Step Ahead Wellness Center Blog

Lose Weight and Keep It Off with Weight Training

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Feb 11, 2015 @ 01:49 PM


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So you've lost the weight, and you're feeling great, but are you ready for the next challenge, keeping it off?  Staying consistent with your exercise routine, especially weight training exercise, might be the key to your continued success. 

A new study shows that consistent exercise can alter the body's response to weight loss and potentially stop unwanted pounds from creeping back on.  The study was published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise and offers good news about exercise and body weight.  Most Registered Dietitians will agree that to lose weight, you must reduce calories, whether you exericse or not.  Take in fewer calories than your body burns and you will lose weight.  The general rule of thumb is create a 500 calorie deficit in calories in vs calories out to lose on average 1 to 2 pounds per week.

Unfortunately, as you get smaller your body burns less calories because there is less of you.  So after losing weight, your body burns fewer calories througout the day than it did before, because you have less body mass using energy.  Fitness Training becomes imperitive during this stage of the journey.  Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham decided to closely study the effects of exercise during that pivotal time just after someone reaches their goal weight.

They began by recruiting about 100 overweight, sedentary women, all of whom agreed to undertake a strict diet of only 800 calories a day.  The group was divided into thirds.  One third of the women were asked not to exercise at all.  Another third began a supervised cardio program consisting of about 40 minutes of walking/jogging on a treadmill three times a week.  The final third started supervised weight training three times per week.

Each woman, regardless of the group she was in, stayed on the 800 calorie diet until she lost 25 pounds.  At that point, she continued to follow the exercise instructions and transitioned for a month to a customized, supervised diet designed for maintenance. 

The findings... women in the non-exercise group didn't move much at all throughout their days.  The women who did cardio exercise continued moving throughout their days so the calories they burned outside of exercise was significant.  However the women who weight trained moved the most, movement felt easier for them and their bodies continued burning through calories more efficiently.  Overall, the data suggests exercise, particularly weight training, after weight loss prompts people to move more throughout the day thus burning more calories, and with some discipline about food intake, should stave off weight gain.  It seems clear that weight training has a positive effect on weight management overall.

Lose weight and gain confidence with a personalized program and the ongoing support of Step Ahead's expert team, including a physician, certified trainer, and certified nutritionist.

 Get Started Today!

Dr. Deborah Neiman MD, Sari Greaves, RDN & Noelle Lusardi, CPT
49 U.S. Highway 202 Far Hills, NJ 07931 908-470-2235

Tags: Personal Weight Loss, losing weight tips, medical weight loss solutions, health insurance coverage, Personal Trainers, doctor supervised weight loss center, personal training, muscle conditioning classes, health fitness advice, Weight Loss Center, personalized weight loss, lose weight fast

Outdoor Exercise... Safely Brave the Elements this Winter

Posted by deborah neiman on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 07:04 AM

There are so many benefits to outdoor exercise so don't let harsh winter weather push you off your exercise bandwagon this winter.  You can safely exercise outside by following these Fitness Training cold weather tips.

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Winter can frustrate the most motivated exercisers. And if you’re not so motivated, it’s all too easy to pack it in when the weather gets cold.  But keeping up your exercise routine in cold weather can be rewarding and keep you feeling energized and healthy all winter long. 

For one thing, outdoor exercise is a sure cure for cabin fever and the winter blues.  For many of us, lack of sunshine and fresh air lowers our energy level and leaves us feeling a little depressed and unmotivated.  Aerobic Exercise outdoors combats the winter blues, increases energy and elevates our mood which is often times sapped by gloomy weather.  Exercise also bolsters your immune system — studies show that moderate exercisers get 20 to 30 percent fewer colds than nonexercisers do.  So staying on track with your Fitness Training this winter is a win-win!

Taking it outside...
Here’s how to safely get the most out of your cold-weather workout:

* Dress in layers that you can remove as soon as you start to sweat and then put back on as needed. Start with a thin layer of synthetic material such as polypropylene, which draws sweat away from your body. Avoid cotton, which stays wet next to your skin. Next, try fleece for insulation. Top this with a waterproof, breathable outer
layer.  If it’s very cold or you have asthma, wear a face mask or a scarf over your mouth.

* Protect your extremities.  Try wearing a thin pair of gloves under a pair of heavier gloves or mittens lined with wool or fleece. You might want to buy exercise shoes a half-size larger than usual to allow for thick thermal socks or an extra pair of regular socks. And don’t forget a hat or headband.

