Healthy Strategies for the Holiday Party Season

Holiday parties may seem exciting enough to forgo healthy eating, but they aren’t as exciting as sticking to your eating plan and living a longer, healthier life. Work these tips into your party routine so that you can stick to your plan without missing a thing (other than calories you don’t need! Wink, wink).

There are plenty of party foods that are naturally low in calories and seem equally merry. Go for crudités, lean deli meats, chicken kebabs, salsa (instead of using chips, spoon up thicker salsa straight from your plate or with a piece of chicken), steamed asparagus, boiled shrimp, and grapes. On a cheese tray, go for lower-calorie selections such as soft goat cheese and feta, and consider skipping the crackers when eating hard cheeses.

It’s a good idea to have a strategy:

  • Eat your calories: An easy way to cut calories without thinking is just to watch the liquid calories. Each glass of wine can be over 100 calories, and that’s not to mention the spiced or chocolate drinks you may be tempted with on the side. Determine exactly how many glasses you want to enjoy before heading into the party so that you can plan accordingly. A pre-party workout can help you counterbalance a glass or two with little to no damage.
  • Balance is key: Try to balance out your plate with enough vegetables, protein, and whole grains. It helps to load the veggies on your plate first, then protein, so that you’re guaranteed to get enough nutrients without splurging on the first plate of carbohydrates you see. Remember that you can always go back for more.
  • Slow down: Holiday parties can actually help slow the pace of your eating because of all the excitement going on. Think about enjoying the flavors as well as your company with every bite.
  • Don’t save up: A lot of people out there will save their appetite before big nights so that they can enjoy more of the delicious food that’s being offered. Waiting too long to eat will not only send your body into starvation mode, but it will also shrink your stomach so that you feel full sooner when you do start to indulge. Eating throughout the day will maintain insulin levels and combat a possible dinner binge, so try to digest something every three hours.

If you are considering bariatric surgery, schedule an appointment at VIP Surg. Their expert team can help you find the perfect solution for you.

Celebrating vegan party at home

What Does Moderation Mean to You?

“Everything in moderation,” says a friend who drinks one glass of wine every day.

“Everything in moderation,” says the personal trainer at the gym as she munches on dry carrot sticks. 

What is moderation? If the concept of moderation confuses you, you’re not alone. Everyone defines it differently. Eating in moderation is a subjective term, meaning something slightly different depending on your perspective. While it’s seemingly a simple question, individual perceptions of reasonable limits would provide a multitude of answers.

At one end of the spectrum, there are those who don’t put much thought into eating a healthy and well-balanced diet. Convenience and taste are the main factors influencing their dietary decisions.

At the opposite end, one may find those who label food as either wholesome and pure or downright evil, with seldom anything in between. Typical “bad” foods such as sugar, carbs, dairy, and processed or refined foods are avoided at all costs.

Both extremes can have detrimental effects on health. Eating calorie-dense foods high in sugar, fat, and salt on a regular basis, combined with a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

However, cutting out entire food groups without replacing missing nutrients can also pose problems. While “clean eating” might come in an attractive package, severe restrictions can lead to cycles of binge eating, feelings of guilt and shame, and further restriction.

Toward which end of the spectrum do you tend to lean? Where is the fine middle ground?

Eating in moderation means you do not consume more calories than your body needs to function properly. A person who does not eat a moderate number of calories gains weight, risking obesity and its associated illnesses.

The quality of the food is also an important factor when talking about eating in moderation. Consuming food your body does not need or want, such as excess sugar and fat has a detrimental effect on your body.

Eating in moderation means consuming nutritionally dense food so your body gets all the vitamins and minerals it needs without harmful or needless substances. According to the MyPlate scheme from the USDA, a healthy dinner plate contains lean protein, whole-grain foods, fruits and vegetables.

Plan your plate to ensure you are eating the proper foods in moderation. Draw an imaginary line down the middle of your plate. Fill the left half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Draw another imaginary line to cut the right half of your plate into two quarters. Fill one section with lean meat and put whole-grain products in the other section.

Moderation is about a healthy relationship with food – balancing the pleasure of eating with our basic need for sustenance. It is realizing that eating one piece of cake a week probably won’t kill you, but that doing so everyday just might.

If you are fighting obesity and metabolic disease, schedule a consultation at VIPSURG. Dr. Tsuda and his team of experts can help you find the right treatment for your unique situation.

