Rather than focusing on a strict diet, pay attention to good nutrition
By Migie Felizardo, CSCS,CPT, Pn1 | Photo by Peter Hershey/Unsplash
Majority of people need to lose fat whether they admit it or not, and they would often try various types of exercises and diet programs. While some achieve success, some have trouble complying and fail for several reasons. First, the diet plan is too complicated or too strict and very low on calorie intake that the body cannot function well throughout the day. Another is that it might not be sustainable for long-term improvement, so after losing weight they rebound and gain fat again once they return to their usual eating habits.
So rather than focusing on a strict diet, another approach is to focus on good nutrition. The goal of good nutrition is to help improve performance, health, and body composition all at the same time. There are a lot of rules involved, but here are some steps everyone can use to lose fat and, more often than not, lead to better nutritional intake.
Due to our fast-paced environment many of us eat too fast. Instead of eating until satisfied, we tend to eat until we reach 100 percent fullness or even until we’re bloated. We ingest additional, excess calories, which often leads to weight gain. The communication between our gut to our brain, and back to our gut is slow. It takes 15 to 20 minutes for our satiety mechanisms to kick in. The practice of eating slowly and stopping at 80 percent full/satisfied is invaluable. It helps us enjoy our meals better and helps us eat less for the day. Try it by chewing each bite more, setting a timer, and stopping just short of your usual intake. The idea is to build up to eating 15 to 20 minutes per meal.
It takes 15 to 20 minutes for our satiety mechanisms to kick in. The practice of eating slowly and stopping at 80 percent full/satisfied is invaluable
Take your multivitamin, multimineral and fish oil supplements
People who eat very healthy normally don’t need to take dietary supplements. However, many individuals practically have limited access to the required nutrients in addition to being re-exposed to stressful conditions. If you’re an athlete with intense trainings, dietary supplements help a lot, especially for recovery. Vitamins and minerals help our bodies function well and boost our immunity. While fish oil supplements supply us with healthy fat (omega-3 fatty acid), it also provides beneficial effects on cardiovascular and nervous system function, brain development, immune health, and even metabolism. Yet fish oil is usually deficient in modern diets, especially if you don’t eat fish. With a better health profile you can certainly be more productive when exercising, which helps you burn more calories.
Add protein and vegetables and choose better carbs
Vegetables are packed with micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and plant chemicals (phytochemicals) essential for optimal physiological functioning. Increasing protein intake for healthy individuals is safe and may actually be important to achieve best health, body composition, and performance. Protein helps in gaining lean mass, which promotes faster metabolism, and aids in recovery after exercise. For starters, men can eat two palm-sized portions of protein and two fist-sized portions of vegetables for each meal. Women can eat one palm-sized portion of protein and one-fist sized portion of veggies with each meal. Normally our carbohydrate intake is quite high. So to help control carbs and excess calories, it’s best to focus on unprocessed varieties and to save starchy foods (rice, pasta, bread, sugary foods) until after an intense workout or for breakfast.
For starters, men can eat two palm-sized portions of protein and two fist-sized portions of vegetables for each meal. Women can eat one palm-sized portion of protein and one-fist sized portion of veggies with each meal
Change cheat days to cheat meals
Yes we should avoid all junk: processed, fast foods, and most unnecessary stuff. But we still need to enjoy food and even the social benefits of eating together. The usual solution is by scheduling cheat days. Yet sometimes most people tend to splurge on a cheat day. So do cheat meals instead. It means you can spread out your unhealthy meals and manage excess calories throughout the week. Just remember to follow 80 percent for good meals and 20 percent for bad/unhealthy meals. And if you want to step it up try 90/10 instead.
Our bodies are designed to move and there are numerous benefits of regular exercise. Build up to five or more hours of physical activity per week. At least 50 percent of those exercise hours should be of higher-intensity activities (high intensity intervals, circuits, strength training, sports training etc.) and the remaining for light or moderate activities. This should help promote fat loss combined with good nutrition. For someone who is sedentary, less than five hours per week may be enough but should build up more hours next time.
Try applying one or two steps for the first two weeks then progress as needed by adding more until most of them become habits. Even if you just follow the first step, it should help lose body fat in the long run.
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