July 2013

Are Your Hormones Causing Weight Gain? Tips to Fix Hormonal Imbalance!

Are Hormones Causing You to Gain Weight?

Our hormones play a big role when it comes to our health and weight, but many of our patients are usually unfamiliar with our  hormones actually are and how they influence our bodies on a daily basis. I usually explain to our patients that hormones are important because they transport chemicals in our bodies to various organs that we need in order to function properly. Our bodies produce hormones through our endocrine glands and our sexual reproductive organs (Testes in men, Ovaries in women) and can affect everything from our development to our metabolism, reproduction, and our mood. According to Marc David, Published Author and Founder of the Psychology of Eating Institute, there are many things to consider when it comes to hormonal imbalance and trying to lose or maintain weight. Here are some of the basic tips that I recommend and try to practice regularly:

1. Avoid “Man-Made Fats.” We’ve all heard it before, “fats are good for you, as long as they’re the GOOD type of fats!” But this can get confusing (even our  Nutrition Coach admits that she sometimes gets confused!) As a rule of thumb, anything that has been made by man should be avoided when it contains fat, ESPECIALLY trans fat. Trans Fat (think Margarine, Oreos, Burger King, Snickers, Movie theatre popcorn, etc) has been linked to Obesity, Heart Disease, Diabetes, and many other diseases that are literally causing death in humans. Trans Fats are so bad for you that some states are working to remove “partially hydrogenated oils” (another name for trans fat) from grocery stores and restaurants. You should try to consume “healthy” fats that are not man made, which include coconut oil, fish oil, avocado, and nuts, to name a few.

2. Get Proper Sleep!  Lack of sleep can increase our hunger and appetite through a hormone called Leptin. According to David,  Leptin is a “master hormone” and if it is not balanced in our bodies, none of our other hormones will function properly! This is extremely important! Lack of sleep has also been linked to Cortisol, which is the “stress hormone” that increases our risk for Heart Disease, Hypoglycemia, Strokes, and the storage of belly fat.

3. Avoid Too Much Caffeine. Your cup of Joe (or 3 or 4) can cause major dysfunction. It can cause your hormones to go haywire; especially when you are under stress or are pregnant. Try to limit your consumption of caffeine if you cannot remove it from your diet. Herbal teas are a great substitute, and you can also add 1 tablespoon of blended coconut oil for a “healthy fat coffee!”

4. Exercise Lightly. Exercising too intensely can cause problems if your hormones are  imbalanced. Try to focus on your sleeping habits and routine while performing low- impact exercises such as walking and swimming. You should try to avoid high-impact exercises until your hormones are regulated.

5. Take Advantage Of Supplements- they can work wonders for your waistline and  regulating your hormones if paired with a proper diet and lifestyle. We often give our patients our Magnesium and Vitamin D supplements to help them improve their weight loss/maintenance habits and moods.

These tips can help you regulate your hormones and manage your weight more effectively. Remember, hormones are “messengers” of the chemicals in our bodies, and we need them in order to function appropriately.

– Information from the desk of Lisa Waldrep,CPC, PES

Victory over the scale!

At CURE Program, we are so proud of our patients who have made lasting, life changes to lead a healthier and more fulfilling life. Our patient achieved their victory over the scale! We wanted to share some of the amazing transformations. 

cureprogram pinterest1

Is Exercise Making You Fat?

As a coach, I am always surprised how many clients come to see Dr. Waldrep and the rest of our team frustrated because they “cannot seem to lose the weight.” Everyone always says that it’s simple, “just eat less, and exercise more,” right?  Wrong. If losing weight were that simple, we would all be thin. Exercise is not a great way to lose weight.  I love this explanation, according to Rachel Reilly’s article, written on Daily Mail:  “‘One pound of fat has 3,500 calories, If you ran a 26-mile marathon, where you burn about 100 calories per mile, you would burn 2,600 calories.  Surprisingly that 26 mile marathon falls 900 calories short of burning one pound of fat!” So there must be multiple factors taking place, factors that the simple “calories in, calories out” formula does not address.  When we simplify the weight loss process to that type of thinking, it leaves people with little confidence and even lower self-esteem.

