Step Ahead Wellness Center Blog

Hunger and Fullness Scale- The Key to Weight Loss Success

Posted by deborah neiman on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 @ 10:32 PM

The Hunger ScaleThe Hunger and Fullness scale is a useful tool for assessing your hunger and fullness levels before, during, and after you eat. It will help you identify your hunger cues, observe how different types and amounts of food affect you, and recognize when the urge to eat has been triggered by something other than hunger. This scale is not intended to set strict guidelines about when you should eat; rather, it helps you develop a greater awareness of your body’s subtle signals.

Do you eat when you are hungry? If you are unsure, you are not alone. Determining hunger and fullness is a key to weight loss success, but can also pose as a challenge. While it is extremely important to listen to internal cues for hunger and satiety, social factors, previous experiences with foods, and environmental cues often override the internal ability to eat when hungry and stop when full.

The good news is that you can learn to monitor feelings of satiety by using a hunger scale. In addition to keeping a food journal to track what you are eating, this tool helps you identify when you are eating out of hunger (which is good!) versus when you are eating out of habit (not so good).

How to use the scale: Before taking your next bite, rate your hunger throughout the day. On a scale from 0 to 10: 0=an empty gas tank and 10=filled to the brim

Green light: Go ahead and eat! If you score 0-3, chances are your body needs fuel. Plan your meals and snacks ahead so that you stick to your calorie goal.

Yellow light:  Seek a strategy to stave off hunger. If you score 4-6, it may be time for a snack. First drink a warm cup of tea, hot water, or black coffee. Warm liquids can help tame hunger. If that doesn’t do the trick, try a portion controlled high protein snack, such as a boiled egg, 100-calorie greek yogurt, or low-fat cheese stick to take the edge off hunger until your next meal. Registered Dietitian Sari Greaves, RDN recommends a warm cup of antioxidant-rich green tea with lemon an hour before dining out at a restaurant to avoid extreme hunger and “bread basket” temptation. She also suggests eating slowly- it takes 20 minutes to register fullness. Take small bites, pause between bites, and chew your food thoroughly. Eat will utensils that will help slow down your eating pattern, such as using chopsticks for rice and bite size protein and vegetables.

Red Light: Push the plate away! If you score 7-10, chances are you stomach is full. Your best bet is to remove yourself from visual eating cues. Walk away from the table, remove any clear candy bowls or cookie jars from your counterops, and engage in non-food activities such as trying out a new workout DVD, taking a relaxing bath, or reading a book. Sari suggests brushing your teeth to signal the official “end to eating” (having fresh mint breath can help avoid late night snacking) or stick a “kitchen closed”  post-it on the refrigerator. A warm cup of tea or diet hot chocolate can also help extinguish a craving. 

Now you are prepared with an action plan, so it's time to use the scale below.

0:  You are wobbly and dizzy. Thoughts are unclear. Most people have to go all day without food to get close to becoming a 1. At 0, you are weak and tired.

1:  You are still very hungry. You are irritable, cranky, and lethargic.

2:  You are very hungry, on the verge of having a “starving” feeling.

3:  You could definitely eat, but you are not on the verge of collapse. The urge to eat is strong.

4:  You are truly hungry. You are looking forward to eating more.

5:  You are only a little hungry. Your body is sending messages that you might want to eat. 

6:  You are a notch past being neutral. You could definitely eat more.

7:  You are feeling more satisfied, getting full. If you stopped here, you would need to eat again in 4-4½ hours.

8:  You are quite satisfied, full in fact. If you stopped eating here, this would sustain you for 5-6 hours.

9:  You are becoming uncomfortable. You could force down another three bites, although your body no longer wants anything.

10: Your body is screaming “get me out of here!” You have no pleasure in eating anymore. If you ate any more, you feel you would explode.

While it sometimes is challenging in the beginning to figure out where you fall on this scale, it will get easier over time. Feelings of hunger and fullness will become clearer



We now accept health insurance!


Dr. Deborah Neiman MD,

Sari Greaves, RDN & Noelle Lusardi, CPT

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


Tags: quick weight loss, hunger and fullness, weight loss success

Lose Weight With Spring Recipes That Taste Great

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 @ 05:49 PM

Have you ever asked yourself...

How do I lose body fat without losing flavor in my meals?

How can I prepare a meal that my whole family will enjoy that includes heart-healthy fats and good-for-you brain foods?

How can I enjoy a seasonal barbecue without feeling deprived of something sizzling on the grill?

