Remember that fat is less important
twice as many calories than protein and carbs do per volume (9 versus 4
per gram). If you are going to cut something out of your diet, fat gives
you the best bang for your buck. Calories constitute the bottom-line
number that will determine how much weight you gain or, in this case,
lose. To burn fat and shift the energy balance away from fat
accumulation, you need to consume fewer calories than you expend. One
pound of body fat equals 3,500 calories, so if your goal is to lose 20
pounds, you need to create a deficit of 70,000 calories over time.
Limit your intake of processed foods.
Over-processing of food removes vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fiber,
and other stuff that’s good for you and replaces them with fat and carbs
like sugars. As a result, they’ll be absorbed into your bloodstream
rapid-fire. High-glycemic-index carbs quickly lower blood sugar, making
you feel hungry and tired. If you are not a serious athlete needing to
store those sugar calories for muscle fuel, you’ll put them into fat
storage very quickly. Whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and
seeds are good carb foods that allow for time release into the
Processed foods identification:
highly processed foods come in either a box or a bag and are often
- The ingredients label will probably read more like a high school
chemistry assignment than something edible.
- Processed foods don’t exist in nature. To manufacture them,
companies need to add things that would otherwise not be there.
East smaller meals, but
eat more frequently.
doesn’t mean eating “more”. Take what you currently ingest, and along
with making the other recommended dietary adjustments, divide that
consumption among five to seven meals a day. The goal here is to keep
your metabolism humming along, and to prevent the sort of intense hunger
pangs that bring your willpower to its knees. When you get overly hungry
you tend to not be very selective and you feel like you need to eat
quickly. This causes you to outrace the “fullness” signal that would
normally get transmitted to your stomach.
Excluding sleep, you should almost never go longer than 4 hours without
eating. Eating every 2½ to 3 hours is an even better interval. When you
eat consistently throughout the day, your muscles will have plenty of fuel
for exercise no matter what time of day. Eating at shorter intervals will
also help flatten excessive rises and dips in your blood sugar. In
addition, you burn calories every time you eat and digest food, so
grazing, as it’s called, helps you chisel off a few extra calories versus
consuming the same amount of food in larger, less frequent chunks.
Pump up your protein
need protein to build the muscles that boost your metabolism. When you
restrict calories, your body will seek out protein to meet those energy
demands unmet by carbs and fat. This process reduces the amount of
protein available for muscle building. This effect will be magnified if
your calorie restriction targets carbs especially (which is why
super-low-carbohydrate diets aren’t the way to go). To provide an
adequate amount of protein for all of the body’s important functions, you
need to consume more protein. How much depends on the source of the
calorie deficit and the diet plan that you are following. If you don’t
exercise but you’re cutting calories in an attempt to lose weight, you
need to eat about 60 percent more protein than someone who’s not trying to
Vegetarians need to eat even more. Vegetarians also need more protein
when their dieting. The plan protein on which they rely are considered
lower-quality proteins because they’re less complete than animal
proteins. Except for soy, all plant proteins lack adequate levels of at
least one amino acid, and as a result, they must be combined with
complementary plant proteins. All else being equal, vegetarians should
consume up to 10 percent more protein than meat eaters should.
Trade Fatty protein for lean.
addition to helping build muscle, lean protein (egg whites, chicken,
turkey, lean red meat) helps stoke the fat-burning fires – its thermogenic
effect is 20 to 30 percent, compared with an anemic 3 to 12 percent for
carbs. If you don’t have a blender and some protein powder already, buy
them. When you crave a cheeseburger, fried chicken, or something else
loaded with saturated fat, reach for a protein shake instead.
Try to spread your protein consumption
throughout the day.
capitalize on the fat-burning impact of high-protein foods, consume them
frequently throughout the day. This allows for the most efficient
absorption of protein and helps maintain high levels of internal energy
production to promote weight loss.
Control your portions by emphasizing
studies of people that have successfully achieved and then maintained
weight loss, two prerequisites recur: on the expenditure side, exercise;
and on the consumption side, portion control. To control your portion
sizes, favor foods that are low in something called energy density. The
term refers to calories per gram, and the higher the energy density, the
easier it is to overeat – more calories are packed into a smaller
portion. Lower energy-density foods include things like fruits and
vegetables; higher-energy-density foods tend to be high in fat and sugar.
(Energy density is different from nutrient density; vegetables, for
example, have a low energy density but a high nutrient density.)
Don’t be an extremist concerning fats
provide the majority of the fuel for your workouts. If you cut carbs to
the point where you can no longer sustain the desired intensity of your
workouts – which is exactly what would happen if you followed some of
those ultra-low-carb diets that are all the rage now – you’ll be shooting
yourself in the foot.
Eat mixed meals at the end of the day, your diet will be balanced, which
is what you’re after. Eating protein, fat, or both with carbs slows the
latter’s absorption, preventing your blood sugar and insulin from going on
roller coaster rides. If you have a bagel for breakfast, for example,
find one with some whole grain in it or some seeds on top, and spread some
all-natural peanut butter on it.
