Mindfulness Over Multitasking

Mindfulness Over MultitaskingThe practice of mindfulness and weight loss success go hand-in-hand. Think about the last time you sat down on the sofa with a pint of ice cream or bag of chips, ready to watch a sporting event or your favorite TV show. What happened? Chances are you sat there with the intention of just having a few bites, but somehow your entire snack disappeared. That is what happens when you aren’t being mindful and aware of what you are eating, and this can really stunt your efforts for weight loss.

When you aren’t mindful about what you are putting in your mouth it is easy to ignore the negative nutritional content, the small portion sizes and even the general distaste you may have for the product. We have all been there: you sit down and have one chip and think “eh, these aren’t that great.” But then you start watching TV and, despite your neutral feeling towards the snack, you’ve suddenly eaten more than your fair share after just a few minutes.

When you increase your mindfulness as you eat you no longer tend to overeat or consume snacks you don’t even enjoy. By being more aware of everything that you eat you gain greater control over your diet. You might find that it is actually easier to say no to snacks that would have previously been tempting. Increase your eating mindfulness, and weight loss will likely increase as well.

Enhancing Mindfulness in All Aspects of Your Day

The link between mindfulness and weight loss isn’t the only thing gained from becoming more mindful. Your work, your attitude and even your exercise habits can benefit from increased consciousness. We are all multitaskers. We eat while we drive; we talk while we type; and we even are guilty of trying to get work done or watch TV while we exercise at the gym.

This chronic attitude of doing everything at once has our minds split. We rarely focus completely on anything that we are doing, and even when we are doing something we enjoy our minds are often elsewhere.

Increasing your mindfulness can help you manage your stress as you work out, eat healthier and enjoy spare time with family and friends. All you need to do is take a step back and force your mind to slow down! The next time you are hungry, take a step back and think about what you are hungry for. Come to a full understanding of your hunger before deciding what you are going to eat. Instead of sitting down at the TV or taking your food to go, sit down at a table and eat in peace and quiet. This way you can think about every bite before you take it and won’t be distracted.

If you can’t ignore the TVs at the gym then go for a jog outside instead. Take deep breaths and listen to yourself breathe as you run or walk. Notice every tree, pebble and passerby that you come across. Be fully aware that you are outside exercising. Think about the way the sun feels on your skin, where you are sweating and if your breath is getting faster or slower. Being extra conscious of your movements while you are working out can help you increase the intensity of your workout and relieve more stress by helping you clear your mind.

Multitasking is great, but there is a time and a place. Increasing your mindfulness is a great way to stay motivated and on track with your weight loss goals. Give yourself a break and live in the moment for once. You might be surprised how much you like life in the here-and-now.

If you would like further help in increasing both mindfulness and weight loss success contact us today in Guntersville at 256.571.8734 or in Albertville at 256.840.5547.

Also visit our Bariatric Surgery Guide to learn about type of bariatric surgery offered at My Destination Weight Loss.

Turn up the Intensity on your Weight Loss Program

Turn up the Intensity on your Weight Loss ProgramOne thing your medical weight loss program will help you to realize is that losing weight requires a lot of long-term changes to your lifestyle habits. For many people this means finding a healthy routine and repeating it. This could entail eating the same healthy breakfast day after day, or going to the gym at the same time regularly. But there is one aspect of your weight loss program that will have to change regularly: your exercise routine. Over time increasing workout intensity will be necessary.

As you lose weight your body will begin to adjust to the intensity of your exercise routine. Over time the feelings of exertion that you experienced when you first started losing weight will dissipate. This is often a frustrating stage for many people, as it often coincides with a drop off in weight loss, known as a weight loss plateau. To overcome this plateau and continue with your efforts to lose weight you are going to need to boost your exercise intensity.

