Tag: Breakfast

A number is defined as “an arithmetical value, expressed by a word, symbol, or figure, representing a particular quantity and used in counting and making calculations” by the Oxford dictionary. In several areas of life a number can tell us a lot about an individual without ever knowing them personally. But is a number the most important factor in everything we do? In fitness, numbers can take over our lives if it’s the only thing we focus on. A number can change if adjustments are made to the approach but what do you do when the number isn’t moving or going in the opposite direction of where you would like it to? It is imperative to view a number as a value that we can measure and make the necessary adjustments rather than allow it to place a mental barrier on our lives.

 

As a fitness professional, I’ve trained individuals from all walks of life.The gym for most is where you get the opportunity to better yourself and have fun in the process. Day in and day out we train our butts off and expect a certain result. Sometimes we achieve that goal and sometimes we fall short. I’ve been there before and I’ll be the first to say that if you didn’t succeed in particular lift, it’s not the end of the world. For example, if your main goal is the gym is to increase strength, chasing a number gives you sometime to aim towards but it doesn’t make you any less of a person if you’re not successful. If you fail one day, like most people you beat yourself up about it because that failure is still fresh in your mind, body & soul. So I ask the question of why get stuck on something that’s now in the past and out of our of control?

 

The future we can control and that’s where the focus should be instead! Let’s say during your first working set in the gym you don’t perform the way you would like, shift your focus to the remainder of your workout regime because those too have benefits for you to improve. As long as you step foot in the gym and give maximum effort, you’ll be one step closer to your goal(s).  If you able to identify where you went wrong during the exercise, awesome! You can now work towards progression versus regression. Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep the night before or you didn’t eat enough food for the day prior to your training session. No matter what could have contributed to your poor performance, use the number(s) to assess progress and make further progress in the future.

 

The body weight scale is the one of the main reasons people lose motivation to continue to attack their fitness goals. If the scale isn’t moving, there’s typically a reason why. Good or bad! If you have the knowledge to figure out why, great you won! Make the necessary changes and put your focus on other parts of your life. But in the event you can’t, having multiple ways to assess progress can be crucial to your mental health. As online coach, I don’t simply like relying on the number on the scale. I can name several reasons why but the most important one is because the scale has many contributing factors. From water weight to muscle mass, fat mass, meal timing, etc. If you have a coach and his/her only method of assessing progress is your bodyweight, I highly suggest you find a new coach because the scale is end-all for progress. For those of you that do feel stuck due to the scale not moving, use other forms to assess progress such as daily pictures, body measurement or even body fat percentage. For more information on how the scale should be used and why you shouldn’t allow it to affect your progress, please check out one of my past blog article called “The Scale Is Nothing To Be Afraid Of“.

 

Tracking macros has become extremely popular in recent years. I personally track macros to calculate a rough estimate of how many calories I’m actually consuming daily. But I don’t stress myself to be 100% perfect to track every single gram. Even if I’m dieting to cut down and I need 150g of brown rice for each meal, I’m not removing grain after grain if I happen to measure 153g on the first attempt. That in my opinion is just silly! If you think that 3g extra of a carbohydrate is going to cause your progress to slow down or stall out you are highly mistaken. Similar to the scale there are many factors that can impact how many calories each individual will need to consume to truly be in a deficit. Aside from your strength training and/or cardio regime, how physically demanding your job is, the commute or travel to work and even daily activities with family & friends all play a role in daily calories burned. If the goal is weight loss, I wouldn’t suggest anyone to consume more calories because you played basketball with your kids once school was out. Instead it should give you peace of mind that you don’t have to be perfect when tracking your food intake. The goal should be to aim for close enough estimate so that you can still achieve your goals while continuing to enjoy the other aspects of your life!

 

 

We all want to look our best when summer hits! Maybe it’s to be able to flaunt that sexy dress that’s been in your closet for several months or to be shirtless at the pool. No matter what your goal is, social outings can set you back if you don’t create a plan for yourself. If you start dieting early, you will most likely reach your goal weight. But if you’re like the majority of the population, you most likely can get there but with very little room for error. Life is life meaning that simply going to work, going to the gym and eating your home cooked meals can be boring at times. Chances are you’ll most likely fall into the temptation of going out to eat instead of eating those delicious meals you’ve prepped over the weekend. Simply eating out isn’t going to hurt your progress as long as you choose the right options.

