Natural Sugars vs. Sugar Substitutes

Bariatric surgery, including gastric sleeve and gastric bypass surgery, is only part of your weight loss journey. A major part of your new life post-surgery is re-learning how to eat. You’ll need to avoid sugar, as it may undo the effects of your surgery or, if you’ve had a gastric bypass surgery, it may cause “dumping syndrome.”  When you consume too much sugar after your gastric bypass surgery, your stomach can’t hold it and “dumps” it into your small intestine too quickly. Dumping syndrome comes with a list of unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, cramps, bloating, and diarrhea. 

Fortunately, not all sugars are the same, and not all sugars cause dumping syndrome. Learn which sugars and sugar substitutes are safe after bariatric surgery – and which should be avoided.

What are Natural Sugars and Where are They Found?

As the name suggests, natural sugars occur naturally in unprocessed foods. Fruit, for example, contains a natural sugar called fructose. The lactose in milk is also a natural sugar. 

Fructose and lactose are natural and even healthy. Because they’re digested slower than refined sugars (see below), they help the body maintain a healthy metabolism. Natural sugars are found in foods that contain additional nutrients we need, like vitamins, calcium, and fiber. These foods are good for you and are safe after surgery.

What are Refined Sugars?

In this context, “refined” means “processed.” Refined sugar starts out as a natural plant (sugar cane, sugar beet, corn, or agave), but that plant has the sugar squeezed out of it, and it then gets processed until it crystallizes. 

This sugar adds sweetness and calories to food, but nothing else. There is nothing of nutritional value in refined sugars. Your body processes refined sugar very quickly, giving you that sugar rush feeling and subsequent crash.

In addition to fructose, refined sugar contains glucose. Too much glucose in your blood can cause major kidney or eye diseases, heart attacks, or stroke. Refined sugar goes by many other names, so check your food labels.

What are Added Sugars?

When processed foods are made with sugars beyond what naturally occurs, that’s added sugar. Refined sugar is almost always added to and found in processed foods because it makes that food sweeter and more appealing. 

If you look at the labels on your food, you’ll see a category called “Added Sugars” that tells you exactly how many ounces or grams of refined sugar has been added on top of the natural sugars. The amounts may surprise you. Even foods you think might be “safe” may contain added refined sugars, so it’s important to read every label carefully.

Keep in mind that food and beverage claims aren’t created equal. There is a difference between “sugar-free,” “reduced sugar,” and “no added sugar.” The more you know, the easier it will be when you go to the supermarket.

Natural Sugars After Bariatric Surgery

Gastric bypass surgery patients who get sick (dumping syndrome) from added sugars generally tolerate naturally-occurring sugars. These foods also supply important nutrients and, in the right balance, are part of a healthy diet. And since refined, added sugars contribute nothing but empty calories, it’s smart to avoid them as much as possible after your bariatric surgery.

Barix Clinics are here to help all our patients learn how to eat healthy with delicious recipes full of healthy nutrients.

What are Sugar Substitutes?

Sugar substitutes, or artificial sweeteners, provide the same amount of sweetness (or more!) in your food without the calories or dumping syndrome caused by added refined sugar. Sugar substitutes come in liquid or granular form and can be added to your coffee, used in baking, or anywhere else you’d normally add sugar. They’re also used in some processed foods and drinks instead of refined sugar.

Sugar substitutes come in 3 forms:

  • Chemicals made in a lab
    • Saccharine
    • Aspartame
  • Sugar alcohols (created in labs from real sugar)
    • Sorbitol
    • Xylitol
    • Erythritol
  • Plant-based calorie-free sugars (aka “novel sweeteners”)
    • Monk fruit
    • Stevia

Sugar substitutes could be a harmless way to enjoy sweets. They won’t fill you up with the empty calories you’d get from refined added sugars. 

Are Sugar Substitutes Dangerous?