Remember sunscreen. It’s as easy to get sunburned in winter as in summer

Head into the wind. You’ll be less likely to get chilled on the way back if you end your workout — when you may be sweaty — with the wind at your back.

Drink plenty of fluids. Drink water or sports drinks before, during and after your workout — even if you’re not thirsty. You can become just as dehydrated in the cold as in the heat.

If you prefer to stay inside this winter but are feeling bored with the eliptical or treadmill, check out your local gym's group exercise class schedule.  Group exercise classes are a great way to make new friends, burn a ton of calories and have a lot of fun.  Some great high calorie burning, energizing classes are spinning, hot yoga and bootcamp.

To make sure you stay on track, use a pedometer to count your steps and calories burned throughout your workout and your day.  Following the 10,000 Steps Program is a great way to ensure you burn approximately 500 calories every day through physical activity.  This a great benchmark number to hit as you continue on your fitness journey.

The bottomline... stay motivated. When it’s cold outdoors, there’s no need to hit the couch. With a little knowledge and fortitude, you can meet the challenges — and reap the rewards — of winter exercise. For many people, the solitude and quiet alone are reason enough to brave the elements.

 Learn more about how you can make lifestyle resolutions with our personalized program. Click below to start the journey to a healthier, new you with the support of a medical doctor, registered dietitian, and certified personal trainer.

Optifast 4 Week Membership



Dr. Deborah Neiman MD, Sari Greaves, RDN & Noelle Lusardi, CPT

49 U.S. Highway 202 Far Hills, NJ 07931 908-470-2235



Tags: medical weight loss solutions, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Fitness, winter blues, Lifestyle tips

Meal Replacement Plans for Medical Weight Loss - Do they work?

Posted by deborah neiman on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 @ 01:36 PM

Do meal replacement plans really work?One of the questions we hear the most here at Step Ahead Wellness Center is: “do meal replacement plans work?” Considering how important meal replacement plans are to the success of many diet and exercise programs, this is a good question to ask before beginning a medical weight loss program. And, it’s a question that deserves an answer.

To put it simply, a meal replacement plan CAN work, if it is done right.

What Happens When Diets Go Wrong?

The problem with a lot of fad diets is that, while they reduce your calorie intake, they don’t provide a suitable level of nutrition to meet your body’s needs. These diets often have you removing food from your diet without replacing that with a healthier option. While an extreme starvation diet might produce some results in the short run, it isn’t a viable choice for long-term healthiness.

As these self-denying diets cut calories, they also cut your intake of vitamins and nutrients such as Vitamins A, C, and D, Calcium, and dozens of other compounds your body needs in order to survive. This results in symptoms such as fatigue, muscular deterioration, increased susceptibility to disease, and even death (in very extreme cases). Even if you’re on a diet, your basic nutrition needs still have to be met.

Even when a diet has a “meal replacement plan,” that plan is often formulated to work for people in general, and as such, isn’t optimized to meet your specific needs. Although, even when these meal replacement plans aren’t entirely tailored to your needs, they’re still better than a starvation diet. At the very least, these plans shouldn’t leave you without nutrition.

What Makes Medical Weight Loss Meal Replacement Different?

To make sure that your meal replacement plan is successful takes more than just cutting calorie intake, it takes a thorough understanding of your health from top to bottom. By starting with a medical examination, a medical weight loss program can find out which vitamins and minerals are deficient in your diet, if any.

Once the doctor supervising your weight loss regimen has an understanding of your unique health needs, she can create a comprehensive meal plan that will address your specific dietary needs. This healthy meal replacement plan will be tailored to provide you with all of the nutrients your body needs to work efficiently, while cutting back your calorie intake to promote healthy weight loss.

Another benefit of a medical weight loss meal replacement program is that the supervising doctor can prescribe dietary supplements as necessary. For example, if a patient had a severe vitamin deficiency that would be impossible to remedy through diet alone (at least, not without a massive increase in calorie intake), their supervising doctor could prescribe a supplement that would give them the nutrients that would otherwise be missing from their diet.

Sometimes, it can be hard to resist the urge to snack unhealthily.One of the leading causes for a meal replacement plan to fail is that it is often too tempting to go “off the plan.” This is especially true of meal plans that rely on a massive reduction in portions compared to what the dieter may be used to. If the meals aren’t filling, the temptation to snack to satiate hunger can lead even the most determined dieters astray.

