Mary Tunison is a facilitator for a support group at Good Samaritan in San Jose made up of individuals who undergo bariatric surgery for morbid obesity—which means being more than 100 pounds overweight. She notes that surgery is just the first step for these patients. “It’s hard for people to understand, no matter how many times the surgeon may say it to them, that the surgery is but a tool. You have to learn how to use this tool effectively. And you have to completely change your life after the surgery,” Tunison says. She is always looking for information and techniques to help those with significant weight loss goals both meet their target and then stay fit.

“I spent a lot of time reading and learning and listening to others and trying to figure out what did and did not work,” Tunison says. “It’s what you have to do in your mind and your heart to create that profound change in your life.” Below are some resources she believes will help create that change.

Books about Weight Loss, Food, Changing Habits

How to Eat, by Thich Nhat Hanh. “So good, so simple and will truly help readers change how and what to eat,” Tunison says.

Food Rules, By Michael Pollan. “A series of semi-serious ‘rules’ for eating that help people get real about what they are putting in their mouth.”

The Spark, by Chris Dowdie. “Lots of good information from millions of people who found the ‘spark’ to change their lives, their bodies, their health.”

Better Than Before, by Gretchen Rubin. “How fairly easy changes in our habits can make us better than (as they say!) before. Perfect for the new year!”

The Emotional Eating Rescue Plan for Smart Busy Women, by Melissa McCreery. “A book to help the emotional eater that most of us have inside and end shame and guilt about how we eat, and how we look and feel.”

Ho’oponopono, by Ulrich Dupree. “I swear by the little book. It is the ancient Hawaiian ritual that can bring peace, joy, and change to one’s life. There are other books about this practice, but this one is short, easy to read, and remarkable.”

Blogs and Websites is a blog with great information about core nutrition needs and getting healthy and fit–not just losing weight. is an obesity expert who cuts through what does and does not work around issues of weight control, obesity, current research, etc.

Tips for Reducing Stress and Living a Better Life

Tunison says, “My coaching men and women around weight loss very often end up touching on aspects of stress, expectations, and mindset concerns. I have found five techniques that work really well for not only clients, but friends, family members, and sometimes people I just meet in the world.”

Tunison says many people “don’t breathe deeply enough, calmly enough and well enough.” She suggests the following:

Belly Breathing: “A simple way to improve the quality and depth of your breathing is to make the belly expand as you breathe. … Simply placing a hand on one’s belly and seeing if it raises and lowers as one breathes will tell you immediately if you are breathing well.”

Four By Four Breathing: “Breathe in to the count of 1, 2, 3, 4. Hold for the count of 1, 2, 3, 4. Breath out for the count of 1, 2, 3, 4 and rest to the count of 1, 3, 3, 4. Doing it four times takes just a bit over 60 seconds and you will feel calmer, less stressed, more focused and with lower blood pressure.”

Emotional Freedom Technique: This technique, also called tapping, is “another uncomplicated, easy-to-learn, easy-to-do practice that can reduce stress, and help one live a better life.” For more information, she suggests these books: The Tapping Solution, by Nick Ortner; Try It on Everything, by Patricia Harrington; and The Science Behind Tapping, by Peta Stapleton.

rREST (rapid Reprogramming of Emotional Stress Response): rREST is “an innovative, mind-body technology that quickly and successfully eliminates stress response patterns generated and reinforced by adversity. rREST is the most effective tool available to give you long-lasting, breakthrough success, fast and efficiently.” Tunison points to Dr. Cindy Sholes of Redwood City as a proponent of rREST