7 Tips to Combat Homeschooling Weight Gain

COVID-19 is forcing many parents into the role of teacher or assistant to the teacher. With many kids in homeschool and virtual school, parents are more sedentary than ever. Academia is an inherently stationary activity. While younger children can learn while being active, older students have challenging work that requires more sitting time. Without a teacher around, parents have to make themselves available to explain instructions, help with technology, and supervise to ensure their children do their work.

Weight gain while homeschooling isn’t inevitable, though. You can take several steps to take back control over your health and fitness despite an increase in sedentary time.

  1. Take several short walks. Taking 10 minutes out of your day to walk around your neighborhood can help you get moving. Find strategic times like during breaks between your children’s classes, before lunch, and so on. If your children are too young to leave unsupervised, do a 10-minute cardio circuit in your living room instead.
  2. Incorporate active time into school hours. While you have to be available to help your children, you don’t have to sit by their side waiting. Start an at-home workout during reading time, test time, or other periods that typically require more of your child and less of you. You can also always pause your workout to help and then jump back into it right after.
  3. Keep track of your calories. You need to track all your food as well as the calories you burn. It’s easy to underestimate how much you’ve eaten, especially if you graze often. People also frequently overestimate how many calories they burn during their workouts. These miscalculations add up even faster when factoring in increased inactivity.
  4. Find workouts that you love. If you hate the exercises and workouts you’re doing at home, you’re not likely to stick with them. Experiment with new workouts by browsing Pinterest or free workout channels on YouTube.
  5. Establish an accountability partner. Having someone to remind you why you’re doing this and cheerlead your progress is a great motivator. Decide what kind of accountability inspires you the most and find someone to work alongside you to achieve your health and fitness goals.
  6. Reinvent your favorite recipes. If your go-to comfort food after a long day of homeschooling is an unhealthy snack or sumptuous meal, find a healthier way to enjoy it. For example, swapping out mayo for Greek yogurt in recipes reduces calories and fat while boosting protein.
  7. Sleep right. Homeschooling or virtual schooling often means the typical school schedule goes out the window. Fewer constraints on your morning schedule may tempt you to stay up late or sleep in well past your usual alarm. However, oscillating sleep patterns wreak havoc on digestion and blood sugar levels. It can also increase your appetite.

Pandemic weight gain is a very real thing, as is homeschooling weight gain. Taking steps like the above can help you maintain good dietary and exercise habits. If you’re struggling to lose weight despite your best efforts, we may be able to help. Contact us to learn more about bariatric surgery for weight loss.

Is Bariatric Surgery Worth It?

If you struggle with obesity or obesity-related health complications, you may be wondering if bariatric surgery is worth the time and money involved. Researching the subject on the internet can turn up glowing reviews of weight loss surgery, while other results may create confusion, fear, and more questions.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bariatric Surgery

Knowing the facts about bariatric surgery can help address any questions or concerns you may have. The following are some of the most common questions that may arise as you research bariatric procedures:

  1. Am I eligible for weight loss surgery? You may worry that preexisting health issues may preclude you from weight loss surgery, but this is not the case. Most individuals seeking a bariatric procedure suffer from significant health issues due to obesity, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, etc. To qualify for weight loss surgery, you must have a BMI over 40 or a BMI of 35+ and a health condition related to obesity. However, individuals with a BMI over 30 are eligible for a gastric plication procedure like The Wrap.
  2. What are the prerequisites for surgery? After meeting the minimum requirements for weight loss surgery, your surgeon will order several tests, including blood work, an EKG, a chest x-ray, and other tests specific to your health. Depending on the circumstances, you may have to undergo a sleep study for sleep apnea or a psychological evaluation. Your surgeon may recommend that you meet with a nutritionist as well to help you establish healthy eating habits prior to surgery.
  3. What are my options for weight loss surgery? The most common weight loss procedures include gastric bypass surgery, laparoscopic banding, sleeve gastrectomy, and gastric plication. Gastric bypass surgery separates the stomach into two sections, leaving a small portion for food consumption. Laparoscopic banding involves placing a band around the stomach to reduce how much food you can consume. Sleeve gastrectomy (gastric sleeve) removes a significant portion of the stomach to create a smaller, sleeve-shaped stomach. Gastric plication involves creating large folds in the existing stomach to reduce its size.
  4. Which weight loss surgery is best for me? You and your surgeon will make this decision during your consultation. All bariatric procedures are laparoscopic surgeries, meaning they use tiny incisions. This reduces recovery time as well as the risk of infection.
  5. How successful is weight loss surgery? Most patients (75-80%) experience long-term weight loss success following bariatric surgery. Long-term studies show that patients can lose 50-60% of their excess weight and keep it off for over a decade. Depending on the procedure, patients can lose 30-50% of their excess weight within six months.
  6. What is recovery like after weight loss surgery? Depending on the procedure, you can expect to stay 2-4 days in the hospital. After that, it typically takes 1-2 weeks to resume driving and to return to work. If your job is physically demanding, it may take up to six weeks before you can return. You’ll also have several post-op appointments in the first year after surgery and then one or two appointments a year to monitor your progress, health, and address any concerns.
  7. How much weight will I lose? It’s common to lose 50-100 pounds or more in the first year after bariatric surgery. While it’s possible to lose 2-3 pounds per week, one pound a week is more typical. However, how much you lose and keep off depends on your commitment to making a lifestyle change. You will need to adhere to a special bariatric diet and exercise regularly.
  8. Can I afford bariatric surgery? The price tag associated with weight loss procedures can seem daunting. However, the total cost is often less than purchasing a new car. Additionally, many insurance companies provide coverage for bariatric surgery, so it may cost you a great deal less than you expect. You can reach out to your insurance provider to learn more about your specific policy.

Most patients experience weight loss success after bariatric surgery. Losing weight often resolves obesity-related illnesses as well, which makes the procedure well worth the investment. If you’re struggling to lose weight or are experiencing health issues due to your weight, bariatric surgery may be for you. Contact us to learn more about bariatric surgery for weight loss.

6 Tips to Manage Special Occasions After Bariatric Surgery

If you’re considering a bariatric procedure, you may be wondering about how your day-to-day life will change after surgery. You’ll need to make diet changes, learn new bariatric-friendly meals, make sure you stay hydrated, and figure out when to fit exercise into your agenda. The holiday season and special occasions require even more planning, as they deviate from a typical day and can throw off your schedule.

Holidays and events usually revolve around food, which further complicates the issue. Many people use the holidays as an excuse to overeat, but these indulgences happen more often than many realize. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and so on occur with regularity and can slow your weight loss or derail your diet. However, this doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to missing out on festivities. By implementing various strategies, you can enjoy holidays and special occasions while keeping up with your weight loss goals.

The following can help you stick to your bariatric diet while enjoying holidays and celebratory events:

  1. Don’t save your calories. The allure of a large and savory dinner may tempt you to forego breakfast and skimp out on lunch to save calories. However, this can backfire in several ways. If you show up hungry, you’re more likely to eat more than if you’d eaten your regular meals. Your new anatomy has pretty stringent food limitations as well. Consuming more than your new stomach allows can lead to dumping syndrome, vomiting, or stretching out your stomach over time.
  2. Remember the basics. The rules for your new diet don’t change around the holidays or special events. Remember to stick with appropriate portion sizes, start with your protein first, and practice mindful eating. Adhering to the basics can help you track your food intake and notice when you’re full.
  3. Don’t eat while socializing. Mindful eating is difficult if you’re catching up with a family member or chatting with a friend. You’re much more likely to overindulge when you’re not paying attention to how much you’re eating. When you are socializing, keep a glass of water in your hand to help with hydration.
  4. Read the menu in advance. It’s not always possible to know what food options will be available, but it can be a helpful tool if it’s available. You can look for options that suit your new bariatric diet and remove the guesswork of trying to figure it out on the fly. You can also bring your own meals or a dish to share to guarantee that there is an acceptable food option for you.
  5. Stay active. Holidays and celebrations often go hand-in-hand with savory meals and decadent desserts. If your friends and family overindulge, they’re more likely to be interested in doing physical activities with you. Ask if anyone wants to take a walk with you or organize a family group activity to elevate your heart rate. Skipping one workout can lead to scrapping another and eventually cause you to fall out of the habit.
  6. Don’t judge yourself too harshly. No one is perfect. Temptation may get the better of you, or you might allow yourself too many days of indulgence. You haven’t ruined your diet by skipping a workout or eating too many desserts. Remember, it’s just a meal!

