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Get Healthy Guide 2024
Part 2 of 3 in the Weight Loss Series

The Safe & Effective Way to
Permanent Weight Loss

In the first part of this three-part series on weight loss, you learned about some of the many hidden factors that can make it hard to lose weight and keep it off. No matter how pristine your diet is or how much you exercise, it will be difficult for you to make much headway if you don’t also uncover and correct these potential ‘scale saboteurs’.

Before we dive into the new information I’ll be sharing as part of this series, let’s review the list of other factors, beyond diet and exercise, that need to be addressed while you work towards achieving permanent weight loss:

  • Chronic stress and stress hormone imbalances (i.e. cortisol, DHEA)

  • Female hormone imbalances (i.e. estrogen, progesterone, testosterone)

  • Thyroid hormone imbalances

  • Imbalances in gut and/or brain hormones (i.e. histamine, serotonin)

  • Chronic underlying health issues (i.e. diabetes, depression, congestive heart failure)

  • Nutrient deficiencies (i.e. B vitamins, Vitamin D, Zinc)

  • Chronic sleep disturbances (i.e. insomnia, sleep apnea)

  • Chronic inflammation

  • Prescription drugs (i.e. blood pressure medications, anti-depressant medications)

  • Gut health (i.e. intestinal dysbiosis, intestinal candida overgrowth, etc.)

  • Food sensitivities

  • Chronic infections (i.e. mold related illness, lyme disease, etc.)

  • Heavy metal toxicities (i.e. mercury, lead etc.)

  • Chronic exposure to environmental toxins (i.e. pollution, radiation, etc.)

  • Systemic Candida

As mentioned in the last post, there are excellent, highly accurate tests available for many of these conditions. I'll mention some of them again below. In future posts I'll be providing information and guidance on how to interpret your test results and what you can do to fix some of these issues.

While you are working on uncovering and correcting your 'scale saboteurs', you can start implementing the Top Ten 'Practical Pearls' to help you lose weight and keep it off for good. I'll also briefly mention what the science says about the new 'injectable medicine weight loss craze'.


In part 3 of this three-part series, look forward to me sharing my personal struggles with weight loss. I'll give you a detailed description of my journey and the strategies I've used for the past four years to maintain my weight loss.

Top Ten Pearls for
Permanent Weight Loss

I speak from personal experience when I say the key to successful long-term weight management is to make realistic, sustainable lifestyle and behavioral changes that focus on overall health, well-being, and disease prevention. If you simply focus on the number on your scale, it’s easy to lose focus and get derailed, especially when the scale slumps or goes in the wrong direction.

(1) Set Realistic Goals

You may be tempted to try a ‘diet’ to get the weight off. But unless you’re willing to continue the same diet indefinitely, you’re likely to gain the weight right back and mess up your metabolism in the process. It’s better to establish achievable, realistic, and specific weight loss goals. Avoid extreme or unsustainable diets. You may not lose your weight as quickly as you want, but you’re much more likely to keep it off once you do.

(2) Make Gradual Changes

Making small, gradual changes to your diet and behavioral habits is a more practical and sustainable way to lose weight and keep it off. It can be overwhelming to overhaul your entire lifestyle overnight. Moreover, you’re likely to fall off the wagon early in the game.


Dr. Nordal of the American Psychiatric Association puts it this way, “Lasting lifestyle and behavior changes don’t happen overnight. Willpower is a learned skill, not an inherent trait. It is important to break down seemingly unattainable goals into manageable portions.” It takes between 18 and 254 days for a person to develop a new habit. You’re more likely to be on the shorter end of the ‘habit forming stick’ if you do things gradually.

(3) Develop a Support Network

You’re much more likely to succeed in losing weight and keeping it off if you have support from your friends, family, or a support group. This is because you’re more likely to be focused, motivated, and accountable. For example, One study found that 95% of those who started a weight-loss program with friends completed the program, compared to only a 76% completion rate for those who tackled the program alone. The friend group was also 42 percent more likely to maintain their weight loss.

