Here are the top 10 FAQs that I see...
1. What's the best drink for weight loss?
Water! No calories AND helps maintain the bodies fluid balance: helps transport nutrients in the body, regulate body temperature, digest food, and more.
2. What should I do if I don't like water?
In short, learn to like it ;) If you must add something to your water, make it tea or add some lemon. Do not add sugar and try to limit artificial sweeteners as well.
3. I here a lot of people cutting out dairy to help loose weight, Should I?
Some people (not all) are sensitive to dairy which can cause bloating. If you are unsure, cut it out for 2 weeks and then slowly introduce it back in. If you start to feel bloated again, you might have a dairy sensitivity. If not, good for you! Dairy is a great source of nutrients and complete protein (it makes up almost half my shopping cart sometimes).
4. Ok, then what about gluten?
Same story. If you are sensitive to it, you should cut it out. Otherwise its not worth it. Whole grains are good for you! The only extra caveat here is that many people who feel like they are sensitive to gluten are actually feeling the effects of the way gluten is processed. Always try to limit processed foods and stick to whole foods (you know, food not just a mix of ingredients).
5. Should I use honey or agave as my sweetener?
Those seem to be the new trends. First, the fact is, sugar is sugar and should be limiting no matter what the source. Second, it actually turns out agave is worse for you because of it's high fructose content. Local honey actually has some added health benefits during allergy season but, be careful, it still counts as sugar and should be limited. Women should be consuming no more than 30 grams of added sugar daily. A tablespoon of honey is 17 grams of sugar!
6. Egg whites or whole eggs?
Both. First, egg yokes have a bad rap. There are tons of great nutrients in the yoke. However, its important to think about the macro-nutrients and balancing your meals. Egg whites are protein, while the yoke are protein and fat (not bad fat, just a good amount of it). I like mixing one or two whole eggs with 2 or 3 egg white. This keeps the macro-nutrients balanced.
7. How many days a week should I workout?
It depends on the length and intensity of your workouts. If you are doing short, intense (15-20 min) workouts 5-6 days a week are good. If you doing extended sessions of strength training or cardio you could get away with more like 3 or 4 days a week.
8. Cardio or strength training?
In short both, but you can be efficient about it. Get some cardio out of your strength training sessions by completing your workout circuit style, moving directly from one exercise to another and alternating between upper body, lower body and core. Shorten your straight cardio sessions by doing intervals. Instead of going at a comfortable pace for 45 minutes, alternate between high intensity and recover (1-2 minute bursts) for 20 minutes. There are tons of different ways to organize your workout schedule, it all depends on your body and your goals.
9. Is it really 90% diet 10% exercise (or whatever other cliché you might hear about how much more important diet is)?
This statement makes an important point: what you eat plays a large role when trying to change your health and body. However, this implies that workout out is nearly irrelevant. Research shows compliance to an healthy nutrition plan is higher when you are on a regular exercise program as well. That means you are more likely to stick to that diet if you are workout out as well. This complicated relationship between diet and exercise means is impossible to put a really number to it, but the bottom line is a good balance of both will get you to your goals faster.
10. If I were to make one change to my diet, what should it be?
Keep sugar in check! In addition to effect it can have on weight gain. It is also responsible for inflammation which now is widely accepted as he cause for heart disease. Women should consume no more than 30 grams of added sugar a day (the average American consumes close to 75 g a day!). Track your daily sugar intake for a week and make necessary adjustment. I promise you will feel the difference!
BONUS. How do I stay motivated to workout?
Realize that you are worth it. You are stronger than you think!