By Jayson Hunter RD, CSCS
1. Eat 4-6 small meals day a day instead of the usual 2-3 large meals. Eating frequently will help regulate and boost your metabolism to burn more calories.
2. Consume whole foods that are high in fiber and low in sugar such as lean protein (lean beef, chicken, fish, and whey protein), fruits & vegetables (oranges, apples, strawberries, blueberries, broccoli, peppers, asparagus, carrots, nuts (almonds, cashews, & walnuts), and whole grains.
3. Eat low-glycemic carbohydrates such as vegetables, whole-wheat products and oatmeal instead of refined processed carbohydrates which usually come in a box or a bag.
4. Recommend consuming 25-35 grams of fiber per day. Since the average diet contains only 14 grams we could all use more fiber. Fiber will help satisfy hunger pangs as well as control insulin and blood sugar levels which tend to promote fat storage when they are elevated.
5. Eat some type of lean protein at each meal. Protein helps to satisfy hunger and provide the necessary building blocks to maintain lean body mass while losing body fat.
6. Consume adequate amounts of healthy fat foods such as olive oil, walnuts, almonds, Omega-3 fortified eggs or other Omega-3 products. Healthy fats are great antioxidants as well as help with brain function and many other essentials processes that take place in the body on a daily basis. Essential Fatty acids also help prevent certain diseases.
7. Recommend eating 5-10 servings of fruit and vegetables a day to meet your micronutrient needs. Vegetables also contain a good amount of fiber and help to control appetites and curb hunger.
8. Consume Green Tea or Water instead of calorie filled drinks such as soft drinks. Green Tea has many health benefits and should be drinking 1ml of non-caffeinated fluid for every calorie that you consume. This works out between (8-12) 8oz glasses of Green Tea or Water a day.
9. Balance your fat intake for the day. 1/3 should come from saturated fats, 1/3 from monounsaturated fats, and 1/3 from polyunsaturated fats.
10. If you want to start building habits then you need to follow a plan. Habits are formed by repetitively following a prescribed plan. Therefore map out your meals every day and follow them. If you follow your plan everyday for 2-3 weeks you will form habits that become part of your daily routine and you won’t even notice it. How do you think bad habits are formed? By repetitively doing something over and over again.
11. Include what I call “Superfoods” into your meal plan on a daily basis. These include but not entirely lean meat, salmon, low fat plain yogurt, tomatoes, spinach, mixed berries, whole oats, mixed nuts, olive oil, flax seeds(or flax meal), green tea, and various beans. These are just some of the “Superfoods” who should be incorporating into your daily meal plans.
12. Keep total fat intake under 30% for the day. This can be accomplished by not adding too many extra fats such as butter, sour cream, mayonnaise, etc. This doesn’t mean you have to completely eliminate these items, but do not eat them as a regular food item every day.
13. EXERCISE!! You can lose weight by just following a nutrition plan on its own but very few succeed at it and it takes much longer than when you eat properly as well as exercise. I am not talking about just getting on a treadmill for 30 minutes every other day. Though you can lose weight this way it is not the most efficient use of your time nor maximizing the ability to burn calories. The most effective way to lose fat is by strength training or some type of interval training utilizing strength training and cardiovascular exercises. A properly designed program can burn more overall calories in 20 minutes than 20 minutes on a treadmill. Also, the X factor in all this is that you will burn more calories per minute hours after you finished strength training because of the EPOC effect. Static exercise on a treadmill doesn’t produce this X factor.
14. Record what you eat and drink. You will be amazed at what you consume and not even realize you did it until you right it down and reflect back on the day. Keeping a food log is critical to your success because if modifications need to be made you need something to be able to evaluate and analyze. If changes aren’t happening like you had hoped the answer can usually be found in the food and or exercise journal.
15. Follow the 90% rule. If you can follow your plan 90% of the time then that is enough to have success with weight loss. If you find yourself breaking the rules more than 90% of the time then the chance of being successful with weight loss is not as likely. Your chances of failing increase significantly. Lose the all or nothing attitude and just take one day at a time. Reflect on your day before you go to bed at night and instead of getting down on yourself because you weren’t perfect just set goals to accomplish next day that would eliminate those errors.
About the Author:
Jayson Hunter, RD, CSCS, is a registered dietitian and fitness professional with more than 10 years of experience. He has worked with 1000’s of individuals in achieving their ideal body and has been published in numerous magazines. He is also co-creator of Meal Plans 101 nutrition software. For more information on how you can utilize Jayson’s expertise go to www.mealplans101.com