Don’t Fall for the Deprivation Myth!

When it comes to weight loss, there is no shortage of advice out there. And to be honest, a lot of it isn’t very good. One popular myth is that if you give up something (carbs, for example, or even entire meals) for just thirty days, you will lose a certain amount of weight. While that could technically be true in some circumstances, trying to follow this “deprivation myth” to the letter can actually backfire in a number of ways. At the very least, the plan just won’t be effective, because…

Feeling deprived triggers cravings. The minute you tell yourself that something is off limits, you start to crave it even more. It’s a funny trick of our psychology, in which focusing on a point of deprivation simply forces us to think about the deprived object even more! At the least, you’ll feel miserable. But in the worst case scenario, this strategy will actually backfire. Will power only lasts for so long, and once it breaks, you might binge on the object of your desire and undo all of your weight loss progress.

After the thirty days, you go back to your old way of eating. At the beginning of this “challenge” you promised yourself to give up something for thirty days. Your brain really hangs onto that little detail, and after thirty days, you feel “done”. Even if you’ve lost weight, simply returning to your old way of eating will usually mean that the weight returns, too.

Instead, focus on gradual and reasonable changes to your diet and lifestyle. Eat more healthy foods, exercise more often, and limit (but don’t completely eliminate) less healthy choices. Make a list of healthy foods activities you enjoy, and focus most of your habits around those. By directing your attention to a positive goal, you avoid the temptation and preoccupation with cravings that occur when focusing on a negative goal.

And of course, if you need help with your weight loss plan, please call our office to schedule an appointment. We can give you the tools you need to succeed, and keep the weight off in the long run.

4 Healthy Ways to Indulge in Cravings

A medical weight loss plan can be very effective, but no one says it’s easy all of the time. Yes, you might experience cravings as your eating style changes. And no, you don’t have to give up your favorite treats forever. But in order for your plan to be effective, you must learn to conquer cravings most of the time.

One way to do that is by recognizing the flavor your body is craving, and then offer it something that is satisfying but more acceptable for your eating plan. Sometimes a craving even means that your body needs a particular nutrient, so it’s good to recognize when that is happening. Either way, these four tips can help you indulge your cravings just a bit, while sticking to your medical weight loss plan.

Salty foods. Believe it or not, a craving for salt often means you’re dehydrated. So when this craving strikes, drink a glass or two of water first. If the urge for salty snacks persists, avoid packaged junk foods and opt for kale or seaweed chips instead (they’re actually very tasty). Of course, another choice is to simply add a bit more salt to your next meal.

Do keep in mind that some people must restrict salt intake due to a health condition such as high blood pressure. If you’re in that category, continue to follow your doctor’s advice.

Sweet treats. Sweets are probably the most common and frustrating cravings. Remember that many options such as yogurt, fruit, and whole grains can often alleviate this feeling. Even pumpkin or beets contain a bit of sugar and can make a meal more satisfying.

Sour snacks. If you tend to crave sour candies, reach for fruit or fermented foods instead.

Spicy meals. People who crave spicy foods are in luck. It’s relatively easy to simply add some chili peppers and spices to a healthy meal, such as stir-fried veggies, without adding any unnecessary calories. Have fun with this one!

If cravings tend to strike at a certain time of day, go ahead and plan your snacks around them using the above tips. That way, you can ward off those urges before they even start. If you have any other questions about your medical weight loss plan, call our office to schedule an appointment.

5 Things to Do On Your Rest Days

Regular workouts are key to your weight loss plan, but so are rest days. On rest days, you offer your body a chance to recuperate from a week of hard work. In order to make progress toward building lean muscle tissue, or just to prevent soreness and overall fatigue, your body needs a day off. Plus, it can be good to give yourself a mental break from busy schedules and the constant focus on burning calories.

Of course, you want to make the most of these rest days, too. Here are five ways you can support your health when you take a day off from exercise, that also support your overall weight loss plan.