It is so easy to go astray when you’re hungry. Thoughts such as “just one cookie/candy/scoop of ice cream won’t kill me” and “well, I had one, so might as well eat the next one” are difficult to resist when your stomach is growling like a ravenous tiger. The hunger response is a natural reaction, one designed to make sure we eat enough to meet our body’s needs. The problem is when feelings of hunger persist even after eating all the nutrition you need. This is where appetite suppressants can be a huge help.

Combined with a meal replacement plan and nutritional supplements, appetite suppressants can help you fight the urge to snack and keep you on-track to meet your weight loss goals, while still getting the nutrients you need to stay in good health.

Get a Meal Replacement Plan That Works

Once again, a meal replacement plan can and will work for your weight loss goals, IF it’s the right plan.

Get a complete weight loss solution that combines medical monitoring, meal replacement, dietary supplements and the support you need to lose weight and keep it off today!

Download the Optifast Tip Sheet

Tags: meal plans, medical weight loss solutions, Diet and Nutrition, healthy eating, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss

Is Medical Weight Loss Right for You?

Posted by deborah neiman on Mon, Sep 08, 2014 @ 02:58 PM

With the help of a doctor-supervised weight loss plan, meeting weight loss goals is much easier.Every year, thousands of men and women join the latest fad diets, hoping that “this time, things will be different.” For some, these programs may work for a time, as they drop a few pounds or a few inches from their waistline.

Unfortunately for many, joining a cookie-cutter diet and exercise plan simply won’t cut it. When joining a weight loss plan that treats the challenges of losing weight as something that is the same for everyone, the unique needs of specific individuals often get ignored.

If you have had problems losing weight and keeping it off in the past using popular fad diet and health programs, it may be time to seek the assistance of a medical weight loss program that is supervised by a real doctor.

Why Choose Doctor-Supervised, Medically-Assisted Weight Loss?

One of the major problems with most fad diets that are made for mass distribution is that they’re designed to be broadly applicable to the “average” person, not customized to the needs of an individual. The problem is that nobody is perfectly average; there is no one body type, metabolic rate, medical history, and level of activity that would perfectly describe everyone. All of these factors affect how well you will respond to specific diet and exercise programs.

While a simple diet and exercise regimen can do wonders for some, not everybody will see the same results. Sometimes, you might need a helping hand in order to meet your weight loss and health goals.

This is where a doctor-supervised medical weight loss program can be a huge benefit. Here, a physician gives you a thorough examination. Factors that a doctor performing an examination can determine include:

  • Preexisting Medical Conditions. Diet and exercise programs can be dangerous if you have preexisting medical conditions such as cardiopulmonary disease, diabetes, susceptibility to seizures, and musculoskeletal disorders, just to name a few examples. A physical exam can help identify such conditions so that your medical weight loss program can be designed in such a way as to not aggravate them.

  • Metabolic Rate. Different people burn calories at different rates. Knowing your metabolic rate allows your weight loss program to be designed in such a way as to maximize the results of your weight loss program.

  • Nutritional Needs. By testing your blood, many different nutritional deficiencies can be identified so that your custom meal or supplement plan can remediate this all too common issue. If your body isn’t getting the nutrition it needs, it can’t operate at peak efficiency.

This information allows the supervising doctor to create a weight loss plan that is unique to your needs, providing you with the edge you might need to meet your weight loss goals. Medical weight loss programs that are supervised by a doctor can be safer and more effective than dime-a-dozen, cookie-cutter fad diets because your medical needs are an integral part of the program’s design.

Is a Medical Weight Loss Program Right for Me, Though?

Is a doctor-supervised medical weight loss plan right for you?With the extra assistance of doctor-prescribed nutritional supplements and appetite suppressants, meeting your weight loss goal can be made much easier than with diet and exercise alone.

A medical weight loss program may be right for you if:

  • You want to lose weight and have not had much success with previous, non-medical programs in the past.

  • Dieting and exercise seem to have no impact on your body mass index, even when taken to extremes.

  • You find yourself becoming discouraged by constant frustration in meeting weight loss goals.

  • Your lifestyle and busy schedule prevent you from practicing a full exercise/diet routine.

If you have a history of medical problems, you will still want to consult with your doctor before beginning any weight loss regimen. Thankfully, with medically assisted programs such as the Step Ahead Program, your medical history and current condition are checked so that a safe, effective plan can be created just for you.

Using the services of Step Ahead Wellness’ lifestyle coaches can help you keep the weight off once you’ve met your goals.

Learn if a medically assisted, personalized weight loss program is right for you today!

Do You Need a Personalized Weight Loss Program?

