The Ultimate Guide to Weight Loss in Denver

About Dr. Joshua Long

As a nationally renowned and double-board-certified Denver bariatric surgeon, my practice has been helping patients to lose weight and keep it off for years, both surgically and non-surgically. I put together this in-depth guide to help people in their struggle with their weight.

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Dr. Joshua Long


Dr. Joshua Long

Are you struggling to lose weight and keep it off?

You’re not alone. Tragically, 1 in 2 Coloradans suffer from being overweight.

That’s why we built this guide. You’ll learn:

  • The psychology of weight loss (including why most diets fail)
  • How to diet while busy
  • How to eat out without wrecking your diet
  • And lots more

If you want to lose weight and keep it off, the strategies and resources in this guide can help. Let’s get started.

Your Ultimate Guide to Losing Weight and Keeping It Off

From delicious recipes to fun workouts, we’ve got you covered!


Choosing the right weight-loss diet


The Psychology of Weight Loss

Why are we starting with the psychology of weight loss? Because this is where most people who want to lose weight get stuck. They diet and exercise like champions…for a month. But then they miss a workout, or give in and eat that chocolate cake, and suddenly they’re off the wagon.

Let’s take John as an example. For a month, John diets like a champion: no candy, no soda, no potato chips or empty carbs. But after a month, his willpower’s depleted, and he gives in and eats a slice of chocolate cheesecake. That in itself wouldn’t be a huge problem, but now he’s down on himself and he cheats on his diet again. And again. And in a week or two, all of his hard work has been undone.

Weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. To win the race and reach your ideal weight and stay there, you have to be kind to yourself and set achievable goals. You need to set easy-to-hit milestones and reward yourself for staying on track. You need to recognize that some days you’ll slip up, and build that into your plan ahead of time.

Don’t worry. With the resources below, we’ll show you how to:

Surround yourself with people who want to lose weight.

As humans, we’re social creatures. In fact, psychologists note that we’re the average of the 5 people we interact with the most.

The fact is that habits are contagious. If the people you spend every day with never manage to get to the gym, then odds are you won’t either. If the people you spend every day with go out for drinks and dessert after work, then you’ll be hard-pressed not to join them.

Here’s the good news: bad habits are contagious, but so are good habits. If your peer group does yoga 4 times per week, then you’ll be more motivated to not skip your own yoga session. If your peer group eats apples instead of Snickers when they need something sweet, you’ll find it easier to do the same.

So if you want to lose weight, go out and find people who are as serious as you are. 

  • Go to health-focused meetups. 
  • Attend healthy cooking classes. 
  • Sign up for a 5k. Even if you just walk it, you’ll be rubbing shoulders with other people who are serious about their health.

Don’t let shame be your motivator (it doesn’t work!)

Lots of people who suffer from being overweight are intensely self-critical, and often the urge to diet flows from this motivation. “I’m not thin enough,” “I want to be more athletic,” and “I look unattractive in a swimsuit” are common internal scripts that people tell themselves when dieting.

But if your motivation is self-critical, then you’re starting with one hand tied behind your back. Writing in Psychology Today, counselor David Bedwick notes that we, “Naturally resist shame and self-hatred, and also subconsciously resist and undermine diets that flow from this motivation.”

If you’re constantly beating yourself up for not losing weight fast enough, then subconsciously you’re going to want to give up sooner to escape that daily mental beating.

Try this instead: when you’re trying to lose weight, start from a foundation of understanding your value. Then run towards your goal rather than away from what you don’t want.

Not: “I’m ashamed of my body and I hate that I broke my diet this week.”

Yes: “I stuck to my diet 6 days out of 7 this week, and that’s pretty good. I’m proud of myself. I have value independent of my weight and I already love some things about my appearance, like the color of my eyes; and I can’t wait to see how great I’ll look next summer.”

Set Achievable Micro-Goals to Stay On Track

“If you set out to cut sugar out of your diet and lose 40 pounds, then that’s laudable. But it’s also a huge goal, and you need to break it down into manageable pieces so that you don’t get discouraged.”

If you want to cut sugar out of your diet, for instance, start by replacing your daily Coke with a bottle of water. That’s an achievable first step. And once you take that first step, you’ll feel proud of yourself. That pride and sense of accomplishment are powerful motivators (much more powerful than shame) and will carry you onto the next step.

The same is true if you want to exercise more. Don’t start by committing to an hour of hard exercise per day. You’ll run yourself into the ground that way. Instead, set a micro-goal of 10 minutes of daily exercise. After you meet each daily micro-goal, make sure to lean into that sense of pride and accomplishment that you’ve earned when stepping up to your next goal.

Over time, you can build to more aggressive goals. If you want to cut out sugar, you can progress to eliminating candy, then desserts from restaurants, until finally you consistently don’t eat any sugar. But start with a micro-goal that you know you can achieve. 

