Archive for the tag - fat

5 Tips: How to Get Rid of a Muffin Top.

Hi Davey,

First off, I just want to say you’re such an inspiration. I read your blog and watch your videos as if they were the bible.

I have been working out and eating as healthy as I can, and I’ve been noticing good results. But how do I get rid of that horrible muffin top? Any tips would be appreciated.


Dear Chris,

Thanks for the kind words – and for following my blog posts and videos so religiously!

For those of you who don’t know what a “muffin top” is, Wikipedia defines it as:

A generally pejorative slang term used to describe the phenomenon of overhanging fat when it spills over the waistline of pants or skirts in a manner that resembles the top of a muffin spilling over its paper casing.

With the majority of Americans overweight, muffin topping is not an uncommon phenomenon – but there’s plenty that we can do to reduce excess body fat. The general prescription is pretty straightforward: A healthy lifestyle that combines a balanced diet with cardiovascular exercise and strength training. It’s not a gimmick or a quick fix, but – if you put in the time and energy – you will have real and lasting results.

But what are some more specific tips?

  1. Don’t skip breakfast – or any other meals. Many people try to lose fat by cutting meals. Unfortunately, this method backfires. The body will respond by releasing a nasty stress hormone called cortisol. A big and undesirable side effect of cortisol is the retention of fat in the body’s midsection. Cortisol also makes you crave fatty and sugary foods – which, once eaten, can lead to fat gain. Moreover, skipping meals slows down your metabolism, thus resulting in fewer calories burned each day.
  2. Get regular sleep. Cortisol can also be released as a result of insufficient sleep. Ensure that you’re getting 6 – 8 hours of sleep per day, and that your sleep schedule follows a regular pattern.
  3. Cut back on booze. They call it a “beer belly” for a reason. In addition to flooding your body with empty calories, lowering testosterone and causing blood sugar swings, alcohol hinders the process of protein synthesis (i.e., the production of muscle proteins needed to grow your muscles). By preventing muscle growth, you’re not going to make gains at the gym. It also prevents proper muscle function.
  4. Engage in high intensity interval training. Longer cardio sessions aren’t necessarily better. After about 45 minutes, your body will release cortisol as a result of the stress it’s experiencing – undoing all your hard work. Stick to short, effective and efficient cardio sessions. High intensity interval training, as featured in my new workout program, is the best bet.
  5. Clean up your diet. Avoid simple carbs like those found in sugary drinks and processed foods. Complex carbs, like those found in fruits and vegetables, are a much better bet. Eat lean meats, cut back on saturated fats and consume lots and lots of fiber.

Again, I’d caution against trying quick fixes or fad diets to get rid of your muffin top. Such gimmicks often yield no results or are entirely unsustainable. Be in it for the long haul!


P.S. In case you missed the big news, this week marked the launch of my brand-new fitness program: Davey Wavey’s Get Ripped Workout! Thank you for making it my most successful launch ever! If you don’t yet have a copy, use discount code “blog” to save 25% before June 7!

Still See My “Fat” Self in the Mirror?

I recently came across the following email in my inbox from a blog buddy named Tom:

This year I grew tired of being obese decided to make a complete lifestyle change. The weight came off very fast. I am now nearly 60 pounds lighter, and I am enjoying and have embraced my new healthy lifestyle. I am very close to my personal target weight. My friends, family and co-workers all comment on my new slimmer me. How come I am having trouble seeing that person? I am well aware of my weight loss and that old clothes do not fit me as they once did so how come I still see a fat person in the mirror? What can I do to help see the new me that everyone else can?

Having struggled with my weight for many years during childhood, I immediately related to and understood Tom’s situation.

I sent Tom’s question to Diane Petrella, MSW, my good friend and contributor to The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program. Diane is a renowned psychotherapist, author of The Inspiration Diet and a weight release coach – and I knew that she would have some great insight and recommendations.

