Choosing Healthy Foods -- Dr. George Fielding

Recently we discussed the difference between health foods and healthy foods. We also talked about the contents of the health food aisle and who benefits from those foods. It can be daunting to put together a healthy diet that’s right for you. Here Dr. George Fielding discusses some general dietary guidelines for choosing healthy foods.

Balancing Your Diet with Healthy Foods for Weight Loss

First and foremost, if you are struggling with obesity or have weight-related health issues, speak with your doctor. You may have underlying health issues that call for specific dietary advice. If you are pre-diabetic or have type 2 diabetes, you will need a diet that helps control your blood sugar levels. With high cholesterol, you will require a lower fat diet with less meat. If you are a candidate for weight loss surgery and would like to pursue that option, your doctor will recommend a specific pre-surgery diet.

Generally speaking, your balanced diet will contain:

  • Fruits. Whole fruits should be your emphasis, but canned, frozen and dried fruits are also fine.  Just be sure check for added sugar.

  • Vegetables. Ideally you should regularly eat vegetables of different types and colors.

  • Grains. At least half your daily grain intake should be whole grains.

  • Protein. Just as with vegetables, you should be sure to get protein from different sources including beans, nuts, seafood, eggs and soy products.

  • Dairy. In filling your daily dairy allowance, you should consume low-fat or fat-free milk products.

The amounts of each will depend on how many calories it is ideal for you to consume daily. From there, you can download a handy checklist to keep track of your daily targets depending on your calorie goals. Don’t forget to subtract 500 calories per day if you would like to lose weight. If you have concerns about food allergies or other dietary issues restricting your intake, talk with you doctor for advice.

Dr. George Fielding, NYU Langone Weight Management Program

Schedule an Appointment with Dr. George Fielding

Do you need dietary advice or other help with weight loss? Dr. George Fielding and his fellow weight loss experts at the the NYU Langone Weight Management Program are ready to help. To learn more or to make an appointment, call 212-263-3166 or email weightloss@nyumc.org.

Making Sense of the Health Food Aisle -- Dr. George Fielding

Are These Foods Really Healthy?

The health food industry has been booming in recent decades such that entire aisles of the grocery store are devoted to their products. These foods appeal to our desires to be healthier, have higher energy and lose weight. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet for weight loss. Still, this aisle can be quite tempting when one is dieting and making positive lifestyle changes for weight loss. Here, Dr. George Fielding explores the types of foods one might find in the health food aisle and how they might not be the best choice for your body.

Health Food vs. Healthy Food

For the purposes of this discussion, healthy food is food that is going to be good for your body. It is nutritious and does not interfere with any health issues you may have, such as type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol. If you are dieting to lose weight, you must also be mindful of maintaining your caloric deficit. Here are some of the types of foods you may encounter in the health food aisle, which may or may not be healthy for you.

“Performance” Foods

Energy bars and other high calorie foods are often essential for athletes. Athletes need the extra protein and carbohydrates to stay healthy. They burn so many calories that they need the calorie surplus to sustain their performance and prevent loss of muscle. Sometimes it’s tempting to use these as supplements, meal replacements or snacks, but they are not designed for that. They will not be filling and you will almost certainly exceed your caloric deficit.

Natural Foods

These range from traditional health foods like granola and trail mix to those with more fanciful labels like non-GMO and gluten-free. Traditional health foods are fine in moderation, just be sure to read the label. They may be healthy for you. You can save your money by not buying non-GMO versions of foods you normally enjoy. There is no evidence that GMO’s are unsafe, but marketers still play to the public fear. There’s also no reason to avoid gluten unless your doctor has diagnosed you with celiac disease. Gluten sensitivity (aka non-celiac gluten sensitivity) isn’t real.

Trendy Health Foods

Just as with fad diets, there are also trends in health food. This season, every “healthy” product boasts that it contains coconut oil. Next season, chia seeds could be the big thing. There is no such thing as a magical superfood that will melt the excess pounds away. If anything ever sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Dr. George Fielding, NYU Langone Bariatric Surgeon

Make an Appointment with Dr. George Fielding

Nutritional counseling is one of the many services available at the NYU Langone Weight Management Program. Call 212-263-3166 or email weightloss@nyumc.org for more information. Dr. George Fielding and colleagues are ready to help you lose excess weight for a longer, healthier life.

Health Foods vs. Healthy Foods -- Dr. George Fielding

Statistics have shown that consumers want healthy foods and are willing to pay more for them. This has led to a boom in the marketing and sales of products labeled “health foods,” some of which are not as healthy as you think. Here, Dr. George Fielding explores some of the pitfalls of shopping in the health food aisle.

What’s Wrong with the Health Food Aisle?

The health food aisle is full of pretty packaging depicting natural grains waving in the wind and vibrantly healthy people enjoying sports. An important part of marketing is selling a fantasy to the consumer. In this case, the fantasy is that eating these foods will lead to a natural life of glowing health. What’s wrong with this?

  • Health foods won’t lead to good health, at least not on their own. It’s just as important to approach these “health foods” as mindfully as you would any other foods. Some consumers assume that anything in the aisle is fair game, even when they’re dieting. Moderation is still important, as is exercise.

  • Health foods are often high calorie. This may be because they are intended for endurance athletes. This may also be because whatever trendy ingredient they contain has a high caloric density. For example, nuts and seeds are common ingredients in health foods.

  • Health foods are expensive. Again, market research has shown that people like to think they’re doing good things for their health. From a nutritional perspective, you can get an equally healthy box of cereal from the breakfast aisle for half the price.

In our next blog post, we’ll talk more specifically about how foods end up designated health foods.

Dr. George Fielding, NYU Langone Bariatric Surgeon

Weight Loss with Dr. George Fielding

Do you need help planning a diet for weight loss? Please contact the NYU Langone Weight Management Program for an appointment with Dr. George Fielding. Call 212-263-3166 or email weightloss@nyumc.org for more information on how our medical teams can guide you to better health.

