Archive for the tag - weight

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

Ready to Lose Weight? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself!

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.

It’s the New Year, a time that re-ignites the desire to lose weight and get in shape. Before you dive in, evaluate your readiness to stay the course. Without a solid foundation, starting too quickly can lead to frustrating results. When you’re emotionally prepared, however, your results become permanent. Use these five questions to decide if now’s the time to fully commit to your weight loss success.

1. Will you make your well-being a priority?

To lose weight successfully, your physical and emotional health must be your number one concern. This doesn’t mean you neglect personal responsibilities. It means you respond to those responsibilities through self-loving eyes. For example, you set boundaries on the demands of family and friends to create “Me” time. It also means you address life stressors that erode your confidence, such as a strained marriage or job dissatisfaction. Even if you delay focusing on weight loss, you’ll feel more confident to begin when your life feels stable.

2. Will you change your lifestyle?

To succeed with weight loss, you must replace old habits with new ones. Your willingness to exercise regularly and eat wholesome foods increases your chance for long term success. What lifestyle changes are you willing to make? For example, will you limit television time to make room for exercise? Will you take time for self-reflection to nurture your spirit? As you adopt new behaviors that support good health and well-being, you create a lifestyle that nurtures your long-term success.

3. Will you seek out support?

Losing weight sometimes feels frustrating and discouraging. Make it easy on yourself. Connect with others for support and professional guidance. Consult with a dietitian for nutrition advice, a personal trainer for exercise suggestions or a weight loss coach for inspiration. Besides professional assistance, join a weight loss support group or connect with others on-line through forums. If groups don’t work for you, talk to a trusted friend for support when discouraged and camaraderie to celebrate progress.

4. Will you look deeper if necessary?

If you struggle to lose weight, despite your best intentions, perhaps it’s time to dig deeper. For some people, excess weight offers protection and food equals comfort. Despite a conscious desire to be thinner, losing weight sometimes triggers subconscious fears that actually prevent progress. If success always eludes you, seek professional support to discover what’s holding you back. If you can relate to this, use the therapist finder tool at Psychology Today to find a counselor in your local area to help.

5. Will you be patient and persevere?

Permanent weight loss takes time. You need this time to not only release weight responsibly, but to release limiting beliefs and negative thoughts from your mind. If you lose weight too quickly, your self-concept doesn’t have time to change. Old beliefs then draw you back to old habits. Be willing to have patience and persevere. Doing so transforms discouragement into a determined belief that nothing will stop you from reaching your goal.

What if you don’t feel ready?

If after reading these questions you don’t feel ready, that’s OK. Give yourself permission to wait. Take time to discover what you need to fully commit. Use the above questions to guide you. You actually begin the weight loss process by creating a strong foundation first. When the timing is right, you’ll feel an inner trust that guides the rest of your journey with confidence and inspiration.

Are you ready to lose weight? Let us know in the comments below.

Feeling Fat Makes You Fat.

This morning, I came across an absolutely fascinating study by researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. According to the study, normal weight teenagers who perceive themselves as fat are more likely to become overweight adults.

Back in the mid 1990s, researchers surveyed nearly 1200 teenage boys and girls with normal bodyweights. Roughly ten years later, the researchers followed up with the now-adult participants. While half of the participants still had normal bodyweights, the researchers found some interesting insights about the now-overweight individuals:

  • 59% of the girls and 65% of the boys who perceived themselves to be fat as teenagers grew up to be overweight according to their body mass index (BMI).
  • 78% of the girls and 55% of the boys who perceived themselves to be fat as teenagers grew up to be overweight according to the circumference of their waist.

In contrast:

  • 31% of the girls and 29% of the boys who perceived themselves to be fat as teenagers grew up to be overweight according to their body mass index (BMI).
  • 55% of the girls and 48% of the boys who perceived themselves to be fat as teenagers grew up to be overweight according to the circumference of their waist.

In other words, far more of the normal weight teens who felt fat (even though they weren’t) actually became overweight as adults. In fact, their BMI averaged .88 higher and their waistlines were 3.46 cm larger. But why?

Researchers speculate that teens who felt fat were more stressed than their counterparts. Since stress is associated with weight gain, this could offer one an explanation. Moreover, these teens may have tried to lose their perceived fat by skipping meals and starvation – a strategy that ultimately results in weight gain.

Personally, I think the answer could be a bit deeper. If we have a good, healthy relationship with our body, then we’re more likely to do things that honor it – like eat a healthy diet and engage in exercise. If, on the other hand, you don’t like your body and use negative words against it – like calling it fat – then that relationship can deteriorate and lead to unhealthy habits.

