Archive for the tag - skinny

Straight Skinny, But Gay Fat.

straight skinny gay fatHere’s something you’ve probably heard: Someone referred to as “straight skinny but gay fat.”

This statement, of course, refers to the differing standards in appearance for straight and gay men. In other words, a few extra pounds on a straight guy isn’t a big deal. But in the gay world, it’s a different story altogether.

Now here’s something you probably haven’t heard: Among men who have eating disorders, 42% identify as gay.

When we hear the term “gay fat” in reference to the double standard in body image, the tendency is to laugh. It’s often used as a punch line. But I’m not laughing. Maybe the idea of “gay fat” wouldn’t bother me so much if it wasn’t killing people.

Here’s something else you probably haven’t heard: Without treatment, up to 20% of people with serious eating disorders die. With treatment, that number is still 2% - 3%. Eating disorders are deadly.

Eating disorders are a real problem in our community, and we’re dismissing it as a joke.

As I’ve mentioned, I was anorexic in middle school. Growing up overweight, I tried to take control of my situation by starving myself. It was easy to outsmart the doctors when they asked about my weight loss, and even easier to deceive my own family. In fact, to this day, my mother refuses to acknowledge my eating disorder.

The reality is, it’s not easy to talk about eating disorders. And that’s especially true for men. In a world that sees eating disorders as a problem for teenage girls trying to fit into prom dresses, it’s all of our jobs to decrease the stigma and be constructive with our words and actions.

When someone is referred to as straight skinny but gay fat, I’m not laughing. Because what I really hear in that statement is the struggle that all gay men have of looking in the mirror and seeing someone they love. And to me, that’s not a joke. And if it is, it’s a punchline that some of us are paying for with our lives.


Are Americans About To Get… Skinnier?

fat-americaHere’s a headline that you probably didn’t expect: Americans may be on the verge of getting… skinnier.

That is, according to a new study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that found Americans ate 118 fewer calories per day in 2009 and 2010 compared to four years earlier. The study also found that Americans are consuming more home-cooked meals and eating less in restaurants.

Of course, there’s also lots of fine print.

For one, fewer calories consumed doesn’t necessarily mean that Americans will lose weight. Weight loss occurs when we eat fewer calories than we burn - and this study is looking at only one end of the equation. We’d also need to look at the daily calorie expenditure of Americans to get a clearer picture.

Second, obesity rates are still very high. In 2009 and 2010, 36% of Americans were obese compared to just 15% in 1980. But after decades of increases, the rate has held level through 2012. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has started to see a decline in some childhood obesity rates.

Third, according to the researchers, it appears that the economy was a factor. A decrease in restaurant eating and calorie consumption may be more the result of less money rather than healthier habits.

Nonetheless, these small but substantive shifts may be the result of greater public awareness and pressure on food manufacturers and the restaurant industry to make healthier options more readily available. If this is true, we may actually start to see a decline in obesity rates moving forward through the next decade. It’s too early to tell and we’ve got a long way to go, but these indicators are certainly optimistic.


Video: Thick is In.

Screen-Shot-2013-07-29-at-9.11.06-AMLast week, I answered a question from someone wanting to lose weight from their thighs.

The truth is, the commentator isn’t alone. Every day, I get dozens of emails from both men and women about the desire to be thin. It’s not about being healthy or about being strong; it’s about being skinny. And though I understand where this desire comes from, I think all of us could use a reality check when it comes to body image.

Over the weekend, I decided to record a video on the topic - and posted it on my second YouTube channel, DaveyWaveyRaw. Because body image is so central to health and fitness, I wanted to share it with you.

Check it out. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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!

Why Am I Not Gaining Weight?

Dear Davey,

I have been trying to put on weight for the last 6 months. I’ve tried several diets, I’ve been eating as much as I possibly can and have been training heaps as well. So far, I’ve toned up but haven’t put on any weight. What tips do you have? Sometimes I feel like I’m meant to stay this size forever and I often feel like I should give up.


There are a few things to consider if, despite your diet and workout regime, you’re having trouble gaining mass.


First, overtraining may be a contributing factor. Overtraining is a condition wherein you provide more stress on the body than it is able to handle or recover from. When you lift weights, you create tiny tears in your muscles. This is a normal and healthy process - and, as the body rebuilds, the muscle is made stronger and larger than before. However, it takes time to recover. And if you’re training too frequently without adequate rest days in between, then the overtraining response will occur. Your body will become weaker and you may lose muscle mass.

