healthy eating

3 Reasons Why What You’re Eating is NOT Healthy (Even Though You Think So)

You think what you’re eating is healthy…but is that really true? Here are 3 reasons why you may be eating a fictitious life at a restaurant or home.

1. It has rice…and probably a lot of it!

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Recently, I was trying to trick my father into veganism. It didn’t take long before he commented, “I don’t think there’s meat on this menu, buddy” at Native Foods Café. Not surprisingly, he ordered the Southwestern Burger…which, admittedly, was full of flavor even though it didn’t contain an ounce of animal. Determined to order something more plant-based (or forward if you’re trendy), I scoured the menu for awhile. To my disappointment, I was left with few options. While looking around, I could see the glee on people’s faces while they enjoyed what they thought was a health-conscious choice. I also saw many dishes packed with rice and very little vegetables. Yes, these dishes are healthier options compared to a Big Mac, I will argue that they are from healthy though. In fact, this menu (if you’re not mindful) could still send you into the land of diabetes just as easily as your typical junk food. Let’s be honest; rice is a refined, simple carb that spikes your blood sugar levels and effects your weight loss. Even if you choose wild rice (a whole grain option) you still shouldn’t exceed more than 25% of your plate (for some of the same reasons). Be realistic about this choice and enjoy it for it is…still an indulgence of sorts. Otherwise, cut out the simple carb blast for more veggies.

2. It has yogurt…Mama needs her protein and probiotics!

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Dairy is delicious. Okay,…now that we’ve gotten passed that let’s talk what it really is-An inflammatory punch of growth hormone liquid from a local animal that you don’t even know (shame on you…at least learn his or her name!). I apologize for the sensationalism. Let’s be realistic though. If you’re choosing the most nutrient-dense foods, aren’t there less caloric and processed foods that provide protein and calcium, too? Of course, there is! Dark leafy greens, etc., etc. “But, I need probiotics!!!!” You sure do! Yogurt is basically fermented milk, and you can enjoy a lot of the same benefits by eating other fermented products like kimchi.

3. It has oil….just like the Mediterranean Diet!

Personal Trainer Wisdom: I consider oil a silent weight loss killer. It can undermine all of your efforts to eat healthy with a plant-based focus. Most restaurants drown their veggie offerings with oil to offer the rich taste you and I enjoy. Don’t forget that oil is highly processed and strips down any nutritional benefits that you hope to gain (think phytonutrients and the “good” fat). Since most of the calories in oil come from fat, you may also be eating a dish fattier than the ribeye you’re giving up too. Any oil (including your “heart healthy” extra virgin olive oil) basically transforms a 100 calorie dish into a 300-400 punch. Is it worth it when you would rather save those calories for an Old Fashioned cocktail or dessert? That’s up to you. Just because it’s a veggie dish, though, don’t always think it’s healthy.

Photo Credit:
Eat This–Is this plate really healthy?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
3 Reasons Why What You’re Eating is NOT Healthy (Even Though You Think So)
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

"If You're Trying to Lose Weight, Don't Make These 10 Breakfast Mistakes" Review

My head often spins when I hear what my personal training clients are choosing for breakfast. There’s no doubt about it: Your weight loss is affected by every little choice you make after rolling out of bed. I’ve highlighted the biggest mistakes that you’re making from the MSN article "If You're Trying to Lose Weight, Don't Make These 10 Breakfast Mistakes.”


While toast or a bowl of granola is quick and easy, it's not offering you nearly as much protein as you need to have energy all morning long. You'll just feel blah and end up reaching for a sugary pick-me up. No need to go overboard and slurp down a 30-grams-of-protein shake - 13 to 20 grams is perfect.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Translation: You probably need more protein because there is a protein deficiency as a result of your cereal-donut-cinnamon roll ways. It isn’t permission to overload your diet on protein, though. 13-20 grams of protein is more than enough for the normal human (that’s you…and me!) despite what you hear. Skip the refined carbs (aka Cookie Crunch) and make an organic veggie skillet with onions, green peppers, jalapenos, cubed butternut squash, almonds, hemp seeds, and salsa. Add it to an organic corn tortilla for another twist.


