Blog Section

Lose Weight without the Soda!!

During your OPTIFAST weight loss program in New Jersey, say “good-bye!” to the soda.

Lose Weight without the SodaSoda has gotten a pretty bad reputation over the past couple of years. What started as a sweet treat for children and adults to enjoy occasionally is now a staple of the American diet. The carbonated, sugar-packed beverage is easily found anywhere in the country. Food stores, restaurants, cafés, toy stores and gas stations sell soda by the liter to anyone willing to drink it.

Drinking soda can severely interfere with your ability to lose weight, even during an optifast weight loss program. The beverage is high in calories, loaded with sugar and doesn’t do a darn thing to fill you up. The result is an overabundance of empty calories that are going to give you a brief boost of energy before causing you to crash, ultimately driving you to consume more soda.

Soda and your Weight

Losing weight will require you to consume fewer calories than you are able to burn through physical activity. Soda is a high calorie beverage that lacks all nutritional benefit. The calories and sugar consumed while you down a bottle of soda doesn’t help your body in any way and won’t help you resist hunger. They serve you no nutritional purpose, but could be drastically impacting your ability to lose weight.

Aside from impacting your weight loss efforts, soda is bad for your dental health, can decrease the strength of your bones and is even linked to chronic kidney disease. Drinking soda is associated with an increased risk for many obesity-related diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.

Unfortunately diet soda isn’t much better than the regular stuff. While the diet drinks are low in calories, they are heavy in artificial sweeteners that have been linked by several studies to increased appetites and impeded weight loss efforts.

Ultimately, soda is a poor choice for your health—especially as you are hoping to lose weight. To easily cut several hundred (or even a thousand!) calories out of your daily diet try switching to water instead of soda. No-calorie beverages like water, black coffee and unsweetened tea are great beverage choices for your weight loss program. For more advice on what you should be consuming as you lose weight consult with your weight loss doctor.


What Triggers Overeating?

What Triggers OvereatingFood is the sustenance of life. Your body requires nutrients to thrive, and we get those nutrients through our diets. However, your body only requires so much food before it is satisfied. When you eat too much, most excess nutrients are discarded as waste while some are put into storage, waiting for the chance to be used as energy at a future date.

Overeating is the practice of eating too much, often despite lack of hunger. A collection of habits may contribute to overeating, such as large portions or a late-night desire to snack. Overeating may happen in a moment, such as during a large meal that you choose to finish even though you already feel full. Or, you may overeat gradually by constantly snacking or grazing on foods that you come across throughout the day (think: office donuts, leftovers or your hidden candy drawer).

Following your Optifast weight loss program, taking steps to prevent overeating can help you manage your weight loss long-term.

The Causes of Overeating

Overeating is a common issue throughout the United States, where food is readily available in abundance. However, convenience isn’t the necessarily the culprit. This is a complex issue that has deep roots in emotional behavior and the psyche. To understand your habit of overeating is to learn something more about yourself.

Many people are prompted to overeating by triggers. These are environmental, social and emotional cues that initiate a desire to eat.

Common triggers include:

  • Stress, anxiety and depression
  • Buffet lines, pot lucks and large restaurant meals
  • Snacks available at home, at a party or in the office lounge
  • Boredom
  • Fatigue

Defending Against Overeating

To stop overeating, you have to first become more aware of your personal eating habits. Start keeping a log of the foods you eat, including every snack, meal and small bite that you have throughout the day. In doing this, it is not uncommon to realize that you often eat throughout the day without really thinking about it.

This is called mindless eating, and it is one of the leading causes of overeating—especially when combined with common trigger situations like those outlined above.

During your Optifast program, you’ll be given strict dietary guidelines that will prevent you from overeating. Keep those guidelines in mind as you transition back to a conventional diet. Schedule your meals at intervals that coincide with your hunger, and always have your next snack or meal planned out so that in a moment of hunger you aren’t faced with the chance to overeat.


Steve: 60+ Pounds Lost

Steve Weight Loss Success

I came to Institute for Weight Management in June 2006, feeling like my weight had gone out of control. I could not lose the 50+ lbs I needed to lose with a regular diet, though I tried for months. Unfortunately, I would lose 5-10 lbs, only to gain it back. Before I began the program I met with Dr. Chhabra , and felt that I finally came to the right place. Dr. Chhabra, Susan and the staff at the Institute for Weight Management have offered a tremendous amount of personalized help and support through the entire process. Support is critical to anyone struggling with weight issues.

It’s clear that this is an office which understands the individualized needs of those coming through the program. Also they make every effort to discuss and monitor your progress along the way to accommodate any special needs or problems that may arise. They also encourage you to think and plan past the initial weight-loss phase.

Till now, I have been able to lose close to 60 lbs, and even continue to lose. I am going back to food from a full-optifast program. I have been able to cut my cholesterol medication to a very small amount. Recently, I had my yearly physical which showed tremendous improvement in my overall numbers since last year. I had sleep apnea and used to have to use a CPAP machine which, I haven’t used that for months. I have renewed energy to do so much more than I was able to do 6 months ago.

