Visual Cues that Make Portion Control Easy

To reach or stay at a healthy weight, how much you eat is just as important as what you eat. How many calories you need each day to lose weight or maintain your weight depends on your age, weight, metabolism, whether you are male or female, how active you are, and other factors. Portion control is important when you’re trying to lose weight and keep it off.

When you’re filling your plate, picture these items to help remind you of proper serving sizes:

  • Protein — Most Americans get way more than enough protein every day. A proper single portion of meat is just 3 ounces – about the size of a deck of cards, a standard smart phone, or the palm of your hand (no fingers).
  • Starches and Grains — Portions have gotten so out of control that over-sized bakery My plate - portion control guideitems have become the norm. Instead of assuming one muffin means one serving, picture this: a bagel portion should look like a regular size can of tuna; a pancake should be the size of a CD; and a muffin should be the size of a hockey puck. The amount of cereal in your bowl should be the size of a baseball, and your rice or pasta side dish should be the size of a tennis ball.
  • Fruits and Vegetables — Fruits are rich in many vitamins and minerals, so they are an essential part of your diet, but they are also a source of sugar. When consuming fruit, keep your portion to about the size of a tennis ball. A portion of cooked vegetables should be the size of a baseball, and a portion of raw vegetables should be the size of two baseballs.
  • Fats — Fats have gotten a bad reputation because they are high in calories and can lead to weight gain when eaten in excess; however, healthy fats, like olive oil and avocado, are a crucial part of a healthy fat. Keep your portions in check by picturing two stacked dice or a poker chip when serving yourself a fat source.

The quantities mentioned here were formulated by U.S.D.A and derived based on energy utilized by the average modern-day human.

For most of us, trying to remember the serving quantities of various foods seems like an impossible task. Fortunately, there is a simpler way of doing things. Follow this last tip regularly, to keep portions in control — Take a 9-inch dinner plate and visualize it divided into four parts – each containing one of the four recommended food groups i.e. fruit, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains.

If you are interested in bariatric surgery, schedule an appointment at ViPSurg. Our expert team will find the right treatment for you.


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.


Let’s Not Sugar Coat It – Carbs Get a Bad Rap

Over the past few years, carbohydrates, especially refined sugar, have gotten a bad reputation. Unfortunately, an “all-or-nothing” restriction could be causing many people to eventually binge on these foods, often leading to weight gain and the problems that accompany obesity. Despite the messages in the media about the dangers of carbs and sugars, it is important to remember that not all carbohydrates are bad.

As a matter of fact, to boost your metabolism and ultimately lose weight, one must incorporate good carbs into their daily diet. Good carbs provide vital nutrients and essential fibers and help you stay full.

What are good carbs?

Good carbs are complex carbs that provide energy and nutritional value. For example, whole grains like quinoa, barley, faro, brown rice, and vegetables like sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, or artichokes. Whole grain breads and pastas are easy to incorporate into your diet. These foods will keep you energized for a long period of time and are a healthy staple to any meal.

What are bad carbs?

Bad carbs are refined carbs, often filled with added sugar and devoid of nutritional photo-1458938354258-3e66eb36eb7bvalue. Examples of these would include foods containing refined grains like white rice and foods containing white flour like bread, pasta, and pastries. Bad carbs will provide temporary relief of hunger, but since the nutritional value is so low, the feeling of fullness is short-lived.

Remember, carbs do have their value, and that value should not be underestimated. Whole grains are reliable suppliers of energy; they take longer to break down than refined carbs, and they help make you feel fuller and more satisfied. Whole-grain carbs, when taken in the right portions, are not usually the issue when it comes to weight gain.

Also remember that no diet is perfect. While a well-balanced diet should predominantly include complex carbohydrates, eating simple carbohydrates in moderation will not necessarily make you gain weight or cause chronic diseases.

According to the American Heart Association, women should have no more than six teaspoons of sugar a day and men should have no more than nine. Consuming large amounts of refined sugar is hard on your whole body. It can cause weight gain, high cholesterol, and diabetes, but it also effects mood, sleep, skin, and digestion.

If you are looking for ways to treat severe obesity, schedule a consultation at VIPSurg. Our doctors are experts at bariatric surgery and can help find the right treatment for you.

Defining Obesity

To define what obesity means today, we can’t count on a dictionary. However, since obesity has become a growing national health problem in the U.S., it has perhaps never been more important that we have a working definition that we can all agree on.

