Surviving the Holidays – Tips from a Dietitian


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Holiday Feast photo credit: flickr by ChatChowTV

Holiday Feast photo credit: flickr by ChatChowTV

Hello, All!

*deep breath*  Here we go…the Holidays.  Did you know that the average person puts on SEVEN pounds between Halloween and New Years?  There are so many things stacked up against us during this season.

First, there’s temptation.  Let’s face it, during the holidays, that little red guy that hangs out over our shoulder wins out almost every time, am I right?  At parties (oh the parties!), we submit to consuming waaay more food and booze than we ever would under non-festive conditions.  Plus, holiday foods = comfort foods = mega calories.  There’s candy everywhere you turn – at home, the office, the post office, the bank, in your kid’s pocket…And holiday marketing is just cruel (anybody want a Hershey’s Kiss or twelve?).

Also, we tend to be less active due to the discomfort from overeating, the cooler/rainier weather, and the emotional drain that the holidays have on us.  Incidentally, our altered emotional states – stressed, depressed, fatigued – often impel us to eat more as well.  Double whammy.

So, how do we navigate through this season without becoming part of the statistic?  Well…first and foremost, plan ahead. 

1)      Always keep a healthy snack on hand – a cereal bar, almonds, yogurt – for when temptation strikes.

2)      Choose your parties.  If you’re worried that you’ll have a hard time resisting temptation, limit your opportunities to be tempted!

3)      For the parties that you do choose to attend:

a.       Eat before you go.  Remember, fiber and protein will hold you over the longest.

b.      Bring a nutritious dish to share.  Salads and veggie trays are always a good idea.  Or, bring a healthier version of some of your favorites.  I’ve attached my recipe Roasted Sweet Potato Medallions with Apple-Cranberry Relish which makes a great substitute for the high-calorie, butter-laden, marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole.  And, it can serve as a finger food at parties!

c.       Set limitations for yourself, and be specific.  For instance, I will fill half of my plate with vegetables.  I will not sample every dessert on the table; only the _____ (insert favorite treat here).

d.      Be prepared to say “NO!”  When coming up with a game plan, we tend to assume that we will only have to stand up to ourselves when faced with temptation.  However, well-meaning friends and family can be the biggest threat to our will power. If you’re comfortable with it, let your loved ones know what your plans are ahead of time. Then, visualize someone offering you one of your limitations and practice saying “no thank you.”  If they care, they’ll understand.

At the holiday gathering:

1)      Don’t mingle by the food!

2)      Fill up on fruits, veggies, lean meats, nuts and crackers.  And watch the dip intake!

3)      Be mindful of your alcohol consumption.

a.       Alcohol adds empty calories!  Stick to clear liquor/club soda, light beer and non-sweet wine.

b.      Alcohol lowers your inhibitions → Plans go out the window!

c.       Drink before your meal or during; not both.

d.      When mingling, keep a club soda in hand.  Hosts won’t offer refills, and it’s much harder to eat when you’re already holding something.

4)      Skip foods that you can eat throughout the year, i.e. mashed potatoes, rolls, etc.

5)      Cut back portions.  Just a taste will often do the trick!

6)      Don’t deprive yourself!  If you don’t allow yourself any treats, you’re more likely to splurge the next chance you get.

Bonus Tips:

1)      Avoid temptation.  Don’t bring things home with you (leftovers, candy, etc.)!

2)      Be realistic about your goals.  You may be setting yourself up for failure if you expect to lose weight this season.  Look at your social obligations and evaluate the reasonability of your goals.

3)      Weigh yourself weekly for a reality check!

4)      Remind yourself:  Dieting is NO fun!  It’s much harder to undo damage than to prevent.

5)      Forgive yourself and move on.  If you do find yourself overindulging, avoid the tailspin of a defeatist mentality.  Yes, you broke your plans.  This does not make you a bad eater!  If you had one bad meal/day, be “good” for the next four and you’ll be on track 80% of the time!  (Doesn’t that sound nicer than “I blew it?”)