Analyze Mistakes Scientifically, Instead of Saying “I quit”

The fact is that we’re human, and some days we’ll make mistakes. You can stick to your new diet for 29 days, but on the 30th day you give in and eat that chocolate cheesecake.

That’s not ideal, but it’s normal. What you do after a mistake will determine whether or not you’re successful at losing weight long-term.

Lots of people, when they make a mistake, say, “Forget it–I screwed up once, I may as well stop trying.” This is actually a psychological thought distortion, called “all or none thinking.” Psychologists found that when dieters believe that they’ve already broken their diet, they’re much more likely indulge in sweets like cookies. This is why many dieters will break their diet once, and then immediately break it multiple more times.

What’s more effective than saying, “Ah, forget it?” Behavioral psychology expert Ramit Sethi says that when he messed up, he would analyze his mistakes scientifically and determine the root cause of why he made a mistake. Then he would put together a plan to fix the root cause. 

That scientific analysis would prevent the shame-spiral that leads to “all or none thinking.”

So when you do make a mistake, whether it’s missing a workout or eating that slice of cheesecake, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, analyze why the mistake happened—make an appropriate adjustment—and then get back on the wagon so that it doesn’t happen again.


Boosting your metabolism to lose weight


Boosting Your Metabolism: The Hidden Secret to Weight Loss

Anyone who has struggled to lose weight knows one thing: it is not as simple as calories in versus calories out. Dieters also realize that most diets will not work for everyone. Experts who tout the paleo diet, vegetarian diet, keto diet, or any other diet as “right for everyone” are overselling these diets, because almost no diet will work perfectly and without modification for every individual.

These simplistic approaches are missing something: psychology. Researchers are finding that it is not only what we eat, but how we feel, our beliefs, and our motivations that can shape our weight loss success long term. 

Kill Your Stress and Relax to Burn More Fat

One of the most influential non-diet aspects of weight loss is stress. When you feel stressed – whether from a demanding job, an illness, or another failed diet – the levels of our stress hormone cortisol skyrocket. 

Chronically high cortisol levels have been implicated in difficulties losing weight. Not only is it hard to stay motivated when you’re feeling anxious and stressed, but cortisol levels lead to physiological changes that harm weight loss potential. 

Elevated cortisol levels tell your brain and body that you are in danger. Because of our hardwired survival mechanism, in times of stress your body works hard to safeguard its fat stores. Simultaneously, when you do eat, your body will attempt to convert as much of that food to stored fat as possible. 

Here’s what this ultimately means. Stress can slow down your metabolism because stress tells your body to safeguard its nutrient stores. 

Every day, work to reduce stress. This can be as simple as not checking work emails from home and spending more time with friends and family that relax you. You can also add in stress-busting activities. Quiet time, getting adequate sleep, meditation, and exercise are particularly beneficial for stress relief.

Drink Plenty of Water to Kick-Start Your Metabolism

Many of us don’t get the water that we need during a busy day. Between taking the kids to school, long hours of work, errands, and other responsibilities, it can be tough to keep hydration on your mind. 

What many people don’t know is that missing those cups of water is bad for your metabolism. Studies show that dehydration slows your metabolism. This means that not drinking water can stall, or even reverse, weight loss progress. 

Drinking enough water throughout the day also makes you less likely to indulge in calorie-rich beverages. When you are dehydrated, you are going to have an urge to drink. Often times, this leads to replacing water with sugar-filled or synthetic-chemical-laden sodas, juices, and other processed drinks. It can be hard to opt for a bottle of water when a Big Gulp of Coke is less expensive and tastier. 

Lastly, studies suggest that drinking water before a meal reduces your likelihood of overeating. By drinking two glasses of water before every meal, you will be less likely to indulge in that dessert. 

To ensure that you drink enough water, follow these simple tips. 

  1. Have a water bottle with you when you leave the house
  2. Keep a large bottle of water with you at your desk at work
  3. Keep an extra water bottle in your car, weather permitting
  4. Drink 1-2 glasses of water at least 30-60 minutes before each meal
  5. Drink a glass of water between meals whenever you feel hungry or thirsty

Try Smaller, Frequent Meals So Your Metabolism’s Always Working 

Disclaimer: this does not work well for all metabolic types and can lead to weight gain for some people. It is very important when using this technique to avoid grazing and to plan preset meal times and portions.

Everyone knows the importance of what they eat, but few understand the influence that when and how you eat have on your metabolism and your health.

Some people will better control their hunger and calorie intake when nourishing their body with small, frequent meals throughout the day. This means that skipping breakfast and eating sleep-inducing lunches and dinners is not the way to reach your wellness goals.

Our bodies have three sources of fuel: carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Our bodies first turn to carbs for their energy needs. In fact there are several organs and body systems that only function optimally when healthy carbohydrates are used. There are high levels of carbohydratess available shortly after you eat, and your body stores a small quantity of carbs for use in between meals. Stored fat is the fuel that our bodies use for energy only when there are no carbs available. It is when we “burn” stored fat, aka use fat for energy production, that we lose weight.