First things first, if you plan of going out to eat, educate yourself on the menu of the restaurant. The worst thing you can do when going out to eat with friends is waiting to be seated to only find out that nothing on the menu will fit into your diet. That’s poor planning on your part therefore looking at the menu prior to arrival can save you some time and allow you to choose a few options that will work for you. Obviously the internet exist so if there’s a menu out there for a restaurant, chances are you will be able to find it after one single google search. In the event that they don’t have any information online, the phone still exist. Calling up the restaurant and asking “what are three healthy food options you guys serve?” will give you an idea of what you can possibly have then you can make the final decision upon arrival.

I know what everyone’s thinking, “how do I know what to choose from the menu?” To keep things simple I’ll say this, if you can’t eyeball a dish to estimate how much food is actually on your plate, it’s most likely not a good option. For example let’s say you order a pasta dish that has penne pasta, chicken, olives, bacon & cheese all mixed together, that will be close to impossible to track just by looking at it. Way back when I first started tracking macros in 2014, I’ve learned to know how much food is actually on my plate without a food scale. This comes with time and experience of weighing out meals for so many years. For those of you who don’t have the experience, you’ll have to choose an option that you can find via MyFitnessPal or any other calorie tracking app. This way you have a semi accurate way of tracking what you will or have consumed versus just saying “the hell with the diet” and risking the progress you worked so hard for. But what if I can’t find the option I want in MyFitnessPal? Simply just search the dish you would like to order and always overestimate. For example if I go to a local italian restaurant where I can’t find the entree I want, search the name of the entree and choose an option from another more popular restaurant such as Olive Garden, Friday’s, Applebees, etc. By default what you search for is going to be calculated for 1 serving, adjust the serving to 1.5 in order to overestimate the calories to ensure that you don’t over your calories/macros for the day.

Now let’s say you’ve been tracking for quite some time and you posses the gift of being able to calculate a rough estimate of how much food is on your plate just by looking at it, you have more way more options to choose from. If you want a grilled chicken breast, mash potatoes, baked broccoli and maybe a side of rice, you can track that. Please make sure to always ask your waiter/waitress what oils & sauce are use to cook your meal. I personally prefer my food to be cooked in extra virgin olive oil due to it being less processed compared to other oils and the antioxidants it contains. Any sauces that’s added, I ask for it to be on the side so that I can control how much of the sauce I actually consume. Next time you go out grocery shopping just grab a random sauce that sounds delicious and take a look at the nutrition facts. Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce is 70 calories for 2 tablespoons all coming from carbohydrates. If you’re someone who doesn’t have many carbs to spare, these are somethings you need to aware of. Let’s be honest if restaurants were only using 2 tablespoons of a particular sauce, it probably won’t be a big deal. But restaurants are in the business of making their dishes taste as flavorful as possible therefore keep an eye out for those minor details to ensure you are sticking to your diet the next time you eat out!

If I was to categorize the amount of messages I get on a daily basis, the winner would be how to tone up and reduce belly fat. I know what everyone wants to hear! Most likely a list of exercises to perform or maybe some magic foods to accomplish that but the truth is simple. In order to tone up and/or reduce belly fat you have to be focus on continuously reducing your overall body fat as a whole to start seeing the definition and results you desire. If anyone is telling you different they are simply lying to you! There are many different factors that affect how you effectively lose body fat but if your consistent in your approach, you will get closer to your ultimate goal.

Calorie Deficit

If you’re not in a calorie deficit, your body will remain the same or worst you will gain weight. How do I know if I’m in a calorie deficit you may ask? Without changing anything, eat and train as normal then weigh yourself first thing in the morning for 2-3 days. If your weight is dropping you’re already in a deficit. If your weight remains relatively the same, you may be close to the amount of calories to maintain your weight also know as you maintenance calories. If you weight is increasing, you could be eating over your maintenance which puts you in a calorie surplus. The most accurate way to figure this out if through trial and error. Most individuals who have been tracking for a while will know how many calories their bodies would need but that comes for years of experience. You can utilize any macro calculator from any website but understand that those are just estimates and it’s impossible for a calculator to understand your body let alone what your daily life consist off so trial and error will be your best bet!