The answer to these questions is simple: A healthy diet starts at home.  All you need is 30 minutes or less and a non-stick pan or grill to make a delicious, healthy recipe that is skinny on the waist but rich in taste. 


We now accept health insurance!

shrimp skinny recipe

Out with the old: Shrimp tempura.

In with the new: Shrimp lettuce tacos

Shrimp tempura consists primarily of shrimp that have been battered and deep fried. This dish typically includes a side order of vegetables. The high fat cooking method drives up the calorie level in this dish to about 320 calories. Here's how to slim down the fat and boost the flavor.

Sweet-Ginger Shrimp Tacos

1/2 pound jumbo shrimp (about 12 shrimp)

1 tablespoon grated ginger

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 teaspoon honey

2 teaspoons peanut oil

8 ounces sliced mushrooms

romaine lettuce leaves

1. Add peanut oil to nonstick skillet over medium heat.

2. Add ginger and cook 1 minute.

3. Saute mushrooms for 3-4 minutes. Stir in shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes until no longer pink.

4. Stir in lime juice, honey, and soy sauce. Divide shrimp mixture and wrap in lettuce tacos.

Makes 4 appetizer servings: 103 calories each: 2 ounces shrimp (3 shrimp) & mushrooms mixture

As an entree, this recipe makes 2 servings: 206 calories each: 4 ounces shrimp (6 shrimp) & mushroom mixture

Tomato-Glazed Shrimp Tacos

1/2 pound jumbo shrimp

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

2 minced garlic cloves

PAM cooking spray

1. In a bowl, combine the olive oil, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, garlic, red pepper, and basil.

2. Add shrimp and toss to coat.

3. If you have time, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.

3. Spray nonstick skillet with Pam or grill over medium heat. Add shrimp and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, until shrimp is no longer pink. Divide shrimp mixture and wrap in lettuce tacos.

Makes 4 appetizer servings: 97 calories each 2 ounces shrimp (3 shrimp)

As an entree, this recipe makes 2 servings: 194 calories each: 4 ounces shrimp (6 shrimp)



Dr. Deborah Neiman MD,

Sari Greaves, RDN & Noelle Lusardi, CPT

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

Tags: quick weight loss, losing weight tips, losing weight fast, diet to lose weight, best weight loss

Diet Fact or Fiction?

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 @ 11:47 AM

fast weight loss

Fact or Fiction?


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Most of the nutrients of a fruit or vegetable are in the skin, so you shouldn’t peel it.

If you peel fruits and vegetables, recognize what you’d be giving up- the nutrients and fiber that the peel contains. Any pesticide residues in foods you buy are present at minimal levels. It’s safe to say that they probably won’t pose any health risk. You can add more to your safety net by the way you handle your food in your kitchen. Wash fresh fruits and vegetables with water to remove residues on the surface and in the crevices. For foods such as carrots, squash, apples, and pears, use a vegetable brush to clean them even more. Rinse well. Avoid soap, (unless it’s a produce wash formulated to remove wax, pesticides, and soil) because it leaves its own residue. Bottom line: Leave edible skins on vegetables and fruits and trim away as little as possible. Most vitamins and minerals are found in the outer leaves, skin, and area just below the skin- not in the center. Peels also are natural barriers that help protect nutrient loss. 
Eating after 9pm makes it easier to gain weight.

The truth is simple- a calorie is a calorie no matter what time you eat it. The number on your bathroom scale will start to climb when you consistently eat more calories that you burn off with physical activity. However, mindless munching in front of the television at night can push calorie intake over the edge. The reason why people may feel sluggish after late-night eating has more to do with overindulging in a grease-, beer- and salt-fest, which can cause bloating and stomach upset. Eat at regular intervals to help avoid extreme hunger and plan balanced meals that include a variety of healthy foods. Studies show that people who skip breakfast and eat fewer times during the day tend to be heavier than people who eat a healthy breakfast and eat four or five times a day. This may be because people who skip meals tend to feel hungrier later on, and eat more than they normally would. It may also be that eating many small meals throughout the day helps people control their appetites.

Bottom line: No matter when you eat, your body will store extra calories as fat. If you want to have a snack before bedtime, think first about how many calories you have eaten that day. Be aware of social situations that trigger eating-such as parties, entertaining friends, dating, talking around the coffee pot at work, and happy-hour business meetings. Create your ways to avoid overeating. Food journaling on your i-phone, blackberry, or notepad can help eliminate mindless eating; it’s like a personal diet GPS, helping you stay on course, and navigate around eating trigger. Make a list of fun “non-food-related” activities: enjoy your garden, choose an active hobby as a stress-buster, surf the internet, treat yourself to a massage, or buy something new to wear or read. 



