There are a number of ways to succeed in your fat loss/muscle building efforts. But there’s a few essential tips that can either make or break those efforts. I’ll list some important tips that will reduce cravings, boost your energy, and ensure you don’t cave into those cravings – especially the mid afternoon energy blah or late night snacking!
1.) Drink more water – a good rule of thumb is to drink half your bodyweight in ounces (1 cup = 8 oz (ounces)). For example, if you weigh 140 lbs then drink 70 oz or about 9 cups. A lot of times, hunger is mistaken for thirst and getting your minimal fluid intake not only keeps your hunger in check, but keeps the metabolism running more smoothly, and helps regulate all functions in your body. For those who don’t know, water makes up between 55-60% of our bodies and over 70% in the brain and heart. Based on that, I’d say it seems pretty important to keep track of your hydration,;-).
2.) Have breakfast within an hour of waking up – this will set your metabolism for the day, sharpen your mind, and kickstart your energy. Researchers say what you eat in your first meal has a huge impact on your fat-burning ‘furnace’ throughout the day. For instance, if you had a glass of orange juice, a bagel and some cream cheese, your metabolism would spike then dip (what you don’t want because then you burn less calories => less fat loss in general) and you would get ravenous come the next time you eat. And unless you’re going to be very active after that meal (even then, that is far too much sugar and calories for anyone!), you will store some as fat. For women, its mostly in the hips, and for men in the abdomen.
On the other hand, if you started your day with, say a bowl of oatmeal and some scrambled egg whites, you would start burning those calories before you even finished the meal! A great perk – you don’t have to be in the gym to get into fat-burning mode. Eating protein has a high ‘thermic-effect’, which means it takes effort (body works to digest the proteins = calories burned while eating) to break down the foods before your body can store or use those nutrients.
3.) Eat every 2-3 hours throughout the day – By following this easy rule, you will keep your metabolism in a steady, higher state (which means burning calories at a faster rate then if you skip meals or wait too long), be more alert, and have more energy.
4.) Always have protein in each meal – Protein is essential for all functions in our body. From blinking your eyes to moving your arms. People think that if they don’t work out they don’t need as much protein. True, they may not need quite as much but they still need much more than the typical daily servings in today’s society. Try to measure a palm-sized amount if you’re unsure.
5.) Avoid any calorie-laden drinks – For the most part, anything other than water, coffee, tea, or carbonated water, is not good for you. Regular pop has, on average, 3 tablespoons of sugar. Imagine having a glass of water with 3 heaping spoonfuls of sugar. Doesn’t sound pleasant, does it? Oftentimes people turn to pop to get the energy it provides, albeit short-term. If you eat well and balanced foods, you won’t need the quick sugar rush. And juice, is just as bad. You’re better off having a fruit instead (again, alongside your protein).
6.) Eat vegetables in at least 3 of your meals – Vegetables not only provide important vitamins and minerals, but also fiber to help with cholesterol, satiety, and regularity. If you ever feel hungry after a meal (let’s go with a clean meal here, ie protein, a good carb source, vegetables) then you most likely didn’t get enough vegetables or eat the right kinds. Your best choices are: greens especially the leafy and more fibrous ones (ie brussel sprouts, broccoli, spinach, etc)
7.) Its okay to eat an hour before bed – That saying, ‘Never eat after 6 pm’ is ludicrous! You can eat within an hour before bed if you like, as long as its the right types of food and you’ve eaten within your caloric range for the day. I always eat within an hour before bed and maintain a very lean physique.
8.) Do your grocery shopping on a full stomach – This will prevent any spontaneous purchases to satisfy the hunger you might otherwise have. And if you find you’re a ‘cookie monster’ or love salty chips, then avoid the middle aisles. That’s where most of the junk food is.
Hope these tips help! Feel free to share for anyone you think might benefit from this information. And, if you still think you need some guidance, feel free to contact me and I can get a specific eating plan made up for you that has variety in everything! Even cheat meals if you want to go that way 😉
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