Woman measuring her slim body isolated on white

The fact is that exercise alone is NOT a great way to lose weight.  In fact, exercise can effectively cause you to GAIN weight.  We tend to overestimate the amount of calories that we’re burning when we exercise and then use it to justify eating that snack we’ve been craving.  “I worked out for an hour and a half, I deserve that extra piece of pizza” is a common justification that I often hear from our patients. The truth is, while exercise is great for your cardiovascular health, it’s not a great way to lose weight by itself.  I was intrigued by Dr. Waldrep’s statement to a group of weight loss surgery patients the other day.  “Exercise is not really very effective for weight loss, people misunderstand that.  They don’t realize that exercise is most important after you’ve already lost the weight. It’s more beneficial for weight maintenance.”

That’s oneof the reasons Dr. Waldrep and the CURE Program team stress that there is nothing wrong with a person who exercises to no avail.  Their frustrations are normal, and they have not “failed” at anything.  They simply haven’t been educated properly. Programs, like CURE, which integrate approaches such as the psychology of eating, excavate the underlying emotional and behavioral conditions that cause weight gain.  We help patients triumph in their weight loss because we let them know that they are normal and that the system has failed with all its “quick fix” solutions and unmet promises.  Weight loss involves taking many things into consideration.  I am proud to work with Dr. Waldrep, because our team makes it a goal to demystify all of the myths surrounding weight loss, allowing people to actually lose the weight that they have struggled to shed for years.

– From the desk of Lisa Waldrep,CPC, PES


Reflecting on Rosy Esparza rollercoaster victim and obesity

 In light of the recent death of a woman, Rosy Esparza,  while riding a roller coaster at Six Flags in Texas, I am reminded of all of our patients who come in before surgery with the simplest of dreams:  “I want to pick up my grandchildren, I want to paint my nails, I want to ride a roller coaster….” So many overweight  and obese people are afraid of doing the simplest things, and for good reasons. It is literally dangerous for morbidly overweight people to ride a roller coaster, because the restraining belt isn’t made to safely close properly on the lap.

Roller Coaster Credit : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/20/six-flags-roller-coaster-death-investigated_n_3628204.html

I am not saying that this is the case in the recent situation at Six Flags.  Although the woman who died was obese, that isn’t necessarily the cause of the accident.  But I triggered in my memory of all those conversations with OUR patients where they expressed a desire to do things that the rest of the world takes for granted.
I think that is one of the reasons I am so passionate about what Dr. Waldrep and I do to help patients achieve their weight loss goals and weight management.  It might not seem grand or exciting… but facilitating someone to have weight loss surgery is like helping someone to gain back their life. We have learned from our patients and through personal experience just how drastic the toll obesity can take on daily living and activities.
Some of my favorite clients have expressed not only an increased energy after surgery (imagine carrying around 10 ten pound bowling balls and being able to finally set them down!) but also the release of fear and shame associated with being obese.  I know that patients, typically afraid of  flying, can finally get on a plane – simply because they don’t have to face the embarrassment of asking for a seat belt extender.  I wonder in the back of my head if Rosy Esparza didn’t wonder if the restraining belt didn’t seem to slide into place as it should, but was perhaps too embarrassed to bring it to anyone’s attention; fearing the shame of being led of the roller coaster because they determined she was ‘too fat” to safely ride it. Just a thought….
Regardless, my prayers go out to the family.  I cannot help but admire a woman who obviously lived her life to the fullest and had many people who loved her.
~From the desk of Lisa Waldep, CURE Program’s Certified Professional Coach & Psychology of Eating Specialist

Obesity Rates, Weight Loss, and Preventative Care

I recently read an article on Huffington Post about the obesity rate in Mexico surpassing the rate in the United States. The article called Mexico the fattest country in the America’s, and my first reaction was to wonder if we in the United States have as a nation found the secret to weight loss. After further looking into the obesity rate in the United States, the rate is still increasing, just not as fast a Mexico’s. According to Gallup, just for the first half of 2013, the obesity 27.1% of people in the United States are obese.

