Weight Management

Four “Healthy” Foods That Sabotage Weight Loss

Multigrain BreadIf you’re trying to lose weight, it’s easy to fall into the trap of all of the “healthy” products food companies are pushing these days. Extra calories can be cleverly hidden in these products, sabotaging even the most well-intentioned consumer. The best way to manage or lose weight healthily is to control portion sizes and to eat a balanced diet consisting of lots of fresh or frozen fruits and veggies, lean proteins like chicken, fish, and beans, and low fat dairy. Do your best to avoid these sneaky “health” foods at your grocery store.

Fruited or flavored yogurt
The benefits of yogurt are plenty. It’s a good source of calcium, the live active cultures in yogurt help promote a healthy and happy digestive tract and it packs a protein punch (especially Greek yogurt). But this health food angel can often be a devil in disguise. Fruited or flavored yogurts are usually low fat or fat free, but can have as much as 31 grams of sugar in one six-ounce container! That’s almost eight teaspoons of sugar in your so-called “healthy” snack. Get all the benefits of yogurt without the extra sugar by buying plain, nonfat yogurt (Greek or regular) and adding your own fresh or frozen fruit.

Enhanced waters
Staying hydrated is important to maintaining a healthy weight, but getting the recommended eight glasses a day is difficult for some. Many people fight plain-water boredom by drinking enhanced waters like Vitaminwater. These are basically sugar water and a vitamin pill. If you eat a well-balanced diet filled with fruits, veggies, whole grains, and low fat dairy, you may be getting enough nutrients from food. Do your waistline a favor and drink plain , calorie-free tap, purified, or bottled water. Check out this previous blog post for ideas on making regular water taste delicious without the extra calories.

Fast food salads
Fast food chains want you to believe you really can eat healthy at their restaurants. Many have extensive salad offerings to reel in weight conscious consumers. But beware: the dressings, toppings, and add-ons for these salads can add as much as 500 extra calories to your healthy bowl of fresh veggies. What’s more, the nutritious parts of a salad, like tomatoes and cucumbers, are often used sparingly. If you find yourself with no other choice besides fast food, your best bet is a grilled chicken sandwich — hold the mayo — paired with a side salad. Don’t forget to use the dressing sparingly!

‘Multi-grain’ products
Whole grains are an important part of a balanced diet, giving us carbohydrates for energy and several key nutrients. But don’t confuse ‘multi-grain’ with whole grain. A whole grain product will contain all parts of the grain: the germ, the bran and the endosperm. Whole grains provide essential fatty acids, fiber,and B vitamins. Unfortunately, a lot of the grains in our food supply are refined. A refined grain has the germ and the bran removed, leaving the endosperm, which is mostly nutrient-poor starch. Refined grain flour is easy to work with in cookies, cakes, and breads, which makes it a cheap and versatile ingredient for food manufactures. A food company can claim their product is ‘multi-grain’ even if all of its grains are refined. The term implies nothing about the product’s nutritional value, and it could still have the same amount of calories and fat as any other cookie, cake or cracker out there. To make the right choice, look at the ingredients list on the package label. Look for the word “whole” before the grain listed, and make sure it’s one of the first two ingredients. Better yet, avoid packaged or processed foods and choose whole grains you can see: oats, brown rice, bulgur or quinoa.

Author: Courtney Plush, MS, Emory Healthcare Dietetic Intern

As it Turns Out, Apples May Keep More Than Just the Doctor Away

Apple a Day Keeps the Pounds AwayAmericans have a nasty habit of depriving ourselves when we want to drop pounds. We often believe that cutting calories is the secret to success, but we wind up just feeling hungry all the time. It may surprise you that one healthy alternative to the hopeless feeling of hunger is to actually add food to your diet. Evidence suggests that adding nutrient-dense, fiber-rich foods to your diet can actually help reduce your cravings. The secret? Fiber slows down the digestion of food, so you get a slow and steady source of glucose rather than ups and down in blood sugar levels.