What is the Difference Between BMI and Body Fat Percentage?

Dr. George Fielding on Measuring Weight Loss

When it comes to losing weight, it’s helpful to have the best tools to measure your progress. Simply standing on a scale may not provide the health insight you need. But sometimes, all the numbers and measurements become daunting. Many people confuse BMI, or body mass index, with body fat percentage. Here, Dr. George Fielding explains the difference between BMI and body fat percentage and what it means for you.

Body Mass Index

Body mass index is a score that evaluates your body size. It measures how healthy your weight is based on weight and height. By using a BMI calculator, you and your doctor can determine if your weight falls into a healthy range. Experts say if you are carrying too much weight for your height, you risk various health concerns. The following chart is used to evaluate your BMI results.

  • Underweight - Below 18.5
  • Normal - 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight - 25.0 to 29.9
  • Obese - 30.0 and above

Body Fat Percentage

While BMI is a helpful tool to assess your risk for certain health issues, it does not measure body fat. Body fat percentage measures fat on the body as opposed to lean muscle, bone and other body mass. There are many ways to measure body fat percentage. The most common way is by using skin calipers to measure certain areas on the body. You can also use a body fat calculator by inputting measurements into the fields. The chart below shows ranges for body fat percentage. [Source.]

bodyfat.png

The Best Measurement for You

For most people who are interested in losing weight, knowing their BMI is the best place to start. It is easy to calculate and shows a good indication of possible health risks. Some experts believe measuring body fat it more important. Dr. George Fielding recommends working with your doctor and deciding on the best ways to measure progress. If you measurements fall into the obese range, you may be a candidate for bariatric surgery.

Dr. George Fielding, NYU Langone Weight Management Program

Consultations with Dr. George Fielding

If you or a loved one would like to learn about your weight loss options including bariatric surgery, consult an expert. Contact Dr. George Fielding at the NYU Langone Weight Management Program.





 

The Key to Weight Loss: Healthy Foods in Moderation

Even With Healthy Foods, Moderation is Necessary

With few exceptions, just because a food is healthy doesn’t mean you should eat a lot of it. This is especially true if you’re trying to lose weight. There are a lot of foods and ingredients in the health food aisle that are going to work against you if you’re not careful.  It’s good to eat healthy foods, but you should eat them in moderation. Otherwise, you might exceed the caloric deficit you need for weight loss.  Here, Dr. George Fielding talks about some of the ways to avoid falling prey to health food marketing.

Consider the Target

Of course a health food company really only cares about one thing: that you buy their product. So, if you’re standing in the aisle with the box in your hand, you’re a target.  But are you the target?  Some health foods are designed to support high levels of physical activity.  Trail mixes are loaded with calories, for example. These are great snacks if you’re burning thousands of calories hiking. Otherwise, they are not a good choice.  So, it’s important to consider why the particular food is falls under the category of health food.

Get into the Habit of Reading Labels

Even healthy foods may have higher calories than you realize. Be particularly careful with ingredient swaps.  We often see people recommend quinoa as a substitute for rice, for example.  Per gram, quinoa has more protein which is part of why it’s appealing. This may make it more satiating. 100g of quinoa (plain) has 150 calories, whereas white rice has 130 and brown rice has 110.  Same with healthy oils.  Olive oil is considered a healthy oil, but has more than 100 calories per tablespoon.  

Measure All Portions

Quinoa may keep you feeling full longer, but just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean you should eat more of it.  You’ll need to measure your portions.  Even with healthy foods, it’s very easy to exceed your daily calorie totals.  This is why we recommend keeping a food journal.  Track your food choices and portions and you’ll be on your way to weight loss success.

Consult Your Doctor

Calorie counting is an essential part of weight loss, but may not be the only consideration. If you have high cholesterol, diabetes or high blood pressure your doctor might have additional advice. The above advice will still apply, but you should always proceed with new diets with your doctor’s guidance.

Dr. George Fielding, NYU Langone Weight Management Program

Weight Loss with Dr. George Fielding

If you need nutritional guidance or other weight loss advice, please contact the NYU Langone Weight Management Program.  Dr. George Fielding and colleagues are available to help you achieve your weight loss goals.  For information and appointments, call 212-263-3166 or email weightloss@nyumc.org.
 

Does the Apple Cider Vinegar Weight Loss Diet Work?

Weight loss is not easy.  Even after bariatric surgery, there is still dieting, exercise and other work to be done.  Whether you are looking to shed a few excess pounds or are devising your post bariatric surgery diet, it’s tempting to look for a magical solution.  Unfortunately there are a lot of enterprising people trying to sell dietary advice and systems promising the pounds will melt off. These can be quite seductive, but the truth is that most of them don’t work. Here, Dr. Fielding, NYU discusses one of the latest diet fads.  Does the apple cider vinegar weight loss diet really work? Not really.

What is the Apple Cider Vinegar Weight Loss Diet?

The apple cider vinegar weight loss diet appears on the internet in a several different forms. Most of them involve drinking some amount of apple cider vinegar, usually diluted, before meals.  The claims vary, too.  Some suggest there is something in the apple cider which enhances digestion or suppresses appetite.

To date, there’s no science to support the idea that apple cider vinegar diet does anything to promote weight loss.  One study suggested there might be some appetite suppression, but mainly due to nausea.  Medically speaking, this does not constitute safe or reasonable dietary advice.

The Secret to Weight Loss: Embrace the Daily Caloric Deficit

We’ve written several posts here about food journals and how important it is to sustain a caloric deficit to lose weight. This is ultimately the key to losing weight for most people. (When fad diets “work,” it’s due to creating a caloric deficit.) It’s difficult and requires mindful eating every day.  This is challenging enough for some patients that weight loss experts may still recommend bariatric surgery.

