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  • Steps to Tackle Obesity in Children and Teens

    Throughout the past 30 years, childhood obesity rates have more than doubled in the United States. Here is how we can reverse this growing trend:

    1. Take it Seriously

    Being an overweight or obese child or teen is no laughing matter. 

    Childhood or teen obesity is a serious disease that can severely affect other aspects of a child’s health.  In particular, young people living with obesity are at risk of type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, polycystic ovary syndrome and other conditions that have traditionally been ailments that people faced during adulthood.  Children and teens with these conditions can suffer from life-threatening cardiovascular events when they become adults including strokes and heart attacks. There is also still considerable social stigma to being overweight and obese young people suffer disproportionately from bullying and exclusion.     

    2. Drop the Drinks

    A Harvard study has linked the presence of sugary drinks in the diet to a child’s chances of becoming overweight or obese.  Drinks that contain too much sugar and can contribute to significant weight gain in a short period of time include:

    * Sodas
    * Juice Drinks
    * Energy Drinks
    * Fruit Juice

    For many American children and teens, the single most important step they can take is to replace the drinks listed above with water or low-fat milk. Removing cola from your children’s diet, for example, can eliminate up to 140 calories per can – all of which is in the form of simple sugars.  These sugars disrupt the body’s insulin response system, contribute to tooth decay and can lead to rapid unwanted weight gain.  

    Even natural fruit juice may pose a risk to those who already have a tendency through genetics and lifestyle to be overweight or obese. For these children and teens, Dr. Amir recommends “eating your calories rather than drinking them”.  That means, for example, drinking water and eating a single apple instead of drinking a full glass of apple juice.  Drinking water and eating a single apple places less sugar in the bloodstream while delivering more dietary benefits (vitamins, minerals etc.) than drinking apple juice. 

    3. Replace Screen Time with Physical Activity

    Children today, on average, spend a lot less time doing physical activity than previous generations. While there are several factors that contribute to this change in lifestyle, perhaps no factor is greater than the amount of time young people spend in front of phones and computer screens.  While there are positive benefits to doing homework and learning online, it is recommended that children and teens stop recreational on-screen activity in order to spend a minimum of 60 minutes of vigorous physical activity per day.  This may include running, swimming, or playing a sport such as soccer or basketball.  Physical activity helps the body to process insulin and regulate blood sugar, reducing the chances of childhood type 2 diabetes.  Also, physical activity strengthens bones and muscles as well as burns calories which contributes to maintaining a healthy weight.

    4. Reduce Portion Sizes

    Children often pattern eating and drinking habits after their parents.  It is recommended to create a family culture of moderation when it comes to food by limiting portion sizes and avoiding “second servings”.  The US Center for Disease Control recommends the following tips for developing good eating habits in children:

    * Eat slowly—it takes at least 20 minutes to start feeling full.
    * Eat at the dinner table only, not in front of the TV or computer.
    * Teach your kids to read food labels to understand which foods are healthiest.
    * Have meals together as a family as often as you can.
    * Don’t insist kids eat all the food on their plates.
    * Don’t put serving dishes on the table as this encourages “seconds” and “thirds”.
    * Serve smaller portions.
    * Reward kids with praise instead of food.
    * Increase Water Intake – many times we are really thirsty when we think we feel hungry

    “…sugars disrupt the body’s insulin response system, contribute to tooth decay and can lead to rapid unwanted weight gain.”

    5. Encourage Kids to Sleep More

    Sleeping has been found to have a strong correlation to your ability to maintain a healthy weight.  This is no different in children and teens who need up to 16-25% more daily sleeping time than adults.  When our kids sleep enough, their bodies’ satiety response (what tells you when you are full) works better.  Also, they will be more likely to have the energy needed to perform the recommended 60 minutes or more of physical activity.

    Dr. Amir’s Weight Loss and Metabolism Center

    Keeping children and teens at a healthy weight can be a complex and difficult process that not all parents are equipped to handle.  Even those who understand the basic concept of “calories in and calories out” can struggle with the practical issues of lifestyle and diet.  Here at Dr. Amir’s Weight Loss and Metabolism Center we work with people of all ages using clinically proven and medically supervised lifestyle interventions, weight loss technology, meal replacement and sometimes even medication to reduce weight and keep it off in the long term.  Our goal is always healthy and sustainable weight loss.  If you, your children or your teens are struggling with obesity or with maintaining a healthy weight reach out to us today for an initial consultation by clicking here.  

    Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss – Do’s and Don’ts

    If you are about to begin a weight loss program, there is a very good chance that it involves eating less.  When “eating less” involves skipping one or more meals, then we say that you are following a “fasting” strategy. The most popular of the fasting techniques is “intermittent fasting” which involves skipping meals on one or more days per week.

    Intermittent fasting for weight loss is a very popular option that can be effective depending on how you manage it.  Here are a few do’s and don’ts for those who are considering using fasting as a method of weight loss.  

    Do: Speak to your doctor before embarking on a fasting diet.

    Check with your doctor before beginning a fasting program.  This is because while not eating at regular intervals, or intermittent fasting, can be effective, this approach to weight loss is not for everyone. Women who are pregnant, children and teenagers as well as people with diabetes and blood sugar problems, anemia and a number of other chronic conditions should not consider fasting as a weight loss option.    Your doctor will be able to let you know if fasting is a viable option for you based on your overall health.

    Don’t: Eat badly when you are not fasting.

    Be sure to eat healthily when you are not fasting.  Your body will benefit the most when you combine intermittent fasting with eating fresh, low-calorie foods and regular portion sizes.  Going for a lot of fast food, high-fat, high-sugar and high-calorie food and drink or monster portion sizes can quickly eliminate all the benefits of fasting in the first place.

    Do: Include fasting as part of a comprehensive weight loss plan.

    To achieve optimal success, dieters using fasting as a weight loss tool can consider it as part of a program that includes a way to measure success, implements lifestyle interventions, includes meal replacement plans and, for some people, may even include prescription weight loss medications.   

    “Intermittent fasting for weight loss is a very popular option that can be effective depending on how you manage it.“

    Don’t: Over do it.

    An effective fasting strategy involves fasting intermittently.  Depending on the individual, this might mean going for hours without eating a few days a week.  Doing more than the recommended amount of fasting time could backfire: your body may start to store more fat as an emergency response to starvation.  Working with a doctor with expertise in weight loss and obesity medicine would be your best way to know how much fasting is healthy and effective for you as an individual.

    Do: Maintain intermittent fasting as a lifestyle in the long term.

    Once your body is accustomed to intermittent fasting, you may very well benefit from keeping it up for the long term. Maintaining your fasting habits indefinitely can help you keep weight off in the long term.  After all, for much of history, humankind lived with intermittent fasting and there is a growing body of evidence that eating less than the standard American three meals a day is healthier for you. Intermittent fasting may help you to manage a number of chronic diseases and inflammation as well as make you feel more energized and mentally sharper.

    Don’t: Attempt it alone.

    Managing weight loss can be complex.  This is especially true if you are obese (BMI more than 30) or overweight (BMI more 26) with chronic conditions such as diabetes or COPD. To protect your health and for best results, it is highly recommended that you work with an doctor with expertise in weight loss and obesity medicine as you plan and execute your weight loss strategy.   

    Dr. Amir’s Weight Loss and Metabolism Center

    Dr. Amir’s Weight Loss and Metabolism Center’s program is proven scientific medical weight loss. The program features both in-person and telehealth plans to meet your needs.

    You take control of your weight loss goals with a specialized plan that is tailored to your physique, lifestyle and food preferences. We serve adolescents, adults and families alike with full medical consultations, goal setting, individualized programs to fit your health status and needs. Dr. Amir is a Cleveland Clinic Trained and Board Certified Obesity/Weight Physician with  Advanced training from Harvard and Cornell Obesity programs with 18 years of general medical experience.

    If you are looking for a program that can be tailored to you and is based on medical science, then contact Dr. Amir’s Weight Loss and Metabolism Center today for a first consultation.

    Weight Loss and Obesity Medications

    At Dr. Amir’s Weight Loss and Metabolism Center we understand that the key to safe and effective weight loss is to make changes in each patient’s diet and lifestyle. However, sometimes patients need additional support.  In these cases we can prescribe weight loss and obesity medications as part of a comprehensive weight loss plan.

    Which Patients Could Benefit From Obesity Medications

    Some weight loss patients are ideal candidates for obesity and weight loss medication – while others may be better off with alternative methods of weight management.

    Generally speaking, weight loss medication is considered for those patients who have a body mass index (BMI) of at least 30 and are this clinically obese.  They can also be prescribed for patients with a BMI of 27 or more who have additional weight-related disorders such as type II diabetes.

    “we can prescribe weight loss and obesity medications as part of a comprehensive weight loss plan.”