Healthy eating habits with fruit

Give Thanks with a Healthy Lifestyle

If you’re trying to live healthily by exercising and eating right, the up-coming holiday season can pose some serious challenges. 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. The question is, how do you enjoy the holidays without derailing your health goals?

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.

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

These tips can help you keep your willpower and your wits about you this Thanksgiving:

  • Stick to healthy portions. 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.

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; instead opt for the cranberry salad.

  • Eat before you indulge. Don’t starve yourself during the early part of Thanksgiving Day thinking that you’re saving room or that this will make it okay for you to overeat later. 

If you’re going to a Thanksgiving lunch, be sure to 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 overly hungry, we tend to overeat.

  • 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-fatty alternative, and instead of having cranberry sauce, opt instead to make a cranberry salad. 
  • Drink lots of water and take a walk after eating. Many times, when people think they are hungry, they are 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 choices.

It’s also a good idea to take a walk after eating to get your metabolism going instead of lazing 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 VIPSurg wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving! We are here to help with your bariatric and general surgery needs.

Whole Homemade Thanksgiving Turkey

GERD: Ways to Alleviate Symptoms

Heartburn is a very common symptom created by acid reflux, a condition where some of the stomach contents, including stomach acid, are forced back up into the esophagus, creating a burning pain in the lower chest. Persistent acid reflux that happens more than twice a week results in the diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). According to estimates from the American College of Gastroenterology, at least 15 million Americans experience heartburn – the symptom of acid reflux – every day.

Most people are occasionally affected by heartburn, which is rarely a significant cause for concern. Recurrent acid reflux, however, resulting in the diagnosis of GERD can have serious consequences for health.

GERD is seen in people of all ages, and the cause is often attributable to a lifestyle factor, but it can also be due to unavoidable factors such as anatomical abnormalities affecting the valve at the top of the stomach. However, changes to lifestyle or behavior can prevent or improve heartburn symptoms.

The American Gastroenterological Association offers the following list of things to try to see if symptoms resolve:

  • Avoid food, drinks, and medicines that you find to be associated with heartburn irritation.
  • Eat smaller meals.
  • Do not lie down for two to three hours after a meal.
  • Lose weight if overweight or obese.
  • Avoid increased pressure on your abdomen, such as from tight belts or doing sit-ups.
  • Stop smoking.

It is important to address persistent problems with gastroesophageal reflux disease as long-term untreated acid reflux can lead to serious complications including an increased risk of cancer.

    The following foods are known to aggravate acid reflux, and should be avoided:

    • fatty or fried foods
    • peppermint and spearmint
    • whole milk
    • oils
    • chocolate
    • creamed foods or soups
    • most fast foods
    • citrus fruits and juices (grapefruit, orange, pineapple, tomato)
    • coffee (regular and decaffeinated)
    • caffeinated soft drinks
    • tea
    • other caffeinated beverages
    • spicy or acidic foods may not be tolerated by some individuals

If you suffer from GERD, schedule an appointment at VIPSurg. They can help you find the right treatment for your unique case.

Stethalgia

Diet Recommendations for After Weight-Loss Surgery

A gastric bypass diet helps people who are recovering from sleeve gastrectomy and from gastric bypass surgery — also known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass — to heal and to change their eating habits. Your doctor or a registered dietitian can talk with you about the diet you’ll need to follow after surgery, explaining what types of food and how much you can eat at each meal. Closely following your gastric bypass diet can help you lose weight safely and keep you feeling well too.

The gastric bypass diet is designed to:

  • Allow your stomach to heal without being stretched by the food you eat
  • Accustom you to eating the smaller amounts of food that your smaller stomach can comfortably and safely digest
  • Help you lose weight and avoid gaining weight
  • Avoid side effects and complications from the surgery

Diet recommendations after gastric bypass surgery vary depending on your individual situation. A gastric bypass diet typically follows a staged approach to help you ease back into eating solid foods. How quickly you move from one step to the next depends on how fast your body heals and adjusts to the change in eating patterns. At each stage of the gastric bypass diet, you must be careful to:

  • Avoid dehydration.
  • Wait about 30 minutes after a meal to drink anything and avoid drinking 30 minutes before a meal.
  • Eat and drink slowly, to avoid dumping syndrome — which occurs when foods and liquids enter your small intestine rapidly and in larger amounts than normal, causing nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sweating and diarrhea.
  • Eat lean, protein-rich foods daily.
  • Choose foods and drinks that are low in fats and sugar.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Limit caffeine, which can cause dehydration.
  • Take vitamin and mineral supplements daily as directed by your health provider.
  • Chew foods thoroughly to a pureed consistency before swallowing, once you progress beyond liquids only.