Yoga Studio
(4) Eat Mindfully
Mindful eating is a practice that involves paying full attention to the experience of eating, including the taste, texture, and sensations of the food, as well as your thoughts and feelings related to eating. It can be a helpful approach for weight loss because it encourages you to become more aware of your eating habits and make healthier choices.
Here are some tips for incorporating mindful eating into your weight loss journey:
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  • Eat without distractions: Turn off the TV, put away your phone, and create a quiet and calm environment for your meals. Eating without distractions allows you to focus solely on the food and your eating experience.

  • Slow down: Take your time to chew your food thoroughly and savor each bite. Eating slowly can help you recognize when you're full and prevent overeating.

  • Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues: Before you start eating, check in with your body to see if you're truly hungry. Eat when you're hungry, and stop when you're satisfied, not overly full. Avoid eating out of boredom, stress, or other emotional triggers.

  • Use all your senses: Engage your senses by noticing the colors, smells, textures, and flavors of your food. This can enhance your appreciation of the meal and help you feel more satisfied.

  • Listen to your body: Pay attention to your body's signals of hunger and fullness. If you feel satisfied before your plate is empty, save the rest for later. Don't feel pressured to finish everything on your plate if you're not hungry.

  • Mindful meal planning: Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time. This can help you make healthier food choices and avoid impulsive, unhealthy options. I use this strategy all the time when I am invited to family and social gatherings. 

  • Portion control: Be mindful of portion sizes. Use smaller plates and utensils to help control portion sizes and avoid eating more than you need. 

  • Emotional awareness: Be aware of your emotional triggers for eating, such as stress, boredom, or sadness. When you notice these emotions, try to find alternative ways to cope with them that don't involve eating. 

  • Practice gratitude: Before eating, take a moment to express gratitude for your food. This can help you cultivate a positive relationship with food and reduce the tendency to eat mindlessly.

  • Be patient and non-judgmental: Remember that mindful eating is a skill that takes time to develop. Be patient with yourself and avoid self-criticism if you slip up occasionally. Every meal is a new opportunity to practice mindful eating.

Pouring Wine

(5) Limit Alcohol Intake

I love a glass of wine with dinner. But if I drink alcohol more than once or twice a week, I gain at least five pounds that won't come off.

Moderate alcohol intake typically doesn't cause weight gain in most people. But drinking a lot and/or frequently can contribute to weight gain and/or stagnate weight loss.

Here are just some ways alcohol causes gain weight:

  • High Caloric Content: Alcohol is relatively calorie dense. It contains 7 calories per gram, which is almost as calorie dense as fat (9 calories per gram) and more calorie-dense than carbohydrates and protein (each containing 4 calories per gram). That's why consuming alcoholic beverages, especially those high in alcohol content like cocktails and certain types of beer, can add a substantial number of calories to your daily intake.


  • Appetite Stimulation: Alcohol also revs up your appetite and makes it harder for you to resist the urge to eat. Unfortunately, we more often choose unhealthy or high-calorie foods. Who wants broccoli with their beer?!

  • Metabolic Effects: Alcohol also messes with your body's metabolic processes. When you consume alcohol, your body prioritizes metabolizing alcohol over other macronutrients like carbohydrates and fats. As a result, the excess calories from alcohol can be stored as fat in the body.

  • Liver Health: Your liver does NOT like alcohol. Did you know the liver has over 500 functions?  Needless to say, the negative metabolic consequences of an "unhappy liver" are widespread and include uncontrolled weight gain.

  • Sleep Disturbances: Alcohol also wreaks havoc on your sleep quality, especially during REM sleep. Poor sleep is associated with weight gain because it disrupts hormones that regulate appetite and metabolism.

  • Loss of Self-Control: If consumed in higher quantities, alcohol can make it hard to exercise self-control and decision-making. When your guard is down, you're more likely to overeat or make unhealthy food choices.

  • Dehydration: Alcohol is a diuretic. This means the more you drink, the more you pee. The more you pee, the more dehydrated you can become. Dehydration can cause weight gain a number of ways (see section on hydration).

(6) Water, Water, Water

The human body is 60% water, so it makes sense that staying hydrated is essential to staying healthy. As a general rule, it's recommended you drink at least 64 ounces of water per day to keep your cells happy and your metabolism in tip top shape.

Here's how staying hydrated helps you stay in shape:

  • Appetite Control: Drinking water before meals can help you feel fuller, which may lead to reduced calorie intake during the meal. 