Reduce your liquid calories.
can hardly eat anything, and still be fat. The calories in sodas and
fruit juices – not to mention beer – add up quickly, often more quickly
than most people realize. Liquid calories reach well beyond beverages,
however. Salad dressings, sauces, and spreads account for more
unconscious calorie consumption.
Your goal, then, should be to replace soft drinks with water, limit your
intake of fruit juices, replace dressings with low-fat versions or
something else entirely, and forego sweeteners altogether. Just switching
from a regular 12-ounce Coke to the diet version can make a huge
difference calorie-wise. A person who drinks 10 Cokes a week can save 1,000
calories during that period just by switching to 5 regulars and 5 diets.
That’s one-third of a pound right there. Don’t booze it up, either.
Drinking alcohol is a surefire way to add inches to your waist. Study
after study has correlated increasing alcohol consumption with increasing
waist measurements in men and women.
is a key component of weight management. Most people who have managed to
lose weight successfully – meaning once off, the fat stayed off – will
tell you that they used water as an appetite suppressant. Some
behavior-modification studies for weight loss list drinking water among
the 10 best strategies.
Water does more than just make you feel full, however. As a healthy,
non-caloric beverage, it provides a great alternative to the two or three
cans of soda a day that many people drink. That’s a great way to excise a
couple hundred empty calories out of your diet.
Water also flushes out your internal systems. Most environmental
contaminants are fat soluble, so, the reasoning goes, even when they enter
the human body, they’re benign. They just go into fat cells and sit
there. On a weight-loss diet, however, you’re mobilizing those fat stores
and marching them into your bloodstream, where they need to go before
being passed out of the body. The toxins reentering your bloodstream may
have been sitting in storage, dormant, for a decade or more. Some of them
– DDT and PCBs, for example – may actually slow your metabolism. You want
to flush these out ASAP, and water is the key to doing just that.
When your body is well hydrated, it also helps your kidneys and liver go
full tilt in processing fat and other toxins. In contrast, when you’re
dehydrated, your liver has to work overtime to help the kidneys with
detoxification, diminishing its ability to remove fat. Finally, when you
drink plenty of water, your cells stay well hydrated, and cells that are
well hydrated – or volumized – promote more-efficient and more-effective
protein metabolism. Because you’re trying to build muscle while you lose
fat, the last thing you want to do is slow down protein metabolism.
Eat more fiber.
30 to 40 grams daily will keep you feeling fuller longer than you would
otherwise. Not only does fiber occupy a lot of room in your stomach, but
water-soluble fiber, the type found in oatmeal, apples, and beans, also
absorbs some fat from your digestive tract, moving it through your system
quickly enough to diminish you body’s ability to digest fat.
Along with fibrous vegetables, good fiber sources include whole-grain
breads, Shredded Wheat and Kashi cereals (among others), fruits, and
vegetables such as soybeans. Try something as simple as eating an orange
rather than drinking a glass of orange juice. There’s a big difference in
the way they’re metabolized and it will take longer to digest.
Consume starchy carbs earlier in the
day, and water-rich carbs later.
insulin sensitivity is highest in the morning. There appears to be a
circadian rhythm to the way your body secretes insulin, and rates of
insulin secretion fall around 6:00 p.m. At this point, your body becomes
less capable of handling carbohydrates as efficiently. Eat the breads,
rice, oatmeal, potatoes, and other starchy complex cars early in the day.
Later in the day, begin to favor low-calorie vegetables, such as tomatoes,
cucumbers, onions, broccoli, peppers, mushrooms, spinach, lettuce, and
other so-called wet-carb sources. You can probably save a few calories
from fat storage every day simply by giving your body different types of
carbs at the times it can handle them most efficiently.
Pull yourself together.
lifestyle has to be compatible with fat loss. For example, if you don’t
exercise, your dietary changes will produce limited results at best.
Getting enough sleep is a huge success factor in weight loss.
Shortchanging it will slow your metabolism. Elevated stress is a problem,
too, as it will stoke the release of the catabolic hormone cortisol.
Marijuana and cocaine will depress your testosterone levels. All of the
above will conspire to make your body lose muscle and store nutrients as
fat. You must complement your food plan with a weight-loss-friendly life
Reduce the amount of fast food you eat.
average fast food bacon double cheeseburger will contribute 900 calories
and 49 grams of fat along with about 49 grams of protein. The average
powder shake will give you the same amount of protein with 300 calories
and a stingy 2.5 fat grams. If you want to lose body fat, you don’t
necessarily have to go cold turkey with fast food, but you do have to cut
way back. There are a few strategies in doing this. One is to eat your
regular meal (ie. Quarter pounder with cheese and fries) but dropping the
frequency of your visits in half. Another way would be to change your
meal from a double whopper with cheese to a grilled chicken sandwich.
Brown-bagging your lunch a few days rather than dining out can take you
from a 1,000 calorie lunch to one containing only 400.
Overweight people almost always eat so fast that they outrace their body’s
fullness signals. They shove in a whole bunch of calories before their
brain registers that they’ve eaten. You can slow yourself down by
concentrating on what you are doing: eating. That means, at least until
you get the hang of chewing and tasting your food, do nothing else while
you eat – no television, newspapers, internet, or report writing.
