Surgical Weight Loss

Shopping for the right ingredients

A three-hour trip to the grocery store changed the trajectory of Jerid and Tuesday Wallace’s lives for the better. Weighing in at 327 pounds, Jerid, along with a 265-pound Tuesday, decided it was time to meet with a Bayhealth dietitian.

Bayhealth Nutritional Services team is made up of clinical dietitians, certified nutrition support dietitians, and certified diabetes educators. They offer a full outpatient program to meet the nutritional needs of the community. The team focuses on weight reduction counseling, diabetes counseling, a weight loss support group, infant and child nutrition, and food allergies.

After meeting with a dietitian, the Wallaces walked confidently into the grocery store. They followed instructions by shopping for items that were located on the perimeter of the store where produce, meats, dairy, and frozen fruits and vegetables can be found. They learned most foods available in the middle aisles are filled with processed foods high in fat, calories, sugars, and carbohydrates. “We finally knew how to read labels accurately,” said Jerid who says he looked for items with high protein and low sugar.

Bayhealth Dietitian Amanda Buehler, RD, LDN, says she encourages people to follow the five-ingredient rule, meaning you shouldn’t purchase any food items that have more than five ingredients. Taking it one step further, “If you don’t know what an ingredient is, don’t put it into your body,” said Buehler.

Jerid is the self-proclaimed cook for his household, and he admits struggling to find foods that were nutritious and would please his family of five. He learned lessons along the way, like the importance of portion control and finding flavorful meats that didn’t require adding condiments. Instead, he cooks with olive oil and fresh herbs and spices. And he purees vegetables like cauliflower to mimic mashed potatoes.

The Wallaces have even made changes to their drink selections. “When we first met with the dietitian, she asked us what we drank,” said Tuesday. “I drank Mountain Dew and sweet tea, not realizing how much sugar was in each.” Now they keep 20-ounce bottles of water readily available, put honey and Stevia in unsweetened tea, use sugar-free creamers for coffee, and choose alternatives like Crystal Lite to flavor water.

In their quest to help their three children make healthier food choices, Jerid and Tuesday keep 100-calorie snack bars, fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt, and cheese sticks in stock. “We decided we’re not going to have chips, cake, and ice cream readily available,” said Tuesday. “We can still have those things, but it’s a treat for us now, not the norm. Our youngest son Aaron has found his favorite healthy snacks — mandarins, strawberries, and fresh green beans.”

To help their children understand portion control, the Wallaces bought lunch containers with serving sizes built in. Jerid also says that helping his family understand how to measure food was important. “You should always measure food,” he said. “Some people use large bowls for cereal and will eat too much because of it. You have to know the correct portions to eat.”

After making positive changes to their eating and drinking habits, the family turned their focus on fitness. “It’s important to keep our children busy and active,” said Tuesday, who finds that her kids tend to eat more snacks when they’re bored.

Tuesday has taken Zumba® classes with her daughter and frequents the pool with her son. Jerid is a big advocate of health bands that allow you to track your fitness levels — and he gets quite the workout walking their dog Grizzy, a mastiff. Losing the weight has allowed them to try kayaking.

Jerid and Tuesday made these changes to prepare them for weight loss surgery they underwent at Bayhealth in spring 2013. Now living their healthiest lives, Jerid weighs in at 160 pounds and Tuesday at 144 pounds. They keep the weight off by following the guidelines given to them by their Bayhealth dietitian years ago.

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Plot your plan to eating better 

Bayhealth Dietitian Amanda Buehler, RD, LDN, shares these quick tips to get you started on your quest to eating healthier:

  • Keep a food journal 
  • Focus on small goals 
  • Eat smaller portions throughout the day to keep your body burning fat 
  • Have one cheat meal per week 
  • Know how to read labels and look for high protein with low fat, sodium, and sugar 
  • Follow the five-ingredient rule 
  • Marinate your foods in fresh herbs and spices 
  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery story 
  • Ditch sugary drinks

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