Continue To Strength Train

From beginners all the way to the more advanced lifters, you’re strength training should remain consistent while you diet. For advanced lifter if you completely abandon lifting you run the risk of losing muscle mass which is what you don’t want. If your a beginner you’re leaving potential muscle growth on the table that you would have put on. Untrained individuals or beginners can take advantage of the “newbie gainz” due to the new stimulus on the body of strength training. The less muscle mass a person has, the slow their metabolism will be therefore while dieting, one of your main objectives should be to retain or build the most amount of muscle while being in a caloric deficit.

Use Cardio As Needed

I’ve seen many people get extremely lean just from dieting and strength training. Cardio isn’t necessary for fat loss but it definitely helps when the diet isn’t enough. Start small maybe 15-20 mins on your preferred cardio machine and continue to monitor your weight each morning to see if the extra cardio is in fact putting your a deficit. Cardio and diet go hand in hand meaning that if you prefer to eat more food while dieting, you will have to do more cardio and vice versa. The trick is to do enough cardio where your weight is still dropping but not too much where you’re creating a huge calorie deficit that your body hasn’t slow work towards. Adjust cardio in small increments maybe by about 5 mins. The same way you wouldn’t just drop 1,000 calories from your diet, you should just add 30-60 minutes more cardio than what you were doing prior to making the change.

Be Patient

Any knowledgeable trainer or coach will tell you that losing 1-2 lbs per week is great! But for some people that amount of weight just isn’t fast enough for them to see their bodies changing. If you’ve been overweight or obese all your life, it took several years for you to reach that point. It’s going to take time for you to lose the weight so don’t rush the process. As a person who had bad eating habits growing up, I’ve learn alot about how certain foods, following specific macros or different types of training styles affect my body. Use this time to do the same because that is how you lose the weight and keep it off for the rest of your life. As a online coach for my clients, I create sample meal plans at the start of their coaching so they understand what I would eat if I were them but they are not obligated to follow the meal plan exactly or at all. I want my clients to eat what they want as long as they stay within the calories/macros I provide for them. That way they still eat the foods they enjoy while still continue to chase their progress. Dieting shouldn’t be depressing. Sure there will be days, where your just not feeling it but ultimately there are plenty of good healthy choices that are delicious. Find the ones that work for you and keep incorporating them to help you throughout your journey!

A few years ago there was theory that eating every 2-3 hours will speed up your metabolism and as a result will create greater weight loss. As a beginner I was guilty of believing this at one point until I learned how to research and understand scientific studies that disprove myths from the truth. This theory derived from individuals in the fitness industry misunderstanding the “thermic effect of food” also known as “TEF”. This caused many fitness professionals to market their meal plans and/or supplement products as the missing piece to the majority of the populations weight loss struggles. All foods have a thermic effect meaning you body burns calories to digest them. But simply eating more frequently won’t cause greater weight loss and I’ll explain why.

The “TEF” of the foods you eat is a bonus. Trying to control “TEF” will only complicate your weight loss journey so instead I recommend focusing on maintaining a calorie deficit by controlling your total caloric intake versus how many meals you consume a day. Let’s say your at home doing some online shopping on your favorite fitness brands website. You have a 10% off discount code which we will use to represent the “TEF” of food. After about an hour of browsing you’ve added about $5,000 worth of items to your shopping cart which will represent a total caloric intake of food. You check out and pay the balance in full, you end up saving $500(10% of $5000) from the discount code. Now let’s say this website allows you to pay 4 installments of $1,250, for each payment your save $125(10% of $1,250). After all 4 installments are eventually paid off, you still end up saving $500($125 x 4). As you can see nothing has really changed. “TEF” works the same exact way. No matter how big or small your meals are, if total calories are the same, the results will also be the same.

Often times I educated my audience on my Instagram the benefits of certain foods with a high TEF but that doesn’t mean the more you eat, the more weight you will lose. Have you ever seen an insurance commercial or ad that claims you can save on your auto insurance by adding home insurance? Let’s say you’re currently paying $500 for an auto insurance policy and by adding home insurance at an extra $300, you save $100 on your auto insurance. You’ll have to spend an extra $300 dollar to save that $100. If we related this example to total caloric intake for the day, yes you’ll burn an extra 100 calories from “TEF” of foods but you’ll have to eat 300 more calories that will increase your total caloric intake for the day. The number one driver for weight loss is calorie in versus calories out. Therefore it’s definitely beneficial to understand the effects certain foods have on your body but more doesn’t mean better results especially when weight loss is the primary goal.

