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Sleep and Weight Loss

Sleep and Weight Loss

Few people would dispute that a good night’s sleep makes for a better day. But did you know the link between sleep and weight loss?

Sleep disturbances like snoring, sleep apnea, and sleep periods of fewer than 7-8 hours of quality sleep have links to unwanted weight gain.

Growing evidence from both laboratory and epidemiological studies points to disrupted sleep causes changes in levels of hormones that normally suppress appetite and moderate food intake and lower body temperature.

This results in hunger spikes and lowers your metabolism, resulting in weight gain. Adequate amounts of quality sleep help the body adjust its energy balance and regulate levels of salt, minerals, and sugar in the blood.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to improve the amount length and quality of your sleep!

You can achieve healthy sleep through lifestyle changes, such as setting a consistent bedtime, limiting caffeine late in the day, and curtailing high-tech distractions in the bedroom.

Good sleep habits have other benefits, too, like boosting alertness at school or work, improving mood, and enhancing the overall quality of life.

Because weight loss often improves overall sleep quality, Monarch is now partnering with several sleep institutes. For more information, talk to Monarch patient care specialists at 866-731-5673.

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Learn How To Control Food Triggers

Learn How To Control Food Triggers

If you get the urge to eat after spotting the bag of cookies on the counter after a stressful phone call, or you eat mindlessly when you're not even hungry; you've got food triggers. Food triggers make you crave foods, and we're not talking vegetables. We all have triggers that set us on the path of eating. What's yours?

Here are a few suggestions for gaining control and sticking to your nutritional plan:

Write a Food Journal - Start recording what time you eat, how you feel and what you're doing, as well as what you choose to eat. This may make it easier to discover your danger zones. A good journal helps you link your environment and emotions with what goes into your mouth. You must recognize your danger zones before you can plan a way to control your eating habits. 

Distract yourself - Are you bored? Call a friend, go for a walk, read a book or try spending some time stretching. Really try positive activities that makes you think about something other than eating. 

Brush your teeth - It seems simple, but the clean, minty taste can help to kill your craving. Better yet, floss your teeth and use mouthwash too! You might as well help prevent some cavities.

Remove the source - Give the cookies to the neighbor kids and ban the breadbasket from your table. Better yet, don't bring tempting foods home. Taking control feels better than giving in to a craving.

If you're going to eat, then JUST eat - Don't watch T.V., read the paper, or do anything besides talk to the other people at the table. Be mindful of what you're eating. Taste every bite.

Get away - Get yourself out of the danger zone. You might not be able to stop a craving, but you can physically remove yourself from the food temptation. Out of sight, out of mind!

Practice relaxing - Meditate, soak in a hot bath, or practice some other relaxation technique to handle stress without food. Slow controlled deep breathing exercises have great benefits too!

Talk to the Monarch Staff. They know what you're going through and can offer support and suggestions to help get you past the craving. Stop by for a weigh-in and speak with our trained staff, or check out our different locations for hours and locations.

Just know that you are in control, and with a few of the strategies listed above, you can handle it!

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Delicious Summer Treats

Delicious Summer Treats

Summer is a wonderful time of year that brings with it a bunch of delicious fruits and vegetables to brighten our taste buds! Now, you are likely able to find local fresh fruits and vegetables at your farmers markets throughout the summer as well as in your grocery store.

Here are four great tasting recipes to try including drinks, salads, soup and fried chicken!

Watermelon Slushie
 1 Qty 6 to 7lb watermelon
 2 Limes
 ½ Cup Lime Juice
Soda Water

Slushie Syrup
 2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
 ¼ Cup Water
 ¼ Tsp Salt

Make 2 inch pieces from the watermelon and remove the seeds (should be appx 4lbs worth)
Remove the seeds from watermelon.
Zest your limes (wash off the waxy coating on your limes and use a grater board to make shavings from the skin of lime).
Next make the Slushie Syrup in a small saucepan. Combine the salt, sugar and water, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer until the sugar dissolves which should be about 2-3 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and stir in the lime juice and lime zest. Then let cool completely.
Once cooled, use a strainer and pour the liquid into a measuring cup.
Take ½ of the watermelon pieces and ½ the syrup into a blender and puree until smooth.
Strain into a metal loaf pan and repeat with the remaining watermelon pieces and syrup.
Cover and freeze (should take about 8 hours)
When ready to serve, use a fork and scrape the shavings to make large flakes and put in glasses
Top your glasses with the soda water and enjoy!


