The benefits of berries are extensive. Berries offer super nutrition disguised as nature’s candy. I watched the blackberry bushes when I was a child with great anticipation. I braved rattlesnakes and wasps to pick those berries! The sun would be hot but my mom’s kitchen was cool as I proudly deposited my treasure onto the kitchen table. However, the sweet juiciness of those berries was only a small part of their appeal.
Berries are an excellent source of fiber, including soluble fiber. Since soluble fiber slows food down as it passes through your digestive tract, you stay full longer. One study indicated that doubling your fiber may result in eating about 130 calories less per day. (1) This could result in losing about a pound every month.
Low carbohydrates are one of the benefits of berries. Net carbs are the grams of carbohydrates in a food minus the fiber that it contains. Since the Net Carbs are the only carbs that are digested, they are the carbs we count. Blueberries contain 14.5 grams of carbs and 2.4 of fiber or 12.1 grams of Net Carbs per 100 grams. Strawberries have 7.7 grams of carbs with 2 grams of fiber or 5.7 grams of Net Carbs. Blackberries are higher in fiber at 5.3 grams and have 4.9 grams of Net Carbs. The fiber king is raspberries, having 6.5 grams and only 5.4 grams of Net Carbs. Because berries are sweet and satisfying they are a natural dessert alternative with very low Net Carbs.
Benefits of Berries Include Taste!
Berries can make even plain food special. I love to add partially thawed, frozen berries to plain, full-fat Greek yogurt. I add Splenda to taste and I have a rich, decadent dessert. Fresh blackberries on top of oatmeal and sprinkled with Splenda make a filling, sweet breakfast. Cottage cheese can be bland. Add blueberries and your 0 calorie sweetener of choice for a nutritious, delightful snack. Berries pair very well with many good protein sources. Read David’s article Pragmatic View On Protein for guidelines on protein.
Various Benefits of Berries
There is evidence that berries may help improve blood sugar levels when they are eaten with high carbohydrate foods that usually raise blood sugar. Since the fiber in berries slows absorption of the carbs, blood sugar is more stable. Berries are also rich in antioxidants which may help protect you from free radical damage and improve the appearance of your skin. They are highly nutritious with a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Berries have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Since inflammation is the beginning of most diseases, including most cancers, berries could replace the apple in “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Now that’s good medicine!
Eat vegetables for robust health. We have always been told to eat our vegetables because they are good for us. Since the benefits of vegetables are profound, they are truly nature’s medicine cabinet. Eating vegetables and fruits can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by lowering blood pressure, possibly prevent some cancers, improve eye health, reduce digestive problems and help to regulate blood sugar and thereby help to keep blood sugar in check. (1) I don’t know of any other food group that can makes such extravagant claims. You can read about the benefits of fruit here .
Eat Vegetables for Variety
Many people have one or two vegetables that they like. Peas and carrots are staples in many diets. Corn is a favorite food of many people but corn is not a vegetable! Corn is a grain. Green peas contain only 62 calories and 7 Net Grams of carbohydrates per half cup serving. Peas are a good source of Vitamin A and Vitamin K. Carrots contain 41 calories and 6.8 Net Grams of carbohydrates per 2 medium carrots. Carrots also contain large amounts of vitamin A and several B vitamins. Both of these vegetables are highly nutritious but the more vegetables that you add to your diet, the better. Eat vegetables of all kinds to cover your nutritional bases.
Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and rutabagas are all members of this family. Because they contain sulforaphane which has been noted to reduce the size and number of breast cancer cells, they are considered medicinal by some people. They are recognized as a powerful weapon in the war against cancer. Red cabbage contains anthocyanins which have vast health benefits including anti-inflammatory properties and improvements in blood cholesterol levels.
Garlic, leeks and yellow and green onions are members of the allium family. The alliums are considered to be powerful cancer fighters by decreasing inflammation. Inflammation is the beginning of almost all disease. Allium veggies add much more than flavor to your meals. Eat vegetables for flavor and nutrition.
Eat Vegetables Super Foods
Asparagus, sweet potatoes, collards and turnips all provide unique benefits including folate, beta-carotene, calcium and Vitamin C. You may notice that all of these different vegetables have their own super nutrition profile.
The key to getting good nutrition from vegetables is to eat a variety. They even enhance your skin by protecting it from cellular damage which can cause wrinkling and age spots. Now if nothing else gives you incentive to eat your veggies, think about that.
“Eat your fruit each day” should be a common sense statement when we care about our nutrition when losing weight. Yet, dieters can really make a mess of this. The inspiration for this article is questions we have received about weight loss stalls despite fruit being added to the diet. You would think adding fruit to your diet is simple common sense, but some can really mess this up.
There is no doubt, fruit is an important part of a healthy diet. In fact, diets high in fruit are associated with all sorts of health benefits, including a decreased risk of many diseases. Eating fruit provides us with good vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are rich in vitamin C, potassium and folate, of which many people don’t get enough. Fruits are loaded with antioxidants, which help fight free radicals that can damage cells. Eating a diet high in antioxidants may help slow aging and reduce our risk of disease.
