Archive for the tag - lose weight

Loose Skin After Weight Loss.

Dear Davey,

I have had loose skin for about 2 years now and I don’t know how to make it go away. I got it when I lost a lot of weight from working out. Could you please give me and the other people out there suffering with loose skin some advice? Thanks!


Dear James,

Congratulations on your weight loss! And a special congratulations for keeping the weight off for two years! That’s fantastic.

Loose skin is a common problem after weight loss, especially if a lot of weight is lost in a short period of time. The “elasticity” of skin depends on a number of factors. Some of these factors are beyond your control:

  1. Age. No surprise here. Younger individuals have more elasticity in their skin, and they tend to see a better recovery from loose skin following weight loss.
  2. Genetics. To a large extent, the firmness of your skin while aging is determined by genetic factors. So you can blame it on mom and/or dad, though such blame may prove unproductive. 😛

But many factors are within your control:

  1. Smoking. The skin of smokers ages faster than non-smokers.
  2. Weight loss rate. Losing weight faster than 2 pounds a week puts the dieter at a higher risk of loose skin.
  3. Weight gain time line. Individuals that gained weight quickly (and then drop it) are less likely to experience loose skin. Moreover, someone that has carried the extra weight for 10 years is at a higher risk for loose skin than someone who has been carrying the extra weight for 10 months.
  4. Sun exposure. Past and present sun exposure damages the skin and decreases elasticity.
  5. Water and proper nutrition. Staying properly hydrated with a healthy, high-vitamin diet (Vitamins C and E are especially recommended) keeps skins healthy.
  6. Build muscle. This is a big one. Adding muscle to your frame can help rebuild your shape and minimize loose skin. Hit the weight room often and hard.

So, it makes sense to focus on those factors that are within your control. Don’t smoke. If you have more weight to lose, release it slowly, and do it as soon as possible. Wear sunscreen. Stay hydrated and maintain a nutritional, vitamin-rich diet. And, last but not least, maintain a vigorous exercise program that includes strength training to build your muscles.

For some individuals, this won’t be enough. As a last resort, some individuals require surgery to remove the excess skin. The procedure is not for everyone; it is expensive and involves certain risks. As a general recommendation, it’s advised that individuals should wait 1 year (once their weight has stabilized) to consider this option and speak with a professional. But it’s truly a last resort.

I hope this helps, James. And again, congratulations on your weight loss!

9 Tips: Plan for Your New Year’s Resolution TODAY!

With Dec. 31 just around the corner, it’s certainly not too early to start thinking about your New Year’s resolution. In fact, planning ahead is one of the best ways to ensure that you keep your resolution.

Here are a few tips for doing just that:

  1. Decide on your resolution. There are probably a number of things that you’d like to change in the New Year. Maybe you’d like to lose some weight, build muscle mass or run a marathon. Start by writing out or thinking up a list of resolution contenders - and then narrow things down to just one resolution; don’t overload yourself - achieving just one resolution is challenging enough!
  2. Ensure that your resolution is SMART. Smart stands for specific, measurable, attainable (but not too attainable!), relevant and timely. Instead of saying that you’d like to lose weight, a SMART resolution is that you want to lose 15 lbs by April 1.
  3. Write your resolution down. Put it to paper. Write it in the comments to this post. Jot it on a post-it note. Writing your resolution makes it real.
  4. Visualize yourself achieving your resolution. Close your eyes and see yourself accomplishing your resolution. Feel it with every cell of your body.
  5. Articulate why your resolution is so important. Why do you want this? How will it change or improve the quality of your life? All of these things can fuel your motivation.
  6. Take the first steps TODAY. January 1 is right around the corner - what steps can you take today to pave the road for the new year? If your goal requires joining a gym, then get the membership today. If you want to lose weight, educate yourself about the best ways and healthiest ways to do that. Set yourself up for success by doing the groundwork now.
  7. Focus on the change. a New Year’s resolution is about the result - but it makes a lot more sense to focus on the change. The result may be losing 15 lbs by April 1, but the change that is required is paramount. Know and anticipate which changes you’ll need to make (and how you’ll introduce them) to get the results you want.
  8. Build a network of support. You can do it alone - or you can lean on a network of support. Enlist the help of friends, support groups or virtual communities.
  9. Plan for the hiccups. If your New Year’s resolution necessitates you exercising regularly, anticipate your backup plan for if and when you fall off the horse. Maybe you catch the flu and miss a week of exercise, or go off on a long business trip. These obstacles can be resolution killers - so plan for them. Know that getting back on track is always an option.

By planning ahead today, you can position yourself well for January 1. And by positioning yourself well for January 1, you’re more likely to achieve your resolution.

Start today by writing your SMART resolution in the comments below.

How to Lose Weight with Fiber.

Unleash your inner stud muffin with a high fiber diet!

Fiber gets a bad rap - but let’s change that. Why should you love fiber? Because it’s great for release weight. Fiber helps you feel full, which can prevent gluttonous overeating. And for all the pre-menopausal women in the house (anyone?), a high fiber diet can cut your chances of breast cancer in half.

