Have you tried to lose weight or lose fat and have had little success? Why is it so hard?
I find the main reason is that there is too much information out there. If you go to a bookstore, they’ll have multiple aisles on nutrition. On amazon.com.au, there are about 4,000 diet books alone!
It doesn't need to be that hard. When it comes to fat loss nutrition, I believe there are only 4 things you need to think about.
Most of you have read enough about how to lose fat, so what do you think the 4 principles are?
My 4 principles are:
- Calorie balance
- Protein up
- Substitute grains for greens
- Add good fats into your meals
Everything else, you can forget about it. Just keep things simple and uncomplicated.
These 4 principles are nothing new. And they derive from what many other Trainers, Nutritionists and Dietitians believe are important factors in fat loss nutrition.
1. Calorie balance
When I say calorie balance, I’m referring to the number of calories you consume compared to the number of calories you burn. Calorie balance is what determines weight loss or weight gain.
The best method for measuring this, is macronutrient counting. In our DIYPT programs we use this method and our members have received amazing results from it.
For some of you, you may not be ready for this because you’re just starting out with exercising and/or you may not be ready for the commitment needed to macro count.
So one method you can do without having to count calories and macronutrients is eating less calories in the form of carbs and fats on days you’re not doing high intensity exercise and eating more carbs and fats on the days you are doing high intensity exercise. When I’m saying high intensity exercise I’m referring to any resistance base weight training or doing high intensity interval workouts like boxing or interval sprints. Doing long, low intensity cardio is NOT high intensity exercise.
2. Protein up
Time after time, I keep preaching the need to increase your protein, exercising or not, because the benefits of protein include:
- Builds muscle and prevents muscle loss if you are in a calorie deficit
- Speeds up your metabolism and muscle recovery
- Requires more energy than other macros for your body to digest, hence burning more calories gram for gram through the digestion process.
- Helps you feel fuller for longer
- Provides important amino acid (fuels your body muscles, blood cells, organs etc.)
So does anyone know how much protein you should have? Extensive research suggests a range between 0.8-2.7 grams per kg of body weight per day and depends on other factors such as gender, exercise type and frequency and training goal.
Who I want to help in this blog are vegetarians, because these people generally lack enough protein in their diets. Where you can start is having at least a cup of legumes per day and supplement with vegetarian friendly protein powders and protein bars.
3. Substitute grains with greens
Grains for starters are high in kilojoules. For example 2 slices (100g) of wholemeal bread has 936kJ, 100g pasta (1,476kJ), 100g rice (1,513kJ). This is a lot if the daily intake for an average Australian adult is 8,700kJ a day.
As a society we eat too much processed grains such as biscuits, cereals, snack bars, cakes and most breads because they are convenient and taste good. However eating too much can be very bad for you including increase hormones that lead to fat gain.
We all know the benefits of eating green vegetables such as rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals but we stay away from them because they taste bland and boring. However, there is more to just eating vegetables in a salad. You can have them as sauteed, steamed, baked, grilled, as pesto veggies and even chips, like oven baked kale chips.
4. Add good fats into your meals
For many years society has turned us away from eating fat with the increased popularity of fat free products dominating our supermarket shelves.
Fortunately, we now know better with an abundant amount of research highlighting the benefits of good fats in our diet. Namely, it assists in heart health, hormone regulation, brain function, and in terms of your fitness goal, eating good sources of fat enhances your body’s ability to burn fat, eating more good fats means eating less carbs and makes you satiable. When carbs are minimal in our bodies, fats is the next macronutrient in line to be used for energy.
Where people go wrong is the consumption of processed fats found in all packaged food such as cakes, processed fats found in deep fried foods, hydrogenated fats such as margarine and most shelf table cooking oils (e.g. vegetable, soybean, corn oil etc.). Hence the difference between healthy, good fat vs bad fat.
The healthy fats you want to be consuming are relatively unprocessed fats from whole foods such as: nuts (e.g. almonds), seeds (e.g. chia seeds), coconut (e.g. coconut oil), avocado, olives (e.g. extra virgin olive oil) and egg yolks. Other foods you should include in your meals that are high in good fat include: cheese, dark chocolate, fatty fish, animal organs, organic and/or grass fed meats.
So if you are starting out on your fitness journey or are wanting proven tips to help you shed off your unwanted fat, try the 4 principles above. If you want more, then let me introduce you to macro counting, the DIYPT way.
Remember, keep your eyes on the prize.