Everything you have ever heard about weight loss, every article you have ever read and every scientific study that has ever been done can be summarized in these two points:

In order to lose body fat the number of calories you expend each day must exceed the number of calories you consume, and you must manage your insulin levels. Let’s look at this in more detail.

1) To reduce the number of calories you consume you must

  • Eat less calorie dense foods
  • Eat more fiber and water-rich foods
  • Reduce the quantity of food

2) To increase the number of calories you expend you must

  • Do more physical “work”
  • Increase the rate at which your body burns calories at rest (your Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR)

3) To manage your insulin levels you must

  • Avoid foods with a high Glycemic Index
  • Eat 4 to 5 smaller meals per day, rather than 2 or 3 larger ones
  • Exercise more, and especially high-intensity exercise

Calorie Dense Foods include

Sugary Foods and Drinks: smoothies, fruit juices, sodas, alcohol, biscuits, cakes, doughnuts, candies, breakfast cereals and cereal bars, preserves, most types of dessert, dates

Starches: foods containing wheat, meal, flour or corn (bread, pasta, pizza base etc), oatmeal, Quinoa, potatoes, yams, maize, rice, beans (other than green beans)

High Fat Foods: butter, margarine, all types of edible oil, coconut and coconut milk, butter, ice cream, most cheeses, doughnuts, potato chips, fatty cuts of meat, most processed meats like sausages, salami and pepperoni, chicken skin and chicken wings, duck, mayonnaise, most sauces and dressings, all nuts and nut spreads, chocolate

Fiber and Water-Rich Foods include:

Most Vegetables: artichoke, asparagus, beet, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chard, chicory, cucumber, eggplant, kale, kohlrabi, leek, mushrooms, onions, radish, rhubarb, spinach, zucchini

Most Salad Ingredients: alfalfa sprouts, celery, lettuce (all types), onions, tomatoes, watercress

Reducing the quantity of food

This may not be as hard as it sounds. We eat for enjoyment, for comfort, for entertainment, for nourishment and to satisfy hunger. If you were to eat portions half the size of what you currently eat, but chew twice as long as you do at the moment, you would gain all the benefits that you currently gain by eating the way you do. But you would also halve your calorie intake.

Enjoyment: Food actually tastes much better if you chew it a lot more. Certain enzymes are released in your mouth which start the digestive process while you are chewing, and these enzymes improve the taste of the food.

Comfort: The comfort you gain from eating food is related to the enjoyment and the feeling satisfied. As stated above these qualities are enhanced with more chewing.

Entertainment is doing something to pass the time which is enjoyable. Chewing twice as much makes it more enjoyable and takes just as long as eating double the portion size faster.

Nourishment: Chewing longer improves the digestion of your food and therefore is more nourishing. Halfway into most meals, you have enough food to satisfy your need for nourishment. The rest goes straight to your hips or belly.

Satisfaction: The systems our body use to let us know that we have had enough to eat have about a fifteen-minute delay. This means that we only know that we have had enough fifteen minutes after we actually have had enough. If you eat fast you can take in 300 to 500 calories in that fifteen minutes. Chewing longer will allow you to feel full before you have over-eaten.

Physical Work is done every time you move any part of your body, whether it is to walk, swim, stand up, or to lift or move some object. Physical work is calculated by considering the force it takes to move an object (including your own body) and the distance the object is moved. So if you want to increase the amount of physical work done we can increase the resistance (the weight load by for example lifting heavier weights when exercising) or do more repetitions with the same resistance (do it for longer), or increase both.

Basal Metabolic Rate is influenced by a number of things, but we will only consider the factors which you can positively influence. These include muscle mass, the thermogenic effect of food and body fat percentage.

Muscle needs calories just to sustain itself, even at rest. So the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest. This is a major reason why it gets harder to lose weight as we age. Without intervention, we lose muscle mass every year after the age of 25.

This is also a major reason for the yo-yo effect of dieting. If you lose weight with diet alone, a lot of that weight (25 – 50%) is muscle. When you start eating normally again, your body needs far fewer calories to sustain itself, and so you rapidly gain the weight back.

But most of the weight you gain back is fat. The result of years of up and down dieting is a metabolism that is so slow that the number of calories needed just to maintain your weight is less than the number of calories needed to nourish the body. The only way to prevent this is to do strength training while you limit your calorie intake.

Women need not fear that building muscle will make them look masculine. Without taking male hormones you will not be able to build muscles like a man even if you wanted to. The more muscle you build, the faster you lose fat and the easier it is to maintain your desired weight once you have reached it. Muscle also gives your body an attractive shape and a toned appearance. Everyone needs more muscle!

The Thermogenic Effect of Food refers to how the body burns calories to digest food. Almost ⅓ of the calories in protein are used to digest that protein. Carbohydrates use only 7% of the calories to digest them, and fats 3%. So if you eat 100 calories each of protein, carbohydrates and fat, only about 70 of the protein calories will remain after they are digested, 93 of the carbohydrates and 97 of the fat calories will be available to make you fat.

Managing Insulin Levels

Insulin is one of the most anabolic of all hormones. This means it causes growth. Under most circumstances, this is bad because that growth is in the form of fat. But directly after heavy strength training, the growth is muscle. So the goal is to avoid surges in our insulin levels most of the time, except around our strength workouts. More about this later.

High Glycemic Index foods cause a surge in insulin levels. The Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale which shows the effect that different foods have on our sugar levels and therefore our insulin levels. Foods with the highest GI spike insulin levels the most. The more carbohydrates there are in the food, the higher the GI. So all the foods listed above as Sugary Foods and Starches should be avoided. Eating several small meals a day also helps to ensure a constant insulin level. If there are any carbohydrates in your food at all, there will be some rise in insulin. So if you eat the same number of carbohydrates but spread over more meals, each individual rise will be less. Four or five meals a day takes advantage of this concept without being impractical.

Strength Training and Metabolic Disturbance Training reduce the effect of insulin spikes for two reasons. Firstly insulin output goes down and secondly insulin is absorbed more rapidly during exercise.

When you can and should eat lots of Carbohydrates:

Peri-Workout Nutrition (Nutrition just before, during and right after)

Intense exercise initially causes a break down of muscle, which then leads to a rebuilding of new muscle. An insulin spike around the time of your workout will reduce the muscle break down and increase the rebuilding. Some estimates say that the results of your workouts will be increased by as much as 30% with proper Peri-Workout Nutrition.

In short, it is good to have an insulin spike at this time, which means that you should eat a carbohydrate-rich meal. The meal should also contain a lot of protein to help build the muscle, but no fat, as this slows digestion, which decreases the insulin spike.

The advantages of eating a meal high in carbohydrates and protein are:

  • decreases muscle breakdown
  • increases muscle building
  • gives you something to look forward to while you are dieting
  • stops your body from evoking the starvation response which makes it harder to lose weight.

By following this steps you can achieve your fitness goals in guidance of a personal trainer. Visit Austin fitness and get your Muscle building training plan today!