Nutrition For Dummies – Tips To Help Lose Weight And Feel Great
Part One: My Big Three Nutrition Tips
As a personal trainer, I am most often hired to help people lose weight and feel great. Diet and nutrition is THE foundation for any weight loss or muscle gaining program. Don’t get me wrong, I love exercise (a lot), but if you aren’t fueling your body correctly, you’re going to have a tough time.
1. Protein, Fat, and Carb at every meal and snack — My friend Dietitian Cassie taught me this one. When we eat healthy fat, clean carbs (mostly veggies and fruit), and protein at every meal, it helps keep our blood sugar levels constant, curb cravings, and keep you full. If you fuel this way, you’ll be less hungry and you’ll never have to worry about calories.
Have you ever tried eating salad, but end up hungry an hour later? Many times the salad we make are filled with carbs and lacking protein and fat. Stop eating salads with just greens, and add some chicken, shrimp, or hardboiled eggs for protein. Add a sliced avocado or pour olive oil over your salad to get some healthy fat.
2. No added sugar or artificial sweeteners — Sugar makes you fat. Stop believing food advertisements that say “fat free.” It usually means there is added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Check the ingredients list on EVERYTHING. You’ll be surprised how much sugar is added to foods you don’t even think of as sweet (like bread or ketchup). The sugar in our food is super refined from sugarcane and is highly addictive — similar in many ways to the way cocaine is refined from a harmless and even healthy cocoa plant. Refined sugar consumption doesn’t turn you into a crackhead like cocaine might, but it makes you fat.
Diet or “skinny” beverages are not any better. In many ways, they’re actually worse. These artificial sweeteners are chemicals — and your body doesn’t know how to deal with the chemicals that feel and act like sugar. If you need something sweet, have fruit or use Stevia sweetener. Adding lemon and mint to your water gives you something tasty that helps curb sugar cravings. Also, if you keep the Protein/Fat/Carb balance at every meal, your cravings for sweetness should subside because your blood sugar levels are constant. You crave what you eat. Eat less refined sugar, and you’ll crave it less.
3. Cut out grains and starches — limit to quinoa, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and brown rice — Carbs turn into sugar in the bloodstream. So something like bread — that isn’t “sweet” or ”sugary” — will still get converted into sugar in your body and be stored as fat when it is not used for energy. I am a strong believer in “low carb*” for fat loss. Some grains are great, like quinoa (which has a great mix of Fat, Carb, and Protein), oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and sometimes brown rice. If you can cut out cereal, bread, chips, crackers, bagels, donuts, etc., you’ll be well on your way to fat loss.
*Note: Low carb might be better thought of as lower carb, or better carb. Stock up on veggies and some fruit. Seriously, go to town on veggies. Eat as much as you want. You still need your carbs, just make them clean.
I have seen the biggest change for those who follow these three suggestions, but stay tuned for Part Two coming soon!