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Weight Loss Q&A

Weight Loss Q&A

Last week I went to facebook to ask for YOUR questions about weight loss. A great majority of you asked me for general weight loss advice, so I feel it important to fill you in on my general weight loss philosophy in hopes that casting a wide net will address a lot of these questions. Also, keep in mind that this is a very basic approach to weight loss aimed at being a primer for those of you who could benefit from knowing the basics. We can get into more specifics in future, but I’m hoping there is something here for everyone who asked for my help.

Simple and Healthy Food

First let’s start with simply prepared, fresh, clean food. Why? It’s no secret that many popular processed foods you find today have preservatives, chemicals, and other potential toxins. Some toxins are “water-soluble” and leave the body through your waste. There are other toxins that are not water-soluble and are therefore stored in fat cells. This means that as long as your body keeps ingesting toxins it has to maintain, or grow more, fat cells to store these toxins.

The solution… DON’T CONSUME TOXINS, and you can do this by eating fresh (organic whenever possible) foods that are not processed or laden with preservatives. Prepare these pure ingredients simply using natural seasonings, herbs, spices, and healthy oils. You can stay away from sodium-rich and preservative-heavy marinades and seasoning blends by using higher quality ingredients and allowing the natural flavors of the food become the flavor that you enjoy. All in all, once your body begins to rid itself of toxins, it can begin to rid itself of the fat that it needs for storage. This can also lead to improved health overall as your body becomes more pure.

But what about all of the other toxins in our environment?! It’s true that there are a lot of toxins surrounding us that we cannot avoid, but the food you ingest is one of the things that you CAN control.


This is easy to understand!! Calories are fuel for energy. Your body only needs so much energy to burn. If you are taking in more fuel than you need then it gets converted to fat. How much fuel do you need? That depends on your current age, weight, and fitness/exercise level. For most people the magic number is 2000 calories. There are a lot of great services out there that can calculate how many calories you need to consume, taking your personal factors into consideration, to attain your goal weight.

But only eating 2000 calories leaves me hungry!! Cravings are natural as your body becomes accustomed to your changing diet, and satiating those desires is not always negative. The question is, “what are you eating to calm those cravings?” A handful of chips? Some supposedly “healthy” snack that is laden with sugar and empty calories? Most popular chip brands contain about 100 calories for a mere 10 chips. You could eat 3 to 4 times as many veggies at that same calorie count, get that full feeling you desire, plus you are gaining added nutrients and natural fiber. Still don’t feel full or that satiated feeling doesn’t last? Your body is probably craving fat, and not all fat is bad!! Eat a half of an avocado or some hummus with your veggies to take that full feeling even further.

Stick to water! Take a look at your favorite “throughout-the-day” beverage and you’ll see that a majority of them are loaded with sugar and calories. Even most fruit juices (unless 100% fresh squeezed) and health drinks contain unnecessary calories. Diet sodas contain a lot of chemical sweeteners (potential toxins) and confuses your body’s metabolism by making it think it is about to receive sugar and calories, thus leading to you craving more calories whenever your body doesn’t receive what it wants. The answer to this is water. Need a little sweetness and carbonation? Club soda with a slice of lime can fix that. Need a little caffeine? Coffee or tea is calorie-free so long as you can stay away from the pump of vanilla syrup. Water is also key to flushing out the toxins released through weight loss and cleansing your system to help increase metabolism.


Adults need 15 minutes of moderate-to-intense physical activity every day. NO EXUSES! Do it. Are you doing it yet? Start now. Stop reading this blog post and go for a walk. Move something on your body!! There is no excuse (except for the one below).

But I’m sick/disabled! Consult your doctor or a physical therapist to determine activities that are available to you. Also, work with your dietician and physician to determine what your BMR (Basal Meditative Rate) is so you know the proper calorie intake should be for your personal level of activity.

Fad/Crash Diets

I don’t believe in depriving yourself of all of the things you desire in life. My focus is on moderation. Moderate consumption of healthy food and moderate exercise can lead to a slow, but eventual, reduction in weight and increase of overall health and wellness. Fad diets do not work because they often involve extreme deprivation and are unsustainable. They act as a polar the opposite of extreme eating and often lead a person to dramatically swinging from one side to the other. You deprive yourself for the sake of one “cheat day.” As the suffering from the extremeness of the diet becomes too much, you cheat more and destroy the whole purpose of what you intended to happen in the first place. “I only ate 1000 calories on Monday, but then I cheated and consumed 3000 on Tuesday.” Moderation would have saved you all of that trouble (alongside the guilty feeling on Tuesday). Moderation works because too much rapid weight loss is bad for your health, starving yourself – quite frankly – sucks, and is something that you can continue successfully after you reach your ideal weight.