Here are a few simple ways to begin increasing workout intensity as you follow your weight loss program:

  • Spend less time chatting: Going to the gym at the same time every day or joining a workout class is a great way to make friends. However, when you start spending more time chatting and less time exercising you can stall your weight loss efforts. Keep your eye on the clock and make sure you are spending the right amount of time actually working out.
  • Mix up your workout routines: A good way to begin increasing workout intensity is to mix up your routine a bit. Adding a different form of activity multiple times a week so you can start engaging different muscles. Cardiovascular exercises like walking or jogging are great, but there are plenty of other ways that you can workout. Begin implementing strength training, yoga and fitness classes to your workout.
  • Train in intervals: Interval training has long been regarded as one of the premier ways to exercise and it is simple to introduce to any walking or jogging routine. After walking for ten minutes, boost the intensity and jog for five. Repeat this cycle until your workout is complete, and push yourself to increase the length of the intense intervals as time goes on.

Realizing the need to begin increasing workout intensity is a positive sign. It means that your body is adjusting to your weight loss efforts and is ready to take on more of a challenge. Adding intensity to your workout is a great way to excite your interest in exercise as you adjust to your routine. Just keep in mind; if you are just beginning to incorporate exercise into your ever day routine you won’t want to rush into anything too intense too quickly. Be sure to talk to your doctor about establishing realistic and safe guidelines for workout intensity.

To begin increasing workout intensity after bariatric surgery contact us today in Guntersville at 256.571.8734 or in Albertville at 256.840.5547. We want to help you continue to exercise safely and effectively.

No Sweat: Exercise without Exercising

No Sweat: Exercise without ExercisingExercising can be helpful for reaching your weight loss goals after weight loss surgery, but with 80% of jobs in the United States being low activity or sedentary it’s hard for many of us to find the time to move on a consistent basis. How can you find ways to exercise without sweating or visiting a gym? What if you stopped thinking about exercise as another chore to fit into your to-do list, and instead look for ways you can integrate moments of activity into your daily routine?

Not all exercises require sneakers and sweatpants. While you are at the office or waiting in line at the grocery store, you can engage in a couple quick exercises to work your core.

  • Abdominal Brace: Sit-ups and crunches can be strenuous, but you can gain some of the fitness benefits of these moves without breaking a sweat. To do so, simply stand upright and squeeze your abdominal muscles as if expecting a hard blow to the stomach. As you tighten your abdominal muscles, try to squeeze your glutes at the same time. Hold this tense position for at least ten seconds. Try to repeat this toning exercise at least ten times to really tighten your tummy.
  • Rapid Fire Breathing: This old yoga technique is respected as a way to reenergize your body and cleanse your mind, but it is also a decent abdominal workout. To start, place your hand flat over your belly button and take a long, deep breath through your nose. You should feel your stomach relax as you inhale. Forcefully exhale through your nose, pushing your stomach in as much as you can. As you exhale, your nose should make a slight sniffing sound. Do between 15 and 20 repetitions of this breathing sequence.

Exercise without sweating might not seem like much of a workout, but the above activities can help you burn calories and tone your core as you are trying to lose weight after bariatric surgery. The activities are not a full replacement for regular low intensity workouts like walking or swimming. Instead, think of exercise without sweating as complementary to other fitness activities like walking or swimming.

Learn more by contacting us today in Guntersville at 256.571.8734 or in Albertville at 256.840.5547.

Laugh to Lose Weight

Laugh to Lose WeightYou’ve heard that laughter is the best medicine, but can it help you lose weight in Albertville and Guntersville? Whether you prefer to think of laughter as a brief abdominal workout or a surefire way to lift your mood and clear your mind, letting out a few “ha ha ha”s can absolutely boost your weight loss efforts, as well as your attitude after your weight loss surgery.

Laughter isn’t an appetite suppressant, but it still acts as an all-natural supplement to your existing weight loss program. When you laugh, your body becomes engaged both physically and mentally. Laughter reduces stress, minimizes pain and releases positive endorphins to boost your mood. Laughter can instill hope, motivation and a good attitude when it becomes hard to muster one on your own, and can give you the strength of mind to continue moving forward towards your ultimate weight and wellness goals.

Here are a few ways that laughter can enhance your health as you are losing weight:

  • Boosts immune system strength
  • Decreases perception of pain
  • Reduces stress hormone production
  • Relaxes muscles
  • Improves cardiovascular strength
  • Reduces risk of anxiety and depression

Using Laughter to Lose Weight

One of the biggest benefits of laughter is that it is free and available to absolutely everyone. Whether you are home alone, out with friends or spending the evening in the company of your family, you have all the tools you need to have a good laugh that will benefit your mind and body.

