When it comes to seasonal weight gain, the causes of winter weight gain for most people are obvious. Then, after the winter months, New Year’s Resolutions and the prospect of getting “beach ready” kick people back into gear with their weight loss goals and diets. Unfortunately, once the summer season is upon us, new challenges present themselves that many don’t think much about.
The winter months can be fun and festive. It’s also the season when dieters can lose momentum and throw months of progress right out the window. According to research reported by Johns Hopkins University, people tend to gain five to seven pounds on average during the winter months. Sounds like Santa isn’t the only one enjoying some cookies and milk.
Dieters don’t need to be doomed to winter weight gain. Being aware of the common causes for seasonal weight gain can help dieters work to avoid the usual hurdles, and set themselves up for a positive start to the New Year. Here are three of the most common causes for winter weight gain, and what dieters can do to stay on track when the weather outside is frightful:
1. COLD WEATHER: Finding time to take a walk seems a lot easier when the weather is warm and beautiful — but not so much when it’s below freezing and there’s snow on the ground. Dieters may even lose motivation to go to the gym when they have to leave their comfy, warm house and defrost the car.
What can you do? Call on your friends, family, or significant other to help hold you accountable to your workout routine. Give yourself an incentive to go, such as putting $5 in a jar every time you do a workout. Use the money at the end of the week to treat yourself to some shopping or a healthy snack. You can also consider using a workout app or routine that can be done in the comfort of your living room so you never even have to leave the house. For workouts you can do at home in just seven minutes with just a chair and a wall, try this app.
2. HOLIDAY MEALS: The winter months can mean quality time with family and friends, as well as fun holiday parties for work. Those gatherings tend to have a lot of fattening and sugary foods that can easily throw a dieter off.
What can you do? Never attend a holiday party hungry. Eat a healthy, protein-filled meal before going to the party to control hunger and make it easier to beat cravings. Bringing a protein-rich meal replacement bar or shake can also help if hunger strikes during the event. For even more tips on how to avoid holiday snacking, check out this recent blog.
3. WINTER GROGGINESS: The cold weather and decreased sunlight can cause many people to feel extra sleepy, causing a lack of motivation to stay active. Winter grogginess can even negatively influence productivity during the day and at the workplace, impacting not just our weight but our overall mood. This can cause a snowball effect.
What can you do? Find a few moments throughout the day to get up, move around, and increase your energy. Deskercise is a great way to stay active throughout the day by decreasing your sitting time at work, and you can do it right at your desk! Incorporating energizing routines like this can also help keep you motivated throughout the winter season.
What are some other challenges to staying on a diet during the winter months? Share with us on Facebook, and let’s toss around some ideas of how to stay on track through the New Year!
Source: Eat This, Not That
Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation
Halloween is right around the corner! Here are some dos and don’ts to keep you on track on this All Hallows’ Eve:
DON’T give out candy on an empty stomach.
The hungrier you are with a bowl of candy close by, the more likely you
are to indulge in eating some. Be sure to keep your regular eating
habits, and that includes dinner.
DO have healthy snacks close.
Even if you aren’t hungry, it can be hard to resist taking a little
dive into the sea of miniature candies. Have some fruit or nuts close by
that you can reach for instead. Even better, stock up on some Robard
bars and snacks. You’ll thank yourself later.
DON’T have the candy in a place you have to look at it all the time. Having
the candy right next to you on the couch or table makes it more
tempting. Keep the candy by the door and the only time you’ll see it is
when you are handing it out to trick-or-treaters. Out of sight, out of
DO buy candy as close to the day as possible. The sooner
you buy it, the longer it’s in your house. And that means you have to
maintain the willpower to avoid it for a longer period of time. Instead,
wait until a day or two before October 31.
DON’T bring left
over candy with you wherever you go after Halloween is over. Before you
know it you’ll be eating candy for breakfast, lunch and dinner — and a
snack in between. If you have leftover candy, leave it at home so after a
long day’s work (and a nice workout), you can indulge in a piece if you
feel so inclined — but leave it at a piece. Better yet? Save yourself
the temptation and bring the leftover candy to work and leave it out for
co-workers to enjoy!
DO give out as many treats as you can and
leave as little as possible leftover. If the night is over and you have
three unopened bags of candy left it means one of two things: 1.) You
overestimated how many trick-or-treaters you were going to get; or 2.)
You bought too much candy for the occasion. It’s OK to have a little
surplus at the end but make a conscious effort to buy only what you’ll
think you’ll need.
