1 Eat More Calories
Surprise! Low calorie diets (below 1200 a day) do more harms than good. Low caloric intake only slows your metabolic rate and forces your body to store calories in the form of fat. A good range of calories for an adult female is 1200-2200. I recommend you start at 1500 and go from there. Find a good ratio of protein, fats and carbs, so you are not hungry, and are achieving you goals. Lose no more then a pound of fat a week, or it will be difficult to keep it off. Trust me! Keep in mind the scale does not show water weight, muscle gain, or anything else for that matter! Go by how you clothes fit, measurements, and if you can, get a body composition test done.
2 Slash Fat Calories
Calories from fat are easily stored as body fat, whereas calories from other foods have to be converted to fat, a process that burns calories. Stick to low fat and nonfat choices, and watch for hidden fat. Fat is added to crackers, cookies, breads, and rolls. Your body does need some fat. Fats keep your joints, skin, and internal organs in good working order. Everyone is different, but I find for most women, 20-25% of total calories should come from fat. Where your fat comes from also makes a difference. The body more readily stores saturated fats, such as animal fats. Unsaturated fats such as olive oil are much better. Read food labels, consider where the fat is coming from. Avoid saturated fats
3 Concentrate on Natural foods
Natural, unprocessed foods are used more efficiently by the body and are less likely to be stored as body fat. Choose fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, and other complex carbs as the mainstays of your diet. Natural, complex carbs are needed to make and replenish muscle glycogen, the carb stored in the muscles and liver and used to supply energy for exercise and activity. Foods like refined pasta and bread products are less effective in a fat loss program. If you limit them to a few times a week you will notice a huge difference in your shape and definition.
4 Moderate carbohydrate intake
As energy foods, carbs are totally essential for exercisers and must be included in your diet. But, if you want to speed up your fat loss, change your carb intake slightly. When you reduce carbs, you body has less glycogen to run on and is forced to burn fat instead. This is tough, I know! We all love out pasta and bread. Here is what I suggest. Eat your pastas and breads before 3pm and only a few times weekly. Stick to veggies and proteins for late afternoon and dinner.
5 Limit sugar consumption
If you eat too much sugar at once, the excess can be turned to body fat. Excess sugar triggers a surge of the hormone insulin, which activates enzymes that promote fat storage. You would be surprised how many foods contain large amounts of sugar. Cereal and fat free snacks are full of sugar. I trained a man who lost 6 inches off his waist, in one month, by cutting coke out of his diet. Need I say more!
6 Eat enough protein
Protein is key and 90% of the American population don’t get enough. Without protein, the body will eat on it’s own muscle. Protein provides essential amino acids to repair body tissues like muscle. Without protein you will lose metabolically active muscle and sabotage your fat loss efforts. Good sources of protein are white meat poultry, fish, lean red meats, skim milk, yogurt, tofu, beans, and cottage cheese.
7 Drink plenty of water
Fluid retention is alleviated
Endocrine gland function improves
Liver functions improve, therefore increasing percent of fat used for energy
Natural thirst returns
Metabolic function improves
Helps body rid metabolic toxins and waste
Increases energy levels
8 Eat 4-5 times a day
Eating frequently throughout the day has several fat burning and nutritional advantages:
Higher calorie burn rate
Better absorption of nutrients
Less temptation to snack on "bad" foods
Think of your body a fireplace. If you throw a log on a hot fire it will burn fast. If you let the fire cool, it will take a long time to burn and possible not completely burn. So, keep fueling the body every few hours and your metabolism will burn the calories. If you eat every 6-8 hours, your metabolism will be slow and will be unable to burn the calories before they are stored as body fat. You may feel like you are always eating, but if you are eating small balanced meals, you will be surprised how well this works. Oh, and no excuses for people on the run, Tupperware will become your best friend!
9 Know the right food portions
A nutritious diet includes the right servings and portions of the following food everyday.
4-5 servings of fruits and veggies
Example of one serving: 1 Medium piece of fruit, 1 Cup of raw veggies, or 1 cup cooked veggies
2-3 servings of low fat dairy products
Example 1 cup skim milk, yogurt, or nonfat cottage cheese or 2oz of fat free cheese
4-6 servings of natural complex carbs
Example _ cup cooked whole grain cereal or rice, 2 tortillas, or 1 medium baked potato
3-4 servings of protein rich foods
Example 2-3 oz of white chicken meat, fish, or lean red meat, _ cup of cooked beans or legumes, or 2 egg whites
*Fats and oils-use unsaturated and keep to a minimum
10 Moderate Alcohol Use
Alcoholic beverages are loaded with sugary calories, which are easily converted to fat. Plus, when there’s alcohol in your system, the liver works overtime to process it and doesn’t have adequate time to burn fat. Excess alcohol can also cause numerous health threatening conditions. Bottom line- don’t drink a lot of alcohol if you have a goal to achieve.
1. Shape Training written by Robert Kennedy and Maggie Greenwood –Robinson
2. Optimum Sport Nutrition by Dr Michael Colgan
3. National Academy of Sports Medicine, Personal Trainer Manual