Water for Weight Loss

Water for Weight Loss

Drinking water to lose weight may be a foreign concept to some. For others, you may have been told this before but you aren’t sure exactly how drinking water helps with weight loss. Let’s clear that up.


How does drinking water help us lose weight?

First and foremost, it increases our satiety (this is the feeling of being “full”) for about 30 minutes. If your brain is telling you to eat and you don’t think that you are physically hungry, try drinking a glass of water and “recheck-in” with your body. Doing this will help you learn the difference between your brain wanting food for dopamine or comfort, and your physiological hunger signals.

Drinking water also aids in digestion and improves constipation by keeping our bowels regular by stabilizing our gut flora which removes toxins and decreases inflammation.

Other benefits of drinking water include:

  • Improves circulation, increasing oxygen flow to our brain and organs
  • Improves the immune system, meaning we get sick less often and recover faster
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Decreases frequency and severity of UTIs and kidney stones
  • Hydration before exercise improves workout performance
  • Hydration after exercise helps to reduce soreness by flushing lactic acid, cushioning the joints and stabilizing electrolytes
    Improves sleep quality


How much water should you drink per day to lose weight?

Well, it depends on your health, your weight, and your activity level. There are some medical conditions that affect the heart, liver, and kidneys where physicians will advise someone to restrict their water intake.

Although generally, we recommend that healthy people take in about 8 cups per day. This is 64oz or about 2 liters of water.

Keep in mind, if you are exercising or sweating you will need more throughout the day.

If that is the case, take breaks and listen to your thirst.

Another way to guide your hydration is through your urine. Your urine should be clear or a light-yellow color. If it is dark, you are behind on fluids and dehydrated.

Dehydration can lead to weakness, fatigue, low blood pressure, confusion and dizziness and it can happen quickly.

Flavor Tip: You can make your water intake more enjoyable by infusing it with fruits such as cucumbers, lemons, or oranges!


30 Day Water Intake Challenge

I challenge you to track your water for 30 days and see if there is a difference in the way you feel.

  1. Keep a sleep journal
  2. Document how much you eat and how often
  3. Use a water bottle with measurements on it so that you know how much water you are actually drinking throughout the day. I have one that has 1400mL or 48oz – so I drink one full one in the office and then 1/3rd of one when I get home and I know I’ve met my requirements.
  4. You can even take a picture of yourself on the first day of the challenge, then again on the last day. A lot of people notice changes in the clarity of their skin and a reduction in abdominal bloating.

And of course, come back and leave a comment with your results! I hope this helps you on your weight loss journey. As always, stay safe, stay healthy.

Dr. Kristine LaRocca

Disclaimer: Although I am a medical doctor, I am not YOUR doctor. So the things I teach are not to be used as medical advice. You should consult your physician to discuss what is best for you personally.


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Before we begin: This weekend, I got to meet a few firefighters and work alongside soldiers from all different backgrounds and specialties, including medical personnel and engineers. You are all true heroes. If you guys are reading this, I am so thankful for your service every day. YOU are the reason why I do this.

So let’s jump in…

Have you ever sat down for a meal, started eating and didn’t stop till you were sitting there, pants unbuttoned, wondering why you didn’t stop eating till you felt awful? You’re not alone.

This week, I will teach you why we overeat, the triggers that cause overeating, and how to stop yourself.

Dopamine, it’s what keeps you coming back for more.

Think about your favorite “guilty pleasure” food. A food you love to eat but you know is bad for you.

Now, think about the feeling you get when you know you’re going to eat this food. You probably get excited. You look forward to eating it.

What about when you actually eat that food. Bliss, right?

That blissful feeling is caused by a release of dopamine. That’s the “pleasure, feel good” hormone. When you eat concentrated foods, such as flour and sugar, dopamine is released, giving you a short-term reward. Much like a drug addiction.

Actually, that’s exactly what it is…an addiction.

This is no way intended to minimize the significance of having a drug addiction, but it is meant to highlight the seriousness of food addiction.

