Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The secret is....There is no secret

Tips, Hints, and Things to Think About When Dieting

Before we get started, let us define diet:

di-et n. [lit., manner of living, to lead ones life] 1: food and drink regularly consumed. 2: an allowance of food prescribed for a special reason.

I think this is important to know because as Americans we gravitate towards the second meaning of the word. However, that should really be more of an afterthought, used only in certain situations. The first meaning is the real key to looking great and also feeling good about your body. What is it that you do on a regular basis? If you are doing things right regularly (80% - 90% of the time) then it is absolutely 100% ok to indulge and enjoy the finer things in life. Here are a few things that I have adopted, which have helped me make changes in my life.

1. Plan your weekly meals. This is by far the best thing you can do for yourself if you are trying to make a change to your body. Whether for weight-loss or weight-gain (muscle strength) it is always going to be easier if you prepare before you start. This also happens to be very fun once you get rolling, and with the help of the stop light lists, I hope it is that much easier to get your creative juices flowing. So set aside 30 min and write down what you would like to eat for your meals for the next 5 – 7 days. This is also handy because by doing so you have just created your grocery list. Now get shopping!

2. Try to eat 4 to 6 times a day. Of course you have to still stay within your caloric range so adjust the amount of calories at each feeding to match your body size. This is what most of us struggle with due to our hectic lifestyles. However, a quick handful of mixed nuts and a piece of fruit can count as a meal. You could also mix two scoops of protein powder with water. It is that easy, and it literally takes all of 2 minuets to ingest. So stop making excuses (I don’t have time to eat right) and start doing it. The best results have been found when you space out your feedings 2-4 hours apart. The important thing is eating this way will help get your metabolism back on track!

3. Stop eating foods that are in packages. Packaged foods means they have been processed to some extent and often have added, or subtracted, things that made the original food worth eating.

4. Plan your meals with other people. Eating was meant to be a social event. You’ll be surprised how much more you enjoy your food if you’re with people you love. Start preparing them together and you’ll really be surprised.

5. If there are ingredients listed that you can’t pronounce or don’t recognize as food, don’t eat it. Pretty straight to the point, to take it a step further don’t eat anything your great grandparents wouldn’t have been able to eat. This includes margarines, vegetable oils, fat-free foods, packaged or boxed foods, etc.

6. Don’t be scared of eating fats. Sure you need to watch your portion size when eating fatty foods, since fat does contain twice the number of calories as protein and carbohydrates. However, understand that your body wants to use the fats to fuel your body during the majority of your day, and also while sleeping. Stick to the green light fats and you will be golden. Ladies, you might also end up with fabulous hair, skin, and nails as a result!

7. Exercise, plain and simple: be active. You don’t need to crush yourself into the pavement day after day, spend hours running or elliptical yourself to death. Remember I said your body burns fat during a resting state? If your goal is fat loss I suggest deliberately walking for 30 min a day combined with 2 or 3 days a week of weight lifting or interval training. Other than that stay active, get outside, go shopping, do yard work, or get a dog. Whatever it is, save gaming, reading, web and channel surfing for rainy days or nighttime. If weight loss is your goal; a good place to start is 5 hours per week of planned exercise.

8. Stop drinking your calories. Getting enough fluids are important to maintain a healthy weight, and staying energized throughout the day. Water is the best choice, add some citrus fruit to create a variety of different flavors. I've become pretty fond of tea and coffee, without sweeteners, and diet or calorie free drinks. One of my favorites is Poweraid Zero. I can't figure out what makes it so good, but I like it better than the sugar packed original! Fruit Juices are typically loaded with sugar. I guarantee your apple juice without all the sugar is not nearly as delicious, but would be great if you could buy it that way! One Juice I do drink everyday is V-8 tomato juice. If I were lucky enough to have my own juicer I would make my own vegetable juice, but whatever you do don’t get fooled by V-8 splash. You’ve been warned.

9. Eat fruits or veggies with every meal. Be aware, some people will tolerate the natural sugar in fruits better than others, so if weight loss is your goal stick to the fruits early in the day or after exercise. As a general rule try to get around 10 total servings combined every day.

10. Limit yourself to 5 alcoholic drinks per week. Alcohol is a part of life and rightfully deserves its place. If you are responsible, it is awesome to go out with friends and socialize over a tall one. Believe me, I know all about being irresponsible, so I won’t lecture you, but just know that alcohol is a toxin and your body wants to get rid of it. Alcohol stops the digestion of all other nutrients in your body, allowing other nutrients to be stored as fat when they go unused in the bloodstream. I don’t care how or when you drink them but once you hit 5 during the week, switch to some type of non-calorie beverage.

11. Remember that your goal should be to change your percent body fat, and not necessarily you’re weight. I guarantee if you loose 10 lbs of fat, but gain 5 lbs of muscle the net loss is only 5 lbs, but you will look and feel amazing. Oh yea, not to mention your curves and overall physique will be a lot tighter.

12. Be patient. This is not a race people. It is not realistic to lose 10lbs in 10 days. Like I said before, diet is the food and drink regularly consumed. Just make this your lifestyle and you will notice a difference in time. Consider this: If you’re a woman at 30% fat (clinically obese) and you’re losing 1% fat per month, by the end of a year you’ll be at 18% fat (athletic) You’ll have gone from clinically obese to athletic in just one year.

13. Measure your progress. Keep track of the amount of weight you are lifting and continually progress to heavier weights. Keep track of how far you walk in 30 min and try to walk farther every week. Try this, take a picture of yourself today and then again in 6 weeks. Because you see your own body on a daily basis you’ll tend to have a skewed perception. The camera won’t lie.

14. Rest. Another easy one, get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and allow enough time for your muscles to recover in between weight lifting sessions. Like I said, you don’t have to beat yourself into the ground day after day.

15. Stick to it! If your serious about getting results: feeling stronger, having clothes fit better, liking what you see in the mirror, seeing muscles you couldn’t see before, feeling more athletic and energetic, getting rid of head aches or dry skin, then you should have no problem with this. If you’re looking for the quick fix, this probably isn’t for you, and I bet if we take a closer look, the listed results probably aren’t very near the top of your reasons for wanting to go on a diet.

I’ll leave you with saying good luck, and I wish you the best in health.

(Listed in no particular order or significance. All are great resources and have helped shape the way I live, and are worth looking into if you are serious about making a lifestyle change)

Precision Nutrition – Dr. John Barardi
Built For Show – Nate Green
150 Healthiest Foods on Earth – Jonny Bowden
In Defense of Food – Michael Pollan
Good Calries, Bad Calories – Gary Taubes
The new Rules of Lifting for Men – Lou Shueller
The New Rules of Lifting for Women
“Lift like a man, look like a goddess” - Dr. Cassandra Forsyth

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