If you are a carb-sensitive eater, don't panic! Don't forget that you need energy to live while you are focused on burning as much fat as you can. You need to eat enough every day or your body will rebel over time. And, you won't be healthy and lean, you'll be sick and weak.
Having said that, control what you eat! What puts weight on your body? Consume more calories than you burn over time (caloric surplus). Want to lose weight? Create a caloric deficit on most days (burn more calories than you consume). That is the law of thermodynamics. So what makes this such a complex process?
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Cutting calories to help reach your fat loss and weight loss goals is not as easy as “just doing the math.” You need a healthy meal plan to start the process. After that, you will make many adjustments until you know how different foods affect your body.
Don’t think you can just eat 1,000 calories every day and continue to lose weight (because you have a caloric deficit). This tactic will only work for a short time. Your body doesn’t know you’re on some crazy diet. It thinks you are starving, so it goes into survival mode and stores body fat. Many of you have wrecked your metabolisms by eating too few calories during the day (month after month).
Calories are Not Your Enemy
Calories are just units of energy in the form of food and drink. Consider these facts:
--one gram of protein provides 4 calories
--one gram of carbohydrates provides 4 calories
--one gram of fat provides 9 calories
--one gram of alcohol provides 7 calories
--vitamins and minerals don't provide any calories
--water provides no calories
Depending on your goals, you may want to gain weight (such as athletes) or lose weight. Proper training will allow you to do either without losing critical muscle mass.
What About Basal Metabolic Rate, My Activity and My Menu?
What is your BASAL METABOLIC RATE (i.e., the number of calories you would burn if sitting all day doing nothing)? You will need to know this rate because it is important when planning meals to reach your individual training goals.
For instance, my basal metabolic rate is about 2,000 calories. If I eat 2,000 calories and burn 500 calories through exercise and daily activity, I will still lose weight and burn fat (500 caloric deficit).
If I starve myself and eat 1,200 calories (1,300 caloric deficit) day after day, my body will rebel and store body fat. A 1,300 caloric deficit is too large (severe calorie restriction).
You will find it easier to cut more calories by eating healthy and eating foods with high water content. You will actually be eating more while eating fewer calories. And, you will feel fuller for a longer period (thereby eating less).
Components of a Healthy Diet
Proteins are the basic building blocks of life. They make up a large part of our foods such as meat, nuts and beans. It is very important for building and repairing body tissues, especially after a tough workout. Protein should provide 15-30% of total daily caloric intake, depending on your goals. Include protein in every meal to help you feel fuller for a longer period (helping you eat less during the day).
Carbohydrates are made mostly of sugars. They are also important to spare protein to build and repair body tissue. Carbs provide vitamins, minerals, fiber and other substances that are important to overall health.
Carbohydrates are not your enemy! They are your body's preferred source of energy (especially during exercise). Its important to have a meal plan that includes the macronutrients (carbs, protein, fats). The primary cause of weight gain is a caloric surplus. There are some instances where carb cycling can be a great strategy to burn fat. But, you should master the basics of nutrition first.
The majority of your carbs should be low glycemic (about 80%) with the rest of your carbs being high glycemic. This means that you should limit eating foods like white potatoes, white bread, corn, pasta, muffins, refined foods and white flour products.
These high glycemic foods encourages fat storage since more sucrose is escorted into the bloodstream quickly. The best time to eat high glycemic carbs is after a tough strength workout when your body needs quick replenishment.
Concentrate more on foods like fruits and vegetables which have high fiber and/or water content.
Fats are important for your diet because they help you feel full and keeps skin, hair and nails healthy. You should limit your intake of saturated fats (usually solid at room temperature, such as butter) and trans fats ( partially hydrogenated fats found in packaged foods). Some saturated fats, such as coconut oil, are healthy fats.
Instead, increase your intake of unsaturated fats (they are usually liquid at room temperature, such as olive oil). Fats should not exceed 20% of your total daily caloric intake. Percentages of protein, carbohydrates and fat should be adjusted based on your goals and level of exercise activity (i.e., hobby, recreational, sports, etc.).
You can only live a few days without water. About 2/3 of your body is water. Drink about half your weight in water every day. So, if you weigh 160 pounds, drink 80 ounces of water each day.
Remember, certain foods contain large amounts of water. This counts toward your water intake. For instance watermelon is about 90% water and lettuce has about 95% water. Some meats contain as much as 70% water.
Water also helps your body flex muscles, remove wastes, cushion joints, carry nutrients and oxygen to your cells and helps convert food into energy (although water doesn't provide energy).
You may be experiencing dehydration if you have dry lips/mouth, dizziness, headache, nausea or muscle cramps. When you exercise, drink about a cup of water every 15 minutes.
Vitamins and Minerals
Discuss the supplements you plan to take with your doctor. Don't try to treat serious medical conditions with supplements. Look at the GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) supplement list published by The U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The supplements that I take and recommend to clients are multivitamins, fish oil and green tea.Notice that these supplements are great for health benefits and are not targeted at weight loss. Exercise and eat healthy to reach your fat loss and weight loss goals.
Burn fat and stay healthy!
Be sure and download your FREE Book, "Carb-Sensitive Eater's Sensible Eating Guide." It will help you eat the right foods at the right time and burn more fat!
Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
My Fitness Hut