Restaurant Food Traps – Don’t Get Caught!

According to recent findings by the Department of Health Policy and Management of UCLA, marketers have upped their game.  As the public has become more aware and resistant to ‘super sizing’ (and the like), many chain restaurants have countered by adjusting the way they present their offerings to us.

When going out for meal with friends or family, stay on your guard and be aware of tricky meal placement and options on menus.  Many restaurants have put a great deal of effort into presenting themselves as participants in the more health conscious wave of restaurateurs by saying they offer healthier meal options while not compromising taste.  Problem is, when you sit down and proceed to read the menu their more flamboyant, calorie ridden (and expensive!) food is described in delicious detail while the simpler, more healthy fare (the reason you chose that establishment to begin with, remember?) is listed at back, almost as an afterthought.

Restaurants want you to choose the meals with their most mark up. Watch for ploys like a lovely healthy fish with steamed veggies placed right beside Fettuccini Alfredo with crab.  Yes, it has fish in it and yes it’s a lower priced item but the starch, calorie and fat content are through the roof and your body knows the difference.  Rich, beautiful colored pictures sway the rational part of your brain from the “I want to be healthy, choose the right item and stay on track ” mindset to the “I’ll deal with it later” syndrome.  Know you’re being manipulated and fight back!  When you’re handed the menu, go straight to the food that makes sense. Don’t spend a great deal of time mulling the menu over.  Find something that works with you in the right direction and enjoy the fact you’ve chosen well, still get to enjoy your meal secure in the knowledge you haven’t fallen for it and still on track!

Another trick employed by chain restaurants is the ‘mini meal’ plate.  An assortment of all sorts of offerings, no one in and of itself a big problem – but collectively …  you just blew it and overate by 20%.  Study after study has proven this kind of menu choice encourages a ‘just one more’ attitude.  Smaller portions are great but not if over indulged.  Watch for how the food is prepared as well.  Deep fried, breaded, sauteed in rich, heavy cream sauces – all a backslide in terms of helping you be your best and accomplish your goals.


A New Weight Loss Treatment!

Professional Weight Control Centers is offering a NEW weight loss treatment called “Auriculotherapy”. Think of this as acupuncture without the needles.

This is a painless and unique weight loss therapy in which gentle electrical stimulation of reflex points on the external ear is used.  Travelling via nerve pathways a message is sent to the brain to delay the emptying of the stomach, helping you feel full longer and helping to suppress your appetite.  This has also been found to boost your own body’s serotonin levels which act as a natural appetite suppressant as well as aiding in the systemic release of endorphins which give you energy and a feeling of overall well being.  The most common response in patients is to feel “very relaxed” after treatment.

This service is now available and being offered to patients at our Ventura, Granada Hills and Canyon Country Clinics and will be coming soon to our Palm Desert and two Bakersfield locations.

This therapy is unique to Professional Weight Control Centers.

A new year and a fresh start.  2014 is going to be great – THIS is going to be the year!

Help For The Holidays!

family-holiday-mealThere are little tricks you can employ to avoid a holiday food hangover and look your absolute best throughout the holiday season. We all go into the celebrations with best intentions but then calorie by calorie, it can really start to add up.  The following are tried and true ideas for the upcoming days – and season – to prevent added inches and still enjoy the fun just as much.

Have an eating plan for the day of your event.  Make sure to begin your day with a meal that makes sense.  Don’t deny calories at the onset with the thought you can make up them up later – that sets the stage for you to cheat and consume more than intended.  Reconcile yourself to the fact you are on a diet and you need to be aware of what – and how you eat.  Armed with that plan, you will enjoy the celebration AND food and come home with a clear conscience!

Keep a glass of water either in hand or close by.  Slow but constant intake helps keep your stomach full and  your body hydrated with having the extra benefit of helping to keep those wine calories at bay!

Volunteer to bring the veggie tray – and fill up prior to the main meal!  It’s healthy and those calories are constructive. Also, don’t deny yourself  ‘an’ appetizer.  This is a celebration, you’re allowed but have that veggie in hand or close by so you don’t indulge in the… oh just one more … syndrome.