Eating your fruit will help you with weight loss! Because fruits are high in nutrients and low in calories, they are the perfect choice for those trying to lose weight. Fruits are high in water and fiber, which help you feel satiated. Because of this, you can typically eat fruit until you’re satisfied. Apples and citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit, are among the most filling. And, they will satisfy a craving for sweets. You really should aim to consume two to four servings of fruit each day. Most people do really good with this, but there are some who really mess this up.
How does one mess up when eating fruit?
Dieters will often misconstrue this most basic of practical nutrition by bending the rules to their favor. When a dieter begins expanding the defining premise of a nutritional recommendation, they often derail themselves. They can and will derail themselves, even with fruit!
But “how” are they messing up when we say to “eat your fruit”?
The recommendation to eat your fruit is that you eat whole fruits. Fruits that have been pureed, or juiced are not whole fruits. The pulp and skins of fruit are high in dietary fiber. Dietary fiber plays a larger role than just promoting regular bowel movements. When you eat a fruit whole, the dietary fiber in the pulp binds to the natural sugar in the fruit as it travels through your gastrointestinal tract. This binding action makes it take longer for your body to absorb the sugar. As a result, the fruit’s sugar accumulates in your blood at a lower and slower rate if you eat the fruit whole.
Pureed fruit is not nutritionally equivalent to the same fruit left whole. Puree’s are created with ultra-high heat to process fruits, which are then finely strained to remove pulp, stems, and peels from the liquid. That high level of heat kills much of the vitamins and enzymes that give fruits their nutritional value.
When you drink fruit juice, your body uses the sugar as a direct energy source which leads to a spike in blood sugar. When your body senses that you have more sugar than you need, your body quickly releases insulin. This leads to a large amount of the sugar in your blood being converted to fat and glycogen. Because of this, the blood sugar spike leads to a blood sugar dip unless more food is eaten. This internal action will leave you hungry again. Being hungry makes you eat more. In this way, drinking pure fruit juice leads to poorer regulation of blood sugar and increased calorie consumption, when compared to eating whole fruits.
What about canned fruits?
Canned foods can be a nutritious option when fresh foods aren’t available. Salt, sugar, or preservatives are sometimes added to canned foods to improve their flavor, texture, and appearance. Canned fruits are also often packed in syrup which adds far too much sugar to a healthy diet. Other canned fruits are packed in water or natural juices. Again, those juices have no fiber component to slow down the spike in blood sugar when you drink it.
Can a person eat too much fruit?
The answer is yes you can eat too much fruit, especially if you want to lose weight and eat a balanced diet. All of the food groups are important. If you go overboard on one kind of food you’ll miss out on the valuable properties of other healthy foods.
No matter what, you cannot change the laws of thermodynamics when it comes to weight loss. If you consume more calories in a day than your body requires, you are not going to lose weight. Some popular weight loss programs allow you to eat as much fruit as you desire. The problem with this lies in many of their clients not being able to lose weight.
Know your Basal Metabolic Rate
Basal Metabolic Rate is the number of calories required to keep your body functioning at rest. It is also known as your body’s metabolism; therefore, any increase to your metabolic weight, such as exercise, will increase your BMR.
If your basal metabolic rate (BMR) requires that you consume 1800 calories per day to maintain your current weight, that is all you can eat. When you eat more than what your BMR requires, you are going to gain weight, even if those extra calories are from fruit. If you have consumed your daily needs in calories, you need to be done eating for the day. You cannot think that because your diet plan does not count fruit that you can still continue to eat them once you have reached your caloric needs.
Let’s say that you weigh 150 pounds, that you typically eat 2,000 calories per day, and that your goal is to get to that 500-calorie deficit by burning 200 calories through exercise and cutting 300 calories from your diet each day. That makes 1,700 calories your daily limit for what you can consume.
Fruit is about 80–100 calories per serving. A serving is one cup of fresh fruit or a half cup of canned fruit. If you are eating about 7-1/2 servings of fruit per day, at an average of 90 calories per serving, that’s 630 calories from fruit alone!
Eat your fruit, but eat them whole. Do not assume you can change the laws of thermodynamics. Calories in vs calories burned are critical when it comes to weight loss and weight management.
Here is an excellent article from Brenda Sue why you might have troubles with losing weight.
Check out our our plan here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness. It is not complicated at all and is really nothing more than a common sense approach to nutrition. I guarantee that anyone who tries our methodology will lose weight, and then keep it off. Best of all, we charge nothing to anyone to follow our methodology, we are entirely free to all.
We also have a a page on Facebook where you can also follow along with David’s Way to Health and Fitness. Give us a like and a follow if you like what you see!
(Note: always consult a physician before beginning any weight loss program)
In my last article I wrote about the importance of tracking your food intake, in this I am going to discuss the importance of portion control when losing weight or managing it. The importance of portion control cannot be stated enough if you desire permanent weight loss.
Brenda Sue and I have had numerous people contact us here, wanting advice for losing weight. We have a few standard questions that we ask about what kinds of foods these folks are eating along with questions about tracking and portion controls. You may, or may not, be surprised about some of the answers we have received about tracking, weighing and measuring. When you ask about these three things many people will say they do not have time for all of that.