  • Calorie-Free Beverage Option: Water is a calorie-free beverage option that can replace high-calorie sugary drinks like soda or fruit juices. Choosing water over high calorie beverages helps you reduce your overall calorie intake.

  • Improved Digestion: Staying well-hydrated helps with digestion and bowel regularity. This supports your body's ability to absorb nutrients and eliminate toxins and waste efficiently.

  • Metabolism Support: Dehydration can slow down your metabolism, and hydration has been shown to prevent this from happening.

  • Exercise Performance: Staying hydrated is crucial for optimal exercise performance. When you exercise, especially in warm weather, you lose fluids through sweat. Proper hydration can help you maintain energy levels and exercise longer and more effectively.

  • Water Retention: Paradoxically, inadequate hydration can lead to water retention and bloating. When your body perceives a threat of dehydration, it may hold onto water, resulting in temporary weight gain. Staying consistently well-hydrated can help prevent this.

  • Thermogenesis: Drinking cold water can lead to a slight increase in calorie expenditure because your body has to work to warm the water to body temperature. 

Here are some extra tips:

  • Aim to drink water throughout the day, even if you don't feel thirsty.

  • Carry a reusable water bottle to make it convenient to stay hydrated.

  • Monitor your urine color; pale yellow usually indicates adequate hydration.

Drinking Water

(7) Timing is EVERYTHING!

The human body is equipped with a 24-hour hour biological clock (known as the ‘circadian rhythm’). This clock is designed to regulate our sleep/wake cycles to optimize metabolic functions and maintain health. Anything that disrupts this natural cycle can wreak havoc on everything…this is especially true when it comes to losing weight.




Countless studies have confirmed a direct correlation between when and how we eat and what we weigh. Our circadian rhythm relies on us to eat in regular patterns during the daytime hours. Whether it’s work, family, or social commitments, most of us don’t abide by Mother Nature’s rules. We often skip meals, eat at inconsistent times, and eat outside of what’s ‘physiologically acceptable’ (especially eating after 7:00 pm). These eating patterns result in disruption of the normal circadian rhythm which then negatively impacts not only your body weight but also every other physiologic process in your body.

Late night eating is probably one of the worst things you can do if you’re trying to lose weight. Studies show that on average, people who eat late (especially between 11:00 pm and 5:00 am) experience an average 10-pound weight gain. Late night eaters are also more likely to consume more calories and choose to eat unhealthier foods.

Here’s just a sampling of what additional research has shown:

  • Late and delayed eating is associated with weight gain, dysfunction in energy expenditure, and abnormalities in the circadian rhythms of appetite, stress, and sleep hormones.


(8) Reset Your Mindset

Your mindset plays a crucial role in your ability to achieve and sustain weight loss. It can significantly impact your behaviors, choices, and ultimately, your success in reaching your weight loss goals. In fact, some studies suggest that your mindset is the most important determinant of sustained weight loss.

Here are some of the key effects of mindset on weight loss:

  • Motivation: A positive and determined mindset can provide you with the motivation and drive you need to start and maintain your weight loss journey. Clearly defining your weight goals and believing in your ability to achieve them will keep you committed.

  • Self-Efficacy: Your mindset influences your self-efficacy. This is your belief in your ability to successfully carry out weight loss behaviors. If you maintain a strong sense of self-efficacy, you are more likely to stick to your weight loss plans and overcome obstacles.

  • Resilience: A growth-oriented mindset can help you bounce back from setbacks and obstacles. Weight loss can be challenging, and setbacks are common. A resilient mindset can help you learn from setbacks and keep moving forward instead of giving up.

  • Consistency: Being consistent is crucial sustained weight loss. Remember our discussion on habits eventually becoming behaviors? Repetition and consistency are absolutes in order for this to happen. 

  • Emotional Eating: I can't tell you the number of times I buried my sorrows in a bag of Lay's salt and vinegar potato chips! But in the end, it only made me fatter and thirstier but not happier. Your mindset has a huge impact on your relationship with food. With a positive mindset, you'll walk away from the kitchen and find other ways to healthfully examine your emotions.

  • Self-Compassion: A self-compassionate mindset involves being kind and forgiving to yourself, even when you make mistakes or experience setbacks. Self-criticism and negative self-talk will absolutely make it harder for you to stay on track. Be kind to yourself...last I checked, no one is perfect!

