Tag Archives: Healthy Habits

Slow Down, Lose Weight

The pace at which you eat is just one eating behavior that might influence your weight loss progress.

Slow Down, Lose WeightEating behavior refers to the habits that influence the way you eat. Changing the types of food you eat makes up half of the healthy dieting equation. To lose weight, behavioral changes are also necessary.

It’s likely that you engage in a collection of eating behaviors without much thought. Eating behavior incorporates actions and thoughts toward food, like:

  • Willingness (or unwillingness) to try new things
  • Preference for soda or high-sugar juice instead of water
  • Constant snacking throughout the day
  • Serving oversized portions
  • Misunderstanding hunger cues
  • Desire to always clean your plate
  • Eating too fast

Each of these behaviors has the potential to negatively affect your health and wellness goals, and may even interrupt your weight loss process. While only one of the potential factors that may be interfering with your weight loss efforts, eating too fast is something that many people are guilty of—and it is a behavior that you can start changing today.

Eating Slowly Encourages Weight Loss

In 2010 researchers from Athens University Medical School in Greece and Imperial College in London conducted a clinical research study to determine the influence eating fast or slow might have on a person’s ability to lose weight. After giving two groups of participant’s identical snacks, they found that those who took 30 minutes to eat their ice cream became more satiated than those who ate their entire treat in just five minutes.

The difference in hunger levels wasn’t just perceived, either. The researchers took blood samples and evaluated insulin and gut hormones, and found that after taking 30 minutes to eat a snack, the hormones signaling fullness were more pronounced.

A 2008 study from the University of Rhode Island found something similar. That eating at a slow pace reduced the desire to continue eating and helped participants to feel more satisfied.

Having a reduced stomach capacity after weight loss surgery makes it even more important that you slow down your eating style. Here are a few ways you can accomplish this:

  • Set a timer and practice pacing your meals to use the entire time allotted
  • Focus on engaging in conversation with your family or friends
  • Put your fork down between bites
  • Chew food more thoroughly

Eating slower gives your body and brain a chance to communicate during the eating process. As you eat your stomach sends signals to the brain to let it know how much it’s had, and how much more will be necessary. The brain gets these signals and that is how we know to either keep eating or pack it up.

When you eat too fast, your stomach falls behind in sending these signals to the brain. By the time the brain knows we are full, we’ve already taken a few more bites. This leads to overconsumption, stomach aches and if you aren’t careful after weight loss surgery it could cause your smaller stomach pouch to stretch.

As you transition to a more traditional diet following weight loss surgery, do your best to slow down as you eat. Quickly eating your food takes away from your ability to savor and appreciate each bite, and may cause you to eat more than you intended.

Using a Journal to Lose Weight

Using a Journal to Lose WeightMost people have their own notions of what it means to keep a journal, and sometimes these preconceived notions are enough to prevent someone from giving it a try. Images of the words “KEEP OUT!” scrawled across the top of a marble notebook, or thoughts of a teenagers diary hidden under the bed behind a lock and key are just a few impressions many people hold of journals. But times have changed, and so has the art of journaling.

Keeping a weight loss journal is a proven strategy that can boost your efforts to lose weight. When you keep a journal it becomes easier to maintain a workout schedule and stay accountable for your goals. When you look back through your journal you’ll be able to see habits and trends and the impact your actions have had on your weight loss efforts.

Technology makes it easy to journal with fun resources, like:

Phone apps: You can either download a weight loss inspired app like Lose It, or try out one of the many journaling applications for your smartphone provider. Chances are you always have your phone on you, why not use your phone to stay accountable to your goals.

Blogs: This is a great way to log your thoughts and maintain a sense of external accountability. You don’t need to tell your friends and family about it, either. Consider blogging your weight loss journey to connect with total strangers out there who might benefit from your learning process.

Word documents: You can either keep a file with documents on your computer, or use an online open document, like through Google Docs. This way you can type up anything you might log in your journal without having to pull out pen and paper.

What do I write?