Having a plan can help you stick to your bariatric diet while enjoying holidays and special events. The above tips can help you stay committed to achieving your weight loss goals. Contact us to learn more about weight loss surgery.

High Protein Bariatric Meal Ideas for Vegetarians

Eating enough protein is critical after bariatric surgery, but it can be challenging for patients in the early weeks and months after their surgery. Many people struggle to consume meats after bariatric surgery due to their new anatomy and shift to a vegetarian diet by default. However, vegetarian meals can present balance issues when it comes to protein, carbs, and essential nutrients.

The Importance of Complete Proteins

Complete proteins contain all nine essential amino acids, most of which come from animals. Plant-based proteins are often incomplete because they lack certain amino acids. You can only obtain essential amino acids from food sources, which can present some challenges depending on the type of vegetarian diet.

Thankfully, ovo-lacto vegetarians (people that avoid animal meat but consume dairy and eggs) have several options, such as eggs, cheese, and Greek yogurt. For vegans, soy products like edamame and tofu are complete proteins. However, you should limit this to 3-4 meals per week. Vegetarians can also combine various protein-rich, plant-based foods to obtain all nine essential amino acids.

How Much Protein Do I Need?

The daily goal for protein after bariatric surgery is around 40-60g as you adjust to your new anatomy. Once you acclimate, this increases to 60-80g per day. What makes this so challenging is that the typical bariatric diet restricts calories to 900-1000 per day. If you’re eating three meals a day, each meal needs to contain around 20g of protein and 300 calories. If you’re eating four smaller meals, you should aim for 15g of protein and 225 calories.

Some vegetarian options for breakfast include:

  • Plain Greek yogurt with a zero-calorie sugar substitute (you can add nuts, seeds, or fruit to add texture and punch up the flavor)
  • Crustless veggie quiche or frittata
  • Veggie and cheese omelets or scramble
  • Cottage cheese with fruit
  • Protein oatmeal or protein bar
  • Protein pancakes

Lunch and dinner options:

  • Vegetarian chili
  • Tofurky sausage and beans
  • Quinoa stuffed pepper
  • Meatless zucchini lasagna
  • Veggie burger with a lettuce bun
  • Tofu spring rolls
  • Salads that feature beans, nuts, or eggs

Vegetarian, high-protein snack options:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Nuts (pecans, cashews, almonds, and walnuts)
  • PB2 (protein peanut butter powder) on half an apple, sliced
  • String cheese
  • Hummus

kale, a high protein vegetable

High-protein vegetables to incorporate:

  • Broccoli: 5g of protein per cup
  • Sweet potato: 5g of protein per cup
  • Spinach: 5g of protein per cup
  • Kale: 5g of protein per two cups
  • Brussel sprouts: 5.5g of protein per cup
  • Asparagus: 4g of protein per cup

Protein shakes and smoothies are a simple option for consuming adequate protein as well. If you’re in the early weeks of adjusting to your new diets, protein drinks can help fill in nutritional gaps. You should focus on eating the protein portion of your meal first as well. You may fill up faster than you anticipated, and protein is critical to maintaining good nutrition and muscle mass.

It’s also worth noting that your body can only process so many grams of protein at once—usually a maximum of 30g per meal. You’ll need to make sure you spread your protein intake across all your meals and snacks, as loading one or two meals with an excess of protein won’t work. A good rule of thumb is that each meal or snack should have a minimum of 10g of protein for every 100 calories. You should also limit carbs to 20g per meal.

Keeping track of your nutrition may seem daunting, but mobile apps can take on the brunt of the work. Many include scanners so you can upload your foods via their barcodes. They also break down nutrients so you can see if you’re meeting your protein goals. Investing in a food scale is worth the effort as well. You may be over or under portioning your food without realizing it.

If you’re considering bariatric surgery for weight loss, you probably have several questions about life after surgery, lifestyle changes, and how the procedure will affect your diet. We can help answer all these questions and more.

