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3 Healthy Eating Habits To Help You Burn Fat

by Susan · 37 comments

no grainsHealthy Eating Habits

Happy New Year!

I had a really great holiday season and I hope you did as well! And now I am back, totally refreshed and recharged and ready to talk about a few healthy eating habits you can start doing right now to help you burn fat.

On December 31, I posted a status update to my facebook page that went like this:

“Today is the last day of the year. Today you should be sitting down and making a very detailed action plan that corresponds to your goals for 2011. If you want to lose weight–> how much, how, and by when? If you need help with your action plan let me know. Then go enjoy the evening and wake up tomorrow with a clean slate ready to rock your goals. If you know me you know I love clean slates. HAPPY NEW YEAR!”

Well, I didn’t just tell you that YOU should be doing them. I actually did this myself! I set many goals for myself in 2011 including fitness goals, business goals, and resolutions in my attitude and personal relationships.

When I looked at my fitness goals, I realized I sort of had to get back to basics and adapt a few healthy eating habits. I actually do ok in the nutrition side of things but these are very basic and easy to do.

And of course, I could have a list of 20 healthy eating habits here for you, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. Start with these 3 tips and you will be good to go.

3 Healthy Eating Habits To Help You Burn Fat

1. Take a multi-vitamin and Omega 3 supplement everyday.

I already do this on a sporadic basis. I really believe in this tip but I haven’t been good about being religious about it in the past. This has changed for 2011.

Regarding the multi-vitamin, I recommend one that is full of whole, natural veggies, fruits, and grasses. It should NOT be a horse pill, hard as rock supplement you find at Wal-Mart. You won’t even digest them before you leave it in the toilet. There are good multi-vitamins out there at health food stores. I use the VGF 25+ for women from Prograde Nutrition. They also have a VGF 25+ for men.

As for fish oil, you should be supplementing with this because omega 3 has been shown to protect against all sorts of diseases, such as heart disease, and cancer, as well as aid in weight loss and motivation. All awesome things!

Try to find one make from krill oil. There is a much higher concentration of omega 3 in krill oil vs fish oil. Additionally, krill oil doesn’t give you those nasty fish burps that regular fish oil can give you. I use EFA Icon from Prograde Nutrition and I have no trouble with it at all.

2. Avoid starchy carbs such as bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes except within 30-60 minutes post workout.

Did you know there is no biological need for us to consume grains? We could live forever with no bread, pasta, cereal, bagels, etc. And I know, you are a carb addict, right? Ice cream, chocolate, bagel sammiches, potato chips?

Just so we are crystal clear on this, nutrition is 80% of whether you are overweight or not. If you eat too many of the foods listed here then you will be over weight. Eat little of these foods and you will never, ever have a problem with your weight.

But since you love these foods so much, I am going to allow you to eat 1 serving of them each time you exercise for at least 30 minutes. The only caveat is that you HAVE to eat these foods only within a 30 minute window post exercise.

So, if you do a great resistance training workout you can have a sandwich on bread (or 1 serving of whatever else you want) within 30 minutes of finishing the workout. That’s it.

No exercise – no carbs. You didn’t earn them.

Fair enough?

3. Drink 500 ml of ice cold water with lemon immediately upon waking and eat breakfast 30 minutes later.

I got this little tid bit from Tim Ferris’s new book, The 4 Hour Body. It’s an awesome book of self experimentation and I learned a lot reading it.

Personally, I suck at drinking water and this will be my biggest healthy eating habits challenge.

What you want to do is drink at least 500 ml of ice cold water right when you wake up. The conventional wisdom behind this tip is that it will speed up your metabolism. And it might do that (several studies show a 24-30% boost in metabolic rate after drinking ice water) but there is also another reason.

Tim describes how we have both white and brown fat in our body. Brown fat contains a much higher level of mitochondria, which helps burn fat and dissipate excess calories as heat that would otherwise be stored as white fat – the normal fat you probably know and love from your hips, thighs, and butt.

So, if you have to have fat you want it to be brown fat, the “fat burning fat”, not white fat. And if there was a possibility of actually controlling the amount of brown fat one had then it could theoretically be done using cold stimulation. Hence the ice cold water.

So drink up first thing in the morning. But don’t forget to keep drinking water all day long.

Tim also explains that we can boost our metabolism in the morning by 20% if we consume a breakfast within 30 minutes of waking that consists of 30% protein.

I thought the numbers were pretty cool so I thought I would give it a try!

So try these 3 healthy eating habits and let me know how much fat you burn this year!