At mealtime, be conscious of what you are putting on your plate and in what portions.  This is not a case of “you can’t have”, it’s simply a mindful matter of “how much”.  Best to avoid anything thick and cream  based.  When desert rolls around, ALLOW yourself enough a of bite to indulge (small slice of pumpkin pie, don’t need the whipping cream) – and enjoy – but have that glass of water ready.

If you can rally a buddy to go ‘for a short walk” with you after dinner, so much the better.  (Fido always tends to be a big help in that department!).  When you come back, settle down to enjoy a warm cup of tea, coffee – or even your best pal and faithful standby – water.

We also have one more trick up our sleeves.  We have a little secret weapon supplement available called Probese.  Probese is a natural supplement which works by way of sending you brain a message it’s full by acting much the same way as a sponge.  Taken with 2 glasses water, it tricks your stomach into thinking it’s full so your actual food consumption will be far less than you would have ordinarily been tempted to eat.


Information on Garcinia Cambogia

Probably by now you’ve seen ads for Garcinia Cambogia.

So – what is this and is it the ‘new miracle drug’ all the ads say it is?

Garcinia Cambogia is a fruit something like a small pumpkin that grows in Southern India.  Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is an extract of this plant, and is the active ingredient.  HCA is suggested as an appetite suppressant which may work along the serotonin pathways.  HCA is also suggested to reduce the conversion of carbohydrates to fat.

We have this supplement under the name HCA-C, which is HCA, chromium and a proprietary ingredient called Bioperine.  Some studies have shown that combining HCA with chromium increases the effects of HCA.  Bioperine enhances the body’s metabolic process.

We all respond differently to medications and supplements and to date there are no miracle drugs for weight loss.  Weight loss takes effort on your part and a positive team committed to helping you along the way.  Ask our medical staff if they think HCA-C will work for you.

Some of our patients have found HCA helpful in their weight loss and we’d love you to try it too!


Starting September 1 2013 we are offering membership into our PWCC High Achiever Rewards Club.   If you join now you can receive 4 weeks of HCA-C for FREE.

We’re not sure how long this special will last but if you can see this post it’s still going on.

Flo’s Fashions For Real Women

Let’s begin with basics – Start from the skin

Most important to your overall looks are your undergarments.  Choose bras and panties a little loose.  Remember, the fit should be a gentle squeeze, not a power pinch!  Find a bra that covers to below the waist (I get mine at Sears).  Tuck it into your panties or pull it over your skirt or pants.  This smoothes out the ripples on your back and flattens your tummy.  Not too tight.  Use spandex or Lycra panties.  No cotton – it makes bulges.

Don’t Tent – Very loose tops and dresses make you look larger.

Tops can be loose enough to hide the ripples, but not so loose that they make you look larger.  Soft lines are what we are after.  Vertical lines are best, and STAND TALL!  Believe it or not you lose lumps when you do.  Besides that, it makes you feel better and your clothes fit better.  You look good and you know it.

Jeans should not be baggy.  They should have a smooth fit in a dark color, with high pockets on the butt. The pockets minimize the size of the butt.  Try a boot cut, Put the flair where it doesn’t detract from your overall slim line. If you really go for the slim pants, wear them with high heels


Tips To Eating Healthy

Eating healthy is a habit, and like all habits, eating reasonable portions of healthy foods is a pattern of behavior acquired through frequent repetition.  Here are a few ways to establish good eating habits.

  • Start simple.  Don’t’ try to completely change your bad eating habits in one day.
  • Make it daily.  Behavior that is repeated over a period of time becomes a habit.
  • Commit to thirty days.  Research indicates that it takes about four weeks for a behavior to become automatic.
  • Treat yourself.  You may experience a sense of loss for what you have given up.  Reward yourself with non-foods items.
  • Remove temptation.  Get rid of foods that tempt you to cheat.
  • Write your goals down.  Write your goals down and post them in a place where you can see them daily.  Seeing those written goals daily will help reinforce the behavior you want to achieve.

Follow these suggestions and you’ll find yourself making big changes in your eating habits!

How To Cheat On Your Diet

Admit it.  Every once in a while we like to splurge.  If you’re on a diet it’s harder to get away with these short lapses in fortitude, but an article on the WebMD website helps explain a little bit about the process and what to do about it. 1)  First of all, swearing off all foods you love could lead to more cravings and binge eating.  Not a good thing.  What to do?  Try a few of these tips to help you “sensibly splurge.”

