Eat healthy and stay fat


“I shop at health food stores and when I dine out I eat the healthiest meal on the menu. I am consistent with my workouts and I’m as healthy as a horse. I’ve always believed that nutrition is 80 percent of the weight loss puzzle, but I can’t seem to lower my body fat percentage. What could be holding me back?” — Donna J.

Without knowing your whole story I can’t coach you on what steps to take. However, if you’re drinking plenty of water, getting plenty of sleep and you’re working out effectively, then I would take a wild guess to say your success may lie in the puzzle of nutrition.

On many occasions, I have had clients who workout regularly (a minimum of three times a week for 30 to 60 minutes each time) share with me in our initial meeting that he or she eat healthfully and nutrition is a piece of cake. What many of these clients don’t realize is that just because he or she grocery shop at healthy-related stores like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Wild Oats to name a few, does not mean he or she is eating healthfully. Second, eating healthfully does not mean you are going to automatically lose weight.

Defining what’s healthy

First, not everything you purchase from healthy-related grocery stores is going to be healthy. Matter of fact, many so-called health foods are still made with trans fatty acids, high fructose corn syrup, and white and enriched wheat flour. All three of these ingredients, for instance, may slow or cause your weight loss progress to come to a halt.

Also, just because the food or product is healthy to you doesn’t mean it’s healthy to me, and vice versa. So my recommendation is to continuously revisit what makes a food or product healthy by asking yourself, “Is there a healthier product or food that I may enjoy instead of what I am currently eating?” Learning what makes a product or food healthier is a great way of educating yourself in the process.

Size matters

Often I visit health-related grocery stores and unfortunately, most of the people shopping are a tad overweight. I share this because it is apparent that many people want to be healthier, and eating health-branded foods and products is a testament to their desire to live healthfully.

Though many of these foods and products are healthier than what you have eaten in the past – it is important that you remind yourself that portion size matters. Take nuts and grains for instance. Macadamia nuts and granola may fall under the healthy category, but the consumption of a few can still equate to a high volume of calories. The same goes for bread: It may be whole grain, but how thick are the slices and how many are you eating in one sitting?

Keeping it real

My recommendation is to continue shopping at health-promoted stores. As well, as continue working out regularly. However, by taking a little extra time and journaling EVERYTHING including your workouts and consumption of food and drinks, you will be able to review and reflect on recent activities and implement the changes you believe will get you where you want to be. Good luck!

Robert Ferguson is a nutritionist, researcher, best-selling author, speaker, host, NAACP nominee, creator of the Diet Free Life methodology, and Chief Nutrition Officer at iCoura Health, Inc., who serves on the Presidential Task Force on Obesity for the National Medical Association. E-mail him at, or visit his Web site at



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