Motivation: Scientific Secrets to Success

Researchers have been trying to figure out what compels us to do something repeatedly we don’t always want to do – like exercise. Here are some scientifically-proven strategies to help your workout motivation:

  • Give Yourself a Real Reward – Give yourself tangible, immediate benefits to working out, such as treating yourself to an episode of your favorite TV show or a healthy smoothie after you exercise. These kinds of rewards are powerful because your brain starts to link the reward to the behavior making it seem worthwhile. Over time, the motivation becomes the workout itself, as the brain begins to associate sweat and pain with the surge of endorphins — those feel-good chemicals released in the brain that are responsible for that exhilarating rush you get after a great exercise session. Once you’ve trained your brain to recognize that the workout itself is the reward, you won’t even need the treat.
  • Sign a Commitment Contract — Research shows we’re more likely to follow through with pledges when we make them in front of friends. You can up the ante even more by signing a contract agreeing to pay a pal $20 every time you skip your planned workout. Studies of people who created contracts found that those who signed longer contracts ended up exercising more than those who agreed to shorter time spans. Once we get past the initial pain and discomfort, it’s much easier to recognize the benefits of sticking to the routine.
  • Rethink Positive Thinking — Believers in the power of positive thinking also believe in the power of positive imaging, where you actual visualize the behavior and the beneficial outcomes of it as well. For example, when deciding whether to get out of bed to go running in the morning, it helps to imagine how the sun will feel on your face as you run. Or visualize your happiness as you see the results of your fitness routine. You can also visualize the obstacles to getting in the workouts you desire. Once you have those images, it’s easier to find solutions to work around the things blocking your wellness path. 
  • Find Your Fitness Tribe — What will ultimately inspire you to get up and start moving is a strong, supportive community. The laughs, high fives, and words of encouragement from the bonds people make are things that can’t be replicated. Find a workout that makes you feel good and surround yourself with people that help build your confidence as much as your strength. 

If you’re in the Las Vegas area and are considering weight-loss surgery, schedule an appointment at VIPSurg. Dr. Tsuda and his team of experts will find the right treatment for you.

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The Family that Plays Together Gets Healthy Together

Even though it gets tougher to find time for ourselves when we become parents, exercise remains just as important as it ever was. In fact, with little ones watching us as an example, exercise becomes even more important. If we as adults wish to create a future full of happy, healthy, disease-free adults for our kids, it’s time we start practicing what we preach.

Our kids model our behavior. If we want our kids to eat well, we need to eat well. If we want them to exercise, we need to exercise.

This modeling creates a culture of wellness in the home. In this environment, children learn that healthy habits are a positive way of life, not punishment for Mom and Dad for eating too much delicious food. One great way to be good exercise role models for your children is to find exercise activities you can do as a family. Here are some suggestions to get you started: 

  • Take a walk. Walking is a wonderful family activity. There are so many benefits to walking, and the whole family can participate (even the baby in her stroller and the family dog too). Whether you head into town or just cruise the neighborhood, building a walk into your daily schedule ensures that it won’t get put off.
  • Jump rope. Jumping rope is a kid-friendly exercise that is great for the whole family. In fact, kids usually dominate at this exercise once they get the hang of it thanks to their lower center of gravity. Just ten minutes of jump rope is enough to get the blood flowing, and with more than one person, it’s fun to learn all kinds of fun jumps.
  • Try structured exercise.There are many types of more structured exercises that can be done as a family. Some families like to take martial arts or yoga classes together. 
  • Try roller blading or biking. Head out as a family unit to try your hand at skating or biking. Both can be great exercise activities that are fun for any active family.
  • Get to work in the garden. Kids are great at digging up dirt, so let them turn over the soil and help you plant new bulbs. Research shows that gardening is as good as weight training when it comes to preventing osteoporosis, and if you’re planting vegetables, it can make them more appetizing to kids. 

When you’re planning your exercise routine, keep in mind that everyone in the family
needs to do this. Try to find activities that are fun and exhilarating for the entire group!

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5 Steps to Lead a Healthier Lifestyle

Do you think that you are living a healthy lifestyle? It’s easy to put off healthy living habits, but if you feel that you need to make improvements to your lifestyle for your health, you’re not alone. Although it’s hard to get out of old habits, a healthy lifestyle can give you more energy, improved mental health, and can increase your chances of defeating illnesses.