The cells in our bodies must know which fuel source to use and when. When they do this correctly, our blood sugar levels stay where they should. But when we eat far too much food at once, our cells can become confused. This results in cellular damage, metabolic dysfunction, and the progression of diabetes.

To protect your cells and your metabolism, eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. If you do happen to eat an oversized meal, move around or go for a walk afterwards. Exercise can help to burn through the excess fuel, protecting your cells. 

Alternatively, Try Intermittent Fasting to Optimize Your Weight Loss Hormone Profile

Disclaimer: this does not work well for all metabolic types and may not produce effective weight loss for some people.

Research does indicate that when used appropriately, intermittent fasting can lead to weight loss and improvement of some metabolic conditions like diabetes. Most commonly people practice intermittent fasting by condensing a limited number of meals into a shorter time frame over a 24 hour cycle and then fasting over the remainder of the time. Common ratios include fasting for 16 hours and then eating for 8 hours (or 8:16) or fasting for 18 hours and eating for 6 hours (or 6:18). Using either approach, two meals are commonly used although sometimes a person will include a small third meal or snack.

One reason that intermittent fasting seems to work is that insulin levels are generally lowered throughout the course of the day. Insulin is the body’s hormone that promotes the uptake and storage of dietary sugars, and it promotes weight gain. Conversely, when insulin levels fall, growth hormone levels rise. Growth hormone is the body’s signal to increase lean body mass and burn fat. Therefore the most common hormone profile that may be preventing weight loss and moving you toward diabetes can be reversed through intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting generally should not be utilized by highly active people such as construction workers or athletes. It also should be avoided during times of significant physiological stress such as surgery.

Maintaining normal portions and making good food choices is still very important with intermittent fasting. Because it generally leads to a reduction in meal number over a 24 hour cycle this is an alternate approach to smaller, more frequent meals.


Choosing the right weight-loss diet


Losing Weight With the Right Diet

With so many diets out there giving conflicting advice, it’s tough to know where to turn. The truth is, the right diet just gives you a few key rules: eat plenty of plants, get healthy protein, and avoid too many processed foods. As Michael Pollan, author of several books on nutrition, says, “eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

Eat Plenty of Plants to Look and Feel Better Than Ever

There are several reasons to eat more plants. First, processed foods are harder on your body. They’re also often loaded with preservatives and sugars that make them less healthy than plant-based foods.

Additionally, most processed foods, from bread to cereal, have artificial sweeteners and added fat to improve the taste. Most breads, for instance, come loaded with high fructose corn syrup. This is bad for your body. Enriched flour, which functions similarly to sugar in the digestive tract, is also a bad thing to put into your body.

By contrast, plants tend to be both low in fat and added sugars, and packed with nutrients. Processed foods are especially low in micronutrients, and this is one reason that people who eat a typically high-fat high-sugar Western diet end up having health problems. Plants contain a full spectrum of micronutrients to fortify your body.

A plant-based diet is natural, affordable, and very healthy. Plant-based diets are also richly packed with phytochemicals and other micronutrients. These are typically absent from refined foods like bread, but are essential to fortifying the body, helping you stay healthy, and reducing your risk of serious illness.

Over 5000 phytochemicals have been studied, and many have been linked to cancer risk reduction and even reversal of some auto-immune diseases.

This diet also reduces harmful toxins known as TMAOs produced by animal sources of protein. If you are interested in losing weight and reducing your risk of heart disease and cancer, then this may be the diet philosophy that you want to consider further.

Can a High Protein Diet Help Me Lose Weight?

A study by the National Institutes of Health found that a high-protein low-calorie diet can be effective for weight loss for some metabolic types. Can eating protein help you lose weight?

  1. Protein can promote satiety initially for some people

When you eat protein, you feel full faster and for longer. A meal of salmon and quinoa, for instance, will leave you feeling full longer than getting those same calories in the form of chocolate cake and garlic bread. That may help to prevent overeating and snacking. For some this approach may make cutting calories and sticking to a diet easier. However, diets that are high in fiber may have an even better impact on satiety while contributing very few if any absorbable calories.

Thermogenesis is the process of producing heat by burning calories. After you exercise, for instance, your muscles feel warmer because they’re physically producing heat. Thermogenesis can produce weight loss because it means your body is burning more calories. Every calorie that your body burns heating up is a calorie that isn’t stored in the form of fat.

Some studies suggest that eating a diet with more complex carbohydrates and protein and lower in fat encourages thermogenesis, which may help with weight loss. However, eliminating carbohydrates using a protein-only diet, as many mistakenly assume, does not necessarily increase thermogenesis and can be harmful to many organ systems in the body.