When you stop eating flour and sugar, you will go through withdrawal! If you go through withdrawal from eating certain foods, that speaks volumes to the potency and toxicity of these substances.

A recap: Glucose, Fructose and Insulin

I spoke about this in the blog Sugar is Fattening, but to recap:

  • Eating processed carbs and/or sugar leads to an increase in glucose and fructose which causes insulin to spike.
  • Insulin’s job is to open up the cells so our body can use blood sugar for fuel.
  • When we eat concentrated foods we get a huge glucose surge leading to a surge in insulin.
  • This leads to insulin resistance and lets the glucose hang around in the bloodstream, causing a vicious cycle.
  • Too much glucose in the blood wreaks havoc on the body, but so does too much insulin.
  • Too much insulin blocks an important signal from getting to our brain: the message that we are full and have had enough to eat – leading to OVEREATING.

Leptin and Ghrelin, important hormones that control hunger.

Leptin is the hormone that produces satiety, the feeling that we are full.

Ghrelin is the hormone that tells our brain when we are hungry.

Ghrelin is released when the stomach is empty and shuts off when the stomach is stretched or full. When we eat highly concentrated foods, they are absorbed too rapidly which doesn’t trigger that really important ghrelin off switch, so ghrelin continues to be produced by the stomach. You continue to feel hungry.

At the same time, our insulin is spiking in response to the glucose and actually blocking the leptin, the satiety hormone, from reaching our brain, keeping us from feeling full.

Some people have been told that eating smaller frequent meals throughout the day is better. Wrong! Eating small frequent meals keeps the stomach less distended which keeps the ghrelin following. This leads to hunger throughout most of the day which ultimately leads to overeating.

That’s why it’s so unsustainable to eat this way. Not to mention, who has time to be constantly eating throughout the day? Two or three meals a day is more than enough food to keep you energized and full.

Instead, exercise portion control with the few meals you do have during the day and be careful not to trigger the wrong hormones by choosing foods that are not highly concentrated and overly processed, like flour and sugar.

Keep your stress in check, keep your Cortisol in check.

When your body is under stress it can lead to an increase in your cortisol levels. Increased cortisol causes an increase in blood glucose in anticipation of the fight or flight response if your body needs an abundance of energy. Your body revs up to make sure that you have enough energy to “fight or flight” so your hunger signals are stimulated.

So, what can you do?
– Limit or eliminate flour and sugar
– Eat 2-3 meals daily without snacking
– Sleep 7-8 hours per night, this also helps to regulate cortisol levels
– Keep your stress under control by managing your thoughts and managing your situations

You are going to have thoughts holding you back from doing these things, these are called limiting beliefs.

What limiting beliefs are holding you back from getting the results that you want?

What change can you make today towards progress?

You got this, I’m here supporting you and rooting for you!

*I am a physician, but I am not your physician. Be sure to discuss changes in your health and eating habits with your doctor. There are certain medical conditions and medications that will indicate the way you eat.*

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Sugar is fattening

Sugar is fattening

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you already know that sugar is fattening. While it’s true that this is a huge area where many of us can make a change in our weight, it’s important to understand the effects that sugar has on the body and how to spot hidden sugars in our food.

Before we get into that, it’s important to be familiar with glucose and insulin and how they work together within our bodies.

Glucose is your blood sugar. Glucose is important because it’s used by most cells in our bodies to produce energy, including our muscles. It’s extremely important because it is the main source of energy for the brain, and is the only source of energy for red blood cells. (This is why people diagnosed with diabetes are so strict about monitoring their blood sugar.)

Insulin is like the gatekeeper to the cells and allows the glucose inside the cells to be used for fuel. It basically allows the glucose to go where is needed to run our bodies efficiently.

When we consume more glucose than our bodies need at any given time, it is stored for later use. When we go through periods of fasting these stores are what our body uses for energy.

But what happens if we don’t fast and snack through the day?

When we have enough stored, our bodies take the excess and store it as fat!

