Tag Archives: Virtual Weight Management

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Suffering From Osteoarthritis? Your Weight Could Increase Pain

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If you have any variation of arthritis, you know the pain can be unbearable.

I recently came across this article that shows the importance of weight loss to help reduce the pain in osteoarthritis patients. From the article:

Overweight and obese people with arthritis in their knees tend to report more pain than slimmer people with the chronic joint disease, suggests a new study. This study goes a step further. It suggests that people with a higher body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight in relation to height, may have more pain than normal-weight people with the same amount of arthritis-related damage.

We know from previous studies that fat cells produce toxins that induce inflammation in the body, including the joints. So when a person looses weight, they get relief of their pain due to reducing the inflammation in their joints and their weight loss.

Therefore, obese osteoarthritis patients can delay the need for surgery and knee and hip replacement by simply focusing on leading a healthier lifestyle and getting involved in a weight loss program.

Stay updated on all the weight loss news and tips we share by subscribing to the Virtual Weight Management blog via RSS or by entering your email in the top right corner.

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The Importance of Regular Physical Activity to Reduce Mobility Problems

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It shouldn’t come as a shock that incorporating regular physical activity into your life will help lower your chances of dealing with health issues in the future.

But, in case you were questioning the validity of that claim, here’s new proof: A recent study published in the Journal of American Medical Association found that people in their 70s and 80s who took part in a moderate-intensity exercise program over several years were more likely to retain their ability to get around independently. More from a Reuters Health article:

The results add to a growing body of evidence that regular physical activity may help to keep older adults moving as they age, said the study’s lead author.

“The key issue is that we did not have until now definitive evidence where physical activity could prevent a major outcome such as (loss of) mobility in adults,” Dr. Marco Pahor, director of the Institute on Aging at the University of Florida, Gainesville, said.

We all want to enjoy retirement and avoid mobility problems at all costs, right? That’s why I encourage my patients to incorporate frequent physical activity into their lifestyle at a young age. And, for my older patients, I stress that it’s better to start now than never!

Don’t think you have to run a marathon or do intense cardio workouts to see the benefit of physical activity. Walking 1-3 miles a couple times a week can do wonders for your physical health.

Stay updated on all the weight loss news and tips we share by subscribing to the Virtual Weight Management blog via RSS or by entering your email in the top right corner.

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Breakfast For Kids: Stay Away From Sugary Cereal

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Cereal is a quick and easy option for breakfast for kids, but a recent study discovered U.S. children are consuming more than 10 pounds of sugar annually if they eat a typical morning bowl of cereal. More from this Reuters article:

The Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C.-based health information non-profit, said its report covers more than 1,500 cereals, including 181 marketed to children.

As part of the report, the group re-examined 84 cereals it studied in a similar report in 2011, and found that the sugar content of those cereals remained on average at 29 percent. Some cereals had increased sugar content now compared to 2011, and none of the 181 cereals marketed to children was free of added sugars, the group found. On average, children’s cereals have more than 40 percent more sugars than adult cereals, EWG said.

This article shows how breakfast choices can have a significant impact on children’s weight due to high sugar content in what many of us consider a basic breakfast tradition.

I encourage my patients who are parents to read the labels on cereal boxes before they buy them. All cereal high in sugar will make kids more hungry and promote weight gain, especially when the portion size is only 3/4 cup.

For breakfast for kids, I recommend switching to a high protein breakfast like Greek yogurt and eggs (or egg whites). If your kids love cereal, consider a high protein cereal like the Kashi brand or Nature Valley protein bars. You can also give your kids low calorie oatmeal packs that are about 100 calories each.

The important thing to remember is the food choices you make for your children now will have a significant impact on their future health, so stay away from high sugar foods!

Stay updated on all the weight loss news and tips we share by subscribing to the Virtual Weight Management blog via RSS or by entering your email in the top right corner.

Important News on Fraudulent Weight Loss Claims

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There are a lot of myths about weight loss out there, when the only real solution to losing weight is to eat healthy and keep an active lifestyle with regular exercise.

When patients come in frustrated with unsuccessful weight loss efforts, they often contemplate using or consuming diet products that promise results without much effort. I encounter patients on a daily basis asking about these fake weight loss claims endorsed by the supplement industry and television talk show hosts. Many of these “miracle” weight loss products are endorsed by the popular talk show host, Dr. Oz.

Recently, Dr. Oz and his weight loss product claims have come under heavy scrutiny by the government in an effort to protect consumers from false claims about these weight loss supplements. Dr. Oz even stated during his questioning, “I recognize that oftentimes they (the items I talk about on my show) don’t have the scientific muster to present as fact.”