  • Eat more filling foods that have a protein to reduce your hunger.  In other words, don’t cheat on an empty stomach.  That’s just begging for an overload of calories.
  • Enjoy with all your senses.  Take small bites, sit down, take time to enjoy your guilty pleasure.  If you know how this food will affect the rest of your diet you might as well enjoy it.
  • Make it yourself.  You may surprise yourself as you prepare your favorite diet splurge that you can substitute a lower calorie ingredient along the way and not even notice it.
  • Get away from distractions.  Don’t spoil this splurge by sitting in front of the TV and do the mindless eating thing.  You want this to be an enjoyable experience, not forgettable.
  • Don’t let a slip become a backslide.  How can you feel guilty about slipping on a diet if you’ve planned for one?  This means adjusting your weekly diet and understanding what you want to accomplish in the long term.  Plan ahead and enjoy life!

1.  How to Cheat on Your Diet and Still Lose Weight Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD retrieved from on April 12, 2013.

From Marcia’s Kitchen

Here are a few suggestions for using our HMR Shakes

Raspberry Crème

¾ cup cold water, 1 packet HMR 800 Vanilla, 1 teaspoon sugar-free raspberry gelatin, 4 ice cubes.  Pour water, HMR and gelatin into a blender and mix until smooth.  Add ice cubes one at a time until blended.

Chocolate Orange Creamsicle

1 can cold diet orange soda, 1 packet HMR 800 Chocolate, 2-4 ice cubes.  Pour soda and HMR into a blender and mix until smooth.  Add ice cubes one at a time until blended.

Root Beer Float

1 can cold diet root beer soda, 1 packet HMR 800 Vanilla, 2-4 ice cubes.  Pour soda and HMR into a blender and mix until smooth.  Add ice cubes one at a time until blended.

Chocolate Cream

1 can cold diet cream soda, 1 packet HMR 800 Chocolate, 2-4 ice cubes.  Pour soda and HMR into a blender and mix until smooth.  Add ice cubes one at a time until blended.

Banana Colada

½ cup cold water, 1 packet HMR 800 Vanilla, ½ tsp banana extract, ¼ tsp rum extract, 1/8 tsp cinnamon, 4 ice cubes.  Pour water, HMR, extracts and cinnamon into a blender and mix until smooth.  Add ice cubes one at a time until blended.

Spicy Chocolate Shake

½ cup cold water, 1 packet HMR 800 Chocolate, 1 tsp chocolate extract, dash cinnamon, 4 ice cubes.  Pour water, HMR, extract and cinnamon into a blender and mix until smooth.  Add ice cubes one at a time until blended.

Chocolate Almond Delight

¾ cup cold water, 1 packet HMR 800 Chocolate, ½ teaspoon almond extract, 4 ice cubes.  Pour water, HMR and extract into a blender and mix until smooth.  Add ice cubes and blend until smooth.


1 cup hot water, 1 packet HMR 800 Vanilla, ½ cup coffee, ½ packet sweetener, ¼ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon.  Pour water, HMR and coffee into a blender and mix on low until smooth.  Mix sweetener, cocoa powder and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Pour HMR mixture into a cup and sprinkle with cocoa mixture.

How To Change Your Lifestyle

Changing your lifestyle isn’t an event that happens overnight. Instead, it’s a process that occurs gradually over time. Most of us are creatures of habit so how did those self defeating habits form?

Imagine that, each time you get home each evening, you eat a snack. When you first eat the snack upon getting home, a mental link is formed between getting home and your response to eating a snack. Each time you subsequently snack in response to getting home, this link strengthens, to the point that getting home comes to prompt you to eat a snack automatically, without giving it much prior thought; a habit has formed. (From Busting the 21 days habit formation myth By Ben D Gardner Sood, on June 29 2012.)

So how do we break this habit? We first identify behaviors your want to change and circumstances which support their continued occurrence. Second, create a plan to change these circumstances and put it into action.