Look, I am just going to be blunt – if you have no time for tracking, or weighing and measuring your portions, you quite simply are not serious about getting your weight under control. If you have time to vegetate in front of your television screen watching your favorite program on Netflix, you most certainly have the time to pay attention to portion controls. If you can create the time to visit your doctor for preventable, poor nutrition related ailments, you have time for portion control. If you can not make the time to weigh and measure the foods that you consume at home, you are not serious about controlling your weight, and you will never be successful at any lame attempts you might make going forward. No matter how expensive or pretty the packaging they come in, there are no magic powders you can mix into a drink that will increase your metabolism so portion controls are not necessary. No matter if the popular, world wide weight loss program you might be a member of tells you that certain foods are free to eat, you still have to manage your portion control. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of portion control to weight management. You have to know how much food of every type of foods you eat, including fruits and vegetables, in order to be successful at weight loss.
Weight management relies on calories in and calories out!
Neither you, myself, or anyone else can change the laws of thermodynamics. You have to consume fewer calories than your metabolism requires for simple maintenance in order to lose weight. No matter who you are, if you cannot lose weight, it is because you are still eating more calories than what your basal metabolic rate requires for you. Of course, there are some serious medical issues where this appears to not be true, but these are the exceptions and not the rule.
What is Basal Metabolic Rate?
Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is often used interchangeably with resting metabolic rate (RMR). While BMR is a minimum number of calories required for basic functions at rest, RMR — also called resting energy expenditure (REE) — is the number of calories that your body burns while it’s at rest.
Your BMR can be used to help you gain, lose, or maintain your weight. By knowing how many calories you burn, you can know how many to consume. To put it simply:
Is your goal to maintain your weight? Consume the same number of calories that you burn.
Is your goal to gain weight? Consume more calories than you burn.
Is your goal to lose weight? Consume fewer calories than you burn.
Your BMR is determined by a number of factors, including:
Of these factors, you can take steps to change your weight and body composition. So if you want to change your BMR, your first steps should be to lose weight and increase muscle. But, this is going to require effort on your part to track and manage your food portions whether you want to or not.
There is a popular weight loss business that has existed for several years now, which has a list of foods that have no point value in their method of tracking. It is actually a pretty good program if you understand nutrition and their concepts. However, by not giving a value to foods on this list, people will quite often think they can eat as much of them as they want. I know this is probably not the intent of this weight loss business, but many of their customers will still over eat these foods after eating their maximum on foods that do have a point value. This simply does not work, when you end up eating more calories than your body requires for the day. All foods have calories whether they are nutritionally sound or not. Just because a food is nutritionally sound, it still does not mean you can eat as much as you desire. Calories in versus calories burned is still the rule of the day, no matter the source. Not that I would ever recommend it, but you could eat butter slathered bacon sandwiches every day and still lose body fat as long as you do not exceed your caloric needs. Conversely, even if you ate a majority of fruit all day, you could still gain weight when you exceed your caloric needs. The calories from different food types consumed are not equal in nutritional value, but they are equivalent in their energy value as the laws of thermodynamics apply to human metabolism. And this is exactly why we need to pay attention to portion control of the foods we consume each day.
When we are guessing on portion sizes, it is more common than not to underestimate how much we are eating by a fairly large margin. A tablespoon of peanut butter is roughly 100 calories, but you could be off by 50 calories or more if you serve yourself up a heaping tablespoon or two. It is difficult to know how much you’re eating unless you’re actually measuring it.
Another example would be daily snacking on almonds as I do. There are 255 calories in a one and a half ounce serving of almonds. If you are over this amount by only 15%, your serving is actually 293 calories instead of 255, or an increase of 38.
This 38 extra calories times 7 days equals 266 extra calories for the week. Compound that by 52 weeks and I have 13,832 extra calories per year. The result of 13, 832 calories per year over my caloric needs by itself is 4 pounds of body fat gained, simply from a 15% underestimation of the size of my daily portion of almonds. The caloric equivalent of one apple per day over my caloric needs, over the course of a year, would mean that I would gain would result in a 10 pound gain of body fat. One medium apple is 95 calories.
The bottom line is, if you are not tracking the foods you consume, and the portion sizes, you are not likely going to be successful in weight loss or weight management. This is the truth, even if you are following our plan here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness. If you want to know how many calories per day you require to lose or maintain your weight, you can check out our Calorie Counter Pro feature here on the website. We do not recommend anyone try to lose more than 1 or 2 pounds of body fat per week. Anything more than that is simply not healthy. We also have a pictorial body fat estimator if you want to know where you are with your body fat level and where you would like to get to. With our methodology, I guarantee you can achieve your goals over time, but this is going to require patience, and strict adherence to the plan. If you were to tell me that you tried our methodology here at David’s Way and failed to lose weight, the first thing I am going to ask you is if you actually quit eating added sugars and processed foods, and did you truly practice portion control while tracking the foods you consumed. No matter your answer to me, you will know for yourself whether you did or not.
God bless, and thank you for reading. Comments and questions are always welcome and will be answered. Subscriptions are free and easy, and you can also check out our Facebook page Fit and Healthy Living with David’s Way Give us a like and a follow!