The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) also stated during the panel with Dr. Oz that more Americans claimed they were victims of fake weight loss claims than any other type of reported fraud. This is even further proof that these weight loss claims are scams to sell fake products that do not work.

I urge all my patients and anyone interested in weight loss to realize that there is no scientific proof to products claiming to lose excessive amounts of weight in short periods of time. And if the products do happen to work, you’ll probably see most of that weight return as soon as you discontinue taking them and settle back into old, unhealthy habits.

Teaming up with a knowledgeable weight loss expert who has both certifiable education and experience is a great way to help you stay on track toward your goals, especially when you have questions about issues like weight loss supplements. The only way to true weight loss success is taking an active role in your diet and activity, and developing new healthy habits that will lead you to long-term weight loss success.

Stay updated on all the weight loss news and tips we share by subscribing to the Virtual Weight Management blog via RSS or by entering your email in the top right corner.

How to Beat Summer Diet Pitfalls

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During the first year of my wellness plan, there were definitely some “hard times” during certain months on my calendar. I started dieting in January of 2013, so I did not have to immediately deal with the “food angst” many of us feel around the holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I had more than nine months to get into a rhythm before I had to tackle the holidays.

Actually, the first real challenge I faced with my new wellness plan came as late spring heralded the coming summer months.

On the positive side, the change in weather and warm days are a great incentive to get me out of the house and be more active in general. Keeping busy helps me avoid snacking, and this time of year tends to see the prices drop for the healthy meats, vegetables and fruits I still use when preparing low-carb/high-protein meals as part of my summer diet.

But, there’s a negative aspect to the great weather and all-around fun of the summer months – the constant challenge of what to do while eating away from home. Summertime brings road trips, vacations and attending countless picnics and barbecues. There are so many temptations and opportunities to break your summer diet regimen!

We could make excuses to ourselves that sound like, “Well, it is just a picnic on the Fourth of July, so I can just have whatever they’re having,” or “I am on vacation, so it shouldn’t matter if I eat this.”

We’re tempted to not worry about our wellness plans here and there. Certainly, there’s nothing wrong with the occasional self-indulgence during the warm summer days as a reward, like I mentioned in one of my previous blog posts. However, if your summer schedule is anything like mine, then there are many get-togethers, events and parties, and those little moments of self-indulgence can really start adding up. Be conscious of this so all your hard work doesn’t suffer a setback.

As we move into summer, I thought I’d offer some of the ways I managed to get through last summer maintaining a healthy high-protein/low-carb summer diet:

  • Bring Your Own Food (BYOF): Don’t let other people decide what you’re going to eat at a cookout or picnic. Instead, take the initiative to make sure there is healthy food there for you to eat by bringing it yourself. Make a nice salad or deviled eggs with low-carb/low-fat ingredients as your dish “to pass,” and you‘ll know there is one side you can eat. Also, bring your own choice of meat, like marinated chicken kabobs or a lean hamburger – chances are your host won’t begrudge you a little space on the grill, and you’ll have a decent meal without breaking your diet!
  • Pack a cooler with health: When traveling on a road trip, take the time to pack your cooler with healthy and easy-to-eat foods you can enjoy in the car. Bags of cheese cubes or a tin of peanuts are nutritious alternatives to chips and pretzels. A granny smith apple or a few strawberries are portable and provide a low-carb alternative for something sweet. Don’t forget to pack lettuce leaves, sliced lean meats and cheeses to make yourself a healthy wrap when your family stops at some fast food place for a quick bite.
  • Be decisive at meal time: When on vacation, it’s all too easy to let traveling companions decide where to eat out, but don’t hesitate to be assertive! Be the decisive one in the group and recommend a restaurant to visit, and choose one that will have healthy options on the menu. Chinese cuisine can allow you to select low-carb stir fries, while a good steakhouse guarantees you’ll have a choice of a lean protein and a salad. Almost every pancake house offers omelets and other egg dishes, which do not have to be accompanied by toast or flapjacks if you request it.

With little effort, eating away from your home in the summertime doesn’t have to mean losing ground on your wellness plan. Keep dropping those pounds all season long by making healthy meal choices, and let yourself enjoy a fun-filled, guilt-free summer!

Do you have other healthy summer diet tips to share?

Stay updated on all the weight loss news and tips we share by subscribing to the Virtual Weight Management blog via RSS or by entering your email in the top right corner.

How a Psychologist Can Help You Lose Weight

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For many of us, obesity has had a major impact on our lives for years at a time, and in some cases, decades. Being obese has affected our health, our relationships, our careers and even our lifestyles. Because of this, it’s easy to let our attention focus on the physical aspects of our wellness and neglect the other significant component: the mental and emotional aspects of obesity.