Dr. Deborah Neiman MD,

Sari Greaves, RDN & Noelle Lusardi, CPT

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

Tags: quick weight loss, doctor supervised weight loss center, personalized weight loss, diet myths, diet fact or fiction

Should I Lose Weight Super Fast This Holiday Season?

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Nov 26, 2014 @ 03:12 PM

If you wish to lose weight super fast this holiday season, you are not alone. At Step Ahead Wellness Center for weight loss, our mantra during the holiday season is to to set realistic goals and be sensible about your eating habits. The key is to give into your cravings in a controlled manner. You can sample something of everything, it's just a matter of how much. We will help keep your weight in check over the next six weeks. Enjoy our special feature of holiday recipes, eating tips and exercises that will  help you stay on track from Thanksgiving through the new year! Learn more about how you can fast-track your New Year's weight loss resolutions with our special personalized weight loss holiday promotion! Click below.

Optifast 4 Week Membership

Holiday Weight Gain Facts: Rumor has it that the average American gains 5 pounds during the holidays, but there isn’t a whole lot of science behind that statement. There is a study that shows we actually gain 1 pound, but the same study also shows we never lose that pound. Fast forward 10 years and see how good that looks and feels. The bottom line is make smart food choices, and keep moving. It's a busy, stressful time, but take care of your biggest investment... your health.

HOLIDAY EXERCISE TIP: Burn Calories While You Shop


If you absolutely positively must skip a work out or two over the next several weeks then... Shop 'Til You Drop. One and a half hours of shopping and carrying bags will burn over 100 calories for the average 150 pound person. Additionally, spending one hour wrapping gifts can burn a massive 120 calories. If you choose to wrap all of your gifts in one sitting then you will burn more calories than you'd expect, so get organized and set some time aside to wrap them all in one go.



HOLIDAY RECIPE: Crostini with Creamy Carrot Spread

carrot_spreadDitch the high fat dips in favor of this low calorie creamy dip that is bursting with antioxidants. When it comes to carrots, believe it or not, they're not alway orange. Carrots can be white, yellow, purple or red. Fresh carrots can also be used in this recipe (Arrange in single layer on baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees for 15 minutes covered with aluminum foil, and additional 25 minutes uncovered until golden brown and soft) but steaming frozen carrots cuts cooking time in half!

Recipes makes about 2 cups. Serving size: 2 tablespoons = 70 calories.

1 pound frozen sliced carrots

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/2 cup macademia nuts

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dash of salt & pepper (1/4 teaspoon each)

1. Steam carrots according to package directions. Season with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt & pepper.

2. Place carrots in a food processor along with macademia nuts, cinnamon, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Pulse until combined.

3. With the food processor blade running, slowly drizzle in the orange juice and olive oil. The carrots should be creamy and spreadable. Enjoy on whole grain crackers (such as Suzie's quinoa thin cakes, omly 15 calorie each) as a holiday appetizer.

Cheers! Let's kick off a healthy holiday season together!


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

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

Tags: healthy thanksgiving recipe, quick weight loss, losing weight tips, lose weight in 2014, Weight Loss Center, lose weight fast

Easy Diet Secrets That Work

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 @ 02:46 PM

During the holidays, preparing healthy meals does not have to be a hassle. Look no further than your kitchen pantry. With just a few simple ingredients, you can transform everday dishes into delicious low calorie recipes.

easy diet secrets

Diet Secret #1: Reduced Sodium Chicken Stock

Fact: Every tablespoon of butter or oil you use in a recipe adds around 100 calories. That may not sound like a lot, but just 100 extra calories a day can translate into 10 unwanted pounds over a year.

The Good News: Reduced sodium chicken stock is the perfect stand-in for oil or butter in sautés. It adds flavor to whatever you’re cooking, enough lubrication so that food doesn’t stick, and you’re now getting a fraction of the calories.

Healthy Tipping Point: Start with a quarter-cup of stock per 2 cups of chopped vegetables, which adds only 5 calories of full-bodied flavor. For chicken dishes, work your way up to one cup by gradually stirring in a few tablespoons at a time in a skillet set to medium-high heat. You have now mastered the art of fat-free sautéing! Use reduced sodium stock, which contains at least 25% less sodium than traditional varieties.

