How to get your weight loss back on track after a tragedy

You fell off the weight loss wagon – now what?

Blame it on the holidays. Or maybe you just got too darned busy to think about what you were eating. Perhaps you threw caution — and calorie counts — to the wind during a fancy-free vacation.

Whatever the cause, it happened: you went off your diet (maybe even stayed off it for a few days, or a few weeks). It happens to all of us eventually, experts say. The important thing is to stop beating yourself up and jump right back into your healthy eating plan.

Here are 10 tips to help you get back on track:

1. Don’t turn the relapse into a moral issue. You’re not a bad person or destined to be fat just because you slipped up. Think of the setback as a way to develop coping skills.

2. Learn from your experience. If you don’t recognize what led you to fall off the diet wagon, you’ll probably react the same way the next time the situation arises. Write down a list of the situations that trigger you to overeat, and plan an alternative for each. For example, if parties are your downfall, have a healthy snack beforehand to keep your appetite in check.

3. Don’t try to make up for the slip with a punishing regime of diet and exercise. You may lose weight this way, but you’re almost sure to gain it back. This will only set up an unhealthy pattern of gaining and losing, and create anxiety about your relationship with food.

4. Look at the big picture. Realize that weight loss requires a decrease in calories over time, but it doesn’t matter what the exact time period is. So consider your food intake a week or a month at a time instead of every day. Chances are you’ll have good days and bad days, and slipping up once in a while isn’t that big of a deal. You can always make up for it later in the week, or at the next meal.

5. Renew your motivation. Going off your diet is a signal that your motivation has veered off track. So sit down and take stock: When you were following your program, how did you feel? What was motivating you then? Recreating those feelings can help you get your incentive back.

Continued

6. Plan ahead to keep hunger at bay. When you let yourself get too hungry, it’s all too easy to overeat. To avoid that, plan nutritious snacks into your day. When you’re away from home, carry a “snack pack” filled with healthy options: things like dried and fresh fruits, baby carrots, nonfat yogurt, trail mix, whole-grain cereal, nuts, and baked chips.

7. Don’t deprive yourself. Cutting out all your favorite foods is a sure-fire way to trigger feelings of deprivation that can lead to a binge. Instead, choose healthier options: have a half-cup of low-fat frozen yogurt instead of a pint of ice cream, a bite-sized candy bar instead of a whole one.

8. Don’t stop moving. Even if you can’t make it to the gym, duck out for a 20-minute walk. Exercise not only helps you burn the extra calories you took in while you were off your plan, but it also relieves boredom and stress that can trigger overeating.

9. Find an “accountability partner.” This can be a fellow dieter, or just a friend or family member who’ll provide encouragement for your efforts. Tell your partner your intentions and goals and check in regularly to help keep you on track.

10. Change your routine. Use starting anew as an opportunity to try a new exercise class — maybe belly dancing — and add some new, healthy foods to your regime (visit your local farmer’s market for inspiration). It will add spark to your routine and keep you from getting bored.

Sources

SOURCES: WebMD Feature Fallen Off the Diet Wagon? Don’t Despair, by Carol Sorgen, originally published April 23, 2003. WebMD Weight Loss Clinic Feature The Devil on Your Shoulder: Dealing with Temptation, by Colette Bouchez, published Oct. 27, 2005; WebMD Weight Loss Clinic Feature Stop Me Before I Binge Again, by Colette Bouchez, published Oct. 25, 2004. WebMD Weight Loss Clinic Feature Don’t Let the Holiday Blues Derail Your Diet, by Jeanie Lerche Davis, published Nov. 29, 2004. WebMD Weight Loss Clinic Feature Don’t Fall Back Into Bad Habits, by Carol Sorgen, published Sept. 2, 2005. WebMD Weight Loss Clinic Feature True Confessions: My Weight Loss Sins, by Sylvia Davis, published June 16, 2005.

How to get your weight loss back on track after a tragedy

Things were going great — you were losing a pound a week. Then, suddenly, the number on your scale wouldn’t budge … and started creeping upward.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

If this scenario sounds familiar, our dietitians recommend three strategies for getting back on track:

  1. Start tracking what you eat
    Keeping a food log can keep you accountable and help you achieve long-term weight-loss goals. “It can also help you uncover ‘bad’ eating trends like that afternoon latte, pastry or vending machine snack,” says Julia Zumpano, RD, LD. Adds Anna Taylor, MS, RD, LD, CDE, “Tracking what you eat can get a bit tedious, but research shows that it works. Start by committing to at least two weeks of daily food logging.” Try old-school pen and paper to jot down everything you eat in a notebook. Or go digital with free smartphone apps like MyFitnessPal® or LoseIt®, a spreadsheet on your laptop, or a free online calorie counter like SparkPeople.com. Online apps do more than track calories, notes Zumpano. “They can also get you closer to meeting health goals, like lowering your cholesterol or blood pressure, or meeting your protein needs.”
  2. Plan your menu for the week
    Kate Patton, MEd, RD, CSSD, LD, recommends planning a week’s worth of meals in advance. “The more prepared you are, the better your eating habits will be,” she says. Adds Taylor, “The worst time to expect yourself to make a healthy choice is when you’re tired and hungry after a long day. Without planning, you become a victim of circumstance.” Scan your fridge, freezer and pantry to see what you’ll need to buy. Then go shopping. “Advance meal prep also helps,” advises Patton. Will some recipes require chopped veggies? Prep and store them, so they’re waiting in the fridge. Planning ahead makes it much easier to make healthy choices.
  3. Consider time-restricted eating
    Are you wondering, “What the heck is time-restricted eating?” We can explain. “In time-restricted eating, you narrow the window of time in which you eat throughout the day,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD. For example, you might eat breakfast later than usual and dinner earlier than usual, then stop eating after 6 p.m. Early studies suggest that squeezing all your meals into the most active part of your day can help you lose body fat without changing your diet. “If your dietary slip-ups are frequent, you may be struggling with calorie-counting,” notes Kirkpatrick. “It can set up unrealistic expectations and is hard to sustain.”

Now that you have three weight loss strategies to choose from, our dietitians want to point out three pitfalls to avoid:

  1. Don’t limit yourself too much
    “The worst thing you can do when you want to start losing weight again is to eat nothing the next day,” says Kirkpatrick. Similarly, banning all carbs or eliminating food groups will cause your weight to boomerang. “You’ll likely end up craving the food you’re denying yourself,” explains Patton. “Or you’ll feel too restricted, then overindulge in a weak moment.” This short-term thinking sets you up for failure in the long term.
  2. Reward yourself (but not with food)
    Ever treated yourself to something decadent after a week of dieting? It’s a common trap. “You think, ‘I’ve been good all week. I’ll just treat myself to this ice cream sundae,’” says Julia Zumpano. But this fosters an unhealthy relationship with food and hampers your progress toward weight-loss and health goals. Rewarding yourself is OK, says Zumpano — just don’t do it with food. Treat yourself to a massage. Or to new clothes. Or to some shiny new electronics. “Or take a day off work to focus on yourself,” she says. And don’t worry, the occasional ice cream sundae is OK. “Remember to share it, or order a kid’s size — and savor every bite,” she says.
  3. Know that you’ll be less than perfect
    As you get back into the swing of things, don’t obsess about “eating right.” “Holding yourself to a perfect standard isn’t realistic for any aspect of your life,” stresses Taylor. “You don’t want to feel like you’ve ‘failed’ if you choose to have a few potato chips or a piece of candy. That’s not particularly motivating!” (In fact, expecting 100% of the food going into your body to be healthy in every way may signal an eating disorder called orthorexia.) You’ll find more success by eating a balanced diet that allows for a few fun foods in small portions. Healthy eating is a skill you build over time. “It takes lots of practice,” says Taylor.

Anyone who chooses to have weight loss surgery doesn’t expect to fail. The expectation is this will be the end of your weight loss struggles. Unfortunately, the journey is continuous and does not end once you have lost the weight and achieved your goal weight.

The journey isn’t always smooth. There are always bumps in the road even for the most successful patient. If you find yourself veering off your path and your journey getting rocky here are some tips on how to get back on track after weight loss surgery.

How to get your weight loss back on track after a tragedy

The first thing you need to do is figure out where you have gone off track.

What have you been eating?

The best thing to do is keep a food journal for a few weeks to see exactly what is and is not going into your mouth. When examining your food journal ask the following questions:

  • Are you eating protein at each meal? We stress this before your surgery. Protein helps fill you up and keeps you feeling fuller longer. Patients who are not consuming sufficient protein may also be breaking down muscle tissue. The less muscle you have the lower your metabolism, which makes weight gain easier.
  • Are you eating more starches (bread, pasta, rice)? Starches fill you up quickly and are calorie dense. Often when more starches creep in patients end up eating less protein, fruit, and veggies, but more calories.
  • Are you including vegetables and/or fruit at each meal? Fruit and vegetables are low in calories and rich sources of fiber. Fiber will help you also feel fuller longer. These food are often replaced of higher calorie, but less nutritious foods.
  • What are you drinking? fluids do not fill your stomach for a long period of time. Liquid calories really add up. Make sure your only drinking beverages that are calorie free. It’s really eating to pack in a few hundred extra calories from a fancy coffee, fruit smoothie, or glass of wine.
  • Are you snacking between meals? First, find out why you are snacking. Are you really hungry or just looking for something to do? If you are hungry look at what you are eating during meals and increase protein and/or fiber if necessary. If you do need to eat a snack try to keep snacks less than 100 calories. If you are not really hungry you need to find an alternative activity to combat boredom.
  • Are you exercising? For weight loss and weight loss maintenance, it is recommended that you exercise at least 3 times each week for at least 45 minutes. Weight loss is, of course, more about what you eat then exercise, but the most successful patients I know exercise regularly. Quick weight loss will decrease muscle mass. Our bodies can not just lose fat without breaking down muscle. The problem is that muscle is what we call “metabolically active”. What this means is that muscle requires energy even at rest. People who have higher muscle mass will require more calories making their metabolism higher. Less muscle = lower metabolism.

