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Tag Archives: eating out

Back in the Groove

Posted on December 02, 2013 by

Thanksgiving weekend is behind us. No matter how you strayed, don’t wait to return to your healthy eating plan — every day you put it off makes it harder to get back on track. Here are their tips for making the transition a successful one.

Reclaim your spot!

Reclaim your spot!

Don’t avoid the scale
Go straight back to weighing in — get right back in the groove.

Commit, plan and journal
Make the promise to yourself before you even take the first steps. Then make grocery lists, prepare healthy snacks and meals, and write down every bite.

Get up and move

Exercise is not only a way to speed up the loss of pounds put back on, it will also improve your mental outlook.

I find that after a day (or, let’s be honest, a week or more!) of being out of control, it’s important to try to exercise first thing in the morning.   If I just make myself get out and take a 20 minute walk around the neighborhood, I am more motivated almost instantly. Early morning exercise wakes up my body and makes me feel like being healthier all day.

Think about the big picture
Weight gain over a vacation will not undo every bit of success you’ve had, so look at the big picture and move forward.

Sometimes the focus shifts from losing the weight to learning how to maintain. That means accepting the various ups and downs along the way. There will always be vacations and parties and holidays. We all need to learn how to enjoy these (without the guilt) and to get right back on plan to prevent the inevitable downward spiral that happens when we give up on ourselves and our goals.

Prepare for next time
The best advice I have for you is to not stray in the first place.

Christmas and New Years will bring on more temptations but by planning for these obstacles, you can & will succeed in making your weight loss goals!

Pre-Holiday Planning

Posted on November 18, 2013 by

D-4o you have a plan for the holidays?  Close your eyes and remember Thanksgiving evening 2012. Was your waistband a bit tight? Was that your goal for the day? I didn’t think so.

You have set goals for yourself. Specific, measurable, attainable, and relevant ones. You are working hard to achieve these goals. Imagine how great you will feel when you reach them!

It’s time for some holiday planning!  Enjoy the upcoming holidays without putting your objectives on hold. Focus on family, friends & fun rather than food. Consider the little things that you can do to make this holiday season a healthier one for you and your loved ones.  Invite them to take a walk with you after dinner or visit a local ice rink and skate off a few bites. Make modifications to your favorite side dishes to trim carbs & calories. Meet up with friends at a park or museum instead of a restaurant. Take a water bottle with you everywhere and keep your energy level up where it needs to be this time of year. None of these things take a lot of time or effort, just a change in perspective.

In spite of your planning and best efforts, you may still find yourself reaching for something that wasn’t part of the plan. When you find yourself tempted, practice managing your response     toward food. Remember the letter ‘D’.

Delay     Wait at least 10-15 minutes before deciding whether you really want to eat a food.

Distract      Do something else. Find an enjoyable activity that occupies your mind & hands!

Distance     If you can’t reach it, see it, or smell it, you may no longer really want it.

Decide     Is it really worth it? What is the worst thing that will happen if you don’t eat it? Have you totaled your protein and carbs for the day? Is there room to negotiate?

Determine     If you have decided that you are going to eat it, figure out what amount will leave you satisfied without making you feel guilty. Once it is on your plate, be mindful of each bite—and enjoy!

It’s time to make your plan.  What are you weight-ing for?


Thanksgiving Practice – Think Portion Control

Posted on November 11, 2013 by

That’s right – Thanksgiving dinner is right around the corner.  For many Americans, it is the largest single meal of the year.  Why do so many feel the need to gorge themselves that day?  The turkey and stuffing is so plentiful that it’s falling off the plate. Yes, it’s tradition to serve multiple side dishes but can too much of a good thing be not so good? Absolutely.

Make your table the focal point!

Make your table the focal point!

Let’s take a look at how things got out of hand.

In the era of the supersized meal it’s often hard to recognize normal portion sizes. Restaurants use platters rather than plates. Fast-food joints have ‘super-sized’ everything on the menu. Giant bottles of soda, extra-large bags of chips and king-size candy bars are part of our everyday eating landscape. But unfortuantely, as our portion sizes get larger, so do our waistlines. And bigger packages can also sabotage portion control.

Research from the University of Illinois shows that people may tend to eat more food when it’s served in larger containers. When movie-goers were given the same amount of popcorn in containers of two different sizes, the people given the larger tubs ate 44 percent more.