Diet Secret #2: Sundried Tomatoes

Fact: There’s no doubt that sandwich spreads are brimming with fat. Mayonnaise, which is an emulsion of oil, eggs, egg yolks, water, vinegar and spices, contains 1440 calories, 160 grams fat, and 24 grams of artery-clogging saturated fat per cup. Granted you may not be eating a whole cup on your turkey sandwich, but at 100 calories per tablespoon, the small dose of vitamins K, E, A, and B12 you ingest come at a high calorie cost. What’s a mayo lover to do? 

 The Good News: With one simple flavor-boosted tweak, you can have your mayonnaise and eat it too. Sundried tomatoes are what I like to call your sandwich’s secret weapon, packed with vitamins A, C and lycopene. Sundried tomatoes also possess a unique taste element called umami, which adds a savory flavor that compliments your sandwich ingredients.

Healthy Tipping Point: Stir together half of a chopped sundried tomato with 2 teaspoons of light mayonnaise for a delicious 45-calorie spread. For a creamier consistency, use an immersion blender to combine the sundried tomatoes and mayonnaise; it takes only 30 seconds! 

Light mayo contains a higher percentage of water than oil in the ingredient list. Choose a canola-or olive oil-based light mayonnaise to lock in heart-healthy fats. Look for short ingredient lists to avoid fillers, like high fructose corn syrup, found in some light varieties. You have now replaced a major culprit of sneaky calories found in high-fat condiments.

Who can deny the heart health benefits of avocado, olive oil, and chickpeas that have earned guacamole and hummus their reputations healthy party dips? If you want to reap the nutritional benefits of these foods without adding inches to your waistline, use them as a sandwich spread instead of as a dip. Just one tablespoon of hummus or guacamole will enhance the flavor of your next sandwich and contribute only 30-40 extra calories. This is the perfect portion-control solution if you are tempted to overindulge on chips and dip.

Diet Secret #3: Ground Flaxseeds and Almonds

Fact: Breaded food has a satisfying crunchy texture when used as a coating on baked foods. A quarter-cup serving of traditional breadcrumbs contains 120 calories but only 1 gram of fiber that Americans desperately need to consume more of on a daily basis. For optimal health, men and women should aim for a minimum of 25 grams of fiber daily, preferably from natural sources such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

The Good News: Instead of breadcrumbs, something, create a crunchy coating of ground flaxseeds and almonds. This mixture works just like breadcrumbs, but you get a nutrient package of fiber, vitamin E and omega-3 fats, all defenders against inflammation. Flaxseeds have a light nutty flavor, which can perk up the flavor of cereals, salads, casseroles, soups, pasta, and baked goods.

Healthy Tippong Point: The swap is simple. Fold in 1 teaspoon of sliced almonds for every 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds. This 100-calorie heart-healthy coating adds an irresistible crunchy texture to anything from chicken cutlets to French toast.You can buy pre-ground flaxseed meal in the health section or cereal aisle at your local grocery. This fiber-boosting diet shortcut is as easy as grabbing a fiber-one bar.

Diet Secret #4: Chinese Five Spice  

Fact: Many fat-free marinades are loaded with sugar and sodium. How can you jazz up the flavor of meat, seafood, chicken, or vegetables without falling into the salt and sugar trap?

The Good News: Amp up the flavor of traditional dishes with Chinese five spice powder. This pantry staple is like a spice rack in a bottle. The blend contains cinnamon, star anise, fennel, ground cloves, and black pepper, which adds a delicate balance of sweet and spicy flavors to any meal. Not only are you slashing sodium, sugar, and calories, but you are loading up on antioxidants to reduce inflammation.

Healthy Tipping point: A little goes a long way, so start out with a teaspoon of Chinese five spice for a meal for four people.

Even the most apprehensive cook will feel inspired to use these flavor boosters. It’s an easy first step to peel off extra pounds and pack in essential nutrition. Searching for more doctor weight loss tips?

Optifast 4 Week MembershipStep Ahead Wellness Center is conveniently located at 49 U.S. Highway 202 Far Hills, NJ 07931 Email or call us 908-470-2235

Tags: HEALTHY DIET SHORTCUTS, quick weight loss, losing weight tips, losing weight fast, diet to lose weight, best weight loss, are fiber one bars good for you, healthy entertaining, lose weight fast

Nutrition Coffee Chat

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, May 30, 2014 @ 03:58 PM

Take a  coffee break on Fridays from  12:00-12:30 pm. 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.