Eat protein. Continue to meet your protein goals for the day. Even though you’re not working out, protein carries many other benefits. And your muscles need it as they repair and build strength.

Hydrate. Without your regular sweat session, you might not feel as thirsty. But your body still needs plenty of water for digestion and other processes, so remember to keep that bottle filled and nearby for sipping.

Take a nap. You should continue your regular sleeping and waking times on rest days, so that you don’t throw off your overall sleep schedule. But if you feel the need for an afternoon nap, take it! This is your body’s way of healing and getting stronger.

Take care of your mental and emotional health. When you’re pursuing a weight loss plan, so much focus is diverted to your physical body. While mental and emotional health care should be integrated into your daily habits, rest days provide a great opportunity to do a little something extra for yourself. Schedule a spa day, meditate, or engage in some other form of self care that is soothing for you.

Get moving, but gently. Rest days don’t have to be entirely sedentary. You can give your muscles a break while enjoying more gentle forms of activity. Go on a leisurely stroll or play with the kids in the yard. The outdoor time will be good for your body and mind.

As always, contact us if you need support for your weight loss plan. We can help you set a workout schedule and eating plan that work for your body type and goals.

6 Ways A Lifestyle Change Might Surprise You

If you’ve decided to pursue a lifestyle change, such as a weight loss plan or fitness regimen, you probably have one or two end goals in mind. But once you get started, you might quickly find yourself surprised with the experience. For example…

Portion sizes matter for healthy foods, too. Even healthy foods contain calories. For example, about 8 walnuts pack about 100 calories, and one avocado contains about 230 calories. These foods also provide plenty of beneficial nutrients, but that doesn’t mean you should eat all you want of them.

Exercise can be deceptive. Even a tough workout might burn as many calories as you think. Using a calorie app can help you learn how calories are burned through activity, so you don’t accidentally overestimate (and make dietary errors as a result).

Your taste buds will probably change. After a few months on a weight loss plan, you might decide to try one of your old favorite meals. Not only will it taste different (usually not as good as before); you might not be able to finish your usual portion. This is a sign that your body is adjusting to new, healthier habits.

You’re never “done”. If you think of a weight loss plan as a temporary change to help you lose weight, then the lost weight will return when you discontinue the plan. That’s why we urge our patients to think of their plan as a lifestyle change. When you change your habits permanently, you not only lose weight for good but also stay healthier in the long run.

You might notice unexpected benefits. Most people pursue a lifestyle change because they want to change their appearance or ward off the development of heart disease or diabetes. But after following a weight loss plan for a few months, you might notice unexpected benefits, like more energy, a better mood, or fewer aches and pains.

You affect others more than you think. You mostly started this journey for yourself, but you might quickly discover that your friends and family are inspired by your success. It can feel a little strange to suddenly enjoy the limelight, receiving compliments, and being asked for advice. Try to enjoy it! You’ve worked hard and you’ve earned your time to shine.

The Number One Way to Escape Your Cravings

We all struggle with cravings from time to time. But when you’re following a medical weight loss plan, those pesky cravings suddenly seem ten times stronger. Whatever the reason for your urges, learning an effective way to curb them will become key to your success.

As it turns out, the best way to ward off cravings might also be the simplest: Simply, and quite literally, walk away from them! Recent research shows that going for a brisk, fifteen-minute walk was effective in helping chocolate cravers stave off the urge to indulge. Other research has shown this habit to be useful to smokers as well, so it’s likely that taking off for a quick stroll is effective at reducing cravings of all types.

If you can’t get outside for a walk, strolling around your office building can suffice. Others might find a treadmill to be helpful. But if you can, do head outdoors, because the exposure to sunlight can help to regulate your mood and ward off depression which are common triggers for cravings.

Even better, it can be helpful to keep a journal of your feelings as you proceed with your medical weight loss plan. You might begin to notice that certain situations tend to prompt cravings, such as stress, anxiety, boredom, loneliness, and so on. If you can identify those moments and then anticipate them, you’ll get a step ahead (pun intended) of your cravings.

