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We've all heard the familiar mantra "calories in - calories out" right? For years it has been the tried and true chant of the weight loss industry. While there is plenty of hard scientific evidence to back this theory, anyone who has tried to lose weight just by cutting calories knows, there is a lot more to the story than just eating less food.
So, the real question is, "What is the missing link?"
I can tell you with all certainty that, no matter what your goal might be, whether you are interested in losing fat, gaining muscle, getting healthy, reversing the aging process, or training for competition; there are 3 keys to getting the results you are looking for from your nutrition plan:
Feed The NEED: The body needs balance. In addition to counting calories, it is important to look at your breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. While there are varying opinions on the ideal combination, I recommend that my clients strike a balance of 40/40/20; 40% protein, 40% carbohydrates and 20% unsaturated fat. (Take a peek at some of my most successful clients and you will see how nicely this works!) A good way to check your daily intake is to use one of several free online nutrition tracking systems such as FitDay.com. Plug in a few days of eating and you will see right away where you need to make adjustments.
Feed The BABY: The truth is, your need for a continual flow of calories throughout the day (about every 2 to 3 hours) has never really changed. While we are led to believe that we outgrow the need for regular "feedings" as we reach adulthood, the fact is, moving to larger, less frequent meals is more a product of industry than it is health. Our busy lifestyles demand that we condition the body to "stay quiet and wait" until it's convenient to eat and, in the process, the body is forced into fight-or-flight mode. This all translates into a thicker middle. The longer you go without food, the more likely it is that your body will store more fat while it hangs on (for dear life) to what it's already got! Try going back to feeding yourself as you would a baby by consuming smaller meals more often - a palm size portion of protein and a fist size portion of carbohydrate every 2 to 3 hours - and you will be amazed at how quickly the excess baggage comes off. Think tuna and pasta; steak and potato, cottage cheese and blueberries... remember to keep portions small, throw in some leafy greens and drink plenty of water.
Feed The FIRE: Think of your metabolism as a log burning in the fireplace. Now, imagine what happens when you leave that log burning, undisturbed, for a few hours... it starts to smolder and, if you leave it long enough, it will eventually go out altogether. Now consider two different scenarios: In one you take another big, fat log and throw it on top of the smoldering one (sort of like the big fat meal that inevitably falls at the end of the day...) Chances are, neither log will burn very well, in fact, it's more likely they'll smother each other out. In the second scenario, instead of the big fat log, you toss in some crumpled up paper, a few matches, a squirt of lighter fluid, and a few pieces of kindling - what happens? The fire starts up again. Stay at it and pretty soon you'll have an out-and-out bonfire going!
In much the same way, going long periods without eating puts your body into slow burn mode, while eating small meals stokes your metabolism. Sort of gives new meaning to the term "feel the burn!"
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About the Author:
Dianne is an international fitness expert, speaker, writer, success coach and master level certified personal trainer who has helped thousands of men, women and young adults achieve incredible, jaw-dropping results, in less time and with less effort than they ever thought possible. For more information, visit her website at www.lovelivingfit.com
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