What’s the best diet for weight loss?

What’s the best diet for weight loss? Adkins, the Zone, low-carb, high-carb, low-fat, no sugar, wheat-free, dairy-free, low-cal, Paleo, vegan, HCG?

There are a lot of diets out there promising to be the answer to your weight loss prayers. All you need to do is buy their books or supplements or prepared meals and the pounds will start falling off. Many claim to have scientific research to support their views on nutrition and health.

Yet most fail to be the panacea they represent themselves as.

While it’s certainly possible to find people who’ve lost weight following each of these diets, there are also lots who haven’t lost a pound. Perhaps we only hear about the success stories. When was the last time someone told you they had religiously followed a popular diet and failed to lose weight?

Recently, I attended the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference in Denver, Colorado. For me, the biggest take home message of the conference could be summed up by the following slide (taken from Dr. James Hill’s presentation, “The Importance of Evidence Based Approaches to Health and Wellness”);

Dr. James Hill

Source: Sacks FS. et al. NEJM 2009;360(9) 859-873.

On the left (circled) at the number of people who lost weight; some ‘big’ losers, a few moderate losers. On the far right are the people who gained weight; as much as 5 kg by the end of the study. Most people are in the middle; at about the same weight they were when they started the diet. Note that the people in the study were all obese (BMI > 30), not those aiming to lose the ‘last 10 pounds’.

(What this figure doesn’t tell us is how hard each of the diets is to adhere to; however, sample sizes in each group are the same, so all of the individuals pictured above made it to the end of the study. Perhaps I should write a post about diet adherence)

The take home message? Macronutrient manipulation is not important to weight loss for the clinically obese. Reducing calories is. Unless you have specific dietary issues (e.g., allergic to gluten or dairy or nuts), any calorically restrictive diet you choose will be equally likely to lead to weight loss.

So, what’s the best diet for weight loss? Any diet that you can stick with for as long as it takes the weight to come off.

Eat less, move more, forget cutting out entire food groups and don’t worry so much about your carb to protein to fat ratio.

Now some of you may remember that I’ve been playing around with macronutrients in my own diet. Specifically, I’ve been looking at programs that encourage people to reduce their intake of particular carbohydrates. While I’m not finished with my research, I do think that prescriptions for weight loss in the obese and those trying to lose ‘those last 10 pounds’ are different.

However, that topic really merits a post of it’s own too. Stay tuned…

Have you ever tried one of the diets pictured above?

What type of results did you get? Was it hard to stick to? 

AND, if you haven’t yet entered my giveaway for Arbonne Makeup Primer and a $40 Arbonne gift card, there’s still time!

Disclaimer: I know I’ve told you this already, but my registration to the FHBC was sponsored by Refuel with Chocolate Milk and FitFluential. Any misinterpretations of the data are my own!

Healthy eating on the road: Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference recap

I often struggle with healthy eating on the road. So many high fat, high sugar, high calorie options. When I can, I make sure to pack my own meals and snacks.

But that’s not always possible, especially when I’m traveling by air (fruit, veggies, eggs and meat can’t be transported between Canada and the US) and living in a hotel (with few restaurant or grocery store options within walking distance) for several days.

Thankfully, the organizers and sponsors of the recent Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference in Denver made healthy eating on the road a top priority! Clearly, they understand the importance of energizing food to the creative task of writing! (Healthy living bloggers LOVE to eat!).

Each morning, the conference sponsors treated us to a breakfast of mouthwatering berries (Driscoll’s; I ate at least 6 pints of raspberries in 2 days and lived the benefit of a high-fiber diet!), Greek yogurt (Better Whey of Life; whom I found via Twitter are available at Loblaws and Safeway in Canada!), granola (Love Grown Foods; the granola I’ve recently found at my local Superstore and fallen in love with!),

Driscoll's Berries

and whole grain cereal (Attune Foods; I managed to fit the whole boxy in my carry-on and thanks for the T-shirt Andrew!).

Uncle Sam cereal

Snacks included maple energy bars (Pure Canadian Maple Syrup; the bars were amazing and I ate way more than my share! Didn’t even manage to get a photo but you can grab the energy bar recipe here), chocolate milk (Refuel with Chocolate Milk; great for quenching my never-ending thirst in the 100+ degree sun), chocolate-covered nutty energy bites from Goodness Knows (I’m suffering withdrawal symptoms today), dried cherries (Choose Cherries; fabulous on your morning oats!) more berries and granola and some chocolate covered calcium from Adora (can’t think of a better way to get my daily calcium than through fine chocolate, can you?).

attune foods

These are all products you can pack in your OWN cooler or picnic basket to ensure good health and digestion on your summer travels!

The conference was held at the Anshutz Health and Wellness Center on the Medical Campus of the University of Colorado and included a tour of their metabolic kitchen, a healthy cooking demonstration (with an incredible snack of red lentils, marinated chicken and fennel and watermelon salad)

and dinner (with options for vegans) provided by sponsor Chipotle Mexican Grill and Chef Paulo himself!

Clearly, we ate well (as apparently, the campus wildlife do too!).


There may even have been the odd sweet indulgence;


but you know what they say, “What happens at FHBC12 stays at FHBC12”!

The conference was about so much more than food and healthy eating, but since food is life, I thought where better to start my travel tales!

