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The Weight is Over

All About Spaghetti Squash

by Tara Joyce 17. December 2014

Remember last week when we talked about Volumetrics and how 1 cup of cooked spaghetti squash only has 42 calories? This week I thought we could compare spaghetti squash and regular spaghetti and see how their nutrition facts compare.


Spaghetti Squash


Serving Size

1 Cup

1 Cup




Total fat

0 grams

1 gram


10 grams

43 grams

Dietary Fiber

2 grams

3 grams


1 gram

8 grams


33 mg

10 mg


180 mg

62 mg


1 mg

2 mg

Vitamin A

9 ug (1% target)

0 ug (0% target)

 Check out that calorie difference! 42 calories for 1 cup of Spaghetti Squash versus 220 calories in a cup of Spaghetti.

Wins for Spaghetti Squash:

  • Lower Calories
  • Less Carbohydrates
  • More Calcium
  • More Potassium
  • More Vitamin A

Check out Hungry Girl’s Website on recipes and ideas for how to use Spaghetti Squash:

Question of the day?What is your favorite way to use Spaghetti Squash?


by Tara Joyce 8. December 2014

As promised, this blog we will discuss the benefits of volumetric eating!

Volumetric eating was originally designed by Dr. Barbara Rolls, professor and Chair of Nutritional Sciences at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research focused on weight loss, satiety and how to lose weight without feeling deprived.

So many diets fail because we get HUNGRY! The body does not like to not be in balance and starts to release hormones telling the brain to get something to eat!

With Volumetrics eating however, the stomach feels full and satisfied, making it easy to stick to!

On the Volumetrics eating plan, a person gets to eat A LOT of food.

Yes you read that right, they get to eat A LOT of food.

But, it is low-calories food (ie. Vegetables).

This helps the stomach feel full and satisfied, thus promoting weight loss!

Let’s take a look at some foods that would be allowed on the Volumetrics eating plan:


Serving Size



1 Medium Apple

95 calories


1 Cup

30 calories


1 Cup

85 calories


1 Cup

17 calories


1 Cup

27 calories

Chicken (no skin)

3 oz.

120 calories


1 Cup

16 calories

Egg Beaters

3 Tbsp

25 calories


1 Cup

62 calories


1 Cup

5 calories

Greek Yogurt (light)

5.3 oz

80 calories


1 Cup

60 calories


1 Cup

31 calories


3 oz.

84 calories


3 oz.

95 calories

Spaghetti Squash, cooked

1 Cup

42 calories


1 Medium

22 calories


As much as you want!

0 calories J

Wraps (low-calorie) such as Flatout Wraps

1 Wrap

100 calories

No Sugar Added Fudgsicles

2 Bars

80 calories


1 Cup

21 calories

Just like before, check out those serving sizes! You can have 3 cups of spaghetti squash for just over 100 calories!

And the good news does not stop with saving calories! Many of these foods are chock-full of nutrition loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Moral of the story: You don’t need to feel deprived while cutting calories.

Question of the Day: What is your favorite low-calorie food?

Small Size Does Not Always = Low Calorie

by Tara Joyce 2. December 2014

Have you ever thought “I don’t know why I can’t lose weight, I don’t eat a lot?” and then sat down to calculate how many calories you ate and the total was way more than you thought it was?

The truth is, is that the size of a food is not always indicative of how many calories it has.

Here are some examples of foods that are very small, but also loaded with calories:


Serving Size


Alfredo sauce

¼ cup

100 calories


1/5 medium 

50 calories


1  slice

41 calories


1 Tbsp

102 calories

Caesar Salad Dressing

1 Tbsp

78 calories


1 oz.

100 calories


1 bar

210 calories

Cream Cheese

2 Tbsp

100 calories

Dried Fruit

½ cup

200 calories


2 Tbsp

130 calories


2/3 cup

230 calories


1 Tbsp

60 calories

Olive Oil

1 Tbsp

120 calories

Premium Ice Cream

½ cup

300 calories

Peanut butter

2 Tbsp

180 calories

Sour Cream

2 Tbsp

40 calories

And check out how small those serving sizes are! Who eats ½ cup of ice cream or eats just 1 slice of bacon?

By now we know that serving size is not always a good indicator of calorie count, but we can also use this information to our advantage!

What if we flipped this around to find larger portions with lower calories?

This is called “volumetrics.”

Which is similar to our “Lean and Green” weight loss plan where patients get to eat a lot of food, but low calorie foods (vegetables) to promote weight loss.

More on volumetrics eating on the next blog Smile

Question of the day: Have you ever thought you were eating healthy only to discover that your “health food” was loaded with calories?

Don’t Step on The Scale Every Day!

by Tara Joyce 26. September 2014

That’s right. I’m telling you to stop stepping on the scale every day. When trying to lose weight, one might assume that we WOULD recommend weighing oneself daily as a way to track and monitor success. 