There are absolutely no limits as to what you can journal about, especially when it comes to using a journal to promote your weight loss efforts. Consider logging things like:

  • Exercise habits
  • Food choices
  • Hunger
  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches and other digestive symptoms
  • Water consumption
  • Cravings
  • Temptations
  • Stress factors
  • Weight loss goals

Every day as you update your journal you are free to provide as much detail as you like. This might mean a vague description of what you did the day before, or you may choose to get specific and long details like how many steps you took yesterday, how much you weighed this morning and what your plans are for the next day.

Journaling is a great habit to develop as you try to lose weight, and best of all it is absolutely free. Try starting your own weight loss journal and see how it goes. You might be surprised by how much you like it.

Eat Local and Lose Weight

Eat Local and Lose WeightHow many miles did your last meal travel before reaching your plate? There is a good chance the number might top 1,500 miles. The average meal has ingredients that come from at least five different countries. Highly processed foods, fresh produce and even meat is packed onto trucks and transported for days before reaching your neighborhood grocery store. A lot of people don’t realize how far every bite of food they take has traveled before reaching their lips, and for some this is pretty disconcerting.

Weight loss surgery will likely encourage you to make healthy changes in your diet. What you choose to eat, how often you are eating and how much you eat at once will all undergo changes as you gain greater control over hunger and eating habits. Connecting with the source of the food you eat is a great way to increase awareness within your own diet as you undergo these changes.

Shopping at the farmers market can do more than just increase healthy aspects of your diet. By encouraging your family to go to the market with you and incorporating fresh, healthy ingredients into your weekly meal plan you can increase the health of your family’s diet altogether.

Here are a few tips to consider when heading to the farmer’s market:

  • Bring your own bag: Some of the farmer’s may have plastic bags, but most will expect to just hand you the produce. You can either bring a standard re-usable grocery bag or an insulated cooler bag to keep your produce cold.
  • Ask about storage techniques: As you buy produce, ask the farmers how they would suggest storing the items you are buying, and how long you can expect the produce to last. Most produce is okay for about a week, so try not to buy more than your family will eat in that amount of time.
  • Bring cash: Some farmers are now starting to accept credit cards thanks to the advancement of smartphone applications, but most keep to cash-only. At most farmers markets you can buy a substantial amount of fresh produce for just $10 to $20.
  • Ask for a taste: Farmers are there to sell their harvest, so don’t treat yourself to the display for a taste. Many farmers will keep a few items to the side to offer tastes of, especially for in-season produce. If you are unsure about something, ask if you can sample before buying.

If you’ve never been before, try out a farmer’s market near your home. The River District Farmers Market is located under the Caloosahatchee Bridge in Ft. Myers. This market features produce, baked goods, local honey and more. It is open on Thursdays from 7am to 1pm.

Hydration and Your Health after Weight Loss Surgery

Hydration and Your Health after Gastric Band Surgery in Ft. MyersWater is essential to survival. Your body depends on it to keep organs functioning properly, including your heart and brain. Every cell, tissue and muscle in your body is supported by water. It lubricates your joints, pushes waste through your body and maintains internal temperature. Without enough water your body will struggle to remain healthy.

After sleeve gastrectomy or gastric band surgery, you’ll have to make a concerted effort to drink enough water every day. This will involve taking small sips regularly throughout the day, as your smaller stomach pouch will make it impossible to take large gulps without filling up quickly.

You should aim to drink at least 64 ounces of water daily. While it is true you can meet this quota by drinking other fluids, none will hydrate you as effectively as water. This is why at least half of your daily water intake should be good old H2O.

If you don’t drink enough water, you will become dehydrated, which can cause all sorts of problems.

Symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Decreased or darker urine
  • Dry mouth
  • Chapped lips
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Extreme thirst
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of tears

After weight loss surgery your stomach capacity will be greatly reduced. You won’t be able to take large gulps of water to reach your fluid intake goals. Instead, you’ll have to drink water regularly throughout the day.

Carry a water bottle with you and practice taking very small sips. To learn the right size of a sip, practice drinking two ounces at a time using medicine caps, like the type that come with cough syrup bottles.

Try finding a water bottle with ounces marked on the side—this way, you can track your progress and know how much water you consume throughout the day. If you are missing some flavor in your beverage, try adding a drop of lemon or lime juice, or adding a sprig of mint to your water for some extra zest.