Today's topic at Nutrition Coffee Chat:

Test your diet personality! Are you a mindless muncher, a cravings crasher, or a time-crunched dieter? If you missed today's coffee chat and would like to take our diet personality quiz, email

Nutritionist's grocery picks of the week: Sari presented healthy meal and snack products  including Barney's  Natural Almond Butter, Light 'n Fit 80-calorie greek yogurt, and Veggie Patch Heat 'n Eat Falafel bites, 

Event location: Starbucks coffee shop

428 US Highway 202/206, Bedminster Township, NJ,. 07921. Reserve your spot by emailing or call 908.470.2235.

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Tags: quick weight loss, losing weight tips, losing weight fast, diet to lose weight, best weight loss, lose weight fast

Memorial Day Recipe:Barbecue Meatballs

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, May 21, 2014 @ 02:46 PM

meatballThe sun’s out! Whether you’re hosting a backyard gathering or planning a picnic lunch at the park, opt for fresh, healthful renditions of popular barbecue fare. Kick off this summer with Step Ahead Wellness Center’s Barbecue Chicken Meatballs.


2 pounds 98% fat-free ground chicken

1 egg

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Ground pepper

Olive Oil spray


1 6-ounce can tomato paste

½ cup teriyaki sauce

½ cup apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray two 9 x11 inch Pyrex pans with olive oil. To make the meatballs, combine the ground chicken, egg, garlic powder, and pepper in a large mixing bowl.

2. Create 30 meatballs each the size of a tennis ball, place them in pans, cover with foil, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes until meatballs are slightly browned and have an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

3. Combine all of the sauce ingredients in the slow cooker. Add the cooked meatballs and coat with the sauce. Cover and cook on high for 1-1 ½ hours until meatballs are fully glazed.

Makes 15 servings, 2 meatballs = 110 calories

Last call to reserve a spot at Friday Morning Nutrition Coffee Chat on May 23rd!

Join Step Ahead’s Nutritionist & contributor to the Dr. Oz show, Sari Greaves R.D.N. at Starbucks coffee shop in Bedminster (428 US Highway 202/206, Bedminster Township, NJ 07921) on Friday, May 23rd from 10:00-10:30 AM. Enjoy a free skinny coffee and chat about your diet. Sari will also discuss seasonal nutrition topics and latest diet trends. Reserve a spot by emailing


Tags: quick weight loss, losing weight tips, losing weight fast, diet to lose weight, best weight loss, lose weight fast

POWER WALK/YOGA STRETCH CLASSES IN THE PARK START JUNE 4... call today to reserve your spot!

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, May 09, 2014 @ 02:37 PM

Join us every Wednesday evening this summer for an hour of movement that will restore, rejuvenate, strengthen and energize you... after a long day at work or home with the kids/family.

Email our fitness director Noelle Lusardi at for more info or to sign up!

We look forward to walking and stretching with you!


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Tags: Personal Weight Loss, Sari Greaves, quick weight loss, memorial day weekend, Dr. Neiman, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Noelle Lusardi, Physician Weight Loss, Nutrition, Physician Weight Center, diet to lose weight, lose weight in 2014, Weight Loss Center, lose weight fast


Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, May 07, 2014 @ 02:05 PM
OPTIFAST Support Group
Meet, greet, and connect with others following the OPTIFAST Weight Loss plan. Join our  OPTIFAST Support Group WEDNESDAY MAY 14TH 5:00-5:30 PM. Learn easy tips & tricks to help achieve your personal  weight loss goals. Support Group meets in Step Ahead Waiting Lounge. RSVP by May 12th  to
Friday Morning Nutritionist Coffee Chat
Join Step Ahead’s Nutritionist & contributor to the Dr. Oz show, Sari Greaves R.D.N. at Starbucks coffee shop in Bedminster  (428 US Highway 202/206, Bedminster Township, NJ 07921)   FRIDAY MAY 16TH 10:00-10:30 AM. Enjoy a free skinny coffee and chat about your diet. Sari will also discuss seasonal nutrition topics and latest diet trends. RSVP by May 12th  to

Tags: quick weight loss, losing weight tips, losing weight fast, diet to lose weight, best weight loss, lose weight fast


Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, May 07, 2014 @ 01:58 PM

shaved broccoli stalk salad lime ck l

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