Many members ask our weight loss physician which essentials they should have in their pantries and refrigerators at all times. Planning in advance is key to eating healthy—it stops you from hitting the vending machines or going through the drive-thru when time is short or you’re on the go. Even when there is no time to cook, you can throw together healthy snacks, meals and smoothies if you have a few of the following items on hand.
Read on to see five essentials that our weight loss doctor recommends stocking up on, whether you’re trying to lose weight or attain better health through nutrition.
1. Fruit. This should be a no-brainer. Smoothies are a lifesaver when you’re on the go. If you can’t hit the store or farmers’ market all the time, frozen fruit is an excellent alternative to fresh. Just make sure that the frozen fruit you buy isn’t packed with added sugars. Apples, peaches and mangoes make an excellent base for smoothies, while berries can add a flavorful antioxidant punch to everything from cereal, steel-cut oatmeal and pancakes to salads and wraps.
2. Veggies. Both fresh and frozen veggies can save the day in a pinch. Stir fry them with a handful of nuts for a fiber-rich meal with healthy fats. Opt for organic when possible and stay away from sauces and those seasoning packets that come with frozen vegetables whenever you can.
3. Beans. Legumes are an excellent source of protein and fiber, making them very filling—ideal for those following diets and weight management programs. Toss them into salads, soups, casseroles or put them into a spinach or whole-wheat tortilla to make a healthy burrito, quesadilla or wrap.
4. Seed and nut butters. Seed and nut butters are filling and packed with healthy fats that benefit cardiovascular health, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and can decrease risk of obesity. However, they need to be eaten in moderation—even though they contain healthy fat, they can easily be overdone. As with everything—moderation is key!
5. Herbs and spices. Not only do herbs and spices add zing to your meal, most are loaded with beneficial antioxidants and properties that have shown to boost metabolism. Everything from cinnamon and ginger to cayenne pepper and garlic powder can help improve your overall health.
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A question we’ve heard a lot from members of our weight loss center recently is “Why do we need more protein and fiber in our diets?” When you’re trying to lose weight or follow a weight loss management plan, these are two essential components you should strive to get into your diet. Read on to learn why both fiber and lean protein should be a fundamental part of your meals.
Consumption of lean protein is critical—we need it in our diet, coupled with exercise, to build muscle and maintain what we already have. Our muscle mass decreases with age, which in turn, slows down our metabolism and can lead to weight gain. Loss of muscle mass doesn’t just lead to extra pounds; it can increase the risk of injury, especially the older you get. To combat these issues now and in the future, consume lean protein and get your workouts in. Keep in mind that, the more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn on a daily basis.
Another reason why protein is key for dieting and weight loss management is that it helps keep us fuller longer after each meal. It slows down our digestion and actually uses more calories in the process. Have a lean protein-rich breakfast like an egg and vegetable omelet to help you feel less hungry throughout the entire day.
Dietary fiber in an equally important component of a healthy diet. There are two main types, soluble and insoluble, both of which are important for digestion and overall health. Soluble fiber attracts and dissolves in water, forming a gel in our digestive system, effectively slowing down the emptying of your stomach, which is why you feel fuller longer. Some excellent sources include nuts, lentils, steel cut oatmeal, and produce such as oranges, apples, pears, blueberries, strawberries, cucumbers, celery, beans and carrots.
While insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, it can add bulk to your diet. Found primarily in vegetables and whole grains, insoluble fiber passes through the gastrointestinal tract relatively intact, speeding up the passage of both food and waste through your system.
We hope this helps you understand the importance of these type of nutrients. Visit this link to learn more about working with our weight loss center.
Chicken is an essential part of any low carb diet, but especially for those trying to lose weight and get into better shape. At our weight loss clinic, we strongly recommend that our members eat poultry-based meals, as lean protein helps us to increase our lean muscle mass, which in turn, boosts the number of calories our bodies burn on a daily basis.