Obesity rates in the United States

Obesity Rates in the United States

With about a third of the country being obese, I pause to wonder why weight loss has not been made easier. The Trust for America’s Health explains that in 2030 most states will be obese. We’ve all heard of counting calories, eating right, and exercising. Then personally, I get conflicting information from the media and online sources about what “eating right” is exactly.  When I get questions like that from our patients at CURE Program, I defer to our nutritional coach Vanessa.  Another issue I see with the obesity epidemic is that people who are steadily gaining weight may try different options to lose the weight without success and then move to opt for weight loss surgery. Weight loss surgery is a wonderful tool for patients to help them gain momentum and motivation for weight loss and weight maintenance. They feel empowered to exercise, and eating nutritiously.However, I am saddened when I see patients who are seeking help, but do not meet the requirements as set by certain companies before being approved for weight loss surgery. Sometimes, those patients then quit the healthy habits they have formed, just to gain enough weight to meet those said requirements to move forward with weight loss surgery, such as gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, or gastric banding. That’s why I think it is so amazing that Dr. Waldrep offers a preventative procedure  through the new “WRAP” or gastric plication procedure.

Gastric Plication Credit: https://www.eesadvancements.com/sites/default/files/EES_LGCP_Procedure_Overview.pdf

I love the benefits of the “WRAP” procedure:

  • it’s outpatient and patients go home the same day
  • does not open, staple, divide, or rearrange the intestinal tract
  • does not cut away and dispose of a healthy stomach
  • there’s no artificial device left in the body

The gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, and gastric banding are extremely beneficial to our  patient as well, but I’m still most impressed by the WRAP because of the unique benefits that it can offer. There has never been a weight loss procedure before that caters to people who are of lower BMI and seeking weight loss preventatively.

Using Nutrition as Medicine: Chrissy’s Story

Chrissy is one incredible woman.

Chrissy Kinney Before & After

Chrissy reached out to CURE Program and met with our staff to determine what type of program would be best for her health and weight loss goals. She decided that she wanted to start with nutrition and has been working with us for just under one month. Nutrition is medicine for Chrissy.

Chrissy selected our Herbalife Meal Plan, which is based upon the philosophy of Cellular Nutrition. All of the vitamins and nutrients your body needs (and which the majority of the population are extremely deficient in) are packed into one AMAZING & yummy healthy meal shake containing 200-350 calories and 25 grams of lean protein to help keep you full and satisfied.

This enables the person to lose more weight, and improve digestion, energy, and the quality of their hair, skin, and nails. Each day Chrissy has two delicious Herbalife shakes (her favorites include Café Latte Almond Mocha at only 200 calories, and Pina Colada with fresh Pineapple at about 350 calories.)  Then Chrissy has a one healthy, colorful meal consisting of lean protein, a whole grain, and fruit or veggies. We work together to come up with some fun recipes and dining out options so that she can still enjoy herself without gaining weight. When she is hungry Chrissy has a small, protein based snack to satisfy her and hold her over until her next meal.

Despite the fact that Chrissy has Asthma and has typically depended upon using her inhaler when exercising, she is now walking five times per week, riding her bike a minimum of three miles during a typical ride, and is working out with her Xbox videos as much as she can. Her energy and happiness is infectious and we are so proud of her. We at CURE Program believe that Chrissy is the eptitome of inspirational and we are blessed to be a part of her journey! Well done Chrissy, we’re confident that you’ll be reaching your destination very soon.

Summer Recipes for Weight Loss and Wellness

I want to spend as much time as I can outdoors during the summer. However, I would like that desire to not interfere with my waistline. I need quick and easy meals that are healthy,  nutritious and support my weight loss goals. I stumbled upon Cooking Light’s Superfast Summer Recipes and thought I’d highlight my favorite with you.