Signs of overtraining include irritability, difficulty sleeping, poor performance, fatigue, losses in strength, weight loss, increased colds or flues and muscle pain. If you experience these symptoms and if overtraining is to blame, take a week or two off to recover - and then reassess the situation. By getting 7 - 8 hours of sleep per night, taking at least one day off per week from exercise, eating properly and by minimizing life stress, overtraining is easy to avoid.

Caloric Intake

Second, take a look at your calorie intake. Though I recommend using the Harris Benedict Calculator to determine your calorie requirements, a good general guideline is 14 - 16 calories per pound of bodyweight for active individuals. For example, at 155 pounds, I’d need to consume about 2,480 calories to maintain my current body weight. To build muscle and mass, you need an additional surplus of 250 - 500 calories a day. In other words, assuming that I’m following a nutrition and exercise plan to targets muscle growth, I’d want to aim for about 2,750 calories per day. This will result in a few additional pounds of mass per month.


Third, look at what you’re eating. To build muscle mass, you’ll need the fuel your body with the right ingredients. Very general guidelines (these can vary from individual to individual) include a gram of protein per day (per pound of bodyweight) from lean protein sources. It’s also recommended that you consume at least 100 carbs on non-workout days and 150 carbs on workout days - with a strong preference for complex, natural carbohydrates like those found in brown rice, quinoa and whole wheat breads. Include foods rich in heart-healthy dietary fats like nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocado.

Train for Hypertrophy

Fourth, consider your workout. Are you following a workout plan that targets muscle growth? When you lift weights, they should be heavy - and your rep ranges should be low. I generally go for 8 reps, and I’m fully fatigued on my last repetition. Ensure that you’re not using low levels of resistance and performing 12 or more repetitions. Lighter weights and high repetitions are great for endurance training, but they’re not well suited for gains in mass.

Avoid Excessive Cardio

Fifth, moderate your cardio. Cardiovascular training offers great benefits - but don’t overdo it. If you have a naturally thin body type, a few sessions of high-intensity interval training or steady-paced cardio each week should be plenty. Limit cardio times to 15 minutes so that your results aren’t cannibalized.

Certainly, you’re not destined to be a skinny guy for life… so long as you follow these steps. With some effort, energy, dedication and know-how, you’ll be bulking up in no time!

Skinny is Overrated.

Where's the beef?

If you pick up an issue of Vogue or Cosmo, you’ll instantly be bombarded with images of stick-thin models - many of whom are photoshopped beyond recognition. The message behind these images is pretty clear: Skinny is attractive.

When this message is internalized, it is expressed through unhealthy fad diets and eating disorders in both women and men. I, for example, spent the better part of my middle school years obsessively counting calories and living with anorexia. I wanted to be attractive, and so skinny was my goal.

The other day, I came across a shocking piece of data. When it comes to adult video content, the volume of searches for overweight women are four times greater than the volume of searches for their skinnier counterparts. In other words, there may a disconnect between what people actually desire and what we think people desire.

While it’s easy to read too much into a single piece of data, it can help us rethink the notion that skinny is the only form of sexy. Curves are beautiful, too - and, according to the data, there are a lot of people that would agree.

Rather than spend our energy transforming our bodies for the desires someone else, perhaps it’s wiser to transform our bodies for the benefit ourselves. Indeed, eating nourishing foods and honoring your body with exercise and movement will change the way that you look, but it will also improve the quality and length of your life. You may even be able to use the experience, as I have, to build a stronger and more loving relationship with your body.

Today, my goal isn’t skinny… it’s healthy. It’s less about looking a certain way and more about living a certain way.

How to Bulk Up & Gain Mass Fast.

Dear Davey

I just recently began going the gym. I am 6 ft tall and 135 lbs. I’m 18 years old and really have been working hard to see results. I recently started creatine for an extra boost because it was hell trying to lift weights. What are some tips you can give me to gain weight in muscle and get a more cut look?


Dear Joey,

It sounds like you’re ready to make the transition from twinkville to beeftown.

You’ll want to pay careful attention to your diet. For a week or two, keep tabs on what you typically eat. If you can, count the calories to give yourself a benchmark. Since you want to gain muscle mass - and since you’ve already taken the important step of hitting the gym - don’t be afraid to crank up your intake.

When someone is looking to lose weight, we tell them to create a calorie deficit. That is, they are taking in fewer calories than they are burning. For you, it’s just the opposite. You’ll want to take in more calories than you are burning. It doesn’t need to be dramatic; even a 10% or 20% increase will make a difference. If you find that you are gaining weight too quickly - or it is coming on as fat instead of muscle - you can always scale back.

