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Did you LOSE MUSCLE or FAT

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Top Six Nutrition Tips to Lose Fat

I thought it would be appropriate to write an article on fat loss as the weather begins to get nicer. After all who wouldn’t want to lose some extra fat they are carrying around? See if you can incorporate as many as these tips as possible in the upcoming months and watch the fat disappear.

Tip # 1- Frequent Eating – People sometimes act surprised when I tell them to actually eat more times a day when they are looking to lose weight, but it’s true.  Now I am not recommending you visit the Old Country Buffet every hour but our bodies are programmed to burn fat and build muscle best when we consume 5-7 smaller more frequent meals.  This keeps our metabolism running at full velocity and also keeps our body in a positive nitrogen balance which holds of catabolism (muscle wasting).  However this doesn’t mean you need to be sitting at the table eating whole food at each meal. I recommend investing in a high quality meal replacement powder to have between whole food meals. A simple protein powder will work great.

Tip # 2 – Drink More Water – Water can be considered the most important nutrient to consume. But the fact is most people do not consume enough. Our bodies are 70 percent water and need proper hydration to function properly. I am going to leave out the dehydration factor and save that for another time but just remember if you’re thirsty you need water! The main point I am trying to make here is the metabolism requires water to function properly, when water intake is too low the metabolism slows down. Bottom line: drink more water throughout the day and keep your metabolism functioning properly. P.S that’s why I have water with me at all times!

Tip # 3 – Consume lean protein with each “Meal” – Consuming lean protein in each feeding is important for a number of reasons. First, protein is the most thermogenic of all of the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fat) meaning it is harder for the body to process. Secondly, as I said earlier having a protein source at each meal will keep the body in a positive nitrogen balance which helps maintain muscle. Remember the key is to lose fat not muscle. Muscle takes more calories to maintain meaning it burns more calories so we want to keep what we already have and build upon it. Lastly and most importantly for fat loss, consuming protein along with carbohydrates keeps insulin levels from rising. Insulin is a signal to store fat so it is important to keep it stable. That is why I do not recommend consuming sugar because it spikes insulin which leads to fat storage. Have some chicken breast, turkey breast, egg whites, cottage cheese, fish, protein powder or lean red meat at each “meal”.

Tip # 4 – Do not cut calories too fast – This tip goes back to the metabolism (reoccurring theme). When you rapidly cut calories the metabolism in turn slows down because it perceives a time of starvation. This is also a good way to lose muscle. You should not be starving while trying to get leaner. Remember you are not dieting you are making lifestyle changes to lose fat. The better approach would be to start out slowly and when progress stops then adjust you calories to maintain losing fat.

Tip # 5 – Emphasize complex carbohydrates – When selecting carbohydrates make sure you are selecting the right ones. What I mean by this is selecting slow burning complex carbs that do not spike insulin levels. Good examples of these are oatmeal (plain oats not the flavored kind), sweet potatoes, brown rice and vegetables. Bad carbohydrate selections are of the white variety, white rice, white bread, white pasta, and of course sugar.

Bonus Controversial Tip # 6 – Cut out fruit juice – Ok this is the one that causes some controversy. People always ask me “I thought fruit juice is healthy?” and I replay it is as long as you get the 100% juice variety but even then I don’t recommend it on a fat loss diet. The reason for this is simple; there is a difference between healthy eating and eating for fat loss. While fruit juice might be “healthy” for your body with loads of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants there just is not room for it on a fat loss plan. A fat loss plan is going to have a set amount of calories, protein, carbohydrates and fat. The question I normally ask is “would you rather have that 8oz of juice or that large bowl of oatmeal with your eggs at breakfast? “ each item is around 40g of carbohydrate but the oatmeal is a much more complex,  slower acting and won’t cause an insulin spike leading to fat storage.

I challenge you to use some of these tips in the next few weeks and let me know how they work for you!