DON’T buy more candy than you need to. When
this time of year comes around candy can be bought at a bargain. Buy
just enough so that trick-or-treaters leave your house with a smile on
their faces. Don’t buy so much that you will be in a sugar coma by the
end of the night by eating leftovers that you didn’t give out.
dress in a costume. For our last “do” let’s get into the spirit of the
occasion. Halloween has become a day that gives us a reason to have fun!
Enjoy yourself! If you’re invited to a costume party then go, but go
WITH a costume. It’s more fun and is always a conversation starter!
Blog written by Marcus Miller/ Robard Corporation
October until the New Year is a tough season for dieters. Every month, there is a holiday that can present numerous challenges to remaining compliant to a diet, with temptation lurking around every corner in the form of candy corn, warm apple pies, buffets, and dining room tables full of fattening, delicious food. By the time New Year’s rolls around — if they are not careful — dieters can find that in three months they put on more weight than they lost in the previous six months. It can be even more difficult to come back from such a setback.
The key is prevention. Set your patients up for success this holiday season by making plans now to deal with holiday temptation. To get the conversation started, click here to download Robard’s helpful Holiday Goal Setter worksheet. Then, use the tips below to have some proactive discussion with your patients to help them stay compliant between now and the New Year:
1. Stock up on Tricks, not Treats
When trick or treating time rolls around, that bowl of candy can look mighty appetizing. Your patients might be eating one piece of candy for every five they give out. Suggest that if they choose to be festive on this holiday, instead of handing out candy, provide fun non-candy dollar store items that the kids will still love, like glow sticks, whoopee cushions, crayons, bubbles, stickers, and temporary tattoos. In addition to avoiding candy cravings, they’ll also be accommodating children who may have food sensitivities/ allergies.
2. Eat healthy first.
If your patients have company or family holiday parties to attend, suggest that they be proactive and control hunger by eating a healthy meal or snack before they arrive to the party. They can even bring along a yummy weight loss shake packet or protein bar that complies with their diet to enjoy just before or during the party to ensure that they are satiated enough to avoid giving in to hunger and overeating. Robard’s meal replacement shakes and bars are delicious and scientifically designed for the highest level of satiety to curb hunger and cravings.
3. Bring your own portion-controlled plate and cup
Those large dinner plates can cause people to pile on far more than a single portion of food, and people are inclined to try and finish all the food on their plate. To help with this, suggest that patients bring their own smaller plate, maybe even find one with sectioned out portions, so that they are aware of how much they are consuming. Bring a five ounce cup and limit oneself to one high calorie beverage a night, and stick to water for the rest of the night.
4. Eat mindfully.
People often overeat because they revert to unconscious eating, leading them to not recognize when they are full. Eating mindfully helps dieters to slow down and focus on what they are eating and how much to create a better connection between their physiological need and their mental state. This can also help them make healthier choices about food selection in addition to eating less. Click here for 9 easy tips on how to eat mindfully during the holidays.
5. Buddy up.
When possible, patients can identify a friend, family member, coworker, or significant other who can be their support system through the holidays. This person may also be on a diet, have similar weight loss goals, or may be someone who can just be there to eat healthier with them, cheer them on, and remind them of their goals (without shaming). It is important that this buddy be positive and uplifting, and can help bring a sense of joy and camaraderie to the pursuit of eating healthy during the holidays. Ask your patients if they have someone in their lives that can support them in this way, and coach them on how to approach such people and make the request for support.
Want more tips on how to keep your patients on track through the holiday season? For Robard customers, there is a wealth of complimentary resources and information available to you in the Holiday section of Robard.com. Simply click the link, log in, and start browsing. For non-Robard customers, contact us today to learn more about our services and resources!
Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation
How do you get patients to stick with the plan?
Compliance to a medical treatment can be challenging, to say the least. Patients want to be healthier, more active, and more energetic. Yet time and time again, they fall off the wagon and resort to going back into the same old habits that don’t support their progress. Why? (Click here for a flashback on 5 Bad Habits that Lead to Weight Gain)
For health care providers, it can be frustrating to check in with a patient and hear that their diet or exercise plan isn’t going so well. But it can also help to understand how habits form so you can not only help set realistic expectations for your patient, but also for yourself.
Studies on habit formation have shown that habits form as part of a three-step process. First, there’s a cue, or trigger, that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and let a behavior unfold (i.e. hunger). Then, there’s the routine, which is the actual behavior that we associate as being the “bad habit.” The third step is the reward: Something that your brain likes that helps it remember the “habit loop” in the future. In the case of overweight patients, the pleasure of enjoying “off-limits” food can be their reward. (Learn more about this physiological pleasure connection for those suffering from food addiction in our free white paper.)