Most Americans don’t get enough fiber. On average, we take in 15 grams a day of the 25 to 38 grams that are recommended, depending on your gender 1. So where do apples fit into all this? One apple with the skin on contains roughly 4.4 grams of fiber, about one fifth of your daily intake. Also, apples are rich in a very powerful kind of fiber called pectin, which is typically used as a gelling agent and stabilizer in food. It’s that stuff that they make jams and jellies out of. Pectin also is effective in delaying the emptying of the stomach by slowing the movement of food from your stomach into your small intestine, which works to discourage overeating and help you sustain that full feeling for a greater extent of time.

Still have your doubts? One study showed that substituting pectin for regular fiber doubled the time it took subjects’ stomachs to empty, keeping them full that much longer 2. In another study, scientists found that when participants ate an apple or a pear before meals they experienced weight loss 3. So, while it might seem counterintuitive, adding in those extra calories before meals can actually help you stay full for longer so that you resist those dangerous junk foods between meals!

But that’s not all. There is more to apples than just their awesome ability to keep us feeling full for longer. Apples provide many positive health benefits, specifically anti-cancer benefits. One report published in 2008 claimed that apple extracts and components have been shown to influence multiple mechanisms relevant for cancer prevention in in vitro studies. They also went on to say that epidemiological observations indicate that regular consumption of one or more apples a day may reduce the risk for lung and colon cancer 4.

Next time you’re looking around for something to eat, try grabbing an apple. By you’ve taken that last bite, you probably won’t be hungry anymore. You may just find that over time it helps you to become a slimmer, healthier you!

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Slow & Steady Wins the Weight Loss Race

Along your weight loss path, how many times have you wished for a quick fix? While there’s no magic bullet, there are simple, steady steps you can take to meet your weight loss goal.

Joe Before & After Weight LossArvinpal Singh, MD, Medical Director of the Emory Bariatric Center, along with Joe, an Emory Bariatric Center patient on his own non-surgical weight loss journey, hosted an online chat discussing strategies for long term weight loss success. Dr. Singh and Joe answered questions on what it takes to get on the path to lasting weight loss and offered inspiration to help you reach your weight loss goals.

Joe and Dr. Singh fielded lots of great questions, ranging from inquiries on nonsurgical vs. surgical weight loss to those on fat fighting foods. Having already lost 115 pounds by making smart diet, exercise and lifestyle changes, Joe shared some of his best tips for successful weight loss.

You can find a few of the weight loss chat questions and answers below. For more, check out the full weight loss chat transcript!

Question:  “Is it better to exercise for a full 30 minute interval daily or to exercise a total of 30 minutes throughout the day?” – Deborah

Dr. Singh, Emory Bariatric Center

Answer (Dr. Singh): Excellent question! BOTH are equal, 10 minute increments 3 times a day has been shown to be just as effective as 30 minutes once a day. As a rule, every step you take counts. For example, park further away, take stairs and stay active in your daily. Also, try spending some time during your lunch break walking, etc.

 

Joe, Weight Loss PatientAnswer (Joe): To add to that, the key is making sure you’re upping your activity overall and upping the number of calories you’re burning. If doing that in two 15 minute intervals works better for you, that’s great, or 30 minutes at once is good too. Even small changes make a big impact and it’s important to be aware of little steps you can take to get extra activity in. I’ll try to walk to the water fountain that’s furthest away, as an example.

Question: “I’m 55 years old, diabetic, with blood pressure off the chart. How do I lose 90 lbs fast?” – Lynn

Dr. Singh, Emory Bariatric CenterAnswer (Dr. Singh): Hi Lynn, Losing the weight quickly is not necessarily as important as losing the weight in a healthy way. Without seeing you in person, I can’t speak your personal medical situation, but in general, eating the right amounts of the proper foods and making healthy lifestyle changes are the first steps. I can certainly go into more detail after looking into your personal medical history and discussing your case in detail with you.

Diseases of our western society (including heart disease, diabetes & cancers) are not a necessarily an inevitable part of the aging process. Many of these conditions are reversible and preventable with excellent nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.