However, quite the opposite is true. Too many times we see patients become scale obsessed, stepping on the scale every single day and sometimes multiple times throughout the day!


Real weight changes occur over time.

A calorie deficit of approximately 3,500 calories will promote a weight loss of one pound. Therefore, weight loss (and weight gain) occur over time and it is pretty much impossible for a person to truly lose or gain one pound of fat tissue in one day unless they eat 3,500 calories less than they burn or eat 3,500 calories more than they expend.

Water weight on the other hand, can fluctuate throughout the day.

Water weight can fluctuate based on a variety of things:

  1. Time of day – we tend to weigh less in the morning
  2. Salt intake – Salt will promote water retention and cause the scale to tip upwards
  3. How heavy  our clothes are – Heavier the clothes, heavier the weight
  4. Exercise – we can lose a lot of water weight through sweat.
    Try it! Weigh yourself before working out then make sure to work up a sweat and weigh yourself after exercise and see how much you can lose!
  5. Your carbohydrate intake – Carbohydrates also promote water retention (This is why the low-carbohydrate diets cause such rapid weight loss)

What I recommend is picking one day of the week and at the same time every week, hop on the scale to monitor weight. Do not allow the box on the floor to have control over how you feel. Weight loss and weight maintenance is a process that requires healthy lifestyle changes.

Question of the Day: How often do you weigh yourself? Do you have a healthy relationship with the scale?

Losing Weight is “Easy.” Maintaining is Difficult.

by Tara Joyce 24. August 2014

How many times have you seen someone lose a ton of weight dieting only to gain it all back, plus some once going off the diet?

Losing weight is “easy,” in the short term. Maintaining weight loss requires a person to live a healthy lifestyle.

Here at Ellis Bariatric Care we try to avoid words like “diet” and prefer to say “lifestyle” because healthy living should be a lifestyle compromised by healthy eating and staying active.


What exactly defines a “healthy lifestyle?”

Eating a variety of foods
Include different colors of vegetables, a variety of fruit, whole grains, lean meats and fat-free or low-fat dairy in the diet to ensure adequate nutrition is consumed.

Balancing calories
Everybody has their own individual calorie needs based on age, gender, height, weight and activity level. In order to maintain a healthy weight there needs to be a balance of energy consumed and energy expended.

Drink water
The body is made up of approximately 70% water, when the body is dehydrated it cannot function properly. Make sure to stay hydrated and drink throughout the day!

Move the body
Regular exercise and moving the body is essential for healthy living. Our bodies were designed to move so make sure to get up and stay active. 

Stress Management
Develop a healthy way to cope with stress. Go for a walk, write in a journal, call a friend or participate in your own healthy stress reduction technique. Too much stress can take a toll on both your mental and physical health so developing healthy stress coping techniques is essential for optimal health.

Question of the Day: What have you done for yourself lately to improve your quality of life?

Chew, chew, chew!

by Tara Joyce 15. August 2014

Check out this video from the Wall Street Journal on new devices that can monitor how many bites you are taking!

There are new devices that will be on the market soon!

1. A Bite Counting Watch

What is it?

It is a watch that counts how many bites a person takes.

How does it work?

The watch works by measuring the rolling motion of the wrist to determine how many bites a person is taking.

How can I learn more?

Check out the website on The Bite Counter Project to read more about the research from Clemson University 

2. A Talking Plate

What is it?

A Plate that is also a scale and a computer that monitors how quickly a person is eating.

How does it work?

The plate/scale monitors the weight of the food and if the weight is reducing too quickly, tells the person to slow down

Research has shown that when the more we chew our food, the less we tend to eat.

Here at Ellis Bariatric Center, one of our eating “rules” is to “Chew, chew, chew” food before swallowing. 

If food is not chewed thoroughly, it tends to not digest well and patients might experience discomfort and feeling as though the food is “stuck” in the esophagus.

There are a lot of strategies for slowing down and chewing thoroughly:

  1. Count your bites
  2. Use an App like Eat Slower
  3. Place your fork down in between bites
  4. Finish the bite that is in your mouth before stabbing your next bite of food (This one is my favorite!)

Question of the day: What strategies do you use for making sure you chew your food thoroughly?


Eat Your Produce!

by Tara Joyce 1. August 2014

Yet another study came out supporting the benefits of eating fruit and vegetables.

Researchers report that “eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day can help us live longer.”

That’s right, simply eating produce can lower our risk of heart disease and prolong our lives!

Despite these phenomenal findings, we still are not eating enough fruit and vegetables.

While 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day may sound like a lot, the serving sizes of fruit and vegetables are deceivingly small compared to our super-sized American portions.

But, what is a serving size?

Check out this link to view what a serving size of vegetables looks like.

That’s right, just ½ cup spinach is one serving!

Just 5 broccoli florets is a serving.

Check out this link to view that a serving of fruit looks like:

  • ½ cup of strawberries is one serving!
  • ½ grapefruit counts as one serving. 

