Archive for the tag - diet

Does Skipping Meals Help Lose Weight?

tumblr_n05ae7mBOU1qmbokso1_1280There are many tricks and strategies that can help you achieve your fat loss goals, but is skipping meals one of them?

At face value, it seems to make sense. After all, we know that a calorie deficit is required for weight loss. That means consuming fewer calories than your body burns. For healthy and sustainable weight loss, most experts recommend consuming 250 - 500 fewer calories than your body burns. By skipping a meal, we can easily create that calorie deficit. Right?

It’s not that simple. Skipping a meal has other consequences.

For one, researchers have found that meal skippers tend to overeat on their next meal due to their extreme hunger. In total, they still tend to eat the same amount of calories. According to researchers, this cycle of starvation and then overindulgence can result in some potentially risky metabolic changes that, over time, could even result in diabetes.

Beyond the metabolic impact and intense hunger pangs, skipping meals and is also absolutely miserable. If you’ve ever spent time fasting, you’ve likely experienced difficulty focusing, moodiness, drops in productivity, sluggishness and so on. And if you’re lacking energy and focus, it becomes much harder to power through a workout; thus, it can put your results at risk.

Rather than skipping meals, cut calories by making your existing meals smarter and healthier. Trim down your portions and opt for more vegetables, lean meats and healthy cooking methods.

P.S. To look and feel great through the foods you eat, download Davey Wavey’s Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter.

If You Workout, Can You Eat Whatever You Want?

20080812-phelpsIt’s a new year - and many people are making resolutions to exercise. Great! But many people mistakenly believe that working out is a free pass to eat whatever you want.

A few years back, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps gained a lot of attention for his alleged 10,000 calorie-per-day diet including lots of “pizza and pasta.” Most experts believe that Phelps’ actual diet is likely closer to 6,000 calories as it’s nearly impossible to eat 10,000 calories in a day.

Still… for the rest of us non-Olympians, Phelps’ legendary diet helps fuel the popular misconception that you can eat whatever you want as long as you exercise. Simply put, this is untrue.

On one end of the equation, each of us burn a set number of calories during the course of the day. If we exercise, we can certainly boost that number. At the other end of the equation, each us consumes a certain number of calories through the foods we eat. At the most basic level, if calories in is greater than calories out, we will store those extra calories as fat.

It’s true that regular exercisers have higher metabolisms and thus need more calories on a daily basis. Many people, for example, are surprised by the amount of food that I consume even though I’m just 155 pounds. But if I ate beyond my body’s daily caloric needs - even despite my rigorous workout routine - there’s no doubt that I’d gain excess fat.

And working out doesn’t prevent an individual from developing nutritional deficiencies. As such, it’s not a free pass to eat a diet of French fries and cheeseburgers. On the contrary, it’s still important to eat with health in mind - and it’s important to give your body the fuel it needs to power through workouts and maintain muscle mass.

Bottom line: The idea that you can eat whatever you want if you workout is a total myth. All of us, regardless of our activity level, must pay attention to the foods we eat.

Top 7 Dieting Mistakes.

diet-tips1So you want to lose weight and embark on a healthier lifestyle? Great!

But when it comes to dropping excess weight, knowledge is truly power. As a certified personal trainer, I’ve seen many, many people make the same missteps over and over again. Today, let’s learn from their mistakes and not let history repeat itself.

Here are the top 7 dieting mistakes:

  1. Buying “low fat” foods. As it turns out, the label low fat isn’t synonymous with healthy. And our bodies need good, essential fats. Limiting unhealthy saturated fats is a smart move, but ensure that you still get plenty of the good fats found in olive oil, nuts and avocados.
  2. Doing lots of cardio and no strength training. It’s true that cardio can help create the calorie deficit that’s needed to lose weight, but many dieters skip the weight room entirely. Without strength training, cardio is more likely to burn off both fat and muscle. And less muscle mass means a slower metabolism. It becomes a vicious cycle. The long and short of it is keep lifting weights!
  3. Starvation. To lose weight, a calorie deficit is necessary. A good calorie deficit occurs when we consume fewer calories through dieting and burn more calories from exercise. However, some dieters take things to the extreme and severely restrict calories to less than 1,200 for women and 1,500 for men. Caloric intake at this low level results in a massive slowdown in the body’s metabolism; energy is conserved to keep you alive. Eventually, you’ll need to eat. And when you do, your metabolism will be so slow that weight gain is unavoidable. Starvation is unhealthy and counterproductive.
  4. Drinking diet soda. Sure, diet sodas are calorie-free, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re a wise choice for dieters. Though more research is needed, a handful of initial studies have linked diet soda consumption and artificial sweeteners to weight gain and obesity. One theory is that artificial sweeteners feed our sweet tooth - and thus cause us to crave other sugary, unhealthy foods. The moral of the story is stick with water.
  5. Skipping meals. There is a misconception that skipping meals saves calories. According to researchers, people who eat fewer than three meals a day end up eating more calories in total throughout the day. Pace yourself by eating breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  6. Relying on fad diets. Some fad diets do work - but usually only for a short period of time. You can’t eat cabbage soup, for example, for the rest of your life. The problem is that most fad diets are pumped full of gimmicky marketing but short on lasting, sustainable results. Eating smart and exercising might not sound sexy, but it works.
  7. Measuring progress in pounds or kilos. Scales don’t tell the full story, and too many people get caught up weighing themselves every day. Evaluating your progress is crucial for success - as you can determine what is and isn’t working - but think beyond the scale. Body fat measurements are more accurate. Measuring your waist is also smart. Take before and after picture to monitor your journey. Pay attention when your clothes start to fit differently.

