Archive for the tag - losing weight

10 Commandments of Weight Loss.

JESS3_Twinkies_hostess-moses-twinkiesThough we all have different bodies and different metabolisms, there are some constants when it comes to achieving effective, sustainable and lasting fat loss.

  1. Thou shalt not starve. Believe it or not, starving yourself is the least effective way to lose weight long term. That’s because it dramatically slows down your metabolism as the body tries to conserve calories. Once you do resume eating, the pounds will pack right back on.
  2. Thou shalt eat smarter and move more. If fat loss could be summed up in one simple commandment, it would be this. By eating smarter, fewer calories go into your body. By moving more, increased calories are burned by your body. This combination of healthy eating and exercise creates the calorie deficit needed for weight to be lost.
  3. Thou shalt not fall for fad diets. When it comes to weight loss, there are no shortage of marketing gimmicks promising quick fixes. Don’t rely on marketing; rely on science. And though the science of weight loss isn’t as sexy as popping a pill or eating only cabbage for a month, it’s effective and sustainable.
  4. Thou shalt eat carbohydrates. Though they get a bad rap, carbohydrates are used by our bodies for energy – and can help you power through a difficult workout. No carbs means no energy, and that’s a recipe for disaster. Instead of cutting carbs altogether, move from simple carbs to complex carbs.
  5. Thou shalt strength train. Don’t fall into the “I only do cardio” trap. By including strength training in your workout routine, you’ll ensure that you lose mostly fat – and not a combination of fat and muscle. Retaining your hard-earned muscle doesn’t just look good; muscle keeps your metabolism cranking.
  6. Thou shalt not have endless cardio workouts. Cardio is an important component of any routine, but people looking to lose weight often spend endless workouts on the treadmill or elliptical. Long cardio workouts can actually result in muscle loss and belly fat.
  7. Thou shalt understand the difference between hunger and appetite. Hunger is your body’s need for food, while your appetite is really more about cravings. To help determine hunger levels, score hunger and fullness using this scale.
  8. Thou shalt eat lots of fiber. Most of us don’t get enough fiber, but this is especially true for dieters. Fiber takes a long time to digest. As a result, it helps you feel fuller for a longer period of time.
  9. Thou shalt read nutritional information. Ignore the subjective marketing hype of product packaging; instead, go directly to the objective nutrition information and ingredients. Pay special attention to the serving size, calories, sugar and saturated/trans fat.
  10. Thou shalt stay hydrated and well-rested. Your body needs water – and drinking enough of it can help lessen hunger. Nine cups per day are recommended for women and 13 for men. And last but not least, getting plenty of rest is an important ingredient for weight loss. It keeps cortisol levels down and gives your body plenty of time to rebuild and recover from workouts.

Do you have anymore commandments of weight loss to add? Share them in the comments below! And to lose stubborn body fat once and for all, download the Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

Losing Weight: When Nothing Works?!

Hi Davey,

I’m a 22 year old girl who has always been a bit overweight but now I’m definitely obese. I’ve tried to lose weight through several diets and to stay active, but almost always have failed.

My two biggest problems are 1) I’m incredibly lazy and I just can’t be bothered to go out to have a walk 2) I don’t like most of the fruits and vegetables that are recommended for a diet.

Do you have any tips or some way to stick to the diet and, above all, to avoid being so damn lazy?

Love,
Melissa

yesyoucanHey Melissa,

Thanks for the thoughtful and honest email. I have to warn you, my response is going to contain some tough love.

But first, it’s worth noting that losing weight isn’t just about moving more and eating smarter – though obviously both are crucial to the weight loss process. For a lot of people, losing weight can have a deep psychological component. Often times, weight issues are interwoven with childhood trauma, sexual abuse and so on. Some people eat food to self-soothe. Some people fear being perceived as attractive. Some people fear their own greatness.

In these instances, it’s important to reach out for professional help.

Having said all of that, you mentioned that your two biggest problems are laziness and a dislike of healthy food.

If you’re too lazy to exercise, then health isn’t a priority for you. And it’s a waste of time for you to embark on a fitness program. You need to really, really want the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to stay motivated.