  • Goal Setting: Your mindset influences how you set and pursue your weight loss goals. Setting realistic, achievable goals and maintaining a positive mindset about your progress can enhance your motivation and success. I wrote down my weight loss goals on sticky notes and put them everywhere I could see them all the time.

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  • Body Image: A positive body image, self-awareness, and self-acceptance will help you feel better about yourself and make healthier choices for your body's well-being. Remember, you only have one body to live in for the rest of your life.

  • Belief in Change: Believing that you have the capacity to change your habits and achieve your weight loss goals is a fundamental aspect of a successful mindset. You'll never achieve your weight loss goal (or any goal for that matter) if your mindsetis fixed on believing change is impossible and/or not sustainable.

  • Accountability: Hold yourself accountable and responsible for your actions. You expect the same of others, don't you?  Keeping a food journal and having support systems helps with this.

Attentive Therapist

(9) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a very effective tool for weight loss because it addresses the psychological and behavioral factors that contribute to overeating and weight gain. CBT is a structured, goal-oriented therapeutic approach that focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors.

Here's how CBT can be applied to weight loss:

  • Identifying Negative Thought Patterns: CBT helps you recognize and challenge negative thoughts and beliefs related to food, eating, body image, and weight. This may include addressing issues like self-criticism, all-or-nothing thinking, and unrealistic expectations.

  • Behavioral Modification: CBT can help you identify unhealthy eating behaviors and patterns, such as emotional eating, binge eating, or mindless snacking. It teaches techniques to modify these behaviors and replace them with healthier alternatives.

  • Setting Realistic Goals: CBT encourages you to set achievable, realistic, and sustainable weight loss goals. This prevents the frustration and disappointment if you have unrealistic weight loss expectations.

  • Self-Monitoring: Keeping a food diary or journal is a common CBT technique for tracking eating habits, identifying triggers for overeating, and increasing awareness of food choices.

  • Coping Strategies: CBT offers coping strategies to deal with stress, emotional triggers, and challenging situations so you don't to food for comfort.

  • Problem Solving: CBT helps can help you develop problem-solving skills to address obstacles and setbacks on your weight loss journey. It encourages you to take a proactive approach to managing your challenges.

  • Self-Assertion: Learning how to assertively communicate your needs and boundaries can be helpful in managing social situations, peer pressure, and external influences on eating behaviors. I've had to really practice this with certain family members during the holidays!

  • Body Image: CBT can address any body image concerns you may have and help you develop a healthier and more realistic perception of your body.



  • Stress Management: You can also use CBT techniques, such as relaxation exercises and mindfulness, to help you manage stress which is often a trigger for emotional eating (also see below). I've also found that my supplement, AdrenaFemreally helps with fatigue, weight gain, and many other symptoms associated with stress.

  • Long-Term Maintenance: CBT can help you focus on strategies for maintaining your weight loss over the long term. These include continued self-monitoring, maintaining healthy habits, and preventing relapses.


(10) Stress Management

Part one of this series discussed the ways chronic stress negatively affects body weight. So, it stands to reason that a key element of your long-term weight loss plan MUST include stress management.


Here are some ways to save your stress response system:

  • Regular Exercise: Physical activity is an excellent way to reduce stress and lose weight. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters and stress stompers.

  • Mindfulness Meditation: Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing exercises, can help you manage stress and protect your stress response system from chronic damage. In addition to its beneficial effects on the stress response system, mindfulness activities initiated prior to weight loss is attempted improves the psychological factors that undermine weight loss efforts. Obviously, a win-win situation! 

  • Yoga: Yoga combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation to reduce stress and promote relaxation. In addition to rescuing your stress response system, it improves flexibility, strength, and overall well-being.​ Studies have shown that yoga can reduce inflammation, maintain autonomic balance and also has a role in maintaining the neurotransmitters. It has a positive impact on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis (your stress response system), the peripheral nervous system including GABA, limbic system activity, inflammatory, and endocrine responses.

  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation: This technique involves systematically tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups in your body. It helps you calm down, focus, and release physical tension.

  • Journaling: Keeping a journal to record your thoughts and feelings can be a therapeutic way to manage stress. I've been journaling for years, and it really helps. Writing down your stressors and exploring your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and potential solutions can provide you with more clarity and reduce anxiety.

