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Exciting News for YOU and YOUR BUDDY!

To make an appt, call or schedule an appointment online hereBook an appointment using SetMoreElevation Medical Weight Loss of Pittsburgh & Weirton
2350 Noblestown Rd. Pittsburgh, PA 15205 (412) 304-2016  
1130 Perry Hwy, Pittsburgh, PA 15237 (412) 847-8083
241 Three Springs Dr. Weirton, WV 26062 (304) 914-3112

left hear ye                                                      right hear ye


We are thrilled that so many of you have decided to take advantage of our “Buddy” program! Our first two winners in our Weirton office were brand new patients~

Just to refresh your memory, below are the rules for the “Bring a Buddy” program!


diet buddies

January has come and gone and many of us are stuck with ye another yet of New Years Resolutions.  The number one New Year’s resolution is…you guessed it…get in shape and/or lose weight. 69% of us make that resolution every year and those who don’t usually start thinking about summer and joining in around now. How many times have you made that promise to yourself?

We try to be here for our patients, but for most of your success, it is entirely up to you. We also know that it can sometimes be hard to lose weight and that a support system can make a world of difference. This is why we are extending the “Bring a Buddy” plan for you with some exciting incentives.

Here is what you need to do:

-You can be a former of a new patient, it does not matter.
-If you are a former patient, you have to be ready for a refill on your meds.
-Bring a buddy with you, you both must get a prescription for meds,  or sermorelin
Both people must physically be present at the time of the appointment.

Here is what you get:

-Each person will get $10.00 off of their medications
-Each person will get a complimentary B-12 injection
-Both of your names will get entered into a drawing at the end of the month to win a free weight scale (like ours in the office) and a credit toward a month of medications and shots.*

*There will be 1 winner at each office each month.  Drawings will take place on the last day each month from January 2018, through June 2018.  The winners’ first names only will be posted on the website and Facebook page.  All offices will be included in this incentive program. No cash or cash equivalent will be substituted for the end of month awards. If you do not want the shots, no cash equivalent will be given.  i.e. You don’t use it, you lose it.

One day or day one?  WE will decide…This is your DAY ONE!  Make it count…with your buddy!       

Congrats to our February winners: Paige at our Weirton office and Wenda at our Green Tree office!

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Karen’s Weight Loss Story

Growing up I was always naturally athletic, and never really struggled with my weight.  When I had my first child, however, everything changed.  I was young and wanted to make sure my baby was healthy, so I ate whatever my body craved, which also led to a 65-pound weight gain.  Throughout the next 30 years (and another baby) I struggled with increasing weight gain. As a mother, I sacrificed a lot for my children and family, and unfortunately, my weight was one of them.

Not long ago, my husband decided that he wanted to lose weight so that he could play with our new grandbabies and I witnessed him lose over 100 pounds with the help of Elevation Medical Weight Loss.  After seeing his results, I felt I owed it to myself to try to get on a plan that would assist me in my new outlook on a healthier, happier life with my husband. Currently, I have lost over 80 pounds and feel better than I have in decades.  Although I was extremely happy with my weight loss, it also left me with a substantial amount of excess skin.  The skin became so much of a hindrance to me that I had no other choice but to have a procedure to have it removed.

Before coming to the Elevation I felt stuck.  I dreaded traveling far due to the constant fear of not fitting on a plane seat.  Even though I know it was not the case, I felt like every other traveler was watching me and waiting to watch the spectacle of me trying to squeeze into a seat designed for a person half my size. Even if I avoided flying, I was never comfortable and lost all joy in traveling. I was always “on edge” thinking people were looking at me.  Now I can fly without hesitation and get to watch my grandchildren experience the world without worrying about “Nana’s problem” getting in the way.

Since my procedure, I feel I can now follow the doctor’s advice and start exercising.  Although I do not enjoy it, I feel it has really changed the way I feel.  I am starting to feel more confident in my own body again and play with my grandkids in ways that might have put me at risk for serious injury prior to my losing the weight.