Diane noted that, for Tom, the weight loss was rapid:

That’s great on one level, as seeing rapid results inspires confidence and motivation. At the same time, our minds have to “catch-up” with the changes made to our bodies.

According to Diane, Tom’s experience is not unusual. And, speaking from personal experience, I can attest to it; even after losing weight, I continued to see myself as chubby.

Diane continued:

Many people see themselves as “fat” even when they release a significant amount of weight. This is because the inner images we hold of ourselves are very powerful. Even when there is concrete evidence, as in the numbers on a scale, our mind can distort that reality to fit our self-perception.

To move forward, Diane recommends a strategy of recording your success in a weekly log. By keeping track of your weight, changes in clothing sizes, compliments and other improvements, you’re able to use these as evidence of your new weight.

Moreover, Diane encourages people like Tom to make new affirmations:

When you catch yourself saying, “I’m fat”, tell yourself, “Stop. That’s an old way of thinking. I release that thought. I am healthy and fit.” When you first say this, it may feel contrived. That’s OK. Say it anyway. Act “as if” it is true, which, in fact, it is as confirmed by the physical evidence you have. After a while saying these positive affirmations, and seeing yourself as thinner, will feel more natural.

Like so many things in life, it takes time. Diane recommends a prescription of gentleness and patience, noting that “it takes time to change your thoughts and beliefs to support your new self-image.”

If deeper issues are involved, such as trauma or abuse, professional support may be necessary. And if a distorted self-image becomes emotionally crippling, such as body dysmorphia disorder, seek out professional treatment.

Can you relate to Tom’s experience? If so, let me know in the comments below.

The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program is HERE!

The teasing is over: It’s finally here!

Just in time for your New Year’s resolutions, I’m thrilled to announce the launch of The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Programand a special discount for you!

More than six months in the making, I worked with a team of industry experts on this amazing program to transform your body and your life. It’s my first-ever program designed exclusively for releasing extra body weight, and I couldn’t be more proud of the finished product.

I was once overweight. For years during childhood, I struggled with weight problems, overeating and an inactive lifestyle. My journey to a healthier way of life was paved with many challenges – but where there are challenges, there are opportunities. And I learned a lot from my struggle.

Through this program, I’ll share what I’ve learned and help you create a workout program that burns fat and a nutrition plan that targets weight reduction. But above and beyond all of that, I’ll help you build a stronger relationship with your body. As you learn to love your body more, it becomes easier to make decisions that honor it – like exercising and eating smarter.

  • A complete, science-based exercise and nutrition program to help you release weight – whether it’s 20 pounds or 200 pounds – without sacrificing muscle!
  • The perfect solution for people of all fitness levels and ages – even if you don’t have access to a gym!
  • 100% sustainable. It’s about creating permanent, lasting results; if you’re looking for quick fixes or fad diets, then this program is NOT for you!
This program is already helping people transform their bodies and their lives – and I know it can transform yours, too.

Since I know you’ll love it, and because you’re such a loyal blog buddy, I have a special discount for you. Use discount code youtube during checkout to save 25%. This coupon expires January 5th at midnight, so be sure to snag your copy before then. AND, if you order before January 5th at midnight, you’ll also receive my Jock Workout exercise video series (a $59 value) for free!

    (Already have my Jock Workout and don’t need another copy? Email me l and I’ll give you a code for a 50% discount on The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.)

    Download this brand-new program today and start the new year with a renewed commitment to the most important person in the entire universe: YOU!

    Here’s to a happy and healthy 2012!

    SlimCado vs. Avocado.

    The SlimCado: Lite on fat - but also flavor.

    The other day, I noticed something peculiar at my grocery store. It was a giant green fruit that looked equal parts avocado and dinosaur egg. I was intrigued by the label which read: “SlimCado – half the fat and a third less calories than avocados!”

    For people counting calories or concerned with fat, could this be a dream come true? Truth be told, the fat in avocados is good fat – but even so, I’m certain that the fruit’s savvy marketing will resonate with some shoppers. So I decided to purchase a SlimCado to see how it stacks up.