Post Bariatric Surgery Diet Advice

For your post bariatric surgery diet, you should always consult your doctor.  Although bariatric surgery is a crucial step toward health for many people, it's not the be all end all of weight loss solutions.  Always follow your doctor's advice.

Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone Bariatric Surgeon

Meet Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone Weight Management Program

Do you need help with weight loss? Our medical teams can provide support at every phase.  From exercise plans and nutritional guidance to bariatric surgery, our experts are ready to help.  For appointments with Dr. Fielding and colleagues at the NYU Langone Weight Management Program, call 212-263-3166 or email weightloss@nyumc.org.

What is a BMI Calculator?

Dr. George Fielding on Using a BMI Calculator

When you want to lose weight, it is helpful to have a goal in mind. Having a clear understanding of your body mass index, or BMI is a good place to start. Your body mass index measures how healthy your weight is based on weight and height. In this article, Dr. George Fielding helps readers understand what a BMI calculator is. This knowledge will help you understand if you are a candidate for bariatric surgery.

Understanding Body Mass Index

First, understand what body mass index means. In short, it is a score that evaluates your body size. It helps you and your doctor determine if your weight falls into a healthy range. This number is calculated using your weight to height ratio. If you carry too much weight for your height, you may be at risk for health problems.

Dr. George Fielding on Understanding BMI

Next, use one of two methods to calculate BMI. Use the formula: BMI = (your weight in pounds x 703) ÷ (your height in inches x your height in inches). Or use an online BMI calculator. Once you have your body mass index, reference this chart to evaluate the results.

  • Underweight - Below 18.5
  • Normal - 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight - 25.0 to 29.9
  • Obese - 30.0 and above
Body Mass Index Chart

Candidates for Bariatric Surgery

A BMI of over 25 means that you may be overweight. Dr. George Fielding says there are many health risks associated with carrying excess weight. Some of these include a higher risk for type 2 diabetes or heart disease. If you have a body mass index of over 40, you may be a candidate for bariatric surgery.

Finally, there are other factors that affect your BMI. These include your diet, ethnicity and family history. In most cases, using a BMI calculator is a good first step to take in evaluating your weight. Once you know your body mass index, you can speak to your doctor to determine if a weight loss program is appropriate.

Dr. George Fielding, NYU Langone Weight Management Program

Consultations with Dr. George Fielding

If you are interested in learning more about your weight loss options, including bariatric surgery, consult an expert. Contact Dr. George Fielding at the NYU Langone Weight Management Program.

Reducing Calories from Condiments for Weight Loss

When you’re trying to lose weight through dieting, every calorie counts. Weight loss experts like Dr. George Fielding often recommend keeping a food journal to track calorie intake. By monitoring your daily calories and aiming for a caloric deficit, your body will burn fat and you will lose weight. The 500 calorie deficit you need daily to lose weight is often achievable by making small changes to your diet. In previous articles, we described ways to reduce calories from beverages and foods. Here we take a closer look at condiments and other small additions that can add a lot more calories than you realize.

Hold the Mayo (and the Calories)

When you’re tracking calories, it’s important to monitor any additions or modifications to your food. In other words, you can’t just log that you ate a hotdog for lunch. In addition to the calories from the meat and bun, there were calories in everything you put on top of it. These are both tempting to exclude and easy to forget, but a schmear here and a dab there can close up that 500 calorie deficit without your noticing. Be mindful of serving sizes when using:

  • Ketchup. One tablespoon of ketchup contains about 20 calories and a whopping 3.7 grams of sugar. If you’re looking to cut calories, mustard alone is a better bet. It typically has less than half the calories of ketchup and no sugar.

  • Mayonnaise. Go light on the mayo, too. It has 100 calories per tablespoon, mostly from fat.

  • Salad dressing. If you can’t bear to eat salad plain, ask for the dressing on the side. That way you can control the portion size better. Salad dressings are usually loaded with oil and sugar.

  • Butter. We all know butter makes everything delicious, but use it sparingly. It also clocks in just over 100 calories per tablespoon.

  • Cream cheese. Many bagel shops slather on cream cheese, adding far more than just a schmear. At more than 50 calories per tablespoon, this can make an already high calorie bagel snack even worse for your daily totals.

  • Peanut butter. High-protein foods like peanut butter are potentially helpful for staving off hunger, but it’s important to measure them carefully. Peanut butter is approximately 100 calories per tablespoon, so a little goes a long way.

Dr. George Fielding, NYU Langone Medical Center

Begin Your Weight Loss Journey with Dr. George Fielding

If you are struggling with obesity or weight-related health issues, contact the NYU Langone Weight Management Program. Dr. George Fielding and colleagues can help with everything from dietary guidance to bariatric surgery. To schedule a full evaluation, please call 212-263-3166 or email weightloss@nyumc.org.

Hidden Sources of Food Calories in Your Day to Day

Achieving a caloric deficit every day is critical for weight loss. Many people dread the thought of dieting to accomplish this. But, you can create a 500 calorie deficit per day without making huge changes to your diet. Previously we discussed simple ways to reduce calories from beverages to help achieve a caloric deficit. Here, Dr. George Fielding describe sources of extra calories from food. In many cases these calories come from sources you may not have thought about. What’s worse is that many of them come from “health foods.”

Moderation and Mindful Eating

Part of the reason food journals are helpful for weight loss is that they encourage precision when preparing meals. By taking a closer look at food choices and portions, achieving a caloric deficit goes from daunting to doable. Also, just because the food label says “healthy” doesn’t mean you can eat an unlimited amount of it. Here are some foods with more calories than you might realize.

  • Cereal. Be sure to measure your breakfast cereal. Even healthy cereals tend to have high calorie counts.

