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Here’s the deal, most of us have been eating TOO MUCH during this time of worry. If we would have known how long this was going to last for, we could have put some concrete plans in place and avoided eating poorly, sleeping poorly, and just generally treating our bodies badly.  Don’t even get me started with our alcohol consumption.
Most of us are still in a lockdown phase. Let’s get this eating thing right before we allow these 6 extra pounds to become a part of our bodies for good. 
Isolation and quarantine have become a new normal for a lot of us. The more time we spend indoors, the more time we spend at open doors (like the fridge). We snack more often when we work from home. That’s because we have easier access to the kitchen and the pantry.
As more homes double as offices, practicing social distancing from the fridge has become food for thought. Remembering your old routines can help put off the dreaded “quarantine 19 (pounds)”!
Following a schedule as if you are going to your “actual” office, can help to prevent weight gain.
Big changes in life can often “weigh” on us. The freshman 15 is a lesson college students learn when they are left to their own devices. And while adults may not be binging on Mac and Cheese and Ramen noodles, we ARE pushing it to the EXTREME.
But while it’s tempting to “dip into the treat cupboard”, or bake up a storm (I AM GUILTY OF THIS)… it could lead to some regret down the road. Emotions often run high in times of stress, and that can lead to unwanted binging. And with no certainty as to when this will end, there may not be a rush to get that summer body. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t practice “safe snacking”. 
We need to find that delicate balance of our “need to feel normal”, without overindulging. 
Let’s also start to “move our bodies” and create an exercise plan if we haven’t done that already. Please remember that we are moving our bodies not to lose weight but we are moving our bodies for good mental and physical health. My other favorite expression is: Exercise Consistency ALWAYS Trumps Intensity. I don’t want you beating yourself up for 3 hours. I want you CONSTANTLY doing 20 to 30 minutes of exercise. Your mind and body will thank you. Once you make this a habit, life gets good, really good.
What about the food part? What kind of menu will this consist of? Here goes … This is the plan …
We are going to follow a high fiber diet. This means loads of green stuff. We are going to eat lean protein. We are going to eat small amounts of healthy fat. We are going to repeat 3 days to not get bored with the food but also not to get too darn complicated. This also saves money and food waste.
If you don’t like something on the guidelines, switch it out for something that you do like.
We can drink water, coffee or tea.
We can use artificial sweeteners but just a bit – I prefer stevia or monk fruit.
We are going to exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes a day – preferably 30.
We need to work on our sleep habits and aim for 8 hours a night.
We are going to incorporate a bit of Intermittent Fasting into our daily routine.
Record your weight on day 1 and then again on day 6 in the morning.
Send me your results!!!
Note: Regarding Intermittent Fasting – if my “personal hours” do not work for you due to work etc, then switch them up to suit your lifestyle. I start eating at noon because it fits into my lifestyle. I get my coffee in the morning and then I work out BEFORE I eat. If you prefer to switch this up, perfect. You can always start to eat earlier and do your workout in the afternoon. Remember, there are no hard and fast rules for intermittent fasting. You need to incorporate it in a way that suits your lifestyle.
Coffee with Stevia (1 to 1.5 cups)
Water with a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar
More water….
Intermittent Fasting until Noon 
Noon to 5 pm  Homemade Vegetable Soup. 
My soup includes 8 cups of veggie stock, cabbage, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts.
I always add hot sauce and a dollop of greek yogurt when I serve it. You can make your veggie soup with whatever vegetables you like. I eat a few bowls of this soup between noon and 5 pm. If I am hungry, I eat more. If I am not hungry, I eat less. 
5 to 6 pm – Chicken Salad
My chicken salads include grilled chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers, arugula, and I add a yogurt dressing. You can purchase it or you can make it. If I make it I use greek yogurt and a package (Ranch) that I add for flavoring. Another one of my favorite salad dressings is avocado oil with apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper.
8 pm to 9 pm – optional “Sheri’s Shake”
If I am “snacky” I am going to make a shake. My shake consists of greek yogurt, a handful of frozen or fresh berries, stevia for sweetness, and 1/2 a cup of whole milk or almond milk. I make it nice and thick. It is super satisfying. 
Day 2
Repeat Day 1 – make extra soup and extra grilled chicken to be able to just repeat day one. I hate food waste and I hate complicated menus so let’s keep this simple. 
Day 3
Intermittent Fasting until Noon 
Noon to 5 pm – Veggie omelet.
Saute your favorite veggies. I use mushrooms, tomatoes, jalapeños. Beat two eggs and add to the veggies. If you don’t like my veggies, add the ones you like the most. You can make a larger omelet and eat on two separate occasions.
5 to 6 pm – Small steak with green beans.
I will use a small filet mignon and cut it in half – the size of your steak will depend on how far post-op you are. The rest of the plate I will fill with green beans and on top of the beans, I add a pat of butter and salt/ pepper. 
8 pm to 9 pm – optional “Cottage Berry Whip”.
The recipe I will use is: 1/2 cup of cottage cheese with 1/2 a cup of frozen berries and a touch of stevia and vanilla .. in the food processor and blend well. If you hate cottage cheese, then switch to greek yogurt instead.
Day 4
Repeat Day 3 – make the omelet again, eat it in one or two parts during the day. Take the leftover steak and cook it with your favorite veggie.
Day 5
Intermittent Fasting until Noon 
Noon to 5 pm – 5 ounces of salmon with a side of cauliflower rice.
You can bake or grill your salmon. I top mine with salt and pepper and capers before baking or grilling it. The cauliflower rice I prepare in the food processor and then into the pan with a touch of butter, salt, and pepper. It is done in about 5 minutes.
5 to 6 pm – Cauliflower fried rice.
I make extra cauliflower rice at noon and then to it I add peas, carrots, and scrambled eggs. I add a dash of soya sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seeds for a very pretty dish.
8 pm to 9 pm – optional “Pumpkin Cheesecake Cottage Whip”
Mix 1/2 a cup of cottage cheese with 1/2 a cup of canned pure pumpkin and stevia for more sweetness. Blend all ingredients until they are smooth and chill. You can add a sprinkle of walnuts for a little crunch. If you don’t like cottage cheese, you can switch it for greek yogurt.
Healthy Hugs xoxo

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

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