Happiest of Holidays to you all!

Molly Seys, RD, LD
Clinical Registered Dietitian
Methodist Texsan Hospital

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and Methodist Healthcare Sign Memorandum of Understanding


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San Antonio’s top pediatric leaders join forces to enhance health care services for children in the region

San Antonio, TX – September 6, 2013 – The Methodist Healthcare System of San Antonio (MHS) and The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore and identify opportunities to affiliate to provide pre-eminent pediatric care, academic training and research in San Antonio and the South Texas region.


Jaime Wesolowski, president and CEO of Methodist Healthcare with William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, president of the Health Science Center appear this afternoon at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding that may ultimately lead to the signing of a definitive agreement to form a comprehensive children’s health care delivery system for San Antonio and South Texas.

The MOU calls for a 90-day negotiation period that may ultimately lead to the signing of a definitive agreement to form a comprehensive children’s health care delivery system for San Antonio and South Texas.

Both parties have considerable experience and resources. The Health Science Center is the South Texas leader in providing pediatric education for current and future pediatric health care providers through the Department of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine. MHS owns and operates the Methodist Children’s Hospital, a campus of Methodist Hospital, which is the region’s largest provider of pediatric health care in an environment exclusively designed for children in San Antonio, South Texas and beyond.

The MOU signed today by both operating entities, and supported by the leadership of The University of Texas System and the MHS Board of Governors, covers nine key areas of collaboration: relationship of the involved parties, medical education and training, clinical care, research, facilities, network development, leadership/governance, access to information and interconnected technology. All of the key areas are priorities, particularly when addressing access to information and interconnected medical information systems; both MHS and the Health Science Center understand that a comprehensive electronic medical record reduces duplication of services and potential for errors, and provides young patients with a medical home.

“The goals and priorities that Methodist Healthcare and the Health Science Center have laid out reflect our shared priorities in joining forces to deliver the best pediatric care, medical education and academic research for the children of South Texas,” said William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, president of the Health Science Center. “We are reaching literally across the street to collaborate and build the best possible network for the region, with its anchor right here in the South Texas Medical Center.”

“There is no question in our minds this new opportunity between MHS and the Health Science Center is the strongest and most viable solution to enhancing care for all children in our region.  The combination of both organizations that have been the pediatric leaders in their fields for many years will create a new delivery model comparable to the most well-known children’s hospitals in the U.S.,” stated Jaime Wesolowski, president and CEO of Methodist Healthcare.

Over the next 90 days, MHS and the Health Science Center will develop a definitive agreement.  In doing so, MHS and the Health Science Center will seek input from all stakeholders. Additionally, the Health Science Center will lead in exploring ways to further collaborate with the University Health System to better meet the pediatric needs of San Antonio and South Texas.

Because these negotiations continue to be confidential, no further statements will be issued from representatives of either organization until the agreement is ready for official signatures.

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About Methodist Children’s Hospital
Methodist Children’s Hospital opened in 1998 as the first children’s hospital in South Texas designed and built from the ground up to meet the needs of children and their families. The hospital has the area’s largest pediatric emergency department with 32 treatment rooms and more than 73,000 visits last year alone. Methodist Children’s Hospital is among the nation’s largest providers of marrow and stem cell transplants. A new hybrid operating room opened recently that gives surgeons the equipment needed to perform complex heart surgeries. The hospital maintains three Methodist AirCare™ helicopters to transport newborns, children and pregnant women from all parts of South Texas to Methodist Children’s Hospital so they can receive a higher level of care that may be needed in a medical crisis. Methodist Children’s Hospital maintains children’s specialty clinics to ensure children receive the outpatient care they need for complex illnesses in a single location. To learn more, visit

