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Cheating on diet

Hi, I am currently on a cutting diet to lower by body fat percentage, but I have having trouble sticking to my diet, I often find myself cheating and then feel horrible afterwards. Could you help provide some sort of strategy or motivation to stop cheating, and when I do cheat how should I handle it? detox, extra cardio? Please help, Thank You.


Hello and thanks for your question. It is never easy trying to make big changes to your diet and avoid the craving for the foods you used to eat. I believe it is important to still have the odd treat as part of an overall diet program, however it is important to make sure you control the consumption of those treats. I recommend that you actually introduce a cheat day into your diet. So rather than cheating at random, you allocate a single day, perhaps Saturday or Sunday as your cheat day and you allow your self to eat whatever you want on that day. You might be asking how is having a cheat day going to help with your diet? Well firstly having a day where you allow yourself your favourite foods, can help motivate you to stick to your diet plan during the week. Secondly a cheat day if planned well can actually help your lose weight. For example often when people start on diet, they try to reduce calories/fat/carbs significantly, this can cause a drop in your metabolism which reduces the rate at which you burn calories. This in turn can hinder your fat loss. By having a cheat day where you not only eat your favourite foods, but also consume more calories overall than on your diet days, you help keep your metabolism elevated and prevent stagnating in your diet. So to summarise keep your diet under control for 6 days of the week and then treat yourself on your cheat day. By doing this you will also help remove the horrible feeling that you have when you have cheated previously, as you know that you are helping your diet. One other thing I would suggest having read your profile, is that you consider reducing/avoiding your consumption of artificial sweeteners. Recent studies have shown that the brain can react to artificial sweeteners in just the same way as sugar, making the body release insulin. Not only that there is some suggestion that they may also increase your cravings for sweet foods. If you really cant avoid the use of sweeteners, then I would recommend you look at using natural low calories sweeteners like xylitol or stevia. Good luck.

Carbs for energy

What are some foods that will give me the carbs I need for energy before a workout so I can target building muscle without gaining fat?


There is a lot of debate as to what is the best carbohydrate to fuel a workout. However I think it is easy to overcomplicate the issue. I recommend Honey as a pre-workout carbohydrate. Honey contains a mix of both simple and complex carbohydrates as well as trace amounts of vitamins and minerals as well as a number of anti-oxidant like substances. The combination of both fast and slow digesting carbohydrates will help provide energy through your workout. Studies have shown honey to be as effective, if not more so, than commercially made energy drinks. It also helps boost your immune system which is particularly useful following intense exercise, as intense exercise temporarily lowers your immune system while your body is trying to recover. Other good carbohydrate sources are Banana and Oatmeal and can easily be blended with a some protein powder to make a pre-workout drink. Alternatively if you prefer not to eat something so close to your workout and prefer to eat a few hours before hand then try to aim for whole grain bread, whole grain pasta or brown rice. These slow digesting carbohydrates take longer to digest and will ensure you still have energy when you come to workout.


Hello. I am 51 years of age and have chronic kidney disease. I feel I carry too much extra weight, although my doctors and nurses have not said anything to me about losing the excess weight. My old male neighbor grabbed my arm and wobbled my muffin top, declaring, “No bananas. Unhealthy. My wife was 86 kg stopped eating bananas and lost weight.” I thanked him for his concern and am just asking is he correct? I eat a banana with my home-made muesli each morning with oats, lsa, lecithin, blueberries, craisins, kiwi fruit, juice of one orange and almond milk. All topped off with All Bran Fibre toppers. I love this huge breakfast as it keeps me feeling full till lunch time. Please help me is it wrong to eat a banana every day?


Bananas are not unhealthy but they are rich in calories when compared to some other fruit. However if you have kidney disease, you may need to cut back on your consumption of bananas as they contain high levels of potassium. Your kidneys help you keep the right level of potassium in your body, but can’t always do so in chronic kidney failure patients. Your breakfast while healthy does contain a lot of fruit and carbohydrates which will provide you with a significant amount of calories. That said eating a big breakfast is not a bad thing as you will use these calories throughout the day, as oppose to eating a large meal before you go to bed. You didn’t fill out your profile so I cant get an idea of your daily activity levels and other dietary habits, so I cannot give you specifics. To answer your question regarding bananas I would speak with your doctor, as it may be wise to reduce the amount of bananas you are consuming due to your medical condition.

Diet of beans

Can a child live on nothing but beans and water twice a day for extended periods of time, say up to a year? What would be the consequences of such a diet, and could it be considered abusive if the parents or caregivers were financially able to provide other food but refused?


This would be very concerning. Such an extreme restricted diet would lead to serious nutritional deficiencies in an adult let alone a child. Eating a single food item is never going to meet the nutritional needs of a growing child. Deficiencies over time can lead to a variety of medical conditions and seriously compromise the health of the child. With the exception of people living in a 3rd world country and experiencing a famine, there is no reason why anyone should raise their child on such a diet.