The gastric bypass diet can help you recover from surgery and transition to a way of eating that is healthy and supports your weight-loss goals. Remember that if you return to unhealthy eating habits after weight-loss surgery, you may not lose all your excess weight, or you may regain any weight that you do lose.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are considering bariatric surgery, schedule a consultation with VIPSurg. Dr. Tsuda and his team are ready to help you on your way to a healthier, happier life.

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Obesity is a Big Deal! A Look at the Complexity of this Serious Health Problem

Let’s face it, often those of us who are overweight or obese are judged quite harshly by society. People generally assume that obesity is strictly a matter of personal willpower, the product of bad choices about physical activity and diet. It is assumed that an overweight or obese person has little self-control. This kind of bias and thinking gets in the way of dealing with obesity as the serious health issue it is.

Obesity is a very complicated condition. About 50 to 70% of one’s risk of obesity is genetically determined. You can make choices that make it better or worse, but that’s just like any other chronic disease. When the blame and shame that are so common get in the way, it makes it hard to improve the health of people living with obesity.

A lot of health plans have had broad, blanket exclusions for obesity, thinking that it is a cosmetic condition. However, the rise in the prevalence of obesity that’s happened over the last 3 decades has made it clear that it’s creating a trend of chronic disease ranging from cardiovascular disease to diabetes to many cancers.

Because weight-based stereotypes and prejudices so often emerge from claims that obesity is caused and maintained by personal characteristics such as laziness or lack of willpower, there is a clear need for increased public awareness and education about the complex biology of obesity and the significant obstacles that exist in efforts to achieve sustainable weight loss. The prevailing societal and media messages that reinforce blame on obese persons need to be replaced with messages that obesity is a chronic disease with a complex set of causes. It is a lifelong condition for most obese persons.

Several studies have consistently demonstrated that experiencing weight stigma increases the likelihood of engaging in unhealthy eating behaviors and lower levels of physical activity, both of which exacerbate obesity and weight gain. Among youths, several studies have demonstrated that overweight children who experience weight-based teasing are more likely to engage in binge-eating and unhealthy weight control behaviors compared with overweight peers who are not teased, even after controlling for variables such as BMI and socioeconomic status. Other research has consistently documented a positive association between weight-based victimization and eating disorder symptoms and bulimia. Weight-based victimization among overweight youths has been linked to lower levels of physical activity, negative attitudes about sports, and lower participation in physical activity among overweight students.

If you’re looking for treatment for this very real, physical disease, contact VIPSurg for an appointment. Our expert team understands the complexity of obesity and all the issues that come with it. They can help find the right treatment for you.

Obese woman thinking

Eat Healthy/Live Healthy

One of the ways that weight loss surgery works is that after one has had a bariatric procedure, it takes less food to fill up and keep satisfied. As time goes on, though, it will take more food to make you feel full. This a normal part of the process. During the first two years after surgery, the capacity for food you can eat will go up from a few teaspoons to 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups of food. Whether you eat a little or a lot, eating healthy is the most important element.

A healthy eating plan gives your body the nutrients it needs every day while staying within your daily calorie goal for weight loss. A healthy eating plan:

  • Emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products
  • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
  • Limits saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars
  • Controls portion sizes

If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, finding the right kind of foods is essential. The goal should be to eat healthy foods that will fill you up for the longest amount of time.

Feeling hungry every 3 to 4 hours is normal. You’re supposed to feel hungry that often, and eating the right types of foods helps to keep blood sugar levels balanced.

Fruits and vegetables are filling. They are not only low-calorie, but also high in fiber. Foods such as carrots and hummus have fiber, flavor, and fat to keep you feeling full longer. They also help us absorb nutrients. Nuts like pistachios, almonds, pecans, and seeds all offer healthy fats as well as protein. Proteins can be a healthy snack choice as well as a meal option. Foods high in protein, such as lean chicken, ham or turkey will help satisfy hunger.

 If you are looking for ways to treat obesity in the Las Vegas area, schedule an appointment at VIP Surg. Their team of experts can help find the right treatment for you.

Selection of healthy food on rustic wooden background