Consuming chicken is a great way to achieve better health through nutrition, because it’s a complete protein. This means that it contains all the essential amino acids we need to have in our diets. It’s especially rich in tryptophan, the amino acid that boosts your serotonin levels, which can reduce stress, improve your mood and help you get better sleep. Chicken also boasts an array of other nutrients with significant health benefits, such as phosphorus, zinc, selenium, and vitamins B5 and B6, among others.
If you’re eating chicken on a daily basis as a means to attain better health through nutrition, you need an arsenal of tasty recipes to keep it fresh and new. The recipe below is a favorite among our members.
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8 ounces chicken breast, skinless
2 tbsp stone ground Dijon mustard
1 tbsp coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp yellow mustard
2 tbsp raw, organic honey (Manuca is an excellent option)
1 ½ tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup scallions, chopped
Pre-heat oven to 400 F. Combine all the ingredients, except for the chicken and oil, in a bowl and mix well—this is the sauce. Rub half of the sauce on the chicken. *Alternatively, you can marinade the chicken in the sauce for anywhere from two hours to overnight.
Lightly grease a skillet with your choice of oil. Saute the chicken on medium for approximately three minutes per side.
Pour the remaining sauce onto the chicken. Then place it onto a baking sheet and put in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
Makes 2-3 servings
How are your resolutions going? Whether you’ve been working with a weight loss doctor or on your own, dieting can be tough. To achieve the results you want—and keep them for the long term—you need to overhaul your lifestyle and make good decisions on a daily basis. Diets and weight management programs aren’t magical, it takes motivation and discipline to reach your goals in a healthy way.
Instead of looking for a quick fix, try to affect some of the strategies below over a reasonable time period. These tips, coupled with positivity and patience, will help you transform your lifestyle and your waistline.
1. Take before and after photos. This strategy is extremely motivating.
2. Set small goals. Instead of thinking about your ultimate weight loss goal, like losing 30 pounds, break it down into small, more manageable objectives. Focus on losing the next two to five pounds and you won’t be so overwhelmed.
3. Find a source of support. Whether its meeting others who follow the same diets or weight management programs or working out with a friend, support will make the process easier for you overall. It will also add a level of accountability that can be very motivating.
4. Have a visual motivator. Buy a new outfit as a reward for your hard work and hang it somewhere you can see it as a visual reminder.
5. Be gentle with yourself. Don’t beat yourself up when you slip up on your diet or miss a workout. Be compassionate with yourself and just get right back on the horse.
6. Log your workouts. Track your exercise routine—this will give you an instant feeling of accomplishment. Write it down in a journal old school style or get one of the myriad fitness apps such as MyFitnessPal.
7. Switch up your workouts. Don’t do the same exercise routine every single day—it’s a straight path to a plateau. Mix it up—go for a run one day, hit the gym the next, and take a flexibility training class on another day. Make sure to incorporate some strength training.
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Super Bowl is this weekend, which means parties, barbecues and the like. Whether you’re watching the game at home or at someone else’s house, preparing a healthy, low carb dish for the shindig will help you stay on track with whichever diets or weight loss management programs you’re following. Read on for a delicious recipe that will replace those fat-laden potato skins that are a favorite at Super Bowl parties, but tastes just as good.
The major swap in this recipe is cauliflower for potatoes. This cruciferous vegetable is rich in dietary fiber, which makes it extra filling. It’s also loaded with an amazing array of antioxidants and phytonutrients, such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, quercetin, kaempferol, rutin and cinnamic acid, among others. It’s an excellent source of choline, which plays a critical role in brain function and development, and sulforaphane, a sulfur compound that has been shown to significantly improve blood pressure and kidney function, while killing cancer stem cells, which ultimately slows tumor growth.
Whether you’re cheering for the Patriots or the Seahawks, serve this delicious recipe up and you’re sure to be a winner. For more information on our diets and weight loss management programs, visit this link.
2 cups cauliflower
2 tbsp scallions, chopped
4 slices turkey bacon, cooked and chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup low fat sour cream
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Puree the cauliflower in a food processor. Add two tbsp. of the mixture into each cup of a muffin pan and spread out to approximately one half inch thickness along the bottom and the sides of each cup. Bake for half an hour (or until firm). Once they’re out of the oven, remove them from each muffin cup with a knife and place on a pre-greased cookie sheet. Fill each cup with bacon and cheese and return to the oven for five to seven minutes, or until melted. Put a dollop of sour cream on each. Sprinkle the scallions over each and serve.
