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Weight Loss Tips for Tough Times

Posted on January 20, 2014 by

changeThese 30 tips are tried and true. They come from Dr. Clark and the entire team at CFWLS and our successful patients! Remember, reading is one thing – applying what you learn is where you can make the most progress.
1. Start your day with approximately 30 grams of protein.
2. Stay away from foods that contain sugar.
3. Explore different tastes with a variety of spices – without adding carbs!
4. Carry a carb gram counter and your journal with you so you can analyze what may be causing your cravings or hunger.
5. Hit a plateau? Try reducing your carb intake by 5-10 grams.
6. Learn how to read food labels to count effective carbs.
7. Avoid excessive caffeine which may trigger hunger or food cravings.
8. Eat slowly; extending the time it takes for your brain to realize you have eaten.
9. Only eat until you are sat-isfied, not until you are full.
10. Use smaller plates at meal times. It may help you feel like you’re eating more.
11. You can have a bite of something without eating a complete piece.
12. If you have gone over your limit at a meal, forgive yourself and re-focus at the next meal.
13. Eat your meals at a table, concentrating on your food, avoiding watching TV or reading.
14. Don’t use a business trip or vacation as an excuse not to follow your plan.
15. Don’t miss a meal. Your body is counting on you to provide for it.
16. Always carry some emergency food with you (protein bars or nuts are good choices).
17. When eating out, engage your server in your eating plan. They may have some suggestions.
18. When eating out, ask about the ingredients of each dish.
19. Drink an 8 oz. glass of water prior to each meal.
20. Include your hunger scale in your food diary so you can analyze any patterns and im-prove planning strategies – your counselor at CFWLS can really help with this too.
21. Place any tempting foods in an out of the way place in your home so you don’t visualize it every time you open the pantry.
22. Keep your grocery trip on a list to minimize spontaneous buying.
23. Stay to the perimeter for the grocery store. Most processed foods and higher carb foods are in the aisles.
24. Plan your day ahead of time. Then stay on track.
25. Surround yourself with supporting friends and family.
26. Return to your food diary for successful weight loss weeks and repeat them.
27. Keep your protein levels equal to or higher than your carb level with each snack.
28. Avoid carbs prior to bedtime to keep your glucose levels event throughout the night.
29. Find ways to reward yourself in ways other than food.
30. Eat to live, don’t live to eat.

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Mentally Preparing for Weight Loss Surgery

Posted on January 15, 2014 by

Controlling Your Cravings

Posted on January 13, 2014 by

Food cravings are real!  While hunger produces physical sensations such as  stomach growling, lightheadedness and weakness that signals your body for the need of fuel, food cravings are an intense desire for a specific food choice.  Normal hunger can be satisfied with a variety of foods while a craving can only be satisfied with a specific food, normally a sweet.

With that in mind, could there be a physiological component to cravings?  The answer is yes.  It is not all about will power. Neurochemicals and hormones play a large part in hunger,   cravings, fullness and satiety.

There are over seventy neurochemicals that have been identified that play a role in memory, appetite and mood. A few of them you may have heard of such as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. In addition to these neurochemicals, hormones also play an important part in  cravings, hunger and satiety. They include insulin, cortisol, and leptin plus many more.

Let take a closer look at insulin. This is a hormone that is produced by the pancreatic cells and is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. Since blood sugar is probably the single most important factor controlling appetite and mood, insulin is a key player in causing food cravings.

When we eat carbohydrates they are reduced to simple sugars. These sugars enter our blood stream and trigger an insulin release. The more refined foods containing ‘simple carbohydrates’, such as Dr. Clarks six C’s, lead to a quick release of insulin followed by a rapid drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemia) that triggers an intense need (craving) for more carbohydrates.

To eliminate or minimize this physiological aspect of cravings try:

Controlling your blood sugar swings by eating protein every few hours, at every meal as well as for snacks.  Keeping your carbohydrate levels below or equal to your protein   levels will help.

Avoiding those crunchy 6 C’s as well as rice, pasta, bread and potato.  These can raise your blood sugars fairly quickly.

Carrying protein-based snacks with you at all times. Never let yourself become famished.

Adding the mineral chromium picolinate has shown to be useful in curbing cravings.

Exercise helps get your mind off thinking about foods as well as utilize those excess sugars in your blood stream.

Giving yourself a fifteen minute timeout.  Wait about fifteen minutes to see if the craving goes away.


Your 2014 Goals

Posted on December 27, 2013 by


The New Year is a great time for a fresh perspective and new start towards what you want to accomplish.  My wife and I sit down every year (a great excuse for date night) and map out our personal, family and professional goals for the year.  Prior to this “date”, we individually list what we plan to accomplish and then mesh them together (especially the family ones).  Afterwards, we make sure to put it all in writing and we each post it so the goals remain top of mind.  It is actually very inspiring and a lot of fun to do…and even more exciting as we meet throughout the year to monitor our progress and make sure we are staying on track.