Ask yourself, why do I want to be fit? Maybe you want to have a family and raise children – and be there for them. Maybe you want to live a long, healthy life – and be alive for your grandchildren. Maybe you don’t want to burden your family with the health ailments that obesity will likely bring. Maybe you love life too much to die an early death. These are the things that motivate me… but make your own list.

According to one study, obesity trims 10 years off of your life. If that doesn’t motivate you to take a walk, then I can’t really help you.

And yes, I know that not everyone enjoys eating fruits and vegetables. A doughnut tastes better than kale – but take into account how foods make your body feel. After eating a doughnut, your body feels slow and sluggish. After eating kale, you’re energized and lively. We don’t eat food just for taste, but also as fuel for our body. Make this distinction.

Over time, you may find that you do develop a taste for healthy foods. While steamed broccoli doesn’t excite me, a fresh, colorful salad definitely does. In other words, you don’t always have to pick between flavor and nutrition; some foods have both.

Last but not least, don’t underestimate the power of a positive mindset. Switching from a mindset of I can’t and I don’t to I can and I do makes a huge difference. Be your own loudest cheerleader, even if you’re still unsure of yourself!

Again, thank you for such an honest email. You’re certainly not alone in your obstacles, but I hope you find the strength and motivation to step up and achieve your fitness goals.

Love,
Davey Wavey

Accepting Your Body = Weight Loss?

Today’s guest post is by Davey Wavey’s good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella. Diane is also one of the contributors to The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

iambeautiful_kindovermatterDo you know how to make your weight loss journey easier?

Accept your body the way it is.

When you criticize and rebel against your body, you remain stuck. Losing weight feels draining and frustrating. When you accept your body the way it is, you paradoxically free yourself to release weight more easily.

Honor Your Body

Acceptance means honoring your body just the way it is right now, with no judgment. This concept may seem confusing at first. You may believe that accepting your body and current weight means you don’t want to be thinner. Perhaps you reject this idea and think, “I don’t want to accept my body – that‘s why I want to lose weight!” But it’s just the opposite. Accepting your body as it is today helps you become thinner in a more loving and easier way.

End the Battle

Remember this: What you resist persists. When you berate yourself for being overweight or feel embarrassed about your dress size, you battle with yourself. This stops you from making progress. Your thoughts and attention remain negatively focused on where you are, rather than eagerly anticipating where you want to go. Think of this car analogy. Losing weight while continuing to be upset with your body is like keeping your foot on both the gas and brake pedal. You’re not going anywhere. Release the brake and your attachment to self-punishing thinking and you move freely to your destination.

Whatever you focus your attention on grows. So when you condemn yourself and your body, your condemnation grows. This poisonous mind-set often results in self-sabotaging behaviors. For example, disappointment for not yet being a dress size smaller potentially leads to emotional eating. When you accept your body no matter what, you still may feel disappointment but with acceptance you quickly regain momentum.

Keep a Positive Mind-Set

What you weigh now is irrelevant. It carries no power over you unless you give it negative attention. Action follows thought. If you feel discouraged about being overweight, chances are your actions reflect thoughts of defeat rather than thoughts of success. When you steadfastly keep your attention on becoming thinner and accept your body the way it is, your thoughts remain positive. You keep moving forward.

Take Charge

Even if you understand the importance of acceptance, you may wonder, “But how do I get there?” It begins with making a conscious decision to take charge of your self-talk. Catch yourself when you’re critical of your body. Tell yourself to stop speaking that way. Each time critical thoughts enter your mind, apologize to your body (would you want someone to talk to you this way?) and shift to something positive, like the image of someone you love or a beautiful memory. Persistently do this as often as necessary. Practice makes permanent.

Here’s a fun and powerful exercise to help you get started:

Write a love letter to your body.

Give yourself quiet, reflective time in a comfortable space. While relaxed, write a loving letter of acceptance to your body. For example, tell your body you’re committed to take very good care of it. Thank your body for all the ways it serves you. Apologize to your body for times you may have neglected, abused or criticized it. If you love your body, say so. If it’s hard to love and accept your body right now, that’s OK. Tell your body you want to love and accept it. Your intention is very powerful and opens a pathway to inspire you to treat your body more lovingly. Write freely and from your heart. In closing, let your body know you’re doing the best you can to honor its needs.