So if meal frequency isn’t as important as we thought it was, why even do it at all? There are several reasons why you would want to eat more frequently throughout the day:

  1. To control your energy levels
  2. To control your hunger
  3. To prevent bloating after eating

In conclusion if you struggle with the reason listed above, eating more frequently can benefit you. But when it comes to weight loss, everyone should focus on making sure they are not consuming more calories than what their body burns throughout the day. I personally practice meal frequency due to my busy schedule and my intense training regime. I perform better in the gym when I’ve had at least half of my calories for day prior to my training session. But when my goal is to ultimately lose weight, I put more effort in staying within my total caloric intake for the day because that will guarantee that I’m fact in a deficit and I highly suggest you guys to do that same!

 

Over the years I’ve dabbled  with a several ways to lose weight. What you put in your body will impact how you look and feel. When I first got into fitness I was well over 300lbs, wasn’t active and didn’t have the slightest clue as to what calories truly were. The cambridge dictionary defines “calorie” as a unit used in measuring the amount energy food provides when eaten and digested. If you eat 1 cup of blueberries at 80 calories, once digested your body will have 80 calories to expend for energy. Pretty simple right? When weight loss is the goal, as long as you’re not eating more calories than you burn you will lose weight so as a fitness professional I highly suggest tracking calories but it isn’t a must.

 

First let’s cover why tracking is beneficial for weight loss. For the majority of my life, I never was conscious of the food that I was putting in my body. If you’d ask me if I was allergic to any foods, I wouldn’t know because I would just eat whatever food that was available which explains how I accumulated the weight that I did. Tracking calories allows you understand how your body responds to certain foods due to the fact that your documenting all meals. But the most important part of tracking your calories is that you have data of what you’ve done in the past so that you can adjust to overcome plateaus. Plateaus are going to happen and there’s very little you can do to avoid them especially if you’re making great weight loss progress. The more your weigh, the more calories your body will require. As you start dropping weight, the less calories your body will require. As an online coach, my clients typically experience plateaus when their start calorie deficit becomes their new maintenance calories for their new weight. It happens, its normal and counting your calories will only make it easier for you overcome that small obstacle in your weightloss journey in my opinion of course.

 

But as I mentioned earlier, counting calories isn’t a must because for the first 4 years of my fitness journey I didn’t count a single calorie. I just created a structure that I could commit to, but will also change my eating habits. If you are like the old Chayan in the past who ate anything and everything, incorporating meal preps into your routine can help you lose weight. From eating as you go through your day to having a set number of meals for day is what help me lose my first 70lbs. Makes sense right? Prior to starting my journey, I would rarely cook. Most of my calories would come from eating out which means I never knew how much I was really eating at a time. Once I incorporated meal prep, now I cook my own meals, I know exactly what’s in them and I have a food scale to weigh out my portions for each meal. Even the best tracking app isn’t 100% accurate when eating out therefore cooking your own meals and knowing every single ingredient that included is the best way to know the exact amount of calories you are consuming.

 

Now let’s say you’re not like the old version of me and you eat home cooked meals consistently but still struggle with weight loss, one thing you can try is try to identify on average how many meals a day you eat. For example let’s say you eat 6 home cooked meal a day and scale isn’t going down. It’s a possibility that the 6th meal is putting you in a calorie surplus or maintenance which is why you haven’t been losing weight. Easy way to correct this is by simply eliminating one meal all together or replacing one meal with a small snack that isn’t as calorie dense. Let’s say that 6th meal is about 500 calories, by eliminating it from your diet you are eating 500 calories less everyday. If you replace it with a small snack at 250 calories, now you’re eating 250 calories less each day. Both method can create a calorie deficit and that’s the most important factor to weight loss. Calories in versus calories out!

