Are You Ready for a Healthier & Happier You in 2019? START NOW!

What health or weight loss goal would you attempt if you knew you wouldn't fail? 

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that “weight loss” is the most common New Year’s Resolution that’s set. What does come as a surprise though, is that by week two, over 45 % of individuals have already given up on their new goal. And even more surprising, by the end of the year, 92 % have given up on their goal and only about 8 %, have stuck with it and achieved their goal. So why is that? Real talk - staying motivated is hard. In a world where schedules are busier than ever and eating out or fast food is basically the quickest and most convenient way to eat, it’s no wonder it’s increasingly hard to stick to those New Year’s goals. However, as tedious and long-shot as they may seem, it’s not impossible. I want 2019 to be the year that you take back control of your health, regardless of how that looks for you. Maybe for you that means weight loss, maybe it’s lower blood pressure, maybe it’s getting control of your cholesterol or blood sugar levels, or maybe it’s taking back control of you and how you feel and increasing your confidence again. Health and happiness looks to different to all, but my hope, is that through this post and tips below, you will be enabled with the tools and encouragement to make 2019 your healthiest and happiest year yet: so just remember, this is your year and the acronym START NOW.

  1. Set a specific goal: Think about it like this - if you don’t know where you’re going, how are you ever going to get there? Setting a specific goal helps give you long-term vision and better helps you devise a game-plan to help achieve that goal. For instance, instead of the goal being to lose weight, set a specific amount you want to lose. If you know precisely what you want to achieve, you can more easily focus your attention, knowledge, and motivation towards achieving that specific goal. It also helps you spot distractions quicker, which can get you off-track. So be specific when setting that goal, it will pay off in the end.

  2. Time-specific: Placing a timeline on your goals substantially increases productivity, accountability, and motivation. Deadlines make you prioritize and think not only about what needs to be done, but also how, to make this goal a reality. It can also make larger goals more obtainable; for instance, setting a goal of losing 2 pounds per week seems much more obtainable than a goal of losing 80 pounds in one year. Give yourself deadlines, the procrastinator in you will thank you later.

  3. App: Having an app to track your nutrition is huge! Yes, tracking every meal and snack long-term can be super tedious, but for at least the initial 8-12 weeks, it’s vital. For one, it helps you become more aware of what you’re eating. For instance, did you know that a small banana contains about 72 calories, 19 grams of carbs, 10 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein? If you’re trying to keep your carb intake low-to-moderate, you’re probably not going to want to spend 19 grams of them on a small banana. Tracking your daily macros also helps you be more accountable. It’s similar to a food journal; if you know you’re going to have to log that cheeseburger, chances are, you’ll think twice about having it and may choose something healthier instead. Lastly, the app tallies all your food together and helps you stay on track more. It allows you to physically visualize what all you’ve had and what you need to either eat more of, or keep more moderated.

  4. Realistic: there is nothing worse than setting an unrealistic goal that is physically unobtainable; this immediately and surely sets you up for failure and discouragement. A more efficient way to do it is by setting two goals: one short-term and one long-term, just don’t forget to set a deadline on it. For instance, setting a goal of 2 pounds of weight loss per week for the short-term and setting a long-term goal of 80 pounds of weight loss in one year. If you only look at the long-term goal or the “big picture,” losing 80 pounds may seem overwhelming and completely unobtainable. However by setting the smaller increment goals, it allows you to stay motivated and encouraged more by giving you a sense of accomplishment and success each time you hit your weekly goal.

  5. Take time to schedule your exercise and meal-planning: Have you ever heard of the “Five-P’s?” Prior planning prevents poor performance; this is something my dad taught me early on. The “Five-P’s” are applicable in various areas of life, but especially with goal-setting and weight loss. Think about it like this: more than likely none of us are just going to wake up one day and go run a marathon. Typically, we would set that goal, sign-up for it, and develop a training schedule. It is the same concept for weight loss. By planning your gym/exercise days, you are increasing your accountability to be active those days. If something is scheduled in your planner or phone, you are more likely to adhere to it versus just mentally planning to go workout. Likewise, by setting a day each week to meal-plan, you are keeping your accountability to stay on track with healthy nutrition, not to mention, making it easier on yourself in the middle of a hustle-bustle busy week.