Whether you're pouring a bowl of cereal with fruit, nuts, and coconut, crafting a jar of overnight oats, or whipping up a smoothie, just because you're using all healthy ingredients, doesn't mean it'll help you lose weight. It all boils down to portion sizes, and measuring ingredients (instead of eyeballing) to ensure you stay within your limit.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: If you’ve never measured what you’re eating, you’re most likely pretty far off from what you think. I’d think to think we can rely on our wonderful minds for everything but let’s be honest: It has skewed things in the past, and it might be skewing your breakfast perspective now (maybe your relationship too :) ). Determine the proper intake for you by measuring each of your favorite meals. If you plan to eat those dishes “on repeat” anyway, you might as well be certain you’re getting what you expect.


Sometimes a baked good for breakfast is a necessity, but if you load up on refined carbs and sugar (even if those blueberry muffins are made with flax meal!), you're going to end up feeling super hungry within a few hours after that last bite. If you crave these foods, go for small portions and pair it with a protein smoothie, or bake your own with protein powder, whole grains like rolled oats, and less sugar.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Normally I would overlook this type of paragraph and pretend it never existed. I know that you’ll see it anyway, though. What starts off with the right message—Too Many Refined Carbs (i.e., most cereals, donuts, sugary sweet goodness, etc.)—ends with unconscious permissions and another push for a protein focus. First, a baked good is never a necessity (don’t kid yourself). You can easily keep a jar of organic applesauce or fresh fruits around the house. Nothing in the house? I’m sure you can steer your vehicle towards a quick shop to find them too. If you choose a baked good, call it what it is-An indulgence. Accept the consequences, dance around in glory, and return to your nutritionally balanced habits with meal number two (which will be sooner than later-You haven't fulfilled your nutritional need, and your body will need proper fuel). Second, quit with the protein focus already…you think bigger than that. You need fiber, vitamins, protein, (good) fat, and the million other micro nutrients you can find in your whole foods. If you must indulge in just the small bite of donut, be certain that the rest of your plate is the proper mix of what’s best. A highly processed, nutritionally stripped powder won’t cut it either, Arnold Schwarzenegger.


With all the amazingly delicious options out there for breakfast, it's easy to go a little overboard. Aim for a range between 300 and 400 calories. If you're not into counting calories, Leslie Langevin, MS, RD, CD, of Whole Health Nutrition suggests to eat slowly, and stop eating when you are 80-percent full.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Most of us think we need more calories than we really do. On average, you only need 300-500 calories per meal (a far reach from the typical Midwestern diet). Anything above is mostly stored as fat (or converted into something else nasty…and nobody likes nasty). Since I don’t expect my personal training clients to count the calories of every meal, I think eating slowly and mindfully stopping when appropriate is a great recommendation from Langevin.


A frozen banana here, a scoop of peanut butter there, a big splash of vanilla soy milk - while smoothies are full of healthy ingredients, if you mindlessly throw things in the blender, you could end up sipping down 800 calories or more! The same goes for specialty coffee drinks. Make sure you look at the menu before ordering a 500-calorie Frappuccino.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Smoothies aren’t always as healthy as you think. Often sugar-packed smoothies are more dangerous than a Snickers bar. Even if you mindfully choose a slate of healthy ingredients, the caloric amount can exceed what you need. Stick to the 300-500 calorie rule for your liquid meals and be mindful of the sugar content.

Photo Credit:–Is this smoothie really helping your weight loss or health goals?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article "If You're Trying to Lose Weight, Don't Make These 10 Breakfast Mistakes" on (PopSugar).
"If You're Trying to Lose Weight, Don't Make These 10 Breakfast Mistakes" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

Weight Loss: The Diet Questions You MUST Ask Yourself

Maybe the reason why you’re not losing weight is because you’re not asking yourself the right questions. Write down what you currently eat for 3 days and then ask yourself the following:

Caloric Amounts

How many calories do you typically consume per meal? Most personal training clients lose weight within the daily caloric range of 1200-1500 calories (you must determine the healthiest amount for you). To do this, you must limit your calorie intake to 3-400 calories per meal. Do they exceed this amount? What food items typically push you over the limit? How will you minimize these items?