On an energy level, your relationship with your body is as real as any relationship you have with a person. Writing a letter to your body helps you strengthen this relationship so you feel more connected with, and more accepting of, your body. The more you accept your body just the way it is today, the easier it is to release weight with greater confidence and self-love.

Weight Loss for Busy Teens.

Dear Davey,

I’ve been the chubby girl my whole life but I’m hoping to graduate high school in another year with a healthier body.

I eat lots vegetables and hardly ever eat red meat, but I still have fatty areas around my body. Specifically, I’d like to target my inner thighs, back, lower abdominal and waistline.

I run from time to time, but I’m usually home from school late due to practice (I’m a student athlete) and other extracurricular activities. As it is, I only sleep 5 or 6 hours a night so I’m always exhausted.

Do you have any tips for my situation?

Sincerely,
Michelle

article-newHey Michelle,

It’s always great to see young folks committed to creating a healthy lifestyle!

First things first, let’s talk about your desire to reduce fat in specific areas of your body. Unfortunately, the science of weight loss doesn’t work like that. When your body sheds fat, it comes off according to its own agenda. Excess fat may come off of your face, your neck, your chest – anywhere! The process is outside of your control. Having said that, as your body fat percentage drops, it will eventually come off all the areas you mentioned above.

Let’s talk about your diet. A red meat-free diet that’s also high in vegetables doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll lose weight. While avoiding red meat is great for overall health, losing weight is really about creating a calorie deficit wherein you take in fewer calories than you burn. At least in theory, you could gain fat from eating too much broccoli!

Though I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that teenagers count every calorie they consume, limiting calorie dense or nutritionally devoid foods like candy, sugary drinks, fried snacks, creamy foods, simple carbohydrates, etc is a good idea. Instead, opt for lean meats, veggies, complex carbs and some healthy fats whenever possible. And be very mindful of your portions.

When it comes to rest, researchers have found a likely link between weight gain and a lack of sleep:

According to the findings, sleep deprivation increased both self-reported hunger and levels of ghrelin (known as “the hunger” hormone) for participants. The less sleep that participants received, the greater their hunger. Because sleep-deprived individuals are hungrier, it’s very likely that they consume more food and a greater number of calories than their well-rested and less hungry counterparts.

It’s certainly worth rethinking some of your commitments to better support a healthy lifestyle. And you may find that by stretching yourself less thin, you’re able to give 100% to the activities you value most.

Regardless of age, all of us have busy schedules. But exercise needs to be a real priority as eating well is only one end of the equation. If you’re looking to achieve sustainable and lasting weight loss, a combination of diet and exercise are recommended to create the required calorie deficit. A few times per week, create time for physical activity. It can be rock climbing with friends or lifting at the gym. You need not spend countless hours at the gym to enjoy some real results.

While diet and exercise will yield many benefits, the most transformative benefits are beneath the surface – such as higher energy levels, better sleep habits and increased focus. These benefits will help you not just at school, but throughout your life.

I hope this helps!

Love,
Davey

Does Sweating More Burn More Calories?

Young athletic man taking a break during a challenging jogging outdoorLet’s talk about sweat. Steamy, hot, dripping sweat.

In fact, even as I write this blog post, I’m still sweating from my morning workout – so the topic seems more than appropriate.

Sweating is a glorious thing and it’s my secret to a clear complexion. But there’s a popular myth that sweating more means more calories burned. It’s simply untrue.

In reality, the intensity of your workout (and not the amount you sweat) determines calories burned. Sure, you may sweat more at higher levels of intensity, but sweating is largely influenced by other factors including clothing, outside temperature, body weight, genetics, diet, medications and even hormone levels.

Simply put, sweat is really just your body’s way of getting rid of heat. It isn’t necessarily an indication of workout intensity and the amount of calories or fat that you’re burning.

Some people exercise while wearing plastic “weight loss” suits during hot weather to increase sweat output. And while these suits do increase perspiration and thus result in immediate weight loss, it’s all water weight – and not the result of fat being burned. Moreover, it’s an unhealthy practice that can result in heat exhaustion.

There are few things as satisfying as a workout that leaves you dripping in sweat. But if you really want to lose weight through exercise, focus on the intensity of your workout and a calorie deficit rather than the amount of sweat that you’re producing.

