Diet

3 Ways To Lose Body Fat That Have Nothing To Do With Dieting

Even as a Fitness Professional, sometimes I feel my own head spinning with the amount of diet plans, supplements, coaches, and offers on the market.

It almost seems like every Facebook friend is selling a different solution.

So, today I want to offer you 3 ways that you can drop body fat that cost nothing and don’t require the next crazy fad diet...

  

1. Speak kindly to yourself. I fully believe that our bodies become what we say they are. If you’re constantly telling yourself that you’re fat or out of control, your behavior will reflect those things, and ultimately, so will your body.


2. Visualize yourself creating the body you dream of. In your mind’s eye, every single day see the version of you that you desire to become moving throughout your day, practicing the habits you want to commit to, and creating the body you want.


3. Pay attention to your triggers. Notice the emotion, experiences, and/or people surrounding your choices for bad food or skipping exercise. Change the routine. Surround yourself with different people. Choose to assign different meaning or emotions to those trigger experiences. Changing patterns and habits change outcomes.


Creating change is never easy, and sustaining it for a lifetime is even harder. But I promise that if you incorporate these behavioral pieces into your daily routine, you will begin noticing a huge difference in yourself that will also show up in how your body looks.

Sugar: A Loving Tribute

It’s no secret that sugar is bad for us. It feeds disease, impacts your brain, messes with your energy, and makes people fat. It rots your teeth and can affect your skin.

 

Aside from the short bursts of energy it gives and the way it sets off the pleasure sensors in your brain, there are really no good things about consuming sugar.

 

But I’m not here to tell you to stop eating it.

 

Because seriously… you’re not going to and neither am I.

 

Not only is sugar added to far more foods than you even realize, but it’s also delicious.

 

And if you know me at all, you know I’m about making fitness and health as easy as possible.

 

If I tell you to stop having sugar, it’s all you’re going to think about (like any other food you’ve ever tried to eliminate from your diet).

 

Is it possible to give it up and go sugar-free? For the small few, sure. But for most, it’s just not realistic in the world we live in today.

 

And since we know it’s really not great for us, and I’m assuming you’d prefer to avoid cancer, diabetes, etc. at all costs, I want to help you set some parameters for yourself today that will enable you to continue enjoying sugar with balance.

 

Here are my top tips for maintaining a loving relationship with sugar in the healthiest way possible:

 

1.     Drink only sugar-free beverages

2.     Avoid artificial sweeteners – you should do this for a variety of reasons. The one I’m addressing here is the fact that artificial sweeteners actually increase sugar cravings, making it harder to maintain moderation.

3.     Avoid UNNECESSARY sugars – if you think salad dressings and tomato sauces, for example, require sugar to taste good, you’re so wrong! Look for or create sugar-free options where it’s obviously unneeded.

4.     Try fruit before dessert. I’m not going to lie to you and say fruit is the same as dessert, because I know there’s a big difference between a strawberry and a slice of chocolate cake. But see if you can use fruit to kill your dessert cravings before you dive into indulgence.

5.     Clean up your environment. It’s common for many homes and offices to have bowls of single pieces of candy lying around or a cabinet stocked with “treats for the kids.” We mindlessly reach for them multiple times per day…and you know how fast that adds up! So, get rid of ‘em!

6.     Plan for massive sugar indulgences. Maybe your mom is making your favorite pie, or it’s your birthday, or a special trip/holiday are coming up. Those are the times to go all in and overdo it. Not a random Saturday on a whim.

How to Control Your Carbs

What’s the Big Deal about Carbs?
 
Starchy carbs get so much attention when it comes to nutrition conversations because they are the biggest double-edged sword our bodies have to deal with. On one hand, all of our energy in the body comes from glucose molecules (carbs in their basic sugar form) but on the other, our bodies weren’t designed to be surrounded by so many readily available carbs.
 
So when our body does get an onslaught of starchy carbs (usually from refined sugars in all of our indulgence foods or simple carbs found in anything baked with flour), it handles them by releasing insulin. Insulin is responsible for a lot of important functions in the body, but by design, it is a storage hormone. So instead of signaling our body to burn fat, our bodies actually get the signal to store fat whenever we eat a lot of starchy carbs.
 
This is why you can expect to make the biggest dent in your weight loss if you begin to control starchy carbs with every meal.
 
Where are Carbs Found?
 
Carbs are found in a lot of different foods but in general you can view them in this distinction:
 
FIBROUS VS. STARCHY
 
Fibrous Carb Rich Foods that Help with Fat Loss:

  • Raw or lightly cooked vegetables

  • Beans and legumes

  • Some fruits (mostly berries)

 
Starchy Carbs that Work Against Fat Loss:

  • All candies, jelly and jams

  • Sodas, fruit juices, fruit drinks

  • Pudding, custards and other sweets

  • Processed refined grains like flour or white rice

  • Bread and pasta made with any refined flour

  • Cakes, cookies and other sweet bakery products

 
What Do We Mean by “Controlling” Starchy Carbs?
 
