Fad diets, they all have one thing in common. They’re diets. They are like a pair of bell bottom pants. They are in for a couple of years and they’re gone. Then they find they’re way back just when the fitness professionals know we are ready to eat ’em up again…no pun intended. When you’re trying to burn fat, you really should avoid these things like the plague.Now, realistically many of these diets will provide some initial fat loss for many people. So you get some weight loss initially, but you could also lose some muscle on these programs too, and you know that losing muscle can spell disaster to your fat burning efforts. But the bigger problem with these diets is that most who follow outlandish diets gain back the fat they lost, and then some! On top of that, they often recommend focusing too much on one type of food, which can lead to unhealthy eating habits. I’ve found they are too strict to be realistically followed, especially for a long period of time, and they’re no fun. And anything you can’t follow as a lifestyle will not burn fat in the long run.
You see, the very concept of a diet is doomed to fail. Why? Diets are based in a temporary mindset. The fact that someone goes on a diet means they will have to come off of the diet. This is temporary…why force yourself to lose 10 pounds when you’re just going to gain it back and then some when you go off of the diet? That may sound simple, but most people just don’t get it…they look to diets as the answer to their weight and health problems. But they’re not the answer, and they actually create more problems for you. People who are regular dieters don’t burn fat over the long haul.
If you seek life long fat burning, health and fitness in a lean body, you should take some advice from my mom, and probably your mom too. When I think about it, probably the best base of nutritional knowledge I received was from my mom. For the most part, my mom was right. She didn’t know anything about fat burning, but she made sure I got nutritious foods growing up. She especially made a point to make sure I ate my vegetables, especially the green ones. She limited sugary stuff and other junk, but didn’t totally eliminate it, making it a special treat for me on occasion. She tried to provide a balanced offering of the different food groups throughout the day. Thanks, Mom. Mom’s diet was actually quite sound, and I’ve found that heeding some of this advice in the pursuit of maximum fat burning and a lean healthy body for the rest of your life is a smart way to go.
You see, your body naturally craves foods rich in nutrients (antioxidants, phyto nutrients, fiber, vitamins, minerals, etc.) When you eat most of your meals from foods rich in important nutrients, your body will body will be satisfied and overeating won’t be much of a problem. You then begin to burn fat as a natural result of giving your body what it thrives on. On top of that, you’re lowering your risk for disease by promoting a natural alkaline environment in your body with these types of foods.
If you do the opposite and eat most of your meals from foods lacking in nutrients, you’ll keep eating and eating and eating to satisfy your nutrient needs. This leads to too many calories and a person who will just keep getting fatter and more prone to develop increased risk for disease with an acidic environment in the body. When this happens, you can just kiss fat burning goodbye.
So nutrition for fat loss, fitness, and health really all do go hand in hand. My Fat Burning Furnace students have changed their lives permanently, by simply altering what they put in their bodies…and you can do it to. Focus on foods rich in nutrients. In part two of this article, I’ll get more specific in helping you make the transition from your current lifestyle to the one you desire. One where your body seemingly burns fat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with little effort.
I talked about how avoiding diets is one of the best things you can do for your long term health and fitness success, especially if you want to burn fat. In this second part, I’ll show you how you can start to transition from your current lifestyle to one that creates a lean, strong body and lasting health.
From a nutritional standpoint, you need a healthy balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in your diet to keep your metabolism firing on all cylinders, constantly burning fat. Fad diets have a coolness factor to them that sometimes makes them irresistible at first. But in the long run I’ve found it best to go back to the basics of what your body craves. Let’s talk about that…
Complex Carbs (whole grains, breads, cereals, etc.) are vital to maintaining your energy throughout the day and do a host of other things within your body including keeping you feeling full. I’ll also lump fruits in with complex carbs, because of their high fiber content and slow absorption into the blood stream, keeping our insulin level in check, which is important for less fat storage and a higher chance of burning stored fat.
