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Tracking For Now and Later

To make an appt, call us or schedule an appointment online here Book an appointment using SetMoreElevation Medical Weight Loss of Pittsburgh & Weirton 
2350 Noblestown Rd. Pittsburgh, PA 15205 (412) 304-2016  
241 Three Springs Dr. Weirton, WV 26062 (304) 914-3112

When most people first come to see us, their introduction included several urgings as to the importance of tracking calories.  We know that this advice will sometimes fall on deaf ears, but we wanted to take time to reiterate the importance of tracking calories when attempting to lose weight through diet.

Whether you are using appetite suppressants, HCG, or just plain old dieting, you will find that errors in estimating calories can add up throughout the day to a surprising degree. If you doubt this, test yourself on a variety of everyday foods and compare this to what you can find on any number of calorie counter websites. Even if you do well in this controlled setting, I would be cautious to trust your instincts in the real world, especially if these instincts have already played a role in your weight gain.

Also keep in mind that with lower calorie diets, such as those used with HCG or by certain individuals with slower base metabolisms,  the margin for error is far smaller. Overestimating by 50 calories per meal make a much bigger difference for someone eating 800 calories a day than someone eating 1600.

Finally, we want to encourage you to begin tracking calories not just for now but also for the future. We have found that the best way to prevent post-diet weight rebounds is by spending adequate time tracking your calories when attempting to eat at “weight maintenance” diet. By getting feedback through your tracker you can better train your body to feel satisfied with the appropriate amount of food for you to avoid subsequent weight gain.

A free app we recommend to track is MyPlate Calorie Counter from Livestrong.

MaiLan tracked this as 1 cupcake 🙂
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.. About Making B-12 Appointments

To make an appt, call us or schedule an appointment online here
Book an appointment using SetMoreElevation Medical Weight Loss of Pittsburgh & Weirton
2350 Noblestown Rd. Pittsburgh, PA 15205 (412) 304-2016 
241 Three Springs Dr. Weirton, WV 26062 (304) 914-3112

emmwl-weir2017Until now we have offered through our website the opportunity to book appointments for our various B-12 injections. We have done this in an effort to better accommodate those with less flexible schedules, however we have found it to cause more confusion than good so we have decided to remove the option from our appointment scheduler.

Don’t worry, this change will not limit the times during which you can come in for B-12 injections but rather you may still come in at any time during which we have regular hours. If our open sign is on, you can come on in for shots.

So to further clarify, no appointments need to be (no can be) made for B-12 injections, appointments are available only for new fills or refills on prescription medications, and only required during non-walk in Physician hours.

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Losing Weight & Feeling Younger with Sermorelin

To make an appt, call us or schedule an appointment online here
Book an appointment using SetMoreElevation Medical Weight Loss of Pittsburgh & Weirton
 2350 Noblestown Rd. Pittsburgh, PA 15205 (412) 304-2016 
241 Three Springs Dr. Weirton, WV 26062 (304) 914-3112

Here is a testimonial from a client who has been using Sermorelin injections over the past 3 months.

“My mother always said it would catch up to me…

I was pretty thin most of my life and due to my active lifestyle working with horses I would eat anything I wanted and never gain a pound! All that changed after my forties and added stress from the new desk job and life in general led to an increase of some 50 lbs. I tried to diet, even got a membership at Planet Fitness for over a year, but nothing worked until I found Elevation Weight Loss!

After only a few short months I had lost 46 pounds! My size 16 became a 6 just in time for the holidays and celebrations and I couldn’t be happier with my health either! I was facing type II diabetes and the possibility of needing medications daily. Then I was told my bone density was decreasing rapidly and I was completely vitamin B deficient! The B complex injections helped my energy levels and adding the fat burned helped me keep up with my daily chores but I really noticed the difference when I decided to try Sermorelin! Dr. Cooper was so kind and informative, who knew that talking about a diet and activity plan could be so much fun? I learned that my body was producing less human growth hormone and combined with the weight gain and energy loss my body was becoming ill. After the first month, I wasn’t sure it was for me, but then it started to melt away like butter!

I intend to continue using Sermorelin to maintain my health and weight, after all, how could a naturally occurring hormone cause any harm? As a therapist, I have done extensive research on many of the newer diet medications and believe the natural products are not only the safest but also don’t have unwanted side effects comparatively.  It’s so refreshing to know there are alternatives to the big pharm products and diet fads; besides, having Dr. Cooper as your own personal health coach is the best bonus of all!

