August 2013

Processed Foods linked to Food Addiction and Obesity


A recent study conducted at Harvard Medical School sought to find out why some people can’t lose weight, despite how hard they try.

Twelve overweight but otherwise healthy men were given two milkshakes, with almost the same amount of calories and similar tastes. However, one shake was high-glycemic and the other low-glycemic. High-glycemic foods are identified through the High Glycemic Index and contain a large quantity of starches and sugars, most of which are processed.

Results from the study indicated that the participants who consumed the high-glycemic shakes had a stronger appetite than the participants who consumed the low-glycemic shakes.

The research team also performed individual MRI testing on each participant and found that there was a strong activation in a part of the brain named the nucleus accumbens that regulates eating, craving, reward and pleasure.

Considering that many people are developing serious medical issues from obesity and related diseases, this study makes sense. Research has suggested that processed and refined foods are partly responsible for the alarming growth rate of obesity in the US.

Although more research is needed, this study makes an important claim that we need to take into account. More focus needs to be placed upon the theory of food addiction in relation to the brain. If sufficient evidence is found, additional forms of treatment may be discovered to help prevent and treat weight gain.

You can read here about the findings.


Shake & Chat Success!

Last week we had a great turnout for our “shake & chat” where we discussed the importance of relationships and how the “rules” have changed over the years. One of our guests commented that the LA area is a difficult place to meet men who are interested in settling down. Interestingly enough,another woman expressed that she feels that marriage can sometimes be boring and that it really isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. It was a real eye-opener!

It was interesting to listen to everyone’s different perspectives and we got a lot of positive feedback from the group. Some of the topics that we are going to discuss in the next few weeks are anti-aging topics including weight loss, toning, beauty detox juice cleanses.

Join us next Tuesday when we discuss the psychology of eating and how our relationships can often influence our eating behaviors.

Make sure to reserve your seat & RSVP with you shake flavor!

Shake & Chat Flyer

Lower Stress Through Superior Self Care

Women today need Self-Care More than Ever
Lisa Waldrep explains the importance of self-care for the modern day woman

Lisa Waldrep explains the importance of self-care for the modern day woman

Imagine this scenario: A woman gets on a plane with her two small children, on her way to visit family across the country. Suddenly, the flight attendant announces that the plane is experiencing extreme turbulence and instructs all passengers to put on their oxygen masks. The woman does not place the oxygen mask on either of her children. She places the mask on to her mouth and inhales deeply several times. She then places the oxygen mask on one of her children and tells him to take a deep breath. She then switches the oxygen mask onto her other child, instructing her to do the same. Together the three of them continue to take turns breathing in the oxygen. The mother wasn’t being selfish- she had to put the mask on herself before her children so that she would be alive and able to help them receive enough oxygen. She was forced to put herself before them.

Women experience so much stress today and the need for women to practice self-care has never been more urgent. Yet many of the women whom I have worked with struggle with the concept of self- care. They feel guilty. They feel selfish for putting their needs before anyone or anything else. I use what I like to call the “airplane analogy” to explain to my clients that in order to be the best possible YOU, you absolutely have to consider self-care top priority.

I am certainly no stranger to stress. My two beautiful twins are the light of my life. They came to me eight years ago and were diagnosed with Autism shortly after. In addition, my husband and I also own several small businesses specializing in weight loss and wellness, where my husband is a weight loss surgeon and is on call at all times for his patients, which many times requires him to leave unexpectedly. It’s a lot to handle, and sometimes I don’t feel like I can do it. Self-care is what gets me through the rough days and unexpected challenges that come along with a marriage, motherhood, and running a business. If I didn’t have my “me time” I wouldn’t be able to function.

Here are some of the techniques that I make sure to practice regularly:

1. Prayer & Meditation. Every day at the same time I set aside a half hour for myself to reflect and get in tune with myself. I do this first thing in the morning- before the kids wake up, before I start responding to e-mails and phone calls and before I get dressed for the day.

2. Schedule and separate time alone with your significant other. Some people are skeptical of this, but I have found that it is essential for me to schedule AND separate work from pleasure. Because my husband and I regularly attend business mixers, I make sure that we have at least one night per week where he and I have a private dinner together- no business calls, no technology, no kids. Unless it’s an emergency, it can wait.

3. Practice good nutrition, not depravation. Good nutrition is so important, but I don’t eat healthy 100% of the time. Being trained as a specialist in psychology of eating often gives people the impression that I practice a “strict diet” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, when in reality, I make sure to get plenty of fresh foods and eat mindfully. I will indulge once in awhile if I really feel like I have to have that scoop of ice cream.

4. Make a conscious effort to do at least one activity a day that makes you happy. Even if it’s just something small, like writing someone you love a handwritten note, or walking your dog. The little things in life can make a big impact.

5. Reach out to friends and family for support. I cannot imagine if I did not have my friends and family to reach out to. All of us need a little help sometimes and turning to your family and friends during times of need is one of the best uses of self-care that one can practice.

Obese to Marathon Runner-How Weight Loss Surgery Transformed Man’s Life

Obese to Marathon Runner-How Weight Loss Surgery transformed man's life

Our patients are so inspiring! Here is Jason Harper’s transformational story of how he went from barely mobile to an ultra-marathon runner.  Read his weight loss journey:

My Story By Jason Harper


 It seemed illogical. How could I have such discipline in some areas of my life yet not be able to win the battle over my ever increasing bulge. That battle had evolved into a complete war unraveling my emotion, confidence, and my hope of ever being healthy. The decision to pursue gastric bypass with Dr. Waldrep was over a decade ago. Like it was this morning, I remember the ping of pulsating noises that echoed through the weighting room. My hearts cry was for a hope in tomorrow that was being crushed under my nearly 330lbs frame.