Here are five steps you can take to managing a healthier lifestyle:

1. Include fruits and vegetables in your diet

Adding fruits and vegetables is a perfect foundation for starting a healthy routine. Vegetables and fruits contain plentiful amounts of nutrients such as vitamins and antioxidants that help boost your immune system and fight off disease. Antioxidants help fight eye disease, promote healthy skin, and overall health. The World Health Organization recommends eating fruits and veggies as a regular part of your diet, so you’ll have a better chance of fighting some cancers, diseases, and heart disease. Make sure to eat five to nine servings of varied vegetables and fruits per day.

2. Drink water

You can save money and improve your health by drinking water throughout the day. This natural liquid offers the benefits of hydration, nourishment, and improved wellbeing. Water can cleanse toxins from the body, improve brain function, energize muscles, control weight gain, and balance body temperature and fluids. It’s recommended to drink about 8 glasses, or 64 ounces, of water per day.

3. Manage your mental health

When it comes to building a healthy lifestyle, it’s easy to concentrate on the physical aspects of health and ignore the mental upkeep. Remember that your mental health is a foundation of your overall health. It’s important to manage and asses your feelings on a day-to-day basis. If you feel negative towards others, you could cause more unhappiness at work, school, or in your social life. Some ways you can improve your mental health include:

  • Exercise
  • Socialize with loved ones
  • Join a club
  • Sleep 7-9 hours every night
  • Do something creative

If you continue to feel unhappy or even depressed, consult your physician or talk to a professional about ways you can improve your mental health.

4. De-stress

Sometimes it’s beneficial to stop, take a deep breath, and relax. You can help maintain your physical and mental health by decompressing from a long, stressful school or work week. Try some relaxing activities to help you relieve stress. Take advantage of meditation, listening to music, reading, watching a comedy, or exercising. These activities can help you unwind, and they cause feelings of happiness and clam.

5. Exercise

Exercise is a great way to stimulate your health, and studies show that physical activity photo-1527247737617-ca8e5f18e4f6helps improve longevity and overall health. Try to exercise up to three times a week. The American Heart Association advises for 150 minutes of exercise each week or an hour at least three times a week. Remember to keep your workouts fun. You should enjoy your workout and not feel like it’s a chore. Some fun physical activities include:

  • Dancing
  • Yoga
  • Aerobics
  • Running
  • Hiking

These lifestyle tips can help you maintain healthy and happier habits. Talk to your healthcare professionals about ways to improve your health. We are here for you at VIPSurg if you are interested in weight-loss/bariatric surgery in the Las Vegas area. Call (702) 487-6000 for all your general and bariatric surgery needs. 

Start Small for Big Results

If you are obese or overweight, exercise can be a tricky topic. Often, working out with extra weight becomes a vicious, negative cycle. Excess body weight puts stress on your joints, bones, and connective tissue, so when you do try to start a regular exercise routine, you end up hurting yourself, making many workouts too uncomfortable or even impossible to do. However, even though your knees probably hurt, your back probably hurts, and you probably already don’t feel good, you must start somewhere.

At the risk of generalizing, often gyms just aren’t that big-person friendly. When you’re obese, walking into a space where other people are already fit can be quite intimidating. On the other hand, for some, going to the gym is what motivates them, and there are certainly good choices for overweight and obese people. Cross-trainers and recumbent bikes all alleviate impact on the joints and lower back as do swimming and aqua aerobics.

For those who wish for something that doesn’t require machines or specialized equipment, here are some simple ways to get started at home:

  • Make A Plan Find the smallest thing you can do right now and commit to doing it every day. “Today I will walk around the block.” Or “Today I will spend 10 minutes doing chair exercises.”  Once you’ve met your small goal for the week, you can always add just a little more to it.
  • Enlist Support — Find someone in your life – a colleague, family member, or next-door neighbor – who will support and encourage you. The use of social support is an undisputed strategy for success. You don’t need another lecture about the health dangers of being overweight; you need positive motivation to make healthier choices.
  • Start Slow — The goal is to start exercising little by little, not to overdo it and end up frustrated, burnt out, or hurt right away. Gentle, easy exercise is the way to begin!