    SlimCados are actually a West Indian variety of avocados that are often grown in Florida. Weighing in at up to two pounds, the large fruit has a glossy green skin and looks quite similar to the more traditional Hass varieties (albeit much larger). Despite having 50% less fat and 35% fewer calories than the avocados we know and love, SlimCados aren’t skimpy on other nutritional content; they are a great source of vitamin E, fiber, B-vitamins, potassium, zinc, and monounsaturated fat.

    Unfortunately, my praise of the SlimCado must end there. Beyond nutritional content, taste is an important consideration – and that’s exactly where the SlimCado falls short. Instead of being delicious and flavorful, the SlimCado’s flesh tastes watered-down. Not only does it have half the fat, it has half the flavor.

    Having said that, the SlimCado may work for recipes wherein avocado isn’t a primary ingredient. Some people enjoy avocados in their smoothies, for example, and the SlimCado may be well-suited for the task. But when it comes to mixing up some guacamole, you’ll definitely notice the difference.

    If the fat or calories are important to you, then you’re better off using half a serving of Hass avocado than a full serving of the SlimCado.

    Have you ever tried a Slimcado? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

    Did a National Restaurant Chain Just Try to Kill Me?

    Don't be fooled: This quesadilla is a deadly weapon.

    Yesterday, after my gymnastics class, I went with a friend to a nameless restaurant that happens to be part of a national chain. As someone who doesn’t eat at chains (Subway sandwiches excepted), I was a bit reluctant – but decided to give it a try.

    We ordered chips and guacamole for an appetizer, and my main meal was a chipotle chicken quesadilla. It sounded innocent enough. When the meal arrived, I realized that the chicken had been deep-fried and smothered in cheese, the tortilla was coated in a thick layer of butter and that the meal was served with ranch dressing. It was essentially fat on top of fat with a side of fat.

    I felt like I was on a segment of “Eat This, Not That” and I was eating the “not that.”

    After consuming the quesadilla in its entirety (truth be told, it was fairly small), my body felt sick. I felt bloated and groggy. So, I decided to look up the nutrition information to see how unhealthy my meal really was. Though the exact quesadilla’s nutrition information isn’t on the restaurant’s site, similar quesadillas weigh in at nearly 1,500 calories and have more than 100 grams of fat – 40 of which are unsaturated. Not to mention 3,000 mg of sodium.

    To put that into context, most Americans are told to target about 56 – 78 grams of fat per day – with about 16 grams (or less) coming from saturated fats. And we’re advised to consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium. In other words, my meal contained almost two days worth of total fat, more than two days worth of saturated fat, and more than a day’s worth of sodium. I might as well have eaten a stick of butter.

    Here’s the thing: While buttering the tortilla, frying the chicken, covering the quesadilla with cheese and serving it with ranch dressing may improve the taste slightly, all of those things impact the nutrition of the meal massively – and in a negative way. If cooking at home, I would have used a bit of olive oil on the tortilla, grilled the chicken, used only a dash of cheese and served it with a side of fresh salsa. It still would have been delicious – and it wouldn’t have made my body feel sick for having eaten it.

    In hindsight, I could have paid more attention to key words in the menu’s description like “loaded”, “crispy” and “battered” – as they are red flags for fat and calories. But, while there are likely healthier options on the menu, I think I’ll be cooking at home for the foreseeable future.

    P.S. I forgot to mention that our chips and guacamole appetizer had 1400 calories, 84 grams of total fat, 15 grams of saturated fat and 2,250 grams of sodium. That’s about a full day’s worth in every category. Bon appetit.

    Top 6 Myths About Body Fat

    While many of us target leaner builds like that of the twunk (part twink, part hunk) above, how much do you really know about body fat?

    When it comes to exercise and nutrition, they’re tons of myths out there. Like that the shake weight actually does anything. Since we hear many of these fallacies so often, we don’t always question their legitimacy.

