Whilst exercise is important in the fat loss equation, the fact is, you will never be able to out-exercise a bad diet. I cannot stress the importance of a structured, targeted nutrition plan, if you really want to see great results.
When it comes to diet and nutrition, there is so much conflicting information staring us in the face on a daily basis. Every magazine has a different diet, a new ‘quick and easy’ way to achieve the body you have always wanted. Most of us have tried some of them, in fact, many of us may have tried them ALL!! The results are usually the same – we may lose weight, but eventually we either fall off the wagon or when we finish the program we go back to the same bad habits that got us so out of shape to begin with.
Women in particular, do not eat enough protein. We need to ingest protein consistently throughout the course of a day to feed our muscles, to keep our blood sugar levels and energy stable, and to create satiety. Many of us will start the day with orange juice, a bowl of low fat cereal, skim milk, and fruit, believing this to be a healthy breakfast that’s good for weight loss. Maybe, if you are a marathon runner! It might be low fat, but it’s full of sugar, and as you will see below, sugar, not fat, is the enemy when it comes to fat loss.
Sugar increases our blood sugar levels rapidly, causing the hormone insulin to be released to subsequently lower the blood sugar level again. Increased insulin levels are a pre-cursor for fat storage. This rise and fall in our blood sugar level is also responsible for our energy levels, our cravings and often our moods. We do need some carbohydrates for energy however, certain forms of carbohydrate are a much better choice than others.
Don’t be so afraid of a bit of fat in the diet. Low fat diets do not work for a number of reasons. For example, the fat that is removed is often replaced with sugar, our hormones need fat to function optimally, and also because of the satiety factor. Ever noticed when on a very low fat diet you’re constantly fighting hunger?
Add some good fats to your diet such as avocado, flax, walnuts will see you reaping great benefits. Some fats even help us burn body fat!
Here are some simple nutrition tips for increased fat loss and for increasing your overall energy levels:
- Eat more protein – chicken, tuna, egg whites, whey protein, lean beef, cottage cheese etc
- Avoid sugar, including too much natural sugar (found in fruit)
- Choose complex carbohydrates (oats, rice, sweet potatoes) over simple ones (sugar, honey, dried fruit)
- Add some good fats to your diet – for example – salmon, sardines, flax, avocado, walnuts
- Avoid processed foods and choose food as close to it’s natural state as possible
- Watch your portion sizes. The simple fact is that people gain weight because they eat too much!
- Eat 5-6 small meals, evenly spaced throughout the day. This way you are continually feeding your muscles, as well as avoiding becoming too hungry (and thus far more able to resist any urge to binge eat)
- Drink at least 3 litres of water every day.