The Grateful Graduate,

Nikki F.


“From 186 lbs. (picture right) and too embarrassed to have my picture taken out of the water …

To 140 lbs. in five short months! My confidence has improved and my health couldn’t be better! Thanks Dr. Cooper!”


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Shrimp Cocktail (269 calories per serving)

To make an appt, please call us at (412) 304-2016 or schedule an appointment online here.

Elevation Medical Weight Loss
 2350 Noblestown Rd. Pittsburgh, PA 15205


Here is a delicious and simple shrimp cocktail recipe that takes little to no effort to prepare.  After trying it, you may wonder why you would ever buy packaged or frozen shrimp cocktail again. We used large shrimp (21-26 shrimp per pound), deveined, with shell on.  We have made this recipe several ways, and the taste does not change if you cook with the shell off; however,  since the completely peeled shrimp is cooks more quickly, you have to cook it about 1-2 minute less.

2 lb of large deveined, shell on shrimp.  Rosemary sprigs, bay leaves, whole peppercorn, celery seed, salt, lemon wedges and lemon peel.

Low Calorie Shrimp Cocktail (269 calories per serving)
Recipe serves 4          Prep time: 15 minutes    Cook time: 15 minutes


Calories Carbs

For the shrimp:

Large shrimp, deveined, 2 lb

960 calories
Water, 4 cups
Salt, 2 tbsp
Lemon juice, ½ lemon (2 tbsp)
Lemon peel, from 1 lemon
Thyme, 8-10 sprigs or 1 tsp
Black peppercorn, whole, 2 tsp
Bay leaves, 3-4 whole leaves
Celery seed, ½ tsp
Ice, 1 pitcher (½ gallon)

For the cocktail sauce:

Ketchup, ½ cup

116 calories

30 g carbs

Horseradish sauce, 2 tbsp
Worcestershire sauce, ½ tsp
Lemon juice, ½ tsp
Old Bay seasoning**, a dash (1/8  tsp)
Cayenne pepper, sprinkle as needed
RECIPE SERVES 4 269 calories

8 g carbs

Old Bay seasoning can be substituted by mixing equal portions of celery salt, paprika, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.

Lemon juice and lemon zest helps freshen up seafood and shellfish.  Essentially, it reduces the amine compound that is responsible for the “fishy smell” in seafood (trimethylamine and dimethylamine)


1. In a large pot, pour 4 cups of water and add 2 tbsp salt, 2 tbsp lemon juice, lemon peel, thyme, black peppercorn, bay leaves, celery seed.  Turn the heat to high or medium high.

This mixture smells wonderful

2.  In about 4-5 minutes when the water reaches a gentle boil, add the shrimp and stir every 45-60 seconds, submerging the shrimp.  After 3-5 minutes when the water almost begins to boil with small bubbles rising, all of the shrimp should be a light pink.  Stir again.  Turn off the heat when you see a couple of bubbles rising, before the water boils. Cover the pot and let sit for 5-6 minutes.

You want the shrimp to be just done.  Turn off the heat when the water is almost coming to a boil by watching for small rolling bubbles. If you have a food thermometer, the water temperature should be around 185 degrees F.

3.  Prepare the cocktail sauce by combining the ketchup, horseradish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, Old Bay seasoning, & Cayenne pepper. Mix evenly and place in the fridge for serving later.

4.  The shrimp should be thoroughly cooked by now.  You may try one to test. The next step is to add in the 1/2 gallon of ice to the shrimp, stir. Cover with a lid for another 4-5 minutes.

The ice helps cool the water to allow the shrimp to soak up more flavoring without getting overcooked

5.  Have a large colander ready in the sink.  Pour the ice and shrimp into the colander to strain.

Shrimp with shell on

6.  If you cooked deveined, shell-on shrimp, you will need some time to peel them, leaving the tail behind.  Peeling the shrimp should take around 6-10 minutes.

7.  Serve immediately with cocktail sauce, or refrigerate and serve within 3-5 days.


This recipe serves 4, but we won’t say anything if it all goes to one person.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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How to Start a Strength Training Program


As a primer ahead of my upcoming strength training series of articles, I want to spend some time on the fundamentals of creating workout plan so that you can get the results you want regardless of the specific exercises you choose. While I will encourage everyone to pick up a barbell or dumbbell from time to time, I care less about what you do than how you do it. I will focus on strength training in this article since it is the more effective for our goals than cardio, however if you are limited to typically “endurance” activities we can discuss you options on an individual basis.

