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When we are trying to lose weight what we are really trying to do is lose fat. There are a number of different ways we can influence fat loss, some are considered healthy forms of fat loss and some aren’t.
You have heard it a thousand times before but it’s true. It’s the most important meal of the day. You sleep for at least eight hours, and all night your body has been fasting. As soon as you wake it’s craving nutrition. Skipping breakfast will make most people feel sluggish which will likely reduce your overall calorie expenditure for that day; when our blood sugars are low we also tend to make poorer food choices so eating a good breakfast should make it easier to opt for healthy food choices over the sugary treats that we otherwise cant resist.
The majority of your meals should contain fruit or veg, or both. In fact the majority of your carbohydrate should come from these. Vegetables are fantastic for so many reasons, their antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals are essential to our body. Try to eat a variety of colours to get a range of nutrients, particularly leafy greens. If you are one of those people who declare they don’t like fruit and vegetables, when was the last time you tried them? Our taste buds change as we get older so you may have developed a love of sprouts without even realising it. Also, have you tried every fruit and vegetable out there? There are 2000 different varieties of fruit and vegetables so there must be something out there for you. If you are serious about fat loss then give them a go. Fruits are high in fructose so be careful consuming these to the extreme, especially if you blend them, although these are great post workout.
I’m sure you have often heard different fitness professionals on the telly banging on about the importance of water and drinking your eight cups a day. Unfortunately, with this particular piece of advice they are right. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that about two thirds of our body is made up of water and two thirds of our planet is covered with the stuff. All living things need it. For our cells to function at their best, they need a good supply. Every function of our body is dependent on healthy cells so if we don’t look after them everything suffers. Particularly those who want to lose weight should consider their water consumption. One of the liver’s many functions is to metabolise fat. However, it also has to help out the kidneys on occasions. The kidneys rely on water to function properly, so if they are not receiving enough water, the liver has to help out with the workload. This means the liver can’t metabolise fat as effectively. Drinking a glass of water before you eat can also reduce the likelihood of over eating as our brains can get confused between hunger and dehydration. So please drink plenty of water.
Every cell in the human body contains protein as part of its structure. Without protein the structures would break down and the cells wouldn’t function. Therefore, if you want your body to run like a Rolls Royce, eat a considerable amount of protein. If you don’t, it’s more likely to run like a clapped out old banger ready for the scrap heap. When you train hard, muscle tissue can sustain lots microscopic tears. Don’t worry: this is good. When the body repairs those tears, they become denser and stronger, which results in a more toned appearance and stronger muscles. However, if the body does not have an adequate supply of protein, the body will not even repair properly let alone rebuild stronger muscles. Try to include some source of lean protein in a minimum of three meals a day. You will also feel fuller and less likely to become hungry between meals.
In an ideal world we would never eat a Mc Donald’s, a Mars bar, a cookie or a bag of Doritos, but unfortunately we are only human. If those foods didn’t exist we wouldn’t know what we were missing, but they do exist and we have all tried them and actually they taste pretty good. Well they would if it weren’t for the suicidal guilt that follows after eating them. Remember a healthy eating strategy is for life not just for after Christmas! It needs to be realistic and achievable. A mission to deny yourself all foods that are bad and unholy for eternity will inevitably lead to failure. You may last a week, two weeks or even a month, but eventually you will succumb to the devil’s wishes and, no doubt, gorge yourself on the first processed, fat containing, sugar coated goody you can get your hands on. The guilt will consume you faster than you consumed that entire tub of Pringles; you will no longer wish to continue with your healthy eating strategy, and will stick two fingers up at ‘healthy eating’. I would advise you to plan a cheat meal every 4-6 days or try two a week. The meal can be anything you like, but don’t overeat. Eating until you feel like bursting is never a good idea.
Remember when it comes to sustainable fat loss small steps are easier and over time will take you far. If you slip up, forget about it and move on. It happens. All the good work you have done leading up to that will not be instantly undone the moment you fall off the wagon, so don’t quit. You’re only human. Make sure you include some daily exercise too the endorphin release from training will motivate you to keep you on track with the healthy eating. Those that are really serious should discuss their goals with a personal trainer as a good personal trainer can help with both the healthy eating and the exercise.