The second thing that you want to do is attempt to determine why you went off track in the first place.

When patients get off track and start gaining weight the first thing they often do is go straight to me or the dietitian in their surgery practice. Surgeon’s and other health professionals will send you to us as well. We are of course the nutrition experts, however, the reason you may have gone off track may not have anything to do with food at all. The food or eating choices, although not great, may be the cause of your weight gain, but something else has likely caused you to make those choices.

I can’t count how many times I have to tell patients that I can give them suggestions for better meals and snack choices, but if they don’t get to the root cause of why they are not making these choices already they won’t stay on track. They may be eating better, but they are still eating for reasons other than nourishment.

So, what are some reasons causes patients to get off track?

Unsupportive family and friends

I have heard so many stories from patients who struggled because family and friends chose not to be supportive of their efforts. Here are some examples:

  • significant others who insisted on eating out frequently
  • a spouse who did all the cooking and snuck in extra calories into his wife’s food
  • a family member who brought trigger foods into the house
  • a spouse not sharing in childcare and house chores to free up time for their loved one to exercise
  • family members or coworkers becoming food pushers

Poor time management skills

Let’s face it everyone is busy. Many of my patients are balancing work (sometimes multiple jobs), family, and school. There is often very limited free time to meal prep and exercise. Health may have been a top priority when the patient first had surgery, but years later their health crept further and further down on the priority list. You need to make yourself and your health a priority no matter what!

Stress

Stress is probably the most common issue. Stress can come from lots of places.

Financial stress may lead someone to have to work longer hours or work more than one job decreasing their self-care time.

Emotional stress often leads to stress eating. Many patients prior to surgery have a history of coping with stress through food. Eating when they are happy or most commonly sad or upset.

Bariatric surgery only changes the size of your stomach. Surgery does not change your brain. After surgery, you have the same job, same family, same spouse, same children, same problems. Surgery can you lead you to a healthier life, but not a completely new life.

So how do you fix this? I will always suggest that patients seek out the help of a mental health professional. A psychologist or psychiatrist can help you not only with stress management, but also help you work through barriers that may be caused by others around you.

Bariatrics is a team approach for the reasons I touched on. Your surgeon gives you the tool to lose weight. Your dietitian and psychologist give you the skills and strategies to use that tool to the best of your ability. You took the first step by choosing to have surgery. Make sure you use all the resources available to you to be successful. You don’t have to take the journey alone. Using the help and resources available to you will help make your journey smoother. There might still be bumps in the road, but your team will be there to point you in the right direction.

About Jennifer Pullman

Jennifer is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist. She is the author and founder of Bariatric Bits and Nourished Simply. Jen has been a bariatric dietitian since 2007. She enjoys writing about nutrition and healthy eating. This website is for general information purposes and does not offer medical advice. Always consult your physician and surgical team for medical information.

If you’ve been overdoing it throughout the holidays you may be tempted to go to extreme measures to undo the damage, but the truth is a few smart, reasonable adjustments you can actually stick with can loosen up those too-tight jeans before New Year’s Day. Here’s how to get started:

Start Eating on Schedule

Each day, eat breakfast within an hour of waking up and eat again every 3 to 5 hours. Starting your day with a healthy meal and enjoying evenly spaced meals will maximize your metabolism, regulate your blood sugar and insulin levels, and level out your appetite. I know it may be tempting to cut way back, but starving yourself completely backfires. Eating too little forces your body to switch into conservation mode and burn fewer calories, which means you’re more likely to hang onto body fat. And undereating can cause your body to break down muscle mass for fuel, which also causes a metabolic slow down. Unless you want to wind up thinner but flabbier, eating enough and at regular times is key.

Drink More H2O

Water does support optimal metabolism and some research shows it may naturally curb your appetite, but it can also help you feel better fast. Drinking more water flushes out excess sodium to help you quickly de-bloat, and it gets things moving in your digestive system to relieve constipation. Aim for 2 to 2.5 liters a day (about 8 to 10 cups).