Joe, Weight Loss PatientAnswer (Joe): Losing a certain number of pounds isn’t as important as it is to regain your overall health. I realized many health benefits before reaching my target weight. As an example, when I began exercising regularly, I actually gained weight, but that was a good thing, as it meant I was developing new muscle tissue, improving my overall health, and getting smaller in the meantime.
 
 
Dr. Singh, Emory Bariatric CenterResponse (Dr. Singh): That’s a great point Joe, many studies show that even as little as 5-10 percent of weight loss dramatically improves a person’s overall health.
 
 
 
 


Have you seen success with your weight loss efforts? Share your best tips with us and our readers in the comments below!

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My Journey To Successful Weight Loss

Joe Before & After Weight LossFor the millions of Americans who diet, stop dieting and then promise to diet again, the constant struggle to lose weight and keep it off can be exhausting, not to mention discouraging. Fortunately, there are success stories that you can learn from to help make this time the one that leads to a successful weight loss and a healthier, happier lifestyle. Joe is one of the most successful patient stories to come out of the Emory Bariatric Center.

You can learn more about Joe’s weight loss journey in this online chat transcript. He joined  Dr. Singh, Medical Director of the Emory Bariatric Center, for an online chat where they shared weight loss tips and best practices and answered your questions live!

When I was in high school, I was a competitive swimmer. Once I got into college, I became a long distance runner, and I even ran a few marathons. I weighed 141 pounds, and was proud of the fact that my waist size and my inseam were the same (30 inches). Once I got into graduate school, I didn’t exercise as much, but I stayed in good shape. I think I weighed about 150 when I finished graduate school.

Unfortunately, when I got out into the world of work, my job involved a lot of travel and a lot of fast food meals on the go. Unfortunately, I quit exercising, and let my eating habits continue to get worse. Not long after we moved to Atlanta, my weight had ballooned to 420 pounds. My waist had grown to 66 inches!

Realizing things had gotten dangerously bad with my health, I tried all sorts of things. I tried swimming to lose weight, which worked well for a while, but without changing my diet, my weight loss slowed down and plateaued. I tried increasing the intensity of my swimming, but all that accomplished was hurting my shoulder, which ended my swimming for a long time. I tried the Atkins diet, which led to some weight loss, but the gout and kidney stones I got while on the diet let me know that a high protein, low carb diet is not a healthy long term approach. I tried walking twice a day — our dogs really liked that — but pain in my leg forced me to cut back on my walking.

The pain in my leg kept getting worse, which lead to visits to multiple doctors. I finally ended up at an orthopedist, who explained that degenerative arthritis in my hip and lower spine can cause pains in my thigh and lower leg. It turns out that the damage was caused by forcing my bones to support too much weight for far too long. He told me that there were three things I could do to help get better: lose weight, lose weight and then lose some more weight.

It occurred to me that I had been going about losing weight the wrong way all along. I realized that I had spent more than thirty years working as an IT consultant because I was really good at helping other people solve problems using computer technology. We didn’t expect people in finance, accounting and telecommunications to know their own area of expertise and also know how to use computers to solve their problems. My living depended on other people being willing to hire my special expertise in solving problems. Why not rely on people who are experts at helping people lose weight?

My wife had been telling me about the Emory medical weight loss program for years, which is the Emory Bariatric Center’s customized non-surgical weight loss and weight management program, called Your Weigh. I finally decided to check the program out, reading about it on the web, taking the online seminar about the program and decided to go for it. I spoke with my employer about re-arranging my work schedule to attend the Friday sessions, and began the program in October of 2012. When I started the program, I weighed 377.6 pounds, was developing Type 2 diabetes, had high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Since being in the program, I’ve lost more than110 pounds so far with 80 more pounds to my goal weight, my A1C has gone from 6.4 to 5.4 and my total cholesterol has dropped from 258 to 176. More important than the weight I’ve lost so far — not to mention the related health improvements — I’ve gained friends, support, and the knowledge and tools to help me stay healthy for the rest of my life.