  6. Never skip breakfast: If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times; “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Maybe what you haven’t heard though is WHY it’s so important. Trust me, I know that time is precious in the mornings and the thought of taking extra time, (that you really don’t have in the first place) to eat breakfast, doesn’t seem or sound too appealing. However, what if eating breakfast could actually help you lose weight quicker? Would it be worth it then? There have been numerous studies that have shown that eating breakfast in the mornings helps to boost metabolism more and quicker, than skipping breakfast. There’s also been a lot of research that shows that individuals who consume breakfast are less likely to overeat throughout the rest of the day. Do you skip breakfast and then find yourself snacky later or starving by the time lunch rolls around? This could be why. Regardless the amount or lack of time you have in the mornings, at least try to get a protein shake in. They are quick and hey, you can even drink it on your way to work! Fuel yourself in the morning, feel better the rest of the day.

  7. Organize: organization of your goals and your game-plan to achieve them is vital. By keeping clear and concise records of your goals, your goal deadlines, your exercise schedule, your meal-planning menu, your macro intake, etc... you are more apt to stay on track. Organization though can go even further. Take for instance, your kitchen. Are there foods in there right now that are old or spoiled? Or maybe just really unhealthy for you? Let’s get rid of them and replace them with protein, complex carbs, fruits, and veggies. And maybe we take it a step further and go ahead and wash those fruits and veggies and have them prepackaged in the fridge and ready to go. These are the types of organization that are going to not only enable you to succeed, but also make it a little easier along the way.

  8. Water, water, water: did you know that water comprises about 60% of the male body and about 55% of the female body? Crazy, huh? Well if that isn’t reason enough to stay hydrated, let me give you a few more. It’s been proven that water can actually help you stay more full in between meals/snacks and of course, it’s calorie-free! The recommendation for exactly how much water you should drink differs for each person, but on average, it’s about 64 oz daily. This number can vary depending on age, body composition, exercise, and other dietary factors. Given all those varying factors, I typically just recommend that you watch your urine color; usually that’s the best way to know if you’re properly hydrated or not. So what if you don’t like water? You can try adding some fruit to it, cucumber or strawberries/lemon are my personal favorites, but you can also add a water packet to it. Very important though, when using water packets, it is vital to choose one that doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners (Crystal Light are the ones I typically pick). And if you’re still struggling to get the water in, make it a competition to yourself. Buy a huge water bottle and mark it with a time-line; this will help you stay motivated to drink it and keep you on track with your intake.

So there you have it! These eight tips mixed with some motivation, hard work, and discipline are the perfect concoction to help you achieve your health and weight loss goals. So are you ready for a healthier and happier you in 2019? What are you waiting for?! —> START NOW!

-Holly Massengill MSN, FNP-BC

How to continue losing weight, even during the holidays!

1. Track your food: yes, this can seem tedious especially during an already busy season, but it helps keep you more accountable and aware of your intake. Plus, “a little” here and “a little” there can add up to a lot really quick.
2. Plan / visualize your meals and snacks ahead of time: it’s important to continue maintaining somewhat of a schedule over the holidays. Just like with tracking your food, planning ahead of time really helps to keep you on track. For instance, if you know you’re going to have more calories at lunch than you typically would, then cut back some of the breakfast calories that day.
3. Plan your exercise times and make sure they’re a priority: schedule your exercise times just like you would an appointment; this increases your accountability to sticking with a fitness routine, even over the holidays.
4. Choose water: around the holidays individuals are more apt to choose juices, soda, teas, or alcohol over water - don’t do it. Sticking to water not only helps maintain your hydration status, but it also helps you stay fuller and with no calories, I might add!
5. Re-gift candy and treats: a lot of stockings contain chocolate or candy, these items are perfect to re-gift to someone else. Just because you receive food or treats as gifts doesn’t mean you have to eat them. If it’s home-baked goods, you can always take them to a neighbor or donate them at your local food pantry and/or homeless shelter.
6. Go 10 more minutes: even just adding 10 extra minutes to your exercise routine during the holidays can make a huge difference. Even if you can’t add in 10 extra minutes all at once, adding in extra lunges, squats, or jumping jacks throughout the day will help create an even larger calorie deficit (that’s required to lose weight).
7. Don’t sweat the small stuff: chances are that over the holiday, you’re going to have a little more to eat in one day than you typically would; that’s okay. One day of going over your allowed caloric intake isn’t going to instantly make you gain 10 lbs. The key is ensuring you get back on track the very next day. Remember, it’s a holiDAY, not a holiWEEK.
8. Moderation is the key: we all know that holidays seem to revolve around delicious home-cooked meals and the best desserts of all year. Just because you’re watching your weight doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in any of those goodies. In fact, it would just be wrong not too! The key though is watching your portion sizes and keeping those delicious but unhealthy things, moderated. For instance, maybe you split the dessert with someone else instead of taking an entire piece for yourself.
9. Slow down and focus on family: although it may seem like the holiday completely revolves around food, remember that in actuality, it doesn’t. Focus on family and making lasting memories, instead of of focusing on what snack you’ll eat next or where your next meal will be; enjoy your time together. Also, don’t shovel it in as quickly as you can, regardless how good it tastes. There’s roughly a 20 minute delayed signal between the stomach and your brain to let you know you’re full. If you eat slower, you’ll be more apt to notice this signal, and then of course, stop eating.
10. Keep your eye on the prize: if you find yourself debating whether to skip that workout or not, remind yourself why you started and why it’s important not to “slide” through the holidays. If you find yourself with that third piece of pie in your hand, remind yourself how hard you’ve worked to get where you are and ask yourself if that third piece of pie is going to help or hurt your overall goal. It’s important to remind yourself always, but especially through the holidays, that YOU are in control - not the other way around.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the New Vision Team!