Cut Back, but Don’t Cut Out Carbs

Nixing carbs completely can force your body to burn protein for fuel instead of using it to support and maintain your calorie-burning muscle. So instead of cutting carbs out, just cut back. Pair veggies and lean protein with a small amount of a healthy fat and a small serving of whole grains. I recommend aiming for 2 cups of veggies (about two baseball’s worth), 3 ounces (deck of cards) or a 1/2 cup (half a baseball) of a lean protein such as tofu, beans, fish or poultry, a 1/2 cup of a whole grain such as quinoa, barley or wild rice, and a little bit of healthy fat like extra-virgin olive oil, chopped avocado, or sliced almonds.

Here’s a great example: Sauté one cup of veggies such as onions, sliced grape tomatoes, chopped asparagus and mushrooms in a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil with garlic and herbs. Serve over a cup of organic greens, and top with a half-cup of cooked quinoa (warm or chilled) and 3 ounces of diced chicken breast or a half-cup of lentils. Dust with cracked black pepper and drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar. These portions and proportions will leave you feeling full, satisfied and energized while you still see results (in other words you won’t be starving, moody, irritable, or depressed with no energy and out-of-control cravings).

For a month’s worth of meals that follow this same configuration, check out the excerpt from my latest book here. Give the plan a try and let us know how you’re doing- more than 70 percent of the real women who tested the plan dropped a dress size in a month while eating four easy-to-prepare, satisfying meals a day, like my chocolate pear ginger smoothie and black bean tacos with cilantro-jalapeno guacamole.

Do you overindulge throughout the holidays? What do you do to get back on track? Share your thoughts here or tweet them to @cynthiasass and @Shape_Magazine.

How to get your weight loss back on track after a tragedy

Things were going great — you were losing a pound a week. Then, suddenly, the number on your scale wouldn’t budge … and started creeping upward.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

If this scenario sounds familiar, our dietitians recommend three strategies for getting back on track:

  1. Start tracking what you eat
    Keeping a food log can keep you accountable and help you achieve long-term weight-loss goals. “It can also help you uncover ‘bad’ eating trends like that afternoon latte, pastry or vending machine snack,” says Julia Zumpano, RD, LD. Adds Anna Taylor, MS, RD, LD, CDE, “Tracking what you eat can get a bit tedious, but research shows that it works. Start by committing to at least two weeks of daily food logging.” Try old-school pen and paper to jot down everything you eat in a notebook. Or go digital with free smartphone apps like MyFitnessPal® or LoseIt®, a spreadsheet on your laptop, or a free online calorie counter like SparkPeople.com. Online apps do more than track calories, notes Zumpano. “They can also get you closer to meeting health goals, like lowering your cholesterol or blood pressure, or meeting your protein needs.”
  2. Plan your menu for the week
    Kate Patton, MEd, RD, CSSD, LD, recommends planning a week’s worth of meals in advance. “The more prepared you are, the better your eating habits will be,” she says. Adds Taylor, “The worst time to expect yourself to make a healthy choice is when you’re tired and hungry after a long day. Without planning, you become a victim of circumstance.” Scan your fridge, freezer and pantry to see what you’ll need to buy. Then go shopping. “Advance meal prep also helps,” advises Patton. Will some recipes require chopped veggies? Prep and store them, so they’re waiting in the fridge. Planning ahead makes it much easier to make healthy choices.
  3. Consider time-restricted eating
    Are you wondering, “What the heck is time-restricted eating?” We can explain. “In time-restricted eating, you narrow the window of time in which you eat throughout the day,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD. For example, you might eat breakfast later than usual and dinner earlier than usual, then stop eating after 6 p.m. Early studies suggest that squeezing all your meals into the most active part of your day can help you lose body fat without changing your diet. “If your dietary slip-ups are frequent, you may be struggling with calorie-counting,” notes Kirkpatrick. “It can set up unrealistic expectations and is hard to sustain.”

Now that you have three weight loss strategies to choose from, our dietitians want to point out three pitfalls to avoid:

  1. Don’t limit yourself too much
    “The worst thing you can do when you want to start losing weight again is to eat nothing the next day,” says Kirkpatrick. Similarly, banning all carbs or eliminating food groups will cause your weight to boomerang. “You’ll likely end up craving the food you’re denying yourself,” explains Patton. “Or you’ll feel too restricted, then overindulge in a weak moment.” This short-term thinking sets you up for failure in the long term.
  2. Reward yourself (but not with food)
    Ever treated yourself to something decadent after a week of dieting? It’s a common trap. “You think, ‘I’ve been good all week. I’ll just treat myself to this ice cream sundae,’” says Julia Zumpano. But this fosters an unhealthy relationship with food and hampers your progress toward weight-loss and health goals. Rewarding yourself is OK, says Zumpano — just don’t do it with food. Treat yourself to a massage. Or to new clothes. Or to some shiny new electronics. “Or take a day off work to focus on yourself,” she says. And don’t worry, the occasional ice cream sundae is OK. “Remember to share it, or order a kid’s size — and savor every bite,” she says.
  3. Know that you’ll be less than perfect
    As you get back into the swing of things, don’t obsess about “eating right.” “Holding yourself to a perfect standard isn’t realistic for any aspect of your life,” stresses Taylor. “You don’t want to feel like you’ve ‘failed’ if you choose to have a few potato chips or a piece of candy. That’s not particularly motivating!” (In fact, expecting 100% of the food going into your body to be healthy in every way may signal an eating disorder called orthorexia.) You’ll find more success by eating a balanced diet that allows for a few fun foods in small portions. Healthy eating is a skill you build over time. “It takes lots of practice,” says Taylor.

What to do after you’ve blown your calorie budget.

Let’s face it: Everyone blows their calorie budget every now and then.

But you can forget that old saying, “a moment on the lips, forever on the hips.” You can get your eating back on track. Here’s how.

First, Relax

You need some perspective.

You need to eat 3,500 calories to gain one pound of body fat. One unplanned treat — a slice of cake, some fries, or even a rich meal — probably won’t make a major difference on the scale.

“We call these ‘taking timeouts,’ and we all take them,” says San Antonio nutrition consultant Rebecca Reeves, RD. “No one is perfect in their eating habits. What we have to learn is that we are giving ourselves permission to do this, and as soon as it’s over, we should go back to the eating plan we normally follow.”

The goal is to not make a habit of it.

“Most people overeat somewhere between 500 and 1,500 calories every single day,” says cardiologist Allen Dollar, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Emory University in Atlanta.

Don’t Give Up

Too many dieters throw in the towel after a splurge, says Kathleen M. Laquale, PhD, a nutritionist and athletic trainer.

“You may feel defeated and say, ‘Oh, I blew my diet … and the heck with it,” Laquale says.

“When you do overindulge, don’t be self-deprecating. You overeat for one day; let’s get back on track again. Let’s be more conscious of our portion sizes the next day.”

Cut Back a Bit, But Not Too Much

Don’t try to make up for the extra calories by skipping meals the next day. That just leaves you hungry.

Instead, cut back throughout the day with a series of small meals packed with fruits and vegetables. Their fiber will help you feel full, says Joan Salge Blake, RD, clinical associate professor at Boston University.

  • Wait until you’re hungry. Then have a light breakfast such as a bowl of low-fat yogurt and berries.
  • Mid-morning snack: a piece of fruit and an ounce of low-fat cheese
  • Lunch: a big salad with lean protein such as fish or chicken, or a whole wheat pita pocket with lettuce and tuna or turkey
  • Afternoon snack: a cup of vegetable soup and an orange
  • Dinner: a piece of fish and plenty of vegetables

Continued

Skip the Scale

After a feast, you may weigh more. That’s not because you gained body fat, but because of water retention from extra salt that was in the food you ate.

So don’t weigh yourself. Salge Blake tells her clients to weigh themselves on Fridays, when they’re likely to weigh their lowest, since people tend to overindulge more often on the weekends than on weekdays.

Stick to Your Normal Exercise Routine

Exercise is a good idea. But don’t do a mega-workout to try to burn off all the calories you just ate.

“If you overload and do more than your regular routine, you could strain a muscle, you could hurt a joint. So muscle soreness may set in. Then you can’t exercise,” Laquale says.

Track What You Eat

Set a goal for your daily calories, and write down what you eat. That helps you stay aware of what you’re eating, Dollar says.

“You have to be conscious every time your hand goes from a plate to your mouth.”

Sources

Rebecca Reeves, DrPH, RD, nutrition consultant, San Antonio.

Allen Dollar MD, chief of cardiology, Grady Memorial Hospital; assistant professor of medicine, Emory University School of Medicine.

Kathleen M. Laquale, PhD, ATC, LAT, licensed dietary nutritionist; athletic trainer; associate professor, Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts.

Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, clinical associate professor, Boston University.

“Weight Loss Surgery is just a tool.” We have all heard this statement many times, but it is absolutely true – Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) does not work, unless you adopt the healthy eating and exercise habits required to lose and sustain your weight loss. Changing habits is hard work and takes a lot of effort. Old habits are always waiting in the wings to jump back in and take over, which can slow down weight loss or cause weight regain. Falling off track can happen to anyone, but there is a way to get back on track. Below are 7 tips to help you get back on a path to success!

