Many people have great intentions of shedding some unwanted and unhealthy extra body fat in order to look and feel their best, but many are ill informed. And, with the plethora of information it is hard for many to figure out where to start. Here are my top 7 essential things that you must do in order to lose weight and get healthier:
#1: Learn and Understand What Your Foods are A Primary Source Of
For example, when you see a bottle of juice, I want you to think “carbs and sugar”. When you see a bag of nuts like cashews or an avocado, I want you to think “fats”. If you see eggs or chicken, I want you to think “protein”.
#2: Have a Basic Understanding of Your Macronutrients
Carbohydrates, fats and proteins. In simple terms, Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy. Fat is a backup source of energy to fuel your workout when carbohydrates are not available. Fat is an essential part of your diet. It provides energy, absorbs certain nutrients and maintains your core body temperature. Protein is essential for the proper functioning of antibodies resisting infection, for the regulation of enzymes and hormones, for growth, and for the repair of body tissue. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.
^^^ Read that again and let it sink in…
#3: AVOID SUGAR!!!
And, limit “usable” carbs. These are carb sources such as potatoes, rice, bread, pasta, fruits, crackers, etc.. This is “usable” energy and preferred by the body. Keep these type of starchy carbs after your workouts. Avoid before bed (with exceptions for certain populations and schedules).
Most American’s consume too much energy while at the same time not exerting enough of it (lack of exercise). Carbs are primary source of energy and as long as you’re consuming too much of it, you will never allow the body to fully tap into those reserve fuel sources (aka fat). Too much carbohydrate intake is also associated with excess insulin spikes, which is a storing hormone.
#4: Eat The Rainbow
In conjunction with #3 above, start focusing a bit more on “roughage” type of carbs. These are things such as: broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, green beans, peppers, onions, garlic, etc. These type of carbs are loaded in fiber, phytonutrients, antioxidants and are alkaline foods that will support proper PH in body as well as keeping you regular on the porcelain thrown.
Most Americans are well fed but very undernourished. Consuming less boxed foods loaded with simple carbs and more “rainbow” colored vegetables will get us moving in a better direction.
#5: Consume an Adequate Amount of Protein
Focus your food choices more towards good fats (coming up in a moment) and lean protein. Lean sources of protein should be consumed every 3-4 hours in controlled portions. This includes: Lean ground turkey, chicken, eggs, LEAN cuts of red meat only in moderation, Fish (many different types to choose from here), protein powders in moderation (keep to only post workout preferably).
#6: Eat More Fat
Incorporate Plenty of “good fats” into your snacks and meals each day. This would include sources such as: cashews, almonds, avocados, coconut oils, seeds (like chia and flax seeds), fish oils, grape and olive oils to name a few. Consuming much less in the sugar and carb department and more in this department can help many with their weight loss efforts and their health.
#7: Start and Complete An Honest 2-4 Day Food Log
Write as you bite it!! When do you wake up? When do you eat breakfast? When do you workout and when do you go to sleep? How do your eating habits tally up at the end of your day? What is your ratio of carbs to fats and proteins? You know where you want to be: Looking good and feeling even better, right? Doing a food journal is essential to give you a clear picture of where you are at so you can take appropriate action and hold yourself accountable to reach your goals.
What is suitable can vary from person to person based off several factors including age, gender, body type and more but we are speaking in general terms with these suggestions here that the vast majority of Americans can’t go wrong with!
Let’s get and stay healthy and be our best in 2016. We have one life to live so let’s make the best of it!
To you and your health,
Roger Bowman, CPT