    How Obesity Medications Work

    Obesity medications typically change your behavior in the way you interact with food.  They can be appetite suppressants that make you feel full and / or reduce feelings of hunger.  Exceptions are drugs that prevent your body from absorbing fat or that treat underlying mood disorders that can lead to binge eating such as anxiety and depression.

    Obesity medications do not work alone to achieve weight loss goals.  However, they have been clinically proven to help patients lose 3%-12% more weight than diet and exercise alone. While this may seem small, compounded over weeks and months, the additional pounds you can lose can add up to included a much larger amount of weight than you would be able to lose using non-medicinal methods alone. In fact, using prescribed weight loss and obesity medications is one of the key advantages to medical weight loss with a board certified bariatric doctor.

    Side Effects

    Oily stools, dizziness, constipation and more serious concerns such as birth defects and liver damage may result from taking different types of obesity medicine.  In many cases, the consequences of the side effects may outweigh the benefits of taking the medications in the first place.

    Because of these side effects and others it is vitally important that patients work closely with their prescribing doctor to select the medication that works best for them. Ideally, patients can reap the benefits of weight loss medication without being harmed by the side effects.

    If you are experiencing side effects from your weight loss medication, your doctor can change the dosage or change the medication completely. In some cases, your doctor may advise avoiding medication entirely and work with you to achieve your weight loss goals through diet and lifestyle interventions alone.

    Risk of Regaining Weight Lost

    There is a real risk that patients can regain some or all of the weight loss achieved once they stop taking obesity medications.  Because of this risk, Dr. Amir’s Weight Loss and Metabolism Center prescribes weight loss medication only as part of a comprehensive plan which includes diet and other lifestyle interventions.  In many cases, if side effects are controlled and the medication is effective, we may prescribe the medicine indefinitely to avoid the risk of regaining the weight lost.

    Dr. Amir’s Weight Loss and Metabolism Center

    As a medical weight loss center Dr. Amir’s Weight Loss and Metabolism Center can prescribe obesity medications as part of a customized weight loss plan.  If you are suffering from being overweight or obese and have tried fad diets, exercise and other methods without success, you may benefit from following a scientifically-backed program that encompasses meal replacement, lifestyle interventions and may include obesity medication.  Contact us today for your initial consultation.

    Maximize Results By Sticking to Your Weight Loss Program

    At Dr. Amir’s Weight Loss and Metabolism Center, we create weight loss programs that are carefully balanced to deliver optimal weight loss results. As you follow the customized plan that we provide you it is important to stay away from foods and off-the-shelf products that are not prescribed by the program. Why? Because straying from even one product a day changes the balance of the program and compromises your results. Below are some tips to follow in order to stick to your prescribed program and maximize your results.

    1. Avoid Over-the-Counter Weight Loss Products   

    Supermarkets, drug stores and vitamin/supplement retailers sell a number of bars, powders and pre-made meals that promise to help you achieve weight loss.  However, these items are likely to fail to achieve the desired results because they:

    • Are not administered as part of a structured, balanced meal program 
    • Do not come with tools and resources to reach your goal weight. 
    • Do not include medical supervision, education and support.
    • Are rarely backed by scientific research and clinical evidence and,
    • Have not been customized to your specific goals and needs

    2. Choose Not to “Cheat” on Your Meal Plan

    The proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins and minerals incorporated into the unique meal replacement products we use work synergistically to provide the nutritional balance needed for your body to achieve maximum results. 

    Do not compromise your potential by introducing foods that do not advance you towards your weight loss goals. Besides, part of the discipline of following a meal replacement plan helps you to develop automatic habits that can serve you in the future.  If you habitually decide to eat right every time you have the option, then you will eventually find it much easier to stick with your plan and maintain your weight loss success after you initially achieve it.  

    “…it is important to stay away from foods and off-the-shelf products that are not prescribed by the program.”

    3. Know the Importance of High-Quality Protein

    Most of us recognize that we can get proteins from meat, fish, legumes and “protein powders”.  But did you know that not all protein is created equal? Your body requires proteins with a complete amino acid profile in order to build the lean body mass we rely on to burn fat and achieve weight loss.  

    The meal replacement products we use consist of complete proteins that are absorbed and used within the body. Beware of over-the-counter products that feature incomplete protein (collagen is a perfect example of this) that can compromise your weight loss goals. 

    Many meats contain complete proteins that can become incomplete through food processing (such is the case for most luncheon sliced meats) and overcooking.  Others may contain cholesterol, provide excess calories from fat or be served with excessive amounts of carbohydrates.  These are all factors that can heavily impact your weight loss in a negative way. Stick to your plan to avoid this pitfall.