I don’t need to tell anyone who has experienced serious long-term or short-term weight issues how damaging obesity can really be. Emotions like self-loathing, shame, depression and guilt are with us daily when we suffer with chronic obesity.

Perhaps you’re like me. In the past, you’ve tried to lose weight and were not successful at losing and keeping the weight off, despite trying several different diets. Now you can add feelings of embarrassment and personal failure to the pile of negative emotions you already feel.

With all that emotional negativity building up inside us, it’s likely that our resolve will be undermined with despair, which is extremely detrimental to our chances of success with medical weight loss. This is an area where a mental health professional like a psychologist can help you lose weight.

One of the promises I made to myself when I started seeing Dr. Sam was to also see someone who could help me with my depression. I was forced to admit to myself how long I’d been suffering with depression from being massively obese. I also experienced honesty in acknowledging that these feelings sometimes drove me to binge eat and feel like giving up on the goal of losing weight. In fact, I almost decided not to go meet with Dr. Sam for my first appointment because I couldn’t stand the idea of starting yet another diet, which I was convinced would be doomed to fail.

I guess I’ve already managed to prove myself wrong there, didn’t I?

Now that I had Dr. Sam and his staff behind me as my team to guide and support me in the physical aspects of losing weight, I needed another team member to help coach me in putting aside my depression and help me to truly believe that I could succeed – despite all my previous dieting failures.

As luck would have it, the psychologist I chose knew Dr. Sam and had worked with him before. Bringing her onto my wellness team was a perfect fit because she and Dr. Sam could now discuss my case from both a physical and emotional point of view. Their collaboration outlined the best ways to motivate and encourage me to keep pushing toward my goal.

In fact, I still see my psychologist periodically, despite my continued steady success over the past 16 months. At the time that I’m writing this blog, I’ve lost 245 pounds to date, and that kind of change in my life is beyond profound! When experiencing a major change like this, it’s wonderful to have someone coaching you through everything and giving you perspective; that’s what my psychologist does for me.

I would urge anyone considering medical weight loss with Dr. Sam to also think about having a psychologist as part of your support team. You will be surprised how much a mental health professional like a psychologist can help you lose weight and overcome your mental barriers. Dr. Sam will definitely be there to support your personal physical health, but you owe it to yourself to not neglect your emotional health, as well. It just might make all the difference in how awesome your weight loss success will be!

Stay updated on all the weight loss news and tips we share by subscribing to the Virtual Weight Management blog via RSS or by entering your email in the top right corner.

The Power of Positive Thinking for Weight Loss

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Our outlook on life has a huge impact on how we approach everything we do. When we look at life with a brighter perspective, it transpires into looking at ourselves more positively.

An important piece of advice I always tell my patients is that if you do not believe in yourself and your ability to succeed in weight loss (or anything else in life), you will most likely never reach your goals.

I recently came across a study performed as part of the Women’s Health Initiative, demonstrating how upbeat and optimistic people tend to live a happier and healthier life. It also shows the the power of positive thinking for weight loss.

A better attitude often relates to a better relationship with food, but depressed and negative people tend to participate in more emotional eating of high-calorie and high-carbohydrate foods. But, no one is immune to the blues all the time. When you’re feeling down, here are some tips from the article to avoid unhealthy eating behaviors:

  • Remove junk food from the house that you know you’ll reach for when you’re in a negative emotional state.
  • Find healthy ways to cope with unpleasant emotions, like meeting up with a friend, taking a walk or doing breathing exercises.
  • Practice self-regulation by monitoring your eating habits and your feelings when you want to eat, whether it’s writing in a journal or making mental notes.

In addition to eating healthier and including exercise on a regular basis, a positive outlook with healthy coping behaviors will lead you on the path to success in weight loss, and life!

Stay updated on all the weight loss news and tips we share by subscribing to the Virtual Weight Management blog via RSS or by entering your email in the top right corner.

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Shed Virtual Weight in Selfies With New App…Not So Fast

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What will they think of next?

A new app called SkinneePix lets users shed virtual weight and can trim from five to 15 pounds of virtual fat for a slimmer selfie look.

The founder explains more in this article on Reuters:

“Cameras add additional weight to photos and when you’re taking a selfie you’re also dealing with bad lighting, angles, close-ups and a lot of other factors that make people complain that the photo isn’t an accurate representation of themselves,” said Susan Green, co-founder of the Phoenix-based company Pretty Smart Women that created the app.