A routine consisting simply of pushups, situps, and squats, or really any movement that requires you to move your body or move an object around your body, can be used to develop strength if done properly. When planning your workouts, there are 3 main components that you want to adjust to achieve your desired strength training goals: repetitions, sets, and exertion,


Repetitions, or reps, are a major factor in the results you get from your workout. Generally speaking, lower reps lead to more strength while higher reps nurture increased endurance. Of course its more complicated than that, but for our purposes we want to stick with weights that are difficult to perform for 3-12 reps. By staying within this rep range you can gains strength while staying safe. Remember though, repetitions only matter when you use the right weight, sets should be difficult but manageable with good technique.


Sets are groupings of reps, so if you do 3 sets of 10 reps of pushups, that would mean that you  did 10 pushups, rested, did 10 more pushups, rested again, and then did 10 more pushups. Generally doing anywhere from 3 to 6 sets (excluding warm ups) will get the results you want. You should also consider your reps when deciding how many sets to perform; the fewer reps you perform, the more sets you can do and vice versa. This ensures that you are exercising in sufficient volume to stimulate muscle growth.


Perceived exertion is just a fancy way to describing how hard you think something is. This may seem fairly straightforward, however I want to make it clear that the weight, reps, and sets that you perform are based entirely on you. I want you to feel like you are putting in a 8/10 effort with every exercise, hard enough to strain you but easier enough to control.
So that’s it, with these three concepts together with a fitness goal in mind you can start to put together you own workout routine. If you are now sitting there confidant that you understand the how of working out but are still lost on the “what”, browse around the internet, or ask a trainer at your gym, or just hold tight because my next few articles will try to give you some easy to do exercises to choose from.

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Meals without Cooking – Part II

In the 2nd installment of our “no-cooking required” meals series, we will look at a recipe that is not only tasty and easy but also can easily be prepared in bulk for future meals.  When you find that your schedule suddenly overwhelmed, or that your kids become more demanding and eat up most your free time, you can grab some already-prepared food from the grocery store and take a couple of minutes to assemble meals for a couple of days.

This may look like a lot of food, but there’s actually only 4-5 servings

Chicken Salad is an easy meal for when you’re undecided

INGREDIENT Calories Carb
Chicken breast, skinless,  6 oz 276 cal 0
Baby spring mix, 3 oz 20 calories 2 gram
Bell peppers, 1 oz 9 calories 2 gram
Balsamic vinaigrette, 1 tbsp 15 calories 2 gram
TOTAL 320 calories 6 gram
3 oz of shredded Rotisserie Chicken on the food scale, and another 3 oz in the background (in a full cup loosely measured)

So what does 6 oz of chicken breast look like? A good rule of thumb is roughly twice the size of the palm of your hand.  Also 6 oz of chicken will roughly fit loosely into 2 cups, when shredded or chopped.  Alternatively, you can pick up a food scale and get a more exact measurement. One of the benefits of weighing out your food is you can much more accurately track how much you are eating to consistently lose the same amount of weight week-to-week.

3 oz of baby spring mix

You may be surprised to know that 3 oz of baby spring mix (1 serving) can fill up about half a gallon of space.  It’s helpful to fill up your stomach with lots of green, leafy vegetables that are low in calories as well as in carbs.  Green, leafy vegetables are great resources for the necessary vitamins such as Vitamin K, magnesium and potassium.  Eat a lot of greens to fill up space in your stomach to stay satisfied longer.


Combine the chicken with the baby green mix, then add some chopped bell peppers.  Stir in 1 tsp of a low calorie, low carb dressing of your choice (we used a Balsamic Vinaigrette).


Serve the chicken salad in a very large bowl.  Drink 32 oz of water with your meal.

There are so many creative ways to eat healthier even when your time is limited, or you just don’t have the desire to cook.  You just have to WANT to do what it takes to live a healthier lifestyle, and of course we are here to help if needed.

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Grilled Salmon with Zucchini: 314 calories

Here is a quick and easy grilled salmon recipe you can have prepared and serve in about half an hour.  Lemon or lime has to be one of our favorite addition to seafood because it reduces the amine compound that is responsible for the “fishy” smell in seafood.