One of my favorite summer foods is strawberries.  I love their color, smell, and juicy sweetness at the height of summer. Their low calorie  nature makes them a guilt free snack or addition to any summertime meal. This Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing is only 78 calories!  Paired with a grilled chicken breast, this salad has all the flavors and colors I want.



  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free milk
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted


  1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  2. Place lettuce in a large bowl; add strawberries and almonds, tossing to combine. Divide salad evenly among 6 plates. Drizzle 1 tablespoon dressing over each serving.

But for me, summer (whether I am trying to lose weight or not) is not complete without a frozen treat! Then, I found this Pina Colada Sorbet from Gina’s Skinny Recipes Summer Desserts. I can enjoy a frozen treat of less than 100 calories! I can pretend I am sitting on a island paradise while tricking my taste buds with this healthy summer slim dessert. There is a bit too much sugar in it for my taste, so I would probably try unsweetened applesauce. Generally, I think the pineapple is a sweet enough fruit as is and opting out of the added sugar is definitely a step in the right direction for summer weight loss.



  • 3 cups fresh pineapple, peeled and cored
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp dark rum (optional)


  • Cut the pineapple into chunks
  • Puree in a blender with sugar, coconut milk, and rum if using until smooth.
  • Chill thoroughly then freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturers directions.

Makes 1 quart.

Enjoy your summer!

CURE Program Before & After

CURE Program Before & After

CURE Program Before & After: We love helping our patients transform their lives through weight and wellness programs. If you’re struggling with your weight, body image, or relationship issues, visit our website at www.CureProgram.com to learn more about how we can help!

Five Smart Tips for a Healthy 4th of July

Healthy 4th of July

Many of us will be enjoying the holiday tomorrow, but are also wondering about how to enjoy the food and spirits without jeopardizing our waistlines! There are a lot of healthy “secrets” that you can easily take advantage of. Whether you’re socializing with friends and family or cooking at home, there are many different things you can do to maintain your weight. We’ll share some of our favorite healthy tips with you so that you can have fun and enjoy the holiday while eating still eating healthy!

1. Have a healthy snack- It’s always a good idea to have a healthy, balanced snack about an hour prior to arriving to the party. Make sure you eat some protein to keep you satisfied and full. A medium apple with a couple of tablespoons of almond butter or a handful of unsalted almonds will help you feel more in control and not as tempted when you arrive.

2. Bring your own 4th of July dish- Bringing a healthy dish is the best way to enjoy the holiday without feeling like you’re depriving yourself. By bringing your own dish, you can be sure that you’re still eating healthy without having to worry about the extra calories. Check out some of our favorite 4th of July dishes here.

3. Avoid foods that will jeopardize your goals- Healthy choices aren’t always plentiful at bbq’s or parties, but you need to avoid the bad items if you want to continue to maintain your weight. Steer clear of anything fried or refined including chips, bread, desserts, and heavy sauces or dips. Enjoy healthy foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, lean grilled meat, and whole-wheat pasta dishes. Beware of salads with heavy or creamy dressing- it’s best to bring your own!

4. Be smart about what you eat- If you do decide that you absolutely have to have a not-so-healthy beverage or sliver of apple pie, make sure that you limit it to one drink or a small slice. Remember that a glass of champagne or wine is okay- but not in addition to dessert and bread.

5. Stay active & have fun- Getting physical activity can help you feel great and can also help work off any of the extra calories that you eat during the day. Go for a walk or a jog in the morning to get your cardio in. High Intensity Interval (HIIT) workouts will help boost your metabolism and keep your body burning calories throughout the day. Alternate 30 seconds of jogging or sprinting with 1 minute of walking for 25 minutes. It will save you time, you’ll have great energy, and you’ll also work off any unwanted calories!

The most important thing is to remember to enjoy yourself and to not worry too much about your diet the majority of the time. Remember to relax and to enjoy your time with friends and family. Happy Independence Day!