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.

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 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.

Dieting: 3 Steps to Avoid the Temptation to “Cheat”

How do you lose weight without struggling with temptation? The reason that surgical weight loss procedures are so effective is because they remove willpower from the equation. Weight loss procedures reduce temptation by decreasing your appetite or yearning for food, as well as decreasing the size of the stomach, not only limiting your meal size, but – more importantly – limiting your indulgence. While you are considering which weight loss procedure might be best for you, here are three tricks you can take to avoid temptation in the interim.

  1. Avoid Supermarkets

You may have had the experience of going into the supermarket with the intention of getting healthy snacks, but having missed a meal, you find yourself throwing Pop Tarts into your cart. If that is you, make sure to eat before you do your shopping. Better yet, you might consider making someone else do your shopping. There are many grocery-delivery services in cities across the nation. Relying on these services to do your shopping eliminates the need for you to enter the den of inequity, your neighborhood supermarket. Remove temptation from the equation.

  1. Keep Healthy Snacks On You

As a doctor, I advise people to always keep healthy snacks available. If you do that, when hunger strikes, you have a healthy option right at your fingertips. Slide a Ziplock bag of crunchy carrots into your purse so that when you feel the urge to splurge on a greasy burger you have them available. Carry a reasonable portion of roasted almonds in your glove box. It doesn’t matter what healthy snack catches your fancy but having it easily available will mean that you don’t need to fight the temptation to fill up on that slice of cheese cake.

  1. Keep Junk Food Out of Sight and Out of Mind

A study from New York’s St. Bonaventure University helps show that people are inherently lazy. These researchers found that if you need to actually get up to grab an unhealthy snack, you tend to eat less of it. So, if you give into the temptation to bring a snack that is high in calories into your house, at the very least, you should keep it out of the pantry you have easy access to. One of our clients keeps unhealthy treats in her guest room and she finds that this helps her naturally eat less of them.

I hope that these simple, easy tricks help you.

Wishing you continued success on your weight wellness journey!

Dr. Waldrep

Does Drinking Water Really Help You Lose Weight?

Most of us have spent our entire lives with parents, friends and doctors telling us we need to drink more water.  The most common belief is we need to drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon. This is called the 8×8 rule and is very easy to remember.  However, like everything, everyone is different, and this is just conventional wisdom.  In fact, according to Snopes this belief started back in 1945:

Back in 1945 the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council stated that adults should take in about 2.5 liters of water per day (which is roughly the equivalent of eight glasses of water), but it also noted most of that intake level was already satisfied through the consumption of food without the need for the additional drinking of water.

That’s right, we consume much of that needed water through food.

But what about the consumption for weight loss?  I’ve had many patients tell me they have increased their water intake with hopes of even a little weight loss, but have failed at losing any pounds with just increasing their water.  What they didn’t know was WHEN to drink it.  Fortunately, a UK-based study published in the journal Obesity found that people who drank a couple of glasses of water before every meal lost over 8.8 lbs during a three-month period.

Scientists at University of Birmingham concluded that the preliminary evidence was that “water preloading before main meals may be an effective weight loss strategy” because it helps people feel fuller and avoid pangs of hunger.

This article first appeared on PLOS Blogs.

So drink up before meals for the simplest strategy for losing pounds!

Have 50 or less pounds to lose?  My innovated approach to weight loss may be your answer.  Learn more about my innovative WRAP procedure.

A Happy New Year Boost to Help Achieve Your Goals

Happy New Year!  The best part of a new year is it gives you the opportunity for a new you and the opportunity to evaluate what is working for you and what things may need to shift in order to reach your goals….even though it sounds so cliché!

Now that we are in full swing into 2018, it’s a great time to commit to a healthy lifestyle.  Some of your 2018 goals may be to change your eating habits, increase nutritional value in your diet or increase how much exercise you get in each week.  Whatever your goal entails, it’s important to remember that practice doesn’t make perfect (since there is no such thing as perfect), practice makes permanent.  Whatever we do daily becomes what our lifestyle eventually becomes.  And it doesn’t mean you have to be perfect 24/7, it just means you must be consistent.  When you are making goals and resolutions, there is one thing that is very important to your success that will get you to your goal quicker:

Don’t just set your goals, write them down – You will find a certain kind of magic in reaching your goals if you write them down and make sure you set a date and time you will achieve them.  The most important part of building the permanent lifestyle you desire is to know where you are going.  It’s like driving to an address.  If you don’t have an address to where you are driving to, how will you get there?  To really succeed, set your goals so you know the road you need to travel to get there.