Some studies have made claims that sugar substitutes can cause weight gain and shifts in your gut’s natural microbes. However, these studies are mostly inconclusive. According to the Mayo Clinic: “In general, artificial sweeteners are safe in limited amounts for healthy people, including pregnant people. Please check with your doctor to make sure sugar substitutes are safe for you. But limit or cut out sugar substitutes:

  • If you’re living with a rare genetic disease called phenylketonuria. Foods and drinks with aspartame can lead to serious health problems.
  • If you have a bowel disease. Using sugar substitutes might make your symptoms flare up.”

As with anything else, talk to your doctor if you have concerns about sugar substitutes.

Post-bariatric surgery, most sugar substitutes are much safer than added, refined sugar. However, sugar alcohols cannot be absorbed by the body and can lead to bloating, gas, cramping, and/or diarrhea. Try to avoid sugar alcohols after bariatric surgery. 

The Best Sweeteners After Gastric Sleeve or Bypass Surgery

Having bariatric surgery means you’ve committed to a healthier lifestyle, including an improved, healthier diet. This dietary change alone will have a positive impact on your health. But what about the use of sugar substitutes? Can you still enjoy cake on your birthday? Pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving? Candy at the movies?

Some sugar substitutes are known to cause unpleasant side effects, such as gas, bloating, or diarrhea. Whether you suffer from these side effects or not may be a matter of trial and error, as well as how much of a particular sugar substitute you consume. Sugar substitutes made from sugar alcohol (which mostly end in “-ol”) are the most likely to cause gastrointestinal discomfort and should be avoided after gastric sleeve or other bariatric surgery.

The following sugar substitutes are considered harmless after gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or other bariatric surgery. You should still consult with your bariatric surgeon before consuming any sugar substitutes.


Plant-based and zero calories, Stevia is a popular choice for sugar substitutes. Some people complain that Stevia has a bitter aftertaste, but that’s entirely subjective. Many diet sodas today are sweetened with Stevia. It comes in both granulated and liquid form, making it popular in coffee and baking. While delicious, Stevia may cause bloating in some people.

Monk Fruit

Unlike its Stevia cousin, the general consensus on monk fruit is that it has no aftertaste, making this a very popular choice when it comes to sugar substitutes. It bakes well and provides a cup-for-cup substitute for refined white sugar.  Monk fruit has no known side effects.


This artificial sweetener got a bad rap in the 70s due to a study linking it to bladder cancer in male rats. However, studies since then have shown that it does not, in fact, cause cancer in humans. You can keep putting Sweet n’ Low in your coffee.


Next to those pink packets of Sweet n’ Low are the blue packets of Equal, which are made from aspartame. Aspartame is a combination of amino acids. It’s been thoroughly studied and tested, and is guaranteed safe after more than 100 studies. Some people report headaches or dizziness, but links to aspartame are inconclusive.


Rounding out the list of common sugar substitutes that are safe after bariatric surgery  is sucralose, known popularly as Splenda. This sweetener is made from sugar and is often said to have the most similar taste to white sugar, without an aftertaste. 

Acesulfame Potassium‌

This sugar substitute, also known as acesulfame k or ace-k, is a chemical sweetener. Due to its tolerance for high temperatures it’s a popular sugar substitute in baking. After more than 90 studies, it’s been proven safe to eat

How Barix Clinics Can Help You On Your Weight Loss Journey

We know that when it comes to losing weight, you’ve probably tried everything. Now it’s time to consider bariatric surgery. Not only will we provide you with information, options, and guidance, we’ll be with you after your surgery, as well. That includes a team of nutritionists to help you learn how to eat to accommodate your new body.

Don’t wait another minute to start your new, healthier life. Call us at 734-547-4700 or contact us online to speak with a caring expert about your surgical weight loss options.

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Stress Management: How to Reduce Stress & Why It’s Important

We often think of negative situations causing stress due to unpleasant emotions, discomfort, or fear. But positive life changes can cause stress, too. For example, deciding to lose weight with bariatric surgery can bring with it a level of uncertainty, insecurity, and vulnerability.