When you’re dieting, you want to make sure that you’re getting enough protein to support lean muscle. When you lose weight your body may start shedding lean muscle mass as it loses weight. This is counterproductive because lean muscle actually facilitates weight loss. Getting enough protein, in combination with frequent resistance exercise, may help you preserve your lean muscle mass while you lose weight. However, it is important to keep in mind that eating too much protein will prevent weight loss. Your body can use protein as a calorie source as well. Also, exercise performance can be significantly impaired by consuming too much protein and not enough carbohydrates because your muscles function best when fueled by complex carbohydrates.

A high fiber diet may be more effective than an excessively high protein diet.

Avoid Refined Sugars (They’re Really Bad For You!)

Studies show that a diet high in refined sugar (not the kind found in fruit) makes you more vulnerable to heart disease, obesity, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes. Why?

One issue is that when you eat refined sugar it passes rapidly into your bloodstream. That causes a spike in blood sugar that your pancreas tries to counteract by releasing insulin. Excess insulin production turns sugar into glycogen for later use and causes fat cells to sequester excess energy as fat. Excess sugar and insulin also depress growth hormone levels, which normally serve to promote lean body mass.

Unfortunately, human beings have a limited ability to store glycogen, and excess glycogen is converted to fat for storage. In addition to weight gain, this process can also lead to chronic inflammation and even Type 2 diabetes.

Processed sugars also represent empty calories. A 20 oz bottle of Mountain Dew has 290 calories, but drinking a Mountain Dew won’t fill you up the same way that 290 calories of unrefined high fiber food will. It’s very easy to eat or drink hundreds of calories per day of processed sugars without feeling any fuller.

Finally, sugar is addictive. Eating processed sugar releases dopamine in the brain (nicknamed the “Feel-good hormone” because its release is pleasurable), sending signals to your brain that you should eat more sugar.

When you give up processed sugar, you’ll likely find that over time you consume fewer calories and crave sugar less.

The Secret Most People Don’t Know: Avoid Processed Carbs

If you give up processed carbs–white bread, bagels, pasta, muffins, scones, chips, sweets, soda and sweetened drinks–you’ll probably look and feel much better. Why?

Refined carbohydrates are processed in your body just like sugar. That means that when you eat more carbohydrates, your body produces more insulin. Unfortunately, insulin is a fat storage hormone. The more insulin that circulates in your bloodstream, the more your body will convert the carbohydrates into fat and store them as excess weight.

Eating refined carbohydrates also tends to make us more hungry, rather than satiating us the way fiber, protein, or healthy fats do. That means that reducing refined carbohydrates, many of which are just empty calories stripped of their nutritional value (think white bread), can actually help curb your appetite and make weight loss easier. So, consider exchanging your refined carbohydrates for some unrefined high fiber whole grains.


Dieting for weight loss when you're busy


How to Eat Healthy Even When You’re Busy

Dieting seems like it would be so much easier if you didn’t have to work and had nothing but free time. But how do you eat healthy when you’re getting home late and just want to go to bed, or you’re running out the door and feel like you don’t have time for a real (healthy) meal?

Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.

Quickly Prep Healthy Meals For the Whole Week

Many people break their diet because they didn’t plan ahead. Lunch comes around, their stomach’s rumbling, and they don’t have a healthy lunch prepared; so they cave and eat at McDonalds for lunch.

By planning ahead, you can actually cook a full week’s worth of healthy meals in just a few hours. That way when you’re hungry, you’ll have nutritious food on hand and you won’t be tempted to eat out.

But cooking takes a lot of time. How do you cook every single meal when you’re busy working or taking care of kids?

You cook all your meals for the week at once.

Step 1: make a meal plan for the week. Sit down on Sunday morning and figure out what you’re going to eat this coming week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Rack up the bonus points if you’re comfortable eating the same meal on multiple days.

Step 2: go grocery shopping and buy all the ingredients you’ll need for the week. This is much easier than going grocery shopping every time you want to cook. Imagine only having to go to King Soopers once per week, instead of needing to make short little trips each time you want to cook a meal.

Step 3: carve out 2-3 hours on Sunday afternoon to prepare your food. Then put each meal in a tupperware and refrigerate it. Every day for the whole week, you’ll have healthy, nutritious meals at your fingertips!

The beauty of doing all of your cooking at once is that it’s much faster than cooking every single day. You’ll only have to get all your pots and pans and utensils out once, heat the oven or stove up once, and clean everything up once.

Stock Up On Healthy Snacks to Avoid the ‘Busy Binge’

This dovetails perfectly with the last tip. Because we’re so busy, we naturally eat what’s readily available. If you open your fridge to make dinner and junk food tumbles out, your dinner is unlikely to be healthy. But if you open your fridge and see salads and fruits and lean meat, you’re well on your way to a healthy meal.

How do you avoid the ‘busy binge’ of eating junk food because it’s quick and easy?