Neuroscience has shown that habitual behavior and conscious decision-making are handled by two different parts of the brain, and the area of the brain that controls habits can often supersede and shut down the decision-making area. So when patients revert back to old habits, it is not that they are just battling low motivation or self-control. Their brains are hardwired to return to the behavior that it is used to, even when they no longer benefit from it.
So what can health care providers do?
First off, be patient with your patients. It’s not that they are less committed to their goals; for many it can just be that they require a little more time to relearn healthier habits. Studies show that it can take anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit. And there will be trips along the way.
Secondly, don’t stress too much about when they mess up. Researchers have found that “missing one opportunity to perform the behavior did not materially affect the habit formation process.” In other words, it doesn’t matter if you mess up every now and then. Reassure your patients that an occasional binge is not the end of the world and encourage them to get back on the horse.
Third, understand that old habits are not forgotten, but replaced with new ones. We can’t magically expect patients to stop a damaging behavior without providing an easier alternative. For overweight people who have an unhealthy relationship with food, there can be a benefit to introducing something like meal replacements. Rather than expecting patients to completely change how they relate to food, they can replace their normal food habits with an easy shake or bar and make it part of a new routine that is easier to implement.
Dr. Valerie Sutherland of Rainier Medical Weight Loss and Wellness notes, “[Patients] typically report that taking food away for a period made a huge difference, even if only for a month. Since food can be addictive for some people, taking it away completely can be crucial for long term change, which is the opposite eﬀect that you may be warned about by some critics of a short term rapid weight loss program that is ‘unsustainable.’”
For a more help on helping patients set realistic goals they can stick with, instantly download our free Short Term Goal Helper Worksheet!
Sources: NPR, MIT News, HuffPost
Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation
For dieters who need to lose 40 pounds or more, traditional methods of diet and exercise are oftentimes not enough. A Low Calorie Diet (LCD) has been shown to be extremely effective in jump-starting the weight loss process. Often LCDs utilize various meal replacement products, primarily shakes. And anyone who’s been on a diet before knows that the same shakes can get monotonous after the first couple of months.
Fortunately, there is a multitude of ways that you can spruce up a shake and look forward to your next meal replacement — and you can do a lot with items you probably already have in your kitchen cupboards. Take a look at our slideshow (below) that gives you five ways to shake up your shakes! Mixing it up can definitely help give you the encouragement to stick with your diet.
If you're going to talk the talk, you've got to walk the walk. And that’s just what Robard Corporation’s Vice President of Sales, Mario Testa, decided to do on Super Bowl Sunday 2016. As the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers, Mario was set to launch his own fight. He weighed 217 pounds, felt sluggish, tired and had very little energy. He had never struggled with weight as a youth, but age, lack of exercise, work, travel and, what he calls “perhaps a bit of laziness,” took their toll.
“I didn’t feel I was heavy until I saw a picture that ‘woke me up,’” recalls Testa. “It was a picture of me at my son’s sports banquet. It actually brought tears to my eyes.”
Mario had calculated that he had gained 85 pounds since he graduated high school — nearly three pounds a year. In addition to the weight, he faced a handful of related medical conditions, including high cholesterol and triglycerides and pre-diabetes. However, after just a week of using New Direction System products mixed with an occasional NutriMed shake, he began to notice a difference.
“I could tell it was working — and I was being disciplined to the program — because my pants felt a bit loose,” he says. “It was a huge motivator because I never ‘dieted’ before.”
Within a few weeks, his energy was improving, and he wasn’t getting out of breath as quickly. “I started exercising and being more active with my kids,” he says. “It also increased my confidence because I didn’t feel self-conscious anymore.”
Along with products, Testa began a simple exercise routine. He would walk around his neighborhood three nights a week and run on a treadmill one night a week without setting a distance or time. “I just do it until I work up a good sweat,” says Mario.
The discipline paid off. Now at 162 pounds, Mario’s showing no signs of slowing down. He’s got his eyes set on a strength conditioning program, and says that the current state of his health is excellent.
“My whole outlook on food has improved," he says. “I’m much more disciplined with what I eat, when I eat, how I eat and no longer have the cravings for the foods that fell into my danger zone. I’ve been able to keep all the weight off after nearly a year on the program.”
Mario never thought he would be so passionate about how losing weight and keeping it off could have such a positive impact on the overall quality his life — physically and emotionally. “I’m a true evangelist for healthy lifestyle and a disciple for our products,” he says. “It hasn’t changed my life. It saved my life.”