The good news is that stress can be managed. The key is to balance and manage stress to meet your personal needs.

Why is Stress Management So Important?

Feelings of stress trigger our primitive fight-or-flight response because our nervous system perceives a life-threatening situation. The problem occurs when our nervous system perceives dangers that aren’t life-threatening, like moving, work deadlines, or paying bills. This can be damaging both mentally and physically, as stress can cause or exacerbate digestive problems, headaches, body aches, heart disease, depression, anxiety, and problems with your memory and ability to focus. 

Learning how to manage stress doesn’t mean making stress go away. Instead, it’s a way of life that helps you regulate your reactions to keep your body healthy and strong. Managing stress involves creating good habits and healthy routines that help you stay balanced when you start to feel panic, anxiety, or nervousness. 

A Philosophy for Stress Management: the 4 As

The 4 A’s of stress management are: avoid, alter, adapt, and accept. But before you can use the 4 A’s, you need to identify the stressors in your life. Family, work, money, living conditions, and the state or direction of our country are typical stressors. Dig deep and look for how your behaviors and thoughts contribute to your own stress levels.

You may want to keep a log before making your list to identify stress patterns. Start tracking the cause of your stress, how it made you feel, how you responded, and what you did to feel better.

Once you’ve identified your stress patterns, it’s time to use the 4 A’s.


You may be surprised how many stressors can simply be eliminated. When your friend texts you with unnecessary drama, don’t answer the text and cut back on time spent with them. Turn off the news once in a while. Say no to things that don’t have to be done or that increase stress.


If avoiding a stressful situation isn’t possible, you may be able to alter it.

That drama-filled friend? Answer the text with a positive message and refuse to engage in negativity. Stay up-to-date on the news with a quick scan of the headlines. To free up more time, set tighter boundaries – I only have 10 minutes; what can we get done in that time?

Be proactive about building a balanced life with time for the things that matter. Learn to express your needs in a clear, calm manner and allow others to do the same.


When it isn’t possible to avoid or alter a stressor, it may help to adapt your expectations and perspective.

Take a step back and look at your friend’s drama as theirs, not yours. Before scanning the news headlines, remind yourself that the media uses shock to raise ratings. And your busy life? Try to find gratitude for having a life that includes friends, family, and others who need you.


When a stressor is out of your control, the best way to cope may be to just accept it for what it is. You cannot control the weather, the behavior of others, the death of loved ones, a diagnosis of severe disease, the economy, or war. Nothing is helped when we stress over things beyond our control. Only our physical and mental health suffers.

As you work to maintain a peaceful outlook amid a stressful situation, it may help to talk to someone about your feelings, forgive and let go of anger and resentments, look for any potential upside, and keep your focus on things you can control.

Ways to Manage Stress in Your Everyday Life

Stress shows up in a variety of ways, so stress management will be different for everyone. Try to find ways to incorporate as many of these stress management tips into your life as you can without stressing yourself out even further! Start small and look for ways to implement these strategies into regular habits.


Exercise is, in fact, one of the best ways to combat stress and improve your mood. It works by increasing blood flow, producing mood-boosting endorphins, helping you sleep better, clearing your mind of worries, and improving your overall health, fitness, and confidence. 

Set an exercise goal that works for you and then adjust it. Some simple exercises to try include walking, swimming, dancing, cycling, yoga, tai chi, or even gardening.


Meditation is a form of connecting with yourself and learning how to ignore distractions. You can start practicing meditation simply by paying attention to your breath for a few seconds. Learning how to meditate, and practicing it on a regular basis, can have positive long-term effects on your ability to manage stress by teaching you how to clear your mind.


Reduce the amount of processed foods you consume, as well as foods high in white sugar, carbohydrates, and fat. As much as possible, try to eat healthier foods such as fruits and vegetables, beans, fish, nuts, and seeds. 