I’ve tried to lose weight before with limited success, but having my new-found motivation, and the information that Elevation has provided me with has really simplified the whole process and has made all the difference. I still have a lot of work ahead of me to keep the weight off and live a healthier lifestyle, but I’ve been able to learn so much already about how different foods affect my body and what kind of diet makes it easier to maintain my new weight.  Elevation has provided me with the tools to continue my maintenance.

Thank you so much for the Elevation Medical Weight Loss staff and doctor for helping me reach my goals, and set new ones. I feel like I have many more fulfilling years left to spend with my family.

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Protein Intake and Weight Loss

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

Often when we discuss diet with our patients, we may fail to talk much about protein. Depending on how you approach your weight loss, the amount of protein you need will relative to your body weight. Protein serves a variety of purposes depending on the situation, but for now we want to address how it protects muscle during the weight loss process and how this should inform your personal protein consumption.

When your body is running at a caloric deficit, it will at some point turn to amino acids to supply its caloric needs at points throughout the day. By supplying your body with amino acids in the form of protein rich foods, you can prevent your body from breaking down underused muscle into those amino acids. Several studies have shown that by increasing protein intake to double the recommended amount (for the average women ~120 grams of protein per day, men ~180 grams per day) total weight loss was the same as other dieters except they lost significantly more fat tissue and less muscle mass.

You don’t have to go crazy with protein to gain the muscle protecting benefits it provides, but now that you are aware of the effect you can use it to your advantage even to smaller degrees, Additionally, as we often mention in the clinic, weight training is hugely beneficial for fat loss but works in tandem with increased protein intake to further preserve muscle mass.  And remember, less muscle burned mean more fat burned.

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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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Warm Soup for Sweater Weather: Pork Sour & Spicy (Sinigang) w/ Hearts of Romaine

It’s starting to get chilly out, which means it’s time to warm up your kitchen and your stomach with a savory soup.  This is a well-known Filipino dish that has a pleasant taste of savory and tartness.


If you are adventurous enough to try it out, you can get the ingredients at the international aisle of the supermarket, or at pretty much Asian grocery store.  Amazon provides another resource for obtaining gourmet grocery items. This dish is very flexible in terms of ingredients.  As long as you use a Tamarind soup base and romaine lettuce, you can substitute the other vegetables and switch to a different cut of meat if you desire.  Typically this dish goes well with fattier cuts of meat, and there is also version where you can use salmon. If you like Miso soup served at local Japanese steakhouses, then you will like this dish.

Sweater Baby Wants Soup

Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time – 35-45 minutes
Recipe serves 12 (266 calories with 9 g of carbs per serving)




 Pork rib tips, 2 lb 2489 calories
Redskin Potatoes, 1 lb 327 calories 72 g
Hearts of Romaine Lettuce, 3, remove from stem 90 calories 17 g
Snow/Sugar Snap Peas, 8 oz 85 calories 17 g
Onion, chopped, 1 medium 44 calories 10 g
Portobello mushrooms, 8 oz 59 calories 11 g
Knorr Tamarind Soup Mix, 1 packet 80 calories 16 g
Fish sauce, 2 tbsp 20 calories 2 g
**Chili pepper, 2 (optional)
TOTAL 3203 calories 109 g




  1. Slice the rib tips into 1″-1.5″ pieces between the bones.  Turn on medium high heat and add in the chopped onion and 2 lb of rib tip pieces for browning, usually ~7-10 minutes. You do need to add oil since the rib tips are a fattier cut of meat.DSC_3647.jpg
  2. Adjust to medium heat.  Add in 12 cups of water and the potatoes, since potatoes take a while to cook.  Bring the soup to boil.  Add in the packet of the Tamarind Soup Mix and stir to mix.  Add in the snow peas, mushrooms & Hearts of Romaine.  Stir.20161010_161520
  3. Add 2 tbsp of Fish Sauce, or salt to taste.  If you are adventurous, add in chopped chili peppers for a little kick.
  4. Recipe makes 12 servings.  Usually a serving is around 8 oz of soup by volume.  Serve in a large bowl.DSC_3651.jpg

Let us know if you get a chance to make this delicious soup and how it turns out!