Eating Salad Everyday and Still Not Losing Weight - What Gives?

A lot of times we associate the word “salad” with healthy and weight loss, but is it really? That completely depends on what all you put in your salad and what type and how much dressing you use.

Let’s start with the basics: what type of lettuce are you using? In general, iceberg lettuce is the least healthy. It contains a very minimal amount of vitamins and fiber yielding very little nutritional support. Oppositely, better options for lettuce or greens would be spinach, romaine, or kale which all contain higher fiber and nutrients than iceberg lettuce.

Secondly, what veggies are you adding to it? Usually vegetables are relatively safe to pile onto a salad. Red bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms, and onions are all fair game. It’s usually the peas or the corn that you want to keep more moderated as those tend to be starchier carbs.

Are you adding protein to it? Chicken, salmon, shrimp, turkey, and eggs are all great sources of lean protein that are great to add to a salad; of course we would prefer the meat to be grilled though versus fried. Adding protein to your salad is vital because that is what’s going to fuel your body, give you more energy, and help you stay fuller for longer.

What type of dressing are you using and how much? Of course we all know that although ranch dressing is a favorite to most, it is one of the unhealthiest dressings you can use because of the high fat content. Others that would fall into this same category include:  creamy caesar, creamy italian, and bleu cheese. Usually if it’s creamy, it’s a no-go. From a high sugar standpoint, fat-free honey dijon is one that you would want to steer away from also.

So what about this controversy of using low-fat versus fat-free salad dressing? Research has demonstrated that your body needs some fat ailment in order to properly absorb some of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in the salad. Furthermore, fat-free salad dressings are typically higher in sodium which can cause fluid retention and an increase in blood pressure over time. So possibly skip the fat-free, and just go with a low-fat or light dressing choice.

So what are some of the healthier dressings that won’t hinder my weight loss plan? Wish-Bone Salad Spritzer in Italian Vinaigrette, Wish-Bone Light Italian, Annie's Balsamic Vinaigrette, Newman's Own Low-Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing, or you could go with squeezing a lemon or lime over top your salad. Of course from the lemon or lime you will not get that needed fat content, so I would encourage to include a source of healthy fat into your salad so that your body can properly absorb the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from the salad. And remember too, it’s not just about what type of dressing you use, but it’s important to keep to the recommended serving size as well. For this reason, always ask for your dressing on the side when ordering a salad out.

Other things to keep an eye out for or to keep in moderation on your salad include cheese, croutons, bacon bits, wantons, glazed nuts, and craisins.

On a final note, don’t eat salad every day. For most of us that would get boring real quick, but additionally, your body actually functions best when you give it various forms of nutrition versus having the same meal every single day.

Take home points: Choose dark leafy greens for the base (not iceberg lettuce), pile on a rainbow of vegetables, add lean protein, and choose a small amount of a light or low-fat dressing on the side.


Healthy Cinco de Mayo Recipe - Southwestern Chicken

Crock-Pot Southwestern Chicken
~ Makes 6-8 servings ~

6-10 boneless chicken breasts (halves are best)
16 oz chunky salsa
15 oz can black beans (can wash and drain if preferred)
(2) 15 oz cans of corn (drained)
1 can rotel original
1 cup low-fat shredded cheese (cheddar or mexican four cheese blend)

Step 1: Combine 1/2 cup of salsa, black beans, corn, and rotel in crock-pot.
Step 2: Place chicken on top.
Step 3: Pour remaining salsa on top.
Step 4: Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high 3-4 hours.
Step 5: Sprinkle shredded cheese on top. Recover for 5 minutes for cheese to melt.

