A beginners guide to fat loss: Maximising the effects of food!

Losing weight comes down to maths.

Current Weight = Food into Mouth – food burned off

We need this number to be negative. I.e., we burn off more food than we eat.

Because your body is using more fuel that you are eating, it has to get it from somewhere else, which it takes from your body!

In order to lose weight, we need our caloric intake to be negative. There are 2 ways to do this.

Increase food burned off (i.e. exercise) OR Decrease food into mouth (aka what most people call a ‘diet’)

The biggest mistake people make in trying to lose weight is not eating. This is not a good idea!

Why I hear u scream?

By not eating we reduce ‘Food into mouth’ and therefore decrease weight, right?

Yes, and No.

The weight you lose first is water, which is why people often find they lose pounds easily early on in a diet, after which they struggle to shift the pounds.

Not eating also puts your body into starvation mode, in which it STORES FAT. Read that again. STORES FAT. This is not what we want. The reason it does this is because fat holds more calories per gram than carbs or protein, so the body holds onto it, knowing if we are reduced to starvation, it will ‘eat’ off the easy stuff first (carbs and protein, 4 calories per gram) and leave the fat till last (9 calories per gram).

So, we can’t not eat, but what can we eat!

Ah ha! Before we look at what to eat, we need to look at timing…

The first stage is to increase metabolism. Now metabolism basically relates to how fast your body breaks down food into energy for your muscles. Someone with a fast metabolism is the skinny-rake looking person who eats 50 times a day and still looks like they could do with a few more steak and kidney pies.

A slow metabolism on the other hand, relates to someone who eats only a few meals a day, but can’t seem to shift any weight. Any extra increase in calories, such as a cheeky McDonalds will certainly lead to a gain in fat.

Why does this matter? Well firstly, increasing your metabolism will allow you to burn more fat at rest. That’s right, doing nothing, burning fat. Sounds good right?

Well, most people make the mistake on their diets of, ‘3 solid meals a day’. I constantly hear people saying, I only eat 3 meals a day and look at the size of me. This is because your poor body has to survive 24hrs (including the time you sleep) when you feed it only 3 times!

These meals tend to be huge meals, which decrease the rate at which your body can break it down (metabolism)

By breaking your meals down into smaller portions, allows you to eat more frequently. What this does, is increase your metabolic rate (aka metabolism) so that it burns through the food faster. Because your body knows it’s getting food again in a few hours, it will burn through the current set a lot quicker than if you starve it by feeding it 3 times a day.

I recommend eating 6 or 7 smaller meals throughout the day to send your metabolism into overdrive! This may seem like a chore at first, and even difficult, but you are not reading what I’ve written. I said eat more MEALS, NOT more FOOD.

Just because you are eating more meals we still need to make sure we have a calorie deficit to lose weight. By cutting your ‘3 a day’ meals in half and eating 6 meals a day, you will increase your metabolism to help burn fat at rest.

Now we have discovered how to time meals..What exactly do we eat.

As long as we made sure we have a calorie deficit, we can be a little bit more relaxed with the foods we consume. Not all of us are bodybuilders!

However, that doesn’t mean you can reach for the cookie jar just yet. Eating cakes, buns, chocolate washing down with a bottle or wine or a case of beer may seem like fun at the time, but your body wont thank you for it. As I go through each macro-nutrient breakdown, it is important to read this with an impartial view. The media want you to believe Victoria Beckham can gain/lose weight at the click of her fingers by eating acaii berries. They want you to believe that carbs are bad and that fat makes you fat.

They are wrong. They will write whatever they think will make you say, ‘oh I think I’ll try that’. Don’t.

Two points I want to get across here. Women especially, listen up!

CARBS ARE NOT BAD.

EATING FAT DOES NOT MAKE YOU FAT

Let’s start with carbohydrates…..

And first up is the ever so popular sugar..

Sugar, is not your friend. Sugar found in those oh so lovely cakes, is a carbohydrate in its simplest form. I.e., the body doesn’t have to work very hard to turn it into energy to be used to go about our daily activities. Sounds too good to be true? It is. The body will use this sugar very quickly and is great for a very short term burst of energy. But too much sugar when you are not in need of it, just stores the sugar in your body. The body is very efficient, and if it doesn’t need the sugar for energy, it will store it for a later date! Excellent for your body, not to good for beach look. So if Mrs. Jones sits at home eating 3 or 4 iced buns or 2 bars of chocolate with 4 glasses of wine, all this sugar enters the body, which uses some of it to turn the TV channel, but takes the rest and stores it as fat. No more so than late at night. At night, your metabolism reduces so that it can last the whole night without food. So any food consumed late at night not needed by the body is stored as fat. Not good. It is a good idea to reduce your carbohydrate intake in the evening when the body does not need such a large amount of energy.

A quick note on alcohol. Alcohol contains empty calories. I.e. calories that contain no nutrients. They do however, contain 7 calories per gram! So they are on the wrong end of the scale when the body is looking for fuel. Hence why the sit on your body, mostly around the stomach area! Best bet is to reduce the amount of liqueur you consume or cut it out. It’s just not going to help you shift the weight.

Other bad carbs (known as simple carbs) which are broken down easily by the body and get stored as fat easily are..

Any white stuff from the bakers Inc White Bread, White Rolls, French bread, cakes

Chocolate

White rice

White Pasta

Coco-Pops

Chips

Mashed potato

Now, carbohydrates which take longer to be broken down by the body are known as complex carbohydrates. These take longer to be broken down, which in turn keep you fuller, for longer. Just what we’re looking for when we’re trying to lose weight.