Husbands diet of chicken and carb masters yogurt

My husband lost 240 lbs over 3 years by exercising and eating a low Carb high protein diet. He has been at goal weight for about 18 months. He continues to run, but only eats Carb master yogurt for breakfast and lunch and for dinner he has 2-3 chicken breasts. For dessert he has cocoa mixed with ice and artificial sweetener. He has this everyday. He only eats vegetables once or twice a week, no fruit or red meat. Can this be a healthy diet over time, I don’t see him eating anything different in the future.


Your husband has done very well losing so much weigh! Whilst there is nothing wrong with eating chicken and yoghurt, the problem is that your husband is getting virtually no micronutrients, vitamins, minerals or anti-oxidants in his diet. In the short terms this diet is great for losing weight, but for long term health, its not good. When we eat food, food is broken down and used for energy and to repair our body. During this process, all manner of complex reactions take place in our body, these reactions lead to the creation of free radicals. These free radicals float throughout our body causing damage to our cells that make us up. Collectively over time this cellular damage is what causes us to age. To reduce this amount of damage we need to consume anti-oxidants that quench the free radicals in our system. By having high amounts of anti-oxidants we help reduce the rate of damage. The only source of these valuable anti-oxidants is from fruit and veg and certain other foods. Our body also needs vitamins and minerals for many of these reactions and also to repair the complex organs in our body. As you can see depriving oneself of these nutrients can have long term health implications. If your husband is resistant to adding vegetables to his diet, I would suggest trying to make either smoothies or juicing to try and re-introduce vegetables into his diet again. If his concern is that he is worried about gaining weight again there are low calorie vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, watercress, cucumber , radish, celery. Watermelon, Honeydew melon, grapefruit, strawberries and peaches are low calorie fruits.

Am I eating too much fat?

I’m trying to lose weight and have been tracking all meals with MyFitnessPal. I’m controlling my calories well, but concerned about balance of calorie sources. Currently I am getting about 25% of calories from protein, 40% from fat, and 35% from carbohydrates. My fats are typically from avocado, eggs, the olive oil I put on my salads, and the macadamia nut oil I use for cooking. Proteins are typically eggs, bacon, chicken, and beef. Carbs are typically from fruits (watermelon) and veggies plus a few pretzels and the occasional breaded chicken breast. Am I on track, or off course?


Thanks for your question. There is no golden rule when it come to ratios of carbohydrates to proteins to fats, only recommendations. Whilst 40% from fat is a little high when compared to most recommendations which suggest somewhere between 20-35% its not overly high. Additionally the fats you mentioned from avocado, olive oil and macadamia nut oil are considered to be healthy. The intention is to control intake of unhealthy fats such as trans-fats and other low quality processed vegetable oils. Good fats are an important part of your diet and should not be restricted in the same way. Your main focus should be to concentrate on creating a calorie deficit, based on your profile I have calculated your approximate daily calorie requirements below. Maintenance 2900 Fat Loss 2350 Rapid fat Loss 1750 As long as you are following a diet that falls within the fat loss range, combined with a regular exercise program you should see progress.

Filling foods

I am wondering what makes some foods more filling than others? To better explain this question I think I need to get into a little bit of a story, please bear with me a moment. Lately I’ve been keeping a bit of a food diary. I read somewhere that it’s a good idea to write about how certain meals make you feel, how long till your next hungry, and what your appetite is like throughout the day. This was surprisingly insightful. I typically rotate a handful of different breakfasts, all 300-400 calories. Veggie egg white omelette with toast, ham & cheese egg white omelette with toast, shredded wheat, steel cut oats and canned baked beans on toast with egg (fried or poached). I’m an endomorph, with familial hypercholesterolemia, on a diet at the moment, hence the egg white. I’m always into discovering more variety but these are my staples. It’s no surprise that typically the higher protein foods are more filling. The omelettes (23-34g protein, 24-28g carbohydrates, 10g fat, 6-9g dietary fibre) keep me satisfied for up to 3 hours post meals. The oats go as far as an hour and a half for me, having the least amount of protein (9g, 65g carbs, 5g fats, 3g fibre). Shredded wheat does well, I’m satisfied for up to 3 hours as well despite it not being super rich in protein (16g, 63g carbs, 7g fats, 10g dietary fibre). Baked beans on toast with egg, which is actually not bad on protein, only keeps me satisfied for an hour an a half as well (21g protein, 47g carbs, 8-10g fat, 16g fibre). The other morning I tried something else. I had 1 portion of wholegrain porridge, yogurt and berries. The protein was right up there for this meal, the fibre too. But for some reason I was hungry in an hour and a half or less. So despite this meal being high in protein, as well as the baked beans, why is it not as filling as an omelette? What makes one food more filling than another? I don’t see it as being the fibre, volume, digestibility, sugar or GI ranking.