Just as not exercising becomes a routine, so can doing simple and easy workouts. Soon you’ll be craving something a little more challenging. Listen to your body and be aware of problems, but the bottom line is that most of us can do some kind of physical activity to make us healthier.

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Resolve to Happy and Healthy in 2018

The new year can be an exciting time — the promise of new beginnings and fresh starts. It’s also a good time to recommit to your health and well-being. Creating health resolutions is easy enough. Sticking to them past the month of January, however, is another story.

These are the resolutions health professionals wish you would make and keep in 2018:

  • Practice mindful eating – In these days of technology and devices, it’s common to eat with your eyes glued to a screen. Unfortunately, distracted eating often leads to overeating. Slow down and pay attention to your food, pausing to put down the fork or spoon between bites. It’s easier to notice when you feel full, plus you’re more likely to enjoy the foods you eat. Resolve to cut down on guilty pleasures, but don’t prohibit them completely. Enjoy your cravings once in a while, and it will make staying on track the rest of the time easier.
  • Chill out and rest up — According to Johns Hopkins sleep expert Rachel Salas, M.D., when it’s time to sleep, it’s time to chill – literally. Lowering the thermostat to 68 degrees or colder before you tuck into bed can help you sleep better. Darken your room by drawing the curtains or dimming the display on your alarm clock to really get that quality sleep. If vowing to get eight hours of sleep every night is totally unrealistic, tell yourself you’ll go to bed 15 minutes earlier than your usual 2018 goals listbedtime. Keep shifting that number earlier and earlier. If you keep doing it, eventually you will be going to sleep at an hour that makes better sense for your life.
  • Be grateful — Take some time at the beginning or end of the day to reflect on what you’re grateful for. Reminding ourselves of the small, everyday positive aspects of our lives helps to develop a sense of balance and perspective that can enhance well-being. Research has shown that those who regularly journal what they’re grateful for sleep better, work out more, and visit the doctor less. If keeping a journal isn’t for you, you can download gratitude-centric apps for your smartphone.
  • Find 30 minutes a day to walk — Getting the recommended 30 minutes of exercise each day can be as simple as taking a walk. If you’re very busy, take three 10-minute walks throughout your day. Make it fun! Grab a partner at work to get you through your lunch routine, or have a friend or family member meet you for an evening stroll. Instead of worrying about working out during the week, focus on accumulating more steps during your day-to-day activities. Even 500 extra steps for five days can lead to significant changes. You can schedule breaks during the day to stroll around the block or walk to your coworkers’ desks instead of emailing. This way, you’re focusing on overall wellness rather than just shedding pounds. Making small, daily changes such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator may seem minor, but they can make a big difference for your heart in the long run.

Happy, Healthy, New Year from all of us at VIP Surg!

Health and the Holidays – How to Focus on Fun Not Food

Let’s face the facts here — most holidays are associated with certain foods. Our holiday gatherings usually revolve around an extravagant meal. Christmas at your house might not be the same without your aunt’s creamy corn casserole, but that doesn’t mean food has to be the main focus of the day. Instead, get into the other rituals a holiday brings.

Lead an Activity

We’re not suggesting you forgo or even minimize the importance of the holiday feast or traditional foods, but adding in some physical activity is something that’s good for the whole group. You can be creative, but here are some holiday themed activities to get everyone up and moving:

  • Caroling – who doesn’t love belting out a holiday tune? And what fun it is to hear people laughing outside (2)singing, open your door, and see a group of neighbors reveling in holiday spirit! Basically, this is a walk with plenty of stops for resting for those older or less fit among us.
  • Cut your own tree – Don’t buy a tree from a roadside lot where the trees have been drying out for weeks. Instead, visit a tree farm where you can cut your own. The tree will be fresher and often less expensive than they are at the lot. Also, you will burn calories (and fight some of the blood-sugar effects of the sweets you’ve been sneaking) by tromping around the grounds in search of the perfect tree. *Added bonus: Your family will have one more pleasant holiday memory to look back on of a lovely walk through a pine forest with loved ones.
  • Be inventive – nobody knows your family and friends better than you, right? Maybe a little friendly competition is in order. Perhaps your family enjoys a game of flag football or even musical chairs can get the heart pumping.