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Banana Ice Cream: 1 Ingredient

Some have asked us if we allow a “loading phase” when starting the HCG injections diet, and our answer is that it varies.  A “loading phase” is when you consume high calorie and high carb meals for the initial  1-2 days of the HCG plan before drastically reducing caloric intake.  While we feel that it is not necessary to “load up”, you are allowed a couple of meals if you prefer.  However, we encourage you to start your new diet right away, since from our experience you will feel and see the results much faster.

Another questions is whether or not we allow a “cheat meal” when you’re on the program. The answer is yes, as long as you do not consistently eat anything out of the ordinary during the course of your 30 days commitment. By that we mean that a treat or two is fine, but scheduling in frequent cheats will definitely slow any progress you hope to make.

So if you’re craving something sweet, you may give in to a small “treat” that hardly even counts as a cheat, like this easy to make 1-ingredient banana ice cream.

Pick out 3 ripe bananas to make 2 servings for this recipe.  You can use a small food processor or just crush the bananas with a spoon.


Recipe serves two.  155  calories /serving (with 40 grams of carbs  per serving)
Ingredient Calories Carb
Banana, 3 medium 310 calories 81 g carb
It’s chilly and you’re making ice cream? Otay, I will help


  1. Peel 3 bananas and place it in a food processor to blend until smooth.  Alternatively, you can transfer the bananas in a bowl and crush and blend them with a wooden spoon.DSC_3555.jpg
  2. Transfer the contents to two small bowls or ramekins.DSC_3567.jpg
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 3-6 hours until frozen.DSC_3606.jpg
  4. Recipe serves two.  The  more you blended the bananas earlier, the smoother it is. The consistency is similar to sorbet ice cream. You may top off with some whipped topping, such as Reddi Whip, which is 15 calories for 2 tablespoon.DSC_3618.jpg

Enjoy this delicious, simple recipe!



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Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Here is another low -calorie and low-carb recipe that is great for any day of the week.  The chicken based meal cooks up easily and stores well in the fridge for another delicious meal upon reheating.

Tray of Ingredients: Lettuce, mushrooms, chicken breast, onions, green onions, water chestnuts.  Sauce mixture of: soy sauce, salt, ginger, garlic, rice wine vinegar, and ginger.

Chicken lettuce wrap: recipe serves 6
*prep time: 20  minutes *cook time, 15 minutes.

Ingredient Calories Carbs
Lettuce, ½ a head 55 calories 11 g
Chicken breast, 1.5 lbs chopped and diced 1123 calories  
Onion, ½ medium 23 calories 5 g
Soy sauce, 4 tbsp 35 calories 3 g
Sugar, 2 tbsp 25 calories 25 g
Water chestnut, 6 oz, diced 160 calories 40 g
Mushrooms, 6 oz diced 44 calories 8 g
Green onions, 1 bundle chopped    
Ginger, 1 tsp finely chopped or ¼ tsp powder    
Salt, ½ tsp    
Rice wine vinegar, 1 tbsp    
Garlic, 2-3 cloves or 1 tsp    
TOTAL 1490 total calories 92 g
It tastes so good we can’t keep our toddler away 


  1. Mince the chicken breasts into fine pieces, or as an alternative, you can use 90% lean beef or ground turkey or ground chicken.
  2. Use a large non-stick skillet and put on medium heat, no oil required.
  3. Mince the chopped water chestnuts and mushrooms.
  4. Toss in the chopped chicken on the skillet.


  5. After 5 minutes, combine the rest of the ingredients: onions, green onions, water chestnuts, soy sauce, salt, ginger, garlic, rice wine vinegar, and ginger.


  6. Turn to medium high heat and cook for another 10 minutes or until done.
  7. Lay the lettuce leaves open on a large plate, scoop in the chicken mixture on the lettuce and sprinkle on a bit of green onions.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.