Eat fish often.
studies of successful dieters, one of the most common denominators,
usually ranking in the top 5 factors, is eating more fish. For many
years, nutritionists assumed you lost weight when you ate fish because it
has fewer calories than read meat does. Now, however, it appears that
reasons go above and beyond calories. The type of fat found in fish
appears to enhance the efficiency of the hormone leptin. Eating a daily
meal of fatty fish like salmon, halibut, or shellfish may help decrease
the size of fat cells and assist with fat loss.
Stick to the low end of the glycemic
are all categorized according to a sliding scale, the glycemic index
(GI). This index ranks each carbohydrate according to how quickly the
body converts it to glucose and shuttles it into your bloodstream. The
higher the number, the faster your body converts that food to glucose.
You can find a good, user-friendly list of the glycemic index of foods on
the internet at
These numbers are not etched in stone, partly because human digestion
varies by individual. Also, digestion speed of any carbohydrate is
affected by what it is being digested with. Fiber, protein, and fat all
tend to slow digestion and you can forget gaining many benefits if you
stuff yourself with any carb, even low-GI ones. Diets containing largely
low-GI foods promote fat loss better than those loaded with high-GI foods.
Switch from saturated and hydrogenated
fats to monounsaturated fats.
kinds of fat you eat can influence your energy expenditure and body
weight. Energy is released through heat production in a process called
non-shivering thermogenesis, which is controlled by uncoupling proteins (UCP)
in the cells of brown fat, white fat, and muscle. Researchers have found
that olive oil, which is high in monounsaturated fats, increased the
activity of the UCPs, and hence of metabolic rates. There is speculation
that because UCPs are found in the muscle of humans, this may pose a
promising new area in obesity research.
loss comes down to 50 percent training, 50 percent nutrition. You will
not achieve the results that you want unless you exercise. If you are
sedentary and you cut calories, you’ll start to lose more muscle than you
want, your metabolic rate will dip, and you’ll be burning fewer calories,
which will force you to cut calories even more. As you get thinner,
you’ll actually be getting less toned and flabbier. The minute you add
back calories, you’re going to get fat again – make that fatter.
Avoid the fat-free and carb-free trap.
snack foods and packaged cookies and cakes that are promoted as fat-free
and carb-free and that come in strange colors and strange shapes are
highly engineered foods. They may be fat-free thanks to Olestra and other
fat replacements, but they’re chock-full of chemicals. The low-carb and
carb-free products are just as high in calories, due to added fat and carb
replacements. They’ve been taken apart and reassembled and the finished
products are often so unnatural that they are difficult to call food.
In addition to all the added chemicals, these fat-free and reduced-fat
products are often still quite high in carbohydrates because companies
replace some of the fat with sugar. Many times these products will taste
bad, and after you’ve eaten them, you still won’t feel satisfied causing
you to go eat something else.
What you end up with are chemical-laden products with virtually the same
number of calories as the products they’re replacing. However, they’re
probably even higher in carbohydrates, which likely affects your fat-loss
diet more negatively than the fat would have in the first place. This is
because your insulin levels spike, and the calories convert to fat, rather
than being used as energy or stored as glycogen in your muscles. When you
eat fat and protein, your insulin levels barely change. It’s better to
take a single portion serving of the food that you really want rather than
settle for its reduced-fat cousin.
There are a few exceptions to this rule. Examples include selected
reduced-fat nonprocessed foods such as low-fat or fat-free yogurt, cream
cheese, and milk, where the manufacturer has skimmed off some or all of
that fat but left the underlying product essentially intact. Baked chips
rather than fried chips are also good… but don’t eat the whole bag.
21. Wean yourself off of foods that contain
high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
To shed fat, you must wean yourself off foods that contain an additive
called high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Far more insidious than
reduced-fat foods is the rise of HFCS, a sweetener manufactured from
cornstarch. Although corn syrups contain varying proportions of glucose
and other simple sugars, HFCS starts out with a high proportion of
glucose, which is then treated with an enzyme that converts part of that
glucose to fructose, which is much sweeter. The result of this process is
a very inexpensive replacement for traditional cane sugar. The HFCS found
in beverages contains about 55 percent fructose, and the HFCS in some food
products may contain up to 90 percent fructose.
The major source of HFCS is soft drinks. Two cans of soda daily is equal
to 40 grams, or 160 calories, of fructose every day (because HFCS is 55
percent fructose) – good for just under 10 percent of a guys’s energy
need. Some recent research has theorized that fructose in the form of the
ingredient HFCS may be primarily responsible for the epidemic of obesity
and abnormalities seen as part of an insulin resistance syndrome, known as
The problem is the way the human body metabolizes fructose. The body
prefers to turn glucose into energy or store it as glycogen, the fuel in
muscle cells. Not so with fructose, which the body metabolizes in the
liver and prefers to turn into fat. Studies have shown that although
ingesting fructose increases the rate of fat production, ingesting the
same number of calories of glucose does not cause the same response. Not
only does fructose turn into fat, it also shuts down the mechanisms your
body has for preventing fat accumulation.