Here are a few simple ways to increase your fiber consumption:

  1. Eat a high-fiber cereal for breakfast. What are you eating for breakfast? It’s easy enough to swap out the Lucky Charms or Coco Puffs for something higher in fiber. And high fiber doesn’t mean sacrificing taste. My favorite breakfast cereal is Kashi’s Autumn Wheat with a bit of honey. Each serving has 6 grams of fiber (24% of the recommended daily value).
  2. Snack on fruit and fiber bars. Fruit (unlike fruit juice) is fairly rich in fiber. Apples and pears have 4 grams of fiber; bananas have 3 grams; dried figs have a whopping 10 grams!
  3. Add beans to your meals. Eat ’em as a side dish, toss ’em in a salad or add ’em to a wrap. There are about 10 grams in 1/2 a cup. And remember, beans are a magical fruit - the more you eat, the more you toot.
  4. Eat wheat bread instead of white bread. White bread has 1.9 grams of fiber. Wheat bread has 6 grams of fiber; you can triple your bread fiber intake simply by switching to wheat.
  5. Meet Amaranth. Who or what is Amaranth? It’s the seed of an amaranth plant, and it’s used as a native cereal in Central and South America. You can do all sorts of yummy things with it.
  6. Bake your own high fiber goodies. Like raisin bran muffins! There are plenty of healthy and delicious recipes that you can incorporate into your life.

But remember - slow and steady wins the race when it comes to adding fiber to your diet. It’s best to increase fiber slowly, as it gives your gastrointestinal system time to react.

Bottoms up to a high fiber diet! ;-P

5 Tips to Eat Dessert Daily and Never Get Fat.

Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eating just one of the pieces.  ~Judith Viorst

Yeah, yeah. We all know two things:

  1. If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, it’s important to keep tabs - even if it’s roughly - on the calories you consume.
  2. Desserts tend to have a shitload (that’s a technical industry term) of calories.

The Great Wall of Chocolate from P.F. Chang’s, for example, has 2,200 calories. More modest desserts in more modest portions tend to average out in the 300 calorie range (see here for a more detailed calorie listing). It’s no surprise, then, that I found the following tip posted in a fitness forum:

Limit yourself to 1 dessert per week - Go from 7 to 1 day to decrease calories by 1,800 (300 per dessert) per week. 3,500 calories burned (more than consumed) equals 1 pound.  So you can lose 1 pound every 2 weeks and 26 pounds in 1 year this one tip alone!

Talk about buzz-kill. Beyond the importance of calorie counting and the unhealthiness of most desserts, we also know another thing: Life is better with dessert. And so, dessert is one thing that I’m not willing to give up.

Don’t get me wrong: Nutrition is crucially important for a healthy lifestyle. But I refuse to subscribe to the mentality that I must deprive my taste buds of ice cream, apple crisp, pie or anything else pleasureful. Life is too short not to indulge responsibly; remember all those men and women on the Titanic that waved off the dessert tray.

If you’re like me in your unwillingness to deny your sweet tooth, then here are a few tips:

  1. Watch the portion and eat consciously. Your dessert desires can be satisfied with just a few bites. Consciously and fully enjoy each bite. You don’t need an entire pint of ice cream or thick slice of cake. It helps to put the portion on a separate plate or bowl (i.e., not eating ice cream out of the carton).
  2. Mix healthier options into your dessert selections. All desserts are not created nutritionally equally. While I’d never ask you to ditch chocolate cake entirely, occasionally opt for things like fruit salad, yogurt, mixed berries, cut mangoes or bananas drizzled in chocolate. Need more ideas? Here are some healthy dessert recipes you may want to try out.
  3. Work it off! Better and more effective than cutting calories to create a caloric deficit is to increasing the amount of calories you are burning. Starving yourself to lose weight tends to backfire. If you want to lose weight and you are unwilling to cut dessert, make it up on the treadmill. I burn 425 calories in 20 minute on the treadmill. I’d run an extra 20 minutes if it came to that or dessert!
  4. Balance it. Nutritional balance isn’t holding a cupcake in each hand. It’s eating well - most of the time. If you know that you’re going to indulge with your dessert, then cook (or order) a healthier man course. Instead of the double bacon BBQ cheeseburger at The Cheesecake Factory (6 zillion calories), order the Bang-Bang Chicken and Shrimp (only 2 zillion calories). I follow the 80/20 rule of eating healthy 80% of the time.
  5. Enjoy it. For fuck’s sake, enjoy the dessert and don’t feel guilty about it. Worst of all, don’t feel guilty about feeling guilty. Guilt is not a powerful motivator. Dessert is one of life’s simple pleasures. Eat up and enjoy.

So yes, when it comes to dessert, you can certainly have your cake and eat it to. If God didn’t want you to have chocolate, then she wouldn’t have invented it. Just indulge responsibly.

My question for you: What’s for dessert tonight? I’m having apple and pear cobbler.

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.

5 Simple Tips to Lose Weight Fast!

Small changes can make a big difference. Here are 5 simple and easy tips for losing weight:

  1. Eat an apple before dinner. According to a recent Penn State study, people that consumed an apple before their meals ate 187 fewer calories than those that did not. High fiber foods, like apples, are digested slowly by the body and make you feel fuller. Fill up on apples and not on Applebee’s!
  2. Drink lots of water. You’ll cut a zillion calories by not drinking soda or sugary drinks - and, it’s filling! If you’re still craving more after a healthy snack, drink up!
  3. Use BBQ sauce instead of mayo. Using BBQ sauce instead of mayonnaise on your burger will save you 146 calories per two tablespoons.
  4. Know how many calories you should be eating. You need a calorie deficit in order to lose weight. In other words, you need to take in fewer calories than you burn. But in order to create that deficit, you first need to know how many calories your body requires. Use the Harris Benedict Calculator to find out.
  5. Counteract the “rainy day” principle. If you create a calorie deficit by decreasing your eating and don’t increase your physical activity, your body will go into starvation mode. This is why so many people have trouble losing weight. When your body thinks that it is starving, it will hold onto everything that you put into it. Your metabolism will go to crap, and it will save all your calories instead of burning them. To counteract this principle, exercise! You need to move, move, move - even if it’s just 2 or 3 days a week for 30 or 45 minutes.

Do you have any tips for losing weight? Leave your best tip in comments below. I’ll select one commentator to receive a free copy of my Eating for Fitness program! Good luck!