People who eat just two meals per day tend to be overweight and deficient in nutrients. Studies have shown that the human body can only utilize 20-25 grams a protein at a time, so that extra protein is wasted, and the extra calories gets converted to fat.
The frequent breakdown process of foods is calorie burning it itself, so it’s good to eat frequently. When you wait over three hours between meals, your body thinks it’s starving and can slow your metabolism. For all of these reasons, it’s much better to have four small meals, or three small meals and one snack, spread throughout the day. When you eat several times a day, it’s less likely you’ll overeat at dinner.
While eating more frequently is not a guarantee that you’ll lose extra body fat, it’s a move in the right direction. The next step is to make sure those portions are appropriate for your age, height, and activity level.
While some people swear that eating clean, except for one large cheat meal or snack per week, keeps them on track for maintaining or losing weight, it can backfire. If that cheat meal, and/or that decadent dessert is so calorie-laden that your total calories for that week exceed the amount of calories you are burning, you’re going to see weight gain, not weight loss.
If that cheat meal, or snack wasn’t as delicious, or satisfying as you had imagined all week long in anticipation, that could be mentally detrimental, and set you up for binging later that week in hopes of getting that endorphine rush you expected.
If a cheat meal, or snack, is not working to get you to your weight loss goals, flexible dieting might be better for you. A flexible diet is where you eat a varitey of healthy foods you like, in reasonable portions, and sprinkle in some not-so-healthy options (wine, chips, cheesecake, hearty meal out), every now and then when you’re really craving it, and on special occasions.
What works for your best friend may not work for you and that’s okay, we’re all different. Try various diet methods to see what sticks.
People are losing a ton of weight on low-carb diets, so does that mean you have to give up carbs? The real reason why people lose weight on low-carbohydrate diets, is because carbs contain water and calories.
When people eat fewer carbs, they are reducing their water intake, and are likely to be dehydrated, and weigh less. Another reason is that cutting out foods, like carbs, is, in effect, cutting out calories. It’s the calories, not the carbs, that cause weight gain.
You can cut back on fat and/or protein and lose weight too. An excess of any food will cause unwanted weight gain. Carbohydrates like fruit and vegetables should never be omitted. In fact, people need to eat MORE fruits and vegetables, and eat less dairy, fatty meat, oils, and unhealthy, high-calorie, low-nutrient carbs from pasta, chips, pretzels, soda, bread, bagels, candy, waffles, pancakes, cookies, ice cream, and flour tortillas. You don’t need to ban these foods unless you want to; just reduce the portion.
While grains are whole foods, it’s a good idea to lower the intake of grains (we eat way too much). Grains spike blood sugar and contain a lot of calories (typically 150 calories in a mere 1/2 cup). Swap out some of those grains for more vegetables, which contain more nutrients and make you feel fuller from the naturally-occurring fiber.
You don’t need to give up carbs, but you do need to reduce calories and add more activity to lose body fat.
Most people want to lose excess bodyfat as quickly as possible, but weight loss exceeding 3 pounds per week causes muscle loss (1). As much as 50% of weight loss from rapid weight loss is from lost muscle (1). While seeing the numbers on the scale is satisfying, “muscle loss slows metabolism…” which means you’ll have to eat even less (1).
Just because a fat loss program is popular and people lose a lot of weight, doesn’t mean it’s the best program to follow (1). In fact, people who are on Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers regain the weight back after just one year (1).
For these reasons, I recommend people lose 1-2 pounds per week. Not only is this easier, it preserves muscle, and the weight tends to stay off.
If you’re struggling with losing weight, you’re not alone. Some programs were designed to fail so that people will have to sign up again and again, taking your money over and over again. A flexible diet where you can go out to eat, make meals at home, and treat yourself every once is a while, is easier to adhere to, and promotes a healthy body and mind.
A flexible diet is what I follow. If you want to check out my flexible eating program, go to www.thehighfivediet.com
(1) Source: Fahey, EdD, Thomas. Strength and Conditioning. Carpinteria: International Sports Sciences Association. 9th ed., 2018. Print. Pgs. 521m 522, 524.
No time to make breakfast? You can make this the night before, or just before you leave, and just pop in the blender for a fast, tasty and healthy breakfast.
Overnight Blueberry-Oat Smoothie
- ¼ cup dry toasted oats
- 1 cup Calafia Farms toasted coconut almond milk beverage
- 2 teaspoons chia seeds
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder*
- 1 squeeze of Sweetleaf sweet vanilla drops**
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1 tablespoon Acai powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Directions: Place all ingredients in a sealed glass jar, shake and place in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, shake jar, and pour into your blender and blend. You can also make and drink it right away.