Be a smarter dieter by putting the above knowledge into practice. If you need more help achieving your weight loss goals, download The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program. Use discount code “youtube” during checkout to save 25%!

And in the comments below, share any more tips that you might have!

How to Get Skinny: 13 Rules.

masl09b_eat_skinny_foodsI think “athletic” or “healthy” are more worthwhile goals than the pursuit of skinniness, but let’s face it - “skinny” is a popular fitness goal to which many people aspire. So if you are looking to slim down and drop some body fat, I’ve put together these simple and straightforward guidelines:

  1. Reduce (or eliminate) added sugar. Even though sugar provides virtually no nutritional benefits, Americans eat 500 calories of a day worth of added sugar. Cut it out.
  2. Don’t deprive yourself of unhealthy foods you love. The more you try to resist unhealthy foods, the more you think about unhealthy foods - and the more you crave them. Allow yourself an occasional treat to break the cycle. It’s about balance.
  3. Cook your own meals. You’ll know exactly what goes into the foods you eat.
  4. If you do eat out, avoid the watch words. Don’t order foods that are described as crispy, fried, creamed, crunchy, battered, bottomless, giant, loaded, cheesy or breaded.
  5. And if you do eat out, opt for steamed vegetables as your side.
  6. Seep well. People who don’t get enough sleep consume more calories.
  7. Start your day with a real breakfast. Boiled eggs, no sugar added cereals, fruits and Greek yogurt all count. Danishes, doughnuts, pastries or a cup of coffee do not.
  8. Replace simple carbs with complex carbs. That means substituting white rice with brown rice and white bread with whole wheat bread.
  9. Get 30+ grams of fiber a day. 95% of Americans don’t get enough fiber; eat fiber-rich foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds. In addition to many other important benefits, fiber helps you feel fuller longer.
  10. Don’t drink your calories. High calorie alcohol beverages or sugar drinks are calorie-dense but devoid of nutrients. Save your calories for foods that nourish your body and keep you feeling full.
  11. Learn to read nutrition labels.
  12. Never eat a food directly from the box or bag. Put it in a bowl; you’ll eat less and avoid the mindless munchies.
  13. Move more. Combine a healthy diet with an active lifestyle and exercise. Take the stairs. Join a gym. Go for a walk.

At its core, losing weight is really about creating a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than you burn. All the above guidelines are helpful in supporting a calorie deficit through nutrition and exercise. So have at it!

Do you have any additional skinny guidelines? Share them in the comments below!

Is It More Important to Diet or Exercise?

Diet-Or-ExerciseHere’s a question that I often get asked: “I want to have a healthier lifestyle, but I don’t have time to both eat better and exercise - so which should I focus on for best results?”

I understand that schedules are tight. But exercising without nutrition - or vice versa - is like trying to drive your car with the emergency brake on. While you may experience results through diet or exercise alone, it’s the combination of both that will really put you life - and your body - into high gear.

But you don’t have to take my word for it.

In a new study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, researchers from the Standford University School of Medicine found that focusing on a proper diet and exercise simultaneously yields better results than changing either separately.

For the study, researchers divided 200 inactive participants, ages 45 and up, into four groups that each received phone coaching. Group one received coaching on both nutrition and exercise simultaneously. Group two received only dietary advice for the first few months - and then received additional coaching for exercise. Group three received only exercise coaching initially - and then dietary advice a few months into the study. Group four only received stress management coaching. The study lasted one year.