Studies have shown that even a fake laugh can turn real, leading to health benefits. This is why practices like laughter yoga have become so popular. Laughter yoga is a form of exercise gaining popularity across the world in which groups of people gather to move through slow and graceful poses while laughing. Laughter yoga is especially helpful for your weight loss efforts as it adds the physical benefits of yoga with laughter, giving you an even greater exercise experience.

When was the last time that you had a good laugh? Losing weight is serious business, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a laugh while giving it your best shot. Try letting out a deep laugh right now. You might be surprised by how great it helps you feel!

Drink Up: Water and Weight Loss

Drink Up: Water and Weight LossAfter weight loss surgery, it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Good old fashioned H2O is one of the most important things we can give our bodies, but many people don’t get the hydration they need.

The human body is roughly 60 percent water and doesn’t function well when fluid levels run low—dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches and even lapses in concentration and short term memory. Though dehydration may be most noticeable when you’re sweating buckets during exercise, it can hamper the functioning of our bodies even when at rest, so it’s an important issue to avoid as you lose weight.

We consistently lose hydration through bodily functions and often do a poor job of replacing it. You should always stick to hydration recommendations given by your weight loss doctor, but the general guideline is about 64 ounces per day.

Of course, the best indicator that you need something to drink is thirst. The color of your urine can also be a good indicator—the clearer it is, the more hydrated you are. You’ll want to be drinking enough water so that you’re urinating once every two to four hours.

Water is your best friend for hydration, especially if your weight loss doctor has placed you on a low calorie diet. However, not all of our fluids have to come from water, or even liquids. Here are a few other great ways to stay hydrated:

  • Eat fruits and veggies. We get about 20 percent of our daily fluids from foods. Oranges, tomatoes and other fresh produce items are packed with beneficial fluids.
  • Drink skim milk. In moderation, skim milk can help you get the hydration you need and may also provide some other key nutrients.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Though these most often come in liquid form, their stimulating effects can dehydrate us. If you choose to drink caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, be sure to drink water along with them. Keep in mind that caffeinated beverages and alcoholic drinks are usually very high in calories.

Hydration is crucial for a healthy body, especially as you work to lose weight after weight loss surgery.

Steps to Better Grocery Shopping for Medical Weight Loss

Steps to Better Grocery Shopping for Medical Weight LossTo support your medical weight loss goals, having a kitchen full of healthy foods is essential. If you surround yourself with fresh produce and whole foods at home, you’re much less likely to eat junk foods that don’t support your weight loss goals. Thus, healthy grocery shopping is necessary if you want to lose weight.

Here are 4 tips to help you fill your home with healthy foods:

  1. Plan Ahead – Going to the grocery store with a shopping list makes it easier for you to choose foods by design, instead of by old habits. Replace old shopping patterns with new ones. Make a meal plan for the week, complete with a grocery list, before heading to the store to help avoid temptation and stay on track with your medical weight loss goals.
  2. Make Meats Count – Meat, poultry and fish contain essential proteins, but consider buying smaller portions and choosing low-fat varieties when possible. Going skinless on poultry is a good move, and when you prepare meats, season them with herbs and avoid preparing them in cream-based sauces.
  3. Make Frozen Foods Your Friends – Frozen foods, especially frozen fruits and vegetables, offer great convenience as they have longer shelf life than fresh produce. Frozen fruits go well in breakfast smoothies, and frozen vegetables make easy add-ins to pasta and rice dishes. If you buy frozen pizza, add side salads or extra veggies on top, and if you reach for frozen desserts, try fruit sorbets or low-fat dairy ice creams.
  4. Avoid artificial ingredients – In the Processed Food Era, reading food labels can seem more like a chemistry assignment than an exercise in understanding what’s in your food. If a food label contains a string of words you can’t pronounce, put it back on the shelf. In general, aim for foods that contain five ingredients or less on the label. Items containing high fructose corn syrup and monosodium glutamate (msg) should be avoided.

At checkout, you have time to evaluate the choices you made during shopping. If you notice anything in your cart that seems out of place when you think of your long-term medical weight loss goals, it’s not too late to ask the clerk to leave it out. Remember, even if you are purchasing items for another member of your household, you’ll often eat a portion of whatever you buy, so make sure the choices you make fit with your weight loss goals.