Questions for YOU:

  • Do you currently do any of these 3 things?
  • If yes, how do you think they work for fat loss?
  • If no, do you think you will try any or all of them?
  • Which habits sound easier then others?
  • Which habits will be more difficult for you to do?

Please leave the answers to these questions in the comments section below!

Your Coach For Burning Fat in 2011,

Susan Campbell, MS, CSCS

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{ 23 comments }

1 Amr Boghdady January 8, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Great tips Susan!
I already drink a lot of water first thing when I wake up, although its nowhere near half a litre!
I’m also on a multi-vitamin called Centrum. Is it a good one, or should I switch it with VGF?

Thanks for the tips :)

2 susan January 8, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Hey Amr, Centrum is one of those hard as rock horse pills, isn’t it? I think they just add synthetic stuff which you may or many not even absorb. You most likely pee a lot of it. The VGF is always good but you can also find decent ones in your local health food store. Ask someone who works there to recommend a good one! It should be made with whole foods and grasses.

Glad you enjoyed the tips! But 500 ml isn’t all that bad…….it’s one bottle of water that you buy at a gas station!

3 Samantha Dermot January 7, 2011 at 8:47 am

Water is really helpful when someone wants some healthy eating habits. Actually some also recommend to drink water before meals. They say that this also help you control your food intake too.

4 Jimi Jones January 6, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Lots of great information, Susan. Thank you.

I started a 21-day health challenge on January 2nd and so far so good. I’ve really concentrated on eating healthier and getting the proper nutrients and vitamins. This week had been no carbs at all and surprisingly I’ve done well. Eating lots of veggies and smaller portions.

Been a meat and potatoes guy most of my life so I do have some challenges ahead in terms of keeping things in balance.

Thanks again for this nice post!

5 susan January 7, 2011 at 9:00 am

Hey Jimi! I am so proud of you for taking matters into your own hands and deciding to make a change in your health this month. Hopefully, you will feel so great that you will extend your experiment beyond 21 days! Then you will really start to see a big difference. The key is sticking with it. We love seeing immediate results for our efforts. And if we don’t see what we want to right off the bat, we might give up thinking what we are doing isn’t working.

How do you feel after a week of low carbs?

Controlling your carbs is the best way to manipulate your weight, blood glucose, and blood insulin levels. And we don’t actually need any of those grains and refined carbs anyway. The only problem is that they taste so good!

Being a meat and potatoes guy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I would say trade your conventional factory farmed meat in for meat sold locally and that is from grass fed animals. This will make a ton of difference in your blood profile! Also, eat potatoes less often and trade for veggies.

Thank you so much for coming to the blog and taking the time to leave a comment! I love it!

6 Jimi Jones January 7, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Thanks, Susan.
Good tips on the grass fed meat.
I fully expect to extend far beyond the 21-day challenge, which I see as a jumping off point. I agree with you, many see these types of programs as the be-all, end-all and get discouraged with their results. We have to be realistic about things. I mean cmon, we’ve eaten any and everything for decades and expect to become a picture of perfection in 3 weeks. Reminds me of the 2 Big Macs and the DIET Pepsi. LOL

These short-term programs are about changing your habits while seeing minimal results to let you know that you can make a change. Hopefully this will spur you on to longer term commitments.

I appreciate your advice. Thanks!

7 susan January 7, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Hey Jimi – SO right! I had a friend in high school who would order a quarter pounder with cheese value meal and a DIET coke! HA! I always thought it was stupid too!

Stay strong and hang in there! I know you will do great on your healthy living quest! And remember, we have to fail before we succeed – that’s how we learn what works.

And thanks so much for coming back to talk to me!

8 Lisa@ basic marketing January 6, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Hi Susan:

I just started my home workout routine and this crazy spear wielding pyramid was great for me! I also enjoyed another post of yours about stealing 10 min intervals a day. I am doing 30-40 mins on the treadmill( sometimes trying to throw it out the window,) and between maintaining my blog and my 9-5, that 10 mins could be a lifesaver!

All the best,
Lisa

9 susan January 7, 2011 at 9:06 am

Hey Lisa! I am glad you liked the pyramid! I forgot to give credit to Mark Sisson and his Primal Blueprint over at MarksDailyApple.com. His site is spectacular with information and I visit it almost daily! The big thing is that you will notice how different this pyramid is from the traditional nutritional food guide pyramid? In that one, grains make up the base of the pyramid with 6-12 servings recommended per day. Mark thinks that’s a bunch of bull – and that we actually have no biological need for grains in our diets. It is protein and fat that are essential and we can get all of our nutrients and energy needs from veggies and fruits.