Even despite busy schedules, those participants who received coaching for both diet and exercise were more likely to meet national guidelines for exercise and nutrition than any other group.

It’s also worth noting that improving your diet doesn’t necessarily mean taking time out of your schedule. You have to eat regardless; it’s just a matter of making smarter choices. It doesn’t take any more time to ask for steamed vegetables instead of fries when you’re out to dinner. In other words, thinking that you only have time to either eat better or to move more is really a false choice. While exercise does require a time commitment, eating smart does not.

The bottom line: Don’t sell yourself short. For best results, focus on both eating smarter and regular exercise.

How Much Food Does the Average American Eat in a Year?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American eats nearly 2,700 calories a day. With the exception of athletes and very active individuals, this caloric intake exceeds expert recommendations by several hundred calories. Over time, all those extra calories add up - and it’s no wonder that 2/3 of Americans are overweight.

In the journey to eating smarter, we need to look at where we’re at today. We need to assess the situation before decided which areas of our diet are most ripe for improvement. To that end, and while these numbers will vary greatly from individual to individual, I think today’s infographic is a great place to start.

(Scroll down for additional commentary)

For me, there are a few important takeaways.

At first glance, it can seem encouraging that we consume 415 pounds in vegetables annually (which translates to more than 20% of our overall food intake by weight). That is, until you realize that corn and potatoes account for 173 pounds of that. Though there’s nothing wrong with corn and potatoes, let’s make more space for other veggies in our diets.

An obvious area for improvement is the 110 lbs of red meat we consume. In a frequently cited study, Harvard researchers found that 9% of male deaths and 7% of female deaths would be prevented if we lowered red meat consumption to 1.5 ounces (or less) per day. That would be just over 34 pounds annually. In other words, replacing 2 out of 3 beef dishes with a leaner meat - or vegetables - would be a wise move for the average American.

We also eat a lot of non-cheese dairy products. In other words, we a great opportunity to substitute with dairy alternatives that are less calorie-dense, like almond milk.

Speaking of calorie dense foods, we’d all be well served by reducing the 141 pounds of caloric sweeteners consumed annually. In part, this is fueled by the 53 gallons of soda we drink annually. And the 24 pounds of ice cream. Replacing just a few glasses of soda and other high-sugar products per week would go a long way to a healthier lifestyle.

In the comments below, let me know how your personal eating habits differ from the average American. And what areas for improvement are there in your diet?


Is It Good to Eat the Same Food Every Day?

Eating the same food everyday is becoming a popular trend.

It means preparing the same breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week. Despite the blandness of eating the same foods over and over again, there are a few good reasons for the popularity of this approach.

  1. It’s easy to track. Counting your calories isn’t always easy, and with each new recipe comes new calculations. If you eat the same thing each day, on the other hand, you only need to make your calculations once. It’s easy to craft a diet that meets your caloric needs.
  2. It’s cost-effective. If you have chicken, beans and mixed veggies for dinner each night, then you can buy those items in bulk - thereby saving a significant chunk of change at the grocery store (versus buying individual or smaller portioned items).
  3. It saves time. You don’t have to worry about learning new recipes, wasting time experimenting with new foods or researching nutritional information. And because you’re preparing the same foods each day, you’ll likely become very efficient at it.

While this approach may work for some individuals, I have a few concerns.

For one, there don’t seem to be any real, scientifically-proven health advantages to eating the same foods. In fact, quite the contrary. it’s extremely difficult to prepare a breakfast, lunch and dinner that will meet 100% of all your nutrition needs. Some foods are high in Vitamin A. Others have lots of heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Unless you’ve given a lot of time and thought to your set meal plan - or unless it’s prepared by a professional - it’s unlikely to provide all the nutrients you need. As such, it’s very likely that nutritional deficiencies may result from eating the same foods each day.

Second, I think this approach reduces food preparation to something of an assembly line. The focus becomes on efficiency, rather than honoring your body with delicious and healthy foods prepared with time, energy, effort and love. I value my body, and I want to treat it as something special. I want to spoil my body. If that means learning a few new recipes and experimenting with new flavors, then so be it. That’s all part of the fun.

I don’t mind spending a little extra time on my body. After all, it’s the greatest instrument I’ll ever own.

What do you think? Do you think eating the same foods each day makes a lot of sense? Let me know in the comments below.


How to Eat Smarter with Google Recipe Search.

I’m always looking for fun and healthy ways to incorporate seasonal produce into my diet. And autumn in full swing, I’ve fallen in love with pumpkins. Not just to carve - but to eat. Loaded in carotenoids, fiber and tons of nutrients like potassium, magnesium and vitamins C and E, pumpkins are truly the superfood of the season.