Processed foods can lead to blood sugar spikes and subsequent crashes that ultimately increase cortisol production. Because cortisol is so directly related to stress, this can create a feedback loop that keeps you locked in a cycle of stress. Making more nutritious food choices can have a big impact on stress management.

Also, try mindful eating. Staying focused on your meal or snack — rather than eating while distracted (watching TV, using the computer, reading, etc) — can make a big difference. Because you’re paying closer attention to what you’re putting in your mouth and therefore eating more slowly, mindful eating can improve digestion.

It also helps you become more aware of your body’s signals, and you can be more in tune with when you’re full. Mindful eating is related to meditation, another technique for managing stress, because you’re focusing on what you’re eating and how it affects all of your senses.

Connecting with Others

Humans are social creatures. That’s why connecting with others is an important way to reduce stress. Make it part of your routine to reach out to family, friends, or anyone else with whom you feel a positive connection. Not only can they provide a stress-relieving distraction to give your mind a break, but they can make you laugh and generally improve your mood. 

Positive Self-Talk

Our dominant thoughts shape our emotions, perceptions, and behaviors.  When you see things positively and you look for the good in every situation and each person, your health and the quality of your life will improve. 

Fill your mind with uplifting ideas. Focus on your strengths. Forgive and comfort yourself when things go wrong. Let your self-talk be like the soothing, supportive words of a good friend. Once you are aware of your negative thoughts, you can replace them with neutral words rather than emotionally charged words.  “I am so angry that she did that, I just want to scream,” could be de-escalated to, “I am upset that she did that. It is unfortunate.”  The words you choose impact the emotions you feel.

The Connection Between Stress Management and Weight Loss

When you encounter a stressful situation, your body responds by activating a series of hormones to fight the stressor. These hormones include adrenalin, which gives you instant energy, and cortisol. Cortisol’s job is to replenish your body after the stress has passed, and can cause your appetite to increase. 

This system works well when the stressor promotes physical exertion because calories are burned. But when the stress is from non-physical situations, like trying to balance the checkbook or dealing with an angry customer, cortisol wants to replenish nutritional stores that were not used. To further complicate the matter, insulin levels also increase, creating the perfect conditions for your body to store fat.

So, stress makes your body think you used energy, even  when you didn’t. And it’s now telling you it’s hungry when it doesn’t need the food. Your body especially craves sugar to replenish the glucose it thinks it’s lost. If you give in to hunger, your body will likely store the calories as fat. After a while, too much cortisol slows down your metabolism, which makes it even harder to lose weight. That, in itself, can become a major source of stress.

For those who have had bariatric surgery, it’s especially important to find ways to manage stress, as it can prevent weight loss despite the surgery. Your body has just been through a tremendous change. Give yourself time to make the necessary adjustments your body needs to recover from surgery and adapt to your new way of life. Pain and waves of conflicting emotions only add to this stress. Your surgical after-care is critical and must include stress management techniques. 

At Barix, We Support Your Weight Loss Journey

The teams at Barix Clinics are here to provide you with all the support and care you need on your bariatric surgery journey. Our entire staff of doctors, nurses, and technicians are bariatric surgery specialists who focus on you as a person, not just a patient.

If you’ve tried every other weight loss technique out there and still have trouble losing weight, call Barix Clinic today at 734-547-4700 or fill out our simple online form to schedule a consultation. Our friendly team of experts is more than happy to discuss your weight loss options.

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Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM): What It Is & How to Prevent It

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) affects more than 37 million Americans, and it can be a serious condition if left untreated. Let’s take a closer look at some of the causes, symptoms to look out for, and how you can take care of yourself if you do develop T2DM.

What is Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM)?

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) — also known as type 2 diabetes, non-insulin-dependent diabetes, TDM, or T2D — is a long-term, chronic condition in which your body becomes unable to properly regulate sugar levels in the blood. This causes a wide range of unpleasant symptoms and, if left untreated, can lead to severe or even life-threatening complications.