Dr. Chhabra made it clear to me at the start that Optifast would be an effective tool to help me get the weight off – which it has – but that I would have to make changes in the long run to keep the weight off. It does not end here with losing the weight – the staff here is dedicated to helping patients not only lose the weight, but to develop a plan for keeping it off. They offer a weekly support group, which has really helped me to keep focused and on track, even at times that I feel challenged – all of this makes a tremendous difference. I know I can keep coming even after I reach my ideal weight, and that’s a big help.


Exercises for a Pot Belly

exercisesHave your six-pack abs been replaced by a pot belly over the years? Doing these three exercises regularly can help you tone up your tummy muscles.

3 Exercises for a Pot Belly

  1. Belly Lifts: Removing a saggy belly takes a combination of eating a healthy diet and exercise. Exercise will melt excess fat in your belly. Certain exercises combine both aerobic activity with strength and muscle training to remove a saggy belly. Get down on all fours and relax your stomach muscles as you inhale deeply. As you exhale, contract your stomach muscles and focus on drawing your belly button upward. Hold this contraction for 10 seconds, then inhale again and relax for 10 seconds before repeating. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
  2. Pelvic Tilts: This exercise targets your lower abdominal muscles. Lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Contract your stomach muscles and press the small of your back into the floor. This should create a slight tilt of your hips and pelvis. Hold this tilt for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise five times initially, working up to 10 or 20 reps.
  3. Pelvic Lifts: Pelvic lift is an exercise to strengthen the lower back, glute muscles, lower abdominal muscles, and maintain hip muscle balance. It does not require weights, although they can be placed on the stomach. Lay on your back with your knees up toward your chest and your feet off the floor. Contract your stomach muscles, pulling your knees closer to your chest and lifting your buttocks off the floor. Hold this contraction for 10 seconds before repeating. Do this exercise 10 to 20 times.

These exercises will help you build stronger abdominal muscles. However, in order to see your results, you’ll also need to get rid of the excess fat with a weight loss program that includes diet and regular exercise.


Art and Susan: 100 Pounds Lost

Art and Susan before weight loss success

Art and Susan weight loss success

Art and Susan have struggled with their weight their whole adult life. Art was prediabetic and had high blood pressure and was referred to us by his primary physician to lose weight.  Susan had already lost more than 50 lbs with another physician before she started seeing Dr. Chhabra in Feb 2010. Collectively they have lost more than 100 lbs. They are now much more physically active and can keep up with their children’s soccer games. Art now has a normal blood pressure and a normal blood sugar.


How much fiber do you need?

4 Steps to Boost Your MetabolismDo you know how much fiber your body needs each day, or how you can get more? Find out how to make sure you’re getting enough fiber into your diet.

According to The National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, men who are 50 or younger should get 38 grams of fiber a day, while men over 50 need about 30 grams per day. Women who are 50 or younger need 25 grams of fiber in their diet each day, but only 21 grams if they’re over 50.

If you’re not getting your daily recommended amount of fiber, there are plenty of ways for you to add fiber to your diet. Fiber can be found in grains and whole-grain foods, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. If you’re trying to boost your fiber intake, try to stick with whole-food sources, as refined or processed foods have often had much of their fiber content removed.

If you’ve tried to add fiber to your diet naturally but still find that you’re suffering from constipation, diarrhea, or irritable bowel syndrome as a result of insufficient fiber intake, you may consider taking a fiber supplement. Products such as Metamucil, Citrucel, and FiberCon can give you added fiber, but they do not contain additional vitamins and minerals found naturally in fiber-rich foods. Remember that fiber requires plenty of water to aid digestion, so always make sure you’re drinking extra water when you’re boosting your fiber intake.


Obese People Taste Fat Differently Than Lean People

maintain weigtAs the obesity epidemic continues to cause concern among weight loss programs, scientists take a closer look at why some people are more likely to engage in behavior that leads to obesity. A recent study looked at overeating and eating foods that are loaded with fat and calories.

Researchers led by Prof. Christine Feinle-Bisset of the University of Adelaide in Australia conducted a study that analyzed the difference between how obese men and normal weight men responded to fatty foods. Participants in the study were asked to sip drinks that contained small amounts of fat and report when they could taste the fat. Researchers found that being obese was associated with a reduced ability to detect the taste of fat in the drink.

In addition to monitoring the ability to taste fat, researchers measured blood levels of a hormone in the gut that is normally released when fat is consumed. This hormone helps to suppress the appetite and was measured in lower quantities in the obese participants. The combination of a reduced taste detection of fat with lower appetite-suppressing hormones may explain why some people who are obese have diets that contain more fat than people who are at normal weights.

More research is being planned to determine if a change in diet could lead to a change in hormone levels and fat taste in obese and lean people.


How do I get the Willpower to Lose Weight?

Stay Positive for Medical Weight Loss by Letting the Anger GoIf you’re just getting started with weight loss you’ve likely given a lot of thought to your individual weight loss goals. Perhaps these are milestones you’ve dreamed of reaching for years before beginning medical weight loss, or maybe they’re the landmarks you discussed with Dr. Chhabra during your initial consultation—regardless, keeping your goals within easy reach is one of the best ways to stay motivated and enthusiastic about your continuing progress.