1. Are you truly aware of what you eat and drink?

A lot of what we eat and drink can be done mindlessly, which means we are not paying attention to how much and what we put in our mouths. If you are not losing or are regaining – you need to take an honest look at what you are consuming on a daily basis. The best way to do this would be to start logging everything you eat and drink. I recommend using smart phone apps (such as My Fitness Pal, FitDay, LoseIt, Baritastic, etc.) to log what you eat and drink. These types of apps give you the nutrition information for everything you eat, so you know right away how many calories and how much protein you get in each day. When you know what you take in – you can make better choices. Research has shown when people record what they eat- they are more effective at losing and maintaining weight. Most people underestimate how much they eat, which makes logging foods very important.

2. You might be eating too many calories.

Since most people underestimate how much they eat, it is possible to eat too many calories even after WLS. Most bariatric patients need to keep their calorie levels low and get in their required amount of protein each day. As part of logging your foods – you need to weigh and measure the foods and drinks you take in to accurately assess your calorie intake. You will need a food scale and measuring cups and spoons. You can purchase a food scale and measuring cups/spoons in most stores that sell kitchen items. Meat, poultry, fish/seafood are weighed after cooking and hard cheeses are weighed before cooking. Other foods are usually measured using measuring cups and spoons.

3. Are you drinking your calories?

Sugary beverages do not satisfy the appetite and can contribute a lot of calories to your diet. For example, a 16 ounce regular sweetened iced tea can have 250 calories, 16 ounces of 100% fruit juice or fruit drinks can also have 250 calories and coffee drinks that have swirled in flavorings or “shots” can have over 1000 calories for the larger sizes! Anything you drink (except for approved protein drinks) should not exceed 10 calories per serving. WLS patients who drink too many of their calories often lose weight poorly and will regain! Take a look at what you drink and make healthier, low calorie or calorie free choices. Water is always best!

4. Are you getting in enough protein?

Most WLS patients know getting your daily requirement of protein is important. Protein is the centerpiece of the WLS meal plan. Protein does several important jobs: it helps maintain muscle as you lose body fat. Protein has a high satiety, so it gets you full and keeps you full longer than any other food group and protein is an essential part of weight loss and weight maintenance. For these reasons, we are always telling our patients to eat protein at each meal and always eat protein foods first. Protein foods are: meat, eggs, low fat cheese, low fat or fat free yogurt, beans, fish/seafood and poultry. If you have strayed away from protein based meals – get back to your bariatric meal plan!

5. Are you getting in your physical activity?

Most people know exercise is an important part of losing weight, but it is more important in helping you maintain your weight loss. If you aren’t exercising regularly or your exercise has dropped off – you want to set up a plan to start or get back to an exercise program. At our office we offer many opportunities to be active. We have a Bariatric Wellness Program at the CentraState Fitness and Wellness Center that is designed to get people active in a small group setting. We also have a biking, jogging and walking group that meets monthly during the warmer months for fresh air and exercise. It is important to engage in both cardiovascular exercise (aerobic) and resistance exercises so you are burning fat and maintaining muscle. Exercise helps preserve or build muscle and prevents your metabolism from slowing down. Loss of muscle and a slower metabolism leads to poor weight loss and weight regain. Always get your doctor’s approval before you start any type of exercise program.

6. Have you hit a weight loss stall?

Remember the number on the scale only tells you how heavy you are – it does not tell you if you are losing fat or muscle. Not all weight loss is healthy – if you are losing too much muscle – you can get weak, look unhealthy and slow down your metabolism. On the other hand, not all weight gain is unhealthy. If you are exercising regularly you might be building muscle – muscle is heathy weight and burns calories. The more muscle you have – the more calories you burn, thus making weight loss and maintenance easier. Your weight should be used in conjunction with your body composition analysis (how much of your weight is body fat, muscle and water) and inches (measure your waist, chest, hips, thighs and arms) to truly determine your progress. Remember: You can lose inches, but the scale might not show a weight loss.

7. Are you “dieting?” Diets do not work!

Dieting usually means you are eating a certain way until you reach a goal or in some cases give up. If you think you are on a “Bariatric Diet” you might not have fully accepted the lifestyle of healthy eating needed to lose and sustain weight loss. The lifestyle habits used for weight loss are generally the same for weight maintenance. Embrace your new lifestyle with the idea that you are nourishing your body for better health, quality of life and overall wellness. The bariatric eating plan does not have to be boring or tasteless and is healthy for your whole family.

If you are not losing or if you are regaining weight, it is worth time and effort to re-evaluate eating and exercise habits to get back on track to success and better health. For further assistance, make an appointment with the dietitian to evaluate your habits and find out more about our exercise programs. We are here to help and are invested in your success!

Dietitian’s Corner by Lori Skurbe

Dietitian’s Corner is a monthly column for post-op and pre-op patients of bariatric surgery in NJ written by Prime Surgicare’s Lori Skurbe. Lori has been a dietitian for over 20 years with an extensive background in weight management, bariatric nutrition and diabetes education.

