So how do we go about getting lean? With so many variations of diets that are already out there and more coming around the block with amazing claims, how do you go about choosing the one that best suits you? Despite all the ‘weight loss’ products available, there are still yet more people who are more obese than ever! There is a lot of conflicting information that exist about dieting, its no wonder why people jump from diet to diet their whole lives and not get the results that they want.
In the instant gratification world that we live in, we want it all and we want it nowbut wait; we don’t like exercise, its just too bloody hard work! In search for the miracle cure, that magic pill, that quick fix, the media and the multi-million pound supplementation industry lead you to believe. If you believe everything that you read or hear, then you need to wake up and get a reality check! Yea, I know, tough love.
That said, would you like to know the best and most effective way to shed those fat pounds and stay lean? Let me share a little secret with you that will guarantee to get you the result. Are you ready for it? Its very simple. This is what you have been waiting for! You are going to be kicking yourself when you realise just how simple it is. Here it comes – Develop a healthy eating habit and exercise regularly and consistently! THATS IT! Its that simple! No miracle products, no latest diet trend, no wonder drug, just plain old fashion eat healthily and exercise. I know, damn boring isn’t it? Sorry to disappoint, but despite this well known fact, we don’t always do what we know works. Knowledge isn’t power but applied knowledge is!
We need to go back to master the fundamentals of healthy eating first before we attempt anything drastic. This alone will get you most of the results that you are seeking.. Yes, read that previous line again. Once you have done this, you can then fine tune’ and get extra lean by using more advanced techniques to shift that last bit of stubborn fat but until then we need to learn to walk before we can run!
I have outlined the 10 key fundamentals to get you started:
1) Never skip breakfast! – This is your first and most important meal of the day! Skipping it would do a lot more damage than you think. Your body is in a catabolic state upon waking. A good breakfast would blunt catabolism preventing muscle breakdown, kickstart your metabolism (the higher your metabolism, the easier your body sheds fat), replenish depleted glycogen stores (fuel for your muscles), and provide stable sustained energy release for the day.
2) Spread your meals throughout the day-Instead of having 3 big meals, spread them out to smaller 5-6 meals and never skip them. The portion sizes would be smaller, regulating your body’s insulin release which discourages bodyfat storage and maintains high energy levels without the spikes and troughs that you see when you have infrequent large meals. The more frequent you eat, the more calories you burn! Thats right, eat your way slim!
3) Remove all saturated, trans fats and refined sugars from diet- Saturated fats and trans fats are the bad fats that are very damaging to your body which can lead to the build up of the bad LDL cholesterol which leads to heart disease amongst a whole host of other health issues. Refined sugars is often an undercover ingredient that appears in may fat-free foods that leads us to believe are better for us but in actual fact they can cause conditions such as hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia (energy spikes and crashes) which often leads to unwanted body fat storage and can contribute to the onset of diabetes.
4) Eat lean proteins with your meal every 3 hours -Unlike carbohydrate foods that are stored as glycogen by your body and later used to fuel your activities, protein cannot be stored. Lean muscle tissue is metabolically active and as such keeps your metabolism up which in turn torches bodyfat. In order to maintain/preserve muscle tissue, eat lean protein sources every 3 hours to ensure that the amino acids (building block of protein) are in constant supply to your muscles preventing them from breaking down.
5) Never starve yourself thin!- The more you eat the thinner you get and not the other way round! Paradoxical isn’t it? Sure, you can loose a huge amount of weight by starving yourself but you are setting yourself up for a roller coaster ride if you do! You will be thin AND fat at the same time. Why?, because most of the weight lost would most likely be lean muscle tissue. The very thing you train so hard to build and retain. It triggers your body’s starvation response, lowers your metabolic rate and as a result , your body would do its very best to hold on to body fat. You will end up being fatter than you had started! ‘Yo-yo’ dieters jumping from one diet to the next are classic examples.
6) Eat only enough to be in calorie deficit – In order to lose body fat, you need to be in calorie deficit. i,e burn off more than what you eat each day. Eat below the number of calories that your body needs to fuel your daily activities and increase your level of physical activity. However, there is a limit that you should not dip below in order to prevent your body’s starvation response from kicking in where the point of diminishing returns.
7) Increase the good fats and reduce sat fats – Not all fats are bad. Fats such as monounsaturates and polyunsaturates (essential fatty acids) are the good guys and will help you lose fat and keep you healthy as they lower the bad LDL colesterol and increases the good HDL colesterol. Saturated fats mainly from animal fat are the bad guys and should be avoided. These are the ones that gives you heart disease.
8) Eat clean 90-95% of the time – You can eat clean and healthy as well as the occasional slip up and still look great! The occasional junk food will keep your body guessing as they trigger the release of certain hormones in your body that signals your brain that you will not be starving any time soon and can continue to burn fat off for energy.
9) Taper your food intake as the day progresses – Eat like a king in the morning, and a pauper in the evening! Your body is low in energy in a catabolic state after a long night of fasting. By eating a breakfast consisting of complex carbs and protein will ensure that you body gets what it needs to prep you for the day. Towards the evening your metabolism slows down preparing your body for rest and so burns less calories. Eating less at this time will ensure that none of the foods eaten get stored as bodyfat.
10) Ensure diet is well balanced and varied, and drink lots of water-This ensures that you get a balanced ratio of macronutrients and micronutrients that your body can make use of. For example, foods consists of incomplete proteins (ie, proteins from some vegetarian sources) can be combined with other foods eaten that compliment each other forming complete proteins which you body can use to build and repair muscle tissue.
Fruit and veg are essential as they are vital sources of vitamins and minerals for the upkeep of bodily functions. Water is the no.1 most important nutrient in the body! Without water nothing in your body could function properly. In order to burn fat efficiently you need lots of water.
Well, there you have it! In the next instalment, we will delve into some of these areas in more detail so that you can be well on your way to becoming and staying lean! So stay tuned!
In the meantime, train, eat and sleep well!
Stay Healthy & Strong,
Steven Wong – CPT, Pn1
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