When you eat, you ingest a type of sugar called glucose. As glucose moves through your body, your pancreas creates a hormone called insulin that regulates how much glucose is absorbed by your cells. When a healthy amount of glucose enters your cells, they can produce energy.

T2D occurs when your cells become resistant to insulin and are therefore unable to properly use it. In response, your pancreas produces more and more insulin to try to trigger the cells to do their job. Because of this insulin-resistance, the glucose you consume goes into your cells unregulated, and your glucose rises to unhealthy levels.

What Are the Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?

If you’re at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, it’s helpful to know what might be signs of symptoms of the condition. Some of the most common early symptoms of T2DM include:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Sudden and unexpected weight loss
  • Frequent urination
  • Constant hunger
  • Vision is or becomes blurry
  • Unusually slow healing of skin wounds
  • Excessively dry skin
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and/or feet
  • Frequent headaches
  • Bleeding gums
  • Darkened skin around the armpits and neck

Women who have T2D may also experience frequent yeast infections or urinary tract infections. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS, is also related to T2D. Women who have PCOS or a family history of PCOS are more likely to develop T2D.

Two symptoms particular to men with T2D include erectile dysfunction and decreased muscle mass. 

For children, they may show any of the above symptoms, but the most common are extreme thirst, chronic fatigue, blurry vision, and increased urination.

Some symptoms of diabetes may take years to appear, and some people may be completely asymptomatic. It’s important to get regular blood tests to monitor your glucose levels and determine if you’re at risk of developing diabetes.

What’s the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?

Both types of diabetes are caused by the body’s inability to regulate insulin. However, there are several important differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

With T1D, your pancreas is unable to make insulin. With T2D, your pancreas is able to make insulin, but your body is unable to use it correctly. People who have T1D need to take insulin, while people with T2D may or may not need to take insulin.


Type 1 diabetes is still sometimes called “juvenile diabetes” because it is most commonly diagnosed in children and teens. Type 2 diabetes can occur in children and teens, but has historically been called “adult-onset diabetes” because it is most commonly diagnosed in adults.


T1D is believed to be caused by an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own insulin-producing cells inside the pancreas. T1D tends to run in families. 

T2D, on the other hand, is caused by several factors. Some of these factors are related to lifestyle, while others are genetic. 

What is the Leading Cause of Type 2 Diabetes?

There are many known factors that could contribute to T2D:

  • Obesity, especially excessive belly fat
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Over 40 years old
  • High blood pressure
  • A history of gestational diabetes for those who have been pregnant
  • A history of giving birth to one or more babies weighing over 9 pounds
  • Low levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL)
  • A diet heavy in processed food and sugar
  • Being ethnically Black, Latinx, Native American, or AAPI
  • Having a 1st degree relative with T2DM (parent, sibling, or child)
  • Untreated pre-diabetes
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Stress

Exhibiting one or more of these risk factors isn’t automatically a sign that you have diabetes. Always ask your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your experiences or your lifestyle.

Of these factors, obesity is considered the leading cause of type 2 diabetes. 

How Does Obesity Cause Type 2 Diabetes?

Obesity by itself does not cause T2D, and not everyone who qualifies as obese will develop T2D. However, there are strong links between obesity and T2D. Obese adults may be up to ten times more likely to develop T2D than their non-obese peers.

Excess weight prevents your body’s cells from reacting to insulin properly. This leads to insulin resistance. When your body can’t properly use or react to insulin, too much sugar is left in the blood, and this excess can lead to the development of diabetes. Extra glucose is usually stored in the liver, but when someone carries too much weight, their fat cells prevent the liver from doing its job. The pancreas then works harder to make more insulin, which wears down the pancreas.

What Are the Possible Complications of Type 2 Diabetes?

