Q: Is skipping breakfast bad for me?
The key here is not to skip breakfast if you’re feeling super hungry. Not everyone needs breakfast, and in fact, intermittent fasting can have many health benefits. The main thing is not to limit your overall food intake throughout the day, so make sure that your eating window is long enough to allow that - this will usually be at least 8 hours.
Q: Eating after 8pm at night - will I gain weight faster?
In general – no it doesn’t make you gain weight faster. What you eat, and the quantities you eat over a 24-hour is key. However, where the problem can arise is when individuals start snacking on junk food or eating out of boredom. Having a normal healthy dinner at 9pm at night shouldn’t be an issue as long as you don’t go on to lots of snacking after.
Q: What is the best diet to lose excess fat?
This is very subjective, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. We are all different individuals with different livestyles. In general, eat a diet moderate (not low) in carbs, plenty of whole produces, little processed food, sufficient good quality natural fats, and protein is a good place to start. However, if you have very specific goals or other health issues you should contact a qualified Nutritionist.
Q: Is counting calories the way to go to lose weight quickly? How much calories should I be eating?
Calorie-counting can work in the short term. But what is critical here is that not all calories are created equal. 200 calories of chocolate will not give you the same nutritional value as 200 calories from an avocado. It’s not only the calories that we consume, but the options that we make on a daily basis that will see long term positive results.
Q: What types of food should I eat after working out to help with muscle recovery?
To enhance recovery after a workout, it is important to eat protein together with healthy carbohydrates. This combo has been proven to be the best and most effective way to recover muscle glycogen and be ready for your next training session. Some examples of post workout meals can be:
- grilled chicken with roasted green vegetables + ½ cup brown rice
- egg omelet with avocado spread on toast
- protein shake with ½ cup of berries
- salmon with sweet potato
- tuna salad sandwich on whole grain bread
- oatmeal with whey protein, almonds and fruit
- 1 piece of fruit and cottage cheese or greek yogurt
Also, a good stretch and a good nights’ sleep will also help you a ton with muscle recovery after working out!
Q: Having a cheat day: would it affect my workout gains?
It depends but most likely not. “Cheat meals” or “cheat days” can help you keep on track and stick to your healthy lifestyle BUT try not to go too crazy with it. Splurges can be beneficial but can also do some harm if we turn it into a cheat week or even a cheat month (It happens). So it is important to be moderate about it and limit yourself to eating slowly and mindfully. Stop once you feel satiated, rather than adopt an all-you-can-eat-until-you-can’t-move mindset. Don’t do it too frequently, plan around special occasions (birthdays or trips for example), and never feel guilty about it.
Q: I need to lose weight fast! Does cutting out all carbs from my meals help?
First of all, carbs are our body’s first source of energy. Our brain and blood cells need glucose to work. So, I would say not to cut them all out. At least 40-50% of our total energy intake should come from carbs. Cutting out all carbs can make you lose weight? Maybe yes. But most of that lost weight would probably be muscle mass and nobody wants to lose muscle mass, right? It helps us increase our metabolism (a.k.a. burn more calories), keeps our immune system working and last but definitely not least, muscles are what makes us move and be functional.
Secondly, we have to understand that is not about “losing weight fast”!!! It’s about changing our lifestyle to become healthier, and along with that, weight loss (or I should say better body composition) will eventually come. Let’s not look for the “magic pill” or fast and easy way to do it, because there isn’t. If you’re patient and commit to healthy habits, change will come and will stay.
Q: Eating less meat and carbs, and more fruits and vegetables - is that a good diet plan to follow to lose stubborn fat?
It doesn’t really work like that (fruits and vegetables contain carbs too!). A good diet plan should have all food groups in balanced amounts, depending on your goals, likes, dislikes and physical activity.
Increasing the intake of food rich in nutrients and vitamins like vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats, and avoiding empty calories from highly processed foods, simple sugars and saturated/trans fats, along with regular physical activity and proper rest, will help you improve your body composition and feel better overall!
Q: What types of food to avoid so as not to undo my training gains?
Remember that proper nutrition is the key to better results. So, avoiding “empty calories” is a good idea. By empty calories I mean food that contains little to no vitamins or minerals and provide nothing of value to your body beyond calories from added sugar or unhealthy fats. Some examples are: sugary drinks, sweets, deep fried food, white rice, pasta or bread, etc.
Q: Which types of oil is the best for cooking with? Is vegetable/corn/peanut oil good or bad?
For cooking western dishes, use olive oil, butter or coconut oil. For Asian dishes - coconut, sesame or peanut oil.
Peanut oil is good. Vegetable oil is a mixture of palm and other vegetable oils hence not so good. But whether it's good oil or bad oil (because of the saturated fat content), too much oil is still bad as it's 9 calories per 1 gm of oil. In general, deep-fried and processed foods should be avoided.