Breakdown of Each Meal

You always want to eat with intent, and choose the most nutrient dense foods. "Cutting calories is enough for me, thank you, Mr. Personal Trainer," says you in response. The truth is that your Personal Trainer will help you lose 5-10 lbs initially with a caloric deficit. After that, though, you may hit a wall as your body processes the malnutrition of your choices, inflammation, fluctuating blood sugar levels, and more. Consider this - A typical meal should contain the following ratios:

· 45-55% Plant Nutrients/Vegetables (dark green, starchy, red/orange, etc.)
· 25-40% Protein (lean white meat, fish, soy, eggs, vegetables, nuts, beans, etc.)
· 25% Fiber (beans, legumes, fruit, seeds, vegetables, etc.)

What is the typical ratio for each of your meals? Does your meat intake exceed the number of plants on your plate? What do you typically favor for each meal? Are you still following the ‘Food Pyramid’ from the 1970's?


Our bodies are equipped to handle quite a bit. Like the rest of nature, the human body has boundaries, too. The following items have been scientifically proven to cause weight gain, inflammation, and more:

· Grains including whole grains or all-bran products (breads, crackers, rice, cereals, etc.)
· Processed foods (products with additives and preservatives; genetically modified foods; or anything else not in its whole, natural form)
· Dairy (butter, milk, and cheese processed from animals)
· Alcohol, refined sugar, and artificial sweeteners
· Animal protein with high levels of saturated fat (red meat, pork, wild game, etc.)

How much of each item do you typically consume within a meal? a day? What do you choose the most? Which items are you willing to cut out or cut down 15%? 30%? How will you minimize these foods? What tasty options will you substitute? Are you being stubborn (I kid, I kid, I kid…or am I :p)?

Amount of Fruit Sugars, Grains, and Simple Carbs

How much do you consume of these choices within each meal? Is more than 25% of each meal fruit, whole grains, and simple carbs? Ever wonder why vegans and vegetarians struggle with weight loss? It's most likely a result of their fruit sugar, whole grain, and simple carb (delicious Girl Scout cookies, ALL breads, rice, crackers, chips, candy, ice cream, and everything else devilish that you crave) consumption. Anything above 15 grams of fruit sugar per meal will spike your blood sugar levels...not ideal for losing weight and maintaining stable insulin levels (refined sugars have a worse, quicker acting effect). Simple carbs, as well as whole grains, can do the same. Disclaimer: The fiber in the whole grains will offset this effect in smaller amounts. What is the refined and fruit sugar breakdown of your favorite meals? Are there more nutrient dense alternatives than your typical fruit sugar, grain, and simple carb choices that will provide the fiber you need?


How many calories do you think you consume in a single week from alcohol? If you live in the Midwest, eating and drinking is most likely part of your culture (not your fault :) ). Since alcohol is basically a liquid grain packed with a lot of sugar (of course, there are exceptions), it will also spike your blood sugar levels. If drinking alcohol is part of your diet, what are you willing to exchange in return? In other words…when you order alcohol, what other simple carbs or sugars are you exchanging (i.e. 1 beer instead of 2 scoops of rice)? What low calorie, low sugar alcohol options are you willing to consider to achieve your weight loss goals?

Timing of Meals

What time do you eat each meal? Timing is everything, and it usually takes 3-5 for proper digestion and absorption. You want to avoid eating more food than your body can process at a given time (you know what happens then). At the same time, you want to limit any nutritional deficiency (who knows how your body will compensate). Do you ever feel stuffed or starved? Do you typically take more or less than 3-5 hours in-between meals?

Number of Snacks

How often do you snack? You typically eat snacks because you're hungry (or bored...and that's a separate post). Listen to this cue! Erase the idea of snacking though... it's just a filler food choice. You should always eat with intent, and your body is most likely ready for another meal. Choose a combination with the ratio above in mind - even if it's only 100 calories. What thoughtful combination can you substitute? Should you rearrange you meal schedule instead?