To learn more about bariatric surgery in Hollywood or Thousand Oaks, contact Dr. Waldrep 

 

5 Tips to Enjoy Thanksgiving After Bariatric Surgery

Thanksgiving is a holiday that’s become synonymous with overindulging on decadent food with family and friends. Given how well-established this tradition is in many households, bariatric patients aren’t likely to change their family’s viewpoint on the matter. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a family Thanksgiving after weight loss surgery. With the proper planning, you can eat and mingle over the holidays without feeling left out or breaking your diet.

Some of the biggest hurdles surrounding Thanksgiving for bariatric patients relate to the nature of their new diet. Your anatomy changes after weight loss surgery, meaning your stomach may not tolerate the same foods as it could before. You’ll also need significantly less food to feel full. Sugary, fatty, and carb-heavy foods can be difficult to digest or lead to dumping syndrome, which is the last thing you want on Thanksgiving Day. However, depriving yourself of delicious food isn’t the solution either.

Achieving Balance

You can use the following strategies to help you stick to your bariatric diet and enjoy a Thanksgiving meal:

  1. Offer to host Thanksgiving. This may sound like a tall order, particularly if you’ve never prepared a Thanksgiving meal before. However, it allows you to control the menu to a certain degree. You can find a plethora of bariatric-friendly Thanksgiving recipes online that use smart substitutions. You can include traditional Thanksgiving favorites that align with your new diet by using low-sodium, low-fat, or sugar-free ingredients. Resist the urge to forewarn your guests about the healthy nature of your dishes. This helps break the incorrect correlation many people hold between healthy and boring.
  2. Give away your leftovers. If you decide to host Thanksgiving Day, you will still have to deal with the leftover food. Your new stomach can only handle so much food at once, and your sides and entrees will likely spoil before you can eat them regardless. If you have takeout containers ready to go, you can load up guests with leftovers to take home with them. If you’re not hosting, bring any dishes you prepare in disposable aluminum pans rather than reusable baking dishes. This will prevent you from feeling obligated to bring the leftovers home with you.
  3. Give yourself three minutes. If your surgery was recent or you’re still learning which foods upset your new anatomy, this rule can save you from a stomachache. For new foods, take a single bite and chew it well. Use mindful eating tactics to notice the texture, flavors, and so on. Then wait three minutes. This may seem like a pain, but your new stomach will let you know within minutes if it can’t tolerate a specific food. If all goes well, proceed with caution, and stop if you start to notice any upset.
  4. Allow yourself three bites. The most important nutrient following bariatric surgery will always be protein. However, Thanksgiving meals often boast a cornucopia of starches. Denying yourself every savory side dish or sweet treat will leave you grumpy and unpleasant to be around. You can’t enjoy visiting with family and friends if all you can think about is that piece of pie you can’t eat. Assuming you’ve learned your new anatomy and what foods you can tolerate by the holidays, allow yourself three small bites after getting your protein first. If you’re not sure or don’t want to risk the temptation to overeat, you can bring a bariatric-friendly dessert as an alternative.
  5. Find good conversation. While food features heavily on Thanksgiving Day, congregating with loved ones is another critical element. Set down your fork when you’re done and catch up with a relative you haven’t seen in a while. You can also see if anyone wants to go on a post-dinner walk to be active on a typically sedentary day. If you’d rather avoid the temptation of dessert altogether, you can time the walk for when your host begins to break out the pie.

Having strategies in place like the above can help you navigate Thanksgiving Day after bariatric surgery. If you’re considering weight loss surgery or have questions about bariatric procedures, we can help. Contact us to learn if weight loss surgery is right for you.

 

How to Eat Out at Restaurants After Bariatric Surgery

For many bariatric patients, the thought of going out to eat after surgery is a bit frightening. Thoughts of  “I can’t eat anything on here” or “nothing on the menu is healthy” are common concerns.