Good sugar vs Bad Sugar: Knowing the difference.

There are over 60 different names for sugar listed on food labels. The common names are sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, barley malt, dextrose, maltose, and rice syrup. Let’s discuss some of these and the effects they have on our bodies.

FRUCTOSE: You may have heard of fructose (not to be confused with high fructose corn syrup). It’s the natural sugar found in fruit. It’s stored in the liver only and doesn’t circulate in the blood. Typically consumed when eating a whole piece of fruit, the serving is moderate and does not have negative health effects.

HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP: This is essentially a super concentrated dose of fructose. It’s used to sweeten a lot of obviously bad foods, like popsicles, soda, and candy, but it’s also snuck into foods we may think are good for us, like sweetened yogurt or canned fruits. What makes this type of sugar dangerous is that, like fructose, it is stored in the liver only, which only becomes problematic when we consume too much.

Once our liver is full of fructose storage, it starts to create fat and store that in the liver too, creating what’s called “fatty liver”, which can lead to severe health consequences such as liver scarring leading to fibrosis. It is also the cause of insulin resistance which causes diabetes.

SUCROSE: Commonly known as table sugar. When sucrose is digested it breaks down into fructose and glucose, which go their own separate ways in your body. Fructose heads off to the liver, while glucose stays in the blood. This process causes a spike in blood sugar, which then causes a spike in insulin.

It is a vicious cycle.

Too much concentrated fructose causes our liver to get over packed and start to spill out the excess fat and the sugar.

Excess fat and sugar cause our insulin to spike up to get it back in the liver.

Insulin spikes cause our cells to become resistant to using insulin.

When our cells become resistant the sugar stays in the blood.

What can you do?

Well, you’ve already started to take action, simply by reading this. Increasing your knowledge and awareness of the ingredients of the foods you are eating is the first critical step. Read labels. You will be surprised.

Tip: When looking at the ingredients, the list is in order by how much of each ingredient is in the food product. If sugar or high-fructose corn syrup is close to the top then that food product is mostly made up of sugar.

Eat whole foods as often as possible. By whole foods I mean, real foods, from nature. Fruits, vegetables, proteins, and carbohydrates in their natural state.

Tip: If it was made in a factory, it’s not a whole food. Be weary of canned and boxed items, check the labels to make sure they haven’t added any surprise ingredients. If you can’t buy the fresh stuff, frozen is the next best thing.

Where is sugar hiding?

You already know the obvious.

  • Sugar is in desserts, pastries and ice cream, but it’s also in our drinks.
  • Take a look at the juices, sodas, sport drinks…even the DIET drinks.
  • We’re having sugar for breakfast in our breakfast bars, cereals and yogurts.
  • High-fructose corn syrup is in tons of processed foods including pizza dough, pizza sauce, soups, breads, pastries, cookies, ketchup (crazy right?!), and tons of other sauces and packaged products

When teaching patients or clients about nutrition I often hear “I don’t eat fruits because they have too much sugar.

I’m always blown away, because many times these same people are eating a sugary cereal for breakfast that is marketed to be “Heart Healthy” with a fruit juice that is marketed to be “100% juice.”

This is not your fault. It’s been taught to us this way for years.

The job of these companies is not to get you HEALTHY.
Their job is to MAKE MONEY.

You got this. Pay attention. Together we can outsmart the food industry and take back our health.

So, if you haven’t yet – sign up for emails and get the free weight loss workbook, where you’ll find more information about healthy eating.

Also, subscribe to my podcast, where I discuss all things health and wellness.

Have questions? Let me know and I will answer them in future blogs.

Stay healthy, 
Dr. LaRocca

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“I’ll just stay for one drink.” Famous last words. Most of us are guilty of overdrinking at some point, but have you ever asked yourself why? Here are some serious questions to ask yourself. (Tip: You will get the most benefit from this exercise by writing out the answers with pen and paper.)