Photo Credit:–Is weight loss more than calorie tracking? You may need to ask yourself the right questions to find out.

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
Weight Loss: The Diet Questions You MUST Ask Yourself
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

"Is pizza healthy?" Review

Finally…the most important question of our times will be answered: Is pizza healthy? Find out here (from the article "Is pizza healthy?" Review).

Pizza is healthy. And it isn't healthy.

Depending on the type of crust, the amount of cheese and the toppings used, pizza can rank anywhere from nutritionally decent to a diet disaster.

Even healthy pizzas deliver a good amount of sodium from tomato sauce and cheese, so if you are watching your salt intake, you should eat with caution. Of course, the size of the slice and the number of slices you eat count, too.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: “To be or not to be….that is the question” is what I thought of when reading the first line of this article. Let’s be honest, you, like I, have been lured in by CNN with their Shakespearean introduction. Without any further banter, the author dives right in to answer this question. Without further ado, let’s evaluate:

While I also think that there is a spectrum of “healthiness” when considering a slice of pizza, I want to assure you of one thing right away: Pizza isn’t healthy. It fails miserably to reach your nutritional ratio of need and the main ingredients (cheese and crust) will most eventually send you to the ER with heart disease or diabetes (If you don’t believe it, check out published lists of the number killers of Americans).

With this being said, I absolutely love pizza. I worked in a pizza kitchen for three years in high school and often dream about dancing slices. If you do the same, be honest with yourself: It is a treat, not a nutritional meal. We can call it a filler as well (and you may feel filled up while you sleep on the floor after eating it). What if you plan to eat it anyway? Then, this is what you should know. Putting aside the ingredients, the sodium is usually a big problem. You shouldn’t eat consume more than 1000-1500 mg of sodium per day, and a personal pan pizza will give you at least that. Definitely be mindful of your portions.

Pizza pros include the fact that it offers calcium from cheese and disease-fighting lycopene from tomatoes. And pizza crust made with whole-wheat flour (including whole white wheat flour) is healthier than regular white crust, as it offers whole grains and fiber and is digested more slowly than refined grains.

But what you put on your pizza can significantly impact its nutritional value. Toppings such pepperoni, sausage and extra cheese can boost saturated fat, sodium, and calories, while slices made with thinner crusts and topped with veggies tend to have lower calorie, saturated fat and sodium counts.

For example, a large slice of Pizza Hut's Thin 'N Crispy Veggie Lovers pizza has 240 calories, 4 grams of saturated fat and 710 milligrams of sodium. But a large slice of the chain's Meat Lovers pan pizza with pepperoni, sausage, ham, bacon, pork, and beef has 480 calories, 10 grams of saturated fat and 1,180 milligrams of sodium.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: First, dairy can cause inflammation in the body. If you’re seeking calcium, choose more nutrient-dense sources like dark leafy greens (yes, I know…not as exciting). Second, whole grains can also cause inflammation as; they are highly processed and lack nutrition density, and they spike your blood sugar levels (though not as much as white flour). Unless whole grains are in the whole form, don’t convince yourself that you’re making a healthy choice here. Translation: If you crave this treat, go all in with the white flour crust but less of it.

The second part of this section regarding the ingredients is dead on. You control whether this garbage can fire turns into a 5-alarm fire. Calories, fat, and sodium are the main culprits….your toppings will determine how far off the cliff you fall (especially if you’re already dancing on the line with the other choices you’ve made that day). By the way, Chicago has so many great options for pizza you should avoid anything with “Hut” in the name.

Frozen pizzas can be a convenient dinner, but they too can vary regarding ingredients and nutritional value, especially with sodium counts, so it's important to read labels carefully (some contain small amounts of trans fats, too). Dairy-free and gluten-free pizzas are available, but as with their traditional counterparts, their healthfulness varies.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Short and sweet: Avoid the frozen pizzas. More processed, less fresh, and the taste rarely compares to the real experience. Keep in mind that I ate one frozen pizza per weight to help with my misguided, immature attempts to gain weight and muscle.