There is good news. Life after bariatric surgery doesn’t mean eating a bland diet of home-cooked meals every day for the rest of your life. If your food isn’t flavorful or doesn’t allow you to socialize, you’re likely going to struggle to stick to your diet. However, you may not know how to order from restaurants while also following your doctor’s instructions. The list below will provide recommendations on making bariatric-friendly food substitutions as well as what to avoid while ordering out for meals.

restaurant with empty booths and tables

  1. Choose restaurants with a lot of options. After bariatric surgery, you should avoid certain foods and beverages as they aren’t well-tolerated or may cause unwanted reactions. You should skip out on carbonated drinks like sodas or sugary drinks like sweet tea. Caffeine and spicy food may cause issues as well, but that doesn’t mean you can’t order from restaurants along with your family and friends. While fast food places may not have the options you need, plenty of other restaurants have bariatric-friendly food choices like grilled meats, fish, vegetarian or vegetable-based dishes, and so on.
  2. Browse the menu ahead of time. Scanning the menu before you go to order can help you avoid being stuck with limited choices. If your only option is a bland house salad, you may be tempted to order something that doesn’t work well with your new diet and anatomy. Trying to make smart food choices on the spot can be difficult as well. This will become easier with time as you learn your new diet options. Until then, many restaurants list their menus online so you can see your options in advance. Several also highlight a lighter fare menu that includes many items that align with a bariatric diet. If you know what you’re going to order, you won’t feel under pressure to decide when everyone else is ready to order.
  3. Focus on a protein + veggie combo. Protein will play a pivotal role in your meals as it helps maintain your muscle mass. Look for options that are baked, grilled, or steamed as opposed to battered, braised, fried, or sauteed. You’ll want to avoid carb-heavy or fatty sides like fries and pasta as well. These types of sides are often high in calories with little protein or other nutritional value. Instead, swap them out for a salad or vegetable to stay on your diet and avoid an upset stomach.
  4. Keep portion control in mind. Most restaurants serve up to three times the recommended serving size for their entrees. Even if you know this in advance, seeing the food may tempt you to stray from your calorie goal. To avoid this, ask for a to-go box along with your entree so you can put away half of it before you begin your meal. This can help prevent overeating, bloating, and other discomforts. You can also ask if the restaurant offers lunch sizes or half-size entrees as these will be more reasonable portion sizes.
  5. Practice mindful eating. You should pay attention to every bite you take to make sure you savor your meal. Eating too quickly can introduce air into the stomach, which will make you feel bloated and uncomfortable. It also makes it more difficult to tell when you’re full as you’re eating faster than your brain can process. This can lead to overeating, which is uncomfortable and can stretch out your new stomach. Chew slowly and take note of how the food smells and tastes to enjoy the full experience of your meal.

If you don’t enjoy your meals or isolate yourself from your support network after surgery, it will be difficult to stick to your diet. Once you learn which restaurants have the most bariatric-friendly menus, you can order out with your friends and family with ease. Contact us to learn more about bariatric surgery for weight loss.

 

How is COVID-19 Affecting People with Eating Disorders?

A simple Google search will yield countless results regarding COVID-19 and weight. In fact, the #1 result for the search is the phone number for the National Eating Disorders Association. Frustrations range from weight gain to slow weight loss progress to irritation with the jokes about gaining the “COVID 19” or “quarantine 15.”

However, while the average person may be backsliding on their diet, COVID-19 poses a much greater challenge for individuals with eating disorders. Officials at the NEDA Helpline said their chat queries increased 83 percent between April 2019 and April 2020.

To make matter sworse, many states have issued stay-at-home orders. This isolation is the perfect environment for eating disorders. Read on to find out how to prevent this.

COVID-19 and Eating Disorder Triggers

Social isolation and anxiety combined with perceived food shortages can trigger unhealthy emotional eating habits. Eating disorder helplines and doctors specializing in eating disorders alike are reporting a massive increase in the number of calls and appointments they’re receiving and scheduling. Managing an eating disorder without the added stress of a pandemic is challenging as it is. With COVID-19, recovery is even more difficult to achieve and sustain.

Eating Disorders and Anxiety

More often than not, patients with eating disorders suffer from anxiety. The eating disorder manifests as a means of control. When the individual feels like their life is spiraling, deciding when and how they eat can give them a sense of control. With COVID-19, many people feel like they’ve lost control of their life and wellbeing with so many unknowns about the virus. For someone with an eating disorder, the pandemic can trigger unhealthy ways to cope with this loss of agency.

Eating Disorders and Food Scarcity

Between panic shopping and supply chain problems, grocery stores often have at least one empty shelf. This perceived lack of food can trigger unhealthy behaviors in individuals with anorexia as well as those who binge eat. Individuals with anorexia may avoid buying food because of concerns that there won’t be enough food for someone else they deem more deserving. Discovering their safe foods are out of stock can also trigger unhealthy coping mechanisms. For individuals who binge eat, hoarding food can be problematic. While many people are stocking up to avoid frequent grocery trips, having excess food can present the temptation to binge eat.