  • Oatmeal. A packet of plain oatmeal only has about 120 calories, but few people willingly eat it that way. Measure any additions carefully and consult the nutritional information if you buy flavored oatmeal.

  • Nuts. Although they’re often touted as a healthy snack, nuts are an extremely high calorie choice. It’s easy to exceed your daily calorie intake during the course of a single snack. A handful of nuts usually has more than 100 calories.

  • Seeds. Lots of “healthy” recipes include chia seeds. A single tablespoon has 70 calories, so it can quickly add to the caloric density of any food.

  • Dried fruit. Although great for snacking, dried fruit contains a lot of sugar.

  • Trail mix. Trail mix combines many of the above elements into a delicious mix that’s wonderful for hitting the trails when you need lots of extra calories. It’s not a great choice for an everyday snack if you are watching your calorie intake.

  • Granola bars. Believe it or not, when compared per 100g, granola bars often have nearly the same calories as Snickers bars. They are more nutritious, but can quickly put you over your daily calorie target.

  • Greek yogurt. Always check the nutritional information on your yogurt. Although marketed as healthier, Greek yogurt can have just as many, if not more, calories than regular yogurt. Popular yogurt brands also contain a lot of sugar.

  • Avocados. Even though avocados contain “healthy fat” which promotes good cholesterol, they still have a lot of calories. A single cup of avocado contains approximately 300 calories.

  • Bread. Make a habit of skipping the dinner roll and save yourself 100 calories each meal.

Meet Dr. George Fielding

Dr. George Fielding, NYU Langone Medical Center

Are you ready to begin your weight loss journey? Dr. George Fielding and colleagues are ready to help. The medical team at the NYU Langone Weight Management Program will guide you with confidence and expertise. From nutritional counseling to bariatric surgery, they can provide all the resources you need. For more information, call 212-263-3166 or email weightloss@nyumc.org.

Reducing Calories from Beverages for Weight Loss Success

When you’re working toward weight loss, it’s critical to burn more calories each day than you take in. By sustaining this caloric deficit over time, your body will burn fat and you will steadily reduce your weight.  A good rule of thumb is to aim for a 500 calorie deficit each day.  You can achieve this by eating less and moving more.  This doesn’t necessarily mean sweeping, dramatic lifestyle changes. Big changes made all at once can be difficult to sustain.  Instead, you can make smaller changes.  Eliminating bites, licks and tastes from your day is a good strategy. There are also sources of extra calories that you may not have thought about.  Here Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone bariatric surgeon, talks about calories in beverages that you can easily reduce or eliminate.

Ways to Reduce Extra Calories from Beverages

Leave sugar and cream out of your coffee to reduce daily calories.
  • Use lowfat or skim milk.  A cup of whole milk contains approximately 146 calories per cup. 2% milk has slightly less at 122 calories per cup and skim milk has only 90 per cup. You can also substitute almond milk, which has 60-80 per cup depending on whether it’s sweetened or not.

  • Drink coffee black.  A cup of coffee only has 1 calorie if you drink it black and unsweetened.  If you add two sugar packets and two containers of half-and-half, that’s about 70 more.  Fancier coffees at coffee shops can have up to 600 calories!  

  • Choose unsweetened tea.  Sweetening up your tea adds significant calories, too.  In the south, “sweet tea” sometimes has twice as much sugar as a standard soda.

  • Stick with diet soda or skip it all together.  Diet sodas typically have zero calories, whereas their full sugar counterparts can have 100-200 per serving depending on the brand.  Keep in mind that buying a larger soda means you may be getting several servings, too.

  • Minimize fruit and vegetable juice.  Fruit juice may seem like a healthier choice, but it often contains as many calories as a full-sugar soda.  

  • Skip bottle smoothies. Just as with fruit juices, companies tout bottle smoothies as healthy.  However, they contain upwards of 200-400 calories per bottle and are not very filling.

  • Prepare smoothies mindfully.  While homemade smoothies can be nutritious, they are also loaded with calories.  If you’re making your own, be sure to measure portions carefully.

  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol.  Beer calories vary widely depending on the beer, but ultimately these are empty calories with no nutritional value. If you are working toward weight loss, it’s best to limit or completely eliminate alcohol from your diet.

Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone Bariatric Surgeon

Weight Loss with Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone Weight Management Program

Ready to begin your weight loss journey?  Contact Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone Weight Management Program. Our medical teams provide everything from nutritional counseling to bariatric surgery. For an evaluation with Dr. Fielding, call our offices at 212-263-3166 or email weightloss@nyumc.org.

No-Cook Healthy Meals for Summer

Dr. George Fielding on Eating Well in the Heat

When the temperatures rise, who wants to cook in a hot kitchen? Using the oven in even a well-cooled home is less than appetizing in the summer heat. Sticking to a healthy eating plan doesn’t have to take up all your time. With these great summertime meal ideas, you can skip the cooking part when it comes to dinner. Dr. George Fielding shares healthy and easy recipes you can try tonight.

Chilled Soups for Healthy Meals

Watermelon is a great base for a delicious gazpacho.
  • Watermelon gazpacho - This soup is infused with so many fruits and vegetables, it’s bursting with flavor.
  • Cold cucumber soup - Have 10 minutes to spare? Then you have enough time to make this delicious soup. Easy and hydrating.
  • Blueberry lime soup - If you’re looking for sweet healthy meals, try this. Yogurt, blueberries and cinnamon make this simple soup a great choice.