Simple Carbs, or sugars (candy, soda pop, white processed baked goods, etc) are to be avoided and kept to a minimum for the most part. They provide little nutritional value to you and are what I often refer to as empty calories. They just add calories to your body with little or no nutritional value that are going to end up in your fat stores if you’re not careful with how much you ingest. Forget about maximum fat burning here. Of course, many people are aware of the blood sugar and insulin connection with eating too many simple carbs. Our insulin regulates are blood sugar level and takes any excess sugars and stores them as fat. We then are stuck getting tired and hungry, making repeating this cycle far too easy. The best way to avoid this, I’ve found, is eating a sensible amounts of complex carbohydrates instead.
Proteins (lean meats, fish, poultry, soy, beans and legumes, etc.) are important to maintain the cellular structures in your body and provide the building blocks for the lean muscle you’re after, which is vital if you want to burn fat fast. But with anything else, don’t go overboard with protein. Some fitness experts claim that you’ll need a minimum 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight each day. There is no real proof that this is the case, and ingesting more protein than your body needs ends up going to your fat stores…plus it doesn’t do your kidneys or liver any good either. I’ve found that keeping protein to around 0.5 grams per pound of bodyweight each day more than sufficient in feeding the lean muscle growth that my Fat Burning Furnace students stimulate with their properly performed resistance exercise.
Another important aspect of protein involves whether or not you’re getting your protein from animal or plant based sources. While the traditional American diet recommends most animal based proteins, recent data suggests that too heavy a reliance on animal proteins increases risks for disease. On top of that, animal proteins contain almost no fiber, which doesn’t go very far in keeping you feeling full, and negatively effects your ability to burn fat. When choosing your protein sources, make sure you eat a good portion of your protein from plant sources (soy, beans, legumes, etc.). You don’t have to be a vegetarian, but I recommend keeping your animal proteins on the low side.
Fats (found in many proteins, nuts, oils, etc.) are essential to maintain certain bodily processes like hair, nail, and skin regeneration. There is a lot of confusion with fats out there, some recommending extremely low fat diets and others even recommending a very high fat diet. If you are focusing on lean protein choices in your meals, and including small amounts of healthy oils, nuts, and seeds in your diet, your fat intake will be in order.
So how much of each of these macro nutrients should you be eating to maximize fat burning and get that lean fit body you’re after? It’s easy to get caught up in the percentages and counting calories, but the easiest way I’ve found is to count portions instead of calories. An easy way to ensure that this happens is to make sure you eat both a portion or two of complex carbs and a portion of protein at each meal. Add as many green veggies as you can eat, as they’re super low in calories and provide more fiber, enzymes that aid in digestion, and vitamins and minerals that will be more than adequate for most people. Remember, focus on nutrient rich foods and you’ll find that burning fat and getting healthy will seem like a natural.
How many times per day should we be eating to burn the most fat? I can tell you that three meals a day is not going to cut it when trying to burn fat fast and get lean, at least not in my experience. In fact, if you wanted to get as fat as possible, you should eat all of your daily calories in one meal. Eating smaller more frequent meals throughout the day is the fastest way to fat loss. It fires up your metabolism, as every time you eat something, the metabolism kicks it up a notch. Try and eat 5-6 smaller meals per day, spaced about 3 hours apart.
Now, I know many people don’t want to be taken out of their breakfast, lunch, and dinner routine…so you can still eat at those traditional meal times, but try cutting back a bit on how much food you eat at those meals and add those calories into 2 or 3 snack meals in between. A snack meal could be a protein/energy bar or maybe even a piece of fruit and a slice of whole grain bread.
So you see, eating for a lean, strong, and healthy body isn’t so difficult…and it doesn’t require you to eliminate essential foods like complex carbohydrates from your diet. In fact, doing so will put you into the cycle of confusion of fad diets that is all too prevalent in fitness today. And that’s a cycle that’s tough to break out of. Focus on foods your body craves naturally instead, and the rest of the details will be easy to implement into your lifestyle. Before long you’ll start to burn fat faster than you might have thought possible.