Atkins? Paleo? Vegetarian? Low carb? No Carb? With so many people pushing their personal dietary dogma, information relating to nutritional programming for fat loss can be not only confusing - but heavily conflicting depending on who you talk to. So which one works the best?
ABS ARE MADE IN THE KITCHEN
Amidst the multitude of eating plans offered by modern day 'nutrition experts,' as well as celebrity endorsed fad diets doing the rounds, there'll always be individuals who claim they've found the ideal diet for fat loss. But if that works for them, well great for them! However the concept of biochemical individuality states that no two people are the same, and just because it works for Johnny, doesn't mean it will work for Jack. The key is finding what works for YOU.
So although theres no such thing as a 'quick fix,' quite often long term success is achieved as a result of small, incremental lifestyle changes. These are the 'little wins,' or those little 1% adjustments we make to our lifestyles each day or week, that set us up for long term success.
In all my years of experience in coaching clients to create positive change in their eating habits, I have definitely noticed how certain nutritional habits affect body composition across the board. So for your benefit, I have compiled a list of my very own top 20 nutrition tips for faster fat loss, that I am absolutely positive will work just as well for you as they have so many of my personal training clientele.
20 NUTRITION TIPS FOR FASTER FAT LOSS
#1 UNDERSTAND THAT NOT ALL CALORIES ARE CREATED EQUAL
A calorie is NOT a calorie. Everything you eat influences your hormones and although calorie counting has it's applications, it tends to do individuals more long term harm than good. With the rise of popularity of the flexible dieting fad, people are quick to justify their 'everything in moderation' approach by eating whatever they want providing it falls within their daily caloric target. The truth is that eating 600 calories of steak, broccolini and sweet potato does not have the same effect of eating 600 calories of cake! Stop lying to yourself. Cake is still cake.
#2 ENERGY BALANCE IS IMPORTANT
The primary influencers to control for successful fat loss are energy balance and hormonal balance. Although energy balance plays a key role, if it were as simple as that then the obesity epidemic would not exist.
Piggybacking off my first point, just because you are in a deficit doesn't give you license to eat whatever fits in your mouth. For example, high carb intake elevates blood glucose levels and is heavily acidifying, and drives inflammation. When you are in a caloric deficit, you are generally eating less - therefore it is harder to meet your daily micronutrient intake of essential vitamins and minerals important for day to day health and wellbeing.
#3 YOU NEED TO DESERVE YOUR CARBS
If you only take away one piece of advice from this list today, then make it this one: You need to earn your carbs. If you aren't training hard enough to deplete muscle glycogen, then you should be easing up on the post workout carbs. Be honest with yourself in relation to your training intensity, and allow carbohydrates in the diet relative to your degree of energy expenditure.
#4 EAT TO OPTIMISE YOUR HORMONAL MAKEUP
Everything you eat affects your hormones, and either activates or deactivates genetic coding in your DNA. For example, Docosahexaenoic Acid or DHA in fish oil has been shown to activate genes that stimulate fat burning. Therefore just by increasing your intake of omega 3 fats from fish oil, you are optimising your gene expression to signal your body to better burn fat as fuel.
#5 Eat right to ensure proper liver detoxification
Heavy metals and recycled hormones will make you fat, and safe elimination is priority. Ensure you are optimising and balancing your P1 & P2 liver detoxification pathways to safely metabolise toxins and get lean fast! Support this process staying hydrated and eating a high protein, high fibre diet and fill your plate with vegetables of every colour at mealtimes.
#6 Hydrate & alkalise upon rising in the morning
Fix low morning energy, and alkalise each morning with a glass of water to which you add a pinch of himalayan rock salt, and a squirt of lime juice. If you want to lose fat fast, then you want your adrenal glands on your team and cortisol to be your friend working for you, not against you. Lime or lemon juice in the morning is also an old Ayurvedic practise, and stimulates digestive enzymes to kickstart your digestion.
#7 assume responsibility For your food choices
As my mentor Charles Poliquin says, “No one ever ate anything by accident. Muggings by donuts who force themselves into your stomach are a figment of your imagination.” Hold yourself accountable for what goes into your mouth.
Start a food diary, plan your meals in advance and keep your eyes on the prize. No finger pointing, blaming or shaming. Take responsibility for YOUR life and your choices starting today.
#8 Eat a meat & Nuts Breakfast
Put down that yoghurt and muesli and get some steak on your plate! There is emerging research that has shown that the first meal of the day, can actually predetermine the rate at which you will burn fat for the remainder of the day. So begin each day with a meat & nuts breakfast composed of nought but a lean cut of meat, fat from nuts and a side of freshly, steamed greens. Eating in this way keeps insulin levels down early on in the day, allowing your body to better tap into your fat reserves for fuel.
Read the full article on my website for more information at: THE ULTIMATE FAT LOSS BREAKFAST
#9 take a High quality omega 3 fish oil supplement
The #1 fat loss supplement everyone should be taking in my opinion, is a high strength, high quality fish oil. Not only does fish oil do wonders for improving blood sugar management, it has been proven to be beneficial in the treatment of just about every disease known to mankind.
Although simply eating more fish seems to be a no brainer to increase your intake of Omega 3, I would exercise caution when eating larger fish such as shark and tuna as they tend to accumulate higher concentrations of toxic elements such as mercury. Stick to smaller, cold water fish instead.