Left untreated, type 2 diabetes can lead to an increased risk of heart disease or stroke, sexual dysfunction, miscarriage or stillbirth, nerve damage that may require amputation (especially in the feet), permanent eye damage, and chronic kidney disease. If continued to be left untreated, these T2D-related complications can cause premature death.

T2DM Treatment

While there is currently no cure for either type of diabetes, there are lifestyle changes and other treatments you can utilize to manage your T2DM. 

Monitor Your Blood Sugar

If you have been diagnosed with T2D (or even if you’re pre-diabetic), it’s crucial to regularly monitor your blood sugar levels so you can stay within your target range. Your doctor can help you determine this range, as well as what to do if your levels get too high.


Some types of diabetes require medication to help you maintain your target blood sugar levels. Depending on your initial diagnosis and glucose levels, your doctor may prescribe insulin to help your body manage blood sugar levels. Insulin may be prescribed as a first-step treatment, or if other medications, diet, and exercise aren’t helping.


Some exercise is better than no exercise, but aim for about 30 minutes at least 4 days a week. You don’t need to exercise for 30 minutes all at once. And you don’t need to strain yourself. A few brisk walks throughout your day can make a big difference. It’s worth noting that muscle cells use extra glucose more efficiently than fat cells and can help reduce high blood sugar levels.


Reduce the amount of processed food you eat. Limit your intake of carbohydrates and simple sugars. Avoiding sugary drinks and incorporating more low-fat dairy products, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts can help reduce your risk for diabetes, and they’re part of an overall healthy diet.

Plus, if you’re a coffee fan, you’re in luck. Drinking 2-3, 8 oz. cups of coffee per day can decrease your risk of diabetes by 11%

Find healthy recipes that are fun to make and delicious to eat so you’ll be more likely to stick with your diet.

Weight Management

The combination of a better diet and increased exercise should help you lose weight. Losing just 5-10% of your body weight can greatly improve your body’s ability to absorb insulin and manage your blood sugar levels. You’ll notice a decrease in your diabetes symptoms and you’ll reduce the risk of serious complications. Once you’ve lost a certain amount of weight, your doctor may even take you off medications.

If you’re having trouble losing weight on your own, you may consider bariatric surgery. It’s worth asking your doctor if you qualify. 

How Barix Can Guide You on Your Weight Loss Journey

While losing weight is one of the best ways to manage your type 2 diabetes mellitus, it’s not always easy. Even if you do lose weight, it might not be enough. That’s why the doctors at Barix Clinics are here to help! 

Bariatric surgery is a safe and effective way to lose weight and get control of your life. Over 50,000 patients have had successful bariatric surgery with Barix Clinics, including some who have improved their T2D! Barix Clinics are about more than surgery. The teams at Barix will help you make lifestyle and diet changes so you can live the life you deserve.

Contact Barix Clinics today for a consultation and to find out how our team of caring doctors can help you start your new life.

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Reflect, Appreciate, and Plan to Reach New Heights in 2023

The end-of-the-year transition allows us to reflect on and appreciate the past year. Then, with renewed enthusiasm and motivation, we can move into the New Year with purpose.   Although meaningful milestones happen throughout the year, establishing expectations and goals at the start sets the stage. After all, we don’t just want to move forward, but move forward to create the life we desire.

Download On Track with Barix: Reflect, Appreciate, and Plan to Reach New Heights in 2023

Reflect and Appreciate

Take time to reflect and appreciate the experiences of 2022.  You’ve likely acquired new knowledge and skills, developed good habits, and shed bad habits – positive changes that will set you up for future successes. It’s easy to appreciate those positive aspects of the past year.

On the flip side, sometimes you may have really blown it and missed the intended mark. If you can learn from those experiences, acknowledge the lessons learned rather than consider them unfavorable.

Reflection allows us to take note of what we have learned in the last year and apply it to the future –bringing the helpful parts and leaving behind those that are not.