When it comes to kids and pizza, one recent study concluded that pizza consumption among children and adolescents was associated with a higher daily calorie intake and higher intakes of saturated fat and sodium. The study also found that pizza eaten as a snack or from fast-food restaurants had the greatest negative impact on calorie intake.

Pizza consumed in schools did not significantly affect children's calorie intake, probably because it may not be that nutritionally different from other school entrees, according to study authors.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Repeat after me “Kids cannot eat whatever they want”. I know…you don’t believe me because they’re not overweight and they can “burn it off”. Don’t kid yourself, though (pun intended). The biggest phase of a child’s physical development occurs between the ages of newborn to 8/9 (and I can argue to the age of 18-21).

Consider this: Would you give your car watered-down fuel or oil? Probably not because you know that it won’t run efficiently (and may break down during your busy life). The same applies to your child when he or she needs the best fuel for a pivotal point in his or her life. You don’t need to completely remove it from your child’s life…just view it, again, as a treat, not a weekly meal (and make sure your child understands why).

If you enjoy pizza on a regular basis, try making it at home using healthier ingredients, such as whole-wheat English muffins, part-skim mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce without added salt. And don't forget to top it with lots of vegetables; the more colorful your pizza, the better!

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Please don’t enjoy pizza on a regular basis. Despite the efforts to make it healthy, it isn’t a great source of nutritional fuel. I often order a cheeseless pizza with extra vegetables. It is my attempt to lessen the effects while still enjoying one of my favorite indulgences. Ultimately, though, life isn’t about living perfectly. Whatever you indulge in, be sure to realistically assess its value and think about its relationship to the other choices for that day. With that being said, who wants to grab 1-2 small slices of pizza?

Photo Credit: – Are the extra ingredients really the difference?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article "Is Taking a Multivitamin Worth the Risks?" on
"Is pizza healthy?" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

"14 Ways to Lose a Pound a Day" Review

Are you ready to jump on the weight loss wagon before the start of summer? I've found a few ways that you probably haven't tried yet (from the weight loss list "14 Ways to Lose a Pound a Day").


I’m not here to tell you that you’ve got to give up your sweets, comfort foods or guilty added sugars—the sugars and syrups added to foods and drinks when they’re processed or prepared. You’ll learn how to spot them, eliminate them, and break free of them for life. The result will be almost instantaneous weight loss....test panelist Sandy Villegas, 62, of Monroe Township, NJ, tried diet plans like Weight Watchers, but says: “I was not eating healthy because I ate a lot of refined carbs every day. Pretty soon, I noticed I was hitting a weight loss plateau, and my stomach was as bloated as ever!” After two weeks of eliminating added sugars....“My stomach is gone,” she says, “and my husband lost six pounds!”

Personal Trainer Wisdom: As we know, not all calories are the same. The perfect start to changing your diet is to dissect the list of ingredients of each item. What is in your favorite foods? Do you really know? Many experts tell you to avoid ketchup because of high fructose syrup. Did you know that Heinz makes ketchup with all natural ingredients and zero high fructose syrup (Simply Heinz)? Before you remove everything from your weight loss diet, a simple change in your products could be the answer.


By simply ensuring your foods have enough fiber, ....they slow the progress of carbohydrates through your body; it gives you a continuous, steady dose of energy, so you never get the “I’m empty” signal. Oh, you’ll eat plenty of food, but not because you’re ravenous. Because it tastes so good! Fiber also lowers the glycemic index (GI) of foods, meaning the rate at which they’re turned into toxic blood sugar, leading to all sorts of health benefits. In fact, a review from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center discovered that habitual intake of fiber from whole grains reduced the risk of coronary heart disease by 20 to 40 percent, and the risk of diabetes by 20 to 30 percent.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: On the other hand, whole grains can also lead you down the path of diabetes or lead to weight gain. Despite the health claims, whole grains are a mix bag of beans (pun intended). It is a valuable source of fiber but it can also be destructive to your health. IF you incorporate unprocessed whole grains (oats, bulger, wild rice, etc.) in your weight loss diet, never consume more than 1 serving or a quarter of your plate for each meal. Or choose a serving of the less inflammatory portion of beans.


