A New Mindset for the New Year

One of the top New Year’s resolutions every year is to lose weight. You’ve probably made that promise once or twice yourself, and we commend you for accomplishing such an ambitious goal. Wait — What? You didn’t actually stick to your resolution!? Don’t feel bad; the majority of those who made the same resolution didn’t either. The good news is that losing weight isn’t the only path to well-being in 2019.

Good health happens when the physical, emotional, and social or environmental parts of our lives are in balance. When people resolve to lose weight, they are expressing that they want to feel and look better.

This year consider making a new kind of New Year’s resolution. Don’t make losing weight your main goal. Instead, thing of adding beneficial practices to your life.

    • Get some fresh air. Simply being in nature can have a big effect on an overloaded mind. Find a place that speaks to you, whether it’s a spot in your backyard or a bench at a local park. Visit there regularly, even if it’s only for a short time. Try to get some fresh air every day. Park your car a little farther from the door in parking lots, take a quick walk around your office building at lunch, or wake up 15 minutes earlier and jog around your neighborhood.
    • Step away from the screen. Research shows children who spend too much time in front of screens — computers, TV, video games — are at a greater risk for obesity, have a harder time falling and staying asleep, don’t focus well, and experience more anxiety and depression. Who’s to say adults are any different?
    • Sleep more. If you want a major life overhaul without much effort, getting more sleep is the way to go. Sleeping helps you burn fat, decreases stress, improves your immune system, and boosts your mood and mental clarity. Slowly change your routine to add 15 minutes a night until you get to eight hours.
    • Add something. Instead of subtracting soda, sugar, or fat from your diet, make a resolution to add something. Add a serving of vegetables to every meal. Add protein to your snacks. Add two glasses of water to your daily routine. Add 15 minutes of meditation to your bedtime routine or 15 minutes of classical music to your commute to help you destress. Add some organization time to your daily schedule.

This year change your mindset to think of adding things instead of subtracting things from your routines and lifestyle. You may find some desirable losses happen along the way.

If you are considering bariatric surgery, schedule an appointment at VIPSurg. Their team of experts can help you find the right treatment for you. From everyone at VIPSurg, we wish you a happy and healthy new year!

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Time to Bail on the Scale: Better Ways to Track Fitness

Most people go into the weight loss process wanting to, well, lose weight, of course. However, if you’re just getting started, the scale may be the worst choice for tracking your progress. In fact, your weight may be the least important thing to keep track of.

When you’re trying to lose weight, the scale can be a powerful tool. It is so satisfying to see those numbers go down, but sometimes stepping on the scale can feel like torture. Fortunately, you don’t need the scale to feel successful.

Instead, use these tests and tricks to assess your victories:

  • Track a healthy habit — Instead of just keeping track of the pounds you’re losing, keep a record of all the things you’re adding to your life. Pick a healthy habit and track your consistency.
  • Take progress photos — Take a photo of yourself wearing the same outfit, standing the same way, and in the same place once a month or every few weeks.
  • Take an activity assessment test — If you walk up a flight of stairs regularly, for example, check in every few weeks to see how the ascent feels. Check in with yourself when you’re doing the things you already do every day like playing with your kids or walking up that flight of stairs and compare how you feel today to how you felt a month or two ago.
  • Step into your old jeans — Feeling more comfortable in your clothes or going down a size is even more important than the scale because they’re more accurate signs of fat loss versus the fluid shifts you can see on the scale.
  • Measure your body’s other numbers — Track your body fat percentage or measurements. It’s possible to reduce your body fat percentage and weigh the same, especially if you’re losing fat and gaining lean muscle. Measure wherever you want to lose weight — waist, hips, upper thighs, etc. and take your measurements every month to track inches or centimeters lost.

Having your weight at a certain number might be nice, but the scale can’t tell you how fit you are or how much muscle you have. Relying only on the scale may even make workouts feel like a waste of time, even though each one helped you burn calories, get stronger, protect your body from diseases and made you more fit than you were before.

If weighing yourself motivates you in a positive way, there’s no reason to change what you’re doing. However, if the scale makes you feel like a failure, it may be time to try something new.

If you are looking for treatments for obesity and the health problems that go along with it, schedule an appointment at VIPSurg. They can help you find the right treatment for your personal situation.

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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.

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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

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