My friends, when we begin a new weight loss plan, it is usually a given that food or nutrition tracking will be required for success. Fortunately, there are some really good nutrition tracking apps to be found on the internet, so there is no reason one should not track their food intake.
One of the pitfalls once reaching weight loss goals, is many people quit tracking their nutrition and eventually put all of their lost weight back on. If you have ever had a problem with your weight, it will always be imperative that you continue to track everything that you eat. Tracking is a form of measurement, and what gets measured gets done. Tracking is a way of holding yourself accountable, being accountable will always be the key to maintaining your body at a healthy weight and body fat percentage. It is when we quit being accountable that we begin having problems with our weight again, and this is true no matter what method you are using to take off those unwanted pounds. When we believe we no longer need to be accountable, we have failed ourselves. Accountability is everything when we care about our weight, our health and level of physical fitness. Also, know that accountability is not about feeling guilty when you have strayed from the path of good health, accountability is about getting yourself back on that path as soon as possible.
Stop With the EXCUSES!
I do not have a way to track my food intake.
There are nutrition tracking apps available on the internet that do not cost you a penny to use. You can also track your nutrition in a small notebook, if you do not have a phone on which to download an app. All food labels will list everything you need to keep keep track of including calories, fat, carbs, protein and added sugars.
I do not have the time to track my nutrition.
No time to track? How much time do you think it takes to track your nutrition. On any given nutrition app, you can log an entire meal or snack in about one minute or less. Even when you go out to popular fast food joints or restaurants, you can take a small moment to track what you just consumed. A good many nutrition trackers have information for most common restaurants available.
I do not have time to weigh and measure food.
If you are having individual portions, the nutrition information is on the label.
If you are cooking meats or fish, just how long does it take to place a piece of meat on a food scale, look at the number and then place it in your cooking vessel of choice?
Use measuring cups or ladles to serve up your food for portion control. Most ladles come in predetermined sizes just for this.
I do not have the time to preplan meals, or to cook ahead for the week.
Do you have the time to NetFlix and chill?
Does it take extra time to double or triple portions when you are cooking in order to have something already prepared for later?
I have been significantly overweight, actually I have been obese. I write from not only my learned knowledge, but from my personal experience as well. I now maintain my body fat percentage between 9 and 10 percent which is pretty lean, but I also know that I can never let my guard down or I will regain my weight. I can never quit holding myself accountable if I want to remain healthy and fit as I age. I will always measure and weigh my foods because I know that once I quit doing so, it will not take long before 4 ounce portions actually become 5 or 6 ounce portions if I just begin eyeballing and estimating my portion sizes. These trends never seem to go in reverse for weight management, we will always underestimate our caloric intake and overestimate our caloric burn from exercise. As disciplined as I am in my nutrition and physical fitness, I still have to hold myself accountable, it is a part of my lifestyle. While many people might see tracking, measuring and weighing as an inconvenience, I see trips to the doctor for avoidable ailments as a larger more expensive inconvenience.
So often we mindlessly eat for every reason in the world except hunger and health. Mindless eating often acts as a tranquilizer, an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety drug. Sometimes it’s simply an act of boredom and other times it’s just pure entertainment because it’s natural to like to eat. When we eat mindlessly we usually eat empty calories laden with sugar and salt and very little else, foods that are devoid of real nutrition. As a result, when we make mindless eating a habit we gain body fat and become malnourished most of the time, because we are not eating good, healthy food. We don’t have the strength and energy to work out as hard as we need to and so we begin to lose muscle. If we take our health seriously, we must put a stop to this destructive habit.
Ways to Win This Battle
1-Buy Small Size
When we open a big bag of chips and set down to watch T.V., odds are that the next stop will be the bottom of the bag. Buy small sizes of snacks and carry only one to your TV chair. If you have to think about getting another, your more likely to resist the temptation to overeat. We eat about 25% less if we eat from small packages.
2-Fix a Plate
When I was growing up, my Mother who was always concerned about mine and my Daddy’s weight, discovered that we would eat less if she fixed our plates and put them on the table. There was no mindless dipping back into the mac and cheese if it wasn’t on the table.
3-Keep the Evidence Visible
Keep the plates, packaging and remains from whatever you have eaten in front of you. If you devour a slab of ribs, keep the bones in front of you. You are less likely to eat half of the cake for dessert when you can clearly see the evidence of your gluttony.
4-Choose Your Dinnerware Carefully
Large plates make your food look small so use small plates. You will eat less. Use tall thin glasses that stretch your drinks visibly. Short, wide glasses encourage you to drink more because you see a small amount and feel entitled to have a little extra. This is critical if you drink alcoholic beverages.
5-Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Keep healthy foods visible in the front of the refrigerator and cabinet. Some people teach that you should keep empty calorie foods hidden in the back. I teach, don’t have them in your house. It’s easier that way. The decision is made before you start craving sugar.
6-Limit Your Choices
Prepare only one flavor, texture or color of food and you will eat less. If we have a variety of foods available in a single meal we will eat about 23% more. We quickly become accustomed to a single flavor or texture so we get bored and stop eating. This is called sensory-specific satiety and it means that we become numb to the same stimulus when we are exposed to it too many times so keep your meals and snacks limited to one food and you will stop eating sooner.