    Today, let’s bust the top 6 myths about body fat:

    1. Muscle turns to fat. Because many people gain weight when they stop exercising, there’s a misconception that muscle turns into fat. In reality, muscle fibers and fat cells are two very different things; one cannot become the other. The truth: Many people gain weight after they stop exercising because their body is burning fewer calories – but they continue to eat the same amount of food.
    2. Fat on the body come from fat in foods. This belief has led to a slew of fat-free and reduced fat foods. The truth: Body fat comes from calories, not necessarily fat. If you eat more calories than your body burns – whether it comes from lettuce or a double-cheeseburger – your body will store the extra calories as fat.
    3. The lower the body fat percentage, the better. To lean down and increase muscle definition, many dieters aim for the lowest body fat percentages possible. The truth: Your body needs some levels of essential body fat to protect organs and facilitate functions. For women, a body fat percentage of 10% – 13% is essential; for men, 2% to 5% is essential. Aim for body fat percentages above these ranges.
    4. You can target where you want to lose body fat. When we build our muscles, we exercise the muscles we want to grow. For example, doing bicep curls will give you larger biceps. It only seems logical to assume that body fat works the same way. The truth: You can’t spot-reduce body fat. It comes off various body parts according to its own agenda. This may include your face, neck, chest, arms and anywhere else. For men, the pesky beer belly is usually the last to shrink.
    5. Fat weighs less than muscle. You’ve heard it a million times before. The truth: A pound is a pound; a pound of feathers weighs the same as a pound of bricks. In the same way, a pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle. It’s truer to say that muscle is more dense than fat. And this explains why exercisers may lose inches but not pounds – as they are shedding body fat but also building muscle.
    6. Starving yourself reduces body fat. Since our body fat comes from calories, it seems to make sense that if we starve ourselves, we’ll lose our extra body fat. The truth: While you will initially lose body fat if you stop eating, your body will go into starvation mood – and your metabolism will come to a grinding halt. Eventually, you’ll need to eat again. And when you do, you’ll gain all the weight back – and then some.

    Did these 6 myths change the way you think about body fat? Let me know in the comments below!

    Myth: Remove the Chicken Skin.

    Ask anyone what the tastiest part of a chicken is and their answer will undoubtedly be the skin. Crispy chicken skin is rich in flavor and practically melts in your mouth, but we’ve been taught and told to remove it due to it’s negative nutritional content. But is it true?

    No. Turns out, chicken skin isn’t so bad.

    A 12-ounce portion of skin-on chicken breast has only 2.5 grams of saturated fat and 50 calories more than a skinless counterpart of the same size. Most of us are advised to eat 16 (or less) grams of saturated fat per day, so the occasional chicken skin is certainly acceptable as a guilt-free treat. It’s not a green light to eat chicken skin with every meal, but some skin isn’t a bad thing – and it will add lots of flavor to some otherwise bland poultry dishes.

    Moreover, 55% of the fat in chicken skin is monounsaturated. Monounsaturated fats are the heart-healthy fats (like that fats found in olive oil) that help improve blood cholesterol levels, decrease the risk of heart disease and benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control.

    Chicken is a great, lean source of protein. And occasionally cooking and serving chicken with the skin on will help make your poultry meals more interesting and enjoyable. Bon appetit.

    Davey Wavey Was Fat.

    A lot of people are surprised the hear that I was once overweight.

    I casually mentioned my own fitness transformation in a recent post, and a number of people expressed interest in knowing more – and learning how I released my excess weight.

    So here it goes.

    As I very young child, I was healthy and active. But somewhere around second grade, I started really adding on the pounds. As many of us know, pounds have a way of adding up – and I was significantly overweight within a year.

    Children can be very mean, especially if you’re an overweight gay kid. But of all the torment, it’s my mom’s teasing that I remember the most. Whenever an obese person would appear in a movie, nearby on a street or on television, my mom would say, “Look! It’s David!” I still remember that, and often still hear those words when I see someone that is significantly overweight.

