Archives for category: Diets & Weight Loss

open lateWhen it comes to losing weight, many people believe that what matters isn’t the time of day you eat, but rather the total number of calories you eat throughout the day.

However, recent evidence shows that this may not necessarily be true. Two studies published in 2013 found that eating the majority of calories earlier in the day may actually help to improve weight loss results.

Study 1:

Researchers divided 74 overweight and obese women into two weight loss groups, each consuming 1400 calories per day: a breakfast group and a dinner group. The breakfast group ate a larger breakfast, consuming 700 calories at breakfast, 500 calories at lunch, and 200 calories at dinner. The dinner group consumed 200 calories at breakfast, 500 calories at lunch, and 700 calories at dinner.

The results: after 12 weeks, the breakfast group lost more weight (2.5 times more) and had a greater reduction in waist circumference than the dinner group. Interestingly, the breakfast group also had greater feelings of fullness than the dinner group.

Study 2:

The second study was performed in Spain, where people eat their main meal at lunch. In this study, the researchers studied 420 obese women on a weight loss program. Participants were grouped into early eaters or late eaters, depending on when they ate their main meal. The early eaters ate lunch before 1 PM and late eaters ate lunch after 1 PM.

The results: after 20 weeks, the early eaters lost more weight and lost it quicker than the late eaters, even though energy intake and expenditure were similar between the two groups.

Why is this happening?

The reasons behind why this phenomenon occurs are still unknown, however researchers have found that gene expression in adipose tissue (fat storage tissue) may follow a circadian rhythm. This means that the storage and mobilization of fat may occur at different rates depending on the time of day.



Jakubowicz, D., Barnea, M., Wainstean, J. & Froy, D. (2013). High caloric intake at breakfast vs. dinner differentially influences weight loss of overweight and obese women. Obesity, 21(12), 204-2512.

Garaulet, M. Gomez-Abellan, P., Alburquerque-Bejar, J., Lee, Y., Ordovas, J. & Scheer, F. (2013). Timing of food intake predicts weight loss effectiveness. International Journal of Obesity, 37, 604-611.

carb511The question I probably get the most about nutrition is: “What type of diet do you recommend?” When people ask this question they are expecting a simple answer such as Paleo, gluten-free, or vegan.

The truth is that there is no one best diet for everyone.

Here are some of the factors that contribute to my definition of a healthy diet:

1. Adequacy

Your diet should provide adequate nutrients to meet your individual needs. Quite often a diet that eliminates an entire food group will put a person at risk of nutrient deficiency. For example, the Paleo diet eliminates dairy products. If other calcium-rich foods are not included to replace dairy, it puts one at risk of a calcium deficiency. Remember, osteoporosis is an old age disease. Cave men didn’t live long enough have to worry about it.

2. Variety

The diet should include a variety of choices. Not only does this prevent boredom, but it also limits the chance of over- or under-consuming nutrients.

3. Moderation

No food should be eaten in excess and no food needs to be completely eliminated (except in the case of allergies, religion, or ethics). Nutrient excess can be as dangerous as nutrient inadequacy.

4. Calorie control

A diet should provide the appropriate number of calories to meet your individual needs. Diets higher in calories are required to fuel physical activity and growth. If weight loss is the goal, calories should be low enough to promote fat loss, but high enough to provide adequate energy and to prevent metabolism disruption.

5. Enjoyable

The food you are eating should be enjoyable to eat and enjoyable to prepare. Quite simply, if you don’t like the food you are eating it will not be sustainable long-term.

6. Affordable

Your grocery bill should fit within you budget. For example, a diet that calls for multiple servings of meat or expensive powders and supplements is likely not financially sustainable.

The bottom line:

There are many factors involved in the makeup of a healthy diet. Eating healthy should not be viewed as a temporary fix, but as a long-term solution.

change3By Shirley Ley, Certified Canadian Counselor

Success in staying physically fit and eating healthier all starts with how “ready” you are!

Have you ever wondered how some people are able to set exercise and nutrition goals, carry through with them, and achieve them successfully? You may have thought to yourself, “What’s their secret? What do they know that I don’t?”

The truth is, there is no secret.  You may have all of the right information and tools you need to obtain your exercise and nutrition goals. You may have even consulted with a trusted nutritionist or fitness trainer.

But even with the exact prescription for diet and weight loss, I can say with some confidence that you still won’t be able to make those very important lifestyle changes, unless you have one thing  – READINESS.

