It’s often that I’m asked nutritional questions…in reference to losing weight. The response is always the same…quality high fiber rich veggies, high quality low fat proteins, and you have to have the good quality fat (example: olive oil or avocado, almond butter, etc, not bacon grease) for satiation, at the same time. I hate the word “diet”, it’s really just a healthy way of eating that should be for the rest of your life…not a “diet”. Approximately 40-50% of your caloric intake should be “low glycemic” vegetables (carbs), 30-35% should be protein, and 25-35% should be fat. Depending on how fast you want to take it off would be rather you all together cut out starches, or not. If you’re determined to get it off quickly then you have to do the work.
New research has shown that muscles prefer to burn fat for energy, not glucose. Fat also provides a high-octane fuel supplying more than twice as much energy per gram as glucose (ie carbs). And if you eat too many carbs before exercise then blood sugar levels are spiked, stimulating the release of insulin, which forces your body to burn glucose for energy, preventing the release of stored fat for most of the workout. If your pre-exercise (30 mins before) snack is balanced, consisting of carbs, protein, and fat, then your body will burn fat as the primary source of energy during the entire workout. This is because “blood sugar” is balanced, releasing glucagon (in order for glucagon to be released, a protein source is necessary) from the liver, which mobilizes stored body fat, maximizing your natural ability to burn fat for energy. You see, a stabilized “blood sugar” is the key to losing weight and staying lean.
Some low glycemic foods are milk, oatmeal, asparagus, broccoli, lentils, grapefruit, plain yogurt, barley, fructose (fruit sugar), cherries, nuts and seeds. Some examples of very high glycemic foods are sugar, instant rice, baked potato, dates, doughnuts, most breakfast cereals, pretzels, rice cakes.
Top 10 tips to help burn fat faster:
1. 1. Include protein every time you eat.
2. 2. Use primarily fruits & veggies for your carbohydrate sources.
3. 3. Don’t be afraid of good fats.
4. 4. Lean portion control (a large meal will spike insulin and contribute to weight gain as much as excess carbs).
5. 5. Eat high-fiber, low glycemic whole grains (ex: barley, whole grain bread & pasta, brown rice).
6. 6. Plan your meals with detail.
7. 7. Exercise! Duh! 3-5 times/week. For the best results combine aerobic exercises with strength training.
8. 8. Hydrate by drinking at least 80-96 ounces of water each day. Burning fat is a dehydrating process. The more water you drink the better results you’ll get.
9. 9. Don’t skip meals. Have a BALANCE or a ZONE bar as a supplement (I’m familiar with their protein/carb/fat content, therefore those are the ones I suggest, however I’m sure there may be something else out there).
10. Educate yourself on nutrition so that you can understand how your body works and responds to certain foods. Knowledge is key.
Caloric restriction and skipping meals does not work and this is why, when you return to eating a mixed diet, dramatic fluid retention and swelling generally occur, with rapid weight gain. Low calorie diets are usually low in fat, and you need fat to burn fat, as well as satiation for hunger. Low fat diets lead to blood sugar imbalances, dry skin & hair, and hormone imbalances. Low calorie diets also contain too little carbohydrates, causing ketosis to develop, and lean body tissues are lost and dehydration occurs.
My last note is on strength training, which stimulates the release of human growth hormone. With the release of glucagon (the body’s natural fat-burning hormone that blasts away fat and keeps energy and concentration high) and human growth hormone, the body can build lean muscle mass. Lean body mass is more “metabolically active” than fat, meaning that muscle burns more calories at rest than fat. Two individuals that are the same height and weight can have very different metabolic rates, based on their body composition. Lean body mass is one factor that we can control in order to increase our metabolism and burn more calories, at work or at rest!Research shows that you should combine aerobic (high cardiovascular endurance) and anaerobic (weight resistance training like push-ups, squats, free weights, etc) exercise with stretching for gain the best results.
If you’re having a problem with weight loss, or you feel like you’ve plateaued, there’s always a reason. Get the portions right, combine lean proteins with high fiber carbs and good quality fat every time you eat a meal and snack, stick with an exercise routine, and drink water. If you’ve always had a problem with weight gain, look at the type of foods you’re used to cooking or eating habitually. You may say I don’t like vegetables…well that’s fine but if you have a weight issue then you may understand why, now.
Studies have also shown that eating a program consisting of approximately 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat will help with PMS symptoms, if not make them disappear, improve sleep, improve brain function, help with diabetes, hypoglycemia, high blood pressure, hyperactivity (children and adults), etc. For the women, our bodies are built differently than men’s…women have more fat and less muscle. Less lean body mass means they have lower resting metabolic rates compared with men. Women burn fewer calories on a baseline level. That smaller body size means women burn fewer calories with the same amount of exercise. Also, women’s bodies have evolved to hold on to fat stores better in order to produce and nourish healthy babies. Hence why resistance exercises plays such a vital role in weight loss.
And once again, this is just my 2¢ on weight loss…or as I prefer to reference it…lean body mass.