  1. Clear the junk food out of your fridge (and cabinets!). Throw it away. Then when you’re looking for a snack, you won’t have oreos and Mountain Dew at your fingertips.
  1. Stock your fridge with healthy food. A great way to do this is to make 21 healthy meals (3 per day, for the whole week) every Sunday evening. Every time you open your fridge, your easiest options will be fruits and vegetables and healthy lean proteins.

Get Your Energy Naturally, Not From Sugar or Coffee

Most of us feel that we need coffee or sugar to stay energized. According to one poll, 56 percent of women rely on coffee to rise and shine in the morning. But even straight black coffee can have negative side effects. And of course, most of us like our coffee with calorie-rich cream and sugar.

Luckily, there are more healthy ways to wake up energized and stay alert. Focus on getting a solid 7-8 hours of sleep every night. You’ll naturally wake up more refreshed. Drink plenty of water—dehydration can leave you feeling drowsy. Eating a breakfast rich in complex carbohydrates and protein can also give you plenty of energy for the day. Finally, eating more plants can replete many of the more than 5,000 essential micronutrients that most of us are deficient in. We can’t get most of these nutrients in any vitamin, and deficiencies lead to decreased energy and fatigue. The first noticeable side-effect many people experience when moving to a plant based whole foods diet is feeling not only more energy, but more sustained energy.

These tips won’t just help you avoid coffee and sugar—they’ll also give you more energy to hit the gym.


Eating superfoods to lose weight


Losing Weight By Eating Superfoods

From yogurt to almonds, eating some foods can actually help you lose weight. Here’s how to pack your diet with delicious superfoods that can increase your metabolism and make you look and feel better than ever.

15 Amazing Superfoods For Weight Loss

These superfoods can make you healthier and promote weight loss:

  1. Dark leafy greens
  2. Berries
  3. Watermelon
  4. Mangosteen
  5. Chia seeds 
  6. Legumes
  7. Nuts and seeds
  8. Garlic
  9. Ginger
  10. Tumeric
  11. Flax
  12. Avocado
  13. Sweet potato
  14. Mushrooms
  15. Seaweed 

Delicious Superfood Breakfasts

How do you incorporate the above 16 superfoods (and others!) into your diet? Try these delicious breakfasts, packed with superfoods to help fortify your body, improve your health, and facilitate weight loss (click the link for full recipes, although note that in some cases we’ve adapted the below meals to be even more healthy!):

  1. Granola with goji berries and strawberries
  2. Avocado toast with nori mix
  3. Watermelon salad sprinkled with coconut and chia seeds
  4. Scrambled tofu with baby spinach and shallot
  5. Frozen acai bowl topped with kiwi and ground flax
  6.  Kale, green apple, and mangosteen smoothie
  7. Coconut butter spread with cocoa powder, almonds and honey
  8. Steel-cut oats with cocoa nibs and almond butter
  9. Guava smoothie with chia seeds

Healthy Superfood Snacks

If you’re trying to lose weight, ideally you shouldn’t snack. Instead, stick to 3 healthy meals per day.

However, if you know that you need to snack, it’s better to reach for a superfood snack like Lemon-avocado raw kale salad than a handful of pretzels.  Here are 5 amazing superfood snacks (click the link for full recipes!):

  1. Chocolate-chia energy bites

Chia seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which help with brain health. They’re also slow to digest, which helps you feel full longer.

Kale contains carotenoids and flavonoids that can help prevent cancer, and kale also helps lower cholesterol.

White beans offer lots of fiber and protein, giving you energy and keeping you full longer.

Beets are full of phytonutrients, which act as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Beets may help lower the risk of heart disease.

Spinach is rich in vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin K which promotes healthy bones.


Healthy Weight Loss Recipes


Delicious, Healthy Weight Loss Recipes

Eating healthy shouldn’t be a chore! We’ve put together delicious breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack recipes that will make you feel like you’re not dieting at all.

Breathtaking Breakfasts

(click the link for full recipes and cooking instructions, although note that we’ve modified some of the meals below to be plant-based whole foods meals)

  1. Spinach & tofu scramble with raspberries
  2. Berry-almond smoothie bowl
  3. Sriracha, tofu, & avocado overnight oats
  4. Raspberry peach mango smoothie bowl
  5. Avocado kale omelet
  6. Oatmeal almond protein pancakes
  7. Pumpkin apple smoothie
  8. Cocoa chia pudding with raspberries
  9. Oatcakes with raspberry compote
  10. Avocado egg in a hole toasts
  11. Spinach egg sweet potato toast
  12. Baked oatmeal with pears

Lip-smacking Lunches

(click the link for full recipes and cooking instructions!)

1. Grain-and-bean burrito bowl

2. Chickpea avocado salad

3. Thai noodles

4. “No-Tuna” salad sandwich

5. Mediterranean vegetable spaghetti

6. Garlic hash browns with kale

7. Orange black bean taquitos 

Delicious Dinners

(click the link for full recipes and cooking instructions!)