Does alcohol cause any negative effects in your life? Including, but not limited to:

  • Your health
  • Your relationships
  • Your weight
  • Your energy

Have you ever considered cutting back?

What are your barriers when it comes to cutting back drinking or stopping altogether?

Do you need alcohol to have fun?

Do you need alcohol to relax?

This is an important topic because it has been socially ingrained in us that when we go out, we drink. When we get together for parties, we drink. When we go to sporting events, we drink.

It is more socially acceptable to drink than to not drink. Actually, it goes even further. If someone decides not to drink, people want to know why. Sometimes it is assumed that they have a prior dependence on alcohol or they must be pregnant.

Isn’t that wild to think about?

REALLY think about it.

Why is there so much social pressure to drink when we know we will feel terrible in the morning?

We can cultivate meaningful relationships, sober. We can engage in activities to relax, sober.

If you relate to this, here are 3 helpful tips:

To take control of your alcohol intake decide exactly when you will drink and how many drinks you will have. Otherwise, do not drink. This gives you complete control. When you think ahead with your prefrontal cortex you are likely to make healthier decisions, than when you are in the moment.

1. Don’t drink on an empty stomach.
Alcohol is toxic. It takes a large amount of energy from your body to break it down and get rid of it. When your body doesn’t have the fuel it requires to dedicate that amount of energy, we get hungry…ravenous even. Anyone who has ordered pizza at 1AM after a night of drinking, knows exactly what I mean. And do we stop after one piece of pizza? No. We overeat. As if that weren’t bad enough, the food we eat while drinking is more likely to be processed as fat. Yikes.

2. Stop drinking about 3-4 hours before going to bed.
Drinking affects sleep. Those few glasses of wine may help you fall asleep faster but your sleep is not as deep or restorative, and you have a greater chance of waking up in the middle of the night. Need proof? When is the last time you woke up from a night of drinking feeling well-rested and ready to take on the day?

3. Don’t add sugary mixers to your drinks
Alcoholic drinks mixed with sugary soft drinks or juices may be easier to consume, but this is dangerous for a number of reasons. First, you’re taking in way more sugar than is healthy, plus your perception of how much alcohol you’re actually consuming can become distorted. This often leads to overdrinking and consuming alarming amounts of sugar.

If you decide that alcohol is not healthy for your mind or your body and you want to stop completely, I encourage you to do so. Things will come up. Relationships may change. Does a true relationship need to be centered on alcohol? Absolutely not.

If you decide to quit altogether or just cut back, it will be very important to pay attention to your thinking and your feelings. You don’t have to let your brain go to default mode. Deliberately choose what you are going to think and this will guide the way you feel.

You are capable of whatever you decide.

Have questions or comments? I would love to hear from you.

Dr. LaRocca

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Far From Perfect

Far From Perfect


Hello friends!

This week was slammed for me.  I worked night shifts for 12 or more hours for 6 nights this week. I had to keep up with my patient inbox at work, e-mails, I did coaching calls, went to doctor appointments, worked out twice, and oh yeah – I slept and showered every day.

This Sunday as I transition back to days tomorrow I am wiped.  I did some yoga today and just felt depleted.  I knew I needed a down day.  Just to be honest, my down day usually refers to doing my work on the computer in front of the TV.. But today I actually took some time for myself.  I watched the new Robert Deniro movie, called the Irishman, about Jimmy Hoffa.  It was pretty good if you’re into gangster movies.

Sundays are usually my day to meal plan and grocery shop.  I knew I didn’t have it in me today so I thought outside the box.  I went to Bachetti Bros in Wilmington and bought all premade food while staying on the protocol.  I gave you an example below of what this looks like for my meal plan this week.  Some of the stuff I already had in the freezer, like the tilapia and Angus beef patties.  Bachetti Bros is a catering company and a small Italian grocery store.  I bought a lot of cooked things like sausage mixed with onions/peppers, scalloped potatoes, mashed potatoes, and potato skins.  I was also able to get egg salad, spinach, apples, carrots, asparagus,  romaine lettuce, and meats.  My bill was less than $100.  So this week we will have to cook a few things, but overall most of the food will just be heated up in the oven.  These meals are made in-house at the store and no preservatives or other badness is used.