 Prompts to Guide Your Reflection

The past year may seem like a blur. After all, it’s hard to remember what you ate yesterday, much less the past year’s events. To get those brain cells firing, flip through your planner/calendar and the pictures on your phone. And then, as you think through the events of the year, use these prompts to guide your reflection:

  • What experiences did I love?
  • What were my big wins?
  • I was most grateful for what (or who)?
  • Did I develop any new friendships?
  • Which people were most important in my life?
  • When did I reach out to help someone else with acts of kindness, generosity, and compassion?
  • What were the biggest surprises?
  • Did my priorities change?
  • When did I step out of my comfort zone, overcome temptations, or fight back against self-doubt?
  • What was my favorite music?
  • What were my biggest challenges?
  • What was my biggest fear?
  • When did I mess up completely? What did I learn from those experiences?
  • What goals did I achieve?
  • Which goals did I start but not complete?
  • What would I change about the past year?
  • What did I focus on the most?
  • In what ways did I grow?
  • What didn’t I do that I really wanted to do this year?
  • Did I stick with positive habits?
  • What negative behaviors popped up?


As you plan for 2023, start with an overall broad vision. Use these questions to help you envision how your days will look and what it will take to make this a fulfilling year.

  • How can I spend more time on the things that bring me the most joy?
  • What is most valuable to me?
  • If I knew I could not fail, what would you try?
  • What would I like to learn?
  • How would I like my life to change?
  • What does success in 2023 mean to me?
  • What challenge would I like to overcome?
  • Is there anything I would like to change myself?
  • What healthy habits would I like to make part of my daily life?
  • I would like to spend more time with which people?
  • What is holding me back, and what do I need to do to get out of my comfort zone?
  • What can I let go of that is not serving me?
  • What most excites me?
  • What do I need each day to feel my best – healthy food, good sleep, physical activity, and downtime?

Goal Setting

After you have an overall vision for next year, set specific goals to help make that vision a reality.

Create Goals for Different Aspects of Your Life

Set one or two goals in each vital area of your life. You may want to include goals regarding finances, relationships, health and fitness, vacations, free time, home improvements, and spiritual life.

Write Your Goals Down

Post your list of goals in a place where you will see them regularly. That way, you can review your progress and stay on track.

Set Realistic Goals

Break a large goal into several smaller goals that seem easy to reach. You’ll get a sense of satisfaction and boost your motivation to keep going.

Measure Your Progress

Write your goals so you can measure your progress throughout the year. Instead of setting a general plan to increase savings, set a goal to deposit $50 weekly into a specific savings account.  Instead of spending more time with friends, set a goal to plan a get-together once a week.

Plan Rewards

In addition to the intrinsic rewards that come with a sense of accomplishment, build in some fun extrinsic rewards. When you’ve completed that home improvement project on your list, get a sweet new rug for your office space. Once you’ve worked out consistently for four weeks in a row, buy a fun t-shirt. Little rewards help you to celebrate your accomplishments.

Starting a new year is always a little exciting. Full of possibilities, you can turn the page and make a fresh start. By reflecting, appreciating, and planning, you can reach new heights by intentionally creating the life you’d like to live.

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Take These Steps to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

It’s no surprise that following healthy habits is especially challenging this time of year. Holiday treats pop up everywhere – the breakroom, gatherings with friends and family, work parties, and cookie swaps. How do you avoid holiday weight gain with so much temptation? Here is the answer – you need a plan to stay in control of your eating and stay on track with healthy lifestyle habits.

Download On Track with Barix: Take These Steps to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain 

How to Plan for Success

A plan to have a free-for-all during the holidays and start back on your eating/exercise plan in January is sure to result in weight gain. Instead, set limits and stick to your goals. Avoid, limit, and replace foods and habits that don’t align with your goals. Starting 2023, a little leaner, more capable, and more confident will be great.

Your plan should take into account past struggles. For example, suppose you tend to stress over shopping. In that case, you may want to consider shopping ahead of time and simplifying your list. Maybe your struggle is the constant barrage of sweet treats – have no-added-sugar treats available to enjoy.