Eating Disorders and Isolation

Individuals struggling with an eating disorder typically isolate themselves to conceal their food rituals and behaviors. They’re adept at secrecy and stay at home orders can entice many to slip back into old habits. While the average person is struggling with isolation, people with eating disorders are struggling to maintain a healthy relationship with food. Guilt and feelings of unworthiness plague them when they experience a setback. Combine that with social distancing, and many won’t reach out for support.

Increased Risk from COVID-19

The biggest concern for individuals with an eating disorder is what their risk profile looks like should they contract the virus. Several factors make individuals with eating disorders more susceptible to severe cases of COVID-19:

  • Low body weight. Individuals suffering from anorexia are often underweight and may not have the muscle tone to cough effectively to expel secretions from their lungs. They’re also less likely to develop fevers, which can prevent an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Compounding the problem, many anorexic individuals are malnourished and their organs will further deteriorate while combating an illness. Anorexic patients that have a normal or close-to-normal body weight can still suffer from these complications as well as they typically have the same systemic dysfunctions as underweight individuals with anorexia.
  • Dehydration. Bulimic individuals who chronically purge are often dehydrated with low levels of electrolytes, potassium, and magnesium. If they contract COVID-19 in this state, they are at increased risk for respiratory and cardiac complications.
  • Inaccurate snap judgments. When doctors and nurses triage patients, the person’s outer appearance can sway their judgment. Medical providers may assume that an individual who looks healthy on the outside is healthy on the inside and not realize there are several comorbidities at play.

Weight plays a significant role in COVID-19 outcomes. Overweight individuals and people with eating disorders alike are at an increased risk of developing severe symptoms from COVID-19. Contact us to learn more about maintaining a healthy weight for better physical and mental wellness.

 

How to Stop Gaining Weight During COVID-19

It’s not a secret that many Americans are noticing an alarming amount of weight gain as they remain indoors to adhere to social distancing and stay at home orders. While some are still attempting to maintain their workout routines, many are beginning to complain about the number on the scale creeping up or their clothes fitting uncomfortably tight.

Why People are Gaining Weight Even with Good Diets and Exercise

A certain demographic never seems to let anything interrupt their fitness regimen. They’re still food prepping, finding ways to maintain their exercise, and sticking to overall healthy lifestyles. Yet, these same individuals are struggling with weight gain right alongside their less active peers. There are two major culprits behind this unexplained weight gain: boredom and stress.

While many people may think their diet hasn’t changed while working from home, boredom can lead to unnecessary snacking. It helps pass the time and gives idle hands something to do besides scrolling absentmindedly through social media. Even if the snack options are healthy, calories add up no matter the source. If a person is eating more, the scale and the way their clothes fit will reflect.

Stress is also a common source of weight gain. When under stress, the body produces excess cortisol. High levels of cortisol can lead to stubborn fat that refuses to budge, particularly in the belly zone. Combine boredom eating with high levels of stress hormones, and even the best-intentioned fitness gurus are struggling to maintain their physique.

How to Implement Better Weight Loss and Nutrition Habits

Stick to a Schedule

The single biggest thing people can control to reduce the likelihood of weight gain during COVID-19 is to stay on their typical schedule. While it may be tempting to sleep in since many people are working from home and have no commute, it can derail the entire day including when they eat. Eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same times as usual can cut down on excessive snacking. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can also ensure individuals are getting enough rest, which is critical for weight loss.

Log Foods to Avoid Mindless Snacking

Another great way to keep food intake under control is to keep a food log. Fitness apps often let people scan barcodes on food for simple tracking. Scanning or logging in meals and snacks allows people to remain aware of what they’re eating. This helps them be more mindful about their snack choices or reconsider munching on junk food altogether.

Find Creative and Healthy Food Options

Trips to the grocery store aren’t as simple as they used to be. Many grocery stores are limiting the number of people allowed in at once, which makes grocery shopping a much bigger hassle than it used to be. Most people are reducing how often they make trips to the store as well to avoid coming into contact with other people. This can make keeping fresh fruits and veggies on hand a challenge.