1. Coconut cauliflower curry

2. 3-bean healthy chili recipe

3. BBQ bean tacos with pineapple salsa

4. Best wild rice soup

5. Thai salad with peanut sauce dressing

6. Perfect black bean burger

7. “Get your greens” naan pizza

8. Vegan poke bowl

9. Sweet potatoes with Thai peanut butter sauce

10. Moroccan stew with chickpeas & sweet potatoes

11. Vegetarian red beans and rice

12. Chickpea couscous bowls with tahini sauce


Eating out to lose weight


Eating Out Without Wrecking Your Diet

You shouldn’t have to choose between going out with friends and sticking to your diet. We’ll show you how to pick healthy, delicious meals without feeling like you’re scrimping!

Make Healthy Substitutions to Make Your Favorite Dishes Waistline-Friendly

When you go to a restaurant, don’t be afraid to make substitutions! If an item’s fried, ask for it grilled. If a dish comes with french fries or coleslaw, ask for a side salad instead. Ask for a burger without the bun. 

“You need to be an assertive consumer by asking for changes on the menu,” says Michael F. Jacobson, PHD and coauthor of the book Restaurant Confidential

The good news: lots of restaurants will cooperate and let you make substitutions, because they want your business. You just have to ask.

Choose the Right Table to Eat Less and Feel Better

Brian Wasink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and a leading food psychologist, analyzed 27 restaurants and identified the tables that might lead to heavier eating and more alcohol consumption. Here’s what he recommends:

Of course, correlation doesn’t imply causation (for instance, maybe people who wanted to eat healthier naturally gravitated to the windows). But you may as well stack the deck in your favor when you’re eating out. It’s worth taking a moment to be assertive and ask for the right table, if only to keep your health goals top-of-mind.

Exercise Portion Control to Lose Weight Without Sacrificing Taste

Restaurants are infamous for offering bigger portions than we actually need, and lots of restaurant entrees (even ones that look healthy) can be north of 1,000 calories. That doesn’t factor in drinks or dessert or appetizers, either.

What this means is: if you have to eat out, exercise portion control.

And, here are some amazing restaurants in Denver for a great (and healthy!) night out!

Watercourse Foods

Root Down


Healthy Asian Garden

Vert Kitchen

city o’ city

True Food Kitchen

Native Foods


Hiking to lose weight in Denver, Colorado


Fun Hiking and Walking Trails in Denver

Cardio is a great way to lose weight, but what if you’re tired of running for hours on a treadmill? Luckily, Denver’s chock-full of wonderful walking and hiking trails that will make you look forward to your walk or run!

Denver City Park Walking Trail

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South Platte River Trail

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Bear Creek Lake Park

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Civic Center Park and Golden Triangle

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10 day hikes near Denver

Denver has plenty of amazing day hikes:

  1. Mill’s Lake (5.3mi)
  2. Ouzel Falls (9 mi)
  3. Bear Creek Trail (4.5mi)
  4. Royal Arch Trail (3.4mi)
  5. Fountain Valley Trail (2.2mi)
  6. Raccoon Trail (2.5mi)
  7. Pesman Trail (1.4mi)
  8. Alder Three Sisters Trail (6.9mi)
  9. St. Mary’s Glacier Loop (1.6mi)
  10. Elk Meadow Park (lots of trails to hike)


Hiking to lose weight in Denver, Colorado


Losing Weight with Strength Workouts

Why would you lift weights when you’re trying to shed pounds? The truth is, if you don’t do strength workouts, then you may never lose as much weight as you could because larger muscles burn more calories. Here’s how to add easy strength workouts to your weekly routine so you can lose fat while toning up!

Why Strength Training Matters

When most of us think about exercising to lose weight, we think about early-morning running or an evening jog on a nearby trail. But strength training is actually critical to your weight loss long-term, because it helps you build muscle.

Michaela Devries-Aboud, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist at McMaster University, explains: “When you lift weights, you overload the muscle and it works to adapt to be able to lift more weight. The way the muscle adapts is by increasing something called myofibrillar size (the contractile units of the muscle).” Strength training stimulates this muscle growth much more than cardio does.

The more muscle your body has, the more calories you’ll burn at rest. Muscle mass increases your base metabolic rate (BMR): essentially, how many calories your body burns just to keep you alive and functioning each day. Strength training can boost your BMR, and a higher BMR means that your body will burn more calories every day.

Strength training is also important because when you lose weight, your body naturally tries to consume both fat and muscle. If you lose 10 pounds by eating less, some of that weight lost will be fat, and some will be muscle. But losing muscle mass can lower your BMR, which actually makes it harder for you to lose weight in future.