At home I had a wife that never pressured or pushed me to lose weight. Instead she offered constant encouragement. My dream was to take a short walk with her; our hands clasped and I was able to walk a mile without having to stop and gasp for life’s breath.

She reminded me of how much our kids loved their daddy. My two-year-old daughter wanted daddy to have enough energy to play with her. For my newborn son, someday, I wanted to be able run with him in the park or even coach his Little League.

Wheeling in for the procedure the thoughts of “what could be” soothed me. I was convinced that the best had yet come. Because of how I was educated and informed by Dr. Waldrep before the process, I had faith in the process. Comfort
whispered to me, “This is your moment of hope.”

In the days after the procedure, I told only those closest to me. I was fearful that if it didn’t work, I would not be able to tolerate the shame. Yet, Dr. Waldrep and his team, taught me that if I did my part, it would work. When asked how I was
losing weight, I spoke complete honesty. I said, “I have an incredible doctor who has helped me make drastic changes to my life. I have nutritionist and I am committed to daily exercise.” All truths, yet to this day, I have only spoken publicly about my weight on a couple occasions.

Now a decade removed, I had no idea how great I would feel and how healthy I would become. I never dreamed that Dr. Waldrep would not only give me life through Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass, but through an on-going friendship, he and Lisa would speak encouragement and hope to my on-going pursuit of becoming the best version of me.

Today, I am physically healthy and emotionally whole. Those long walks with my wife became addicting. After finishing a walk with her, I would head back and jog for a few minutes. Those minutes turned to miles and miles turned into hours. In 2005, I completed the Big Sur International Marathon of 26.2 miles. I stood at the finish line and I held up my left hand with three fingers pointed to the sky. The hand signal I raised wasn’t for the number three. The symbolic “w” wasn’t for “weight loss” or that I had just “won.” The “W’ was to acknowledge that I had not forgotten who had gotten me to the finish line of one of life’s greatest accomplishments. The “W’ was for Waldrep.

I still take it one day and one bite at a time. Exercise is crucial and grazing is deadly. Identifying the root-cause of my eating disorder has helped me identify the addictive bent within me. I now find myself invigorated with the possibilities ahead of me.

For you, for me, for us, the best has yet to come.


Stuffed Chicken With Sweet Potato Fries

Healthy Stuffed Chicken with Sweet Potato Fries

Here is a recipe for Stuffed Chicken with Sweet Potato Fries, approved by our Nutritional Coach

Stuffed Chicken With Sweet Potato Fries1


Serves 1

Ingredients & supplies needed:

  • Cooking spray
  • Baking Sheet
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, (4-oz.)
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 cup brussel sprouts or vegetable of your choice, halved or chopped
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • black pepper
  • chopped parsley, if desired

For Stuffing:

  • ¼ cup broccoli, chopped.
  • 3 tbsp cheddar
  • 1 tbsp salsa
  • 1 small sweet potato


  • Heat oven to 350. Cut a slit in a 4 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast. In a bowl, combine ¼ cup chopped broccoli, 3 tbsp shredded cheddar, 1 tbsp salsa; stuff inside chicken.
  • Slice a small sweet potato into 1/4-inch-thick fries. On a baking sheet coated with cooking spray, place fries, & 1 cup halved brussel sprouts or veggie of choice. Spray veggies with cooking spray; sprinkle with ¼ tsp sea salt, ¼ tsp garlic powder, & black pepper.
  • Bake 15 minutes; flip veggies.  Add the chicken to the sheet; bake until internal temperature reaches 165, about 20 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

Nutrition Facts (with Brussel Sprouts):

  • 445 calories
  • 13 g fat (6g unsaturated)
  • 36 g carbs
  • 8g fiber
  • 47g protein

Chronic Stress Linked to Obesity

Dr. Donald Waldrep, MD "weighs in" on the medical link between chronic stress and weight



Dr. Donald Waldrep,MD  "weighs in" on the link between chronic stress and Obesity

Dr. Donald Waldrep,MD
“weighs in” on the link between chronic stress and Obesity

From the Desk of Dr. Waldrep

How to Manage Chronic Stress Levels

If you live a high-pressure life that causes you to work crazy hours, skip meals and stay up all night to meet a tight deadline, you are on your way to adrenal burnout, which results from chronic stress. Chronic stress has been linked to obesity as well as weight gain in America. In stressful situations, the body copes by “revving up” the body into a more alert state. To do this, it needs adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormones that are produced by the adrenal glands.) When the feelings of stress go on and on, these glands become so exhausted that they can’t keep up with the demand.

In a normal, healthy person the adrenal glands weight less than 5g each. In excessively stressed people, the adrenal gland can increase in size by another 2g just from unrelenting lifestyle demands.You have to acknowledge the scientific evidence that the body reacts to all types of stress, whether physical, chemical, or nutritional, and these types of stress act exactly the same way- through the excessive release of stress hormones, overactivity of the nervous system and a depletion of reserves. Just as negative thoughts can emotionally or psychologically damage you- remember that this stress can also physically harm you- and cause a great deal of wear and tear on the body and weight.