Salmon, skinless 6 oz  (or 4 oz w/ skin) 241 calories  
Zucchini, sliced, 2 cups 38 calories 7 g carb
Strawberries, 4 medium 15 calories 3 g carb
½ tsp oil for zucchini 20 calories  
TOTAL 314 calories 10 g carb

The ingredients are friendly for a gluten-free diet or just when you are trying to live healthier.


The seasonings are quite flexible.  We used Montreal seasoning found in the pantry, but you can make your own by combining 2 tsp paprika, 2 tsp black pepper, 2 tsp kosher salt, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tsp onion, 1 tsp red pepper flakes.


Lemon, 1 slice
Montreal seasoning, generous amount
Rosemary, a couple of sprigs
Thyme, a couple of sprigs
Try to keep the baby away from your ingredients


  1. Turn on the grill for preheating.
  2. Generously rub Montreal seasoning into all sides of the salmon.  Transfer the salmon to a large piece of foil paper.  Squeeze a slice of lemon on top of the salmon.  Put the squeezed lemon on top of the salmon. Crush the thyme and rosemary with your fingers and put the sprigs on top.  Wrap up the salmon, lemon, thyme and rosemary inside the foil to prepare for grilling.  This will allow the salmon soak up the seasoning for a moist, tasty meal.
  3. For the zucchini, drizzle 1/2 tsp of oil on top. We used canola oil, but you can use whichever oil you have in the pantry.  Transfer the zucchini onto a big sheet of aluminum foil and wrap it up for grilling.

    Transfer the wrapped packages to the grill.
  4. Grill the salmon on medium heat with the lid closed for about 6-8 minutes on each side. The zucchini only needs roughly half of the time on the grill, so 2-5 minutes on each side.
  5. Open the foil.  Transfer the contents to a plate.  Serve with strawberries.  We hope this recipe gives you a couple of ideas for your next meal 🙂
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5 Potential Causes for Your Diet Related Cramps and What You Can Do About Them


When you are starting a new diet and exercise program you may find yourself having leg cramps during the first few days or weeks of your new routine.  To understand why you experience this and what you can do to prevent recurrence, we have to examine the cause of muscle spasms.  

Most oftenly, leg cramps are caused by some combination of the following 5 reasons:

  1. Dehydration
  2. Electrolyte deficiency
    1. Low potassium, magnesium deficiency, calcium deficiency, and/or low sodium
  3. Vitamin deficiency
    1. Low thiamine (B1), pantothenic acid (B5), and pyridoxine (B6)
  4. Lack of muscle flexibility
  5. Overexertion

Let’s address each problem individually:


Drinking plenty of water (by plenty, we mean a gallon or more of water a day) is an important factor in keeping you feeling your best.  Water is critical at the microcellular level in the Krebs Cycle to generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which your body uses to do pretty much everything.  Ensuring that you meet your daily water intake goals will improve your energy level, as well as provide your muscles with the resources they need to function properly.  Without adequate water intake, our muscles begin to accumulate waste byproducts, commonly referred to as “toxins”, that may cause spasms or cramping.  

Electrolyte deficiency

Ingesting plenty of dark green, leafy vegetables will go a long way in keeping you out of trouble and cramp-free. Even if you are limited to low-carb foods, you can still find good sources of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium.  Frequently, the two main electrolytes of concern that are responsible for leg cramps are potassium and magnesium.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) recommend a dietary amount of at least 320 mg of magnesium for women and 420 mg of magnesium for men, and 4.7 grams (or 4700 mg) of potassium for both men and women. You could be experiencing muscle cramps due to a deficiency in these minerals and if so adjusting your diet could be all that you need.

The chart below illustrate how much certain food contain in potassium and magnesium.  If you were to eat 8 oz chicken breast with 1 head of romaine lettuce and 1 cup of beets green for lunch (497 calories, 2581 mg potassium, and 192 mg magnesium), then eat 6 oz of 90% lean beef with 1 cup of spinach, 1 cup of broccoli, 1 cup of zucchini for dinner (437 calories, 3214 mg potassium, and 237 mg magnesium, you will then consume in a total of: 934 calories, 5795 mg potassium, and 429 mg magnesium, which will exceed your requirements for the two electrolytes.   