So how does that relate?  To keep portions in perspective, you need a tool to help you identify your portions as they relate to serving sizes.  Being able to  visualize recommended serving sizes by relating them to common household objects is an easy and useful technique. By comparing food portions to things you already recognize, you should be able to eyeball a food item and guesstimate how large it is. Carrying around a food scale is just not practical! It’s wise to weigh things occasionally to get an accurate idea of how big portions should be, but relating those measurements to common objects and teaching yourself to recognize them will be a great step toward achieving your weight-loss goals.

Some examples:

Your fist is about the same size as one cup of fruit or vegetables

Your thumb (tip to base) is the size of one ounce of meat or cheese

Your palm (without fingers) equals three ounces of meat, fish, or poultry

Your cupped hand equals one to two ounces of nuts

A glass of wine is 3-4 oz.  That is less than 1/2 cup – measure it in your stemware in advance.

Let’s practice!

Once you have serving sizes committed to memory, you’ll be ready to fit them into your Thanksgiving Day plan.

Start the day off with plenty of water. Thirst is one of our most misinterpreted signals. If you are well hydrated, you are less likely to graze on things sitting around you.

Zero in on the veggie tray or cheese before the big meal.  A few cubes of cheese or some raw crudites will take the edge off of your hunger.  When it comes to cocktails, a small glass of wine may be the best option.  Dry wines have less sugar than their sweet counterparts so a chardonnay or pinot grig would be a good choice.

If you are hosting the dinner, put some thought into the centerpiece and place settings. If your table is beautiful, the bowls of food won’t be missed.  Consider using smaller plates with your traditional plates acting as chargers. Dish up the plates in the kitchen and leave the serving dishes on the counter.  Starting with a salad and/or soup will make the meal more of a feast and your guests may not notice the smaller than usual servings in the main course.

Most vegetables are full of flavor and color and are extremely low in fat and calories. Bell peppers and brussel sprouts may become your new best friends!

Consider trying some of our lighter options in place of your traditional favorites this year.  Remember that traditions always have a beginning, why not start one of your own!   We have some recipes to share with you – download & print: CFWLS Thanksgiving Lite

Check out our selection on Pinterest!


Using Your Weight Loss Surgery Tool for Optimal Success

Posted on November 07, 2013 by

Portion Distortion & Portion Control

Posted on November 04, 2013 by

portion distortion

Portion control takes practice!

Do you find it hard to limit yourself to healthy portion sizes at home and on the go? Do you tend to lose control with sweets?  Do you need help meeting this challenge?

First and foremost: Limit your exposure to things that tempt you!

Don’t eat from the container. Instead, place a serving into a small bowl and put the rest in the refrigerator or cabinet so you can’t keep reaching in for more.

Consider buying single-serve snack bags. bars. But if having any of those things in the house is a recipe for disaster, buy one snack bag when you are out and enjoy it. That makes it a treat, not a snack.

Try these other portion-control tips:

Don’t leave a half-eaten birthday cake sitting on your kitchen counter. Wrap up and celebratory foods and send them home with your guests.

Ask for a ‘to-go’ container it at restaurants. Their portions can sometimes be extra large. Take that half of your meal home for tomorrow.

Look for the ‘Sides’ menu at fast food restaurants.  Often you will find that the items are smaller portions of the classic menu.

Look for appetizers and side dishes at restaurants that serve large entrees. Build your own meal by ordering two of the smaller dishes.

Watch out for bargain temptations. Saving $2 on something is not worth it if you have to suffer the consequences at the scale!

Learn to eyeball portion sizes, so it becomes second nature. Three ounces of chicken, for instance, equals the size of a deck of cards or your palm.

Make your own “frozen” dinners. When recipes yield extra servings, store the leftovers in single serve containers for portion-controlled meals later on, or lunch at work.

Ditch the family style serving. If half a tray of lasagna stares you in the face while you eat dinner, you may be more likely to reach for seconds. Instead, serve yourself a portion and leave the rest in the kitchen. If possible, wrap and refrigerate the remaining portions before you sit down.

Invest in smaller plates. A half-empty 10-inch dinner plate plays with your mind; a salad plate filled to the edge seems like a huge meal.

