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To lose weight while dieting you must have a calorie deficit. Yes, no matter what that latest diet will tell you must actually count calories! However before this you must determine your caloric requirements; for example most men require 2100-2500 calories/day, while women require 1400-1800. Then you must set a reasonable caloric deficit; generally a safe caloric deficit is 500 calories/day or less, while making sure you are at least at or above your basal (resting) metabolic rate.
Although counting calories is important it is so much more technical than that. For instance protein, fats and carbs all serve a unique purpose, there are both good and bad fats and carbs, and portion sizes and meal frequency are important, to name a few. Below are some good dieting tips while looking to cut the fat.
Your body expends more energy digesting protein than it does for all other foods. It’s actually suggested your body may burn as much as double the calories digesting protein as it does for carbs or fats. Another advantage of this is that it takes longer to digest protein, making you feel full for longer. Finally as if that wasn’t enough, foods higher in protein help preserve and grow muscle mass. Given the fact that more muscle means a higher metabolism this is possibly the most powerful thermogenic of them all.
In most instances when eating carbs, the lower the Glycemic Index (GI) the better. Low GI carbs produce a slow and steady increase in blood sugar compared to high GI carbs which cause a dramatic spike. Spiking blood sugar levels are detrimental to any fat loss diet for two reasons. Firstly, the blood-sugar spikes stimulate hunger following the dramatic drop in blood-sugar, 90 minutes to two hours after eating. Secondly, the blood-sugar releases the hormone insulin that stores nutrients for later use. The more insulin you have, the more likely you will store fat, rather than burn it.
Stick to fats in vegetables, fruit and nuts. Avocado, almonds, walnuts and coconut oil are all good choices. Medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil is particularly beneficial. It is unlike other fats in that it offers a very fast energy hit which is particularly useful if under a reduced carbohydrate diet. MCT oil has also been suggested to increase your metabolism, promote fat burning and preserve lean muscle mass. On the other hand you should avoid animal fats and in particular trans-fats as best possible. Trans-fats may reduce your body’s ability to burn fat, lead to insulin resistance and inflammation, all of which reduce your metabolism and encourage fat deposition.
Nothing will make you reach for that unhealthy snack like being unprepared and/or preparing bland meals. Make sure you have meals prepared in advance. Cook in bulk and divide the food into meal sized containers. Refrigerate those for immediate use and freeze some for later. Also make sure to flavour with tasty but low calorie seasonings. Find some you love and go with them. Moroccan and Tuscan are great seasonings to begin with.
Take the time to learn about correct portion sizes and what certain food products consist of in regards to their nutritional breakdown. For example most meats are 25-40% protein, and greens are high in fibre meaning low in useable carbs yet very filling, etc. Eating quality meals regularly (i.e. 5-6 times a day) will help you stay satisfied, regulate blood sugar and stop you from over eating.
When you wake in the morning you are in your best fat burning sate of the day. Why? Because you are carb depleted, your body in the absence of carbs must dip into your fat stores for energy. Therefore to burn fat postpone your breakfast for several hours and when you do finally have it skip the carbs. As soon as you eat carbs your body stops burning fat and you end your best opportunity shed your unwanted pounds.
Drink at least eight cups of water a day. Research has demonstrated people who drank at least eight glasses of water per day had higher metabolic rates than those who drank only four glasses. Drinking more water will keep your body well hydrated, enabling it to function at its optimum, including the energy burning process of your metabolism. Also, for a further metabolic boost drink your water chilled. Drinking chilled water requires your body use energy through heating the cold water in your stomach to the temperature your stomach must be to function optimally.
Green tea contains the anti-oxidant epigallocatechin gallate, more widely known as ECGC. Other than its anti-cancer properties, ECGC in good doses has also been shown to give your metabolism a substantial boost. One study has shown consuming five cups a day may increase your metabolism by up to 90 calories a day! This might not seem like much, but doing this daily could mean up to 81g of fat burnt in a week and 4.2kg in a year! Not bad really. To make this easier why not supplement with Green Tea capsules? One capsule of green tea extract can be the equivalent of four cups of green tea.
Consumption of dairy has been shown to have beneficial effects on weight, body fat percentage, waist circumference and lean muscle mass. The best thing is that dairy aids your ability to attain a healthy body weight and composition in more than one way. One of the reasons to go dairy is the high calcium content. High calcium content has been suggested to accelerate fat loss through metabolising fat more efficiently. A second reason is that dairy has been shown to help regulate appetite through its protein and fat content aiding the balance of blood sugar levels. A third reason is dairy’s high protein content, specifically whey protein which is known to have positive effects on lean muscle development. Given the link between increased muscle mass and increased metabolism this may be the greatest benefit of all.
People with higher levels of Organochlorides, the chemicals found in pesticides, in their body have been shown to have a slower metabolism. Organochlorides have been shown to reduce your metabolism in two ways by reducing the efficiency of mitochondrial activity and thyroid function; two functions critical in fat metabolism. Give your body’s metabolism a boost and go Organic! If you can’t go full organic just do the best you can. On top of helping out your metabolism you’ll also be reducing your intake of potential cancer-causing chemicals as well. Double win!
EPA and DHA Omgea-3’s may increase levels of fat-burning enzymes and decrease levels of fat-storage enzymes in your body. Research has shown taking 6g of EPA and DHA in combination with regular exercise results in considerably more fat loss than those exercising alone. Another study suggested high doses of EPA and DHA may dramatically increase your metabolism by up to 400 calories per day! This is achieved though reducing inflammation, regulating your metabolism though balancing blood sugar and increasing fat burning though reducing resistance to the leptin. Increasing your EPA and DHA can be acheived though eating fish such as salmon rich in omega-3 fatty acids or supplementing with EPA and DHA Fish Oil capsules.
This is not an opportunity to binge. It is however an opportunity to take a break and eat a ‘normal’ sized meal without worrying too much about what it contains. Dieting can leave you feeling emotionally drained and a cheat meal or two every week will help you stay sane. The best times to use cheat meals are when you’re going out with friends or other social occasions. Reward and enjoy yourself, it will make your diet far more sustainable and give you something to look forward too.