The following are some ideas for keeping well stocked in healthy snack options:

  • Canned or frozen fruits
  • Canned or frozen vegetables
  • Canned chicken or tuna
  • Greek yogurt
  • Light string cheese
  • Nuts
  • Raisins

Finding snacks that are high in fiber and protein can help people feel fuller for longer, which can reduce snacking in general.

Cut Out Caloric Beverages

Many people fail to realize just how many calories they’re consuming from their drink choices. Loading coffee up with sugar and cream can add up to hundreds of calories before individuals are even fully awake. Juices and sports drinks are usually loaded with sugar as well. Switching to black coffee or using lighter flavoring options in the morning and opting for water instead of juice throughout the day can shave off a significant number of calories from any given day.

Keeping up with fitness routines during COVID-19 requires a certain degree of planning and creativity. If you find yourself struggling to lose weight, contact us to learn how we can help you achieve your health and fitness goals.

Exercise vs Dieting? What You Need to Know for Weight Loss

Every weight loss journey is different, and with so many fad diets making headlines, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Establishing a new diet and a new workout routine can seem daunting, especially for people who are just getting started on their health and fitness journey. Numerous gimmicks have flooded the market, muddying the waters even further. 

Keto, paleo, low-carb, Whole30, intermittent fasting, and the Mediterranean diet are just a few of the diet trends drawing attention from the health and fitness community. As for exercise, high intensity interval training (HIIT), hot yoga, and subscription streaming at-home workouts plans remain popular. However, many people are looking for the silver bullet to their weight loss woes and want to know which is best—diet or exercise.

Balancing Dietary and Fitness Needs

Benefits of Exercise for Weight Loss

As the adage goes, when it comes to diet and exercise, you can’t have one without the other and expect rapid results. While it is possible to lose weight through diet alone, it’s often difficult to target fat loss. When an individual restricts calories without supporting it through exercise, he or she will lose weight from muscle mass and bone density as well. This isn’t a desirable outcome as muscle takes up less space than fat.

Exercise also boasts a number of health benefits including:

  • Reducing blood sugar
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Improving heart health
  • Reducing stress
  • Increasing muscle mass
  • Enhancing metabolic function

Benefits of Diet for Weight Loss

With all that being said, there is no way to exercise away a bad diet. Individuals could run a half marathon daily and still pack on the pounds if their diets include excessive fast food, fried foods, sodium-heavy foods, and other unhealthy choices. Snacking can also creep up on people as a bag of chips here and a candy bar there add up over the day. Without even realizing it, people can bust their calorie budget. 

Individuals noticing the scale creep up every year without understanding why are usually guilty of occasional indulgences. Without paying attention to this snacking habit, the pounds can add up much like spending a few dollars a day on coffee can tally up to almost $100 by the end of the month. 

Another common problem with diet is choosing the wrong portions. Many people fail to realize their plates should be half fruits and vegetables, one-fourth protein, and one-fourth whole grains. Many pile on the carbs while ignoring fruits and vegetables altogether. Of those that do include fruits and vegetables, many are choosing the starchy or high-sugar options that aren’t helping their waistlines such as potatoes or apple juice. 

Finally, for individuals who are dieting and exercising without seeing results, the problem often lies with their food choices. Not all calories weigh in the same and simply aiming for a certain calorie goal is going to fall short of weight loss expectations. Individuals whose diets are high in carbohydrates and unhealthy fats will struggle to lose weight at the same rate as those whose diets take a balanced approach to nutrition. 

Are Fad Diets Worth the Craze?

Many popular diets of late focus on restricting carbohydrates to the extreme and many people are raving about their results. The problem with these diets is they are not sustainable. This leads to a yoyo effect on the scale, which can crush self-esteem. The word diet itself implies something short-term. What many people need is a lifestyle change to make sure the results stick. 

This information is nothing new even if would-be dieters wish it wasn’t so. A study started by The National Weight Control Registry back in 1994 followed more than 10,000 people through their weight loss journey. Of those individuals that kept the weight off for years, the study found that only 1% managed to keep the weight off through exercise alone, 10% through diet alone, and 89% through a combination of both.

