Having a steady exercise routine is important for your overall health and it can certainly offset some of what you eat, but ultimately, proper nutrition is the real answer to effectively fighting fat. The problem with a lot of fad diets is that they emphasize simply eating less and limiting the number of calories consumed rather than on losing weight the right way, through nutrient-dense meals. Heavily restricting your caloric intake without considering the body’s nutritional needs, however, means that it is unlikely your metabolism is optimally functioning and burning fat. Of course, this is entirely counter-productive to what you are actually trying to accomplish!
Food is Energy
If you have never heard of macronutrients, now is the time to change that. Macronutrients are the essential calories that provide your body energy. They include protein, carbohydrates, and fat, all of which you need. Yes, your body needs fat. That said, you need varying portions of each of these macronutrients. A meal plan that focuses on high protein, low carbohydrates, and a healthy fat profile is ideal, despite the fact that many diets consistently warn against consuming carbohydrates and fats at all.
It might seem strange to focus on the types of foods you are eating rather than on counting calories, but this is approach is not only easier, but healthier for your well-being.
Protein is considered the powerhouse of macronutrients and is most commonly associated with muscle-building. Additionally, protein also burns more calories when compared to carbohydrates and fat. It digests slowly, which makes it an effective bugger for fluctuations in blood sugar and keeps you feeling fuller for a longer period of time. Unfortunately, those who focus on reducing calorie intake tend not to consume adequate amounts of protein, which means they also end up with higher body fat percentages. Try to incorporate protein into every snack and meal throughout the day to ensure you are getting enough.
Being told that it is okay to eat fat probably goes against everything you ever thought you knew about dieting, but the fact is that you need it. That does not mean you should load up on every fat imaginable, however. Healthy fats are what you need to incorporate into your diet. This includes egg yolks, avocado, coconut oil, full-fat dairy, and even bacon. The key to enjoying healthy fats, however, is to do so in moderation since a high-fat and high-carbohydrate diet will derail your weight loss goals. A healthy portion of fat for each meal is generally about the size of your thumb.
Lots of diets out there are all about eliminating carbohydrates, but this is yet another essential nutrient that should be consumed in moderation. What are carbohydrates? They are molecules that get broken down in our bodies and ultimately become sugar. To use this sugar, the body needs insulin, which allows the sugar to enter our cells and prevent fat cells from releasing fat for energy. This means that anytime you consume sugar, your body stops burning fat.
What you need to keep in mind when choosing what types of carbohydrates to eat is that you need to keep it simple. Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are all good sources of carbohydrates that should be part of your daily diet. On the other hand, refined carbohydrates, which are processed and packaged, such as cereal, bread, chips, and cookies should be avoided. An easy way to quickly identify a good carb from a bad carb is by asking yourself if you would find it in a garden. There is no such thing as a bread tree. Instead, reach for an apple.
Real Foods Nurture the Body
Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are necessary for the body to function and they are largely found in foods that have not been processed beyond recognition. If your diet consists more of things you would find in packages and lacks in leafy vegetables, chicken, avocado, or wild-caught salmon, you are probably not getting all of the nutrition your body needs, even if you are getting enough calories.
To get the most out of your body and to help it effectively burn fat, here is a recap of what you need to do to make sure it is functioning optimally:
- Eat plenty of colorful, non-starchy vegetables. They require very little insulin to be released and, remember, reducing insulin is key to releasing fat from storage.
- Consume enough protein to maintain muscle. Each person will require a different amount of protein, which is based on weight. Typically, a gram per pound of body weight is ideal.
- Do not be afraid of healthy fats, but be careful to eat them in moderation.
- Drink water! You should be drinking half of your weight in ounces, so if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink about 75 ounces of water.
- Avoid refined carbohydrates since they do not provide your body any benefits and, in fact, stall your fat loss.
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