Tags: medical weight loss solutions, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, appetite suppressants

Physician-Assisted Weight Loss without the Worries

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Jul 09, 2014 @ 11:33 AM

For some, a successful diet is a simple as setting a goal and a plan, for others, weight loss takes more than picking a day on the calendar and setting to work.For some, weight loss is as quick and worry free as taking a few extra trips to the gym or simply cutting back on meal portions. However, what works for one person may not work for another.

Whether it’s because of their metabolism or their lifestyle, it seems that some people just have an easier time shedding the pounds and keeping them off.

The question is, how can you lose weight without excessive worry?

In answer to this question, a lot of people turn to the next big diet of the day or to an advice book. Unfortunately, they don’t always work. When the big fad diets and even good (if generic) healthy living tips fail you, there’s still hope.

Physician-Assisted Weight Loss

The problem with major fad diets and other weight loss programs is that they’re designed to work for the broadest possible audience. This means that they cannot ever truly address the needs of specific individuals.

So, if generic diet programs don’t work for you, and you don’t want to have to resort to invasive surgery, what can you do to safely shed excess weight without worry?

You can get real help from a trained physician who won’t just throw basic advice your way, that’s how.

By going to a real physician, you can get a personalized weight loss program that is tailored to your specific needs. When you use a physician’s weight loss program after they’ve run a comprehensive assessment of your diet, metabolism, and lifestyle, you’ll get a comprehensive solution to your weight loss needs.

With the help and guidance of a real weight loss expert, you’ll start seeing results quickly.

Keeping the Weight off (with a little help)

Another one of the big problems with fad diets is that even when they do work, weight is often quickly regained once the “diet” is over.

We’ve seen it time and time again: clients come to us for a weight loss solution after their previous diet ended and they ballooned up to more than their original weight.

The best way to combat this problem is to commit to a long-term solution that offers you support after your initial weight loss goals are met and you’re back to a healthy BMI. This way, you can keep the pounds off once you’ve lost the weight.

By using a physician-assisted program, you’ll get the support you need to not only lose excess pounds, but keep them from coming back after you hit your goal.

Other Advantages of a Physician-Monitored Program

Beyond creating a specialized diet and exercise regimen that will address your specific needs, a Step Ahead Wellness Center physician can help you reach and maintain your goals by prescribing dietary supplements and appetite reducers. These additional supplements can make it easier to maintain your diet while ensuring that you keep getting enough nutrition.

Find out how you can take advantage of a physician-assisted weight loss program from Step Ahead Wellness today!

Start Losing Weight Now

Tags: Weight Loss, medical weight loss solutions, Physician Weight Loss

Medical Weight Loss Solutions at Your Fingertips

Posted by deborah neiman on Thu, Jun 19, 2014 @ 02:20 PM

Losing weight doesn't have to be a struggle.Every day, American men and women struggle with weight loss. Yet, for every person who manages to drop a few pounds, countless more people are left gaining weight, despite strict diet and exercise regimens.

Check out the best-selling books list, and you’ll likely see several different diet books in the top 20 at any given time. Yet, despite the massive amount of diet plans and self-help books on the subject of losing weight, obesity remains a huge problem.


Part of the problem is that these diet plans are usually concocted as a “one size fits all” solution; something to be marketed to the masses with no thought to the fact that every person is different. Even people who are closely related by blood, such as a brother and a sister, can have wildly different metabolic rates and personal habits that influence the way in which they respond to changes in their diet.

What makes one person lose fat and build muscle might not have much of an impact on another person. Some people may even have an easier time adhering to a strict diet than others, making certain kinds of diets easier for them. Hormone levels in men and women alike can affect how many calories they burn from exercise and how long they can maintain a workout.

With so many variables existing from person to person, creating a truly universal diet and exercise program that will work for every person seems impossible.

Overcoming Weight Loss Challenges

So, is the fight to lose weight hopeless, then? No, of course not. While there may not be one universally successful miracle cure for weight loss, there are medical weight loss programs that can definitely help you.

Meeting your weight loss goals can be an exhilarating experience.The key difference between these programs and the fad diets is that a medical weight loss program is overseen by a real physician who is tracking your needs. With a fad diet, you’re usually on your own. By creating a personalized weight loss program for you and only you, a medical program can address the unique elements of your biology that enable or prevent your weight loss.

For example, the Step Ahead Wellness program is a highly individualized approach that takes into account your metabolic rate, medical needs, and a complete plan for managing your calories, both in consumption and in exercise.

Beyond the personalized approach, the wellness program supports you through your weight loss with a dedicated staff of compassionate professionals who will work with you one on one to help keep you motivated and meeting goals.