Strength training combats this by preserving your existing lean muscle even when you lose weight. That means that when you’re losing weight, your body’s physiology may favor consuming excess fat while preserving more muscle, leading to a higher BMR and more weight loss long-term.

A “Tone Up All Over” Strength Routine For Weight Loss

Do this full-body strength workout 2–3 times per week, leaving at least a day’s rest in between, to kickstart your weight loss efforts (click the link for in-depth instructions for each exercise).

  1. Squat to overhead press
  2. Single-leg dumbbell row
  3. Step-up with bicep curl
  4. Dolphin Plank
  5. Curtsy Lung
  6. Superman

If you’re in Denver, here are 4 fun gyms to help you get your strength workout in!

Planet Fitness

Fitness In the City


Bodies By Perseverance

Camp Missfits

Cole Fusion Fitness



Staying Healthy with Flexibility Exercises

Flexibility exercises can help you avoid getting injured; a torn muscle or sprained ankle can really derail your weight loss efforts, in addition to being painful. Here’s how to incorporate stretching so you don’t get injured.

Quick Stretches You Can Do at the Office

Working at an office can be bad for our posture and flexibility, because we’re hunched over in the same position all day. That can increase muscle tightness and make us more susceptible to injuries when we do exercise.

To combat this problem, try to do these 10 stretches for 15-30 seconds every hour at your office (see link for full instructions of how to do each stretch):

  1. Chest stretch
  2. Shoulder shrugs
  3. Upper back stretch
  4. Spinal twist
  5. Torso stretch
  6. Forearm stretch
  7. Neck stretch
  8. Hip flexor stretch
  9. Seated hip stretch
  10. Inner thigh stretch

How to Stretch Before You Exercise to Avoid An Injury

It’s important to stretch before you exercise. Stretching helps your muscles and joints to warm up and loosen up, which drastically reduces the likelihood that you’ll injure yourself while you’re exercising.

Next time you exercise, do yourself a favor and do the 4 quick stretches highlighted in the link above beforehand. Your body will thank you.

The Freyja Project

ONE Yoga



Bariatric Surgery in Denver

If you’re struggling with obesity, then diet and exercise alone may not be enough. If that’s the case, then please understand that it’s not your fault. The more overweight you are, the harder it is to lose weight, because your body becomes hardwired to maintain your current weight.

If this is you, then bariatric surgery in Denver is a proven solution to help you lose weight, keep it off, and live the life you’ve always imagined. You can call or talk to our friendly office staff today.

Stories of our Colorado patients:

Not only did I improve my health, I have my life back again with my family

Duodenal Switch Surgery Before and After: Georgette Camacho

What was your life like before bariatric surgery?

Very exhausting no energy.

How has bariatric surgery improved your quality of life?

More energetic.

Why did you choose to go with the BMCC?

I was referred by my Endocrinologist office as an alternative to help stop my diabetes.

What was the best thing about working with the BMCC / Dr. Long?

Dr. Long is so professional, friendly, knowledgeable, and takes his time to explain everything to you to make sure you understand and are comfortable with the info.

Would you recommend the BMCC to a friend struggling with his or her weight? Why or why not?

Yes, I would recommend Dr. Long to family, friends, and strangers. The best decision I have ever made was to have this surgery. Not only did I improve my health, I have my life back again with my family. I am very proud to say I’m no longer a diabetic and since surgery no more insulin injections. It’s a very emotional experience and I just wish I would have done this sooner.

Before and after duodenal switch pictures:

“I feel like I have won the lottery and have been given a second chance in life!

Gastric Bypass Surgery Before and After: Rochelle Goforth

What was your life like before bariatric surgery?

I have always struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. Just like so many other people, I have tried just about every diet and pill I could get my hands on with little to no results. I was at a very low place before I was finally approved for gastric bypass in February of 2014. I had given up on ever having a ‘normal’ life with my husband and three children. I had just decided that I would be overweight for the rest of my shortened life and figured I deserved whatever consequence I would have because of my obesity. I was starting high blood pressure medication and my cholesterol was high enough that I was being closely monitored through blood work. I was 36 years old and felt like I was at least in my 50s.

How has bariatric surgery improved your quality of life?

I feel like I have won the lottery and have been given a second chance in life! March 25, 2014 was the first day of the rest of my new life and I can’t even start to express in words how grateful I am. I am a completely new person in many ways but still have all of my positive characteristics I had before surgery. I lost 147 pounds in just under a year and feel amazing! I have been able to be more active with my three teenagers and husband. I can actually out run them! I started running about 6 months after I had surgery and I haven’t stopped since. As of today, I have participated in 8 different races and am currently training for my 3rd half marathon! I was always envious of the people I would see running while I was driving to work and wished it was easier for me to move my body and carry myself like that. I’m not someone that has ever enjoyed physical activity, and now I crave it! I can’t believe I’m actually an official runner and I’m not embarrassed of my abilities!!!

