Are You Ready for the Next Round? Spring Temptations to Your Weight Loss Goals

Just when you think you’ve gotten a handle on your New Year’s Resolution to create a healthier, happier you, the another round of late winter and early spring events sprout up to challenge your resolve.

Some of them are those holidays we all know: Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Mardis Gras.

Mardis Gras King Cake
Some of them are annual fundraisers for local community groups and organizations: chili-offs, oysters roasts, pig pickings.

Some of them are well-established festivals and promotions that cater to visitors and residents alike: South Carolina Restaurant Week, South Eastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE), Charleston Food + Wine Festival, the Friends Gala, Tartan Day South, Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival, SOS Mid-Winter Break, and others.

Some of them are national events that have swept the nation for the people interested in them: the Super Bowl, the Academy Awards, and many other award shows.

As with any sponsored event or festival, you will need to remind yourself of the steps you can take to enjoy yourself and not overindulge. Most festivals have the added benefit of having a variety of stations which require us to move around.

But when it comes to attending parties to watch a live event on television, often hosted by your friends and family, it’s definitely time to revisit your New Year’s plans for weight management.

The inner athlete in you will want to have a game plan for a successful Super Bowl Sunday. 

The inner starlet in you will want to you to shine beyond the performances being honored.

Regardless of which event you will be watching, you’ll want to have an action plan the day of the event:

  • Event Day Prep: keep your normal workout; keep your daily eating routine
  • Warm Up: scope out the available offerings
  • Offensive Strategy: Contribute a healthy option (; select the healthier options for food and drink; keep to small portions; move away from the buffet to avoid grazing.
  • Defensive Strategy: avoid options with no nutritional value; fill your plate as friends and family may be unaware of your goals.

The food and drink are merely accessories to the actual event: the excitement of an exciting football game with clever commercials and an interesting half-time show; and the stunning fashion couture and the recognition of exemplary and innovative artistic performers and creators in the film, theater, and music industries; and most importantly, the camaraderie amongst your friends and family.

The experts at the Metabolic Medical Centers can help you devise personal strategies for your weight management during special events and every day.

USDA Branded Food Product Database Now Available!

One of the primary aims of the US Department of Agriculture is to assess the nutritional health of the American people. This requires tracking commonly eaten foods and their precise, complete nutritional information.

In 2011 US President Barack Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum to develop a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to develop multiple initiatives, including an expansion of the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference with relevant information on branded food products.

While the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference is considered the benchmark in nutrient data for foods worldwide, it primarily focuses individual food items.

There are many more manufactured food from the food industry found in the grocery stores and consumed across the nation and across the world. The food industry has the nutrient information for these products.

Previous attempts by the USDA to make this information available to organizations and individuals outside of the food industry had met limited success.

But with the development of the PPP, the USDA Branded Food Products Database  has become a reality due to the collaboration of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of the USDA, the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) North America (NA), the  GS1 US, 1WorldSync, and Label Insight.

The USDA Branded Food Products Database is separate from but integrated with the USDA National Nutrient Database. It includes:

    • the product name and generic descriptor
    • serving size and servings per package
    • nutrients shown on the Nutrition Facts Panel or the Expanded Nutrition Facts Panel
    • weights and measures
    • the ingredient list and sub-list,
    • a date stamp associated with the most current formulation of the branded or private label food product

As food manufacturers opt to contribute nutritional information, several groups will benefit:

    • public health policy groups
    • medical researchers
    • nutritional and healthcare professional
    • National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey creators

What does this mean for you and your weight management? As an individual consumer, it can help you evaluate products in your pantry, as well as your future purchases to meet your specific nutritional needs. The food labels will provide even more information:
Contact your weight management advisors at the Metabolic Medical Centers to create an optimal nutritional plan for your weight management goals.

7 Ways to Avoid Soup Mistakes in the Winter Chill

Soup. It is one of the most versatile dishes to have in your day.

It works well to provide sustenance on a busy day any time of year. In the cold winter, a steamy flavorful soup can take off the chill.
Soups can help as well as hinder your weight management. Good, healthy soups can help you manage your dinner portions, as well as providing many necessary nutrients.