Disclaimer: Although FitFluential and Refuel with Chocolate Milk sponsored my attendance at the 2012 Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference, all opinions about the products I sampled at the conference are my own!




What to pack for a Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference?

I’ve been to many, many conferences in my life. Most of them were stuffy, academic meetings. T-shirts and shorts and Birkenstocks affairs. The only things I really had to remember to pack were my presentation slides (this is back in the day when we actually used slide projectors) and my resume (academic conferences are all about finding your next post).

Today, I’m in Denver at the 2012 Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference courtesy of FitFluential and Refuel with Chocolate Milk. Thanks so much guys for the sponsorship!

I wasn’t really sure what to pack. I don’t own Birkenstocks any more. I’m not giving a presentation. And  I don’t need another job.

Given the weather forecast, I’m not sure I’ll need my Lululemon hoody or new hand knit sweater. (Note that the evening lows are higher than the daytime highs we’ve been having in Vancouver; I will probably melt). But then again, I tend to freeze in air conditioning.


All I really need to take is comfortable clothing (including workout gear; I believe there will be many opportunities to exercise), my camera and iPad for ‘real time’ blogging, some knitting for the plane ride,

fitknitchick knitting

and a whole stack of ‘blog’ cards to exchange with all the new blogger friends I’m hoping to meet.

What I’m most excited about (besides getting a 4-day vacation from my children) is meeting all of the bloggers that I regularly interact with on Facebook and Twitter IRL (that’s In Real Life)!

Wishing you all a wonderful, movement-filled weekend! Back with a conference recap next week! (Unless I can’t hold off and sneak in a few updates in real time!)

Have you ever been to a fitness bloggers conference?

What was your favourite part of the event?

More than you ever wanted to know about fitknitchick

Happy Tuesday!

Are you ready for more randomness?

1. This week’s theme on Tuesday Trainer is ‘Rest week – Getting to know your trainers’. That means there’s no exercise video, just a clip of my answers to the three questions Lindsay posed last Thursday. Have a look (or not) and tell me what your answers would be! (If you’re desperate for a workout, check out my Upper Body Bootcamp video).

2. I’ve been nominated by the lovely Elle (of Eat Run Sail) for The Lovely Blog Award. The award is essentially a way of making bloggers reveal deep, dark secrets about themselves. Things they might not otherwise write about (unless they’re had a glass of wine first). I need to answer some questions (again, with the questions!) and tag some other bloggers to spill their guts too. Thanks so much Elle for the nomination and shout out!


I’m going to break the proverbial chain and only follow the first two steps. I’m hoping nothing terrible will happen to my husband or children as a consequence.

Seven things about myself (presumably things that you don’t already know):

  1. I can’t whistle without a blade of grass between my thumbs.
  2. I once jumped out of a moving car to avoid something terrible happening to myself and a friend.
  3. I dislike wearing shorts; short skirts are fine, shorts are not.
  4. I received my Canada Cord in Girl Guides (the highest honour attainable!).
  5. I was the only cheerleader on my squad who couldn’t do the splits.
  6. My favourite chocolate bar is an Almond Joy. I always buy one when in the United States.
  7. My youngest son’s name is Adam only because we were tired of looking through the baby name books by the time he came along. We never made it to the ‘B’s’.

3. I’m celebrating a 2-FO week; that’s two finished objects (knitting, remember?) in one week. Never mind the fact that they’ve both been on the needles for at least two months. I won’t show you pictures of the socks I knit for my daughter because you’ve seen the yarn at least three times already. Yeah, it’s been that long.

I will, however, show you the lovely cardigan I made for myself. I plan on wearing it to this week’s Fitness and Health Blogger’s Conference in Denver and thought that those of you who are going might appreciate knowing what I look like (and what I’ll be wearing to the Thursday evening reception, in case you want to coordinate with me) in advance!

Hand knit sweater

Pattern is Pas de Valse knit in Saffron Dyeworks Pali Sport

Now tell me something random about you! 

Want to meet your favourite health and fitness bloggers in real life? Go to a conference!

Before I became a fitness professional and blogger, I spent many years as an academic researcher. One of my favourite parts of the job was travelling to conferences to present my research and meet others who shared the same interests and passions that I do.

I recently discovered that conferences are not unique to the academic world. Health and fitness bloggers have them too! I’d love to attend this June’s Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference in Denver, Colorado, in part, because I’ve never visited Denver before, but also because FitFluential will be there to talk about blogging and branding and social media. How fun would it be to meet up with some of my new, online blogging friends!

Even more exciting is the possibility of winning a scholarship that covers the cost of registration to the three-day event! Refuel With Chocolate Milk is graciously sponsoring 40 FitFluential members to attend the conference. Perhaps I’ll be one of them?

On that note, I thought I’d share with you one of my favourite ‘double-header fitness days’  shakes. The one I drink in the hour between my Monday Step & Pump and Spin classes. It’s got carbohydrates to refuel after the first class, protein to stabilize blood sugars, potassium to aid muscle recovery and caffeine to pump me up before I get on the bike!

Fitknitchick’s Chocolate Espresso Energy Shake:

  • 1 cup low fat milk or chocolate milk
  • 1 Tbsp no sugar, no salt added peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup espresso
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1/2 banana
  • ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. I like to leave it in the freezer for an hour before I leave the house; by the time I get to drink it, it’s slightly slushy and icy cold!

What’s your favourite way to enjoy milk?