*I found that collagen protein and Tone it Up protein powders don’t work well. The protein powder that I’ve found works best in this particular recipe is vanilla egg white protein powder from Naked Nutrition. Here’s the link: https://nkdnutrition.com/products/vanilla-egg-white-protein-powder
**This is a zero calorie sweetener that I love. Here’s where I get it from: https://thrivemarket.com/p/sweetleaf-sweet-drops-vanilla-1-7-oz-bottle?utm_source=google&utm_medium=pla&utm_medium=pla&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=Shopping_40_Decile&utm_content=716123128230&utm_term=na&ccode=THRV20&ccode_force=1&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIjMupyJjx3wIVfh6tBh0ZlA4oEAQYAiABEgIwofD_BwE
Weight training is the best modality for muscle growth, but lifting weights shortens muscles and makes us less flexible. Oddly enough, flexibility and strength work together. “With extremely poor flexibility, strength is not gained as quickly compared with individuals with normal flexibility.” Research has shown that if an opposing muscle group has limited flexibility, like tight hamstrings, it also hinders strength and size, of the quads.
If you have trouble gaining muscle mass, and are eating sufficient nutrients, calories and protein, are changing-up and progressing your workouts, are sleeping 7-8 hours a day, a lack of flexibility might be what’s killing your gains.
If you have limited flexibility, make sure to gently stretch at the end of every workout for 5-10 minutes, holding each stretch for 30 to 60 seconds. You don’t need to as flexible as Gumby to get stronger, so don’t stress out if you can’t do a backbend.
Source: Hatfield PhD., Frederic. Fitness: the Complete Guide. Carpinteria: International Sports Sciences Association. 9th ed., 2018. Print. Pgs. 311-312.
We know that foods like coffee and chocolate are a great pick-me-up because they contain caffeine, but protein is also a great energizer. A breakfast with eggs and coffee or green tea, skip the bagel, will help wake you up, unlike waffles, donuts, or pancakes, which will spike your blood sugar, and drag you down.
To help you sleep, try eating a low-protein, high-carbohydrate meal like a quinoa bowl.
Source: Hatfield PhD., Frederic. Fitness: the Complete Guide. Carpinteria: International Sports Sciences Association. 9th ed., 2018. Print. Pg. 146.
I see guys at the gym pushing heavy weights on the bench press with incorrect form all the time. Not only does this look silly, using improper form sets you up for shoulder injuries, pec tears, pain, and limited strength.
Here’s what not to do:
- Don’t lift your head up as you push the weight up.
- Never lift your butt off the bench as this puts stress on the spine.
- Don’t use partial reps on a consistent basis as this causes limited range of motion, tightened muscles, limited muscle growth, and shoulder pain.
- Don’t use a thumbless grip! Approximately five people each year drop the weight on their throat or on their head, and die from using this dangerous grip.
On bench press, do the following:
- Arch your back and push out your chest
- Pull your shoulder blades together; keep them retracted with each rep
- Keep your wrists straight with your thumb around the bar
- “Keep your feet flat on the floor, slightly wider than shoulder width apart,” with your feet back a bit towards your head to allow you to press down from your legs to stabilize your body, which assists in the lift
- Tighten your abs for stability
- For very heavy lifts, breathe using the Valsalva maneuver
- Lower the bar slowly and push up with power
- Warm up with push-ups or light weights
- Film yourself bench pressing so you can see and correct your form
Source: Hatfield PhD., Frederic. Fitness: the Complete Guide. Carpinteria: International Sports Sciences Association. 9th ed., 2018. Print. Pg. 205-207.
I’ve had people tell me they don’t have time in the morning to make a smoothie so I came up with this recipe that you make the night before, and then just add ice, and blend for a quick, tasty and healthy breakfast.
Overnight Banana-Oat Smoothie
- ¼ cup dry toasted oats
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage
- 2 teaspoons chia seeds
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- ½ banana
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Directions: Place all ingredients in a sealed glass jar, shake and place in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, shake jar, and pour into your blender and add ½ cup of ice and blend. If you want it sweeter, or if you want a more filling breakfast, add a whole banana instead of just a half of a banana.
- Calories: 315
- Carbohydrates: 32 gross grams
- Protein: 28 grams
- Fat: 9 grams
Eating nutritious, calorie-dense whole foods; keeping a healthy weight, and exercise are the three main elements for good health. The minimum amount of moderate-intensity exercise everyone should do is 2 ½ hours each week, which equates to just 30 minutes a day.
I don’t want to be heathier, I want to be the healthiest I can be! For extensive health, shoot for 5 hours of exercise a week. For additional health benefits, exercise more than five hours a week.
If you have high blood pressure, excess body fat, stress, high blood sugar, depression, osteoporosis, arthritis, and/or aches and pains, exercise is especially important for you.
(1) Source: Hatfield PhD., Frederic. Fitness: the Complete Guide. Carpinteria: International Sports Sciences Association. 9th ed., 2018. Print. Pgs. 23-24.