To find a New Direction System or NutriMed program near you, please visit our Find a Clinic page. If you’re a healthcare provider interested in Robard’s proven weight management programs, nutrition products and business services, you can learn more by visiting us here.
Blog written by Kevin Boyce/Robard Corporation
The time between Thanksgiving and the New Year can be the most challenging for your staff and your patients. There’s temptation around every corner — saboteurs are everywhere and, as a result, many patients fall victim to the mentality that “no‐one can maintain a diet during this time of year.” This mindset causes a chain of negative events that result in lost retention, decreased program effectiveness, lost revenue and momentum within your business.
But facts confirm that it’s simply not true. It’s time for you to prepare and educate your staff so your patients can break through the obstacles of tempting delights so they can enjoy a January filled with weight loss achievement.
The belief that patients can’t be successful during the holidays is based on outdated assumptions. Years ago, before we had an obesity crisis — before over 65 percent of Americans were overweight — the diet industry largely catered to cosmetic and seasonal weight loss. From January to May and from September to Thanksgiving, consumers turned to weight loss programs and then dropped their program during the summer and holidays. Today, more people join weight loss programs for health and wellness and to eradicate medical issues. These reasons are impervious to seasons, but patients are still susceptible to sabotage and exposure to diminished expectations. It’s during these times that we need to increase our vigilance against excuses and sabotage.
Educate your staff to counter all of the excuses, uncover sneaky saboteurs and eliminate them.
9 Tried and True Strategies for Retaining Your Patients
1. Create a weekly calendar with each client for each week during the holiday season and include their upcoming social events. Let the patient see how many of the 42 weekly eating occasions don’t involve a social event. (Assuming a patient eats six meals/snacks daily).
2. Stock up on Robard snacks and protein bars. These are easy to take on-the-go and require no prep. Perfect for shopping!
3. Re‐do goals with every patient and give specifics to focus on. Remind them it’s a series of small daily choices, not all or nothing. Help them counter the, “Well, I had cake at lunch, so I will start again tomorrow” approach.
4. Help patients visualize January 1.
5. Have patients fill out their food log.
6. Go over socializing basics. For example, if there is a dinner? On that day, eat breakfast, a snack, and lunch (preferably products). Eat just before arriving. Consider trade‐offs. For example: wine vs appetizer/appetizer vs dessert/sharing dessert. At the event, relax and socialize. Keep high‐fat treats out of sight.
7. Eat regularly every 3–4 hours and sleep regularly.
8. Don’t buy or make holiday treats until the last possible moment. Buy or make things that are not your personal favorites.
9. Maintain and increase physical activity. Great walking opportunities can be had with shopping or taking the family for a stroll to view the holiday lights.
While we would all like our patients to be perfect throughout the holiday, many struggle. For the struggling patients, continue to encourage them by letting them know that moving forward, even without perfection, is a goal worth driving towards.
For more tips and information on helping your patients and your business succeed through the holidays, Robard customers can download one of Robard Corporation’s many resources that help patients successfully navigate through the season. We also invite non-customers to download a holiday staff training kit, titled Visualizing January, by clicking here. Good luck and have a wonderful holiday season!
Blog written by Lynda Lewis/Robard Corporation
One of the worst things about being obese is how simple tasks become increasingly difficult. Such as driving a car like Jim Carpenter, cleaning the house like Julie Roth, or even going on a leisurely stroll like John Blair. For nearly 500 pound television producer Bill DiNicola,
it was the inability for his safety harness to fasten on a roller
coaster he was attempting to ride at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg,
Virginia. Things that we take for granted can be insurmountable for
some. “You’re that person who can break furniture by sitting on it, by
doing what it is designed to do,” says DiNicola.
always have issues with his weight. He was a high school athlete, but
when the activity decreased and the food intake rose, Bill added weight
at an uncontrollable pace to the tune of 476 pounds. Bill knew that his
weight was an issue, but when he was unable to fit into a size 4X
jersey, he knew he had to take action. The sobering moment came with a
revelation. “There’s one thing you can do right now, and that’s change
and switch it,” he says. And that’s exactly what Bill did.
In January 2015, Bill went on the New Direction System as
a part of the Bon Secours nutrition and weight loss program. Under the
medical supervision of Dr. Phillip Snider and his staff, Bill lost 227 pounds.
The hard work and dedication it took pales in comparison to the feeling
of accomplishment and renewed vigor for life Bill has. That roller
coaster harness that wouldn’t latch over 200 pounds ago now does so with
no problem, and Bill is back to enjoying the thrills of riding the
roller coaster with the thoughts of the shame he had before being a
distant memory. Take a further look into Bill’s story with the video
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