 

Life can be so fast paced for the majority of us that we sometimes ignore the little things that could be hurting our weight loss journey. From the creamer in your coffee to the one serving of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream you have every night. All these factors matter because everything has calories. In all honesty you can continue eating the way you do especially if your eating a well balanced diet of home cook meals, but eliminate those small factors from your diet and you’ll lose weight. Next time you grab coffee either look into drinking it black, add a artificial sweetner or almond milk. It’s easy to get carried away when using a creamer because we never just add the recommended tablespoon serving. Depending on how many cups of coffee you drink a day, you can see that eliminating the creamer all together can save you anywhere from 30- 200 calories. These calories that can be used towards your deficit instead of adding extra calories to your drink. Evaluate your overall diet, look at those added factors that aren’t a necessity and by minimizing or eliminating then all together, you will set yourself on the right path to a successful weight loss story!

Over consuming on foods is extremely popular is today’s society. After a long day at work, you arrive home to relax and binge watch a show until it’s time to go to bed. Home is our comfort zone so it’s fairly easy to eat everything in sight and lose track of of our goals. Speaking from personal experience, portion control was huge for me at the start of my fitness journey because my mind was channelled to eat and eat till I was full as opposed to being satisfied. I’ve said this in previous articles and I’ll say it again, “food is fuel the same way gas is fuel to a car”. Consume foods that will allow you to power through the day. If you have goals of changing your body and improving your health, the tips I’ll provide in this article can help keep you get on the right path to achieve them.

Create A Grocery List

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It may seem tedious but walking around the grocery store without list of the things you need is one of the main reasons why a lot of people buy what they want instead. Foods that we want are or can become triggers that we lean towards when we want that feeling of comfort. Simple solution is to not buy them at all. Keep them far away from your home and resort to foods that will only compliment your goals.

Calories In Versus Calories Out

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So many fitness professionals over complicated nutrition in the attempt to sell their meal plans or products. Understand this, the determining factor of you losing weight is eating less than what your body burns. That is how a deficit is created not eating any magic foods. All foods have calories remember that!. Even though I personally don’t track vegetables when dieting due to the low caloric value, never think that just because a certain food has good health benefits, that you can eat as much as you want of it. Everything has calories so keep that in mind next time you’re relaxing and your craving start kicking in.

Stay Busy

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Beyonce while working on one of her albums went hours without eating because she was so consumed with her music. I’m not advocating that missing meals is the smart thing to do but the concept of staying busy will distract your cravings of eating something you’ll later regret. If we are just lounging around the house either watch TV or scrolling through social media, there’s potential to see an advertisements for junk food. The more we keep our mind focused on a task that isn’t related to food, the more consistent we will in turn be with our lifestyle change. So don’t afraid to pick up that new hobby, start reading that new book or even educating yourself on a new skill. All of these will take your mind away from food until you’re actually hungry and it’s time to refuel!

Brush Your Teeth/Wash Your Mouth

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Have you ever brushed your teeth and immediately wanted to eat something? I’m sure the answer is no! After eating a meal either brush your teeth and wash your mouth with Listerine. That will kill the urge of you wanting to continue eating or grabbing something else to snack on. Use this to your advantage when you have weak moments. We are all human and cravings happen to the best of us. If your not hungry but your mind is making you think you’re hungry, wash your mouth or brush your teeth. That craving will soon go away and you won’t even remember what you had a craving for!

Stay Away From All You Can Eat

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Going out to eat is always a challenge when you’re trying to change your eating habits but a challenge doesn’t mean impossible. Be strategic when you go out to eat. A buffet is a place you want to avoid because you pay a one time fee and you can eat as much as you want. Even myself, I have trouble eating within my calories means at a buffet therefore I just avoid it all together. Instead go to places where 1) you can look up the menu online prior to arriving and 2) you can track as accurate as you can on MyFitnessPal or a similar app. Even though tracking while eating out isn’t 100% accurate, use your best judgement and over estimate when needed. It’s always better it overestimate than underestimate on calories. You can still lose weight by overestimating but you probably can’t if you are not truthful with the amount your truly consuming.

Self Talk & Visualization

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We all have moments where our weaknesses get the best of us. Some days I’m tired and all I want to do is just grab a few donuts & a pizza before going home to stuff my face. But I have to ask myself if that is going to help me reach my goals? The answer is always no! It’s always important to have a goal and visualize it becoming a reality because that mental picture can serve as a way to keep you disciplined. Self talk & visualization can be utilized to change any habit. It’s a way for you to check yourself before you commit to going back to your bad habits. Not only will this help you stay on track but it also be a constant reminder for the next time you feel the need to cheat on your diet!