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Strategies for Successful and Lasting Weight Loss

Of the weight loss roller coaster, comedic author Erma Bombeck once said, “In two decades I’ve lost a total of 789 pounds. I should be hanging from a charm bracelet.”

For the millions of Americans who diet, stop dieting and then promise to diet again, the constant struggle to lose weight and keep it off can be exhausting, not to mention discouraging.

Fortunately, there are success stories that you can learn from to help make this time the one that leads to a healthier, happier lifestyle.

If you’re ready for weight loss that sticks, join Arvinpal Singh, MD, Medical Director of the Emory Bariatric Center, on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 to discuss strategies for long term weight loss success. Joining Dr. Singh will be one of our most successful and committed patients, Joe. Together, Dr. Singh and Joe will answer questions on what it takes to get on the path to lasting weight loss and offer inspiration to help you reach your weight loss goals.

>>> Strategies for Successful Weight Loss CHAT TRANSCRIPT <<< 

Super foods for a Super Diet!

Super foods are foods that are professed to help with weight maintenance, fight disease and live longer. Blueberries, kale, tomatoes, spinach, salmon, walnuts and tea have all topped the list of super foods.

It may seem overwhelming to include super foods in your everyday diet, but from looking at the list above, you might already be consuming super foods without knowing it. Many super foods—which have similar characteristics to those found in a variety of whole and fresh foods—are super rich in nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients.

But be wary of foods labeled as “super foods.” Many health bars or energy bars that make such claims have instead been highly processed and fortified. Other items often have added sugars, saturated fat or sodium to make them taste better. As a general rule of thumb, if it’s processed, it’s not a super food.

Rather than focusing on increasing your intake of individual foods, focus instead on your total diet. Replace your breads and pasta with plenty of whole grains (high in fiber such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, and quinoa). Eat fruits and vegetables with most meals and for snacks because they are high in antioxidants and fiber. Eating foods that are naturally high in beneficial nutrients will help you have a Super Diet!

Below, we have provided one of our favorite recipes which includes a super food: salmon. We searched through several easy super food recipes and chose a baked salmon recipe to modify and help you kick start your Super Diet!

Super Food Recipe: Baked Salmon (adapted from allrecipes.com)
Parchment Baked Salmon Recipe
Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 25 mins
Serving size: ½ of recipe Makes 2 servings

Ingredients
1 (8 ounce) salmon filet olive oil cooking spray
¼ cup chopped basil leaves 1 lemon, thinly sliced
Pinch of salt & ground black pepper

Cooking Instructions

  1. Place an oven rack in the lowest position in oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Place salmon fillet with skin side down in the middle of a large piece of parchment paper; season with salt and black pepper. Cut 2 3-inch slits into the fish with a sharp knife. Stuff chopped basil leaves into the slits. Spray fillet with cooking spray and arrange lemon slices on top.
  3. Fold edges of parchment paper over the fish several times to seal into an airtight packet. Place sealed packet onto a baking sheet.
  4. Bake fish on the bottom rack of oven until salmon flakes easily and meat is pink and opaque with an interior of slightly darker pink color, about 25 minutes. An instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the fillet should read at least 145 degrees F. To serve, cut the parchment paper open and remove lemon slices before plating fish.

What’s your favorite super food? If you know of any super foods recipes that you love, or if you have a super food recipe of your own that you would like to share with us, feel free to leave it in the comment section below.

Author: Cecilia Batchelor, Emory Dietetic Intern

Top Five Ways to Boost Your Metabolism & Lose Extra Weight

Because of words like diet, cleanses and fasts, our definition of normal eating has gotten lost. Normal eating should be flexible, and it should change based on your response to hunger, your schedule, your feelings and your proximity to food. A lot of people want to know how to jumpstart their metabolism, normalize their eating pattern and utilize what they eat more efficiently. We all know that if your goal is to lose weight then you must expend more energy (calories) than you take in. With that in mind, here are five tips to boost your metabolism.