For example, if you learn the work stress tends to trigger a craving, start by identifying the moments that contribute to your stress. When you begin to notice those events happening, go ahead and take a brief walk before your cravings strike.

And of course, we’re always here for you if you have any questions or need support for your medical weight loss plan. Give us a call, and we’ll schedule an appointment to discuss your concerns.

6 Tips for Easy Weekly Meal Planning

When you’re following a weight loss plan, knowing what to eat is only half the battle. In most cases, following through on those promises to yourself can hold numerous challenges. Since your eating plan will probably involve cooking more of your own meals, in addition to packing lunches and snacks for your work days, meal planning becomes absolutely paramount to your success.

For many people, this chore is best accomplished when performed on a weekly basis. Just follow these six tips to make meal planning a bit easier, and you’ll free up more time and save yourself stress during the week.

Pick the right time for meal prep. You need a few hours of uninterrupted time in the kitchen, ideally at a time that you’re feeling energetic and motivated. For many people this means Sunday afternoon is the best time for meal prep, but adjust your timing as your schedule demands.

Plan around your ingredients, then shop to complete your list. What ingredients do you already have on hand? What do you need to prepare a week’s worth of meals and snacks? What recipes interest you right now? Make a list, head to the grocery store, and get what you need.

Opt for shortcuts. What part of meal prep requires the most time, or is your least-liked chore? It’s okay to purchase pre-chopped veggies or frozen options. You can also choose pre-cooked rotisserie chickens, beets that are already roasted, lentils that are ready to eat from the package, or eggs that have already been hardboiled and peeled.

Double up. Cook enough of one meal that you can stretch it into two.

Use veggies throughout the week. If you take the time to cut up and prepare vegetables, use them in several meals. You can switch up your veggies next week and still get plenty of variety in your diet.

Try one new recipe each week. Trying different foods can help to prevent bored, and you’re more likely to stick to your weight loss plan in the long run.

If you do need more help planning your meals and snacks, call us to schedule an appointment. We can help you decide what you need to be eating each day in order to reach your goals.

5 Healthy Ways to Support Your Immune System

Do you ever wonder why we have a “cold and flu season”? Of course, many factors contribute to this annual phenomenon, but staying indoors during cool weather is certainly one factor. Our bodies lack vitamin D due to lower levels of sunlight, and we’re cooped up indoors sharing germs with each other. On top of that, we tend to indulge in starchy or sugary foods during the winter, which can contribute to inflammation in the body. So, it’s no wonder routine illnesses tend to flare up during the winter.

On the other hand, once you begin following a weight loss plan you should be eating healthier foods overall. So your general health should improve and you might find that you get sick less often. If you’d prefer to encourage that effect (and most people do) then you can support your immune system even more by including these five healthy foods in your regular eating plan.

Yogurt with manuka honey. Yogurt contributes probiotics to the gastrointestinal tract, and manuka honey helps to fight off viruses.

Brazil nuts. Most people never think about selenium, a trace nutrient that is vital to thyroid function and detoxification. Luckily, you can get all the selenium you need from a single Brazil nut each day!

Green tea. Tea provides a warm and comforting morning ritual, and makes a healthier substitute for coffee. But it also contains vital amino acids and antioxidants that help you fight stress and inflammation.

Seasonal produce. Eat fresh seasonal produce like sweet potatoes and pumpkin to obtain your recommended daily allowance of vitamins A and C, which serve to support your immune system.  Cook them with immune-boosting spices like ground coriander or cumin for even greater benefits.

Nutrient-dense snacks. Instead of chips and dip, try apple slices with pumpkin seed butter, or veggie sticks with hummus.

You might have noticed that these snacks are not only great for your immune system; they fit right into your weight loss plan, too. For more help with balancing your nutrients, call us to schedule an appointment and we’ll discuss your health and lifestyle priorities.