7-Make Eating Inconvenient
When food is too easy to get, we eat more. Skip the drive-thru and fix quick, easy meals at home. If you have to prepare it, you will eat less frequently and less in volume. Having to make an effort to acquire food gives us time to consider what we’re doing and hopefully make better decisions.
I know that these tips work. I have employed them for years. With a little forethought, you can set the stage for success.
It is a new year, therefore you might be planning on creating a new you as well. After all, New Years Day is the big day for all when it comes to beginning a new weight loss journey. I know that we all can encounter many pitfalls when trying to lose unhealthy weight. We are surrounded by delicious foods, time seems to be short and we also often have well meaning family and friends who will derail us from our plans with a swiftness.
I am a firm believer that when we plan ahead for problems we might encounter while trying to achieve success in any endeavor, we are more apt to conquer our obstacles if we are first aware of them and have thought through a plan of action before ever encountering them. When we have thought through counter plans, we can then sidestep most hindrances we may encounter. It is when we have not thought through the actions we can take that cause us to fail. If you have ever managed anything, you know this to be true. And when we look at weight loss as what it is, “management” of our weight, the same principles apply as they do with managing any other endeavor you might take on whether it is managing your children or your business.
Successful weight management requires long term planning!
A short term attitude about losing or managing your weight is only going to result in failure. This I will guarantee you. It may be a hard truth, but when you care enough to want to lose weight, you need to care enough to make these changes in your life a permanent lifestyle rather than a temporary diet you just want to get over with. When you go on a short term diet, you are going to lose about 10 pounds of water weight pretty quickly as a result of taking in fewer carbohydrates, and then when you realize that the fad diet or gimmick you just started is not realistic, you will soon regain all that you have lost or more. Truthfully, the only people who should ever think about short term diets are professional bodybuilders who are already down to very low body fat percentages. But truth be told, even as healthy as most of them look, short term extreme diets also take a negative toll on their health the same as they will for you. Your best bet is always thinking in the long term, and always thinking ahead and making plans of action. Successful weight loss that is permanent will require the consumption of a well rounded diet. When you plan ahead, you can get past the occasional deviation of a poor food choice on occasion.
Successful management of your weight requires that you know and understand there are no miracle quick fixes or cures that are going to make you look good, fit, trim and healthy. Fad diets do not work, supplements do not work. Healthy weight loss requires a long term thinking that supports long term healthy habits.
Do not have an all or nothing attitude!
Often, we set ourselves up for failure through all or nothing thinking. You might think that you have to cut out far too many foods, which will often only serve to make you crave them even more. While we do advocate cutting out added sugars, we do not believe you therefore have to cut out all sweet treats. There are plenty of sugar free snacks today that are just as tasty as anything else that contains sugar. The days of sugar free meaning the food or drink will have that nasty, bitter saccharine taste are far behind us now. Though my taste for sweets has greatly diminished over the years, I still occasionally enjoy a cup of Breyers sugar free ice cream, as well as cookies, sugar free plain Greek yogurt that I flavor how I want and even sugar free pancake syrups.
We advocate cutting out processed foods for whole foods, but understand that on occasion we might have processed foods anyhow. When this happens, just be sure to read the labels and try to find foods that have zero added sugar and are not full of ingredients that you cannot pronounce, nor know what they are. We advocate holding ourselves to a high standard, but recognize that we are also imperfect humans. It is when we have come to believe that anything short of perfection is failure that we create an unsustainable set of beliefs for ourselves. Remember, it is not what happens in one day that affects your weight and health, it is what you do all the time that affects you good or bad.
What often happens with all or nothing thinking is that we can go all out with our restrictive eating, and then when we go off the rails, we derail the whole train instead of just the caboose. Not only do we sabotage ourselves with food with all or nothing thinking, we also do this with exercise. We cannot out exercise a bad diet, and there are some things you need to understand about exercise before you go all out every day with it. Your rest, nutrition and exercise of choice all have equal value when it comes to your physical fitness. You have to eat good foods, and enough of them to fuel your body. And you must give your body time for rest and recovery between exercise sessions, especially if you go at it vigorously. I have written an article on this specific topic, Fitness Triad.
We often over estimate our calorie burn and under estimate our calorie consumption!
Forget about eating back your exercise calories.
This is a hard truth for many to accept, but most of us do not burn near as many calories from vigorous exercise as we might want to believe. Conversely, it is very easy to consume more calories than we might assume that we are eating. Many pieces of fitness equipment will tell you an estimated calorie burn from your time on them, but these estimates can be wildly inaccurate. If you are new to exercise and get onto a treadmill for an hour and it tells you that you burned 1000 calories, I can guarantee that you did not burn 1000 calories in an hour. Maybe a seasoned athlete will burn that many, but if you are out of shape and new to exercise, you need to know that you are not burning those kinds of calories from your exercise. No one with any integrity who knows will ever tell you that either.
One of the biggest errors I have seen on different weight loss apps and such is people eating back their exercise calories and then not understanding why their scale number is not going down as it should. The result of this, is people will often begin to believe there is something unique and wrong about themselves to not be able to lose weight. Losing weight all comes down to calories consumed verses calories actually burned. If you are not losing weight, you are eating more calories than your body needs in a day, it really is as simple as that.