I don’t think this is ideal, but sometimes it’s what self-care looks like.  Especially this week when I feel like I’m at the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

I’m not sharing this with you to show you how busy I am, but to show you that if you WANT results you WILL get them no matter what.  Stick to the protocol and cut out those empty refined carbs and sugars my friends.

What are your tips and tricks to eat healthy on weeks that you are slammed?



Meal Planning 101

Meal Planning 101

Hello, my beautiful people!


I have a treat for you.  Below are the 4 steps for successfull meal planning and the Meal Planning Worksheets for free!


My work hours vary anywhere between 60-80 hours (or more!) per week.  Planning meals ahead of time is absolutely necessary for me to be healthy and stay at my ideal weight.  If you work a ton or just have a lot going on, but still need to make your health a priority, then this is for you.


I want you to think SIMPLE. No calorie counting.  Journaling your food intake or keeping track of it in an app is useful for identifying where you are getting stuck, but is not necessary.  It is an additional tool.


I want you to think SUSTAINABLE.  This is not a fad diet or super restrictive plan.  This is a plan tailored to you, created by you.


Before I met my husband, him and the kids would have hamburger helper and those packaged noodle and rice sides with some kind of fried meat almost nightly.  Over time, with some wifely coaching, he was able to come up with a “food protocol” and didn’t even realize it was happening.  He was trying different healthy foods and kept eating the ones he liked.  Now he eats healthy about 70% of the time.  He no longer has high blood pressure and has way less heartburn.


So here we go…

Step 1: Food Protocol

Make a list of foods that you PLAN to eat and a list of ones you don’t.  We know that refined carbs and sugar cause a spike in insulin. Remember that insulin is a storage hormone and causes you to gain weight.  So decide if you are going to completely cut out the badness (yes!!!!) or if you are going to cut back on the badness.


Refined carbs vs. what’s better


White rice –> brown rice

Sugary cereals –> oatmeal

Pasta –> mashed potatoes

White potatoes –> sweet potatoes

Sugar –> NO sugar 🙂


Step 2: Weekly Meal Planning


Ideally on Sundays, or whatever day works best, carve out 1 hour to plan and 1 hour to grocery shop. Put this in your calendar ahead of time.   While you are planning your meals for the week, add the time in your calendar for the next Sunday so that time is ALWAYS saved for meal planning.  As you do it you will find it might not take a full hour for each, then cut it back to what works for you.


Write down what you are going to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.  I intermittent fast (more to come on this), so I don’t eat breakfast.  I only have black coffee, so that’s what I write down.  I don’t snack, I drink water with lemon as my “snack” so I write that down.  Use the foods from you protocol.


Step 3: Grocery List


After you plan your meals, write down everything you need by section in the grocery store.  Produce, meat, seafood, dried goods, spices/herbs, dairy, paper products, and miscellaneous.  Then give yourself that ONE hour only to shop.


Pro tip: you can have the groceries delivered or do curbside pick up.  This is clutch for long work weeks.


Step 4: Recipe Collection

As you make healthy food combinations or recipes that you like, KEEP THEM.  All in one place.  Make a system and be consistent.  Print them and put them in a binder with your worksheets.  Keep them on a pinterest board.  Write them on little index cards like Grandma.  Consistency is key.


I didn’t get disciplined and achieve my ideal weight overnight.  Let me tell you though, once I figured out this simple system it was easy to stick with it and I’ve been at my ideal weight for 18 months.  Cut yourself some slack and keep trying.


Remember.. cutting out the refined carbs and sugar will give you the most bang for your buck.


If you want to dive deeper or need some help, I’d love to work with you one-on-one once I have a slot available.  Click here, scroll to the bottom and enter your e-mail to get on the waiting list.


Be well,


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