  1. Identify a behavior you would like to change (e.g. I eat a donut every morning)
  2. Record what events and circumstance happen before or lead up to the behavior (e.g. I leave my house early so I can stop at the bakery)
  3. Examine the consequences of the behavior to help you understand why you keep doing the behavior. (e.g. when I eat the donut, my hunger goes away and it tastes good)
  4. State your goals in a clear and precise manner (e.g. I want to stop eating a donut every morning)
  5. Develop an action plan by reviewing the tactics for changing the events and circumstances which typically precede the behavior and identify strategies for change. (e.g. I’ll leave so I won’t have time to stop at the bakery)
  6. Finally, after the change tactic has been successfully executed, identify and administer a non-food reward to congratulate yourself. (e.g. a bubble bath, a new sweater).

New Weight Loss Medication Belviq

In June 2012 the FDA approved a new weight loss medication called Belviq as an effective, long term weight management drug.

It will only be available by prescription, so don’t look for this at your local wheat germ / green coffee bean extract store or sold online through some ‘Miracle Cure to Weight Loss’ website.

This medication went through two years of clinical trials covering over 7,000 patients.

Belviq (lorcaserin hydrochloride) may be prescribed for patients with a BMI of 30 or greater or for patients with a BMI of 27 or greater with other weight-related conditions like hypertension or type 2 diabetes.  The standard dose is two 10mg pills a day.  Belviq should be used along with a reduced-calorie diet and an exercise plan.  You should be re-evaluated after 12 weeks to see if this medication is working for you.

Belviq works by activating receptors in your brain that make you feel full (serotonin receptors).  Belviq is not a stimulant.  Belviq does not change how food is metabolized.

You cannot take Belviq if you are pregnant.

As with any prescribed medication, there are possible side effects and a medical professional should be consulted to warn you of potential conflicts with other medications.

Why you should go to Professional Weight Control Centers

  • You need a team that will go over your medical information and enhance your weight loss program based on your specific needs.
  • You need a team trained in bariatric medicine that is knowledgeable in contraindications and conflicts with other medications.
  • You need a team dedicated to making you accountable for your weight loss and keeping you on track going forward.
  • You need a competent, caring staff at your weight loss clinic dedicated to making you successful in achieving your weight loss goals.
  • You need a team monitoring your success along the way and offering encouragement when needed.
  • You need a long term plan to maintain your new healthy lifestyle and weight management tools to help you keep the weight off.

We know what works in medically supervised weight control.  We have been doing medically supervised weight management for over 40 years.  Together, we can make it work for you!


How To Control Those Holiday Sweet Cravings

‘Tis the season to indulge, and indulge we do!  Of all the things we pile on our plates over the holidays the most calorie-dense food is sweets.  From chocolates to pies to once-a-year cookies, we are inundated with sugar during the holidays.

Sweet foods are hard to resist, but there are some things you can do to fight against the urge to splurge.  The following are a few hints we found on the WebMD website (1).

Set a limit to how much you’re going to eat.  Tell yourself you’re going to eat just 150 calories of your Aunt Edna’s English toffee.  (MyFitnessPal estimates 6 pieces of homemade English Toffee at 450 calories.)  It’s better to take two pieces home and put them in the freezer than eating as much as you can at the family gathering.

Go for quality not quantity.  That plate of sugar cookies is overflowing and needs to be evened out but that box of See’s chocolates is also just sitting there.  What do you do?  Make a special treat of the chocolate, enjoy it at the end of your meal and skip snacking on several of the cookies.

Skip artificial sweeteners.  They may be low or no calories but they don’t lessen a craving for sugar.  It’s better to lower your threshold for sugar than keep feeding a need for more.

Eat regularly – have something to eat every three hours.  The best way to do this is to stock up on our high protein shakes, bars and snacks.  Don’t starve yourself.  Going hungry will cause a drop in blood sugar which will cause sugar cravings.

This suggestion isn’t from the WebMD website but we found that having a calorie counter on your smartphone really helps.  We use MyFitnessPal and the free version works great.  Try it out before your holiday get-togethers.  Look up everything you remember from last year’s holiday gathering because the more you know the better prepared you’ll be to make smart eating decisions.

  1. 13 Ways to Fight Sugar Cravings by Wendy C. Fries reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on June 22, 2011.  Retrieved from  on November 27, 2012.