There is a lot of flexibility with this recipe.  You may omit the water chestnuts to reduce the carb content if you choose.  And it almost does not matter the timing of the added ingredients as you cook.  As long as most of the sauce cooks off, the chicken and chopped water chest nut will absorb the flavor and you will have a flavorful and healthy meal.

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Answers to Some FADQs (Frequently Asked Dieting Questions)

At Elevation Medical Weight Loss we tend to take a somewhat relaxed approach to meal planning, as a result we are often asked a wide range of questions regarding the finer details of our recommended diet. I am going to address a couple of the more common questions that seem to come up at least once a week.


Does it matter when or how often I eat?

Yes, and no. Generally speaking, what matters most for weight loss is a consistent calorie deficit; however there are a few instances where timing your meals can be beneficial. If you have adopted an intense exercise routine, then you may find it beneficial to eat directly after your workout. Eating after exercise helps to limit the negative effect that carbohydrates may have on you, because your body will use them to replenish your muscles rather than to add to your stored fat. That being said, aside from affecting and being affected by your workouts, meal timing is a personal matter and your ability to mentally stick with you diet matters far more than any minor impact made by a poorly timed meal.


Do artificial sweeteners count as carbs?

Yes artificial sweeteners (AS) are processed by your body in a similar way to sugar, what makes them different is that a calorie worth of AS can be 2-200x sweeter than a calorie of sugar. That means that it takes a lot more AS to have the same impact on your body as sugar. Despite this, we do advise you to avoid AS where possible since not only can consuming excess AS cause you to retain water, but also because in some people merely tasting sweetness can induce an insulin surge, even in the absence of sugar (this is called a psychosomatic effect, and it is believed that as your insulin sensitivity improves you become less susceptible to this effect).

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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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How to Eat Healthier Without Cooking :D

We have had a couple of questions regarding just how to eat healthier to lose weight when:

  • You don’t like to cook
  • You travel a lot
  • You have a hectic schedule
“No time to cook… I gots places to go!”

So we will dedicate this week’s posts to the road warriors out there, or for those who simply do not enjoy cooking.  This is the no effort meal plan– simply grab ingredients from the grocery store or order low calorie options when dining out.


So, in the hunt to cook as little as possible, we went to our local grocery store (Sam’s) to look for options.  We picked up a fun looking salad mix and a couple pounds of salmon and tilapia with veggies in a bag from the fresh meat & seafood section.  Instructions said to microwave 5 minutes for every pound, then serve.



No cooking required – Salmon with Kale & Brussel Sprouts Crunch Salad

Ingredient Calories Protein Carb
6 oz salmon 241 calories 34 g
Kale & Brussel Sprouts chopped salad mix, 1 cup 45 calories 3 g 7 g
1 lemon wedge as salad dressing 5 calories 1 g
½ tsp splenda to mix with salad
2 oz broccoli 19 calories 1 g 3 g
TOTAL 310 calories 38 g protein 11 g carb

Instructions: Microwave as directed on the back of the package.


No cooking required – Tilapia with Kale & Brussels Sprouts Crunch Salad
Ingredient Calories Protein Carb
Tilapia, 2 pieces or 8 oz 220 calories 45 g
Kale & brussels sprouts chopped salad mix, 1 cup 45 calories 3 g 7 g
Lemon, 1 wedge squeezed as salad dressing 5 calories 1 g
Splenda, ½ tsp to mix with salad
Asparagus, 2 oz (about 4 spears) 11 calories 1 g 3 g
TOTAL 281 calories 49 g protein 11 g carb

Instructions: Microwave.


Not too bad, right?

For the kale & brussels sprouts chopped salad, squeeze a wedge of lime and add 1/2 tsp of Splenda or use your favorite low-calorie, low-carb dressing.


Serve the crunch salad with either salmon or tilapia.  Salt and pepper to taste.


Now you can enjoy a meal with minimal prepping or cooking.  Stay tune for more posts later next week to learn more about our ‘no cooking methods’.