Now, you might not believe that you are eating too many calories, but I would ask how do you know this? Do you truly know how many calories per day you actually require? Do you weigh and measure your foods as you prepare them, or do you just guess at it? How do you account for what you eat in a day? It only takes 500 calories per day over the amount you need to gain one pound of body fat per week. So, to lose one pound per week, you must cut your caloric intake by 500 calories per day under what you require to maintain your current body fat percentage. Your best bet is to visit our Calorie Counter Pro page and find out exactly how many calories per day you require to meet your goals. We do not advocate anyone losing more than 1 to 2 pounds per week unless under your doctors supervision. Once you know how many calories you need, you need to stick to them until you find yourself starting to plateau. At that time, you will need to refigure your calories simply because the calories required to lose weight at 250 pounds is higher than what they are when you reach 175 pounds.
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I am huge believer that in order to solve a problem, you must first understand your problem. Or at least understand the operating system to which the problem is wreaking havoc. If we understand operating systems, it becomes a much simpler task to fix malfunctions when they occur. If we comprehend theories of operation, we almost never need to rely on others to finely tune our systems for us, unless they have something specialized beyond the basics. This is a truth with our health and wellness as well.
For the vast majority of us, when we have a problem with our car, we usually resort to taking the car to a repair shop where we are at the mercy of the mechanic to fix the breakdown while hoping he does not bankrupt us in the process. We go to the shop for repairs because we either lack the expertise, or the specialized tools required for the task at hand. If we had the same knowledge and tools as the mechanic, we would probably save ourselves money and time and do the repairs for ourselves. We do not do this simply because it is easier and quicker to hand money over to another individual to fix the breakdown for us. And hopefully we can go on our merry way and our problems have gone away. But, if you watch your local news, you likely have seen the fairly common story where a local mechanic charged a high fee, only for the car to still have the same issue arise soon afterwards. If this has happened to you, are you comfortable with going back to that mechanic, or are you going to try another one, and maybe another few until your problem is resolved?
Why do we treat our body’s the same way?
Have you ever made the observation that some folks treat their car better than they do their own body?
They do their preventive maintenance, they fine tune their machines before major repairs are required, and they keep it looking good. For many guys, their car can become an extension of who they are. Yet, while they are fueling their car with premium fuel, they are fueling their own body with low grade foods. They will place expensive oils in the engine, while putting unhealthy oils into their body. Our body is much like that car though, when we put bad fuel and poor quality oil into it, we are soon going to have major issues which require fixing by someone with more expertise and equipment than ourselves.
Something any reputable mechanic will tell you about your car is that if you take care of it, most oil and fuel additives are not necessary. In fact, if you just add them randomly without no true understanding of why, you can cause damage to your engine. This is true with supplements we buy for ourselves. Some help us when we have good reason to take them, while others can actually bring us harm when they interact with medications in a bad way, or we take too much. The thing is, we often take supplements to help us feel better, or to help with losing weight. Just the same, when our car might be running rough after years of neglect, we will begin pouring additives into our motors to hopefully make them run better. This works in the short term, but long term, nothing works as good as taking good care of your motor in the first place.
The take away message is that with a little bit of thought and basic knowledge of nutrition and fitness, we can almost all have a healthy body at a healthy weight or body fat percentage. When we understand proper nutrition and apply that knowledge to our dietary habits, we can fix ourselves of many ailments that are a direct result of our nutritional lifestyles. When we fuel our body with wholesome foods and cut out foods that are full of added sugars and unhealthy fats, we instantly begin to feel better. Like how a car runs better when it is driven often, when we lay about and never exercise, our body runs inefficiently. The power to fine tune your body is in your hands, you do not need anything special to make your motor purr like a kitten. Fuel it with good fuel and then get it out of the garage on a regular basis, and it will run just fine.
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If you have recently decided that you either want to, or need to lose weight, what do you want to hear from either a nutritionist, or a weight loss program representative?
Do you want to hear a hard truth that will get you to your desired goal?
Or would you want the nutritionist, or weight loss program representative to tell you that they have a program that will not demand any type of real change to the foods you eat?
Do you want a temporary diet where you are likely at some point to regain your weight?
Or, do you want to make a lifestyle change that will bring you lasting, successful results of a healthy, fit, and trim body?
If you have become sick and tired of being sick and tired of how you might look or feel, I would think it would be obvious you would choose a new lifestyle that is sure to work. Yet, every day of the week, people who eagerly want to lose weight seem to get suckered into paying for weight loss programs that do not bring lasting change to their lives. It ought to be criminal to tell people that they do not need to cut out sugar, sweets and simple carb foods when it should be obvious to a professional the individual has gotten into the shape they are in because of these foods. I was watching a “nutritionist” in a video today talking about not cutting out sweets and having balance in our nutrition. If a major part of your weight problem has been a result of consuming calorically dense and nutritionally poor foods, I truly want to know what “balance” with these foods means. Are we to interpret that balance in our diet is a condition in which different foods are equal in nutrition? Can we balance the nutritional and caloric value of a milk shake with the nutritional and caloric value of a meal consisting of proteins, complex carbs and healthy fats? A large McDonalds milk shake has 520 calories with 67 grams of sugar in it. Maybe you never get the milk shakes, but do get the Quarter Pound Cheeseburger Value Meal a couple of times per week or more for lunch. What kind of balance is there when this meal brings 1050 calories and 66 grams of sugar for a medium size meal? The caloric value of this meal alone comprises 47% of my daily calories that I consume. How much balance is there if I have a couple pieces of pie or cake in a week? How much balance is there if I decide to forgo the McDonalds and eat pasta meals a few times a week that also bring a low nutritional value to the foods I eat?
