Keeping with my penchant for top five lists, here’s my top five nutritional tips for shaping over your body. Remember, the vast majority of fat loss is dictated by calories in vs. calories out. However, making some simple adjustments can bring about a tangible difference in your physique, especially if you’re trying to get super lean…
1) Think brown: When it comes to starches, choose brown varieties over the counterparts. Brown starches are more “nutrient dense” and thus help to avoid blood sugar spikes as well as fueling your dietary needs for vitamins, minerals and fiber. Thus, opt for oatmeal over processed cereals, brown rice over white rice, whole wheat pasta over white pasta, multigrain bread over white bread, and yams over potatoes.
2) Cheat a little: Dieting round the clock can actually be counterproductive to weight loss. For one, it causes feelings of deprivation and often leads to binge eating. For another, it causes a starvation response initiated by leptin—the master hormone responsible for fat gain and loss. By having a regimented “cheat day” where you can eat your favorite foods once a week, you reset your leptin levels, allowing your body to continue losing fat over the long haul.
3) Tea off: Tea is not only replete in antioxidants—powerful vitamins and minerals that help to stave off disease—but it also helps to burn fat. It contains caffeine, which increases the release of fat for use as fuel. It is also replete in compounds called catechins, which boost levels of noradrenaline—a potent fat burning hormone. Now don’t expect it to magically melt away the pounds, but every little bit helps, right? Opt for green tea, which has higher levels of catechins than traditional black tea.
4) Chew the fat: Ultra low-fat diets are pretty much passé and most people realize that you need fat in your diet. But it’s essential to eat the rights types of fat. Stay away from saturated and trans fats, as they only serve to clog arteries and harden cells. While it’s good to consume some monounsaturated fat (found in olive oil), the most beneficial fats are called omega-3’s. Found primarily in cold water fish and flax, these fats are nutritional powerhouses. In addition to having heart healthy effects, they also play a role in accelerating fat burning, increasing levels of your body’s fat burning enzymes and decreasing levels of fat storage enzymes. Adding healthy doses to your diet helps to turn your body into a fat burning machine!
5) Don’t be juiced: Although juices tend to be thought of as a healthy foods, they actually can have a negative effect on your body. Liquids are digested very quickly into your blood stream, and thus don’t satisfy hunger—a fact that can lead to overeating. What’s more, there is a spike in blood sugar levels, which can lead to excess fat storage. As a rule, it’s much better to consume whole fruits and vegetable, which promote a feeling of satiety and maintain even levels of blood sugar. Juices do make for excellent post-workout drinks, however, as they help to replenish glycogen stores and provide an environment for muscle repair.
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