Yeah, I always say that lack of time is no excuse when it comes to exercise, because, if need be, you can do a quick 10 minute workout right at home with no equipment. And if you don’t have 10 minutes do 6 minutes, or even 4. It shouldn’t be the norm but it will be great if that is truly all the time you can spare. Just make sure you work hard enough over those few minutes! Effort = reward.

Lisa, thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment! I really appreciate your thoughts and can’t wait to visit your site too!

10 Evelyn January 6, 2011 at 11:14 am

Hi Susan,

Very informative post!

I’m like you with the multi-vitamin, but since 2011 rolled in, I’ve made a conscious effort to take my multi-vitamin everyday. I’m doing pretty good!

I cut out ice cream and chips a while ago, but I occasionally eat grains and potatoes. I try to balance things out.

I also did what you did for this year..wrote out my goals and fitness was one of those goals. I’ve definitely got to go back to the basics.

The hardest thing for me to do will be sticking to a fitness program, but I know it must be done.

Take care,

Evelyn P.

11 susan January 6, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Hey Evelyn! Sounds like you are on the right track doing all the right things. What do you find the greatest challenge so far to be so far with compliance?

Thanks for taking the time to comment!

12 Patricia@lavenderuses January 5, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Hi susan

Been waiting for a post I can comment on over here. Thanks for all your support of my blog too.

I don’t have a weight problem and love healthy food. I know, it annoys my friends too lol Love walking and in the warm weather swimming; although with this blogging venture don’t go out much at the moment ;-)

Don’t take supplements cos I believe if I eat healthy organic food, I am getting the nutrients I need. I know the health supplement biz is billion dollar industry and every week here in Oz we hear of yet another scam exposed with false claims of all different hues. To each his own and I know there are heaps of people who are supporting this biz.

It has always been my desire to eat 2 fruit and 5 veggies each day and that is what is recommended here in Oz. Don’t even like junk food but maybe cos when I was growing up ( a looonng time ago lol) we had our own veggie patch in the back garden and our own fruit trees. No chemicals or pesticides so Ihad a really healthy start to life. When I moved overseas to work I would hunt out fresh fruit and veg cos that was all I really knew.

Sad to see the obesity epidemic amongst the young now but then their parenst buy the junk food, so where to go from there?! I love that you have set your goals Susan and I say kudos to you. I’m cheering you on and with determination I’m sure you’ll feel great and a whole lot healthier. Especially after the holiday celebrations.

Patricia Perth Australia

13 susan January 6, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Hey Patricia, I know, you are blessed to be at an ideal body weight. And despite that you still come here to support me. Thank you so much!

You are so lucky to have grown up with all the great fruits and veggies in your back yard. You are right, today we don’t frow nearly the amount of food that we used to, and the stuff we buy from the store is average at best. And I hear you loud and clear about the supplements. There are way too many scammers out there. But I am in the industry and find myself relatively informed and up to date on the latest research, and I truely believe that the 2 supplements I mentioned in the post are worth peoples’ time and money. I take them myself, so I am not just preaching without doing.

Thank you so much for the awesome comment!

14 Patricia@lavenderuses January 6, 2011 at 10:34 pm

I have noticed that Americans buy into the supplements are necessary for health more than we do. Aalthough it is creeping in here. We actually have much stricter rules on these things (know this from at one time selling some things here in Oz) some things that are allowed to be sold in the US are not allowed to be sold here.

There have just been a whole heap of supplements removed from shelves cos of false claims! My argument is why do we need them? If I eat organic foods then I am getting what I require. If I choose to eat foods loaded with pesticides and chemicals then I can see why I would.

In fact there are healthy eating plans that have given people a new lease of life and eating organically has saved some people’s health! I believe it is all the pollutants are doing the harm. Just my 2 cents and I know some of it is a mindset.

Met some Americans here in Perth a couple of years ago and they were feeding their children supplements. I asked why and it was an opt out for their junk food diet! I introduced them to healthy eating.

A 2 and a 4 year asking for their supplements each days to me was frightening. For the parents, it was the “norm”. They had no idea about healthy eating even though they were both university graduates who I thought would have some understanding of the effects of junk food on their bodies! Sorry to go on about this but I find it frustrating when people pop pills when there is a less expensive and healthier option.

Patricia Perth Australia

15 susan January 7, 2011 at 8:54 am

Wow, you felt strongly enough to come back! I love it, thanks! And no, I won’t ban you from the site. This is a very valuable point you make here. Why buy supplements when you could just eat awesome, healthy food?

And I agree with you. Because, in the case of your story where the parents feed them crap then supplement their diet, that’s just irresponsibility on the parents part. If they are spending the money on the supplements they absolutely could afford to buy their kids healthier food.