Makes one dozen.
As we all know by now, one of the best ways to enhance diets and weight management programs is to work out regularly. A solid exercise program will boost and expedite your efforts while improving your overall health. Below are some tips for maximizing those workouts so you can hit your weight loss goal that much faster. If you are just starting to exercise after a hiatus, please be sure to check with your weight loss physician to make sure it is safe for you to work out.
1. Get support. Either enlist a workout buddy or invest in a trainer. A workout buddy will help you stay committed to your plan—you’ll be less apt to leave someone else hanging when you made an appointment to meet for a run. Hiring a trainer is a great investment as they’ll help you develop the most efficient workout and properly set goals, while teaching you new exercises and keeping you motivated.
2. Mix it up. Don’t get stuck in an exercise rut—it’s the quickest path to a plateau. Choose different types of workouts for your week, such as two days of strength training, three days of cardio, one exercise class, a run or a walk—you get the drift. You’ll prevent burnout and target a wider range of muscles than if you stuck to the same workout each day. Ask your medical weight loss physician for suggestions if you are new to the exercise game.
3. Exercise in the morning. Research shows that morning workouts are most effective for the majority. You’ll rev your metabolism for the day and won’t hit that unexpected midday obstacle that makes it difficult to maintain your workout commitment.
4. Focus on intensity. Intensity is more important than duration. Find and maintain the right level throughout your session to maximize your calorie burn. Remember to challenge yourself, but don’t overdo it or put yourself at risk for injury.
5. Get out of your comfort zone. If your workout is too easy, it’s not effective. You can tell that you’re too deep in your comfort zone if you’re not sweating. When you recognize this happening during your workout, step up both the intensity and duration and mix it up even more!
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This is an excellent, filling recipe for those of you who are dieting and working with a weight loss doctor to trim your waistline and undo the holiday damage. Since you can still get pumpkin this time of year, why not incorporate it into your diet for a colorful, filling and delicious meal?
As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, pumpkin is loaded with dietary fiber and protein, which will fill you up and promote healthy digestion. They’re the perfect choice for those following weight management programs, as pumpkins are naturally low in fat and calories. Plus, the combination of pumpkin and cinnamon in this recipe will also keep your sweet tooth in check. In addition, pumpkins are an excellent source of carotenoids such as beta-carotene, which helps reduce inflammation and combat free radical damage.
Quinoa is considered a superfood due to its high content of fiber, protein and other nutrients. It’s gluten-free and packed with important minerals such as magnesium, manganese, folate, phosphorus, copper, potassium, iron and zinc. Quinoa also contains trace amounts of niacin, calcium and vitamin E.
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2 Cups Quinoa
1 Stock Cube
2 cups fresh pumpkin, cut into wedges
2 cups grams Brussels sprouts, diced
½ cup scallions, chopped
1 fresh lemon
8 sundried tomatoes
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 390 degrees. Place the pumpkin wedges onto a tray and sprinkle the scallions over them. Drizzle olive oil over the wedges and then sprinkle cinnamon over them. Roast for 30 minutes, turning over after 15 minutes.
While the pumpkin wedges are roasting, boil the quinoa in a saucepan and then simmer. Add the stock and stir every few minutes.
In another pan, saute the Brussels sprouts in extra virgin olive oil until they start to get soft. Add the sundried tomatoes and saute. When they are done, combine with the quinoa. Add the fresh lemon juice. Sprinkle with the parsley and freshly ground pepper. Mix with the pumpkin wedges and serve!
The New Year is an exciting time, a fresh start for people to make changes that will improve their lives. If you’re a typical American, you probably have made weight loss one of your New Year’s resolutions. No matter what type of diets or weight loss management programs you choose, you need some strategies to help you reach your goals. Read on for some excellent tips from the staff at our medical weight loss center.
