1. Don’t skip breakfast
Breakfast should include complex carbohydrates and clean protein. Essentially, complex carbohydrates provide energy and the protein ensures that the body has material readily available for rebuilding tissues.
Combining the complex carbohydrate with a protein stabilizes blood sugar levels and stokes the metabolism. Fail to provide your body with the energy that it requires to function properly and it will feed off of your muscle tissue and ultimately hamper your metabolism. A good combination here is a bowl of oatmeal, eggs, grapefruit and a cup of coffee.
2. Eat five to six small meals
If you’ve been cutting back on calories and consuming no more than “three square meals” a day in the hope of shifting your fat-burning efforts into high gear, you may actually be throwing the whole process into reverse.
Adults who hold back on calories and eat infrequently i.e. only three times a day may be training their bodies to get by on less energy and therefore more readily storing unburned calories as body fat. Instead, these researchers and many others advise active people to eat frequently i.e. about every three hours to maintain steady energy levels throughout the day.
Eating meals requires some planning. The “meals” referred to consist of a protein, complex carbohydrate, and a fibrous carbohydrate. Some good combinations include:
- Chicken/Brown rice/Broccoli
- Tuna/Medium baked potato/Green beans
- Lean cuts of beef (once a week)/Sweet potato/Salad
3. Drink plenty of water
Water is the most abundant nutrient in the body and is involved in every single physiological process. Approximately 60-70% of your body is comprised of water. Water helps eliminate waste and toxins, regulates the body’s temperature, transports nutrients, helps muscle tone, reduces sodium buildup, relieves fluid retention, helps metabolize fat, increased energy levels and concentration, better digestion and nutrient absorption. In fact, water is essential to the fat burning process. So, flood your body with fresh water throughout the day.
4. Avoid simple carbohydrates
Simple carbohydrates are those found in refined sugar, honey and fruit juice. This type of sugar will provide quick energy but will also let you down just as quickly. Refined carbohydrates like processed grains are unhealthy. They are lacking in nutrients and lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin, which can cause all sorts of problems down the line.
Eating refined carbs will cause rapid spikes in blood sugar, followed by a surge of insulin in the blood which triggers fat storage and contributes to insulin resistance and various diseases like obesity and diabetes. Sugar significantly disrupts proper insulin metabolism ultimately causing fatigue and promoting fat storage. This cycle is certainly not something that you want to encourage.
But it is very clear that whole grains and unrefined carbohydrates are at least a lot better than their refined, processed counterparts. The bulk of your carbohydrate consumption should come from slowly digesting complex carbohydrates such as oats, brown rice, barley, sweet potatoes, legumes etc.
5. Avoid processed foods
Processed food is unhealthy. During food processing, many of the beneficial nutrients in the food are removed. Not only do they remove healthy nutrients like fiber, but they also add other very harmful ingredients like added sugar, trans fats and refined wheat. Additionally, processed foods are loaded with all sorts of artificial chemicals that have absolutely NOT been proven safe for long term human consumption. Basically, processed foods have less of the good stuff and more of the bad stuff. The most important thing you can do to ensure optimal health is to “at real food.” If it looks like it was made in a factory, don’t eat it.
6. Eat healthy Fat
We need to understand that fat does not make you fat. On the contrary, consuming the proper amount of fat increases metabolic rate and actually helps burn fat Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important for proper functioning of the human body. For example, DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid derived from animals, makes up about 40% of the polyunsaturated fats in the brain. Being deficient in Omega-3 is associated with a lower IQ, depression, various mental disorders, heart disease and many other serious diseases. It is best to get Omega-3 fats from animal source including fish, grass-fed meat, Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs, or fish oil. A large part of the population is Omega-3 deficient. Avoiding a deficiency in these essential fatty acids can help prevent many diseases.
Bear in mind that simply because something is “low fat” or “fat free” does not translate into sugar free or calorie free. So, people excised fat from their diet and replaced it with refined sugar. Stable blood sugar levels are necessary for long term fat loss, the cyclic spikes and subsequent crashes in blood sugar levels further contributed to unwanted fat storage, obesity and all other associated illnesses.
7. Eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies
Vegetables are good for you. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and an endless variety of trace nutrients that science has just begun to uncover. Eating vegetables is associated with improved health and a lower risk of disease. They are healthy, fulfilling and add variety to the diet. It is recommended that you eat a variety of vegetables each day. Vegetables are rich in all sorts of nutrients. Eating vegetables each day is associated with improved health and a lower risk of disease.
8. Watch out in the evening
Ever notice that you tend to crave refined sugar in the evening? When the sun goes down, the basic “feel good” hormone called serotonin responds in kind. When we experience a low-serotonin state, the body sends a signal to the brain screaming for a quick “pick me up.”
The brain reacts by providing a nagging, nail-biting, jump-out-of-your-skin craving for foods that contain refined sugar like cookies, ice-cream and cake to spike serotonin levels. All is good for a while until the low serotonin state inevitably returns and the vicious cycle begins anew.
How do you control the craving?
- First, do not have any of these foods readily available for consumption.
- Second, turn on as many lights as possible to boost serotonin.
- Third, do something else like go for a quick, invigorating walk outside, read, take a shower, and drink some water or crochet. Whatever it takes to distract yourself.
It is always recommended not to eat any heavy meals after 7 p.m. if you want to lose weight and maintain your body. Due to lack of physical movement in evening whatever you consume will be restored as body fats.
9. Artificial trans fats should be avoided
Trans fats are also known as partially hydrogenated oils which are very unhealthy fat. They are made by mixing unsaturated fats with hydrogen gas at a high heat to make them resemble saturated fats. This process is very disgusting and it amazes me to think that someone thought these fats would be suitable for human consumption. Trans fats raise the bad cholesterol and lower the good cholesterol, cause abdominal obesity, inflammation and insulin resistance. In the long term, consumption of trans fats raises the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, depression and many more diseases. Trans Fats are chemically processed fats that cause all sorts of damage in the body. You should avoid them like the plague.
10. Supplement wisely
Fuel first and supplement second. If you are not getting what you need through food, add a multivitamin supplement into your daily routine. Create a smart supplementation program that improves your performance without compromising your health or draining your wallet. Supplements can help make up for any nutritional deficiencies and enhance performance.
Before you take any type of supplement, make sure to check in with your doctor or registered dietitian. Remember that supplements can benefit a good nutrition plan, but they will never make up for a poor one. Three supplements that definitely do work, and are worth the consideration are Omega-3, Vitamin D and Creatine. Protein powder too helps to supplement your protein intake if necessary.