Shake Off the Weight

Shake Off the WeightSitting still is overrated, especially if you are trying to lose weight. Most of us sit still for far too long every day. We wake up in the morning after a night of lying still, only to walk out to our driveway and sit in the car as we drive to work. Once at work, the majority of Americans sit at a desk for 40 hours a week, where we—wait for it—sit still. Then we drive home (still sitting) and spend our evening and weekends sitting on the couch, exhausted from all of that sitting.

Along with the dietary and lifestyle changes that you are making after getting Lap Band surgery, it might be time to adjust the percentage of your week that you spend sitting still. If you started moving around more while sitting at work, you might find that you are burning more calories and feeling a whole lot healthier.

Fidgeting Fitness

Fidgeting at your desk while at work falls into the category of incidental activity. This is a type of physical activity that helps a lot of bariatric patients up their calories expenditure everyday as they adjust to living a healthier lifestyle. Incidental activity refers to the amount of movement that you can accumulate during your regular routine without actually going to the gym or heading out for a walk.

You can build up your incidental activity by walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, getting up to talk to a coworker instead of sending an email or IM, and simply tapping your foot and moving around while you are typing away. By making your regular routine a more active one, you can naturally burn more calories as you move about your daily routine.

Fidgeting is easy! Here are a few ways that you can shake up your sedentary routine:

  • Listen to music and dance a little at your desk. Tap your foot to the beat as you type or bounce your legs up and down.
  • Get up and stretch your arms once every hour while you are sitting at work. Make a routine out of it. When the hour changes, stand up, drink some water and move around a bit. This will help keep you hydrated and moving.
  • Stand up and move around while talking on the phone. If you can’t stand while on the phone, then keep your fingers moving or swing your feet in your chair.

After Lap Band surgery, going to the gym right away isn’t an option. Your body needs time to recover, and you need time to adjust. While fidgeting isn’t meant to replace a moderate workout, it can help you burn some calories during those moments when you’d otherwise be sitting still.

Relax! Three At-Home Stress-Reducing Techniques

Relax! Three At-Home Stress-Reducing TechniquesWhat’s the biggest barrier standing in between you and successful medical weight loss? No, it isn’t overeating, motivation issues or even low self-esteem. Stress is an ever-present threat to our mental and physical health that can cause all of these things.

Stress can ruin our resolve to lose weight. It can give us sleepless nights and anxious days, or it can lead to high blood pressure and harmful habits. When we’re stressed out, increased levels of the hormone cortisol cause our bodies to naturally crave foods that are high in sugar and fat, then store this excess fat around our waistlines in unflattering belly flab. During your medical weight loss program, you’ll learn all sorts of ways to improve your health with proper diet and regular exercise, but learning how to manage stress will help you keep your whole life healthy and happy for years to come.

Our modern lives are full of stressful factors. But whatever’s making you anxious—work responsibilities, duties at home, your weight loss progress—stress is something you can overcome. There are tons of different therapies to reduce stress, including treatments like acupuncture, but you can also do many things on your own to reduce stress and stay on the path to successful weight loss.

Ready to banish stress from your daily life? Try these three simple methods of relaxation:

  • Take a breath. Breathing is such an automatic function of our bodies that we often don’t take the time to notice it, but focusing more on how you breathe can be a huge help in reducing stress. Sit in a relaxed position, close your eyes and take ten deep breaths, filling your lungs to their limit each time before exhaling slowly. Focus on voiding your mind of all worries and troubles, instead paying attention exclusively to your breathing. With each progressive breath, you’ll feel your muscles relax and tensions dissolve.
  • Relax your muscles. Stay in the relaxed position of your deep breathing exercise and get ready for progressive muscular relaxation (PMR), another easy method of tension relief you can do at home. To begin, sit comfortably with eyes closed and tighten one group of muscles as much as you can. Try starting with your fists—clench them and hold the tension for a couple seconds, then let the muscles relax. As you release the tension, focus on relaxing the muscles as much as you can, sinking into the soft comfort of completely loose muscles, then move on to the next muscle group. You can do this for your entire body in less than 20 minutes. Try combining PMR with deep breathing for a relaxation double whammy.
  • Play some meditative music. Music can affect us in profound ways. Though an energetic track may be just what you need to power through a workout, a soothing track can have opposite effect. Next time you’re feeling anxious, try listening to one of your favorite tracks, preferably something slow and calming. If you make a playlist or mix CD of some of your most beloved chill-out songs, you’ll have a go-to relaxation tool whenever you need it most.