Healthy Hearty Salads

No-Cook Noodles and Healthy Wraps

  • Avocado collard wraps - The unexpected flavors of pecan, red pepper and tamari make this a meal you will make again soon. This vegan dish is healthy and delicious.
  • Carrot bowl with coconut almond satay - Create carrot “ribbons” with your everyday vegetable peeler. This savory recipe has the consistency of a stir fry without the heat.
  • Thai beef rolls - These sandwiches are the perfect healthy meal after a long hot day. Easy to make and you can bring them to lunch the next day too.
Dr. George Fielding, NYU Langone Bariatric Surgeon

Make healthy meals for summer with the freshest ingredients. Dr. George Fielding recommends making a stop at the farmer’s market a regular part of your week. You’ll always have great fruits and vegetables on hand to create no-cook meals to stay healthy and happy.

Consultations with Dr. George Fielding

If you are interested in learning more about your weight loss options, including bariatric surgery, consult an expert. Contact Dr. George Fielding at the NYU Langone Weight Management Program.

Easy Ways to Add Vegetables to Lunch and Dinner

Dr. George Fielding on Boosting Nutrients

Eating healthy meals for weight loss should be enjoyable. A nutritious diet includes a variety of vegetables, but some people struggle to eat enough. Others fall into a vegetable rut having the same side dishes enough to get bored of them. In this article, Dr. George Fielding shares easy ways to add more vegetables to your lunches and dinners. Your family might not even notice!

Adding Vegetables to Lunches

Add vegetables to your lunch and dinner for weight loss.

First, add more vegetables to your mid-day meal. Too many carbs at lunch will make you feel tired and reaching for the afternoon coffee. A healthy lunch will give you more energy. 

  • Swap Your Bread for Greens - Next time you’re in the mood for a wrap, reach for Bibb lettuce or romaine. You will cut carbs but add a crisp crunch to your sandwich.

  • Go Half Veggie - If you’re reluctant to commit to a veggie burger, try mixing vegetables in with your lean ground beef. Half-veggie burgers combine lentils and your choice of chopped vegetables for more vitamins and protein.

  • Plan Ahead for Health - You’re more likely to eat a healthy lunch when you pack it yourself. These make-ahead vegetarian lunches add variety to your weight loss plan. 

Dr. George Fielding on Sneaking Veggies into Dinner

Next, there are many ways you can add vegetables to dinners. Veggies add extra fiber to meals, which helps fill you up and maintains digestive health. These are just some of the ways a diet rich in vegetables helps with weight loss. Try these ideas this week:

  • A Pizza Solution - Next time you have a craving for homemade pizza, try making an easy veggie crust. These recipes show you how to use cauliflower, sweet potato and eggplant for a healthier and delicious alternative to dough.

  • Amp Up Your Casseroles - Add shredded vegetables to casseroles whenever you can. Carrots, zucchini or summer squash mix well with virtually any recipe without changing the consistency.

  • Pasta without the Pasta - If you haven’t tried veggie noodles yet, prepare to be amazed. Using a spiral slicer or peeler, make “noodles” from vegetables and cook like pasta. From carrots to sweet potatoes, beets and turnips the options are endless.

Dr. George Fielding, NYU Langone Weight Management Program

Finally, some people only think of salads or a side of broccoli when it comes to eating their greens. No wonder they may see weight loss as a chore. With these suggestions from Dr. George Fielding, add more delicious nutrition to every meal.

If you are interested in learning more about your weight loss options, including bariatric surgery, consult an expert. Contact Dr. George Fielding at the NYU Langone Weight Management Program.

Tips for Accurate Calorie Counting in Your Food Journal

Keeping a food journal is useful for weight loss, but only if you count your calories accurately. It’s not uncommon to hear people say that they’ve started dieting but haven’t seen a difference. Sometimes this is because they are forgetting to include calories. A 500 calorie deficit can disappear incrementally throughout the day without your realizing it. Dr. George Fielding offers some tips for accurate calorie counting to help you sustain your caloric deficit and lose weight.

Cornerstones of Successful Calorie Counting

Count Everything

Yes, everything. From the cream and sugar in your coffee to the slice of birthday cake at the office party, keep track of everything you consume.

Some of the most overlooked calories come from beverages. Water is calorie free and it’s important to hydrate throughout your day, so it’s always your best choice. Fruit juices may seem like a healthy choice, but they’re often loaded with sugar. Companies market bottled smoothies as healthy, but those are often even worse. They contain upwards of 200-400 calories per bottle and are not filling.

Stay Positive

Record your calories without judgment. In creating your food journal, you’ve committed yourself to weight loss. It’s important to hold yourself accountable, but it’s equally important to be gentle with yourself.

Remember that the journal is intended to help you control calories, not just reduce them. After all, too big of a caloric deficit can potentially slow your metabolism and make weight loss more difficult. Your journal should encourage mindful, healthy eating in addition to calorie counting.

Measure Your Portions

Sometimes serving sizes are smaller than you realize, especially with high-caloric density foods like nuts. For example, almonds are a common healthy snack recommendation, but each nut is 7 calories. If you have an extra handful of nuts, it could easily be 100 calories. Maybe they’re so tasty you have a second handful and that’s 100 more. It adds up quickly.

1 serving vs. 1/2 serving of peanut butter on a slice of bread.

Measuring your portions is a great way to control calories, too. Pretty food photos and commercials can make us think our meals should look a certain way. For example, let’s say you want to make peanut butter toast for a snack. You might be tempted to lay the peanut butter on thick.

The nutrition label for this peanut butter says it’s 190 calories per serving. One serving is two tablespoons. This single slice of wheat bread is 120 calories. Adding one serving of peanut butter adds 190 calories for a total of 310. If you use just one tablespoon, you’ll still have a tasty snack and save yourself 100 calories.

If you love peanut butter, it’s pretty easy to go way over 300, too. Maybe you spread it on thicker, take an extra taste or lick the knife. Then you might have a 500 calorie snack instead of a 215 calorie one. All it takes is a few miscalculations like this through your day and you’ll be over your calorie target.