And let’s not forget the power of visualization. By visualizing something, you can help bring it into reality. If you see yourself winning the gold medal or lifting a certain amount of weight or just eating your vegetables, you can breath life into your thoughts. Perhaps, by seeing themselves as fat, these individuals subconsciously cultivated habits that made their belief an reality.

Obviously, it will take subsequent research and data to draw stronger conclusions – but, in the meantime, this study is great food for thought.

What do you think? Are you surprised by the results of this study?

New Study: Don’t Measure Health by Pounds.

Scales are overrated.

When it comes to creating a healthier lifestyle, many people turn to the almighty scale as a way of measuring their progress.

A new study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association found that people who improve or maintain their fitness levels reduce their risk of mortality, regardless of changes in their weight. In other words, the scale isn’t a good indicator of improvements in the body’s health.

The study involved 14,345 adult men and concluded that improved fitness levels are associated with longevity – even after controlling Body Mass Index (BMI) changes. BMI is an index used to classify individuals as underweight, overweight, etc.

Indeed, thin isn’t a necessarily good indicator of health. You’ve probably heard the term skinny-fat used to describe individuals who are thin – but totally unhealthy. These individuals, despite being skinny, often have poor diets and sedentary lifestyles. According to this new study, it’s healthier to be overweight and fit than skinny and unfit.

All of this considered, scales are one of the poorest measures of health progress. For a lot of people, getting healthier means building muscle and shedding fat; this can result in a net gain of body weight due to the density of muscle mass. In these instances, a tape measure is a better indicator (i.e., shrinking waistline and expanding muscles). I also encourage clients to think outside the scale and pay attention to the more subtle indicators – like no longer being winded when climbing the stairs. Or clothes fitting differently. These clues are more accurate than the scale alone.

The bottom line: While losing weight is an important goal, know that weight isn’t necessarily the best indicator of your body’s improved health. And even if you struggle to drop the pounds, know that your body is still reaping the benefits of a more active lifestyle.

Also, there are only a few days left to use discount code “youtube” and save 25% off The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program. It’s been my most successful product launch ever – and I’ve been getting tons of great feedback. Snag your copy today before the discount ends!

5 Ways to Connect with Your Body.

Scheduling some quiet alone time is one of the best ways to connect with your brilliant body.

Diane Petrella, spiritual weight release coach, is a great friend of mine who holds a refreshingly powerful and enlightened perspective when it comes to losing extra weight. She recognizes the importance of internal change to produce the external results that so many of us desire.

According to Diane, “Many dieters feel detached from their bodies, making weight release an anxiety-ridden, burdensome struggle. When you make the decision to actually create a relationship with your body, however, a respectful partnership develops. Your weight release efforts become more peaceful.”

To that end, Diane has developed 5 way to connect with your body on a deeper level. Diane’s philosophy resonates deeply with me, and so (with permission) I’ve reproduced her advice and action steps as follows:

  1. Acknowledge Your Body’s Brilliance: We are spiritual beings having a physical experience through the divine gift of our bodies. Our bodies allow us to see nature’s beauty, to hear a loved one’s voice, to experience luscious taste sensations, to smell a flower’s fragrance, to feel a warm breeze.When you expand your thinking in this way, your relationship with your body expands as well. Even if your don’t like how your body looks today, you’ll feel more connected with it as you begin to appreciate all it does for you.
    Action Step:
    Write an appreciation list of all the ways your body allows you to experience joy in your life.
  2. Commit to Physical Activity: Physical activity is one of the best ways to feel connected with your body. Cardiovascular activity conditions your heart and lungs. It’s also a great stress reliever.  Strength training is crucial to maintain good bone health.  It also helps you develop your inner power. Kinesthetic activities, like yoga, dance or tai chi help you move more intuitively and gracefully. When you commit to some form of physical activity on a consistent basis, you naturally will develop a stronger connection with your body.
    Action Step:
    Do one form of physical activity daily.
  3. Plan Quiet Time: A simple way to feel more connected with your body is to take some quiet time every day. This could be through formal meditation practice or simply sitting quietly with your eyes closed and gently focusing on your breath for several moments. When you take the time to be quiet and still, you experience the power of the present moment.  Your inner and outer selves begin to merge, helping you to feel one with your body.
    Action Step: Enjoy a five minute break today to just relax your body and breathe.
  4. Communicate With Your Body Daily: Because our minds and bodies are connected, our bodies actually respond physiologically to every thought we think.  In this way, you’re already communicating with your body all the time.  When you intentionally talk to your body with love and kindness, you use this mind/body connection in positive ways.  Simply telling your body you want to feel more connected with it begins to soften your alienation from it.
    Action Step:
    Every morning say to your body, “I want to take good care of you.  What do you need from me today?” Just ask the question and let it go.
  5. Practice Forgiveness: Body disconnection often results from underlying feelings of shame and self-loathing. Sometimes this is due to earlier childhood abuse. Forgiveness in all its forms helps you release these toxic feelings and become more connected with your body. Taking responsibility for ways you may have neglected and abused your body is empowering.  It’s also an important first step towards forgiving yourself.
    Action Step: Take some quiet, reflective time to say to your body, “I’m sorry.  Please forgive me for not always taking good care of you.  I want to treat you with kindness. Thank you for all you do for me.”