How to get your weight loss back on track after a tragedy

It is difficult to follow your healthy eating track when life keeps getting in the way. Whether it’s work, family commitments, or vacations, it is more than likely you fall off the track of your healthy eating goals. The last thing we want is to give up completely.

We’re all human, so it’s normal to get sidetracked when trying to eat healthy. But falling off the wagon doesn’t mean having to stay off.

Enter Priyanshi Bhatnagar, Certified Holistic Nutritionist effective Strategies, a leading online nutrition consultant specialising in weight management, disordered eating, gut health, metabolic nutrition along with holistic healing. Eat up, lose weight, and feel energized on her easy nutrition plan.

There will always be instances when following your routine is impossible. You don’t need superhuman willpower, you just need strategies that can pull you back on track.

With that said, here are Priyanshi’s 8 strategies that you can use to Reset and Recharge After Falling Off the Healthy Eating Track.

1.Start now, not tomorrow

Don’t wait for tomorrow, next Monday or next month to put your plan into action. Start with your next meal. If you’re going away, have something in the fridge or freezer that you can cook easily when you return or, if you shop for food online, book in an order of healthy foods to arrive when you get home.

How to get your weight loss back on track after a tragedy

Even if you’ve had a big lunch, a chocolate bar, or a piece of cake already today, don’t let that stop you making a start today.

2.Focus on Small Changes

Start Small! Smaller changes are proven to be more effective long-term than bigger ones. Think about an area that you know you need work. For example, if you are skipping meals like lunch your first goal could be to eat your three meals per day and then balance it with mostly vegetables, a source of lean protein and a whole grain carbohydrate like millets or a starchy vegetable like sweet potato.

3.Focus on Consistency

The trend in today’s world based on current science is that extreme fad diets do not work in the short and long term. While you may think you experience true weight loss, extreme weight loss short term simply results in loss of muscle. By losing muscle, you decrease your metabolism and not only gain the weight back over time but have a harder time losing weight again.

How to get your weight loss back on track after a tragedy

Sticking with a whole foods diet incorporating healthy fats and other balanced food groups, you experience a loss in body fat and sustain or boost muscle when incorporating a fitness routine. These are the lasting results that matter for your weight and health along with how you look and feel.

4.Get Active

Exercise keeps you motivated by making you feel good, empowering you with the realization of the strength of your body. Plus, fitness is proven to boost your mood and keep you focused which helps you eat better. It will also help you physically see the results of your weight loss efforts more quickly and it is a proven necessity when you have to keep the weight loss off.

How to get your weight loss back on track after a tragedy

Don’t become overwhelmed by the word “exercise” and instead make a less stressful commitment to simplybe active.” Any movement you do and consistently will work in your weight and health favour long term.

5.Don’t starve yourself after a day of eating

Starving yourself just sets you up for overeating at your next opportunity, and that defeats the point. The first thing you will do is reach for all the wrong foods, like bread and carbs. Eat a modest and balanced breakfast here are Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Busy Mornings under 100 calories & 200 calories. That way when you walk into the room full of food your body will be nicely fueled and you will be able to make a rational decision of what (and how much) to eat.

How to get your weight loss back on track after a tragedy

6.Hydrate And take 10 minutes to see if you are thirsty, not hungry

Most of the time we are struggling with eating too much, or wanting to eat less and skip a very critical component of our weight: water! Simply drinking primarily water, will help meet your fluid needs and decrease your weight. Not only does hydration help your total weight, but it also boosts your metabolism by 30% helping you burn more calories simply by drinking! Try to incorporate hydrating foods like fruits and vegetables into your diet as well as help meet your fluid goals.

How to get your weight loss back on track after a tragedy

7.Don’t buy diet cookies, snack on fruit

Rather trying to find a healthy snack from the huge range in the shops, limit yourself to fruit or veg for between-meal snacks. These are low in calories, provide plenty of nutrients. And it has the advantage of being a really simple goal and you’ll easily be able to tell whether you are achieving it.

How to get your weight loss back on track after a tragedy

To reduce temptation, don’t go down the supermarket aisles with cakes, biscuits and sweets – here we have Guilt-Free Sweet Fix Cookies

8. Plan to keep hunger at bay

When you let yourself get too hungry, it’s all too easy to overeat. To avoid that, plan nutritious snacks into your day. When you’re away from home, carry a “snack pack” filled with healthy options: things like dried and fresh fruits, baby carrots, nonfat yoghurt, trail mix, whole-grain cereal, nuts, and baked chips or check our 6 Portable Healthy Snacks

How to get your weight loss back on track after a tragedy

Get Back on Track

Change can be hard. In the beginning, your healthy habits might take two steps forward and one step back. Anticipating those backwards steps can make all the difference in the world. Develop a plan for getting back on track and recommit to your routine as quickly as possible.