Since healthy pumpkin recipes aren’t always easy to come by, I decided to do a search on Google. In doing my search, I noticed a “recipes” button along the left-hand sidebar. Upon clicking it, I was able to refine my recipe search by checking off or crossing out other ingredients. For example, I crossed off the related but unhealthy ingredients of “cream cheese,” “molasses,” “sugar” and “whipped cream.”

The search can further be refined not just by cooking time, but also but the amount of calories in a serving. For individuals monitoring their caloric intake, this can be a huge benefit.

Of course, the recipe search can be used for any ingredient. Have extra bell peppers in your fridge? Type it in. Pick too many apples at the orchard? Nothing to fear. It’s easy to find simple, creative and healthy recipes for pretty much any ingredient.

Ultimately, thanks to my narrowed search results, I decided to try the pumpkin hummus recipe. I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, enjoy watching this video which explains the Google Recipe Search features. I can’t believe I didn’t know about this sooner!

Weight Loss Strategies that Work!

If you have a goal of losing weight, I’m a big fan of moving more and eating smarter. It’s healthy, sustainable and - best of all - it works.

But what else can help dieters achieve their weight loss goals? A new study set out to answer just that. Published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the study looked at a number of weight loss tools, tips and strategies by following 120 overweight women on a twelve month diet guided by registered nutritionists. The women were charged with losing 10% of their weight in six months - and then keeping it off for the next six months.

Based on the data, researchers found three key strategies that worked for the participants.

  1. Don’t skip meals. Skipping meals - as I mentioned in a post last week - is bad for your health and you waistline. It deprives your body of nutrients, slows your metabolism and causes you to overeat and crave unhealthy food options. According to the researchers in this study, meal skippers lost 8 fewer pounds than non-skippers.
  2. Journaling. Many weight loss coaches recommend journaling - and for good reason. The study found that journalers lost 6 more pounds than non-journalers. Each day, journalers record the foods consumed and the amount of calories contained therein. Doing this helps dieters track calories and provides some level of accountability for the food eaten.
  3. Don’t go out for lunch. With many restaurants loading their dishes with fried foods, butter and salt, eating out can be a real challenge for health-conscious individuals. In fact, researchers found that individuals who ate at restaurants for lunch at least once per week lost 5 fewer pounds than those who didn’t. Those extra calories really add up!

Have you ever tried any of these weight loss strategies? Did they work for you? Let me know in the comments below.

Grocery Shopping with Davey Wavey.

Dear Davey,

I’m curious. What do you buy when you go grocery shopping? I’d love to know!


Dear Sue,

Your wish is my command!

Actually, my grocery shopping habits have improved greatly over the last few years. I’ve moved away from processed foods, simple carbohydrates, high sugar products and red meat to a healthier diet rich with vegetables, fruits, complex carbs and some lean meat.

In fact, I went shopping yesterday - and took a picture to share my purchases.

Check it out:

Here are the items pictured above:

  • Corn
  • Avocados (for my famous guacamole)
  • Fresh almond nut butter (which is great for snacking with apples or bananas)
  • Hummus
  • Black beans
  • Butternut squash (for vegetable quesadillas)
  • Whole wheat tortillas
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Whole grain bread
  • Cheddar, feta and Cotswold cheese
  • Soy milk
  • Organic milk (organic milk is healthier and contains much less saturated fat)
  • Free-range, organic chicken breast
  • Slice turkey meat (for sandwiches)
  • Minimally processed chicken patties (my favorite!) by Applegate Farms
  • Coconut water (it’s a natural alternative to sports drinks - and has more potassium than a banana!)
  • Tortilla chips (for my guacamole)
  • Frozen Brussels sprouts
  • Frozen adamame
  • Apples
  • Vine tomatoes
  • Poblano, Anaheim, yellow and Fresno peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Bananas (my favorite pre-workout energy boost)
  • Brown rice sushi (for lunch)
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Red onion
  • Cilantro
  • Garlic

As you can see, my shopping cart is filled with lots of (mostly) healthy food choices - but it’s not light on flavor. People often think that eating healthy means eating foods that don’t taste good. I couldn’t disagree more. I truly LOVE eating and think that - through smarter shopping - I manage to select colorful, nourishing items without losing any deliciousness. Moreover, this diet helps fuel my active, high-energy lifestyle and supports my fitness goals.

Were you surprised by anything in my shopping cart? Is there anything you plan on doing differently next time you’re at the market? Let me know in the comments below.

Davey Wavey