Don’t Rely on Memory

Choose a method of tracking that you know you’ll adhere to. Put a small notebook in your pocket or use a smartphone app. Whatever works to track your calorie intake as you eat and drink during the day.

500 calories is not quite as many as you might realize, but this is good news! It means the calorie deficit you need is within reach.

Learn More About Food Journals

Check out our other posts on keeping a food journal:

Dr. George Fielding, NYU Langone Bariatric Surgeon

Schedule an Appointment with Dr. George Fielding

Do you need help with weight loss? The NYU Langone Weight Management Program offers everything from nutritional counseling to bariatric surgery. For an evaluation with Dr. George Fielding, call our offices at 212-263-3166 or email weightloss@nyumc.org.

Tips for Starting a Food Journal from Dr. George Fielding

Recently, Dr. George Fielding explained how food journals can improve weight loss. Are you ready to start your first food journal? Here, we explain how to get started and how to keep your momentum with food journaling.

Strategies for Food Journal Success

Getting Started

Starting a food journal.
  • Track with a method you’ll reliably use. Some people prefer websites or phone apps. Others prefer just a good old spiral notebook and pen.

  • Determine your BMR. Calculate your basal metabolic rate to determine what your daily calorie target should be. Aiming for 500 calories below your BMR is ideal for weight loss.

  • Keep track as you go. Don’t rely on your memory. It’s pretty easy to go over that 500 calories without realizing it.

What to Track

Every time you eat, write down: 

  • Time of day. This is important for tracking overall eating patterns. Are there times you most often eat extra snacks? Are you eating too close to bedtime?

  • Calories consumed. For quick calculation, use a calorie calculator site or app. Even if it’s just a small amount of food, it counts.

Be sure to track calories for:

  • Meals. Track your breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  • Beverages. Count calories for anything you drink with your meals or between them.

  • Snacks. Log all your snacks, too. Snacking isn’t inherently a bad thing and keeping a food journal can help you snack mindfully.

  • Bites, licks and tastes. Yes, you’ve got to track those BLTs, too. All calories count, even if it’s just licking peanut butter from a knife.

Keep Going!

  • Track every day. Record everything, even on days you indulge. Cheat days happen. If you recognize they’re happening, you can compensate by working more exercise into your day.

  • Miss a day? Start again. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Take a deep breath, turn the page in your journal and begin again.

  • Keep track of how many days in a row you’ve counted your calories. This is something you can track along with other healthy behaviors on a habit tracker.

Learn More About Food Journals

Need more information about keeping a food journal? Check out our related posts:

Dr. George Fielding, NYU Langone Bariatric Surgeon

Appointments with Dr. George Fielding

Are you having difficulty with weight loss? Please contact the NYU Langone Weight Management Program for an appointment with Dr. Fielding. For more information about their weight loss services, you can also call 212-263-3166 or email weightloss@nyumc.org.

Setting Lifetime Fitness Goals

Long-Term Success with Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone Bariatric Surgeon

Living a healthy and long life is a common ideal many people share. Yet there are obstacles that get in people’s way when it comes to health and fitness. Some of these may be a chronic illness, obesity or other circumstances that make achieving goals difficult. Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone bariatric surgeon, shares important information about lifetime fitness goals. Understanding how daily choices form big-picture benefits is key.

A Way of Life

Planning lifetime fitness goals

Lifetime fitness is the idea of long-term goals that steadily improve your health. Rather than exercising for a short-term reason or specific event, these goals are more about lifestyle. These health regimens should improve and maintain cardiovascular and muscle endurance, as well as muscle strength. They should also positively affect your body composition and flexibility over time. When exercise and eating well become a way of living, you don’t feel like you’re “on a diet” or doing something burdensome.

Strategies for Lifetime Fitness

There are several keys to long-range success. They involve making healthy choices and establishing habits so they become second-nature. Consider the following tips:

  • Develop a Nutrition Plan - This is something to create with your doctor and nutritionist, based on your personal goals and needs.

  • Monitor Your Vitals - In addition to regular checkups, be aware of your numbers. Knowing your blood pressure, cholesterol and resting heart rate become even more important as you age.

  • Do What You Enjoy - When it comes to exercise, you will be more consistent and successful if you actually have fun. Try swimming, walking and cycling. Choose something as your core activity, then mix up your routine occasionally.

  • Be Consistent - Forming healthy habits is vital to a healthy life. Dr. Fielding recommends using a fitness journal to track your progress. This will also help you to process what’s working for you and what changes you’d like to make.

Dr. Fielding, NYU on Goals

Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone Weight Management Program

 It is important that your goals be specific, measurable and timely. They must also be realistic and attainable. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds, don’t lose heart when you see gradual positive changes. Lifetime fitness is a way of living that improves your well-being over time. Focus on the actions, not the results. Getting too far ahead of yourself may cause you to feel impatient or dissatisfied. Staying in the “now” will also help you keep perspective and control what is within your reach. 

Are you interested in learning about your weight loss options, including gastric surgery? Contact Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone bariatric surgeon. Visit the NYU Langone Weight Management Program for more information.

Why Keep a Food Journal? -- Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone Medical Center

One of the best ways to understand your daily calorie intake and lose weight is to keep a food journal. Studies have shown that keeping a food journal can radically improve total weight loss, too. For example, in this study the researchers asked patients to track calories in addition to attending support groups, eating healthy and exercising. Those who kept food journals six days a week lost almost twice as much weight as those who tracked their calorie intake for only one. Here, Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone Weight Management Program, explains why keeping a food journal works.

The Art of Calorie Control

Keep a food journal to help with weight loss.

Keeping a food journal is not just about reducing your daily calories. It’s about controlling them. Undershooting your daily calorie needs might cause your body to store fat instead of burn it. This is the opposite of what you want. In addition, you’ll gain even more weight when you begin eating more because your metabolism will slow. Keeping a food journal will also:

  • Identify eating patterns. Are you eating too close to bedtime? Having too many snacks in the afternoon when you’re likely bored rather than hungry? Writing down what and when you eat can help uncover such patterns.