The point I really want to drive home is the nutritionists and weight loss businesses that tell you that you do not need to cut out any of your favorite foods, that you can eat them as long as your track them, are selling you a bunch of hogwash. It is a less than honest disservice to you that they would tell you this. I am here to tell you, the reason most diet plans fail you is because they do not insist that you make a permanent change to your lifestyle in order to get your body fat down to a healthy level and to then maintain it there. I have been at an unhealthy body fat level and I totally get how hard it is to conceive of giving up certain foods. But from personal experience, I can say that as your taste changes with a change of dietary habits, there comes a point where some of those foods no longer even taste good.
Why do we say to give up sugar?
Giving up sugar is a tough thing to do, but the reward for doing so is entirely worth the effort when it comes to how how sugar affects your health. Research studies have linked a high added sugar intake with various medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, as well as poor dental health. It is an undeniable fact, sugar is simply not good for us! Even if you are not suffering from any of the bad outward effects, sugar can reduce your energy levels, which leads to fatigue and reduced alertness during the day. A diet that includes too much sugar may also be a factor in your depression if you suffer from it. Just think, if you eat that medium value meal from above, you have just consumed right at about 16 teaspoons of sugar in one meal. This is considerably more than recommended daily maximums, which are 6 teaspoons (about 24 grams) for females and 9 teaspoons (about 36 grams) for males
You might believe there is no reason to quit eating sugar. Sugar is a naturally occurring substance that is in all foods that contain carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, grains, and dairy. I want to make it a point that you know that consuming whole foods which contain natural sugar is perfectly fine. Plant foods also have high amounts of fiber, essential minerals, and antioxidants, and dairy foods contain protein and calcium. Because your body digests these foods slowly, the natural sugar in them offers a steady energy supply to your cells. A high intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains also has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. What we want you to cut out is added sugars and simple carbohydrates that are calorie dense, low in nutrition and have no fiber component to help regulate the absorption of sugar into your blood and cells.
With far too many foods we can find on our grocers shelves, we have a problem where the manufactures add sugar to improve taste or to extend shelf life. In the Standard American Diet (SAD), the top sources of sugar in our food and drink are soft drinks, fruit drinks, flavored yogurts, cereals, cookies, cakes, candy, and most processed foods. But added sugar is also present in items that you may not think of as sweetened, like soups, bread, cured meats, and ketchup.
The result: we consume way too much added sugar!
In a study published in 2014 in JAMA Internal Medicine, Dr. Hu and his colleagues found an association between a high-sugar diet and a greater risk of dying from heart disease. Over the course of the 15-year study, people who got 17% to 21% of their calories from added sugar had a 38% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared with those who consumed 8% of their calories as added sugar. (1)
Have you ever looked at someone smoking a cigarette and thought about how harmful cigarettes are to our heart health, as you were washing down a few cookies with a soft drink?
Consumption of added sugars has been implicated in increased risk of a variety of chronic diseases including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) as well as cognitive decline and even some cancers. (2)
Think for a minute about what the last few paragraphs said. As we age, it is not uncommon that many of us will be afflicted by one or more of these conditions. The sad thing is, these conditions are brought on through poor nutritional habits. They are self inflicted just the same as those conditions that are brought on by smoking. Now, consider what you are doing to your health if you are a smoker who also has a sweet tooth!
Sugar is an addictive substance!
When we consume sugar, it creates a short-term high and a spark of energy in the body. Some studies have suggested sugar is as addictive as cocaine. This is because we enjoy the dopamine release sugar brings. Dopamine makes us feel good. Sugar also releases endorphins in the body which combine with other chemicals in the body that result in a surge of energy. The problem is, once we mentally connect sugar with help providing energy, we very likely may become dependent on it. We may also begin to crave sugar to balance out irritability, emotional lows, and other conditions. Eventually, many of us find that we have little to no control over avoiding sugary foods, and a sugar addiction has developed.
People who are enduring breakups or other emotionally stressful situations often turn to chocolate or pints of ice cream to comfort themselves during difficult times. It is quite common that those who turn to sugar to deal with emotional issues are more likely to become addicted. Another particularly worrisome aspect of sugar addiction is when we binge eat. Binge eating is when we eat too much, too rapidly, and then we often suffer feelings of guilt, shame, and disgust with ourselves. We often can find ourselves binge eating for emotional regulation and self-medication. It is critical to remember that food, especially sugar, is a short-term fix for emotional conditions.
What to look for on food labels.