Why Did I Stop Losing Weight?

Dear Davey,

I started a diet two months ago and was making really good progress, but I haven’t been losing any additional weight for the last three or four weeks. Any idea why? I haven’t changed anything. It just stopped.

Confused,
Anna

Male_weight_lossDear Anna,

For anyone trying to lose weight, your experience is extremely common. Weight always seems to come off quickest at the beginning – but subsequent results  get stalled. So why does this tend to happen?

To lose weight, dieters must create a calorie deficit. In other words, more calories are burned than are taken in through food. To create the calorie deficit, healthier dieters tweak both ends of the equation by increasing physical activity and decreasing daily caloric intake. In other words, less calories in and more calories out.

At first, results are quick and dramatic. As the Mayo Clinic points out:

During the first few weeks of losing weight, a rapid drop is normal. In part this is because when calories from food are reduced, the body gets needed energy by releasing its stores of glycogen, a type of carbohydrate found in the muscles and liver. Glycogen holds on to water, so when glycogen is burned for energy, it also releases water, resulting in substantial weight loss that’s mostly water.

After the initial weight loss, things tend to slow down. Most often, this is due to a decrease in the body’s metabolism.

Your metabolism is the process by which your body burns calories for energy – and at lower body weights, we burn fewer calories. In other words, even though you’re still exercising and eating the same amount of food, the calorie deficit no longer exists.

To lose additional weight loss, you must again tweak the equation to create a calorie deficit. That may mean fewer calories in (i.e., eating less) or increasing calories out by vamping up your workout program or daily activity. Try adding another 15 minutes to your workout. Or, increase the overall intensity of your workout (i.e., shorter rests, less talking, doing intervals, etc.) so that you burn more calories in the same amount of time.

By re-creating the calorie deficit, you’ll see additional results. That is, until your next plateau. :-)

Love,
Davey

Words that Stop Cravings.

Every now and then, I come across a study that really blows my skirt up. Today is one of those days. Marilyn Monroe, eat your heart out.

According to researchers at the University of Houston, there are two very effective words that can be used to stop cravings. When individuals said “I can’t eat that,” only 10% were able to stick to their healthy eating habits. On the other hand, when the phrase “I don’t eat that” was used, that number skyrocketed to 80%.

It’s the difference between “I can’t” and “I don’t” – and, according to Vanessa Patrick, PhD and co-author of the study:

Saying “I can’t” signals that you’re giving up something desirable. But saying “I don’t” gives you a sense of empowerment.

When I think of my own personal experience, saying “I can’t” or “I shouldn’t eat that” is almost like begging the other person to be an enabler. “Oh, but you deserve it” is the expected response. Saying “I don’t eat that” is much stronger – and much more authoritative. There’s no wiggle-room for enabling.

It’s a subtle but powerful difference – and I don’t think there’s an easier diet strategy out there. I love this study because it’s also an important reminder to choose our words carefully! Innocuous as they may seem, words have very real implications on our lives, our health and our waistlines.

Do you plan on making use of this tip? Are there any other words that you use or avoid? Let me know in the comments below!

Losing Weight Without Support.

Davey,

I’m an 18 year old student living at home while attending community college and I was wondering: How can I lose weight without support?

I currently weigh 250 pounds and I’ve finally decided that it’s too much! I know that I need to eat better and exercise, but my parents won’t support me. When I discuss eating healthy foods, they reply that it’s too expensive or that I should just watch what I eat. Their idea of watching what you eat is ordering less at McDonald’s.

When I told them that I’d like to get up early and walk before I start my day, they said they’d consider this to be “sneaking out.” Gyms are too expensive but I need to get my body moving.

What should I do?

From,
Zach

Don't be surprised if the people around you subconsciously hold this perspective.

Hey Zach,

Congratulations on making the decision to take your health into your own hands – and to do something about it! That’s the first and biggest step that you’ll need to take.

Though we look to our friends and family for support, we don’t always find it when it comes to weight loss. It doesn’t take Dr. Freud to figure out the motivation behind this anomaly. If the people around you support your lifestyle changes, it becomes harder for them to deny their own diet and exercise transgressions. In a way, supporting you means acknowledging their own need for improvement. And if they can convince you not to change your ways, it becomes much easier for them to continue their state of denial.