Let me know what you think of these 5 ways to connect with your body in the comments below! And for more information about Diane, or to use her additional resources, visit www.DianePetrella.com.

Dear Davey: I’m Obese – MOTIVATE ME!

Dear Davey,

It’s a shame, really! I am a nurse and yet I am obese. I need all the help I can get. I am 5’6″ and 110kg (242 pounds). I am asking for your motivation and advice. I hope for a reply soon.

From,
Rowell

Dear Rowell,

Thanks for reaching out and recognizing that you need some help and support.

First of all, it’s not a shame that you are obese. In fact, shame is the last thing you need right now. Added negativity will do nothing but weigh you down mentally, spiritually and physiologically. In actuality, it’s inspiring and wonderful that you are taking the first step in your transformation.

Losing weight and cultivating a healthier lifestyle is a complex process that is different for everyone. It’s not as easy as eating certain foods and doing certain exercises. If it was, we’d all be walking around with 8% body fat. Releasing weight is a much deeper issue, and it’s requires using a different perspective than the one that gained it.

For some of us, we gain weight as a response to abuse. Some of us are afraid subconsciously to be attractive. Some of us eat to sooth ourselves or deal with stress. Overeating is almost always a symptom of something else, and so it’s important to explore the root causes. If you don’t treat the cause, the weight loss will not be sustainable.

Rowell, you are going to need more help and support than what I am able to offer in a single blog post. I’d recommend reaching out to a professional in your area, and connecting with a local support group – or an online community like Calorie Count.

You also asked about motivation. I could give you a pep talk about the importance of exercise, but truly the best – and most sustainable – motivation comes from within. Imagine how your life would be different at your idea weight. Visualize yourself doing all the things you’ve wanted to do. And think about all the health benefits (as a nurse, you don’t need me to remind you of those) that your new lifestyle will bring.

We only get one body for this human life of ours. Honoring our bodies with healthy choices is really an extension of honoring that life, and so I encourage you to take the initial steps in getting the support you need. And remember, all of us are rooting for you.

Love,
Davey

Why Gay Men Are 3X More Likely to Have Eating Disorders.

As a gay boy going through middle school, I struggled with anorexia. I was overweight in elementary school, and became fixated on changing things. I counted every calorie that I consumed until I was sickly thin, pale and extremely unhealthy.

I remember growing four or five inches in one year, and losing five pounds. The doctor asked me if I was eating enough. I lied, and he believed me. Boys can get away with it.

As it turns out, I wasn’t alone. A study by the Mailman School of Public Health and the National Development and Research Institutes found that eating disorders – including symptoms of anorexia, bulimia or binge-eating – are three times more common in gay men than heterosexual men. Some 15% of gay men reported eating disorders.

Why?

I’ll be honest – my immediate thought was that it’s because of gay culture. We (well, to be fair, not all of us) worship the insanely chiseled bodies of impossibly sculpted models. And by we, I include myself. The pictures that I use in this blog certainly contribute to that. If eating disorders are higher in gay men because of our body-centered focus, then I am a participant of that.

But not so fast, according the study. One of the researchers wrote:

It is not clear why gay men have high rates of eating disorders. One theory is that the values and norms in the gay men’s community promote a body-centered focus and high expectations about physical appearance, so that, similar to what has been theorized about heterosexual women, they may feel pressure to maintain an ideal body image.

To test the theory, researchers compared gay men with affiliation to the gay community (i.e., frequent gay clubs, gay gyms, etc.) to those that are far removed. There was no difference in eating disorder rates, and so researchers were left scratching their heads:

This suggests that factors other than values and norms in the gay community are related to the higher rates of eating disorder among these men

I have my own theory, but it’s not mentioned in the study. Gay men are often the targets of bullying and discrimination (some of it institutionalized). We’re are often disowned by family members, and told that we’ll burn in hell. We’re the butt of jokes, and too often the victims of hate crimes. We are even denied basic rights by our government, and treated as second-class citizens.

We are told that we are “less than” time and time again. Perhaps, eventually… some of us come to believe that it is true. And this lack of love for ourselves can manifest in very physical ways – like in eating disorders.

That’s my theory. What is yours?

Should Fit People Get Discounts on Health Care?