Hello and thanks for your question. It sounds like you have spent a lot of time analysing your diet and trying to find what works best for you. Regarding your question what makes one food more filling than another. Well there are a number of factors at play which you outlined in your question. Other than the protein and fiber you mentioned as making foods more filling, there is also fat content to be considered. The fat content of the meal also has an impact on the rate of digestion with a high fat meal being more slowly digested than a low or fat free meal. Normally food held in the stomach is released into the intestines within four hours, however a fat rich meal can be held in the stomach for six or more hours. In terms of fiber there is both soluble and insoluble fiber, these fibre’s are processed differently with soluble fiber slowing digestion. Whilst your records might show two different meals both contain ten grams of fiber, one meal might contains fiber of the soluble variety leading to the feeling of fullness for longer. There are even psychological elements at play, when you have a meal that looks, smells and taste’s good this stimulates your digestive system, and in turn your stomach can secrete more acid. Have you ever eaten something very plain and dull without seasoning, such as plain tuna and pasta. You can get a feeling of fullness very quickly and this can last a long time. The time of day, your activity levels and also your previous meals can also have an impact. There is no one factor that decides the digestibility of a meal and how long the feeling of fullness you will experience, it is combination of all the points mentioned above.

what foods can I eat?

I was discharged from my local hospital without much in the way of information in to what I should do for my dietary consumption. I have on my discharge papers ‘cardiac diet’ but no easy way to find out what that is or what it consists of. I don’t mind salads and veggies, and love chicken/turkey/pork/ etc. But does it mean I’ll need to exclude those in favor of something else?


Thanks for your question. Without knowing what the specific reason was that you entered the hospital I cant give a great deal of information. However a cardiac diet is generally a diet to help improve your cardiovascular system or help treat a condition relating to it. This would primarily involve eating a diet low in saturated and bad fats, low in cholesterol, low in sugar, low in fried foods, moderate consumption of good fats and high in fiber. Protein sources you can eat are egg whites or skinless poultry, fish, and other lean cuts of meats. Certain types of fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and herring, are especially good for heart health as they contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce fat cholesterol. Protein can also be consumed from vegetable sources such as soy products, beans, peas, and lentils Protein rich foods that should be avoided are whole milk, fatty meats like bacon, and fried or breaded meat. Vegetables and Grains Both vegetables and whole grains are also a good source of fiber. You can easily incorporate more whole grain into your diet by replacing refined grain products with whole grain. Use brown rice instead of white, brown pasta instead of white and brown bread instead of white. You can also add ground flaxseed to your diet. Ground flaxseed has a lot of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Other whole grain products include cereal with high fiber, such as whole bran or oatmeal which contains beta-glucan that can lower cholesterol levels. Muffins, doughnuts, biscuits, or granola bars are usually made with refined grain and should be avoided. In particular try and read ingredients on what you buy and specifically look to avoid hydrogenated fats, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, glucose fructose syrup and artificial sweeteners. All of these can have particularly negatives effects on cardiovascular health.

At a Stand Still

Ok, I recently loss 30 pounds counting calories and exercising, but for the past 3 months I’ve been at a standstill . I currently weight 187 pounds, I eat 1500 a day and I burn between 700-800 calories 5 days a week from working out , I need help to get me out of the 180’s . Any advice is appreciated ! Thanks


From your description it sound like your body is in starvation mode. You have reduced your calories to such a low level and from all the exercise you have created a very large deficit, so your body is trying to hold onto every calorie it gets. Introduce a cheat day every week, where you eat whatever you want and consume 2000 calories or more so as to move your body out of this state. Having a day where you consume excess calories resets your body into thinking food is readily available and no longer in short supply so there is no need to hang onto everything. You didn’t fill out your profile so I cant provide any further information, but if not already doing so I would suggest including more weight training in your program, as usually people following your kind of diet have burnt away a lot of their muscle mass which in turn reduces your metabolism.

Is 945 daily calorie intake for a national population healthy?

I am doing a research project on agricultural self sufficiency for my home country (India). My calculations show if we distributed food equally to every citizen on a ration, each citizen will get 945 calories daily. This brings me to 2 questions. 1. Is 945 calories a day healthy? Is it OK? Or is it starvation? 2. Can you squeeze in 3 meals with 945 calories daily? Thanks for reading this question and any answer will be highly appreciated.


Thanks for your question. 945 calories a day is a very low amount of calories. For the average person with average activity levels this would not be sufficient. The average recommended daily allowance is 2000 calories for women and 2500 for men. In your case, based on your stats and activity levels 2700 calories a day would be considered your maintenance allowance for your current weight. So 945 for you would be almost a third of what you need. Anything less than a 1000 calories could certainly have some negative effects unless some particular effort had gone into balancing your meals. This leads to your second questions, can three meals be squeezed into 945 calories? The answer is yes if you eat foods that total 945 calories and divide them into three!! However I am guessing that is not what you were asking! Could you make three nutritious meals that come to 945 calories? The answer is yes, if you picked some nutritious low calorie fruits and vegetables along with some healthy protein sources such as white fish or skinless chicken and a very small amount of carbohydrates then it is possible. Whether it would supply enough nutrients and enough calories on a daily basis in the long term, then the answer is probably no. 1200 calories is the recommended lower limit for women and 1500 for men.