For most of us, we work for many years to find a nutritional and/or a fitness plan which just works. Meaning it needs to fit into our individual lifestyle so it doesn’t feel like we are restricting ourselves. Many of us have tried “diet” programs only to return to our old habits.
Quite simply “diets” are too restrictive and not suitable for the average person. Most diets make us feel like we need to change our lives to revolve around these diets and IT NEEDS TO WORK THE OTHER WAY!!! For long term health, we need to find a solution which fits within our lives with minimal or simple changes.
We need to use long lasting lifestyle changes which produce fast results to keep us motivated. Meaning seeing some results with 1 – 3 weeks, not months. How many of us have got all excited and motivated about a diet or program and when we don’t see results or we get busy old habits return.
It’s a combination of simple nutrition and exercise. So you’re probably thinking…“but this is what I’ve been doing for years without any results…why will it be different now? I’d be willing to bet you did see results, just not long-term success…right???
While these are simple things by themselves, there is a level of commitment needed to make these simple things part of your life…period. If you’re not 100% committed…I can guarantee you will continue the cycle of another failed attempt. I want to be 100% real with you, give this some effort and you will see results, the level of your individual results will depend on your level on commitment.
You could have the best plan in the word but if you don’t know how many calories you need to consume on a daily basis you’re just guessing. Check out this article for some basics to determine calories.
Consistency is king when it comes to weight loss, it doesn’t mean you need to do this 100% of the time, but I’d aim for 90% clean eating. It quite easy to think you are eating healthier than you actual are, so using a food journal app or the old pen and paper to track food in going to help you drastically, especially if you are first starting out. Multiple studies have shown that people who keep track of what they eat lose more weight and are more likely to keep it off permanently.
There are several reasons why this works.
First, and foremost, you become accountable for what you put in your mouth. Think of it as a scorecard of your performance. We have all heard the expression, “numbers don’t lie.” When golfers hit the links with a scorecard, they tend to be infinitely more truthful about their game. Keeping a truthful record of your daily food intake provides you with an undeniable scorecard of your performance.
Second, it is virtually impossible for most people to keep a mental tally of everything they eat in a day including calorie values. Take advantage of the power of the pen and write it down as soon as you eat it and keep a running tally. You will be less likely to overeat and consume more calories than you can burn.
Third, it can assist you in finding your trouble spots. Look for trends in your performance. Are you likely to eat more at night? On the weekend? When you are with certain people? Remember, a problem well-defined is 95% solved. If you do not know where you are having trouble, you can’t pinpoint the problem or fix it.
Proteins are very important to our bodies. It isn’t just for bodybuilders who use them to gain muscle mass. Those who are sick use them to rebuild damaged tissue and even in normal states, our body uses protein for many different tasks.
Proteins are made of amino acids that are folded together. There are essential amino acids – those that our body cannot make, and non-essential amino acids – those that our body can make. Proteins that are made up of all the essential amino acids are said to be complete while those that lack in one or more essential amino acid are incomplete. Complete proteins come from sources such as meat, eggs, cheese, dairy, and soy.
The ideal source should be complete proteins. For most people that isn’t a problem. If you are worried about fat intake, try lean cuts of beef, chicken and turkey. For vegetarians, whose main source comes from incomplete proteins, getting a variety of vegetables and whole grains throughout the day will ensure that all essential amino acids are consumed. Also, using soy protein (which is the only complete vegetable source of protein) is very beneficial.
Normally carbohydrates are found in all foods except meat products. Recently, some diets have recommended stripping out all carbohydrates from what you eat. Many companies have bought into this and among other things, have introduced low-carb breads. Limiting bad carbohydrates such as sugar from your diet is a positive step but going further and refusing to eat fruits and whole grains can potentially deprive you of cancer fighting foods.
Carbohydrates can be broken down into two main categories; simple and complex. Sodas, candy and even fruits contain simple sugars while whole grains, fruits and cereals contain complex carbs. The main difference between the two groups are their chemical structures. Simple sugars are made up of a few sugar molecules while complex carbs are made up of hundreds and even thousands of these molecules put together. In your body, the end-product of both is glucose.