But your 2014 goals won’t magically be met.  Goals will only be achieved if you are willing to change your behavior.  One of the things that will determine eventual success or failure in making your behavior change is your answer to these two questions:

Can I do it?

Is it worth it?

If you cannot answer “Yes” to both of those questions, your likelihood of success is…dare I say…doubtful. However, if you can answer “Yes” to both of these questions, there is no limit to what you will be able to accomplish.  Stay focused, monitor your progress, take it one step at a time, ask for help when you need it, don’t be afraid to falter…then pick yourself right up again and most importantly…enjoy the journey along the way.  It’s a new year!  You can do it!

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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?


Using Your Weight Loss Surgery Tool for Optimal Success

Posted on November 07, 2013 by

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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Think Positive!

Posted on October 21, 2013 by

positivePositive thinking is essential for weight loss.  Now I realize that there will be those times when you just don’t have it in you, but for the most part, you will find weight loss and life in general is much more effective and    enjoyable if you keep your thoughts on the positive side.  It also improves your likelihood of success and  enriches your journey along the way.

I am sure you have likely heard the adage “you become what you think about most of the time”.  I believe this is true.  Essentially, your thoughts and “self-talk” are usually self-fulfilling (but can be changed).  This “self-talk” is very powerful.  If you tell yourself the same thing over and over, you will begin to believe it is true.  So start making your thoughts and conversation with yourself positive and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.  Positive thoughts of a healthier you who has made the most of every small victory along the way is much more beneficial than negative thoughts of being forever stuck hopelessly in a rut and never finding your path to weight loss and feeling great!  The end result is worth it!

Here are a few tips for positive thinking:

Surround yourself with people who are positive and limit your time with those that are negative/not supportive of your weight loss efforts

When you feel yourself moving down a depressing path, STOP (even pinch yourself) and take that negative thought and turn it around into something positive.  This may take practice.  For example, you have had a great eating day focusing on protein first and controlling your carb/sugar intake and then you “binge” on a familiar comforting food such as French fries or chips.  You could either say “I’m never going to be successful” and continue on this path of self-destruction or you can say “I did not make a good choice but I did do so well today.  I am going to get back on track right away so I can meet my goal this week”.

Focus on your goal and set mini goals along the way that so you can frequently experience success.  This feels great and keeps you motivated to continue.  Celebrate these accomplishments along the way.

Don’t expect perfection when it comes to weight loss.  Slip ups happen and the most important thing to do is to forgive yourself, work with your counselor at CFWLS to develop a contingency plan in the event it happens again.  Brush yourself off and start over the very next meal.

Think positive! You can do it and we are here to help!  You can find us on many of the social media sites (they are located in the upper right corner of your window).  Check out a few today!



Small Steps to Habit Modification

Posted on October 14, 2013 by

Changing habits that we’ve acquired in our lifetime can seem almost impossible! Take it one step at a time – these habit modification tips are from weight-loss winners – why reinvent the wheel?

Which way are your habits leading you?

Which way are your habits leading you?

#10: Never skip breakfast. Whether your food plan calls for a protein shake or scrambled eggs and cheese, make an effort to sit down at the table and consciously enjoy your breakfast.
#9: Eat all of your meals and snacks at a designated eating space and preferably the same time of day.
#8: Write it in your journal before you eat it. You are less likely to misjudge your servings if you have them measured and written down first.
#7: During meal times, keep serving dishes off the table and dispose of leftovers immediately.
#6: Know your most vulnerable times for snacking and plan your defense before temptation strikes. Go for a walk, exercise, or phone a friend and catch up.
#5: Donate the clothes you no longer fit into. This keeps you from falling back into a “comfort zone”, as you will immediately notice your new clothes feeling snug.
#4: Recognize your accomplishments. Don’t save rewards just for reaching major goals, go ahead and treat yourself when you pass on a soda or your favorite dessert. Take the money you would have spent on the on them and put it in a special “rewards” jar. As it adds up, take yourself out for a manicure or a new pair of gloves. Anything that makes you feel special.
#3: Put your meals on smaller plates or in shallow bowls. Dinner plates have gotten larger over the years!
#2: Clean out the pantry. It sounds like a simple thing, but for those of us with families to care for we often have things around that we shouldn’t.  If you can’t keep it out of the house, keep it out of sight. Place them in paper bags and store them in the back of the cupboard.

And the primary tip that works time & again is:

#1: Increase water intake to 8 cups of water per day. This helps you to feel “full”, as well as cleaning out your system. If you feel you’re unable to start drinking large quantities right away, just be sure to start drinking more than you are now.
Small steps – if you find yourself overwhelmed at the thought of taking on all of these at once, just pick one and go from there. The minute you start somewhere you are on the way to a healthier and happier life.

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