    Such things have a way of eroding self esteem in a young person, and so I decided to change my body in a very unhealthy way. By sixth grade, I was quickly losing weight through anorexia. Looking at pictures of myself in middle school, it’s very clear that I had an eating disorder; my face was gaunt and pale and I looked quite sickly.

    As a male, it’s easy (though perhaps less so today) to get away with an eating disorder; many people associate eating disorders with women. In a single year I grew 4 inches but lost 10 pounds, and so the doctor expressed concern. “Are you eating?” he asked. “Yes,” I said. And that was that.

    It wasn’t until age 15 or 16 that I finally took a much healthier route. I started exercising and adding muscle mass to my frail and malnourished body. I began to eat again and repair my relationship with food. Step by small step, I became healthier.

    When I talk about the challenges of being healthy, I don’t do so theoretically. I’ve been there. It’s the driving reason that I write this blog and develop fitness products to share with you; it gives me great purpose to help others find strength to transform their bodies and their lives. There’s nothing that brings me greater fulfillment than sharing what I know to help others better themselves.

    And even today, I’m still learning new things. My body and its needs continue to evolve. My fitness journey and transformation isn’t over. It never is.

    Question: Does Muscle Turn to Fat When You Stop Exercising?

    Answer: Muscle turns to fat in the same way that lead turns into gold. It just doesn’t happen.

    Fat and muscle are two very different and distinct tissues. There is no biological pathway for one to become the other.

    But like many myths, this one does contain a kernel of truth. If someone is injured and can’t workout – or just makes the decision to eliminate exercise – then there is a good chance that they’ll gain body fat. This might create the illusion that muscle is turning into fat.

    The reality is quite different. Fueling an active and muscular body requires an increase in caloric intake. Obviously, it takes calories to sustain a gym workout – but it also takes calories to maintain each and every pound of muscle that the body adds. When people stop exercising, the extra muscle begins to deteriorate in a process known as atrophy. Exercise is eliminated, the metabolism slows and atrophy occurs; the body’s need for calories has now been greatly reduced.

    But when people stop exercising, they usually continue to eat what they ate while working out. Since the diet isn’t modified accordingly, the extra calories are stored as body fat.

    So don’t let this pervasive myth prevent you from hitting the gym – or from taking off necessary gym time to help heal an injury. Muscle will never turn into fat.

    Why Low-Fat/Fat-Free Means Very Little.

    Swedish fish: A fat-free food that's likely to make you fat.

    Yesterday, a package of those sugary, chewy “Swedish Fish” candies caught my eye. On the product’s package was a banner that exclaimed, “A fat free food.” And while this bag of candy may be devoid of fat, do not be tricked by this treat – there is nothing healthy about it.

    Of course, Swedish Fish candies aren’t alone – countless products try to position themselves as attractive options for dieters by touting their low-fat or fat-free nutritional content. But really, that one characteristic tells a very incomplete story about the product’s nutritional value (or lack thereof).

    Firstly, fat isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As we all know, there are bad fats (like those found in fried foods) and good fats (like those found in nuts, olive oil and avocados). Getting those essential healthy fats is important. If you had to pick between a package of Swedish Fish and a handful of unsalted nuts, opting for the fat-free option would be a big misstep. There are many higher-fat food products that are healthy and nourishing.

    Secondly, a fat-free label says nothing about the rest of the nutritional content. Like sodium, carbs, calories and sugars. While Swedish Fish may have no fat content, it’s made out of sugar! Sugar is absolutely terrible for the human body – especially if you are looking to release or maintain your body weight. Sugar is flushed with empty calories, has been linked to a number of debilitating and deadly diseases and is quite possibly addictive. In addition, many fat-free salad dressings, for example, cut out the fat but add in extra sugar to enhance the flavoring. The same is often done with salt. Clearly, the fat-free label isn’t telling the full story.

    So get the whole truth. Ignore the so-called healthy benefits touted on a product’s packaging. Look at the complete nutritional information (usually found on the side of the packaging) and make an informed decision from there.