Do You Have to Choose Between Wine & Your Waistline?

Alcohol Weight Gain

When it comes to drinking alcohol and your health, thousands of experts have weighed in. One thing that they can all agree on is that when it comes to drinking alcohol and your weight, moderation is key.

A recent article on CNN.com shed some light on the fact that alcohol not only adds hundreds of calories to your diet – a regular beer can add up to more than 150 calories while a glass of wine can cost you 100 calories – but it also temporarily halts your body’s ability to burn fat. So, while the beer you had with pizza and wings might not be a major caloric offender, your body insists on breaking down the calories from the alcohol first, leaving the calories from what you ate to get stored as fat.

So, does this mean that you must resign yourself to teetotaling? No, says Meagan Moyer, registered dietician for the Emory Bariatric Center. But you do need to follow a few rules to keep from growing a beer belly or wine waist!

  1. Keep it simple – A good rule of thumb is the fewer ingredients the better. It’s generally safer to go with a glass of wine or a beer rather than a fancy mixed drink that is loaded with sugar or salt from added juices, soda and mixers.
  2. Eat before you drink – It might sound counterintuitive if you’re trying to skimp on calories, but eating a snack or meal with healthy fat, fiber and protein can help stave off the sugar crash that often comes after a night of drinking. It also can help you feel full so that you’re not picking off of every tray being passed.
  3. Keep count – Conventional wisdom points to the one drink a night rule for women. So, does this mean you can abstain all week and then blow it out on Saturday? Not so fast. Drinking several drinks in one night will mess with your blood sugar, add hundreds of calories to your diet and decrease your judgment in making good food choices – a trifecta of disaster for your waistline.

Author: Meagan Moyer, RD/LD, Emory Bariatric Center

 

 

Renew Your Weight Loss Goals for 2013

Exercise Fitness Weight LossThe new year is an exciting time. As 2012 comes to the end, it is the perfect time to renew your commitment to the goals you want to achieve.  Set yourself up for success by following these tips for setting achievable goals.

Tip 1: Set SMART goals

SMART goals are:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Time-bound

Tip 2: Set a Lifetime Goal

The best goal you can set would be a lifetime goal. Why? Because it is a goal that you can always improve on, and it shapes the way all your other goals are attained. Set a goal that you want to achieve, not what others feel you should accomplish.

Tip 3: Set small goals

Setting smaller, achievable goals will help you reach your main goal by achieving  smaller milestones along the way. By setting smaller goals, you allow yourself to specialize and focus in one area at a time. It is easier to stay motivated when you are accomplishing many small goals rather than falling short on one large, unrealistic goal. Stay positive, smaller goals add up over time.

Tip 4: Reward Yourself

Once you complete a goal, take time to enjoy your accomplishments!  A reward should be something for yourself that you enjoy and deserve. It can be tangible or intangible such a buying a new shirt or going for a walk to clear your mind. These rewards will give you motivation to continue setting new attainable goals since you know there is something at the finish line.  Never reward yourself with food.

New Year, New You – Why it’s Critical to Your Health to Lose Weight in 2013

Now that the holidays are finally behind us, it’s time to get serious about your New Year’s resolutions. With more than a third of the adult population in the United States obese, it’s no surprise that one of the top resolutions every year is to lose weight.

If you’re one of the millions of Americans resolving to lose weight in 2013, it’s important to understand that losing weight isn’t just about looking good. It’s more about getting and staying healthy – and even improving health issues that are associated with being overweight, such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and joint pain.

Because losing weight truly is a journey, Arvinpal Singh, MD, Medical Director of the Emory Bariatric Center and an American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) Certified medical bariatrician, is hosting an online chat on Tuesday, January 8 at noon EST to share tips on healthful living and weight loss pearls of wisdom, as well as give his insight on different approaches to weight loss, including surgical and non-surgical options.

Get 2013 off to a healthy start and join Dr. Singh and other chat participants to share tips, ideas and get questions answered related to how you can make positive changes to last the new year and beyond.

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