5 Food Swaps That Make for Healthier Eating

You’ve heard all the tips and tricks, but a successful weight loss plan really boils down to one thing: You must change your habits if you want to change your health. So, a weight loss plan actually becomes an exercise in psychology.

What we know about habits is that’s it’s easier to change a habit into something beneficial, than it is to drop it entirely. So keeping your weight loss plan in mind, we suggest that you make these five trade-offs as you renovate your eating style.

Trade up your rice. Stir-fried veggies and meat over rice can be an easy, nutritious meal solution. But because rice does pack a few carb-heavy calories, we suggest swapping traditional rice for vegetable options like cauliflower rice.

Dump the salad, and opt for soup instead. If you’re bored with salads, try a hearty bowl of soup instead. Soup can contain plenty of important veggies, and helps you meet your hydration requirements. Plus, it’s simply warm and comforting.

Change up your snacks. If you tend to snack on cheese or other calorie-dense items before dinner, you’re probably consuming quite a few calories before you even get to the main course. Gnaw on raw veggies instead, and you can benefit from the filling qualities of fiber. Plus, you’ll get closer to your daily quote of vegetables.

Break up with starch, and replace it with more nutritious veggies. Many of us grew up believing that every meal must include starchy vegetables like potatoes. But those options often pack many more calories. Get the starch off your plate, and replace with steamed broccoli or other nutritious veggies.

Switch up your morning beverage. You might love those indulgent lattes or cappuccinos, but each coffee drink can contain hundreds of calories. Opt for plain black coffee, or sprinkle it with a bit of cinnamon if that idea seems boring. Warm herbal tea might also hit the spot.

Make one adjustment at a time, and then move on when that new practice becomes an easy habit. If you prefer more one-on-one support, give us a call to discuss your weight loss plan. We can help you analyze your daily routine and identify easy changes that you could make to achieve better health.

 

Avoid This Mistake When Changing Your Lifestyle

If one of your New Year’s resolutions involves following a weight loss plan, you’re probably in the process of putting together a strategy. You might receive a variety of advice from well-meaning friends, or perhaps you’re working with us to pursue this goal in a medically sound manner (we sure hope so). But whatever weight loss strategy you choose, we definitely advise you to do one very important thing: Define your goals.  

Research on human behavior has repeatedly demonstrated that we find it much more difficult to reach vague goals. Our minds simply don’t respond to a plan of action that isn’t, well, a plan! Rather, something about our psychology helps us to latch onto very specific and well-defined goals. Vague goals just don’t translate into decisive actions, and it becomes easier to procrastinate when we set vague goals.

Another thing to remember is that most people function better when focusing on goals that seem attainable. When the finish line is too far away and we don’t feel that it’s within reach, we become tempted to give up altogether.

So, considering those two concepts together, we recommend this strategy when setting your weight loss plan intentions: Set clearly defined goals, and create a reasonable series of them.

For example, “I want to lose weight” is a vague goal. Most people will work toward that for a few weeks and then abandon their efforts, because they don’t have a clear idea of exactly what they’re doing. Also, there is no payoff when the goal is so far away, so it becomes difficult to stay motivated.

Instead, set a goal of losing one or two pounds per week. You could even set other goals, such as adding time or distance to your daily workouts, so that you don’t focus too much on the numbers on a scale (which can sometimes be discouraging).

Now, you’ve set a schedule of goals that are specific and attainable. Your subconscious mind accepts these much more readily, and you feel motivated by weekly or bi-weekly successes.

If you need more motivation and support, give us a call. We can help you put together a weight loss plan that is both attainable and motivating.

Three Reasons for Junk Food Cravings (That You Can Combat)

When you’re following a medical weight loss plan, cravings might be one of your most consistent hurdles to overcome. Understanding why we have cravings can be key to combatting them. Luckily, in many cases, solving the root of the problem can be easier than you think. Read more

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