Before the bustle becomes full-blown, make a plan and a goal to make it to January without an extra pound gained. Below are some typical struggles encountered over the holidays and potential strategies to navigate them successfully.

Keep Stress at Bay

The holidays can be stressful. It’s worth thinking through this potential pitfall of the holidays since stress increases hormones related to cravings for junk food and weight gain.

To manage stress, you may plan to simplify holiday preparations, gift-giving, and celebrations. Other strategies could include the following:

  • Keep up with exercise
  • Add a few minutes of meditation or deep breathing.
  • Making time for self-care.

Physical Activity is a Must

It’s tempting to ditch your regular exercise routine when so many activities are vying for your attention. Exercise helps to relieve stress, increases metabolism, boosts mood, and helps you feel energetic – do you want to give that up? When time is at a premium, see if you can multitask:

  • Walk on the treadmill while watching the Holiday Channel.
  • Take the kids sledding (and maybe skip the cookie decorating).
  • Get your friends to sign up for a holiday fitness event instead of going out for drinks.

Remember that every step counts if you’re shooting for 10,000 steps a day,. Work to build in steps throughout the day.

Meal Prep Makes Daily Life Easier

Take the time meal to plan, prep, and stock up on healthy options. If you have healthy choices that you enjoy available, it will be much easier to limit or avoid foods that don’t fit into your plan. Buy foods in individual servings or prep and package to save time.

Keep Your Eating and Drinking Schedule

It’s easy to skip meals and snacks, but staying on schedule will help you make better food choices.

Eat foods in order. Start with protein. Next, eat vegetables, followed by a small amount of fruit or whole grain. Finally, if you want a little treat, make it no-added-sugar. Holiday meals can be high in simple carbs – you’ll naturally limit them if you prioritize protein and veggies.

Drink calorie-free beverages between meals.

Practice Avoidance

  • If the breakroom is always filled with treats, find another place to eat your lunch.
  • Don’t have holiday treats in your home – your family will have many opportunities to eat them elsewhere.
  • Hang out far away from the food/dessert table at a party.

Share Healthy Foods

  • Bring a healthy dish and a no-added-sugar treat to share. This way, you’re assured there will be something to eat that aligns with your lifestyle.
  • You’ll have some favorites to rely on if you try out recipes now.

Don’t Skimp on Sleep

A lack of sleep can thwart your weight loss efforts in several ways.

  • Increased appetite.
  • More cravings for simple carbs.
  • Less likely to exercise.
  • Lowered metabolism.

Be Accountable

  • Weigh yourself regularly. Whatever works for you – once a day or once a week.
  • Track food and exercise – if you can’t squeeze it in daily, then three times a week.
  • Share your plan with a friend, family member, or accountability partner. Other weight loss surgery patients work great for this role.

Enjoy Non-Food Ways to Celebrate

The holidays are a time for celebration. Talk to friends and family about starting new traditions that don’t involve food. You could attend holiday concerts or shows, volunteer, make crafts (instead of cookies), attend church services, play games, or have a holiday exercise competition.

Find Joy While You Stay True to Healthy Habits  

It can be challenging to stay true to healthy habits over the holidays. You may feel that people expect you to bake cookies, drink eggnog, or splurge and eat larger portions or foods you usually avoid. Staying true to healthy habits is staying true to the #1 reason you had surgery in the first place.

Reach Out for Support

What works well for one may not work for you. If you get off track, don’t let it completely derail you. Reach out if you need to – your Barix team is here to support you as you reach your dreams and goals. Making it to January without weight gain may not be easy, but it is possible. We’re here to help.

Have a Joyful Holiday Season

Having a plan can help you feel in control. It can help you relax and enjoy the people and activities that make the holidays special. We at Barix wish you and your family the best as you learn new ways to find joy and meaning this holiday season.

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