Stress is a reality we all have to face in this modern, fast-moving world, but you don’t have to live with the pain and anxiety it causes! Give these easy relaxation strategies a shot during your medical weight management program and you’ll make it easier to stay on track towards your goal.

Logging Your Weight Loss

Logging Your Weight LossJournaling and keeping track of weight loss and what you eat has been known to be an effective technique when trying to lose weight. You can start forming this habit during your medical weight loss program, but even after the program has ended, maintaining the habit can help you to continue your weight loss and prevent the risk of weight regain.

Journaling your Weight Loss Journey

When keeping a weight loss journal, consistency is key. When you start, make a point to write in it as often as possible.

If your schedule isn’t as regular over the weekend or on your days off, then make it a point to keep to writing in your journal as much as you can during the rest of the week.

When it comes to keeping your own weight loss journal there is room for personal preference in what you write—and how detailed it is.

There are no rules as to how you keep your weight loss journal. When you are writing, consider logging details like:

  • What you’ve eaten, including calorie and nutrient intake
  • What time you’ve eaten at
  • Hunger and cravings
  • Exercise
  • Weight loss goals and plans
  • Sleeping habits

You may prefer quickly jotting down a list of items with minimal explanation into your entries, or you may decide to sit down and write several paragraphs about how you feel and what you’ve done today.

If you want some additional help to get started, consider downloading a free phone application to help keep track of things. They provide a quick form to log what you eat and will track your diet and exercise habits for you. There are dozens of free and paid applications out there, so try as many as it takes until you find one that’s right for you.

A Busy Mom’s Guide to Working Out

A Busy Mom’s Guide to Working OutIt is important for any mom interested in medical weight loss to take care of herself, so she can have the strength and energy required to keep up with her busy family. We have compiled some helpful workouts for busy moms who want to drop unwanted weight and are looking for ways to add exercise to their busy schedules.

  • Every Little Bit Helps. If you cannot find 30 minutes to workout, try exercising in 10 minute blocks. Some days you may only be able to find 10 minutes for the entire day, but other days, you might be able to work up to 20 or 30 minutes total for the day. Good workouts for busy moms to try are jumping rope, walking on a treadmill or simple toning exercises like sit-ups and squats.
  • Make Exercise a Family Affair. These days, there are several video game systems that let you dance or exercise as a family. Taking the family to the skating rink, going for a bike ride or taking a leisurely stroll around your neighborhood are all ways that you and your family can spend time together while also getting in shape. Workouts for busy moms can be good for the whole family!
  • If All Else Fails, Multitask. Mothers have days when they are seriously overbooked and cannot find the time to focus on themselves. So how can you sneak in a little exercise even on these days? By multitasking, of course! When you go to the grocery store, park a little further away from the store than usual. Work in a few jumping jacks while you are running the kids’ bath water. Is it nap time? Take this quiet time at your home to do some meditational yoga.

Moms can improve their energy level and even drop a few pounds by adding appropriated workouts for busy moms to their busy days. So stop waiting to have an hour to go the gym, and start adding exercise to your life today.

Click here to view other posts from our weight loss blog. Or call us in Albertville at 256.840.5547 or in Guntersville at 256.571.8734 for more information about implementing workouts for busy moms into your routine.

About Surgical Associates
of Marshall County

Destination Weight Loss is a comprehensive medical weight loss practice that uses the most advanced technology to help patients meet their weight loss goals through bariatric surgery and non-surgical methods. Our team of trained professionals includes licensed physicians and specially trained nurses that can provide emotional and practical support.

Together, we combine a small town, customer-friendly atmosphere with expertise in sophisticated bariatric surgery technology. We take pride in providing the personal attention you need and will walk with you every step of the journey toward your weight loss goals.

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