We’re often told to have lofty goals (“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”—Les Brown), but this isn’t always the most practical choice. If you aim for goals that are far beyond your reach, falling short can result in a bevy of frustrations, pushing you into a dietary slip-up or even the abandonment of your weight loss program. Because of this, the most effective goals for your medical weight loss new jersey program will be small, easily attainable ones; the type that bolster your resolve to continue towards the finish line.

Because many of us do not have experience setting our own weight loss goals, you may find it challenging at first, but a little practice can make personal goal setting an invaluable part of your weight loss plan. Dr. Chhabra will be able to tell you what a normal amount of weight loss will be for each stage of your program, but the following tips can help you stay motivated and moving forward by setting your very own easy-to-reach goals:

Details, Details, Details

The more information you record on your diet, exercise and lifestyle habits, the easier it will be to determine what’s working and what is not. Before setting a goal, think first about the particulars of reaching that goal. Is your goal to exercise four times a week? Think about what activity you’ll be doing, when you’ll be doing it and how to work it into your schedule effectively.

Record your progress toward your goal at least once a week using a journal or spreadsheet. At the end of the week, look back over your progress and determine whether or not you successfully reached your goal. If you did, congratulate yourself and think about how to emphasize that week’s positive habits to reach the next week’s goals. If you did not, try to determine what could have sabotaged your progress.

Forget the Scale

The ultimate goal of your New Jersey weight loss program may be to slim down, but that isn’t the only benefit it will provide. Completing your medical weight loss program will help you make your whole life healthier, introducing you to all sorts of positive habits that may not have been a part of your life before. Keep in mind that the number on the scale will change slowly and is usually a poor indicator of how successful you’ve been, particularly in the early days of your program.

Instead of fretting over the scale, try focusing your goals on achieving other healthy feats in your lifestyle. Though aiming to cook a healthy dinner for your family three times a week may not make much of an impact on that week’s weigh-in, it is still something to be celebrated. Healthy lifestyle changes like these will be just as important to your long-term health as losing weight, so be sure to give yourself credit for making them.

How else can we set up effective goals during medical weight loss in New Jersey? Share your tips, experiences and questions with us in the comments below.


Healthy Food Guide –

pizza-329523_640If you’re trying to eat healthy and rapid lose weight, you don’t have to eliminate snacking from your daily routine. It’s how you snack that matters.

When your next meal is hours away and you’re feeling hunger pangs, a healthy snack can help you manage your hunger so you don’t overeat at your next meal, while still keeping you within your calorie limits. In fact, many long-term weight loss plans specifically allow for snacks.

It’s important to keep moderation and balance in mind when choosing your snacks. Focus on healthy snacks that will satisfy your hunger and provide you with nutrients and fuel. An ideal snack would be less than 100 calories and would have low energy density, which means that the number of calories it contains is relatively small compared to the large portion size. Some examples of healthy snacks include:

  • Fruits and vegetables: The vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients present in most fruits and vegetables, such as grapes and carrots, can provide you with healthful benefits along with a feeling of fullness.
  • Whole-grain snacks: Items like low-fat whole-grain crackers or pretzels are rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates, which will give your body the fuel it needs.
  • Nuts and seeds: The protein found in nuts and seeds keep you feeling full for longer. They can be high in calories, though, so watch your portions.
  • Low-fat dairy snacks: The low-fat versions of cheese and yogurt can provide you with calcium and protein.

By avoiding sugars and simple carbohydrates, but still snacking when you’re hungry, you can continue to weight loss program and reach your goals for healthy living.


Low Calorie & Fast Food Menu

Make Workouts for Weight Loss in New Jersey a HabitBetween hectic work schedules and day to day family needs, many of us do not have time to cook a healthy meal every night, and instead are often left to search the menus for a low calorie alternative. Many restaurants are helping out by posting their calorie counts directly on the menu, but if you are pursuing weight loss in New Jersey then it is a good idea to double check those posted numbers. According to a recent study, many of the calorie counts posted on menus are actually false, causing many dieters to consume more calories than they originally intended, and as a result making weight loss more difficult. Having a calorie count off by as little as ten calories can add up fast and can result in lots of extra pounds at the end of the year.

Studies have further found that calorie counts in sit-in restaurants tended to be more off due to the individual preparation of meals versus the standardized size and ingredients of meals at fast food restaurants.

Eating out can continue to be a fun and time saving activity without necessarily spelling out weight gain. As restaurants work on developing more accurate ways to measure calories, the best way to keep healthy and maintain rapid weight loss when enjoying restaurant cuisine is to make sensible meal and snack choices. Make sure to watch portion sizes and be wary of calorie rich toppings like salad dressings which you can ask for on the side. Ultimately, calorie counts can be helpful but they should be considered with caution and should serve as a general guideline rather than an absolute measure for long term weight loss goals.