Meat/Fish Potassium Content Magnesium Content
8 oz chicken breast (230 calories) 359 mg 66 mg
6 oz 90% lean beef (344 calories) 618 mg 40 mg
6 oz salmon (354 calories) 618 mg 46 mg
8 oz tilapia (292 calories) 863 mg 78 mg
8 oz center cut pork chops (260 calories) 960 mg 46 mg
8 oz cooked chicken liver (263 calories) 526 mg 23 mg
Fruits & Vegetables Potassium Content Magnesium Content
Romaine lettuce, 1 head (108 calories) 1546 mg 88 mg
Beets green, cooked, 1 cup (30 calories) 1309 mg 38 mg
Spinach, cooked, 1 cup (44 calories) 839 mg 157 mg
Avocado, 1 cup (234 calories) 708 mg 42 mg
Edamame (soy beans), 1 cup (189 calories) 676 mg 99 mg
Zucchini, cooked, 1 cup (18 calories) 325 mg 21 mg
Cauliflower, 1 cup (27 calories) 320 mg 16 mg
Kale, cooked, 1 cup (69 calories) 296 mg 23 mg
Tomato, 1 medium ( 22 calories) 292 mg 14 mg
Broccoli, 1 cup (31 calories) 288 mg 19 mg
Strawberries, 1 cup (47 calories) 220 mg 19 mg

If you feel that you are unable to ingest the required amount of vegetables and have leg cramps that won’t go away, you may benefit from short-term supplementation with a daily magnesium and potassium tablets.   

Vitamin Deficiency

Deficiencies in Vitamins B1, B5, and/or B6 may be causing you cramps.  The mechanism behind this is not currently well understood, however evidence suggests that supplementing these vitamins may help treat and avoid cramps.

Thiamin (Vitamin B1) is necessary for the proper functioning of the muscles, nervous system and heart. Thiamin deficiency has been known to cause insomnia, fatigue, depression, constipation, irritability, heart problems and stomach problems.  Thiamin is abundant in organ meats, soybeans, egg yolks, poultry, broccoli, and asparagus.  The recommended intake is 1.5 mg of Vitamin B1 daily. 

Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) is responsible for the production of coenzyme A that is associated with the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates as energy sources.  Pantothenic acid is found in organ meats, egg yolk, and broccoli, fish, shellfish, chicken, milk, yogurt, mushrooms, and avocado. Deficiencies are rare, but pantothenic acid deficiency may result in fatigue, insomnia, depression, irritability, vomiting, abdominal and leg muscle cramps.  The recommended intake is 3-7 mg of Vitamin B5 daily.

Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) assists in the degradation and production of amino acids and in the process that converts amino acids into fats or carbohydrates. Vitamin B6 is involved in fat/carbohydrate metabolism, the removal of fluids during premenstruation, and healthy skin. It can reduce symptoms of hand numbness, leg cramps, muscle spasms. Deficiencies have been known to cause anemia, dermatitis, hair loss, anxiety, leg cramps, water retention, anemia. The recommended intake is 1.3 to 1.7 mg of Vitamin B6 daily.

Lack of muscle flexibility

Exercise consisting of particularly intense physical activity can cause your muscles to fatigue, become sore, and spasm.  Take every effort to stretch the muscle to cool down shortly after you exercise, and make an effort to incorporate stretching into your routine wherever limitations appear. Post exercise stretching of the muscles helps the fibers relax, reset, and promotes good circulation for recovery after exercise.  



Your body needs adequate rest after a difficult workout.  Any time you put yourself through high stress episodes such as exercise, you will need time to recover so you can improve your performance for next time and give your body time to catch up with all the good you’ve done.  If the muscles are overworked and tired, you may get painful spasms that can in turn hinder your ability to stick with your gym routine.

Unfortunately as with any drastic lifestyle change, there will be unwanted side effects accompanying your new diet and exercise routines. However with a little planning and preparation you should be able to prevent muscle cramps from negatively impacting your progress. So eat right, rest well, exercise smart, and stay hydrated and keep up the good work.

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Catch us at the Pittsburgh Fitness Expo

We’re excited to announce that we will be at the Pittsburgh Fitness Expo this Friday 5/27/2016 at 4-10P and Saturday 5/28/2016 9A-5P at booth #408

We will be offering

  • B-12 Vitamin shots
  • B-12 Energy Blend shots
  • B-12 Fat Burner Blend shots

Contact our office at 412-458-5042 for questions.

Hope to see you soon 🙂