About  Methodist Healthcare System – San Antonio
Methodist Healthcare System was formed in 1995 as a 50-50 co-ownership between the Methodist Healthcare Ministries and HCA.  It is the largest and most preferred provider of health care in South and Central Texas with 26 facilities including nine hospitals serving 90,000 inpatients and 390,000 outpatients annually. The Methodist Healthcare team is comprised of 8,000 employees, making Methodist Healthcare the second largest private employer in San Antonio. In 2012, Methodist Healthcare was one of only two hospitals in Texas recognized by the Texas Medical Foundation with a Gold Award for Quality. Methodist Healthcare has won the National Research Foundation’s Consumer Choice Award for 13 consecutive years, more times than any other health care provider in Texas. For the past four years, Methodist Healthcare has received “Best Hospital” Gold Award by the San Antonio Express-News’ Readers’ Choice Awards. With more than 2,700 credentialed physicians, Methodist Healthcare provides the largest array of medical services in the region including neurosurgery, cardiovascular services, orthopedics, oncology and women’s services. Visit to learn more.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving National Institutes of Health funding. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced more than 29,000 graduates. The $736 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg.  For current news from the UT Health Science Center San Antonio, please visit our news release website or follow us on Twitter @uthscsa.  For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit


Palmira Arellano, Methodist Healthcare   210-325-2295
Will Sansom, UT Health Science Center  210-567-2579

Special Training for Hospital Staff Emphasizes Emotional Needs of Survivors of Sexual Assault

The statistics are shocking;

-        Sexual assault claims a victim every 45 seconds

-        One in every four women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime

-        One in every seven women will know someone who has experienced sexual assault

Since its inception in 1998, the Sexual Assault Response Team at Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital has provided specialized care to more than 11,000 patients, ages 13 and older who arrive as victims, but emerge as survivors.

At the helm of this pioneering effort in health care is Shelley Botello, RN, BSN.  Botello has worked to unite hospital staff and law enforcement to form an extraordinarily comprehensive approach to caring for the physical and emotional needs of patients who arrive at the unit while providing the District Attorney’s office the evidence needed to improve sexual assault conviction rates.

As a result of the program’s unique approach and success, Botello has been invited to share information about the program with U.S. Military officials and over two dozen countries around the globe.

Through her work at Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital, Shelley Botello’s nontraditional approach to the care of sexual assault survivors has changed medical and law enforcement communities both here and abroad, and it is empowering individuals to join the fight against sexual assault.

Recently, Nurse Botello visited Guatemala to train local law enforcement and healthcare workers on her program.

Strategy For Preventing Sexual Assault During Fiesta

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Offers Tips on Ways to Diffuse Situation that Can Lead to Sexual Assault

Fiesta is a time when San Antonians party hearty.  So, if a group of girlfriends are out for Fiesta and one is drinking too much and decides to accept a ride home with a man she just met, is there anything her friends can and should do to intervene in this situation to prevent a potential sexual assault?

xboxpartygirls4Shelley Botello, RN, BSN, CA-CP SANE, SANE-A, and program coordinator for the Sexual Assault Response Team at Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital, a campus of Methodist Healthcare, says there is.  Bystander intervention is a new philosophy and strategy for preventing sexual assault and it’s gaining momentum as a way to effectively help a friend or stranger who may be at risk. This approach encourages people to identify situations that might lead to a sexual assault and then safely intervene to prevent an assault from occurring. By intervening with a method that de-escalates the situation, such as humor or distraction, a bystander can diffuse problem behaviors before they escalate.

“The girlfriends in our example can intervene and put their friend in a cab or take her home themselves,” said Botello.  “They also might intervene earlier when the man offers to buy her another drink—turning the perpetrator away from the opportunity to commit a sexual assault.”

Experts are encouraging the use of bystander intervention because it discourages “victim blaming” and shifts responsibility to both men and women.  Also, it encourages individuals to step in when they see people who are not making good choices for themselves or are in potentially dangerous situations.

According to Botello, Saturday is the busiest day for sexual assaults, followed by Friday and Thursday—all prime party times during Fiesta.


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