Slow down! Research suggests that it takes 17-20 minutes for your body to know that it’s full. If you gobble down your food, seconds will be much more tempting.

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Are You Aware?

Posted on October 29, 2013 by

Mindful eating - be aware

Mindful eating – be aware

I have heard the phrase “I just wasn’t thinking” many times in counseling, which may make us think, are there times when eating is just automatic?  You may reach for something to eat and before you are aware of it, the whole bag of chips is gone or that  carton of ice cream or cookies are devoured.

As much as we would like to think that our eating is an automatic function, as is our breathing or our heartbeat, unfortunately it is not.  We actually decide to eat.

According to Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Mindless Eating, the average person makes over 200 decisions regarding food daily.  It’s not just if we eat but what we eat, when we eat, where we eat, etc.  Those decisions happen, for some people, as if it were out of their control.

If you feel as if your eating is sometimes automatic it may be because you are not fully aware of your thoughts at the time.  You may be more focused on other things like talking with friends, watching TV, reading the paper.   You may look down and see that the plate of food is gone and yet you cannot remember eating that food or even tasting it, let alone really enjoying it.

During your weight loss process we need to bring the focus back to what you choose to eat, when you eat it, and where you eat it and sometimes the length of time it takes you to eat it.

A few suggestions on how to be more mindful of your eating include:

  • Determine if you are really hungry.  Using a hunger scale may be helpful.  When did you last eat?  Drink some water to eliminate the possibility that you are just thirsty.
  • Plate your food.  Placing all the food you plan on eating onto your plate helps you visualize what you are eating and the amount you are eating.
  • Clear the table of extra food.  Leave serving dishes back in the kitchen and not on the table to minimize mindless second helpings.
  • Individualize your portions.  If you eat out of prepackaged foods buy the small individual sizes or prepackage the larger ones into individual serving portions.  Keep all the wrappers in front of you so you can see the actual amount that you have consumed.
  • Keep your distractions to a minimum while you are eating.  Eliminate eating at your work desk or in front of the TV.  Eat only at a pre-designated area such as the kitchen table or break room.
  • Slow down your eating. Chew each bite with the intent to taste each mouthful of food,        enjoying the smell and texture.
  • Pay attention to your hunger signals throughout the meal.  Try and stop eating before you feel full.  Remember it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that you have eaten.
  • Lastly, but most important, is to journal your food intake.  This creates an awareness of the amount you eat and your eating patterns.

When we eat, where we eat and what we eat are decisions we make throughout our day.  Let your counselor help you modify these decisions so you become more successful in reaching your goals.

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Quality Protein on a Budget

Posted on October 23, 2013 by

Fat is Not the Enemy!

Posted on September 25, 2013 by

Are some fats okay?

Are some fats okay?

Nearly every week at CFWLS, I hear a couple of comments from people just like you.  In fact, perhaps these are/were familiar to you:

“I exercise every single day and I am not losing any weight!”

“I eat a very healthy low fat diet and yet, I seem to be gaining weight!”

The reason this occurs is usually a misunderstanding of how to balance your carbohydrate, protein and fat intake.  That’s the focus of this month’s newsletter and of course, there is much more to learn but that’s the joy of your weight loss journey.  Once you understand the concepts of these macronutrients and     balance them in your life, you will find yourself less hungry, losing weight and likely resolution of some underlying metabolic problems you have.

With regards to fat, I want you to understand that Fat is not the Enemy.  If I had to pick a primary “enemy” source with regards to food, it would be insulin which is controlled primarily by your sugar intake (all carbohydrates break down into sugar).   Thus, when I am out and someone says – “Look, I am going healthy – I bought no/low fat” I cringe.  If you compare labels for whatever the item is, you will find that the manufacturer has decreased the fat but increased the carbohydrate content.  If they didn’t, you likely wouldn’t eat it because it would not taste good.  Here are a few facts about fat: P Fat is the body’s preferred and most reliable form of energy, which is why we store excess energy as fat on our bodies.  If your body has less carbohydrate (sugar) as an immediate source of energy, it can     finally get to breaking down fat for energy (which = less fat).  P Fats help keep you feeling full (less hungry = a good thing).   P Eating a controlled carb diet with adequate protein and healthy fats like those found in salmon or avocados is the easiest way to inadvertently eat less without sacrificing satiety.  It also improves your ability to access stored body fat rather than lean body mass, which is helpful for fat loss and long term success (since your lean body mass is what drives your metabolism).

