Monday, October 22, 2012

Are you losing the right type of weight?

Muscle Versus Fat

All weight loss is not considered equal.  This is a mantra to live by as you embark on your weight management program.  Though we all are conditioned to determine our success solely by the weight loss shown by the scale, it is much more important to judge our achievements based on our changes in body composition.

All weight loss is not GOOD Weight loss. All weight gain is not bade weight gain.  -R. DeVito

Body Tissues

The human body consists of a variety of different types of tissues, lean tissue and fat tissue.  The lean tissues include bone, muscle and organs.  Muscle and organs are considered metabolically active, whereas fat is metabolically much less active.  This means that muscle and organs help to increase your metabolism and burn fat and calories, while fat tissue does almost nothing.  Therefore, it is essential to maintain muscle tissue while losing fat, thus the additional movement will increase your metabolism.  

Muscle dose not weigh more than fat. It just takes up less space.


It is important to realize that a pound of muscle is denser and more compact than a pound of fat.  It is helpful to think of a pound of fat as a pound of feathers, and a pound of muscle as a pound of iron.  The pound of feathers would clearly take up a lot more space than that same pound of iron.   By gaining lean body mass (water, bone and muscle) while losing body fat, you will look and feel lighter, your clothes will fit better and your overall sense of well being will improve.  In summary, body weight is only one of the many determining factors of success.   

Changing your Body Composition

To decrease your percent of body fat, you need to create the right balance between the calories you consume and the calories you expend.  The most effective way to do this is to decrease your consumption of calories and increase your activity level.

General Body Fat Percentage Categories*
Female  % of Body Fat
Male % of Body Fat
Essential Fat
32% +
25% +
* American Council Exercise

Monday, October 8, 2012

Stress, Cravings and Preventing Weight Gain

What should I do when I’m stressed and crave sugary and salty junk food?

Become mindful of your stressors, how you are dealing with stress and your choices.
Learning new methods for stress relief will help prevent avoidable weight gain
Managing food cravings is a simple but difficult process. In my experience, I have seen that when an individual makes a emotional judgment and gives into eating when they are not hungry it is often do to temporarily losing sight of their goal(s) and/or continuation of habits.

First, understand that there are physical needs during stressful times. Your body is burning sugar and your cravings are present so you will replace immediate energy stores. Also know that an Apple is a better choice than junk.
Second, understand your role in the habits and choices that you have created. You MUST own your choices and your result. Look past your immediate desire and play out in your mind how you will feel while eating this  "much needed" food. Play out the after effects. How do you feel once you've finished? 

A few "rules" I have my clients to focus on is:

Become Mindful

Before you begin to feel stressed is the best time to focus on how you are handling your day. Monitor your stress levels. If you are becoming "STRESSED!!!" it is time to take a break, contemplate your thoughts and actions and choose your next action. This 2-3 minute reset of thinking and breathing acts to calm you and allows you to retain focus.
Smile. It relieves stress.
Remember: staying in the stressful situation will INCREASE your stress. You must change your thinking and your actions right there.  

Control your kitchen

Keep temptation out of sight. Clean the area of "junk" and create a scenario where you have to go purchase the items you want so badly. This will act to slow down your reactions.  Choose fruits and vegetables first while you focus on breathing.

Know WHY you are eating what you are eating

Say it out loud - "I am eating due to stress, not hunger."
Own the fact that you need to control your stress differently to create a long-term change.
Try these tips for controlling food cravings:
  1. Develop a mantra. Something like: "I feed my body and my needs, not my taste buds."  
  2. Ask yourself questions: "Why am I going to eat this?  Is it because I actually want it and need it or am I re-actively responding to an immediate desire?"
  3. Keep focused on your goal. Post it in sight and refer to it often.
  4. Drink a glass of water to slow the decision making process down. Water can make you feel a little fuller AND it will give you something to do while deciding if you are actually going to give in to your cravings.
To your health,     
Robert DeVito

Monday, September 24, 2012

Your BIGGEST Weight Loss Mistakes

What is the biggest mistakes people make who are trying to lose weight?


 1. "All or None" Mindset

Many people in life (not just weight loss endeavors) adopt and hold true to the mindset of PERFECTIONISM or "All or None". This mindset shows itself in numerous ways, but most often, it rears its ugly head during conflict.

Many clients I have had are OK as long as everything is going well. Their choices are sound, their thinking is pure and their mood is good. However, as soon as one area of life causes stress this creates a spiral of negative thinking and their mindset goes from "I am in control" to "This isn't working, I quit!". The stress could be a work conflict or poor food choice or a missed exercise session.

This "All or None" mindset makes it increasingly difficult to attain and maintain success because the thought process relies on Perfection. 

A better plan is to understand that negative situations happen to everyone and will happen to you on occasion. Learn to handle stress with proper perspective and gain the ability to understand that every choice counts towards achieving your goal or delaying it.