First, notice that the emphasis is not on eliminating carbs but rather on controlling them. Our brains tend to be resistant to restriction, so we want to add the right foods to crowd out the foods that aren’t serving our interests.
 
In addition, “controlling” carbs also acknowledges that it’s not realistic to avoid all of the foods in the “Against Fat Loss” carb lists. We all like to indulge, so it’s important to learn how to enjoy those foods without affecting your waist line.
 
In this context you, can think of carb control as substitutional. The goal is to substitute as many of the “against fat loss” carbs with “help with fat loss” carbs.
 
So in order to achieve the above, you will be required to practice one (or both) of these strategies throughout your day to control carbs:

  1. Substitute the carbs not working for you with more quality carbs

 

  • Fill more of your plate with protein or crowd it out with more veggies (as they are technically a carb as well)

  • Shift from more processed foods to less processed foods

  • Shift from breads and white rice to Ezekiel bread and brown rice

  • Swap pastas for quinoa

  • Potatoes to sweet potatoes (or any root vegetable)

 
2. Eat your “Against Fat Loss” carbs after a workout
 
The intense workouts I design are designed to drain your muscles of as much sugar as possible. Thus, right after a workout, your body is keener on storing any incoming sugars (i.e. carbs) into your muscles instead of into fat. Thus, if you still wish to indulge in pastas, pizzas, breads, sweets etc. feel free to do so ONLY after your workouts. You can even think of it as a way of “earning your indulgence carbs.” This should not be done daily, however. But a few times per week is ok. :)
 
And don't forget your portions! But we can talk about that in our next blog.
 
 I hope this gives you a better understanding of what carbs truly are and how they work in the body!
 

Intermittent Fasting. What Is It? Will It Work For Me?

 

This is one of the most talked about approaches to eating nowadays. It has been widely practiced for millennia across all races and religious beliefs. In the Eastern Hemisphere, fasting has been used for decades to help treat numerous degenerative diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol.  In the last decade the Western World has slowly been catching up with more scientific research on this intriguing topic helping to create new patterns of fasting to help modernize this ancient practice for everyone. So what exactly is Intermittent Fasting, and more importantly will it work for you? 

Intermittent Fasting, or IF, is defined as a pattern of consumption that involves no eating for an extended period of time, then a period of normal eating. It's that simple!  Now the complexity of IF comes in how you approach it. For simplicity I'm going to discuss the two main types and the most commonly used techniques in each. 

There are two main types of IF,  Alternate Day Fasting (ADF),  and Time Restrictive Fasting (TRF).  The first type, ADF, is a pattern of eating involving a  24 hour fast,  followed by a normal day of eating. Some types of ADF involve easier fasting days, allowing for minimal calories on those days. The most popular types of ADF are the 5:2 Diet and the "Every Other Day Diet". The "Every Other Day Diet" was popularized by a book written by Krista Varady. This diet allows 25% of your normal calories on your fast day, then no restrictions of eating on your free day. The 5:2 diet consists of fasting two days a week followed by five days of non restricted eating. Now both of these diets are liberal approaches to IF and are much easier to stick with, but they also could encourage binge eating among certain populations. Therefore, if you're someone who can't easily control food cravings then these types might not work for you.  When following ADF, I always recommend normal eating on your non fasting days.  If you want to have a couple cheat days a month, then that should be fine. 

ADF, in my personal experience, is a temporary pattern of eating. It's an easier approach to fasting for beginners but can be harder to maintain longterm for most people due to its extreme caloric restriction on your fast days. TRF, on the other hand, can be a solution to those who struggle with maintaining a fasting lifestyle. 

The second major type, Time Restricted Fasting (TRF), is a pattern of eating within a a certain number of hours per day. The most common practice is fasting for 16 hours, then eating within an 8 hour time frame. This was popularized by the book,  "The 8-Hour Diet" by David Zinczenko. This diet has no restrictions on the foods you eat during the 8 hour window of consumption, but does emphasize controlling your food portions. My personal experience is that with this diet you can still over-consume on a daily basis. So I would recommend keeping a food journal to make sure you’re still limiting your calories (if your goal is weight loss) and also make sure to  consume healthy foods, not sugary refined ones. Now there are wide ranges of TRF out there today.  Some are more strict, such as eating within a 1 hour window per day, or some have a more relaxed pattern, like eating within a 12 hour window per day. If you’re a beginner, I always recommend starting with a 12 hour window fast first, then increase you fast by 1 hour per week until you get to the 16 hour a day fast goal. 
 
The benefits of IF are still being studied, but preliminary data suggest that it can help reduce the risk of cancer, improve immune function, increase energy, reduce inflammation, increase human growth hormone production, and increase your basal metabolic rate! It can also help with degenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s , dementia, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.  With new studies being conducted everyday, I'm sure we'll see more positive research being published in the near future.

Now, will Intermittent Fasting work for you? I personally believe everyone can benefit from some type of intermittent fasting in their life, but it's up to you to determine what type of IF works for your lifestyle.  So, experiment with all the different types of IF out there and see what works best for you.

Before you start fasting, always consult your physician before making any major changes to your diet. Intermittent Fasting is not recommended for children, the elderly, and underweight people.