Having said that, it’s not a free pass to eat cheese puffs, bonbons and make frequent visit to McDonald’s. You’ll still want to eat healthy foods including lean meats, healthy fats (i.e., nuts and avocados), fruits, beans, veggies and the like. You’ll just be eating more of them - and perhaps more frequently - than before.

When it comes to exercise, focus most of your efforts on strength training. While it’s still fine to perform some cardio (definitely no more than 30% of your gym time), acquaint yourself with the free weights. Since you’re looking to build muscle, you’ll opt for a low number of repetitions of very heavy weights - and you’ll target muscle failure. Here are some more muscle-building tips.

And yes, you may find that the creatine will help. Many individuals report significant weight gains in just the first month. Ensure that you are cycling the creatine (i.e., one week of 20 grams followed by one week of 5 grams, and an occasional week off) for best results.

Also, be realistic: As a skinny guy, you probably don’t have the frame to look like a muscle daddy. But embrace and rock what you do have - and know that many of us would give our right testicle to have your metabolism.


10 Skinny Guy Muscle Building Tips

Dear Davey,

I am one of those guys who is very thin and eats whatever his heart desires and I will not gain a pound. I do not expect to ever be “jacked” but I would like to be fit and filled out. With that being said, do you have any work out tips for people with a build and metabolism like myself?


Dear Max,

So you’re one of those people. I’m sure your metabolism is the envy for anyone reading this that is trying to lose some weight. You probably won’t get much sympathy here. But there are a few things that you should know!

First, nutrition is still important. Even though you can eat whatever you want without increasing your waistline, it doesn’t mean that unhealthy food options are any better for your body. I remember reading about autopsies being done on young American soldiers who had died in Iraq. Their veins looked like they belonged in 60-year-old cardiac arrest patients. In other words, nourish your body with healthy choices.

Second, it’s important to be realistic. If your nickname is “String Bean,” or “Tommy the Twink,” then you probably don’t have the genes to look like the Hulk. All of us are given different body types, and so it’s important to create expectations within the boundaries of what is possible. Instead of comparing ourselves to other people at the gym (who have a totally different set of genes) compare yourself to… yourself. You certainly can add bulk, but it will be to a different degree. It will be bulky for you, and that’s what matters.

Beyond paying special attention to your nutrition and being realistic, the recommendations for building bulk are the same for you as anyone else. You’ll need to:

  1. Lift weights. If you want to get creative, try P90X for a serious workout.
  2. Target a low number of repetitions (4-8 or 10 at most).
  3. Be fully fatigued on your last rep.
  4. Keep pushing yourself to progress to heavier levels of resistance or weights.
  5. Fuel your body with enough calories.
  6. Consume the right amount of protein.
  7. Don’t overtrain - get rest!
  8. Continue with moderate cardio. Don’t worry, it won’t burn off your muscle.

So the truth is, with a little effort and dedication, you’ll certainly be able to add some muscle to your frame. You might not look like Popeye, but you will see some fantastic results.

Hope that helps!


Are You Skinny Fat?

I know a lot of people that are relatively skinny - but that do not exercise in any way shape or form. Some of these people follow strict diets, while others eat whatever they want. But alas, there is a difference between looking thin and being healthy - and that difference is body composition.

Thin people that do not exercise are often considered “skinny fat” - a recently coined term referring to people that look thin on the outside, but that have a disproportionate amount of fatty tissue on the inside. They look healthy on the outside - but the inside tells a very different story. My mom always said, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” and the skinny fat epidemic is proving her correct.

The number on the scale is not an accurate measure of your body’s health. Period. A scale can be massively misleading - true health isn’t measured by weight alone, but rather by a number of factors like body fat testing, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and so on.

Fortunately, skinny fat is very treatable. It just takes a little energy, effort and dedication. Here are some of my best tips for breaking out of the skinny fat syndrome:

  1. Do cardiovascular and strength training exercises. Cardio means hitting the treadmill, bike or swimming. Do an exercise that you enjoy - but that makes you sweat. Strength training means lifting weights or using weighted machines. Cardio incinerates fat and boosts you metabolism; it will build needed muscle and help to improve your fat to muscle ratio.
  2. Don’t eat whatever you want. You know what’s healthy and what is not - stick to a reasonable nutrition plan. I recommend using the 80/20 rule.
  3. Manage your stress. With stress comes cortisol and with cortisol comes abdominal fat and muscle breakdown. Managing stress will not just improve your life - but it will improve your health.

Bottom line: Don’t gauge your healthy but a scale alone - and wherever you’re at on your health and wellness journey, exercise and nutrition are necessary components.