While I understand Susan’s rationale, this app concerns me that people who use it have self image problems and they could be in denial that they’re facing serious weight problems. This type of denial and self image issues can, in severe cases, lead to eating disorders.

My patients who I’ve helped successfully lose weight noticed significant improvements in their social life and even in their careers. Some were promoted and got a raise due to their new positive outlook on work and life in general. They were more confident, assertive and productive…all due to them getting down to a healthier weight.

If you aren’t happy with your weight and want to look slimmer in selfies, why not talk to a physician who can set you up on a weight loss program, rather than using an app to help you shed virtual weight?

Losing real pounds sounds like a much smarter option to me! Do you agree?

Stay updated on all the weight loss news and tips we share by subscribing to the Virtual Weight Management blog via RSS or by entering your email in the top right corner.

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Weight Loss Advice: A “Should” Too Many

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One of the first things we hear when dieting is an enormous amount of weight loss advice in the form of shoulds from family, friends and even complete strangers.

You should use this new diet I read about…

You really should try eating this…

You know, you should start thinking about joining a gym…

With obesity such a pervasive health issue in this country, there are many people who have tried their hand at wellness programs with varying degrees of success – including those health conscious folks who have never suffered a day of true obesity in their lives!

And there are plenty of these individuals who are ready to dispense weight loss advice to you about your own program at almost every opportunity. There’s nothing wrong with getting advice, and some folks have great ideas to help lose weight that really work – but that’s not always the case.

A weight loss regimen really does need to be specific to you, and what works for a work friend or your favorite aunt might be the worst thing you can do for your personal wellness program. This is even more true when entering into a medical weight loss program. The recommendations you get from a weight loss physician, like Dr. Sam, simply have to take precedence over what advice you might get from your best friends.

When I first started on my current diet, I made it a full-blown lifestyle change – changing my eating habits, cooking methods and activity level. Dr. Sam had given me some specific guidelines regarding my diet and exercise options, which I tried to follow to the letter, but I still had plenty of weight loss advice from well-wishing family and friends trying to help me out. While I certainly appreciated all the support, many of the should suggestions weren’t going to work with what my doctor had instructed.

But some suggestions were useful, particularly when it came to foods and carb substitutions.  But in every instance, I did research online before I tried some new food option for my diet, and when it doubt, I asked Dr. Sam!

The bottom line is having a friendly support network is awesome when you’re working hard on a wellness plan. It’s tempting to try the weight loss advice of others, especially if they are successful dieters or naturally health inclined. But the reasons for our weight issues are so varied and so personal that we can’t be sure what is and is not going to work for us.

So when in doubt, you should do your research before you try anything new for wellness, and you should always consult your physician. Those two shoulds are the best shoulds to follow – after all, it’s your weight and your health that matter in the end!

Stay updated on all the weight loss news and tips we share by subscribing to the Virtual Weight Management blog via RSS or by entering your email in the top right corner.

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Weight Loss Success: How Nancy Lost 100 Pounds

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This is a guest post from our patient, Nancy W., who shares her weight loss success story of losing 100 pounds. 

I had always struggled with my weight, and in the end, it seemed my weight just kept going up. Everything seemed to take so much energy; it was easier to just sit in a chair. I was embarrassed to go on trips because of my size, so it simplified matters to just stay home.

I also had high blood pressure, and my doctor told me I was headed toward becoming a diabetic because of all the extra weight I was carrying. I knew my high blood pressure was caused by my weight, and I didn’t want to become a diabetic. I needed help!

When I was taking a college Trigonometry class, my teacher always came in drinking his shake and told us his story of how he had lost weight. Since I kept inquiring about his diet, he placed Dr. Sam’s business card next to my books and told me to make an appointment.

When I made the appointment, I thought his scale was 10 pounds off because it registered 10 pounds less than mine! I didn’t realize how stressed out I was from college and trying to hold a full time job and had lost 10 pounds the month before I met Dr. Sam.

I started the diet with the shakes and bars. I mixed up the flavors of the shakes and bars, having a different one each time, so I wouldn’t get tired of eating or drinking them. I looked to Dr. Sam for guidelines of the food choices I should make in the day, how much protein, veggies and calories I should consume, and I tried to stay within what he suggested.

Getting a gym membership helped me stay focused on what I was trying to achieve. Exercising every day helped tone my body and gave me a positive outlook to stay on track with the diet, which helped me lose the weight.

After losing 100 pounds and going from a size 24/26 to a size 10/12, I feel like a different person with much more energy and a positive outlook on life.

Thank you Dr. Sam and your office staff for the help and support in getting my life back!

Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your weight loss success story with us! We are so proud of you.