Monday, November 12, 2001

Personal Trainer

When and what you eat as important as how much

By David Patania

        Question: I have been working out almost every day and I've cut calories, but I still haven't lost much weight. I don't know what else I can do.

        Answer: Although it is somewhat true that eating fewer calories can help you lose weight, there is more to it than that.

        When you cut calories by restricting food consumption and increase activity levels, you put your body in a situation where it is not sufficiently nourished. Its energy is in short supply. You lose weight, but not the kind of weight you want to lose.

        When you diet like this, you cause your body to lose lean muscle mass which in turn slows your metabolism further. Then, when you begin any type of normal eating pattern, you increase your body's ability to gain/store fat even more easily than before. This is because when you put your body into a starvation phase it simply stores every bit of body fat it can.

        For example, I know of many overweight people who eat very little yet continue to gain weight because their eating patterns have thrown their metabolic or calorie-burning system out of whack.

        To get a lean physique and to lose body fat, you must eat, but in a way that will boost metabolism. Try to eat five small meals per day (every 2 1/2 to 3 hours) with each meal consisting of a lean protein, such as chicken breast; complex carbohydrates, such as oatmeal or brown rice; fibrous vegetables, such as broccoli or green beans, and low amounts of unsaturated fats.

        The body was designed to consume and metabolize food, so give it what it wants, just make sure that the food you consume is of the highest quality and supplies you with all that you need to fuel it properly.

        There are no secrets, shortcuts or magic pathways to proper nutrition. Keep things simple and discipline yourself by eating small, frequent, healthy meals throughout the day.

        Contact certified personal trainer Dave Patania at


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