2. Failing to Plan 

A second pitfall I often see is that many people do not plan their meals and workouts. Many people wait for motivation to strike before they act. This is the exact opposite of what needs to be done to gain success.
You must schedule your workouts as a "non-negotiable priority" and attend these important appointments with yourself.
You must plan and schedule your meals in advance.  If you wait until you get hungry to think about what you are going to eat you increase your risk of making poor food choices and eating items that are not in your plan. This may lead to a loss of control (see "All or None").

3. Lacking Consistency. 

Often, individuals begin a plan when they become distressed about their health, appearance and/or fitness levels. They make multiple drastic changes at once in an all-out effort to achieve as much as possible as quickly as possible. Generally, repeating mistakes from their recent past.
When you attempt to accomplish too much at once in addition to the busy schedule you may already have you can become overwhelmed and may cease a few of the more important acts of attaining your goal.

Consistency is accomplished by placing priority on the actions that are most vital for your desired outcome and continuing these actions. You cannot get to your goals with a "tomorrow" attitude. 


Monday, September 17, 2012

How can I get my daughter to understand the damaging effects of dieting?

I think it is important to note that not all "dieting" is bad or harmful. This truly depends on the methods utilized, the length of time the "diet" lasts and the focus of said "diet".

It may be truly beneficial to have a discussion with your daughter about the benefits of Eating Healthy, such as:
  • improved energy
  • increased vitality
  • feeling proud of yourself
  • doing good things for your body
Many people use the term "dieting" generically.  If your daughter is following a sensible eating plan that incorporates whole grains, fruits and vegetables with plenty of variety and minimal restrictions then I would say to congratulate her.
If, on the other hand, she is focused on dieting as a means for weight loss it would be important to steer her in the direction of the benefits to changing habits for the long-term.
Depending on your daughter's age; she may understand the consequences of her actions, but battling marketing and hype that surrounds so many restrictive diets cna be difficult.  I believe that by being supportive and by getting involved in a healthier eating plan together you could lead by example.  Here a a few more tips for a successful outcome:
  • schedule family dinner time 2-3 times per week
  • cook healthy, great tasting meals together
  • speak about a few of the unhealthy habits you are focused on changing and why.
  • have plenty of healthy foods and fruits and vegetables available for the entire family
  • purchase less "junk food"
  • create healthier dessert recipes together
Speaking to your daughter about the long-term effects of these beneficial habits and how they are better strategies than a restrictive diet plan will go far in aiding her in making better choices for the rest of her life.

Learn to create better habits here! 

To your health,
Robert DeVito 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Do I REALLY need to log my food intake?

Food Journal = Success

* Researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle studied the eating behaviors of 123 overweight, previously inactive women for a year. Women who kept food journals and consistently wrote down the foods they ate lost about six pounds more than women who didn’t.

*Women who reported skipping meals lost almost eight fewer pounds than women who did not, and those who ate out for lunch at least weekly lost on average five fewer pounds than those who brought in their lunch.

The study appears in an issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
More insights available here!

Food journalling is extremely important. Consider this: can you accurately recall every single thing that you ate and drank exactly one month ago? We didn’t think so.
  • The more frequently you track how much you move and how much you eat, the better decisions can be made regarding your solution. Ask yourself this: Is my goal short term or long term? If you answered long-term then guesswork has no place in your solution.
  • Journalling is necessary if you do not have a complete understanding of food amounts and need counseling on making better choices.
  • There are multiple levels of compliance with food journalling. Some clients track everything from foods eaten, calories, protein, carbohydrates, fats, and meal timing, while others just jot down the foods eaten.
  • Innovation Fitness Solutions recommends journalling of some sort for the first phase to gain insight into your habits (good and bad).
Being aware of your habits and choices and having actual data can help you immensely in attaining your goals.

Tips for creating your food journal:

• Write down what you’re eating throughout the day, rather than saving it up to log at the end of the day. Also, jot down how you are feeling when you eat, and how what you eat makes you feel.
• Record your level of hunger along with the foods you eat.
• Be honest. Measure portions, read food labels, and write down both your slip-ups as well as your better meals.
"If you ink it you'll think it. If you don't, you won't."

How to do it -

Phase I - An effective method that I have employed with numerous clients is to have the client journal everything that is eaten and drank for 14 days straight. This gives the client and the coach valuable insights into their habits and choices. From there, the client can choose 2-4 days per week to journal for the next 4 weeks (this helps to maintain the consistency and aids in taking ownership over the new habits being created).
Phase II - The next phase would be to journal on Fridays and Mondays (book-ending the weekend) every week and an additional day of the week to insure that old habits are not creeping back into our day.
Phase III - Finally, the last phase would see the client journaling at least 1 weekday and 1 weekend day for at least 2 weeks of each month. This maintenance journaling plan insures that food portions are not increasing over time.

Get more info here! 90 Days to a New You

To your health,
Robert J DeVito

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Reality Check - Convenience or Results?

Your results are determined by your choices.
Your choices are a result of your habits.
Create a MINDFUL environment.
Avoid impulsive or mindless actions.

To your health,