1. Make peace with your triggers. Instead of swearing off your favorite foods forever—which we all know isn’t going to stick—make peace with them. If you love chocolate, don’t swear it off for good, because you’ll most likely binge when you do get your hands on some. Don’t have it in your pantry or on your desk, but allow yourself a treat on your cheat day.
2. Get real. Don’t strive for an unrealistic goal—like losing 20 pounds in two months. When you go too big, chances are that you’ll just just get discouraged and give up. Instead, set small realistic goals that are easier to achieve and measure, like lose four to five pounds in a month—and then re-up when you reach that milestone.
3. Get basic. Instead of doing an abrupt makeover to your routine and eating plan, make some basic changes to your lifestyle. Try making one or two changes a week, such as drinking an extra bottler of water every day or increasing the duration of your workout by five minutes each week. You must be willing to modify your lifestyle in order to sustain weight loss, so pick changes that you can easily get accustomed to.
4. Enlist a buddy. Find one of your friends who wants to lose weight and/or get in shape and commit to your goals together. This will help hold you accountable and give you support when the going gets tough. When you know your workout buddy is meeting you at the gym in the morning, it will be that much harder for you to cancel.
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image: elephantjournal.com, photo courtesy Alan Cleaver
If you’re like the rest of the country, you’re probably making losing weight a resolution this year. If that’s the case, our medical weight loss doctor is offering some suggestions to help you refine your diet resolutions so that you can achieve your goal for 2015.
1. Track it. Research shows that those who keep a food diary have an easier time achieving their weight loss goals. Be detailed—at least in the very beginning—and include the things we often don’t consider, such as condiments and drinks. This will help you see where you can easily make changes and help you create more mindful eating habits overall. Logging your intake also helps you identify your consumption patterns and triggers so you can make better choices.
2. Start your day right. Enjoy a healthy breakfast every day—it’s the worst meal to skip (not that you should skip any). You need a protein- and fiber-rich breakfast to give your energy, fill you up and jumpstart your metabolism. Research shows that those who skip breakfast tend to overeat later in the day as a result.
3. Make it easy to move it. Find a fun exercise class, get a workout buddy or schedule walks throughout the day to increase your physical activity levels. Buy yourself some fitted, nice looking workout clothes to give you extra motivation.
4. Swap dessert for fruit. Better yet, think of fruit as your dessert. The best choice you can make to satisfy your sweet tooth is with fruit. Opt for fiber-rich berries, bananas, apples, pears, kiwi—whatever fruit floats your boat.
5. Start on a Monday. Much research shows that diets that start on Mondays tend to be most successful. Take advantage of each fresh start and don’t beat yourself up when you have a bad day or week.
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Avoiding Christmas weight gain may take some strategy and planning, but the good news is, you can succeed and still enjoy your holiday festivities. If you’ve been dieting and working with a weight loss physician, you won’t want to sacrifice the results you’ve experienced so far. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to stay on track this season and combat the Christmas weight creep.
1. Watch the alcohol. The calories in alcohol, let alone the mixers, can cause some serious damage to your waistline. If going alcohol-free for the holidays isn’t an option, at least make good choices. Opt for white wine or low-calorie spirits, use smaller glasses and have a glass of water in between each drink.
2. Beware of the buffet. The types of food typically served at a buffet can be fat- and calorie-laden. Stay away from the processed cold cuts, white bread and baked goods as much as possible. Fill up with veggies and hummus if it’s offered and look for protein-rich options.
3. Don’t arrive hungry. One of the worst things you can do is “save up” all day and show up to a party or dinner on a hungry stomach. You’ll most likely overeat and choose the most fattening options on the table when you show up starving. Eat a healthy breakfast and have protein-rich snacks like hard-boiled eggs the day of your event so that you’re less likely to go big at dinner.
4. Keep moving. Make it a point to get to the gym, go for a run, or hit your favorite exercise class—every day you can. If you’re having a big Christmas dinner, try to at least go for a walk at some point of the day.
5. Stay positive. If you do overindulge one day, wake up the next and start fresh. Don’t be hard on yourself and don’t give up.
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