So…the next time you reach for the low-fat/no–fat options, you might want to think again.  More on these power foods in this newsletter and Weight Management University™.  See you at CFWLS – we are here to help!

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Mary Ann Cruises on.

Posted on November 09, 2011 by

Mary Ann on her cruise. Fun times!

Mary Ann on her cruise. Fun times!

Well the prodigal Weight Loss University virtual student has returned! I have missed my interactions with all of you and my counselor, Dawn. However, the lessons I have learned have not been far from my thoughts and daily practices. I hope this finds all of you healthy and thinner!

I have been busy. I wanted to reach my goal weight of 145# by the time I went on my cruise in October.

Guess what, wait for it, here it is….sorry to say, I only got to 148# as my lowest weight the day before I left.

Now I’m home and trying to get back on track. Not exercising like I should is a big factor I’m sure. I tried to stick to portion control, good choices (the seafood was to die for!), and I even went to the fitness center 4 days out of 7. I can’t take full credit for that though; that’s what happens when you travel with a co-worker who is young, fit and driven!! After the first 2 days of having those foofy drinks of the day, I gave up the calories in favor of low carb beer. Had to have something to drink while laying in that awesome hot sun and Caribbean breezes!

I haven’t been able to watch many of Dr. Clark’s webinars due to vacation and long work hours but hopefully that will get under control next week. So I am trying to catch up.

Mark (hubby), left for the Philippines on Sunday to see his mother, so I am on my own for a month. I will use this time to exercise and get my routine back. I’ll miss him, but this gives me the opportunity to pick up the slack and lose those 4# I gained while on vacation. Some old bad habits came back, snacking, not writing down what I eat and indulging in foods that have kicked my carb cravings into high gear. Aaarrgh! Why is it so easy to gain and so hard to lose??

I know the answer Dr. Clark…but it feels good screaming the question sometimes. Ah, here’s the reason, fine dining and lots of it!

Think thin and I will have better results next time and I hope you all do, too!

Low Carb Fast Food: How to Choose?

Posted on April 30, 2010 by

Fast food chains are definitely already a part of our lifestyle. They are practically everywhere that we could not possibly avoid them at any cost. Whenever we are on the go, fast food chains are definitely an indispensable part of our lives. They provide us with foods off the counter, and we could gobble the delicious morsel off that burger in no time.

For those of us who are entirely health conscious, eating out in fast food chains is definitely a no-no. The food offered in fast food chains is too fatty, and they are also filled with carbohydrates. Eating a lot of carbohydrate enriched food can certainly be a problem especially when you are weighing yourself off the scale just to check how many pounds you have shed, or worse, how many pounds you have gained.

Choose Your Food Wisely while Eating at Fast Food Joint

Facing the fact that the fast food is necessarily a part of our lives and entirely avoiding them would be impossible. The only thing that is left to do is just to make smart choices of foods whenever you plan to eat in a fast food joint. You can consult your own physician first for a physical check up. In this way, you would be able to take note of the amount of carbohydrates and cholesterol that you have been taking up. He may also suggest some ways on how you could make healthy choices for your diet. In this way, you do not only take precautions about your weight, but you also observe ways on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

When you opt to eat in fast food chains, make sure to have a good grasp of the nutrition information on the types of food that you actually take in fast food chains. Most dieticians say that breads, rice and chips are the main culprits for giving you those unwanted carbs which make your body take in those extra pounds. Moreover, those favorite sundaes of yours would have to be avoided, because they contain a lot of sugar. Eating such items on the menu may in turn give you the carbohydrates which you would not want to have at any rate. However, do not falter at this fact. Most of the fast food chains offer healthy alternatives to these menus. Some of them include salads and low-carb chicken sandwiches. It also helps to check the amount of calories and carbohydrates that each food offers. You can at least tone down on eating these items on the menu if you cannot totally avoid them.

Avoid Fast Food during Low Carb Diet

If you insist on undergoing a low carb fast food diet, then you should reevaluate your perspective in losing weight. If you want to be successful in maintaining a low carb fast food, then so be it. You do not have to avoid everything on the menu and settle for the alternative choices. Be aware of the foods that you take in day after day, and try to maintain a healthy diet. It might just work for you.

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