when buying vitamins. If you’re not going to use pharmaceutical grade vitamins I would recommend choosing a vitamin from a corporation that made its name making vitamins. This is what the company does. An example would be One a Day or Centrum. I don’t recommend using generic vitamins because you have no idea what’s really in them. Labels may look exactly the same between a pharmaceutical grade and an OTC. But, that doesn’t mean that’s what’s inside there.  There may be a lot of things in there that you don’t want. OTC vitamins and minerals are not held to the same high standards. There have been a number of studies that show content may not match what is listed on the bottle. Let the buyer beware.

We have pharmaceutical grade vitamins in our store. It does guarantee that what you’re getting is what you pay for. Just about everybody ought to take a multivitamin. The main reason is the typical American diet just doesn’t get what it really needs to get. Even if we’re trying to eat as healthy as possible (green and clean), part of the problem is a lot of the soil has been contaminated. And we also can’t get all the vitamins and minerals from the soil anymore. I encourage just about everyone to take Vit D. Other important vitamins and minerals are the essential fatty acids (EFA’s), B-Complex, magnesium/potassium, calcium (if you’re getting Vit D you’re probably getting enough Calcium), chromium, chelated iron (the iron molecules on this chelated iron are connected to a couple amino acids. They are more efficiently absorbed. Therefore you can take a smaller dose, which can reduce some of the side effects), and potentially a carb blocker (can decrease the amount of carbohydrate that’s absorbed and keeping the carbohydrate low by converting the carbohydrate that would have been absorbed into a non-absorbable carbohydrate. It’s turned into a fiber which can subsequently help with constipation).

If you have questions don’t hesitate to pick up the phone, text us (757-873-1880) or send us an email: success@cfwls.com

Chicken Diablo

Posted on August 13, 2019 by

You can make it as spicy as you want – I like it hot!

Ingredients
2 chicken breast halves, cut into 1-2” chunks
1 red or yellow bell pepper, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup Mexican cheese blend, shredded
1 package frozen riced cauliflower
10 oz can of Rotel (any style you like) or 1 cup salsa
1 pkg of creamy chicken protein soup mix
½ cup hot water

Directions

  1. Thaw cauliflower and spread in the bottom of casserole dish.
  2. Top with chunks of chicken, pepper and black beans.
  3. Stir soup mix with hot water until mixed and add tomatoes/salsa (not drained).
  4. Pour over entire casserole.
  5. Sprinkle with cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
  6. Serve with sour cream if desired.

Makes 6 servings

Nutrition Facts:
Calories                                 135
Total Fat                                  3g
Total Carbohydrates             7.5g
Dietary Fiber                        1.5g
Protein                                  18g

Note: Try using green beans in place of riced cauliflower for a bit of variation!

Print Recipe: Chicken Diablo

Lime and Cilantro Shrimp Skillet

Posted on July 12, 2019 by

Tangy & tasty with a hint of smoke!

Ingredients|
1 Tbls olive oil
1 Tbls butter
2 limes, sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp red pepper flakes (if desired)
½ cup white wine
2 lb large shrimp (peeled & deveined with tails)
1 Tbls Fresh ground pepper
½ Tbls Sea salt
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Package of riced cauliflower – cooked

Directions

  1. Heat oil over medium to high heat and allow to coat the bottom of the cast iron skillet.
  2. Add butter and heat until it bubbles.
  3. Add lime slices and garlic. Cook for 30-45 seconds.
  4. Add paprika, salt, peppers & wine and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes to reduce by half.
  5. Add the shrimp and stir often allowing it to cook until pink. Remove from skillet and plate.
  6. Serve with riced cauliflower and sprinkle with more cilantro if desired.

Makes 4 servings

Nutrition Facts: (not including cauliflower)
Calories                       255
Total Fat                            8g
Total Carbohydrates    2.5g
Dietary Fiber                0g
Protein                                        34g

Print Recipe: Lime and Cilantro Shrimp Skillet

Strawberry No-Bake Cheesecake – Low Carb Too!

Posted on July 03, 2019 by

Cool & creamy dessert for those special occasions – like tonight!

Ingredients:

nonstick cooking spray
¾ cup almond meal or almond flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 cups strawberries, sliced
2 envelopes protein strawberry-banana gelatin
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 cups cold water, divided
32 oz cream cheese, softened
1 ¼ cups sugar substitute, divided
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ cup almond milk (soy or coconut work well too)
⅔ cup hot water
1 cup diet sprite or any sparkling water

Directions:

  1. Spray the sides of an 8” or 9” springform pan and line bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Combine almond meal, ¼ cup of sugar substitute and melted butter until crumbly.
  3. Transfer the crumb mixture to the springform pan. Use a spatula or back of spoon to press down to form a base. Chill for 10 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup cold water, 1 envelope of protein gelatin and 2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin. Let bloom for 3 minutes, until the water is mostly absorbed. Microwave for 20–30 seconds, or until the gelatin is melted.
  5. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar substitute and lemon juice together with an electric hand mixer until combined.
  6. Add the milk and melted gelatin and beat for another 1-2 minutes, until fluffy & well combined.
  7. Spread cheesecake mixture over the chilled crust. Chill for 10 minutes.
  8. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup cold water with the remaining 2 envelopes (1 plain & 1 flavored) of gelatin. Let the gelatin bloom for 3 minutes. Microwave 20–30 seconds, until the gelatin is melted.
  9. Add 1 cup sparkling water or diet soda slowly and stir to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Skim off foam and set aside.
  10. Arrange the sliced strawberries over the cheesecake layer in a circular pattern with the flat sides facing out. Begin with the larger slices near the outside and continue toward center until filled.
  11. Spoon half of the gelatin over the strawberries. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Pour the remaining gelatin over the berries. Refrigerate for several hours.
  12. Release the springform and remove the parchment – then slice & serve.

Serves 16

Nutritional Info:
Calories:               195
Fat:                          14g
Carbohydrates:     5g
Fiber:                        1g
Protein:                    8g

Print Recipe: Strawberry No-Bake Cheesecake

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