But there are some cases I think that supplements really come in handy. For example, research shows that Omega 3 fatty acids has all kinds of positive effects on the body, including fat loss, motivation, cognition, and anti aging. All really awesome things. I have seen reports of getting the effects from Omega 3 in doses between 6-25 grams per day. In your current, healthy diet, do you get this much Omega 3? Do you eat salmon, ,sardines, and tuna along with flaxseed every single day, in the necessary quantities? I am guessing the answer is no, although I could be wrong because you are quite spectacular and surprise me constantly!

My point is, sometimes it is difficult to get the required amount of a nutrient in our diets today, despite our best efforts to be healthy. That’s a good time to supplement.

Now, I realize your frustrations probably come from hearing about supplements pushed for fat loss or muscle growth that end up not doing anything for you but draining your wallet! I totally understand and agree. There are way too many scammers out there, and us Americans are probably behind it. :-)

Thanks again for coming back! What else do you have to say?

16 VetTech January 5, 2011 at 11:11 am

Excellent post! I agree with all of it. I do so much better without grains… my hardest challenge on this list is breakfast…I usually don’t eat it until several hours after I get up

17 susan January 5, 2011 at 1:58 pm

You mentioned you do better without grains…..do you mind sharing how? What’s changed? How do you feel? How does your body change? Breakfast is tough for a lot of people. I wouldn’t worry about it. :-) Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

18 Todd@PhitZone January 5, 2011 at 8:52 am

But, but… those carbs are SOOOOOO good. hahaha At the very least, we should make those carbs “healthier” by choosing whole wheat, whole grain, brown rice, and sweet p0tatoes. They fill in nicely. AND still do the exercise equation. I like that. :D

19 susan January 5, 2011 at 1:57 pm

That they are, Todd. I have always believed that there is no reason to eliminate any one food group from our diets – until I learned that our bodies don’t actually need carbs to survive (not including nutrients from fruits and veggies). We can go so long without the starchy kind (maybe forever?), yet if we tried to eliminate protein or fat we would surely perish. So, just for fun, I’m trying eating a paleo type diet for a little while. Can’t wait to see how I feel! Thanks again for leaving an awesome comment and making me want bread……

20 Tristan January 3, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Whoah. What’s going on with the spear-wielding dude attacking the food pyramid :D

I eat gummy bear vitamins daily. I’m not kidding. They taste so good! Do they help? Meh. Probably not nearly as much as a real vitamin. But… better than nothing?

I was actually going to ask you if you’ve read 4 Hour Body. I got it a couple weeks ago and read a few pages every day. It’s interesting reading, though I don’t know how much of it I’m willing to implement in my life. Do you think any of the stuff in there is bogus or does it check out? I was really intrigued by his no carb diet, but I do love me my sammiches.

And… I have a confession. I *might* have eaten nothing but junk food for the last two weeks. It was glorious and terrible at the same time.

Post retweeted, stumbled, and Dugg (Digged?). Thanks for a great read, Susan!

21 susan January 3, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Hey Tristan! Happy New Year, Friend! Thanks for coming by! I was twitter deficient today because my MarketMeSuite was down. I was so mad I didn’t even try going back to tweet deck. Anyway, if you like your gummy bear vitamins stick with them. They’re not the best, because there is not real fruit, veggies and grasses in them so it won’t alkalize your body like we want. But if they make you happy…….oh and I so believe you use them!

I haven’t had the best diet in the last 2 weeks either. Don’t worry about it, you appear to not have any weight issues anyway so now that it is the new year you can get right back on track, right? I have to have eaten 3 bags of lindt truffles and several bags of chocolate chip cookies over the holiday. It happens to the best of us!

I thought the 4 Hour Body was awesome. I believe that everything he said “could” be true. Although I question the muscle gain. That seems a little out there. But I don’t think he would make up his results either, so I am torn. The stuff on cold exposure is awesome too. In fact, I have a post coming out tomorrow about that. As far as the slow carb diet goes, if you don’t have weight or health issues then I would just continue with your sammiches in moderation. But if you did do it, the good news is that you could still eat them one time each week. So you aren’t cutting out the fun stuff totally.

Thanks for the great comment….I thought you weren’t commenting when you tweet, stumble, and digg? I guess I got lucky!

See you on your blog in the morning :-)

22 susan January 3, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Oh BTW, I tried to upload keyword luv on my blog but wordpress wasn’t liking it. Any ideas?

23 susan January 3, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Oh, wow I forgot the best part! That spear guy is Grok. He is the brain child of Mark Sisson over at MarksDailyApple.com. He has a book called Primal Blueprint and it is a must read. His website absolutely rocks too. I always learn something from him!

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