Reading food labels is one of the best ways to monitor your intake of added sugar. Look for the following names for added sugar and try to either avoid, or cut back on the amount or frequency of the foods where they are found:
Total sugar, which includes added sugar, is often listed in grams. Note the number of grams of sugar per serving as well as the total number of servings. “It might only say 5 grams of sugar per serving, but if the normal amount you eat is actually three or four servings, you can easily consume 20 grams of sugar and thus a lot of added sugar.
In closing, I ask again; What do you want to hear from a nutritionist or weight loss business?
Do you want to hear it is perfectly fine to continue eating the same foods as before as long as you keep it in balance?
Or, would you rather hear the straight truth, as I will tell you why this talk of continuing to eat the same foods is a disservice to you and your health?
What kind of results do you really want for yourself?
Sometimes a trip to the grocery store is a risky financial venture. Here is a list of affordable healthy foods that you can have on hand to cook at home, which is always preferable to eating out. If you compare the cost of eating out to the cost of cooking at home, you can easily see how you can afford good groceries. The difference in your nutrition if you routinely eat at home rather than eat out can be astounding.
The Incredible Egg
Eggs are a staple in my house. For many years eggs got a bad rap. Science was telling us that eggs were bad for us and people tried to avoid them for years. The yolk of an egg contains 27% of the DV for the critical brain food, acetylcholine. I eat at least two every day and sometimes as many as six. My blood work is perfect.
Oats are my powerhouse for gaining strength. Since I am a heavy weight lifter, I need nutritionally dense foods that will give me sustained energy for at least two hours of intense exercise. Oats are just what the doctor ordered. They are inexpensive and easy to prepare. Add a 0 calorie sweetener of your choice and other toppings for a wonderful meal that will keep you full for hours. Oats have 191% of the DV for Manganese and large amounts of many other vitamins and minerals. They help me fill my carbohydrate needs with good, complex carbs. They are extremely nutritionally dense.
Full-fat Greek yogurt is a wonderful food. It is a rich source of calcium providing 25% of the DV. It also contains a good serving of protein, coming in at 16 grams for the 3/4 cup serving. Both protein and calcium stoke your metabolism.
Extra Virgin Olive oil contains 13% of the DV for Vitamin E and 7% of the DV for Vitamin K. It also contains 73% of the DV for monounsaturated Fat for the 1 Tablespoon serving.
100% Whole grain breads are convenient for a quick sandwich. I eat very few sandwiches because I am conservative with carbohydrates but sandwiches can be a healthy option when you choose good, lean protein for the meat and healthy add-ins such as romaine lettuce which is more nutritious than many other lettuces.
Low carb and high fiber tortillas or corn tortillas cam also be used to make a very quick wrap. Keep boneless chicken breasts cooked and you can have a healthy wrap in just a few minutes! Add your favorite cheese if you like it, and healthy salsa, herbs and spices.
Whole grain brown rice is a filling and versatile starch that packs good nutrition. It is rich in the flavonoid antioxidants luteolin, apigenin and quercetin which help your immune system fight disease.
Fresh, frozen or canned vegetables and fruits can add healthy bulk and a vast array of vitamins and minerals. I eat more vegetables than fruit because fruit has a lot of fruit sugar or fructose in it so it’s high in carbs. I limit fruit to one serving per day. Sweet potatoes are a favorite vegetable of mine. Just pop one in the microwave and in just a few minutes, you have a wonderful bundle of healthy, complex carbs.
Beans are a cheap, high protein, filling food. If you want to cook dried beans from scratch that’s fine but many canned dried beans are really good. I was raised on pintos but now I eat red beans. They seem to cause me less digestive upset. You can also buy digestive enzymes that may ease any uncomfortable symptoms caused by beans.
Protein Is King
Skinless chicken tenderloins cook quickly from fresh or frozen, and frozen, skinless salmon filets will thaw in running cold water quickly and grill up on a griddle in minutes. Salmon is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which are known to decrease inflammation. Inflammation is the beginning of many diseases.
I like beef and choose 93% lean ground beef for less saturated fat and less mess in the kitchen. Round, sirloin, chuck and loin are also considered healthier cuts of beef than some others. As expensive as beef can be, it’s cheaper at home than eaten out. Lean beef is about 26% protein after cooking and I love my protein! Pork tenderloin is a good choice if you like pork. Pork is rich in many vitamins and minerals including iron.
Keep your favorite vinegar to mix with olive oil to make delicious romaine lettuce salads. Have herbs and spices on hand to spark your meals up. I particularly like a good chili-lime seasoning. It’s very versatile and provides real zing wherever you use it.
Nuts and seeds are nutritional goldmines. To eat nuts without gaining weight, always measure or weigh your serving of nuts and put the bag away. Since I started employing these tactics, I eat nuts and seeds every day without gaining fat.
Buy your fresh foods in season for the best prices and the best nutrition. Shop from a list to prevent spontaneous purchase and keep a running list in your kitchen. Read food labels and avoid “added sugar” and excessive sodium. And as always, shop the periphery of the store and only go down the aisles to retrieve specific items. Your healthy, whole foods are on the periphery.
With a little planning you can cut your food costs and improve your nutrition. Start today!