Many of us will have made New Year's Resolutions about how to make our diets more healthy but it's a lifestyle change that's needed, not a quick fix..........
For my first couple of articles of the New Year I thought I would just do a little step by step guide to steer you in the right direction with your training, diet and lifestyle. After all, it’s a lifestyle change that we are after, not a quick fix!
Part 1: I will discuss diet.
Part 2: Will set out exercise and training tips for optimal fat loss.
Part 3: Will put all of the elements together in the development of a healthy lifestyle and in particular, looking at stress, the different types of stress and the effects of stress on both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
So let’s get started.
Dissecting the delusions of diets.
“A calorie, is not just a calorie”
The first misconception I would like tackle is the notion of calories ‘in’ calories ‘out’ when it comes to weight loss. I’m not a fan of calorie counting, and never have been. Here’s why.
Simply put, there are some calories that the body can use as energy, and other calories that we can’t. These are called ‘empty’ calories and can be found in lots of poor quality food sources and alcohol! These calories will be stored as fat.
If I was to consume 2000 good calories a day, all coming from real, unprocessed, natural, organic whole foods and my friend was to eat the exact same amount of calories (or even less) by eating less food, but with a diet higher in processed sugars and trans fats, which one of us would be healthier and more likely to lose weight?
It wouldn’t be him!!
The key is what you are eating and where your calories are coming from, not just simply how many calories you are taking in.
They don’t work, they’re no fun and due the nature of a ‘diet’ having an end point, they are unsustainable.
So you go on a diet whereby you can only eat half your daily recommended calories for a month and you lose a few pounds. Great! But then what?
The likelihood is you go back to your old diet and because you have starved your body of the calories it needed you have lowered your metabolism, and therefore slowed your body’s ability to burn the excess calories you have started to reintroduce back into your diet. That weight is going to come straight back on….and then some!
So, what’s the answer?
By changing your views on food, and understanding food more, you will have half the battle won!
Firstly, I would recommend getting a metabolic typing test done. This is a short questionnaire that will show you what fuel (food) your body works best on. You can then guide your eating patterns around the results. People aren’t all the same. We are all different, and work differently. Some of us work well on higher carb diets, while some work better on higher protein diets, and some are mix of the two. So it is worth checking out which type you are.(visit www.sb-fitcore.com).
“Feed a petrol car diesel and see how far it gets!”
Sugar VS Fat
One of the keys to losing weight is to keep your blood sugar levels in check. By having a healthy balance of macro nutrients, like lower GI carbs ( <70) and good quality proteins and fats, in all of your meals throughout the day (quantities of which dependant on your metabolic type), you are more likely to regulate your blood sugar levels and keep energy levels consistent and your metabolism high.
Another problem with starving your body of calories and dietary fat is that you will end up stifling your immune system and putting your body into a catabolic state, or a state of ‘starvation ‘. When the body goes into this catabolic state it releases a hormone called cortisol, the stress hormone. The release of cortisol will trigger a spike of insulin and simply put, insulin stores fat!
We need fat in our diet, period!
Too many people are duped into thinking that fat is bad for us. It can be, but only when we are consuming the wrong fats in excess. We need to understand which fats are good for us and which are not. We can’t just group ‘fat’ into one negative term.
Trans fats are the fats that you should avoid as they are closer to plastic in there molecular structure than they are to natural fat. They should not be eaten at all….never…..ever! Our body doesn’t want, need or even know what they are!! Trans fats are found in all junk food….cookies, crisps, ready meals, takeaways etc. When consumed in high quantities, these fats can lead to high levels of visceral fat in your body. This is the intra-abdominal fat that surrounds the organs and is incredibly dangerous to your health.
However, natural fats, such as omega 6, 3, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, even saturated fat to an extent, are not just good for us but essential to our bodies’ function! Fat is not our main problem. So don’t cut it out of your diet! Just regulate it by eating good sources of fat, such as good quality lean meat, fish, dairy, nuts, seeds, avocados and good oils like olive oil, sesame, or coconut oil as part of a balanced meal.
So if fat isn’t the problem, then what is?
In my opinion we have a very unhealthy relationship with sugar.
Sugar is a drug!! And manufacturers know it!!
Anything that gives you a ‘crash’ or ‘withdrawals’, which sugar does is, in my view, a drug!!
We are told by manufacturers and advertisers that fat is the problem and that the answer is to replace so called ‘fatty foods’ with the latest ‘no fat’ products to improve health and lose weight.
It’s a con!
Ask yourself, what happens to the taste of things when you take out the fat content? The flavour diminishes. So what gets added to these ‘diet’ products to make them taste nicer? They add some form of SUGAR! If you look on the back of these products and check out the ingredients listed you will see that in the first few ingredients there will be some form of sugar….any ingredient that ends in the letters ‘ose’ is sugar. Nearly all of us consume too much sugar daily, generally because it is hidden from us by clever advertising.
One of the main issues we have when consuming sugar is the grain. Not whole grains that haven’t been tampered with. We are talking about the refined, white carbohydrates that we all love so much. This is your white breads, bagels and pastas. Though these products will have started off from a relatively healthy source of grain, they are processed so much that all of the healthy bran, nutrients and enzymes are extracted from them and all you have left is nutrient free, bleached flour with next to no vitamins or goodness left. All you end up with in these products is starch…..sugar!
I remember doing an experiment in school science class when I was only about 10 or so. We all got given a white piece of bread and we were told to chew it until it had turned into liquid. It was so disgusting and I still remember to this day how sweet that mush in my mouth tasted!
Even natural ‘healthy’ sugars that are found in fruit called fructose, if eaten too much, will have a negative effect on your body fat. Fructose is stored in your liver as liver glycogen, and once those stores are full (which takes less time than you think, if you choose to get your ‘5 a day’ solely from fruit), any excess will be stored as fat. I’m not saying don’t eat fruit, that would be silly because fruit is healthy. Just consume it in moderation and maybe opt for lower GI fruits like berries.
So be careful when you are trying to eat healthier to lose weight, less fat is not necessarily the way to go…..it’s less sugar!!
Remember we are talking about longevity here, not a quick fix, so if what you are wanting is to lose as much weight, as quickly as possible, then, yes, calorie counting does have its place. But just take a second and think about the last quick fix diet you did….how long did that weight stay off once you stopped the diet?
After all, who wants to count calories for ever?!
Wouldn’t it be great to have a different new year’s resolution next year!!!
Balance your diet appropriate to your metabolic type.
Understand more about the food you are fuelling your body with…after all, food is our fuel.
Understand more about your body and its needs.
Most importantly…..enjoy your food. Healthy food can equal tasty food!!! (Check out my website for healthy recipes, www.sb-fitcore.com)
SB Fit-Core is a North Tyneside-based mobile fitness service. Sam has been in the industry for going on 10 years now and has helped many clients reach their exercise goals. He is a fully qualified personal trainer through Premier Training International.
You can visit the website by clicking here or contact Sam direct at firstname.lastname@example.org