Good carbohydrate foods are

Brown bread

Brown rice

Brown spaghetti

Sweet potatoes

Brown Pasta

Fibrous carbohydrates are also broken down slowly and act more as a cleanser for your digestive system. Consume fibrous carbs by including more asparagus, broccoli, carrots, green and red peppers, spinach and lettuce in your meals. If you have a large amount of weight to lose I recommend forgoing all carbohydrates apart from fibrous carbohydrates to force your body into fat burning mode. Once you start to get leaner, you can add in complex carbohydrates into your diet. Note: It is a good idea to take complex carbohydrates before you train to give you enough energy to lift weights.

Next up is Fat! Let me re-iterate. Eating fat will not make you fat. Abusing bad foods will.

Fat can be split into good and bad.

The bad fats are

Trans Fats

These fats result from the hydrogenation process, which occurs when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil. Trans fats are often used for commercial goods, as they are less likely to go off and therefore hold their shape longer. Crackers, cookies and cakes are all examples. Note: Cookies and cakes contain sugar AND Trans Fats. Heart-attack weight gaining snacks!

Good Fats are

Monounsaturated & Polyunsaturated

Both these types of unsaturated fatty acids are known to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. While monounsaturated fats remain liquid at room temperature they may start to solidify in the refrigerator, whereas polyunsaturated fats usually remain liquid under both conditions.

Monounsaturated fats are mainly found in natural foods like nuts, avocados, olive oil, and grape-seed oil, corn oil and canola oil. Olive oil, a key component of the “live till your 200 Mediterranean diet”, is known for its cardiovascular health promoting benefits.

It must be remembered that, although the unsaturated fats are more beneficial in promoting good health, compared with saturated and trans fats, they will increase unwanted weight gain if taken in excess, given that fat, regardless of its source, contains nine calories per gram compared with four calories per gram for both protein and carbohydrates

Other: Saturated Fats

Found in animal products (fat on meat, whole-milk dairy products, cheese, milk, poultry skin) and is solid and waxy at room temperature. The reason I’ve put saturated fats here is because I don’t believe they are as bad as our ‘health expoerts’ would have you believe. For example, they play a crucial role with cell membranes to give them stiffness to function properly. They also help protect the liver from alcohol and toxins. It also helps incorporate calcium into the skeletal structure to help protect bones. Now im not saying eat all the saturated fat you want. You should try to get a balance of all three helpful fats, but just because something is saturated its not necessarily bad. Make sure your saturated fat intake comes from animals that are pasture fed or organic. For more on Organic foods <a href=””>click here</a>

Omega 3 Fatty Acids:

Often looked at separately from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, they are found in fatty cold-water fish such as mackerel, salmon and herring, and are known to help significantly reduce inflammation, help prevent cancer growth and improve brain function.

Omega 3 fats are also found, in walnuts, flaxseeds and flax oil, and in smaller amounts in soybean and canola oils.

Oily fish are an excellent weight loss food because they contain protein to help you recover from workouts, and also contain the good fat needed by the body.

Don’t like fish? Not a problem. Fish Oil capsules are readily available at any decent health shop. Make sure they are from deep sea cold water fish that have been tested for heavy metal and mercury content. As always, quality of your supplement needs to be high.

Next up is Protein.

Proteins are the building blocks of your body. They are responsible for hair growth, nails, skin and of course, muscle! Quite simply, the body would not be able to grow or repair itself without protein. Why is it import for fat loss?

2 main reasons.

1. Eating protein helps keep you fuller for longer.

2. Protein helps you recover from your workouts, so you can hit the gym again sooner.

More workouts will help you burn more fat. And burning fat is the name of the game!

Fruits and Vitamins

Fruits are fine to eat, even though they are classed as simple carbohydrates because they contain fast absorbing sugars. These sugars are naturally occurring and are better for you than other simple sugars. They also don’t increase blood sugar levels too much, thus giving you a sudden burst of energy followed by a crash. Its important to eat a range of foods because you get the best possible range of vitamins and minerals. A vitamin supplement isn’t a bad idea as it can be used just to cover you just in case you are lacking in something.

Example Timing Meal Plan.

Meal 1 0700 Eggs on Brown Toast. Eggs are good first thing, they fill you up more, also contain good fats and protein. Brown bread is a complex carb which is slow releasing

Meal 2 1000 Handful of Almonds, Pear, Plum – Almonds contain good fats and the fruit will give you some much needed anti-oxidants to help keep you healthy, fight off infections and keep you looking young!

Meal 3 1300 Chicken Breast, Veg – Protein from the chicken and fibrous carbs from the veg will keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Meal 4 1600 Banana, Almonds – Almonds provide protein AND fats, whereas the bananas contain potassium and magnesium often depleted when training hard.

Meal 5 1900 Small Sweet Potato, Tin of Tuna, small portion of Veg – Complex carbs from the sweet potato, protein from the tuna and more fibrous carbs from the veg.

Meal 6 2100 1/4 pack of blueberries, Banana, celery – Anti-oxidants from the berries, and more fibrous fruit. Celery has been known to help promote sleep and relax the body.

Meal 7 2300 Cottage Cheese + 4 Fish Oils- Protein to help you throughout the night to keep you full and your body in repair mode. Fish Oil will help you stay full all night and provide you with anti-inflamatory properties as growth hormone kicks in at night.

So there you have it! A fat loss guide to help get you started!

Enjoy!

Reece

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