    4. Be Aware of the Advantages of Meal Replacement  

    By sticking to the carefully customized meal plans we prescribe for our patients, you benefit from:

    • Healthy, complete protein intake without excess calories, fat, carbohydrates or cholesterol
    • Making the right food decisions when it comes to portion sizes and ingredients
    • Forming the right habits and food cravings needed to maintain your weight after you lose it

    Dr. Amir’s Weight Loss and Metabolism Center

    Dr. Amir’s Weight Loss and Metabolism Center’s program is proven scientific medical weight loss. The program features both in-person and telehealth plans to meet your needs.

    You take control of your weight loss goals with a specialized plan that is tailored to your physique, lifestyle and food preferences. We serve adolescents, adults and families alike with full medical consultations, goal setting, individualized programs to fit your health status and needs. Dr. Amir is a Cleveland Clinic Trained and Board Certified Obesity/Weight Physician with  Advanced training from Harvard and Cornell Obesity programs with 18 years of general medical experience.

    If you are looking for a program that can be tailored to you and is based on medical science, then contact Dr. Amir’s Weight Loss and Metabolism Center today for a first consultation.

    Getting to a Healthy Weight Helps You At Work

    As the number of people considered to be overweight or obese increases throughout the US, we are also seeing links between being overweight and decreases in productivity levels, higher absenteeism and higher health care costs.

    If you are one of the more than 158 million Americans in the US workforce, you may be wondering about what steps you can take to help yourself and your work colleagues live a healthier, happier and more productive life.  

    The steps recommended by medical professionals in the business of weight loss are to make better food choices, be mindful of portion sizes, increase your metabolism and get medical support. 

    Getting to a Healthy Weight by Making Better Food Choices

    Healthy foods provide us with the right mix of nutrients without adding more calories to our diet than we are reasonably able to burn. As we go through our day, we are faced with choices of what to eat and drink during meals and snacks. Knowing the nutritional value of the food we choose to eat is the first step in making the right choices with respect to how they will affect our body weight and body composition over time.  Understanding food labels and being aware of daily recommended values is an important part of this as it is the easiest way to learn about the ingredients and caloric values of most of the foods we eat.

    Getting to a Healthy Weight by Being Mindful of Portion Sizes

    We understand that it is important to watch what you eat. Another important factor that affects your body weight is how much food you eat.  We are fortunate to have an abundance of food in the United States – often much more food than we need to feel satisfied.  When we eat more than what is recommended for our height and age, we may end up creating unhealthy eating habits that lead over time to being overweight and having too much fat in our body composition.  Alternatively, we can limit ourselves to a healthy portion at meal and snack times, making it more likely we can reap the benefits of being a healthy weight and having an optimal body composition for our age and gender.

    Getting to a Healthy Weight by Increasing Your Metabolism

    Many of us have heard of or used the term “fast metabolism” or “slow metabolism” to describe how our bodies naturally burn fat and other nutrients. Many of us understand that having a naturally fast metabolism can lead to a leaner body composition (less fat) and having a slow metabolism can lead to being fatter.  However, did you know that you can take steps to speed up your metabolism?  Eating leaner protein-based foods in the right proportions and engaging in exercises that build lean body mass can significantly speed up your metabolism and help you get and stay lean!

    “We are fortunate to have an abundance of food in the United States – often much more food than we need to feel satisfied.” 

    Getting Medical Support

    Losing weight by making the right lifestyle choices isn’t easy.  In fact, it can be very difficult to know both what to do and how to do it.  Fad diets and extreme exercise programs abound, but they can damage your health and it has been proven that they often result in the long term with people returning to their previous state of being overweight or obese. 

    So how can a person interested in changing their eating and exercise habits get started on a plan that will work for them? The first step is to reach out to a medical professional with the expertise and experience to help you lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way.

    Dr. Amir’s Weight Loss and Metabolism Center

    Dr. Amir’s Weight Loss and Metabolism Center’s program is proven scientific medical weight loss. The program features both in-person and telehealth plans to meet your needs.

    You take control of your weight loss goals with a specialized plan that is tailored to your physique, lifestyle and food preferences. We serve adolescents, adults and families alike with full medical consultations, goal setting, individualized programs to fit your health status and needs. Dr. Amir is a Cleveland Clinic Trained and Board Certified Obesity/Weight Physician with  Advanced training from Harvard and Cornell Obesity programs with 18 years of general medical experience.

    If you are looking for a program that can be tailored to you and is based on medical science, then contact Dr. Amir’s Weight Loss and Metabolism Center today for a first consultation.