Want to lose body fat and keep it off?
Losing unwanted body fat can be hard and frustrating, and keeping it off is often harder. Commonly, people search for quick fixes, and fail to create lasting habits that make their fat loss efforts a long term success. Below are some tips around food choices and timing that might help you to burn fat and build muscle. Athletic bodies are created in the gym, and the kitchen. By adopting sustainable and realistic nutrition solutions, you can lose excess body fat for good!
Try these simple strategies to make your fat loss journey easier:
1) Increase your Protein Intake
Protein is essential to help you lose body fat and keep it off for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is satiating, meaning it will help you feel fuller for longer and you are less likely to overeat or crave calorie-dense, processed foods. It also helps our body to maintain or build lean muscle mass, hence improving body composition. In addition, quality protein-containing foods are “calorie costly” for the body to break down, meaning you use up more energy when assimilating these foods. Those currently eating a low protein diet (less than 1g/kg of bodyweight) will notice the best results when increasing protein intake. Aim to increase your protein intake to 1.6-1.8g of protein/kg body weight per day.
Take home message
Increase intake of good quality protein-containing foods such as eggs, meats, nuts and seeds, full fat natural yoghurt and other dairy products, as well vegan options such as legumes and pulses.
2) Choose wholefoods and eliminate processed food
Most of us know that whole foods are better for our health than refined and processed foods. Foods in their most naturally-occurring form are more nutrient dense, and help you to meet your requirements for macro and micronutrients. In addition, the energy expenditure for digesting whole foods is much higher and you will burn more calories as your body breaks these down. The fibre content of whole foods makes unrefined foods more satiating and you are less likely to overeat. Unfortunately, processed foods are not only low in nutrient value, but they contain additives that are addictive, and can encourage you to overeat.
Take home message
Focus on whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, pulses, naturally-reared meats, dairy and whole grains, basically foods in their most natural state. In addition, focus on removing addictive processed foods such as biscuits, cakes, chips, crackers and other refined cereals, sugary drinks, sweetened low fat dairy and processed meats.
3) Try Gentle Carb Cycling
There are various ways to “cycle” carbohydrates, and it’s really a topic open to broader discussion. But as a start, choosing carbohydrates around your active lifestyle can really help. Initially, you don’t want to overthink this, instead just choosing to eat more healthy carbohydrates on the days where you train hard, and less carbohydrates on days where you don’t train, or you are sedentary. When you are active, you use up your muscle and liver glycogen, so carbohydrates consumed after training will go to replenishing these glycogen stores. Excess glycogen, with the help of insulin will be converted to fatty acids and stored as fat.
Take home message
Choose whole food carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and sweet potatoes/potatoes on training days, especially after your workout. If you have a day that is fairly sedentary, focus your meals primarily on proteins, good fats and non-starchy vegetables.
In summary, for lasting fat loss and maintenance of lean muscle mass, finding sustainable nutrition solutions is essential. Whilst “quick fixes” may seem appealing, they rarely lead to long term results, and can be frustrating and tough on your physical and mental health. Choose life long solutions for the best results!