We’re all human, so it’s normal to get sidetracked when trying to eat healthy. But falling off the wagon doesn’t mean having to stay off.

You told yourself it would be just one meal out with friends, but the next thing you know it’s been three days and you haven’t consumed one thing you consider healthy. It was faster to grab a pastry in the morning from the local coffee shop and your coworkers were ordering Chinese food for lunch, and suddenly the days just got away from you.

Life happens, so it’s totally natural—and OK—to stray from our healthy habits. The important thing is staying motivated and having the tools to get yourself back on track, because you have the ability to reach your goals even with a little detour. Members of the Cooking Light Diet struggle with getting back on the road to health every day. We pooled their collective best advice on how they get back on track after falling off the rails. Here’s what they had to say.

How to get your weight loss back on track after a tragedy

Struggling to cook healthy? We’ll help you prep.

One Meal at a Time

Jumping right back in after falling off the wagon works for some, but for others it might require a little time. After all, healthy eating is a lot harder to do than eating unhealthily. Cooking Light Diet member Andrea Haight likes to start over by focusing on the one meal she has the most trouble with managing portion size and caloric value: Dinner. By taking it one meal at a time, getting back on track becomes more manageable. Ashley Belbeck agrees. She advises to, “Start with one meal. Make just one and then make another. Then another. Sometimes it helps to start small.” You don’t have to go headlong back into something you know will take time, and taking that time could end up making the process a permanent one.

Track Food

Having a sense of control is the most important factor when it comes to sticking to a diet. Nobody wants to be told what to do and eat, and they especially don’t want to feel so out of control they quit. Anne Egelhof Ritchie likes to keep track of all her healthy habits using free smart phone applications like MyFitnessPal. Even though she knows calories are counted for her on the Cooking Light Diet, the ability to track her water intake, food, and exercise gives her a sense of control and helps her stay focused.

Applaud Yourself

Everyone has a “bad food day,” and it’s a natural part of trying to eat healthy when surrounded by multitudinous options. Every time you choose something grilled over fried, pat yourself on the back. If you snag a piece of fruit instead of something from the vending machine, congratulate yourself. Every healthy decision you make, big or small, is worth celebrating.

Community member Anne Egelhof Ritchie says, “When I have a day of slipping back into old habits, I go back and look at how far I’ve come. So check your meal plan, plan your day and celebrate the new healthier you!”

It’s Okay to Treat Yourself

There’s nothing worse than turning down social plans because you worry about controlling your eating at a dinner or celebration. Shelly Grubman focuses on eating healthy the majority of the week, but allows herself little splurges every so often to keep herself from falling off the wagon.

Member Michelle Canning also treats herself from time to time in order to stay on track. She gifts herself one meal per week to eat and drink whatever she wants so she doesn’t feel deprived the rest of the week. She’ll treat herself to a night out and press pause on her meal planning, then get back on track the next day. Eating healthy is already hard, so there’s no sense in making it harder by guilting yourself into feeling bad for a little splurge. Just get back on the wagon the next meal!

Prepare for Success, Keep Healthy in Sight

When hunger strikes, you’re going to eat whatever is available to you. If you open up the pantry and find a bag of chips, you can only guess what you’ll have during snack time. It’s important to stock your fridge and pantry with healthy options you’ll need to stay on track throughout the week. If you have dinner ready to go or fruit on hand, you’re less likely to splurge on something unhealthy.

Cooking Light Diet community member Shelly Grubman likes to buy all of her ingredients for the week and prepare anything she can in advance. She’ll cut vegetables earlier in the week and keep healthy snacks ready to go for every day. Member Cynthia Mason Moran sticks to a specific list when grocery shopping to help control her eating when she’s home. When she craves sweets, she’s forced to grab a piece of fruit instead of chocolate or sweets—because she didn’t buy it at the store. She’s found it to be a fantastic way to get rid of her cravings and stay on track. Arm yourself with healthy options and you won’t be as likely to succumb to junk food when the hunger pangs hit.

Jump Right In

After a high calorie dinner or one too many slices of pie for dessert, you may come down harder on yourself than you should. Don’t tell yourself you’ll start again next week. Instead, jump right back in! Don’t let one bad decision dictate your healthy habits going forward.

Cooking Light Diet member Joan Rasmussen says, “Everyone falls off. Some harder than others. But you can’t undo it, so forgive yourself and immediately get back on plan. Remind yourself of why you are doing this in the first place.” Andi Bean agrees. When she finds she’s fallen off the rails, she reminds herself that she can’t just say she’ll get back on another day. She tells herself to start again the very next meal, and applauds herself for making even the tiniest of changes.