Be Happy

The ultimate takeaway is to be happy with who you are. If you’re not happy at your current weight or fitness level, take the appropriate steps to get to where you want to be. Most of all, BE PATIENT with your progress. Expecting too much too soon can lead to disappointment and a relapse back to the way you once were. You have to learn to take joy in small achievements. With every successive step you take, you will begin to feel better about yourself and become more encouraged to take further steps. Above all that, know that I believe that you can do it!!



  1. This is wonderful advice, Chef Robert and I have to say the part about drinking water, for me, is the best. Water is the best way to lose weight and to stay healthy.

  2. Crystal Carr Jones

    Thanks I really need help. .. this is like diet impossible. … I got married for the first time at the age of 44 and Me and my husband gained 25lbs. I’ve never had to diet before in my life. ..I didn’t realize it was so hard !!! HELP HELP HELP!

  3. Very good advice for sick/disabled peeps like me! That’s exactly what a good doc would want his patients to do! I have the problem of an inability to keep weight on. I eat all organic, 10+ servings of veggies & fruit/day, extremely low sodium–it’s been fun learning how to cook so differently, and retrain my palate to enjoy my creations (I use lots of acids to add flavor, esp. vinagers, which have no sodium but lots of flavor!) I make my own stocks so I know exactly what’s in them–and they taste incredible with absolutely no salt! Any recipe can be tweeked-you just have to have the right attitude and keep trying new things. I love Robert’s marinara sauce (the one that uses the emersion blender)! Also, fresh herbs are essential!. I was also told by my nutritionist to have several high protein snacks everyday, as the drastic weight loss I’ve encountered is affecting my muscle mass. Exercise is limited to walking, light weights due to the fact I am not allowed to lift more than 10 lbs. Thank you, Chef Robert, for your great advice and making cooking so much fun for me!!! You’re my hero! Your friend, Susan

  4. Robert I have more of a question than a comment. I truly have physical limitations, I will not say that I am handicapped although 2 artificial hips, Cervical Fusion, Lumbar Fusion from L- 2 to S-1 some people would say I fit the handicapped profile. Since I trust you more than most physical therapists please give me advice to help me maintain a healthy weight and descent diet.

    • Mark! I love the determination in what you wrote. I am not a physical therapist or a doctor, so all I could say is, “eat what’s good for you and move the things that don’t hurt.” Considering your lower body limitations, have you thought about a hand bike for cardio?

  5. my 10 year old daughter has gained weight this past year. She has always been tall and thin and in shape. But when her dad went overseas for a year and she became depressed and slowly gained weight. Now I have a hard time motivating her to exercise and eat right. I have starting taking her for walks with me several times a week and going to the pool. But, she is such a picky eater and will avoid eating anything healthy and has even starting sneaking foods from friends houses. I saw the episode when you helped rebuild a after school program for kids. She loves you and your shows and asks can I make some of the stuff you do. You showed how make several healthy meals that taste great. I wanted know if you have a kids cook book, or would think of doing one? You could change a lot kids lives with a book that encourages kids eat better. Can you give me some advise or maybe send me some recipes to my email.Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for your time. Caroline from Summerville SC my email Boots555@aol.com

  6. Good article! One thing I want to point out is BMR= Basal Metabolic Rate (not meditative).

  7. This is such great advice. I lost 60 lbs when I was in undergrad about 5 years ago and have kept it off by eating “whole” foods and exercising regularly. Skipping processed food has also really helped my husband with Crohn’s disease (although he can’t digest whole grains or raw veggies, which complicates things a little, but it’s doable). I truly don’t miss processed food anymore and find that it is very hard for me to overeat this way because real food is so delicious and satisfying. I used to be so worried about macros and calories, and while I definitely try to eat a variety of foods everyday (always lots of veggies!), I feel like I have a lot of freedom now. If you’re focusing on eating real food you can’t really go wrong :) And there are SO MANY options, I love making my grocery list every week…If we can do this, anybody can!

  8. Water is always the better choice, but this is the hardest choice for me to make. THANK YOU Chef for all the advice. What I respect the most about you is the willingness to help others. Sincerely Thank you.

  9. I made the mistake of trying store bought humus absolutely discusting! What is a great homemade humus? Also getting mixed advice if humus is ok for diabetics. Any advice here? Thanks!

  10. Michelle Gulledge

    My problem is strange, my husband needs to gain 25 pounds where I need to lose about 30. Always having a problem with a meal plan that helps us both!

  11. love your advice,I try to keep away from “whites ” does that include all types of white? Jasmine, basmati…? Like to see more healthy eating shows on foodnetwork. See you Sunday in Ulster!!!