Toronto Personal Training Lisa Bergart weighs in on the big questions about diets and calorie counting.

With 80 per cent of her members working towards a weight loss goal this spring, Toronto Dynamix Fitness Personal Trainer Lisa Bergart has some important messages about healthy eating plans.


What is the main reason why people want to lose weight? 

“There is an innate desire in all of us to look a certain way myself included. But, I wish we could shift our focus to having goals like achieving a certain amount of exercise and good nutrition each week, from which weight loss is a bonus. That way our goals are more about the effort we put in and how that makes us feel, instead of how we look.

What’s your key message about healthy eating? 

Start by asking yourself: can I maintain this eating plan for life? If the answer is no, then it’s not worth doing because it won’t be sustainable. Good nutrition needs to be ongoing otherwise you’re simply setting yourself up to fall off the wagon.

What’s the difference between a ‘healthy eating plan’ and a ‘fad diet’? 

A healthy eating plan can be maintained for as long as you live, it’s a sustainable solution to fuelling your body well. Your plan should be tailored to suit your unique nutritional needs and there may be a bit of trial and error required to find out exactly what works for you. Where as fad diets are often a one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss.

Aim to enjoy a wide variety of nutritious food from these four groups every day:

  • 1.Plenty of vegetables, including different types and colours, and legumes/beans;
  • 2.Fruit;
  • 3.Grain foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high fibre varieties, such as brown rice, quinoa,couscous, oats,and barley;
  • 4.Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans;
  • Plus, drink plenty of water.

Does a healthy eating plan mean no more treats?

No. Don’t get down on yourself or give up a good eating plan just because of a slip up here and there. After all, we are only human, and we should be able to enjoy a holiday with a few drinks and cheeky meals, a little chocolate at easter, or Grandmas special dessert! It’s a matter of having the strength to say, ‘Yes, that was a treat, and now it’s time to get back on track with my healthy eating plan’. One way to do this is to remind yourself of your health and fitness goals, think about how much you want to achieve them, and visualize how great it will feel when you do.

How do you get the best weight loss results?

Everyone’s weight loss journey is unique but, as a general rule, a great way to lose weight is by combining a healthy eating plan with a fitness training program which includes variety of workouts such as:

  • Endurance/interval running;
  • Circuit work; and
  • Strength training.

Remember, weight loss is a long process so whatever steps you take to lose weight, be prepared to maintain that healthy lifestyle for the long term.

What do you think about calorie counting?

Seeking advice from a dietitian or nutritionist is a great way to learn more about where the calories in your diet are coming from. For example, what you may not consider a treat, such as a takeaway coffee, might actually add more calories to your daily intake than you realize (there’s up to 136 calories in a café latte!). Keeping a food diary can also be a helpful way to track what you’re consuming every day. From there you might be able to assess where you can reduce some calories or swap foods with healthier options. Calorie counting is a great form of education, and with a bit more understanding about the calories in the foods we eat, maybe we can decrease the number of overweight and obese people in Canada.