  • Social Support: Loneliness has been linked to poor health through an increased activation of threat surveillance mechanisms, such as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA). Talk to friends, family members, or a therapist about your stressors. Sharing your concerns and spending time with others can provide emotional support and practical advice.

  • Time Management: Effective time management can reduce stress by helping you prioritize tasks and create a balanced daily schedule. Avoid overcommitting yourself and learn to say no when necessary.​​

Women Practicing Yoga Outdoor
  • Adequate Sleep: Lack of sleep is one of the best ways to create cortisol chaos. Not only is lack of sleep a stress in and of itself, but it also makes you more vulnerable to the effects of stress...both of which can lead to weight gain. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night to support both stress reduction and weight loss. Look for upcoming posts on sleep as part of my Get Healthy Guide 2024.​

  • Limit Screen Time: Spending too much time in front of screens, whether on your computer, phone, or TV, can contribute to stress. This is especially true if you don't unplug at least 2 hours before bedtime.

  • Engage in Hobbies: Participating in enjoyable and relaxing activities, such as hobbies or creative pursuits, can divert your attention from stressors and boost your mood.

  • Consider counseling: If your stress levels are consistently high and impacting your weight loss journey, consider speaking with someone for additional support and guidance.

Where Do You Start?


I know this post is packed with information...but the more educated you are, the more empowered and successful you'll be at tackling weight loss (or anything else for that matter).


Also, remember that every person's health journey is unique, and there's no one-size-fits-all approach. The key is to find what works for you and what you can sustain over time. It's about making choices that promote a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life...and that's a lifelong journey worth embarking upon!


Keep Your Eyes Open for Part 3 of this Three-Part Series

on Weight Loss...

I'll be sharing detailed information about my personal struggles with weight loss, my journey through 'Weight Loss Wasteland', and how I finally succeeded in

losing weight and keeping it off!

Me in 2018

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Me Since 2019

A Word on Injection Weight Loss Medications














For the past two years, the new injectable weight loss drug, Semaglutide, has taken the weight loss world by storm. It’s ‘all the rage’ among celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, the Kardashian sisters, and Jessica Simpson…just to name a few. If you search for Semaglutide on Google, there are nearly one million results…and we all know how unreliable “Dr. Google” can be. Since many of my patients and Facebook followers have asked me about these medications, I decided to provide some basic, science-based information about them in this post.


Semaglutide is the generic name for both Wegovy and Ozempic. Wegovy is approved for weight loss, while Ozempic (a lower dose of Semaglutide) is used to treat people with diabetes. These new medications are part of a class of drugs know as GLP-1 (for glucagon-like peptide 1) agonists. Essentially, they enhance the natural "fullness" signal between the stomach and the brain, encouraging people to stop eating sooner.


Semaglutide has been shown to help people drop about 15% to 20% of their initial body weight. However, one in every four people will not lose weight despite using the medication. Also, it can take one full year before maximal weight loss is achieved. Given the potential for side effects as well as the cost, that time frame makes it very hard for users to stay motivated.

Another thing to consider if you are pondering trying this drug is the cost. Semaglutide for weight loss (Wegovy) currently retails for about $1,300 a month. Unless you are diabetic, health insurance carriers do not cover the cost of the medication (or any weight loss treatments for that matter!)

Potential side effects are another concern. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, reflux, abdominal pain are not uncommon in most users. More serious side effects include gallstone formation, hypoglycemia, pancreatitis, and thyroid cancer. Accidental overdoses in patients using Semaglutide have become increasingly common. In fact, the Poison Centers of America noted a 1500% uptick in calls over the past year from patients who accidentally overdosed (more common with the compounded version of the medication).




It may seem that Semaglutide and other forthcoming weight loss medications are the ‘Holy Weight Loss Grail’ we’ve been searching for. Alas, this doesn’t appear to be the case. As is true of all weight loss drugs, you must continue taking them forever to keep the weight off and maintain any health improvements.

The majority of people DON’T CONTINUE weight loss medications. In fact, a recently published study in the journal Obesity found that 44% of patients were still using weight-loss drugs after three months and only 19% after one year. And, once medications and lifestyle interventions are ditched, people regain between two-thirds and all of their weight back.

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