Per serving: 380 calories, 40g protein, 41g carbohydrates, 7g fiber, and 7g sugar.

*You can serve this meal over brown rice or quinoa.

7 Quick & Effective Weight Loss Tips

Welcome to the New Vision Weight Loss Clinic Blog - your locally owned and operated weight loss, weight management, and wellness center right here in Knoxville, Tn!

As we live in a world of instant gratification, we find ourselves wanting the excess pounds to just instantaneously disappear. While although that sounds awesome, we all know weight loss is not that simple, nor does it work that quick. However, there are some ways to get the weight off quicker and more efficiently that are realistic. That's the key word - realistic.

1. Set small, realistic goals for yourself. Each time I consult with a patient, we develop at least 2 goals. One is short term, maybe 5-12 lbs away, and the second one is our ultimate goal - where we hope to be eventually. Setting that long term goal is great, but can feel overwhelming and forever away on day one. By setting small and incremental goals, this allows us to work in small steps and begin laying the foundation for our healthier patterns. When we reach that first small goal, we rejoice and experience a sense of achievement which encourages us to keep working and moving forward. We then set another small goal. Eventually, all these "small" goals add up.

2. Develop a plan for how you are going to reach your goals. You have probably heard of the "Five P's" before... Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Take a few minutes to decide how you are going to start implementing healthier changes in your daily routine. Choose which days you are going to fit exercise in, which day you are going to grocery shop, and which day you are going to meal prep - then stick to that schedule.

3. Make water your best friend. Did you know that the average individual is comprised of 55-65% water? Crazy huh? And do you know what happens when you don't drink enough water? It can cause high blood pressure, high cholesterol, increased kidney stones, constipation and GI issues, and a decrease in cognitive function, just to name a few. Water and weight loss go hand-in-hand. Water actually helps the body burn more calories and has been shown to help reduce appetite. Plus it's 100% calorie and sugar-free! The average amount an adult should drink in a day is at least 64 oz.

4. Eat smaller but more frequent portions. Usually I recommend between 5-6 small portions daily. By doing this, it helps us in a few ways. For starters, it has been proven to help keep the metabolism boosted more consistently, so that the body can burn more consistent calories. It's also been proven that it helps to maintain more consistent blood sugar levels, which can help reduce irritability and fatigue. And lastly, it also helps us to not overindulge as much at "main meal time" because we have had multiple small things throughout the entire day. Protein, fruits, veggies, and healthy fats are great things to incorporate.

5. Be more conscious of what you're eating. Sometimes it can become necessary to count macronutrients such as calories or carbohydrates, but typically, I don't recommend this in the beginning.  Initially, I merely recommend being more conscious of what types of foods you are consuming a lot of and which ones you're possibly not consuming enough of. The body needs a certain amount of proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, fiber, and sugars to function properly, however, we obviously want the healthier things to outweigh the starchy carbs and sugars by quite a bit.

6. Get moving! We all know the basic equation of weight loss: eat less + move more = weight loss. One of the most common excuses for not exercising that I hear is lack of a gym membership. Guess what? The gym is great but you don't have to have a membership to one to exercise and be active! Actually, walking is one of the best forms of cardio-specific activity that there is, and of course that doesn't require a gym at all. There are also various workout videos you can access for free online, and those are tools that you can use from home, many without any gym equipment or weights at all! Of course exercise is good for helping us lose weight, but it also serves many other important purposes, such as helping to keep our heart healthy and strong. Ultimately the American Heart Association recommends exercise 4-5 days a week for about 30 minutes at a time, so this is a great fitness goal to work up to.

7. Consistent sleep is important! This is probably one area I see individuals struggle with the most. A lot of times work schedules or shifts, school schedules for the kiddos, working multiple jobs, and various other things can pose as obstacles to getting consistent sleep each night. I understand, so I just encourage you to do the best you can with this one. When we sleep, there are certain hormones in our bodies that decrease and some that rise. If our sleep patterns aren't consistent or long enough, it inhibits these hormones to balance out as they should -- which can not only inhibit weight loss, but ultimately cause weight gain.

These 7 tips are just a few of the weight loss recommendations we give here at New Vision Weight Loss Clinic. Stay tuned for more health, fitness, and weight loss tips coming soon!