Ever heard that expression that losing weight is 80% diet?
Well, it’s true.
Don’t get me wrong, your efforts in the gym still count and are very important. But, abs are ultimately made in the kitchen.
Thinking about losing weight can be daunting at first. It is also hard to change your diet habits overnight, so don’t expect to go into this cold turkey. Here are some broad nutrition goals to keep in mind when you choose your meals:
1. Pair your carbs with protein.
These two should go together like ying and yang, salt and pepper, and eggs and bacon.
Let’s think about the kinds of “snacks” people have these days. Rarely do you see anyone at their desk or walking down the street munching on beef jerky. The common snacks tend to be foods such as chips, pretzels, crackers, popcorn, and maybe some fruit. These are all…
Carbs are good for you and you should continue eating them. BUT, when you eat carbs alone they are digested rapidly into your system and broken down into their purest form- sugar (glucose).
Sugar in the body raises the blood glucose (blood sugar) level rapidly. Your body then secretes insulin to try to maintain equilibrium. This is the rollercoaster of energy and exhaustion that you may feel after consuming sugar! As your body continues to digest the broken-down carbs, it is only able to store it as fat. To break it down simply, potato chips are not going to make your pants fit any better.
Protein is digested at a slower rate than carbs, so when eaten together the protein slows the digestion and release of carbohydrates into the bloodstream. This significantly reduces, and in some cases eliminates, the blood glucose imbalance. Instead, the protein allows the carb to enter into the muscle to be stored as glycogen, providing you constant energy for the day. Energy for the gym, that is.
Now you’re probably wondering what to have if you are accustomed to carb-only snacks. Keep the snack and have a protein shake with it. There are no acceptable ‘time’ excuses for protein shakes. Mix the powder with water, shake and drink. Or grab yourself a bag of beef jerky next time you’re at the grocery store and munch on that with your crackers.
2. You should feel like you’re constantly eating.
Eating frequently keeps your metabolism running throughout the day. Your body uses your meals to fuel yourself with energy. How do you keep this fire in your body burning? Keep stoking it with food. Bet you didn’t think that was coming… yes, eating more helps you lose weight!
By eating every several hours, your blood sugar maintains relatively stable. Provided you’re eating a carb AND a protein (see above). So, every several hours have a meal. If you aren’t able to have meals all the time, insert some snacks in between. Personal trainers, dieticians and even Lil’ Wayne support this idea… check it out!
Jump-start your body first thing in the morning by never skipping breakfast! This is the most important meal of the day. Aim to have breakfast within 45 minutes of waking up, and especially before an early morning workout.
3. Full of fiber.
Picture this, you just ate lunch and you can’t get back into your workday. Maybe you’re bored? Still hungry? Procrastinating? Or all of the above.
One way to curb the appetite and ensure you’re less likely to make impulsive, unhealthy food decisions between your meals is to incorporate fiber in your meals and snacks. Fiber is found in abundance in vegetables, predominately green vegetables. Take a look at this list of high fiber foods.
Consuming fiber with your meals or snacks will slow the protein and carb digestion further, giving you a full feeling for longer. In addition, fiber has plenty of benefits for the bowels. What’s not to love about all that?
4. The color of your pee matters.
It’s true, the color of your urine gives you a gauge as to how hydrated (or dehydrated) you are. The lighter the color, the more hydrated you are. The darker the color, the more DEhydrated you are. Click here to take the urine color test! The test also provides water intake recommendations depending on your level of activity.
The amount of H2O you should be drinking per day is variable, depending on age, sex and activity level. The standard is 8 cups/day. 1 cup=8 ounces, so try for 64 ounces/day. Or consider how much you’re drinking now. Now drink 1.5 times that amount tomorrow. Remember, it is hard to do these things cold turkey, so ease into it. Mark on a water bottle how much you need to drink per day, or carry one big container.
H2O can aid in weight loss in several ways.
Guess what your body is made of? Mostly water.
Guess what your muscles are mostly comprised of? Water… and protein.
Your body needs water and uses it for digestion, for keeping your body in homeostasis (fancy word for maintaining equilibrium in your body through temperature control), and to flush toxins out of your system.
If you’re looking to grab this ‘weight loss thing’ by the horns, give these a try. Incorporate one a day and ease into it. Losing weight is a marathon, not a sprint.
Let’s summarize… eat frequently, carbs must go with proteins, add fiber and stay hydrated!
Questions? Concerns? Let us know how these work for you.
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