Another difference between the two is the time needed to digest. If you consume 100 calories of simple sugars, your body can digest it a lot faster than if you eat the same number of calories that are made of complex carbs. This is because simple sugars are closer to the end-product than complex carbs which need more time to digest. Therefore, if you take the meal of simple sugars, you will be hungrier sooner than if you ate the meal made of complex carbs. Making a habit of drinking soda and eating candy can add up to a lot of calories at the end of the day.
Studies have shown that simple sugars contribute to obesity and diabetes, especially in children. It has also been shown that eating the good carbs can shield you from many types of cancers. So, next time you pick up the magazine about the newest low carb claim, throw it away and grab an apple.
With the low carbohydrate craze, many people have turned their attention to fats. They eat more of it and think its fine. Depending on what kind of fat you are consuming and how much of it you take in, fats can be beneficial or detrimental to your health.
There are three main types of fat. They are saturated, unsaturated and trans fats. Saturated fats come mainly from animal sources such as meat and dairy. At room temperature, saturated fats are solid. Unsaturated fats come mainly from plant sources such as olives and nuts and contain no cholesterol. They are liquid (oil) at room temperature. Unsaturated fats are broken down further in monounsaturated (one double bond) and polyunsaturated (more than one double bond).
You might be asking yourself what a fat is saturated or unsaturated with. A fat molecule (without getting into too much chemistry) is made up of carbon atoms that have hydrogen atoms attached to them.
In saturated fats, all carbon atoms have a single bond to another carbon atom and are also bonded to hydrogen atoms. In unsaturated fats, not all carbons are saturated with hydrogens so double bonds form between carbons. Depending on what carbon the double bond is formed determines the fat’s properties.
Trans fat is manmade fat. It is made by taking an unsaturated fat and putting hydrogen through it in a process called hydrogenation. Trans fat is very bad for your health. Whole saturated fat increases LDL (bad) cholesterol and very slightly increases HDL (good) cholesterol, trans fat increases LDL cholesterol and decreases HDL cholesterol.
Meal planning depends upon several factors like the number of people eating, meal times, special dietary concerns, budget, available foods, recipes on hand and likes and dislikes of everyone who will be eating. Remember I mentioned we need this to fit into our lives, not the other way around, so we need to make sure these healthy choices aren’t going to drastically interferer with family meal planning.
Begin by choosing foods and recipes that you like and know how to prepare well and that fit into everyone’s dietary plans. If one or more people have special needs, like diabetics, plan for substitutions either in the food preparation or food substitution for that individual or for those individuals.
There are a few things to note when making meal choices and menu planning. First, some foods may be advertised a certain way, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment. For instance, eggs and sausage can be served for dinner, not just breakfast. And waffles can be made from healthy wheat grains and eaten for lunch with fresh fruits instead of sugary syrup and heavy butter for breakfast.
Add variety, too. Have other family members jump in and prepare meals some nights and on weekends. Kids enjoy making macaroni and cheese, so host mac-n-cheese night on Wednesdays, for example. Then alternate different vegetable combinations, colors and textures to vary the menu on a weekly basis (no need to let boredom take over on Wednesdays with the same routine!)
To help with family food budget concerns, clip coupons from newspapers, weekend inserts, and any place you can find them. Downloaded coupons from the Internet to save money, too, from places like CoolSavings.com and CouponCart.com.
Also, note seasonal food selections for savings. Create menus and meals based upon what’s on special that week or month. Hint: stock up and store or freeze special-priced items and family favorites when possible and storage room and the budget allows. But don’t overdo it. With convenience stores and supermarkets for food shopping in practically every neighborhood anymore, there is no need to hoard. An old saying, haste makes waste might apply if you see a great buy, purchase multiple items, then let them become outdated and must toss them out.