Tossed Salad

½ head lettuce, washed, torn into bite sized pieces

4 ounces spinach, fresh whole leaf

1 green onion, washed and minced

1 fresh tomato, washed and diced

1 cucumber, peeled, quartered, and sliced thin

Place in a large bowl and mix well! For slight variations of this tried and true classic, you can add items like hard boiled eggs, thin shavings of ham or turkey, onion slices or chopped green, yellow and red peppers. Makes 4 servings.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

1 pkg. Monarch Cream of Chicken Soup Mix with Vegetables 1 c. Cauliflower 1/2 c. Fat free cottage cheese 1 c. Water 1 tsp. White pepper

Puree cauliflower and cottage cheese in blender. In small saucepan, stir soup mix and water until smooth. Bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat. Add puree mixture and simmer for 6 minutes or until cauliflower is cooked. Serves 2.

Per Serving: Calories: 87.5 Protein: 13 grams Carbs: 8 grams Fat: 0 grams

*Too bland? Kick up the flavor with garlic powder or onion powder.

Fried Chicken

1 pkg. Sea Salt-N-Vinegar Voyage Soy Chips 4 oz. Chicken breast 1 Egg white 1/4 tsp. Garlic powder 1/4 tsp. Paprika 1/4 tsp. Ground pepper flakes, sale and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine crushed Soy Chips and spices. Place egg white in another bowl. Dip chicken in egg white, then roll in Soy Chip crumb mixture. Place chicken in a small baking pan. Spray chicken with "I can't Believe It's Not Butter" spray. Bake for 20 minutes or until done. Serves 1.

Per Serving: Calories: 275 Protein: 46 grams Carbs: 12 grams Fat: 5 grams

*For a crispier coating, cook the chicken 5-10 minutes longer and flip the chicken breast when half done.

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10 Steps to Enthusiastic Weight Control

10 Steps to Enthusiastic Weight Control

  1. Visualize Thin The way you feel is controlled by the way you think. Imagine what thin looks like in your body and make small, incremental changes to achieve it.
  2. Nothing is Impossible Take the "T" out of the word can't. Apply actionable steps and learn needed skills. Don't panic, but think in terms of the possible. Become a specialist in doing what you may have thought was impossible.
  3. You Are In Charge No one is in charge of your happiness, except you. Change the things you can change and stop worrying about the things you can't.
  4. Keep Enthusiasm Going and Going Renew positive attitudes daily. Partake of daily inspiration as nourishment for the soul. Sharpen your positive attitude by accepting obstacles as new and exciting challenges.
  5. Convert the "I Wish" to "I Did" Obstacles have solutions if you spend the time to work through the issues. Break down problems and use step-by-step solutions to achieve results.
  6. The Magic of Believing Believe that goals are possible before embarking. Review your reasons for wanting to be thin and healthy. Mistakes are positive; you learn from them
  7. Tired? Astonish Yourself Take one day at a time. Relax or meditate to release your limitless inner energy. Positive thinking refreshes your energy.
  8. Extend the Fullness of Life Don't be afraid to enjoy pleasure (other than food). There is an amazing world full of interests and activities. Eliminate boredom by taking action and trying some of the boundless opportunities for joyful experiences.
  9. Recognize the Advantage of Hitting Bottom There is only one way to go when you've hit bottom, and that's up! Always think UP! Think victory, not defeat. Nothing can keep you down if you have faith in yourself.
  10. You Can Deal with Any Problem Contemplate success rather than failure. Cool it, relax! Develop the 'I-will-stick-with-it' attitude. Don't say "I'll try", but say "I'll DO IT!"
Why Springtime is a great time to lose weight

Why Springtime is a great time to lose weight

Are you struggling hard to get moving with your weight loss goals? Then spring is one of the best times of the year available for you to kick start your weight loss initiatives. Here is a list of reasons to motivate you this Spring!