Why did you choose to go with the BMCC?

I chose to go with BMCC for several reasons. The biggest reason was the fact that I never ever felt judged and always felt like my life mattered to all of the staff members on my team. The sense of community and support at BMCC couldn’t be bigger and I would never have been as successful without their support and education.

What was the best thing about working with the BMCC / Dr. Long?

I love that I still feel like I am supported 100% by all the staff members at BMCC over a year later. I know I can call or email with any questions and I don’t feel like I have been left to fend for myself on this new way of life. The education and support I have received, and still continue to receive, has been invaluable and something I will take with me for the rest of my life.

Would you recommend the BMCC to a friend struggling with his or her weight? Why or why not?

I have recommended BMCC to many friends that are struggling with their weight and will continue to do so. I couldn’t imagine a better experience anywhere else and hope that other people get to experience the amazing and life changing journey with the staff at BMCC. I feel like we are all one big family and will stay that way for a very long time. It’s inspiring to be able to work with a doctor that is passionate about what he does and actually treats you as a person whose life and quality of life matters and not just a patient on his schedule.

Gastric bypass surgery before and after photos.

“I went on a 10 mile backpacking trip and felt great!”

Gastric Sleeve Testimonial: Karl Romriell

My name is Karl Romriell and this is my adventure with my weight. I have always had a struggle with my weight, I was a bigger kid. I played all sorts of sports and even did weight lifting in high school but I was always over 200 lbs. Even in middle school when I wrestled I had to wrestle the heavy weights which started at 200 lbs. I found I had a love of food, and not just any food, but sugar. I loved my sugars, cookies, cakes, pies and most of all soda.

All thru my life we always had soda in the house, I would drink any soda except for diet soda. We always had Shasta when we went camping, and then when I got older I would drink Pepsi or Mountain Dew. I would drink two 2 liter sodas a day. Or I would easily drink a 12 pack of soda a day. I have tried every fad diet out there that you could think of. I did Weight Watchers and lost weight, I did Slim 4 Life and lost weight, Adkins diet, the lemonade cleanse. I had lost weight with all of these diets, but had the same results. As soon as the diet stopped and I went back to normal eating, I put the weight back on.

After several years of yo-yo diets or fad diets my wife and I both decided that we had enough and would look into doing the bariatric surgery. Now my wife and I had looked into doing the surgery for a while but we were not sure if it was right for us. We looked into our insurance and found that Bariatric and Metabolic Center was the best in the area. So we meet up with Dr. Long and sat down and talked with all of his staff. We felt like they were on our team and wanted to help us. We didn’t feel judged by them and it was a wonderful feeling. When I started with Dr. Long I was at 328 lbs, the heaviest I had ever been.

After going thru the 6 months of supervised diet with Dr. Long I was able to get down to 316 (before surgery). The 6 months of classes were the best, we felt like we were fully prepared for what was about to happen and what our lives were going to be like. We didn’t drink or smoke so those were easy for us, but giving up the soda was hard. But with great support you can accomplish anything.

I had my surgery on Dec. 16th 2014 and I haven’t looked back since. My wife and I joined Orange theory and we started to work out 4 to 5 times a week. Now I will tell you this was no cake walk. I really wanted to see the weight shed off of me fast. I created a chart to track my weight loss, and in my opinion that is not a good thing. It can be discouraging to see that after all your work you only lost .1 lbs. Not realizing that you were also losing inches. I have found that this is a complete life style change. It is also one of the biggest challenges mentally. It has been hard to go out to eat or sit down and think that you can eat more. This is all in your head. Your body will take care of itself.

My biggest success that I found is the support from my wife and my family. I don’t think I could have done this journey without my wife’s support. We are able to keep each other in check and make sure that we are getting our water and our proteins in. I love to work out and go for walks and ride bikes. I went on a 10 mile backpacking trip and felt great, we have run several 5k races and currently looking to run the Bolder Boulder race this Memorial day. Since the day we went to Dr. Long to today I have lost 120 lbs. I am very great full for everyone at the Bariatric and Metabolic Center and I highly recommend them. We have had a lot of people ask us about our story and we tell them to always seek out the Bariatric and Metabolic Center. We love everyone there and they are always happy to see us. Thank you for giving me my life back and extending my life.

Gastric Sleeve Before and After Photos

Dr. Joshua Long headshot

This page was medically reviewed by Dr. Joshua Long, MD, MBA, FACS, FASMBS. Dr. Long is a double-board-certified bariatric surgeon and bariatric medical director for Parker Adventist Hospital.
Full Bio: Dr. Joshua Long, MD, MBA, FACS, FASMBS
Page Updated: June 9th, 2020

Lose Weight and Keep It Off With Bariatric Surgery

Are you ready to take the next step on your weight loss journey? Schedule an appointment with our friendly office staff today.

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*Please note that individual results can vary and are not guaranteed.