 Here’s an example of what getting “5-a-day” would look like:

  • ½ cup baby spinach
  • ½ cup cauliflower
  • ½ cup zucchini
  • 1 small apple
  • ½ peach

Moral of the story: Eat your Lean and Green!

Question of the day: What’s your favorite fruit or vegetable? 

10,000 Steps

by Tara Joyce 15. July 2014

At Ellis Bariatric Care, we are participating in Ellis Medicine’s 2014 Walking Challenge! 

The goal is for employees to break into teams of 4-10 people, track their steps from July 14th to August 10th and see who can walk the farthest!

The challenge is to walk the equivalent of the amount of steps it would take to get from New York to California

At the office we have 2 teams:

  1. The Weight Warriors
  2. The Walking Wonder Women

Why is it important to walk and stay active?

  •  Walking burns calories
  • Walking is a great way to relax and clear your head
  • Our bodies are designed to move, not be sedentary

 I’m sure many of you have heard of the research suggesting that “sitting is the new smoking” and it is a good goal to aim for 10,000 steps per day. 

Why 10,000 steps per day?   

Well, there really isn’t any magic to the number and it actually started in Japan as a marketing campaign to sell pedometers. However, it was a good marketing campaign and a healthy goal. Since then, medical authorities and the American Heart Association have agreed that 10,000 steps per day is a good goal to aim for.

Moral of the story: just move! 

Question of the day? How many steps to you get per day?  

Sugar, Fat and Salt

by Tara Joyce 8. July 2014














Did you know that there are 10 grams of sugar in a Quarter pounder with cheese?

That’s right. If you look up the nutrition information of the Quarter pounder with cheese you will find that sugar is the 3rd ingredient on the ingredient list of the sesame seed bun, following enriched flour and water.

The ingredient list on the nutrition label is organized by amount. Therefore, the first ingredient makes up the largest amount of the food, second ingredient makes up the second largest amount of the food, etc…

Check out this awesome video that visualizes how much sugar, fat and salt is in fast food:


Why are sugar, fat and salt so concerning? 

The super concentration of sugar, fat and salt can be addicting

The body is conditioned to like the tastes of sugar, fat and salt because all three are linked to biological needs. In other words, these foods trigger the “happy center” of the brain. 

When these foods are super-concentrated, they overstimulate the “happy center” and we crave more. 


Let’s go back to that Quarter pounder with cheese.

It is made of: 

  • The bun (Sugar)
  • The Cheese (Fat)
  • The Cheese, Beef Patty & Pickles (Salt)


Moral of the story: Let’s go back to whole, real foods. Fast food is saturated with sugar, fat and salt.

Question of the day: What’s your favorite whole food, naturally low in sugar, fat and salt?


How to Tip the Scales Your Way

by Anne Jones 24. June 2014

When you have changed your “Lifestyle” for life, eating healthy food choices, cutting down on your portion sizes and incorporated activity and exercise, results can be dramatic. Emotionally and physically you feel much better, energized and healthy. However, sometimes, there are those last few pounds you want to lose. Surprisingly, it may not be what you’re eating or the exercise you are participating in. There are other factors that could be affecting your efforts.

A recent study in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows exposing you to chemicals in everyday life may sabotage your weight loss. Eating just a couple mouthfuls of unwashed, nonorganic produce can introduce pesticides into your body. Take those few moments to thoroughly wash your produce or purchase organic.

BPA stands for bisphenol A. BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. Some recent studies show that storing your leftovers in plastic puts you at risk of this hormone-disrupting chemical. Using glass containers, instead of plastic, cuts down on exposure to BPA.

There has been research that shows that lowering your thermostat may actually help you lose those last few pounds. Francesco Celi, MD, chair of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Virginia Common Wealth University School of Medicine in Richmond states that there is a type of fat in your body that raises your metabolism. This fat is called “Brown Fat.” It keeps our organs (heart, liver, pancreas, etc) warm by burning calories. It is found that people with weight problems tend to have less of this brown fat. Chilly temperatures cause muscle to produce a hormone called irisin. Irisin stimulates the growth and activity of brown fat.  Many of us live in a constant state of 75 degrees. Research by Celi has shown by simply reducing your thermostat from 75 degrees to 68degrees stimulated brown fat and increased calorie burn by 100 calories a day.

A recent study in the Journal BioEssays finds that constant exposure to light may contribute to disease and obesity. People who get enough sleep and maintain a consistent sleep-wake schedule, tend to be thinner. Blue light, emitted by electronics disrupts your body’s production of melatonin. Turn off you devices at least 1 half hour before bed time and move any blinking light sources out of your bedroom.

Many of our patients hear me say, weight loss is much more complicated than pushing yourself away from the table. These are examples of how complicated our bodies truly are.


Question of the day: Has anyone had experiences with the above suggestions?