Great, so you have set your goals and have written them down.  It’s time to get busy and figure out helpful hints and tips to keep on track.

These tips will help you stay on track with your journey:

  1. Analyze your current eating habits.  As I discussed in a previous blog, calories are not like snowballs, we may think we have cut down our calories, but we didn’t count the two handfuls of popcorn at the movies or the three bity bites of cake after lunch.  We don’t even think about them because they seem so small and insignificant., but they add up!  Often times we have so many insignificant (so we think) moments that we don’t even realize it has become a habit to ignore them and once ignored…..we keep eating them.  The most important factor in changing your eating habits is to make changes that you can live with forever. Habits can last a lifetime, so make sure that your eating habits will keep you healthy and happy.  Once you know what your habits really are, you can map out your meals.  Maybe you are better at just three meals a day and just need to change food choices or maybe you are a snacker throughout the day and need six smaller meals a day.  Start small on your changes and make new habits that become permanent.
  2. Never go grocery shopping when you are hungry.  Plan to eat something before you go because if you don’t and you are starving walking the aisle, it’s so easy to get sucked in to buying bad food choices.  Make sure you also stick to the shopping list with great focus and only get those items.
  3. Slow down your eating.  Your brain takes around 20 minutes to register the chemicals that tell your brain you are full.  After your meal, the levels continue to rise over 10 to 30 minutes.  If you slow down and let your brain catch up, you will eat less.
  4. That brings me to my next tip…..don’t ever get to the point of feeling so hungry you would eat anything.  It’s nearly impossible for anyone to slow down their eating if they are so hungry anything and everything sounds good to eat.  If you need a little snack to get you to dinner time, eat a healthy one loaded with nutrition to get you to dinner.

We must eat to survive and eating really is an enjoyable experience. However, none of us like to feel overweight, tired, sluggish and foggy.  And that is what happens with unhealthy eating habits, binging, and choices that don’t serve us.  So, write down your goals, follow tips that help you stay on track with you goals and remember to celebrate each successful step no matter how small.

My trusted staff is now available to help guide you to meeting your healthy lifestyle goals.  To learn more, contact us today!

Feeding the Hungry Soul

Most of us eat three times a day, but how often do feel really satiated? We know a heap of blueberry pancakes and fried bacon satisfies us much more than a half grapefruit. But we tell ourselves that it’s not “healthy” to indulge ourselves. Instead of eating with gusto and enjoying the experience, we hold ourselves in check at the hope of losing those pounds. This limitation doesn’t just involve our food choices; it’s reflected in other aspects of our lives, like our creativity, focus and energy. We stuff our healthy need for body, mind and soul nourishment down, hoping our strong determination alone can hold it all together.

Most people believe and are convinced that weight loss involves depriving themselves of all the things that nourish us.  The trick to healthy weight loss starts with destroying our unhealthy mental beliefs about weight.  For example, most people believe that weight problems are caused by lack of willpower or that the answer to weight issues is simply to “eat less and exercise more.”  Sound familiar?  If only it could be that simple!

The truth is, a healthy diet does not mean chocolate soufflé is permanently off the menu. The first step is to get educated based on proven science. For example, did you know that delicious foods, such as carbohydrates, make us feel calm and content? These foods change our brain’s chemistry by increasing levels of serotonin. Serotonin is a natural feel-good enzyme created in the body. Think of it this way: pasta and potatoes are nature’s version of an anti-depressant!

When we begin to untangle so many of our self-imposed prejudices surrounding food, it begins our path to successful weight loss.  In fact, lusty appetites are “natural,” rather than a personal failing.  The importance here is portion size versus having the self-control to completely deprive ourselves the joy of tantalizing our taste buds.

Start building your foundation to a much healthier view about hunger, your body, and your needs.  Email Us today learn how Dr. Waldrep can show you alternative ways to help you succeed in your weight loss journey!