  1. Later sunsets

During the winter, darkness sneaks in around 4pm in the evening. Once darkness sets in, the desire to be active fights with the need to rest. Springtime brings in the Daylight Savings time change and gives you some light almost until 9pm! This leaves more time for outdoor activities so you will be able to start your workouts without having any excuses.


  1. No need of treadmills

Walking on a treadmill is great when it's dark out or rainy, but Springtime brings warmer days and more sunshine for walking, riding bikes, jogging and more! You can enjoy those outdoor activities you've been putting off during winter.


  1. You can find good company

If you go to the park during the spring season it's a lot easier to find a partner to go for a walk, or a workout buddy. This can deliver a motivation factor for you to stick to your weight loss goals.


  1. Fresh foods become more available

When Springtime arrives, it brings with it fresh local produce to grocery stores and farmers markets. Some of the best tasting salads are made with lettuce, tomatoes, carrots and more from local farmers, so you have more healthy options for snacks and meals.


  1. More motivation to stay active

With the weather getting nicer, it's natural to want to spend more time outdoors. Going for long walks, enjoying the flowers and scenery, taking in some fresh air. Studies have found that people who are active outdoors tend to stay active longer and more often than those indoors.



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How to Become a Meal-Prep Expert

How to Become a Meal-Prep Expert

When you’re trying to eat healthy, a lot of your bad decisions will come from hunger impulses. Think about it: You’re running late for work, you’re hungry, so you make the impulse decision to stop at McDonald’s for breakfast. After the temporary relief of your sausage McMuffin, you’re left with that greasy, uncomfortable feeling. You’re still low in energy and you’ll likely be hungry again before you know it.

This impulse decision is a result of not being prepared. Busy days are bound to happen, but by planning and preparing your meals ahead of time, you’ll be less likely to find yourself in that McDonald’s drive-thru. Sticking to a meal-prep routine can be hard and time-consuming at first, but the more you do it, it will get easier and take up less time. Eventually, it will become habit.

Here are some tips for becoming a meal-prep expert:

Prepare mini-meals, rather than three large meals.

Mini-meals consist of a balanced combination of protein and carbohydrates. Eating a mini-meal every 2-3 hours has been shown to be more beneficial for weight loss than the traditional “3 meals a day.” It helps you avoid that “starving” feeling that leads to overeating. Click here to learn more.

Pick the day that’s right for you.

Sunday is usually the day that people have the most free time, making it a popular day for preparing meals. However, if Sundays don’t work for you, don’t give up meal-prep completely. You can plan for your week on any day.

Divide your time strategically.

Some people turn away from meal-prep because they view it as a daunting task. Try sitting down one day to plan out your meals in a notepad. The following day, go to the grocery store to pick up the foods you need. Save your actual meal-prep for the day after that. By spreading the process throughout three days, it won’t seem as time-consuming.

Pick foods that are easily transformed into different meals.

Diversity is needed when you are preparing your meals, as it is unlikely that you will want to eat the same thing every day of the week. Some grocery store staples may be: eggs, turkey breast, fruits, vegetables, and cottage cheese. These items can be used to mix with other ingredients to create new dishes.

Make sure you are storing your meals correctly.

This will help ensure freshness, which is important for prepping meals in advance. Another tip is to eat the items that parish quickly earlier in the week.

Add in some “easy days.”

It’s okay to have a day or two where you substitute one of your mini-meals for a protein-rich snack bar. Switching it up from time to time will help you satisfy cravings, without indulging in unhealthy foods.

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