Willpower And Diet

Are you losing the battle to stay on your diet because you lack willpower? Not so, say some experts in an article from WebMD (1). Some people may label you as “having no willpower” when in fact other factors are at work. When confronted with that tempting plate of donuts at the morning office meeting do you say “I have no willpower – I might as well not try” or do you say “I have a choice here. I am in control of that choice.” What you think is low willpower could just be that you’re starving. Plan ahead and take charge of your hunger. We have several high protein snacks you can use as a replacement to a donut and can be taken anywhere. If you know that party you’re going to this weekend will be filled with a bunch of fattening foods, make a plan today of how you’re going to handle it, even if you agree to indulge in your favorite dip. Just set limits beforehand and eat something filling before you go (an HMR shake would be great).

1. Weight Loss: Does Willpower Matter? Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on November 17, 2006. WebMD. Retrieved from retrieved September 12, 2012.

New Weight Loss Medication Qsymia

The FDA hasn’t approved a medical drug for weight loss in 13 years. Now we have a few, and the first one available is called Qsymia.

Qsymia is a combination of a long time seizure medication topiramate and a long term appetite suppressant phentermine.

The company making this drug has completed trials on more than 3,700 patients. Patients taking Qsymia were able to achieve an average weight loss of 10% in ” obese” (BMI greater than 30) patients when used in conjunction with diet, exercise and a lifestyle modification program. If you do not lose at least 5% of your original weight after 24 weeks of treatment it is recommended Qsymia be discontinued because it will not work for you.

Qsymia is indicated for patients with a BMI of 30 or greater, or 27 or greater in the presence of at least one weight-related comorbidity such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol.

If you are thinking about getting pregnant, want to get pregnant or are not using birth control DO NOT USE THIS MEDICATION!!! It can cause fetal harm. Qsymia is not recommended if you have glaucoma, hyperthyroidism, use manoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or have a known hypersensitivity or idiosyncrasy to the sympathomimetic amines.
The dosing of Qsymia changes after the first 14 days and possibly after the first 12 weeks. Qsymia is available only through certified mail order pharmacies so a prescription is required.

Further details may be found at

We are excited to offer this medication to our patients. It will be most successful if combined with a “High Accountability” four or eight week shake/shot program. We will monitor possible side effects and help to get you back on track with a diet, exercise, and lifestyle modification program with a proven success rate.
DO NOT get this medication confused with BELVIQ. Belviq is expected to be released at the beginning of next year. It is expected to be similar to “Fen-Phen” without the heart valve complications.

Please call us at 800 633-3300 if you have further questions. Our goal is to keep our patients informed!

Help! I’ve Reached A Plateau!

Has this happened to you?
You’ve been on a new diet for a few weeks now and you feel great. You’ve lost weight in the beginning, but for some reason that needle on the scale hasn’t moved this whole week.

What’s wrong?

According to the experts (1,2), there could be a few things happening.

    Some weight loss may have been muscle, which will change your metabolism. Muscle burns calories, fat doesn’t.
    You could be experiencing ‘calorie creep’ where you unconsciously start adding a few more calories in here and there.
    Your body is resisting any more weight loss and you may be reaching a new metabolic ‘set point’.

What can you do?

    Start doing some light weight training. We’re not talking about going to the gym and training for Ms. Olympia, we’re talking about doing a few curls with the laundry detergent bottle or a few stair steps with light weights in hand. The goal is to bring back muscle mass.
    Measure what you’re eating. Again. Go back to the skills you used in the beginning and record everything you eat each day and then add up the total. Are you starting to add in 100 or 200 more calories? It’ll add up quickly.
    Your body may not need any more calories. Do you still feel hungry or have you changed the amount that makes you feel full? If you’re still on a strict diet and you still feel hungry it’s time to re-evaluate your diet. If you’re comfortable with how you’re eating and you want to lose more weight, then change things up. Try fruits and vegetables you’re not used to. Have some of our high protein bars or flavored drinks for snacks or light meals. Try new things!

You’ve lost weight and you should feel good about that. You should now understand that you may not have the same caloric needs you once had. It may take some time getting used to eating less now if you’ve spent years eating full meals. Don’t get discouraged, and keep up the great work!

1) Weight Loss & Diet Plans – Stuck On A Plateau? By Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD. Retrieved from on August 7, 2012.
2) Weight Loss: Plateau No More by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD. Retrieved from on August 7, 2012.


Hello from Professional Weight Control Centers

How’s your day going so far?  Are you on track with your goals?  Are you having a problem sticking to you program?  Let us know here – we’ll do our very best to give you encouragement and advice that will get you through the day!

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