You don’t have to try to face the challenge of losing weight on your own. Get the help of an effective, personalized weight loss program that has been proven to be effective time and time again.

Learn Why Now Is the Time for Your Success

Tags: Weight Loss, medical weight loss solutions, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss


Posted by deborah neiman on Tue, Jun 10, 2014 @ 06:53 AM

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Our fitness director/certified fitness trainer, Noelle Lusardi, has created a 12 week summer program to get you outside!  Join our Power Walk/Yoga Stretch In The Park classes every Wednesday night from 7 to 8pm, now through August 27th.  Email Noelle directly at for more information.


Enjoy the benefits of outdoor exercise as discussed in the New York Times article below.


From The New York Time: The
Benefits of Exercising Outdoors


February 21,
2013 12:01 am

While the
allure of the gym — climate-controlled, convenient and predictable — is
obvious, especially in winter, emerging science suggests there are benefits to
exercising outdoors that can’t be replicated on a treadmill, a recumbent
bicycle or a track.

You stride
differently when running outdoors, for one thing. Generally, studies find,
people flex their ankles more when they run outside. They also, at least
occasionally, run downhill, a movement that isn’t easily done on a treadmill
and that stresses muscles differently than running on flat or uphill terrain.
Outdoor exercise tends, too, to be more strenuous than the indoor version. In
studies comparing the exertion of running on a treadmill and the exertion of
running outside, treadmill
runners expended less energy
to cover the same distance as those striding
across the ground outside, primarily because indoor exercisers face no wind
resistance or changes in terrain, no matter how subtle.

The same dynamic has been shown
to apply to cycling
, where wind drag can result in much greater energy
demands during 25 miles of outdoor cycling than the same distance on a
stationary bike. That means if you have limited time and want to burn as many
calories as possible, you should hit the road instead of the gym.

there seem to be other, more ineffable advantages to getting outside to work
out. In a number of
recent studies,
volunteers have been asked to go for two walks for the same
time or distance — one inside, usually on a treadmill or around a track, the
other outdoors. In virtually all of the studies, the volunteers reported
enjoying the outside activity more and, on subsequent psychological tests,
scored significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and
self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue after they walked

Of course,
those studies were small-scale, short-term — only two walks — and squishy in
their scientific parameters, relying heavily on subjective responses. But a study last year of older
found, objectively, that those who exercised outside exercised
longer and more often than those working out indoors. Specifically, the
researchers asked men and women 66 or older about their exercise habits and
then fitted them all with electronic gadgets that measured their activity
levels for a week. The gadgets and the survey showed that the volunteers who
exercised outside, usually by walking, were significantly more physically
active than those who exercised indoors, completing, on average, about 30
minutes more exercise each week than those who walked or otheStudies haven’t
yet established why, physiologically, exercising outside might improve
dispositions or inspire greater commitment to an exercise program. A few small studies have found
that people have lower blood levels of cortisol, a hormone related to stress,
after exerting themselves outside as compared with inside. There’s speculation,
too, that exposure to direct sunlight, known to affect mood, plays a role.

But the
take-away seems to be that moving their routines outside could help reluctant
or inconsistent exercisers. “If outdoor activity encourages more activity, then
it is a good thing,” says Jacqueline Kerr, a professor at the University of
California, San Diego, who led the study of older adults. After all, “despite
the fitness industry boom,” she continues, “we are not seeing changes in
national physical activity levels, so gyms are not the answer.”

Tags: Exercise, losing weight tips, losing weight fast, medical weight loss solutions, fat burning classes, Dr. Neiman, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Noelle Lusardi, doctor supervised weight loss center, best weight loss, Weight Loss Center, lose weight fast, Step Ahead Wellness Center

get health fitness advice from experts

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, May 28, 2014 @ 12:29 PM

Step Ahead Wellness Center invites you to take a coffee break. Sip on a skinny beverage, and get FREE health and fitness advice from our expert nutritionist and contributor to the Dr. Oz show, Sari Greaves R.D.N. Take our diet personality quiz and chat about current diet trends.
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Friday, May 30th, New time: 12:00-12:30 pm
Starbucks coffee shop: 428 428 US Highway 202/206, Bedminster Township, NJ 07921
Reserve your spot by emailing 
or call 908.470.2235

Tags: HEALTHY DIET SHORTCUTS, physician weight loss program, losing weight fast, medical weight loss solutions, healthy eating, physician weight l9oss, ask the weight loss dr, Healthy Recipes, health fitness advice