Moreover, jealousy and sabotage can sometimes crop up. “You’ve lost enough,” can become a popular mantra for the less supportive people around you. And don’t be surprised if these individuals try to derail your diet by encouraging unhealthy food choices. Don’t let them become your enablers.

Though we expect the people who love us to support the healthy changes we make, don’t let their lack of support become an excuse for you. Life is too short to live for someone else – and you need to lose the weight for you and your health. Though the changes you make may make your loved ones more aware of the areas in which they can improve their own lives, your positive example – in the long run – is really doing them a favor. Without having to acknowledge it aloud, know that you’re helping the people you love by showing them how to live healthier, more productive and (hopefully) longer lives.

Though you may not find support at home, there are plenty of places to find it online… including right here. There are countless weight loss and fitness communities, message boards and forums that you can browse or join – and endless sources of inspiration and knowledge across the Internet. If you prefer finding support offline, connect with a walking group or workout partner in your city or town.

To help you kick things off, I’m going to e-mail you the complete series of Davey Wavey Workout Programs. Since it’s packed with muscle-building and gut-busting workout videos that you can use at home, it will be a huge help in achieving your weight loss goals. Enjoy – and I look forward to seeing your results!

Love,
Davey

Start a Love Affair With Food!

If you’re struggling to lose weight, the idea of starting a “love affair” with food might seem to fly in the face of logic. Loving food more, you may think, is the opposite of what you need.

But consider this: Obsessing about food isn’t loving food. Inhaling or devouring food isn’t about love. Abusing food – or trying to avoid it altogether – isn’t loving it.

If you really love food, you’d savor and enjoy it. You’d want to eat it slowly, chew each bite and consider the many ways in which your meal contributes to your overall health.

One of my favorite books is A Course in Weight Loss by Marianne Williamson. In fact, you’ll see many similarly-rooted philosophies in my Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program. In Williamson’s book, she dedicates an entire chapter to loving food:

The solution to overeating is obviously not to deny yourself food altogether; the answer is not to deny yourself at all. You don’t need to forget food, run away from food, deny yourself food, or avoid food. And the last thing you need to do if you want to stop thinking about food is to tell yourself not to think about it! [The solution is putting] genuine love back into your relationship with food.

Truly infusing love into your relationship with food many implications. While mozzarella sticks, for example, may taste good, there’s nothing loving about them. And with tons of unsaturated fats, calories and grease, they certainly don’t love you back. If a food loves you, it contributes to your health. And if a food contributes to your health, it’s worth back.

Take time to love your food. Offer a prayer of thanks before eating. Make eating a meal sacred and ritualistic. Instead of eating in front of a television, create an altar for your meal at a dining room table. Honor your food and how its nutrients will nourish your body.

It’s time to start a real love affair with the food you eat.

Davey Wavey’s Before and After.

On more than one occasion, I’ve mentioned that I grew up overweight. Many of you have asked to see a picture – and so, the accompanying photographs illustrate my transformation.

But don’t be fooled: It wasn’t easy.

For many years during my childhood, I struggled with weight problems and an inactive lifestyle. Hell bent on looking like the Abercrombie & Fitch models at the mall, I tried to control my weight through anorexia. Like so many of you, my journey to a healthier lifestyle wasn’t without its challenges.

Built into difficult situations are important lessons – and I learned a lot through my transformation. Over the years, my relationship with my body, food and exercise has evolved. In fact, it continues to evolve.

But this is how I’ve come to understand it.

If you’re passionate about cars, you’d keep your car in good working condition. You’d change the oil, bring it in for inspections and treat it with love and care.

Our bodies are the vehicles through which we experience life. And if you’re passionate about life, you want to keep that vehicle – your body – in optimal condition. A healthy body helps extend longevity, increases your energy and helps guard against debilitating diseases that can hold you back. It makes sense to treat it with love and care.

In other words, a healthy body helps you maximize your life and realize your full potential.

My before and after pictures show the change but not the process; it wasn’t easy. There were challenges, roadblocks and setbacks. There’s no magic solution. But, if you aspire to be the best version of yourself, no endeavor is more deserving of your time, energy and effort.