Said plainly, you may not be ready to make the changes that you need for a healthier you.  If I asked you if you were ready to start exercising or eating healthier your answer won’t be as black and white as “yes I’m ready” or “no I’m not ready”.  In fact, your answer will lie somewhere along a continuum.

And that continuum is what researchers call the stages of change.  To increase your chances of successfully reaching your exercise and nutrition goals, you will need to find out which of the five stages you’re in.  Each stage requires different strategies, tools, and action steps that help you move you closer to your health goals.

Research has shown that people who are successful in reaching their goal of making positive behavioral changes, like adding exercise to their daily routines, cycle through the five stages of change.

Have I piqued your interest? Find out which stage you’re in and what you should do to move yourself to the next stage of change below:

1. Precontemplation

-You have no intention exercising or eating healthier, deny you have a problem with your health, or resist change.

*What to do: Learn more about exercise and eating healthily, think about the pros of changing, and feel the emotions about the effects of unhealthy behaviors.

2. Contemplation

-You start to seriously think about solving your health problems like inactivity or eating unhealthily.

*What to do: Think about the kind of person you would be if you changed your unhealthy lifestyle and learn more from the people who behave in healthy ways.  Reduce the cons of changing your unhealthy habits.

3. Preparation

-You are making plans to change your current lifestyle within the next month.  This stage is extremely important.  People who cut this stage short will lower their chance of successfully achieving their health goals.

*What to do: You’ll need to develop a firm, detailed plan for action to carry you through.  Find support from people that you trust.

4. Action

-You make the move that you’ve been preparing for (eg., start exercising and eating healthily).  This stage requires the commitment of time and energy.  Others might start noticing and complimenting on the gains that you’ve made.

*What to do: Substitute activities relating to unhealthy behavior with positive ones, reward yourself for any positive changes you’ve made, and avoid people or situations that may tempt you to behave in unhealthy ways.

5. Maintenance

-This is where you maintain the gains you’ve made in the action stage to avoid going back to your old routine. This stage is a long and ongoing one. It’s not uncommon for someone to lose many pounds on a diet and exercise plan, only to regain them all in a few months.

*What to do: Seek support from people you trust, spend time with people who behave in healthy ways, and find effective ways of coping rather than turn to unhealthy behavior (eg., forgo your diet plan or skip exercise).

Bottom line is this: You’ll set yourself up for failure if you set up goals for yourself that you’re not ready for.  Similarly, if you choose goals that you’ve already achieved, then you you’ll lose steam and delay your progress.  BUT if you match your goals to your stage of change, then you’ll maximize your chances of successfully reaching your exercise or nutrition goals.

Meet the Author:


Shirley Ley is a Canadian Certified Counsellor, a people enthusiast and an aspiring legacy maker. She thrives off of engaging, meaningful, and life changing conversations and is driven by her passion to enhance positive mental health wellness through one counselling session, one blog, and one workshop at a time.

You can learn more about Shirley and read her blog at:

Reference: Prochaska, J.O., Norcross, J.C., Diclemente, C.C. (1994). Changing for Good. New York: Avon Books.

Click the above link to read an insightful article by a B.C. chiropractor, Dr. Jesse Moreton, on the science of satiety and paying attention to your fullness cues.

I have written this post to show you how,  by making a few simple substitutions at the coffee shop or pub, you can save yourself from gaining some unwanted pounds.

Here are two typical scenarios:

A morning stop at the coffee shop:

Food item Calories Substitute with Calories
Grande Vanilla latte with whole milk 290 Grande latte with 2% milk and 1 tsp sugar 205
Pumpkin scone 480 Yogurt parfait or spinach feta wrap 300
Total: 770 Total: 505

These values were calculated from the nutrition info provided by Starbucks.

This substitution five times per week equals 1325 calories per week, or 68,900 calories per year. At 3500 calories per pound, this is equal to about 20 pounds of fat in one year.

A night at the pub:

Food item Calories Substitute with: Calories
½ order of chicken wings (6 pc.) 330 No appetizer 0
Burger with bacon and cheese 550 Plain burger 400
Side of french fries 390 Side green salad 5
Mayo for dipping (2 tbsp) 200 Oil and vinegar dressing (1 tbsp) 75
2 (14 oz) pints of beer 330 2 (14 oz) pints of beer 330
Total: 2000 Total: 810

This substitution once per week equals 1190 calories per week, or 61,880 calories per year. At 3500 calories per pound, this is equal to about 18 pounds of fat in one year. Of course guys, you may have to put up with some crude remarks from your buddies when you order a salad instead of fries, but hey, they won’t be laughing two years down the road when you are the only one that hasn’t gained weight.