#8 INCREASE DIETARY PROTEIN
Protein is the most thermogenic macronutrient of all, meaning that it increases your bodies metabolic rate during digestion, and you will burn more fat just by increasing your protein intake to optimal levels. Lean meats, eggs are preferred from a nutritional standpoint as they also contain a bounty of other important micronutrients required for health and performance such as B vitamins, zinc, carnitine, creatine and iron.
#9 AIM FOR 30-40 grams of fibre each day
Low fiber diets leads to poor insulin health, impaired detox and increased belly fat. Prebiotic fibre is mandatory for maintaining a healthy balance of good gut bacteria.
#10 Eliminate sugar & gluten
Eliminate ALL wheat and sugar from your diet - including artificial sweeteners. Go gluten free and reduce inflammation and acidity caused by overconsumption of refined flours and sugar. The body doesn't care whether it's natural or processed, white, brown, agave or whatever. Get rid of it all!
#11 ASSESS your magnesium, zinc & Vitamin D status
In my experience of looking at clients blood tests, most people are usually deficient in one or all of these micronutrients. These are all critical for healthy metabolism, immune function, insulin sensitivity & detoxification.
#12 Steer clear of 'fat burner' type supplements
Fat burners and pre workout supplements are loaded with excessive amounts of caffeine, which will whip your adrenal glands, jacking up your cortisol levels catabolising muscle tissue and contributing to increased fat storage, particularly around the abdominals.
#13 Take Acetyl l-carnitine daily for fat loss
Acetyl L-Carnitine is an amino acid that is naturally occurring in red meat, that assists with transporting fatty acids from the bloodstream into cell mitochondria, our cells powerhouses, to be burnt as fuel. Dose according to bowel tolerance and pair with fish oil for increased brain function and fat burning.
#14 heal your gut
Impaired gut function and poor digestion leads to malabsorption of nutrients such as zinc, magnesium and vitamin D. Gut permeability can also contribute to inflammation and increased cortisol levels. Supplement with L-Glutamine to seal your gut lining and take a probiotic supplement to help repopulate levels of beneficial gut bacteria.
#15 curb your cravings
Carb cravings are commonly caused by either overgrowths of bad gut bacteria or depleted levels of serotonin, a inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. Replenish serotonin by supplementing with 5-HTP, and take a probiotic supplement. Charles Poliquin also advocates eating full fat cream with a heaped tablespoon of L-Glutamine to help fight carb cravings.
#16 ENHANCE DETOX BY EATING MORE GREENS
Fill your plate with 1-2 cups of cruciferous and leafy green vegetables to increase fibre intake and enhance detox. By eating a range of leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, mustard greens and kale, you are providing your liver with indole 3 carbinol (I3C) which metabolises into a compound called Diindolymethane (DIM) that assists with estrogen metabolism.
# 17 Include seaweed/sea vegetables in your diet
Often overlooked, yet rich in iodine which is essential for the synthesis of thyroid hormone, which helps regulate our bodies metabolism and generate energy on a cellular level.
#18 use vinegar to improve insulin sensitivity
Use vinegar as a dressing to dramatically improve insulin sensitivity. Apple cider vinegar in warm water first thing in the morning works wonders for increasing carb tolerance and improving digestion.
#19 Thoroughly chew your food
Poor digestion results in nutrient malabsorption issues and gastrointestinal issues. A big part of the problem simply put, is that people don't chew their food long enough. Mastication, the chewing of food, is one of the first stages of digestion. As a general rule of thumb, chew your food twice for every tooth you have THEN swallow.
#20 Put down the whey protein
'..But I need protein for recovery though. Right?' I hear you cry. Well yes, indeed you do! Yet I feel the reason there is such an emphasis on the necessity of weight loss shakes in magazines and advertisements, is purely to SELL more protein shakes.
If you are after fat loss, then the truth is that by meeting your protein requirements from food you are increasing metabolic rate and burning more calories, due to the thermogenic processes of digestion. Protein shakes, particularly whey protein, is processed in order to be rapid absorbing through the stomach lining and into the blood stream - no digestion required. So basically you are guzzling down an extra 130 calories per day, with next to no digestion or energy expenditure required.
#21 Stick to the plan
If you are planning to eat out with friends, pick the venue. If you can't find anything on the menu that falls completely under your gluten/dairy/nut free clean eating umbrella, then politely inform the waiter you are coeliac/lactose intolerant etc and 99% of the time kitchens will be happy to accomodate you. Intelligent planning beats throwing our hands in the air when times are tough. If the success of your nutritional strategy is important to you, you will find a way. Otherwise, you will find an excuse.
PLEASE ENSURE THAT YOU CONSULT WITH A PHYSICIAN BEFORE COMMENCING ANY TYPE OF NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTATION TO DISCUSS WHETHER IT IS RIGHT FOR YOU AS SOME OF THE NUTRIENTS LISTED ABOVE CAN BE TOXIC IF TAKEN IN LARGE DOSES OVER TIME.
DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT PROVIDE ANY MEDICAL ADVICE. Information contained within this article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare practitioner or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information within this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. You should always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement or adopting any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your healthcare provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.