The Solution for Sustained Weight Loss

Experts have said time and again that diet and exercise combined is the best approach. Individuals will experience the greatest success by focusing 80% on their diet and 20% on their exercise regimen. As for what people should put on their plates, experts recommend a balanced diet that focuses on fresh fruits and veggies, lean proteins, and whole grains. In regards to exercise, individuals should consult their physicians to determine their fitness level before starting a new workout routine. 

Even with diet and exercise, some individuals may need medical intervention to achieve significant results. If you’re struggling to lose weight through diet and exercise, The WRAP may be for you. It’s one of the newest weight loss surgeries available to help tackle those last stubborn 20 pounds. Less invasive than other weight loss surgeries, The WRAP is an innovative weight loss procedure. Contact us to learn how we can help you achieve your weight loss goals.

How to Overhaul Your Diet for Better Weight Loss

Thousands of Americans struggle with their weight and many of them are falling victim to common pitfalls that hinder successful weight loss. With the start of the New Year, many people made grand resolutions like nixing alcohol for “Dry January” or starting restricting fad diets in an effort to quickly shed significant amounts of weight.

The problem with massive, abrupt change is it’s hard to maintain. Those individuals may see results while taking on a short-term challenge, but the pounds usually creep back up on the scale once they return to their usual eating habits. What this indicates is that people trying to lose weight need a lifestyle change—not a quick fix.

The following are several ways to overhaul your diet to see realistic weight loss that is sustainable:

  1. Pile your plate with fruits and vegetables. Most people don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables in their diet. In fact, people should be aiming for two cups of fruit and two and a half cups of vegetables every day. While this may sound excessive, it’s easy to achieve when spread out over the course of the day. Salsa over scrambled eggs counts as a serving of veggies. healthy salad on a table outside with bottle of oilOrdering a side salad with lunch or vegetable soup instead of going for the breadsticks is another way to meet veggie intake goals. For people who can’t stand vegetables, there are a lot ofways to hide them in your diet such as cooking them down in pasta sauces or mixing them in with ground beef. Parfaits and fruit smoothies are great ways to mix up fruits to make them more interesting for your palate as well.
  2. Opt for water over sugary drinks. It’s not uncommon for people to swing through the local coffee shop drive-through for a latte or cappuccino before work. Many also order sweet tea, soda, or other sugary drinks with their lunch. By doing this, these individuals are drinking hundreds of extra calories and consuming excessive sugar. Opting for water instead can save those calories. Not only that, but dehydration can make people feel falsely hungry when they’re actually thirsty. Drinking water can prevent people from munching on snacks and adding on extra pounds as a result.
  3. Choose the right fats. Fat became a dirty word for much of the dieting public in past decades, but people need fat as part of a balanced diet. The type of fat, however, matters. Trans fat and saturated fats are the bad kinds as they contribute to high cholesterol and heart problems. Other fats like omega-3s are good for heart health and are commonly found in fish. Making simple switches can help reduce the consumption of bad fats as well such as switching from whole milk to fat-free milk, choosing a turkey or veggie burger over beef, or opting for nut butter like almond or walnut over peanut butter.
  4. Eat appropriate portions. Making simple changes like using smaller plates can go a long way toward reducing portion sizes. It also tricks the mind into thinking you’re full sooner because it visually looks like you ate enough by filling a smaller plate. Knowing basic portion sizes based on your hand can help as well. For example, a serving size of meat is roughly the size of your palm, a clenched fist is about a serving size of cooked rice, two handfuls is good for estimating a serving of veggies, and your thumb represents about two tablespoons—the serving size for peanut butter.soda cans in a row
  5. Pick positive motivators. Many individuals turn to social media for inspiration on their fitness journey. Influencers post diet plans, meal prep ideas, and more thatcan help keep people motivated as they overhaul their diet. However, it’s very easy to develop feelings of inadequacy over what you see on your phone. Many of these apps portray impossible to achieve goals or create unrealistic expectations. Nutrition studies have shown that more time on social media means an increased risk for overeating and body image problems. If your fitness apps aren’t motivating or are making you feel bad, it’s time to delete and unfollow.

Making healthy, sustainable changes to your diet is a great way to kick start your weight loss. However, even with healthy changes, it can be a challenge to lose those last stubborn pounds. If you’re struggling with weight loss, we can help. Contact us to learn how we can support you on your weight loss journey.