Is fat loss part of your New Year’s resolution AGAIN this year? Let’s make sure this is the last year!
What we consume and how much of it is the #1 factor contributing to how much fat we have (with metabolic resistance training and high intensity interval training being #2 and #3, respectively).
No amount of exercise can make up for a crappy diet. Do not fall into the mindset that it is ok to eat unhealthy foods, such as pizza or ice cream, just because you did a workout that day. This attitude will quickly put the brakes on your fat loss success.
Foods such as pizza and ice cream are very high in calories. When eating pizza you can easily eat 900-1000 calories in one sitting! When we exercise, we are lucky if we burn 300 calories per session. So, if you do some quick math, you will see that, just to burn off the pizza you ate, you would have to work extremely hard exercising for 90 minutes or more!
My guess is that most people are in this situation – not exercising 90 minutes each day but are eating too many high calorie, nutrient lacking foods like pizza.
So, you know you need to make some changes and clean up your diet. How do you do that?
Below are nutrition guidelines that you should follow to insure you are eating plenty of the right things and very little of the bad things that will sabotage your weight loss efforts.
1. PLAN your menu out for the week each Sunday. Use the list of ingredients as a grocery list and shop for those items only. Do NOT add anything else to your cart that was not on your list (just make sure there was no junk on your list!).
2. PREPARE any food you buy that day so that when you need to use it it is ready. i.e. wash and chop veggies for snacks, cook chicken for future meals, separate snacks into portion controlled bags, etc).
3. COOK meals that day that take a long time to make and may inhibit actually cooking them the day you have them planned for. Freeze anything that is more than a day or two away.
4. RECORD all food consumed into a daily food journal (you received a Success Journal with the UHW Fat Loss System).
5. ASK nutrition related questions and get healthy recipes from an online weight loss forum (such as from the UHW Inner Circle).
6. THROW AWAY all junk that you currently have in the house. If you do not have it in the house, you cannot eat it.
7. AVOID crackers, cakes, pies, cookies, candy, prepackaged foods, processed foods, fast food, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, fried foods, refined flour and sugar, and trans fat.
8. CONSUME fruits and vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and 100% whole grains, volume according to that order.
9. CALORIES count. You must eat enough calories to maintain the vital systems of the body but not more than your body needs to complete the activity you ask it to do.
10. EAT lean protein at every meal. Not only does protein make you feel fuller longer but it can counteract the insulin response set in motion from any carbohydrates you eat during that same meal. We also need lean protein to build muscle tissue.
11. INCLUDE healthy fats in your diet each day.
12. DO NOT fall for any scam fat burner bills or any diet gimmick that claims you will lose weight if you use it (i.e. Slim fast, Ali, Special K Diet).
13. INCORPORATE a weekly fasting session into your regime to balance blood sugar, help build lean muscle, and curb sugar cravings.
14. STRIVE to eat at least 10 fruits and vegetables each day. Smoothies and soups are a great way to do this.
15. FREQUENCY of meals is not as important for boosting metabolism as originally thought. Eat the proper # of calories each day but feel free to spread them out in 3 meals or consume 6 smaller meals throughout the day.
16. BREAKFAST is still the most important meal of the day, in my opinion, in terms of providing energy for a stressful and active day. However, if you aren’t a breakfast person no need to force yourself. Eating breakfast doesn’t boost daily metabolism as much as previously thought either.
17. DO NOT be a late night snacker. Eat dinner no later than 3 hours before bed. The circulating blood insulin levels that are associated with ingesting carbs will interfere with the release of growth hormone, an important hormone for fat loss and lean tissue building that is secreted about 1 hour after you fall asleep.
18. PURCHASE organic food when possible. It is a little more expensive, however, all the money you will be saving on crap can be used to get the good stuff.
19. GO vegetarian, unless you eat meat from free range, grass/vegetarian fed animals who are killed humanely and are not given any growth hormones or antibiotics.
20. TRUTH about what is in a product is on the back of the box, not what is claimed to be true on the front. Know how to read food labels and ingredients. Do not fall for claims of “fat free”, “reduced sugar”, “ high protein”, or “low cholesterol” unless you verify it from the list of ingredients (these claims always imply added chemicals to the ingredients list).
21. ALWAYS carry a healthy snack with you in case you get hungry. This will prevent you from caving and stopping for fast food or going overboard when you do finally make it to a healthy spread.
22. DO NOT drink your calories. Avoid soda, diet soda, alcohol, energy drinks, and fancy coffee drinks.
23. DRINK water, lots of it. Aim for half of your bodyweight in oz each day. (i.e. a 160 pound person should consume 80 oz of water each day). The only other beverages you should be drinking is unsweetened green, white, or yerba mate teas. No fruit juice, alcohol, soda, diet soda, fancy coffee drinks, or energy drinks.
24. REWARD yourself once each week with a reward meal.
25. FALL of the wagon? Realize what happened and why and then move on. Just do no further damage.
26. WATCH your portions. In my opinion, most Americans chronically overeat. In reality, it doesn’t take us very long to get the nutrients we need from food and to be satisfied by what we are eating. When eating meals, pay attention to how you feel and eat until 80% full then stop. When eating dessert, have one or two bites only and see if that amount satisfies your sweet tooth.
27. EAT reward meals and other indulgent food that you shouldn’t be eating, shortly after a workout.
28. LIMIT the frequency of which you eat out at restaurants. Restaurants are in the business of making money and to make money, they need to make the food taste incredible so that you keep coming back. To make the food taste great they have to add a ton of ingredients that are not fat loss friendly.
29. AVOID all fried foods. They contain copious amounts of trans fat that has seeped into the food being fried. Especially avoid french fries!
The more of these guidelines that you embrace the more successful you will be on your fat loss journey.
You can find these nutrition guidelines for fat loss in the Nutrition Guide as part of my new home fat loss system, Ultimate Home Workouts.
Susan Campbell, MS, CSCS
Author, Ultimate Home Workouts