  • Keep you accountable. Your journal will encourage mindful eating habits, since you’ll need to write down every bite you take. All calories count, even the bites, licks and tastes.

  • Encourage cooking meals at home. While some restaurants make their calorie information available, most do not. That means you could exceed your daily calories without realizing it every time you go out to eat. If you’re hoping to lose weight, it’s better to cook at home and know exactly what you’re eating.  

Generally, your daily calorie target should be 500 calories lower than your basal metabolic rate. If you can sustain this caloric deficit, you will begin to lose weight. Be sure to consult your doctor before pursuing any weight loss program.

Starting a Food Journal

Ready to begin your food journal? Follow our upcoming blog posts:

  • Tips for Starting Your Food Journal
  • Hints for Accurate Calorie Counting
  • Eliminating Hidden Calories
Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone Bariatric Surgeon

Making an Appointment with Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone Weight Management Program

The NYU Langone Weight Management Program offers everything from nutritional counseling to bariatric surgery. If you are struggling with obesity or weight-related health issues, make an appointment with an expert like Dr. Fielding. Call 212-263-3166 or email weightloss@nyumc.org for more information.

Free Printable Habit Trackers for Health, Weight Loss and Lifetime Fitness

The best way to form healthy habits is to set achievable goals and work toward them every single day. Here, Dr. George Fielding explains how using habit trackers can help you become more aware of your daily habits and improve them. We also offer free, printable habit trackers for you to download.  Tracking healthy habits will help with productivity, weight loss and lifetime fitness. 

Tracking Daily Habits for Lifetime Fitness

Tracking helps form new habits in part because it gives you a daily checklist. In theory, completing your list every day will help create new routines. The tracking sheets add another interesting dimension, too. There is psychological satisfaction in sustaining a streak. Visualizing this streak becomes another reward in itself. You won’t want to break the chain of progress. This becomes especially important with things like weight loss, since plateaus are inevitable.

Start Small

Let’s say your goal is to get more exercise. First, buy a pedometer or fitness tracker to measure the number of steps you take every day. Keep track of your daily steps for a few days to get an idea of your current activity. If you currently take 2,000 steps per day, aim for a modest increase to 2,500 or 3,000 as your goal. Immediately aiming for 10,000 steps is going to set you up for frustration. You can increase incrementally and get a sense of how much you need to push yourself. You can ask your doctor for advice, too.

Don’t Break the Chain

Each evening, note how many steps you have taken. Have you reached your goal? If so, great! Fill in the square on your habit tracker. If not, it’s time to go for a walk or a hike. Every consecutive square you fill will lengthen your successful streak. How many days in a row can you hit your step goal? Seven? Thirty? One hundred?

Challenge Yourself

Hitting your step goal every day will increase your health and fitness. It will also contribute to your caloric deficit, improve your stamina and help you lose weight. To continue to improve, keep challenging yourself. Once 3,000 steps per day seems easy, you should increase it to 4,000. Then double it. Then push: can you hit 10,000 steps? Aim high and challenge yourself. When you reach your goals, pause to give yourself a healthy reward and then keep that streak going.

Ready to Get Started?

We recommend beginning with a small set of habits to track, maybe four or five that are important for your goals. For example, if you are hoping to lose weight you could begin with: walking, hydration, caloric deficit and no soda/junk food.  We’ve made suggestions in other blog posts.  What are your goals?

Habit tracking for health, weight loss and lifetime fitness.

Once you choose, create your tracking sheet. You can make one from scratch or try this free, printable habit tracker. (Click image to download a printable PDF version.)

 

Write the month at the top of the page, habits along the left column and start tracking.

Dr. George Fielding, NYU Langone Medical Center

Weight Loss with Dr. George Fielding

For decades, Dr. George Fielding has been helping people lose weight and keep it off permanently. Are you ready to begin your weight loss journey?  Do you want lifetime fitness? Please contact the NYU Langone Weight Management Program for details. For appointments, you can also call 212-263-3166 or email weightloss@nyumc.org.

Dr. Fielding, NYU on Great Hikes Near New York City

Easy and Accessible Hikes for Weight Loss

Summer is the perfect time to take your exercise routine outdoors. Hiking is one of the best ways to enjoy nature and get a solid workout. You don’t have to be a seasoned expert or travel far to experience hiking at its best. In this article, Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone Weight Management Program, shares some great hikes near New York City.

Long Island and Westchester Region

Suggestions for great hikes near New York City.
  • Caleb Smith State Park - This nature preserve in Smithtown, NY has 543 acres of picturesque views and a variety of trails. Enjoy habitats from birds to butterflies in this beautiful park.  Hike level - easy.
  • Mashomack Preserve - This area takes up about one-third of Shelter Island and is known as the “Jewel of the Peconic.” You can pick from short hikes to all day hikes. Coastline, salt marshes and foot bridges make up this wooded paradise. Hike level - easy.
  • Westmoreland Sanctuary - A 640-acre wildlife preserve in Mount Kisco, this area offers a variety of elevations for your workout. Upping the level of hills promotes weight loss as you will burn more calories than on flat land. Hike level - moderate.

Dr. Fielding’s Recommendations in the Kingston/New Paltz Region

  • Bluestone Wild Forest. This ideal hiking spot is located in the town of Hurley, a gateway to the Catskills. Gently rolling hills mean you can start easy and adjust your hike’s difficulty by choosing one of many trails. Hike level - easy.
  • Minnewaska State Park Preserve - This moderate hike packs gorgeous views plus an overlook in one trip. You can mix up your workout with a hike and a swim at Lake Minnewaska. Hike level - moderate.
  • Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain - For a solid 3.2 mile roundtrip workout, hike the trail to Giant Ledge and enjoy the beautiful lookout. More serious hikers will continue up Panther Mountain where the hike becomes more vertical. Hike level - moderate.