It’s easy to give up the added sugars because, after just 14 days, the sweet stuff will taste too sweet. That’s the secret to long lasting results... Test panelist Tara Anderson, 42, of Leonardo, NJ, says that after four weeks... “What I love about it is the way it’s retrained my taste buds. I have had a little sugar a few times, and it’s way too sweet now. I’m still trying to get used to coffee without sugar!” Better yet, it’s helped her feel healthier overall. “The best part for me is not feeling sick anymore or having migraines! I feel really good and will continue this way of life."

Personal Trainer Wisdom: The same applies to salt. The more you eat with each meal the more immune you become to it's natural, robust flavor. You might be surprised how little you need of each when you retrain your taste buds (and mind).


I found proof that it just doesn’t work. Researchers in Australia looked at different kinds of diets, including low-sugar and high-protein diets, to see if they made a difference in how the dieters’ bodies reacted. They put all of the subjects on the same number of calories, and broke them into four groups, trying out variations on high- and low-protein and high and low-sugar plans. They found that all things being equal, reducing sugar helped people lose weight faster, even when overall calories remained the same. In short, a high-carb, low-sugar diet was the best for cutting both fat and cardiovascular risk.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Hmmmm....the author says don’t count calories but everyone on these diets were on the same number of calories. The moral of the story here is that substance is king. The simple analysis of calories in vs. calories out isn't enough. Again, though, you can still have too much of a good thing (think: Watching Gilmore Girls over and over and over....). I've witnessed personal training clients gain weight while cutting out inflammatory foods and more. Keep your overall calorie count at the appropriate level for your body.


Becoming more aware—not just of what you eat, but of every aspect of your daily life— can have a serious impact on your body and your overall health. In a 2015 study, Brown University researchers asked nearly four hundred people to complete a mindfulness-awareness survey. Then, they X-rayed the subjects’ bellies to determine their degree of belly fat. What they found was that the higher people scored on the mindfulness survey, the less visceral fat they were likely to have! In fact, people who are less mindful have, on average, an extra pound of fat inside their bellies.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Mindfulness and meditation may not only help you minimize the emotional connection to your foods but they will also help you minimize your stress (which can also lead to less belly fat).


Every can of Coke has the sugar equivalent of four Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts. And the soda industry is doing every they can to help you forget that. Coca-Cola was recently unmasked as the number one sponsor of the Academy of Pediatrics’ website, and it has given nearly $3 million to the academy over the past six years, according to The New York Times. And recent studies finding that a lack of energy expenditure in adolescents contributed greatly to the obesity crisis turn out to have been funded by Coke. Fight back by swapping your soda for unsweetened Honest Tea or Tejava Tea instead—each has zero sugar.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Repeat after me "ALL flavored sodas (regular and diet) are treats not drinks....ALL flavored sodas (regular and diet) are treats not drinks....ALL flavored sodas (regular and diet) are treats not drinks....."


You’re probably eating them without even knowing it. “Ultra-processed” foods now make up more than half of all calories consumed in the United States, according to a 2016 report in the online journal BMJ Open. “Ultra-processed” means any product that uses a non-food substance (preservatives, emulsifiers, artificial flavorings) that you simply wouldn’t use in a recipe you were making from scratch. And that, by the way, is where 90 percent of all our added sugar comes from.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: If you can't pronounce the name of the ingredient in your favorite food, your body most likely won’t process it well. Your choice: Do you want your body to waste it's energy on foreign invaders or help you efficiently lose weight?

How else do you think you can lose a pound a day?

Picture Credit: your cup helping you gain weight?

More to Read:
Are you ready to try a few weight loss tricks from a personal trainer in Chicago? Check out 6 Things 'Successful Diets Have In Common.


Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article " 14 Ways to Lose a Pound a Day " on
"14 Ways to Lose a Pound a Day" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.