Tag Archives: weight loss tips

Two Women Cycling

The Power of Positive Thinking for Weight Loss

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Our outlook on life has a huge impact on how we approach everything we do. When we look at life with a brighter perspective, it transpires into looking at ourselves more positively.

An important piece of advice I always tell my patients is that if you do not believe in yourself and your ability to succeed in weight loss (or anything else in life), you will most likely never reach your goals.

I recently came across a study performed as part of the Women’s Health Initiative, demonstrating how upbeat and optimistic people tend to live a happier and healthier life. It also shows the the power of positive thinking for weight loss.

A better attitude often relates to a better relationship with food, but depressed and negative people tend to participate in more emotional eating of high-calorie and high-carbohydrate foods. But, no one is immune to the blues all the time. When you’re feeling down, here are some tips from the article to avoid unhealthy eating behaviors:

  • Remove junk food from the house that you know you’ll reach for when you’re in a negative emotional state.
  • Find healthy ways to cope with unpleasant emotions, like meeting up with a friend, taking a walk or doing breathing exercises.
  • Practice self-regulation by monitoring your eating habits and your feelings when you want to eat, whether it’s writing in a journal or making mental notes.

In addition to eating healthier and including exercise on a regular basis, a positive outlook with healthy coping behaviors will lead you on the path to success in weight loss, and life!

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Weight Loss Success: How I Learned to Change My Eating Habits

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This is a letter I received from my patient, Annette Wright, who wanted to share her weight loss success story. 

Dear Dr. Sam,

I would like to thank you for everything you have done for me. I have struggled with my weight for many years. I heard about you from a coworker who is seeing you, as well. She had lost a lot of weight under your guidance, and I thought it would be worth talking to you.

After my first visit, you encouraged me and taught me what foods I should stay away from and gave me ideas of what to eat and when. I understood from the very first day I wouldn’t have to go hungry, but just change what I was eating. I started by cutting out a lot of starchy carb-based foods because you said this was what had been causing my issues with my sugar dropping. The first week, I had withdrawals, even though I still had some breads. By the third week, I was ready to cut them out all together.

My husband was a huge help with my weight loss. He gave me many ideas on what to do and try. In the warmer weather, I had a lettuce wrap sandwich for lunch at work. As it got colder and I needed more substance and warmth for the cold, I used beans as a base and added as many veggies as I could, along with seasoning and some cheese. Dinners became a variety of meats and veggies, including homemade sausages.

Early on, I knew I would need to eat some of my old favorites. I decided to see what I could do to make them healthier. I searched the Web and asked you about different food and what would be good bases to start with. That is when I learned how good beans were for me. I started using bean flour in more recipes. It is great as a thickener for soups and stews. My daughter made banana bread with it, and it turned out pretty good! I used it to make bean noodles for lasagna.

I am also a chocoholic. That being said, I needed something I could eat without disrupting my new healthy eating plan. That is when I found an awesome recipe for black bean brownies. These turned out great, and I made sure I had some all through the holidays so I could enjoy these while not feeling left out or being bad with my eating habits. I also made some almond cardamom cookies as a variation.

Other helpful weight loss tactics I have tried include making veggie smoothies in the morning in order to increase my veggie intake. I knew I wouldn’t keep up with it daily, so I cut veggies for three days and keep them in a glass container so they are ready and I don’t have to do it daily.

I am on a tight budget, so I follow a local coupon site to see what is on sale and when to plan my shopping around the best prices. When dining out and the servers bring that big basket of carbs, I send it back so I’m not tempted (after clearing it with my husband!).

I am not big on keeping up with calorie counters, but every so often I enter everything in for a few days to make sure I’m still in the range I want to be. I have also found a few exercise videos that I enjoy, and I walk whenever I can. I work on my feet all day, so some days and times are harder for exercise, but I keep trying to push myself a little more.

Thanks again, Dr. Sam, for all your help, and I hope this letter helps someone else to achieve weight loss success!


Annette Wright


How a Food Journal Helps Supercharge Your Dieting Power

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It’s true – studies have shown that writing down everything you eat or drink helps you lose weight faster and more effectively. Now before you click to close this post in annoyance, please realize that I’ve lost 217 pounds in just 13 months, and I’ve kept a food journal every single day.

Did that get your attention?

You can believe me when I say I was not thrilled about starting a food journal with this latest endeavor to reach a healthy weight last year. The idea of having to write down everything I ate, day-in and day-out, sounded like a completely annoying way to make my dieting experience that much more unpleasant. But I told myself to try it for two weeks, and now a meal or snack can’t go by without noting it in my journal!

A WebMD article discusses one study done in which around 1,700 obese adults were asked to keep a food journal while they tried to maintain a healthy eating habit. The article reported that the dieters who kept a food journal at least six days out of the week lost twice as much weight as those who only kept their journal one day a week, or no journal at all.

And a registered dietician and wellness manager at The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute by the name of Kirstin Kilpatrick wrote an article explaining why food journaling is so effective for helping with weight loss.  She explains it makes you aware of how much you actually eat, think about what you eat before you eat, portion out your food better and gain a better understanding of how food ties into your daily activities and mood.

Tracking my food for more than a year now, I can assure you the food journal does everything Ms. Kilpatrick says it does, and more! It really empowers you while you’re dieting by giving you a solid knowledge of exactly how many calories, carbs, fat, protein and sugars you’re eating meal by meal and for the whole day.

Armed with knowledge like this, you can mentally pre-plan your meals and snacks so you can cheerfully say “no” to those food temptations we all encounter in a day, knowing that you won’t have to write it down. And being able to look back over a day or a week and seeing how much healthier you’re eating is really a very powerful incentive to keep up the good work!

Keeping a food journal doesn’t have to be a chore either, especially now when there are several websites devoted to making your own personal journal. Personally, I use MyFitnessPal.com to log my meals and exercise, mainly because it’s free, has a huge database of food nutrition stats available and has the convenience of an app for smartphones and tablets.

There are other sites, like My-Calorie-Counter.com, FitDay.com, and MyFoodDiary.com to use, depending on your preferences. And if you’re away from a computer and have no portable device, just keep a little note pad in your pocket to write down what you had for a meal or snack so you can enter it later.

Another tip – keeping track of food right after you eat is better than trying to remember what you ate earlier that day.

I encourage you to give food journaling a try, and see if you don’t get hooked on the power and knowledge that you’ll get when you track what you eat, how much you eat and how much more effective you are on your diet.