Southern Vermont and Western Massachusetts

  • Mount Sugarloaf State Preservation, Massachusetts - A hike on Mount Sugarloaf offers stunning views of the Connecticut River, the Pioneer Valley and the Berkshire Hills. Reach your weight loss goals with a hike and a healthy picnic at the summit. Hike level - easy.
  • Putney Mountain, Vermont - There are a variety of places to walk, hike and bike in Putney. Try the Central School Forest, with many easy and moderate options. Trails are well-marked and wind through forests and floodplains. Hike level - easy to moderate.  
  • Haystack Mountain Trail, Vermont - Located in Wilmington, Haystack Mountain is lightly trafficked and offers many options for weight loss activities. Dr. Fielding says bring your camera to remember the view from the summit. Hike level - Moderate.
Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone Medical Center

Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone Medical Center

You can achieve your weight loss goals while enjoying the beauty of nature in these hiking areas. Begin with easy hikes along rolling hills, then expand to more challenging areas as you feel ready. Dr. Fielding reminds you to prepare with the right gear and safety know-how.  Stay healthy and injury-free on these great hikes near New York City.

For Appointments with Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone Bariatric Surgeon

Want to learn more about weight loss? Please contact Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone Weight Management Program.

Tick Prevention: Staying Healthy on the Trail

If you’re going to head out on the trail, Dr. George Fielding suggests using some preventative measures to keep ticks at bay.

Stopping Ticks in Their Tracks

Tick prevention: tuck your pants into your socks.

Tick prevention: tuck your pants into your socks.

Dr. George Fielding suggests that hikers take preventative measures every time they hit the trail whether for a quick ramble or a day hike.  Here’s how to best keep ticks away.

Tuck, tuck, tuck. Tuck your pants into your socks and your top into your pants. This minimizes places where ticks can get to your skin.

Use chemicals. While the trends are toward natural products, there is zero science to support using botanicals and essential oils to discourage ticks. Considering the health risks that come with ticks, it’s best to use tried and true methods. One of the most effective tick repellents on the market is Permethrin. Be sure to follow the directions exactly when using this chemical on your clothing.

  1. Lay out, preferably outdoors, your pants, top (all layers if you are going for a longer hike), socks, hat.
  2. Spray clothing with the nozzle 6-8” from clothing in a sweeping motion. Each side of each piece should be sprayed for about 30 seconds.
  3. Allow clothing to sit for at least 2 hours before putting it on.
  4. Permethrin lasts through a few washes.

When using Permethrin do not spray it directly on your body.

Use a topical tick repellent on exposed skin.

Don’t forget Fido. Dogs are big tick magnets. Do not use Permethrin on your dog but do make sure he is on a tick preventative. There are drops, pills and collars that work effectively.

Dr. George Fielding, NYU Langone Medical Center

Dr. George Fielding, NYU Langone Medical Center

Learn More About Hiking From Dr. George Fielding

Even with tick season being particularly bad this year that’s not a reason not to get out and hit the trail. Just make sure that you learn about hiking safety, especially around ticks. Dr. George Fielding has several posts about hiking for your information. Subscribe or search for them now!

How to Deal with Embedded Ticks and Tick Bites

While hiking is an amazing way to connect with nature and enjoy peace and beauty, a tick can disrupt your joy. Especially when the tick has decided you’d make a nice meal. Here, Dr. George Fielding explains how to remove an embedded tick. Unlike other insects, ticks do not bite and leave. Once a tick has bitten you it is there to stay until you remove it properly.

Dealing With A Tick That Is Biting You

Safely removing an embedded tick.

Safely removing an embedded tick.

If you catch it early enough, you probably have nothing to worry about. Even so, removing an embedded tick can be difficult and also upsetting. There are many suggested ways to remove a tick but there is only one right way. Dr. George Fielding stresses removing a tick this way:

  1. Use clean fine-tipped tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible.
  2. Pull upwards with even pressure. Do not yank or twist.
  3. Place in a bag or wrap in tape before disposing outside.

If it has been 20+ hours since your hike, call your doctor and ask if they want to see you. Some states request that the tick be processed. 2017 is going to be a terrible year for ticks and Lyme disease so don’t feel like you are troubling your doctor by calling.

Bullseye rash characteristic of a tick bite.

Bullseye rash characteristic of a tick bite.

Watch the site of the bite for the development of a bullseye.

If you notice any redness, inflammation or other markings, even if it doesn’t look exactly like the example above, call your doctor immediately. With joint pain, fever or other symptoms within a few weeks of a tick bite--even without a bullseye--call your doctor and explain your symptoms and that you were recently bitten by a tick.

If the tick’s body looks like it is filling up you should also call your doctor.

What Not To Do

There are many wrong ways to remove a tick but only one right way. That way is listed above. All of the other ways should be classified as old wive’s tales. This includes using nail polish or petroleum jelly, burning the tick or using essential oils. These are not the way to do it because they require leaving the tick in longer and you never want to do this. The goal is to get the tick out and get it out quickly.

I’ve Been Bitten By A Tick, Now What?

Dr. George Fielding, NYU Langone Medical Center

Dr. George Fielding, NYU Langone Medical Center

If you found a tick in you or developed a bullseye or other symptoms you will need to get a simple blood test. Depending on where you live, the amount of time the tick was in you and your health you will likely be started on a very strong course of antibiotics immediately. While this can be unpleasant (you’ll have gastrointestinal side effects that will keep you out of commission for a few days) it is far better than developing Lyme or another tick-borne illness. Luckily, early detection of these diseases through blood work means quick and easy treatment. Dr. George Fielding suggests letting your doctor know any time you’ve been bitten.