The point is — try to add some fun group activities that will get you and others moving.

Be Selective at the Table

Some of the more fattening or unhealthy choices on the table will be common foods that you could eat any time of the year. Opt instead for the holiday specialties if you want to “spend” your calories wisely.

  • Choose baked sweet potatoes over the cream and butter-laden mashed potatoes on the buffet.
  • Pour the gravy and sauces lightly. You may not be able to control what’s being served at a holiday meal, but you can make the turkey, roast beef, and even mashed potatoes and stuffing much healthier by skipping the sauce or gravy or ladling on just a small amount.
  • Indulge in only the most special holiday treats. Skip the store-bought baked goods, but do save some calories in your ‘budget’ to sample treats that are homemade and special to your family, such as your grandma’s special Yule log cake.

Teaching yourself what is worth indulging in and what to skip is much like budgeting your money: Do you want to blow it on mundane things that you can buy anywhere? Or do you want to spend it on a very special, one-of-a-kind souvenir? Don’t completely deprive yourself on festive days – your willpower will eventually be overwhelmed, and you’ll end up overeating.

All of us at VIP Surg wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season!

 

 

 

Tips for Enjoying a Healthy Thanksgiving

Let’s be candid, shall we? During any holiday—especially Thanksgiving—people have a lot of food put in front of them. Many times, it is way too much food for even the best of metabolisms to handle without putting on a few pounds. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could still enjoy the holidays and yet never gain an ounce?

During Thanksgiving, it’s easy to go overboard with the calories and consumption. Temptations of gooey pecan pie and dense sweet potatoes topped with crackly marshmallows make it seem impossible to be disciplined.

However, eating healthfully on Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you have to forgo all your favorite foods. If you’ve got your eating under control for the majority of the time, go ahead and have a piece of pie — just don’t lose control entirely.

Keep your willpower and your wits about you by using these tips:

  1. Stick to healthy portions.

Just one plate of Thanksgiving food is all you get. Fill up half your plate with vegetables,fruit, and a whole wheat roll, a quarter of it with mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, and a quarter of it with turkey or ham. The more colorful your plate, the better – so get lots of leafy greens, carrots, bell peppers, and beets in your veggie selection. If you fill up on those lower caloric density and higher nutrition things, you’re going to feel full, but not bloated and tired, because it’s a lighter far.

It’s a holiday, so indulge a bit if your diet allows it. If you’re going to eat dessert, make sure you allot for the calories elsewhere – don’t go back for that second helping of marshmallow sweet potatoes, and instead opt for the cranberry salad.

  1. Eat before you indulge.

Don’t starve yourself during the early part of Thanksgiving Day, with the idea that you’re just “saving room” for all the food, or that this will make it okay for you to overeat later.

If you’re going to a Thanksgiving lunch, be sure you eat breakfast before. If you’re going to a dinner, be sure you eat lunch or have a snack in the afternoon. You should have your normal meals because whenever we get over-hungry, we tend to overeat.

  1. Substitute healthy ingredients for unhealthy ones.

There are plenty of ways to make Thanksgiving fare healthier. For mashed potatoes, consider mixing in chicken broth, herbs, or roasted garlic to perk up the flavor instead of adding in butter. For green bean casserole, swap out fried onions with toasted almonds for a less-oily alternative, and instead of having cranberry sauce, opt instead to make a cranberry salad. For dips, use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream — the consistency is similar, but yogurt has less fat and more protein.

  1. Drink lots of water and take a walk after eating.

Many times, when people think they are hungry, they are really just thirsty. By drinking lots of water throughout the day, you’ll lower the risk of overeating. Keep in mind that alcohol not only has lots of calories, but it’s effects can also lower your willpower for keeping to your healthy lifestyle.

It’s also a good idea to take a walk after eating to get your metabolism going instead of laying on the couch. Ultimately, you’ll sleep much better that night if you do a little exercise after eating rather that falling into a food coma.

All of us at VIP Surg wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving! We are here to help with your bariatric and general surgery needs.

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