A recent study found that 17% of U.S. health care costs are related to obesity. Our weight problem is costing us – not just in terms of our overall health – but in our pockets, too.

The financial burden of obesity is one that all Americans with health care must bear, regardless of fitness level, as the cost is factored into all our plans. It begs the question: Is this approach fair?

In a country like the United States, would it make sense to offer a health care discount to anyone that could do a pull-up and push-up? Or, in a country like Canada, where the health care is universalized, would it make sense to offer a rebate for fit citizens when they efile their taxes – as they are less likely to incur health care expenses? Perhaps this financial incentive would motivate people to become healthier.

On one hand, unlike conditions like cancer or cystic fibrosis, obesity is avoidable and easily curable. Though many factors go into obesity (it is often deeply psychological), changes can be made both on the inside and out that result in a reversal of the condition.

But on the other hand, providing a discount or tax break to fit people would favor wealthier individuals; there is a strong link between obesity and low-income communities. Low income individuals often have greater barriers to physical activity and less access to healthy foods and supermarkets. In other words, such a discount or tax break for people would further impair the people with the least.

So what do you think? Should the extra financial burden of obesity be carried just by the people causing it? Or should we all bear the financial impact of obesity? Does giving a discount or tax break to healthy individuals make sense, or is it a socially unjust incentive?

Where Do I Start? A Journey from Obesity.

I get a lot of mail from blog buddies asking for advice, giving tips and sharing stories. I really appreciate hearing from you, but I was especially touched by the following e-mail:

Hi Davey!

About a month ago I was curled up in bed with a boy that I’m completely in love with after a night of him drinking. He turned to me and said “If you would lose 160 lbs, I would marry you tomorrow”. The sting that went into me was so intense. I started crying and told him I was sorry I wasn’t beautiful…

I got up the next day and joined a gym. It’s so intimidating to be morbidly obese, and walk into a place where the women walk around in sports bras and have PINK written across their ass, but whats even worse is the anxiety I feel when I see the early 20s guys helping each other cut the sleeves of their shirts cause they’re so ripped. I feel so out of place. Everyone looks at me like, “What is that fatty doing here?”

I had NO idea how much I weighed, I haven’t known for at least ten years. I got on the scale. I am twenty six years old… I am five foot eleven inches tall… and I weigh three hundred and thirty seven pounds.

I started with doing 1 hour water aerobics classes 4 days a week. Now I’ve added 15 minutes of weight machines, and 15 minutes on a bicycle.

I don’t feel like I’m doing the right things.

I’ve lost 4 pounds in a month which is a good start but NOT nearly what I want.

I’m morbidly obese, but HOW do I lose weight when its so hard to move my body?

Dear Blog Buddy,

Even reading your words, I can feel your very real pain. One issue is your boyfriend: Do you want conditional love? It is beyond the scope of this blog to delve into the murky world of relationship advice, so I will stick to what I know.

Having been overweight when I was younger, and now much fitter as an adult, I have been on both sides of this experience.

First, though people may look at you in the gym, I’d advise you not to project your insecurities into their stares or looks. In all honesty, it is very likely that people are impressed by your courage. A gym is especially intimidating for beginners – people understand that – and the gym goers that you see may be looking at you because they admire your bravery.

Second, it’s helpful to move to a place wherein there looks or stares are of no importance, regardless of intent. Measuring yourself by the judgments of others – good or bad – is a dangerous game. Avoid it by honoring and cultivating the intrinsic self worth that you have as a human being. I know, easier said than done.

Third, you are doing the right thing. And you’ve done the hardest thing. You’ve taken the first step. It is the hardest step that you’ll ever take, and it’s now behind you.

Fourth, maintain a gym commitment that is sustainable. It’s very easy to burn out when getting started. It’s great that you are doing both cardio (water aerobics, bicycling) and strength training (weight machines). Doing strength training buildings muscle, and muscle incinerates calories all day long; it’s absolutely essential to accompany your cardio with strength training.

Fifth, consider your nutrition. I’m going to e-mail you a copy of my Eating for Fitness program. Nutrition is obviously the other side of the health and wellness coin. Losing weight is about both exercise and nutrition – and you may wish to seek the help of a professional.

Sixth, and along the same vein – you may wish to work with a trainer. Most gyms have personal trainers, and I’m sure they could pair you up with someone wonderful and affordable. It will be money well spent, and money that you may otherwise be spending on health problems and complications down the road.

Seventh, do it for you. Forget your boyfriend’s comment. Do not lose weight so that he will marry you. Lose weight so that you can honor your body and this experience of life. You only get one body. Honor it. Do it for you.

It’s all about small steps, and like I said, you’ve already taken the hardest one. Just keep moving – moving forward – and with a little hard work and dedication, you will be create a transformed body and a transformed life.

We are all routing for you.