If your considering pasta and steak a cheat meal you are way too restrictive…we are planning for the long haul so it needs to be sustainable. Now this doesn’t mean you should be eating a plate full of pasta and garlic bread everyday…moderation…understood?
Lunch and Dinner Options:
This is just a small sampling of some “healthier” foods you can eat. Not too restrictive…right? Obviously, you’re not going to see cheese burgers, chili-dogs, pizza, and fries on your daily menu, but you don’t have to restrict yourself to tasteless foods either. Weight loss is all about figuring out how many calories and macros you need and eating towards these goals. If you consistently do this, you will lose weight and “Become a better version of yourself”
While it’s true nutrition is over half of the equation toward your health goals, exercise is very important to your overall health.
There’s an endless supply of information related to workout routines and exercise. Depending on your goals the routines you decide to follow will vary. For this article, I want to focus on weight loss so I want to talk about High Intensity Interval Training, HIIT for short. If this is a new concept to you let me explain, HIIT is a method of training where you train within your fat burning heart rate zone for 20 – 30 seconds and then 60% – 70% of your zone for 30 seconds and repeat for 4 or so repetitions.
The total length of HIIT routines last under 30 minute, less depending on your fitness levels. We are all busy and we can’t spend hours in the gym or just training, so this is perfect. Just let me mention you can get an extreme HIIT workout in your living room without any weights.
Box jumps – 20 seconds
Rest – 30 seconds
Incline pushups – 20 seconds
Rest – 30 seconds
Dips – 20 seconds Rest – 30 seconds
Mountain Climbers – 20 seconds
Rest – 30 seconds
If you want to kick it up a notch, do planks instead of the rest period. It will get intense.
Most folks think endurance exercises result in weight loss
HIIT training is one of the best methods for losing weight without spending precious time training or in the gym. Sounds good right…well give it a try and see for yourself. This type of training is totally free, so please give it a try for a few weeks and let me know your results.
So how do you take this to another level? It’s by using Intermittent Fasting in addition to HIIT. I know that you’re thinking “Fasting” sounds like being restrictive. Honestly it will only feel like that for the first day or so. I do IF multiple days a week and it’s second nature at this point.
There are several methods of Intermittent Fasting, but I’m going to focus on the 16:8 method since this is the one I use. The 16:8 IF protocol is a concept where you eat within a certain timeframe in this case you eat within an 8-hour window. Within this window you still consume the same number of calories you would in a normal day.
The nice thing about IF is you can align it to your schedule. For instance, my feeding window is between 12PM – 8PM, which works well for me. I get up drink some water to hydrate grab a shower and stuff and out the door I go. Then I only consume black coffee and water until lunch.
Don’t think of this as skipping breakfast, you are simply moving breakfast until later in the day, so my breakfast happen at 12PM. You’ll need experiment with your first meal of the day using IF. I find if it contains to many carbs I get super tired, but if I have a moderate amount with protein and fats then I feel great.
A couple options are eggs and avocado or 6oz. lean burger and ½ sweet potato. IF isn’t a free-pass to eat garbage all the time, but it is a bit more forgiving to slips in our nutrition.
Another benefit of IF is having calories left over between 7pm – 8pm. Most people feel like snacking around this time and I’m not an exception. So, I like to eat some type of nuts and beef jerky. If it falls within your calorie/macro breakdown you’re going to see results.
IF can help you get extremely lean and carry a mid to low teen body fat percentage. In addition, this can help you develop a new relationship with food by understanding when you are hungry. Since you are consuming all your food within a smaller window you will feel more satisfied following a meal.
There a ton of information on IF and I’m going to create a blog article specific to this soon.
Nutrition, HIIT, and Intermittent Fating is a great trio if you’re looking to lose weight or even gain definition. Performing HIIT during your fasting window is a great way increase the benefit of your fasting window.
Use IF to jump start your fitness goals. I personally like IF because it simplifies my meals for the day. I take a lunch and an afternoon snack and I’m set, very simple.
I hope you guys and gals can find value in the above.
As always please consult you primary care physician before starting any fitness or nutritional plan
See ya later!!