In order to understand how someone is categorized as overweight or obese, the world’s health organizations have adopted the use of body mass index (BMI) to classify and communicate about body weight. BMI is a widely recognized weight-for-height index.

Unfortunately, this index does not quantify total body fat or convey information concerning regional distribution of fat — both of which are key to how obesity affects health. Nonetheless, BMI is an easily obtained measure that has been recommended for use in all age groups. Most clinical studies assessing the health effects of overweight and obesity rely on BMI.

Currently, the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization use the same measures of BMI for defining overweight. obese-3011213__340 (2)

  • If BMI is 25.0 to <30, it falls within the overweight range.
  • If BMI is 30.0 or higher, it falls within the obese range.

Since BMI describes body weight relative to height, it correlates strongly (in adults) with total body fat content. However, some very muscular people may have a high BMI without undue health risks.

Obesity is often from a combination of factors, based on both genetics and behavior. Accordingly, treating obesity usually requires more than just dietary changes.

Being overweight is a significant contributor to health problems. It increases the risk of developing a number of diseases including:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Cancer (certain forms such as cancer of the prostate and cancer of the colon and rectum)
  • Gallstones and gall bladder disease
  • Gout and arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis) of the knees, hips, and the lower back
  • Sleep apnea

Ideally, health-oriented definitions of overweight and obesity should be used that are based on the amount of excess body fat that puts an individual at a higher risk for health problems. Unfortunately, no such definition currently exists. Health risks associated with increasing weight are part of a continuum. People can have weight-associated health problems at BMIs lower than 25, and others can have no identifiable health problems at BMIs significantly greater than 25.

Easily determine your BMI with this free calculator:

If you’re interested in bariatric surgery, schedule an appointment with us. Our team of experts can find the right treatment for you.

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!




Sugary Beverages and Their Role in Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

These days, soft drinks are the beverage of choice for millions of Americans and others around the world. Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), which include soft drinks, fruit drinks, iced tea, and energy and vitamin water drinks has risen across the globe. In addition to the obvious drawback of weight gain, higher consumption of SSBs is associated with the development of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

In the U.S. between the late 1970s and 2006, the per capita consumption of SSBs increased from 64.4 to 141.7 kcal/day, representing more than a twofold increase. Of particular concern is the rapid trajectory of increase evident in many developing countries where access to SSBs has grown right along with rising rates of urbanization. Sales figures from Coca Cola’s 2007 annual report show that during 2007, India and China experienced growths of 14 and 18%, respectively, in the volume of beverages sold, showing substantial increases in sales at the population level.

According to the World Health Association (WHO), metabolic syndrome and diabetes are responsible for 19 million deaths each year. Knowing that sugar consumption is associated with these conditions, the public should take steps to reduce their intake.

People who regularly consume 1 to 2 cans or more of sugary drinks per day have a 26% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who rarely have such drinks.

A study that followed 40,000 men for two decades found that those who averaged one can of a sugary beverage per day had a 20% higher risk of having a heart attack or dying from a heart attack than men who rarely consumed sugary drinks. A related study in women found a similar sugary beverage–heart disease link.

People who drink a lot of sugary drinks often tend to weigh more and perhaps eat less healthfully than people who don’t drink sugary drinks. However, studies show that having an otherwise healthy diet or being at a healthy weight only slightly lessens the risks associated with drinking SSBs.

Because SSBs are often consumed in large amounts and tend to raise blood glucose and soda and computer and phoneinsulin concentrations rapidly and dramatically, they have been shown to contribute to a high dietary glycemic load. High glycemic load diets induce glucose intolerance and insulin resistance particularly among overweight individuals and can increase levels of inflammatory biomarkers such as C-reactive protein, which are linked to type 2 diabetes risk.

The exact amount of sugar intake that increases the risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome is still unknown at this point. Nevertheless, medical experts agree that consuming large amounts of sugar poses a health threat. But how much sugar intake per day is considered too much? The WHO recommends no more than 9 teaspoons per day for men and 6 teaspoons per day for women.

The message is to be careful about the amounts of sugar-sweetened beverages you drink, and be mindful of sugar content. Prolonged intake of high amounts of sugar can contribute to metabolic syndrome onset with time. Lowering sugar-sweetened beverage and sugar intake should form part of a multi-pronged approach to living a healthy lifestyle which includes increased exercise, a balanced diet, and lower stress levels.

If you are in the Las Vegas area and are suffering from the problems associated with obesity and metabolic syndrome, call VIP Surg at 702-487-6000. Dr. Tsuda and his team can team of experts can help.