Unfortunately, soups, like your favorite coffee concoction, can be a hidden source of additional, unintended daily caloric intake.
Soup types include broth, potage, consommé, bouillon, chowder, bisque, and chili.

There are two ways to you will get your soups:

  • Purchased Soups Purchased soups include canned soups, powdered soups, and pre-made soups from the deli section of your grocery store. They can also include soups from local sandwich shops and restaurants.
  • Homemade Soups.
    Even though soups can be made at home, ingredient selection can be just as challenging to your weight management.

Whether you buy your soup, or you make it at home, there are certain steps you can take to enjoy your soups with your weight loss.

  1. Avoid, if possible, cream-based soups; or choose low-fat dairy options and ingredients. Cream-based soups include chowders, bisques, and cheeses.
  2. Watch the sodium content. Add more water if necessary. These soups can include broths, bouillons, and consommés, particularly if purchased. 
  3. Select lean, low-fat meats and proteins to reduce the fats.
  4. Watch the sugar content. Sugar is often used as a  preservative as well as a flavor enhancer. 
  5. Chunk it up lots of vegetables. Extra frozen vegetables offer variety to your soups as well as extra fiber and nutrients.
  6. Beware of the extra toppings. Your chili doesn’t need that dollop of sour cream. Your chowder doesn’t need three packages of oyster crackers. Try garnishes of fresh herbs and finely chopped vegetables
  7. If purchasing soups, read the labels and choose healthier options.

Contact your weight management experts at the Metabolic Medical Centers to devise your healthy food plan.

It’s Never to Early to Start! Children & Weight Management

There is never a bad time to take charge of your weight. It is an intensely personal decision to become a better you. But things can be a little different when you are a a child or the parent of a child with a weight issue.

Being clinically diagnosed as overweight or obese as a child can have a lasting impact on their physical and emotional well-being, well into adulthood.

Like adults, the extra weight can put children at risk for developing serious health problems including asthma, heart disease, and diabetes. And like adults, the extra weight may prevent children from participating in a variety of activities, develop a negative body image, low self-esteem, depression, and an unhealthy relationship with food.

The challenge for parents lies in understanding how their children have become obese or overweight in the first place, and providing a proper nutrition for their children’s health and growth.

The first step is to determine if your child is, indeed, overweight or obese. These discussions usually begin with a routine visit to your child’s doctor, where they regularly measure height and weight in conjunction with your child’s age. Children grow at different rates at different times. And body fat differs between the genders, as well as age. The US Center for Disease Control created the Body Mass Index-for-Age, a guide for children and teens that includes gender and age in its calculations for healthy weight ranges.

The second step involves an analysis not only of your child’s behavior, but also your family behaviors. Oftentimes, it is recommended to make lifestyle changes as such that your child will grow into the current weight as he or she gets taller.

Behaviors include:
- types of groceries in the house
- frequency eating outside of the home
- food choice
- consuming larger portions than necessary
- types of snacks and the frequency of snacking
- amount of screen time
- amount of physical activity

Some of these behaviors are dictated by the schools your child is in, such as no snacking allowed, the availability of fresh, healthy school lunches, and the reduction or elimination of physical education activities. As a parent you can take control of things that happen at home.
Depending on the age of your child will dictate some of the changes you will make and the level of engagement your child will have. These changes don’t have to be monumental, either.

  • It can begin with providing healthier options, and slowly reducing the amount of unhealthy options.
  • It can be a simple as shifting to increased participation in physical activities: a family walk after dinner, deciding sign up for a new sport, or playing active indoor games.
  • It can be setting regular family meal times and focusing on portion sizes.
  • It can be starting a family discussion on what is healthy, including knowing when your body is full, and offering non-food rewards for certain behaviors.
  • And, depending on your child’s age, it can also include engaging them in the meal creation process.

Most weight loss plans are not designed for children, so it is extremely important to consult with healthcare professionals to medically determine the best course of action for your child. These programs will be most effective when the entire family is committed to making lifestyle changes. Great programs should also include a variety of health professionals, a weight maintenance program, and extra support and referral sources that can address underlying issues related to becoming overweight.

Contact the experts at the Metabolic Medial Centers to determine the best weight management plan for you and your family.