Two of the things we preach at our personal training gym in Lakeville are “abs are made in the kitchen” and “you cannot outwork a bad diet.” Go to any commercial gym and you will see people who come in day after day after day but never seem to change physically.
Why is that?
Because people simply do not want to put the work into their nutrition like they do with their workouts. Sure you can burn 400 calories with your spin workout, but some poor food choices can undo that hard work pretty quickly.
The world is full of quick-fix diets like Paleo, Keto, and intermittent fasting. But most people just need to master the fundamentals first. These methods above are most often not sustainable for most people.
Besides, I hate the word “diet.” It implies a short term solution to a long term problem.
Good fundamental nutrition habits don’t happen overnight. They are developed over time with consistent effort.
So having been a personal trainer for over 25 years and seeing major transformations in not only people’s bodies but their lives, I thought I would share my top 3 tips for eating for fat loss.
Why only 3?
Because I have found the more complicated things are, the harder it is to follow through.
Too often our egos tell us we can do more, but research has shown we can really only work on 1-2 habits at a time in order to make progress.
So without further ado, here are three habits to implement for effective fat loss nutrition.
3 Tips on Eating for Fat Loss
1. Get consistent with your nutrition -Too often I see people work out all the time but pay little or no attention to their nutrition thinking they can outwork their bad eating habits. I’m sorry it just doesn’t work. The first step to good nutrition is getting your body into a rhythm. The typical American skips meals or eats a wimpy breakfast and lunch only to eat the majority of their calories in the evening hours before they go to bed. Here they have zero chance to burn them off. This is a terrible strategy for fat loss.
So work on getting in 3 balanced meals. Keep them similar in size at similar times of the day. If you need to add in 1-2 snacks between meals, keep them at similar times as well.
One more point here is boring=success. Keep your list of staples short. Eat the same foods around the same times of the day. Sure vary it a little at dinner or on weekends, but this will be easier to manage with busy schedules.
You also must track what you want to improve. I recommend using the MyFitnessPal app to track your food each day. This will help you see where your calories are at and make sure your meals are balanced in calories as well as in macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbs). If you’re not losing weight and inches then you can use this to make adjustments.
2. Do not spike or crash your blood sugar – Hormones play a big role in your body’s ability to burn fat. One of the big players is the hormone insulin which transports glucose (broken down carbs) into muscle and liver for storage. However, when insulin gets too high, the muscle and liver cells get over saturated and a lot of the spillover gets stored in fat cells especially around the mid-section and upper back.
So how do you control it?
First off eliminate refined sugar in things like coffee coolers, soft drinks, candy (yes this includes chocolate), and even hidden in so-called “healthy foods” like flavored yogurts and cereals. In addition to this, stay away from instant foods. If it cooks quickly it breaks down quick like sugar. Grab and go is not a good solution.
Another way is to make sure each meal is balanced with whole food carbohydrates like rice, potatoes, fruit, and vegetables along with ample protein and healthy fats.
A good rule of thumb when eating these meals is to have the following portions
- 1 scooped handful of dense carbs like rice, oatmeal, or fruit
- 1 palm-sized serving of protein like fish, chicken, turkey, lean beef or eggs
- ½ a thumb of good fats like olive oil, nuts, seeds, or peanut butter
- 1 fistful of vegetables
Too many meals I see are way out of whack here. Most of the time, meals are loaded up with too many carbs and not enough protein and fat. Protein and fat will slow down the emptying time of the meal into your small intestine which prevents the blood sugar from rising rapidly. When blood sugar rises too rapidly then insulin is released in higher amounts to deal with it.
The other way blood sugar gets out of whack is skipping meals. When you skip meals, your blood sugar drops low and eventually, your body says “holy crap, feed me something…anything.” This generally leads to overeating at some point along with with not the best choices in food either. So not skipping meals is a key to having stable blood sugar.
The bottom line is if you keep your blood sugar stable by not spiking or crashing it your insulin will stay lower. This puts your body into a good environment to burn fat for fuel.
When blood sugar is erratic, insulin will tend to be high, making it impossible to burn fat. All the cardio in the world will not fix this problem. You have to handle your business with nutrition.
3. Take out the trash – Certain foods and drinks will not only screw with your blood sugar by keeping your hormones out of fat burning mode, but they also add extra water retention on your body distorting definition and making you feel bloated and fat.
Remove or seriously minimize your intake of these things from the list below to tighten things up and look your best.
- Wheat (gluten)
- Processed dairy – avoid most commercial cheeses and milk but plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are okay
- Processed foods from a box or a can.
- Snacky foods like chips, crackers, and pretzels
- Soft drinks
I can almost hear you saying “really but I like my glass of wine at night” or “I need my chocolate fix daily.” Decide right now what is more important. Is your daily “fix” more important or your goals? You don’t need any of these things to survive. If you are lacking willpower here, than I suggest you revisit your purpose.
Success is never convenient or easy. You can’t get something for nothing. Seeing results requires giving up something to get something better.
Looking for More? Contact Us About Our Lakeville Gym and Online Training Options
As always, if you want more help, reach out to me via email at [email protected] or by calling me direct at 952-220-2448. Our personal training fitness center services Lakeville, Apple Valley, Burnsville, Prior Lake, and Farmington. We also have a great online personal training program if you don’t live close by or would prefer to work with us virtually. In fact, for a limited time, we’re offering a FREE 7-day trial on our online training program called the 7Day Kickstart. Click the button below to learn more and download our FREE 7-DAY ONLINE KICKSTART program!
Your coach and friend,