Is your fat loss stalled?
Here are 15 fat loss tips that work.
1. Eat the right amount and balance of protein, carbohydrate and fat for YOUR metabolism
The Zone balance is a good place to start – but it may not be the ideal balance for you.
How do you know?
-Your fat loss has stopped, and you are above your ideal
-You are an apple shape – weight goes on around your trunk and stays there
Keep your lean protein (like meat or chicken or fish) to the ideal block / portion amount per meal– generally this is 90 – 120 grams for women and 120 – 150 grams for men at each meal. The larger amount is if you are taller than average, or do a lot of exercise. Snacks, have 1/3 to 1/2 this amount. If you need a bit more protein – fine add it in – BUT not before you’ve tried eating with the above portion size for 3 weeks. (This gives your body time to adjust)
Get the Carbohydrate quality and portions right. How? Cut out all processed grains, potatoes, legumes and sugar. Limit or cut out alcohol and fruit.
Cut the carbohydrates down to 10 – 20 grams per meal and 10 grams per snack.
What does this look like? Here are some typical 10 gram portions:
-1 large mixed salad (salad greens; celery mesclun, cucumber, plus 1 tomato, ¼ carrot)
-3 – 4 cups cooked non starch veggies
-1/3 cup starchy veg e.g.sweet potato
-½ cup fruit e.g. berries
Choose mainly non starch vegetable carbohydrates, and smaller if any portions of fruit – choose berries.
Carbohydrates trigger the release of insulin, insulin triggers fat storage. By eating less carbs and choosing ones which digest into sugar slowly, less insulin is released. Lower insulin levels allow fat to be released from storage.
Protein keeps you from getting hungry by stimulating PYY a hormone that decreases appetite, and glucagon which keeps your blood sugar levels stable. Protein also keeps your metabolic rate up.
The problem with fruit: Fruit is high in sugar and fructose. Fructose is treated differently to glucose and must go to the liver to get processed, (glucose is directly used for brain and muscle fuel) it is more likely to get converted into fat as a result. Fructose has many detrimental affects for your liver and health.
2. Cut the stress hormones.
Stress hormones like cortisol keep your insulin levels up and stop fat release, especially around the trunk area. Stress can increase cravings and overeating.
What ever your stress – find a way to reduce it. Work or relationship, not doing what you love, unresolved issues, can all lead to chronically high cortisol levels.
Physical stresses like lack of sleep or over exercising can also keep stress hormones high. Lack of sleep triggers cortisol, high insulin levels and cravings. You need 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night.
Try cutting out coffee – it can increase cortisol and decrease your sleep quality leading to a viscous circle of poor sleep, coffee consumption, etc.
Even if you do everything else in this article but don’t deal with your stress – fat loss can remain stalled.
3. Cut all toxins.
Your fat is the ideal place to store away toxins to keep them from harming you.
Cut out all the food that contains anything on the label that you don’t recognise as coming directly from nature. Eat organic food which is free of pesticides if possible.
Cut out bad fats; trans fats found in deep fried and processed foods, arachidonic acid found in fatty red meat, saturated fat in meat and dairy. Interesterified fat found in margarine increases fat storage and insulin resistance. Use olive oil, macadamia nut oil or avocado instead.
Drugs – either over the counter or prescription can be toxic and some trigger fat storage.
Eat live, unprocessed whole food.
Have clean fresh additive free food. Lean meat, fresh seafood, fresh fruit and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds – preferably organic. You will get an abundance of nutrients, free of synthetic toxins.
4. Cut out artificial and non calorie sweeteners.
Just the taste on your tongue of artificial sweeteners triggers insulin release, which triggers hunger and fat storage. Cut out all chemical sweeteners, and non calorie sweeteners like stevia.
5. Omega 6 plus high insulin levels – a recipe for fat storage.
Omega 6 can be converted to arachidonic fatty acid, the building block of pro-inflammatory hormones. If you release high levels of insulin (by eating excess carbohydrates) you increase the enzymes that convert omega 6 into arachidonic acid. Barry Sears calls this fat “Toxic Fat” Your body deals with excess levels of this toxic fat by shunting it into fat cells.
Cut out any sources of omega 6, it is found in vegetable oils, soy oil, sunflower and safflower oil. Use olive oil, nuts like macadamia and cashew (lowest omega 6 fat nuts) and avocado – these are high in omega 9 or monounsaturated oil only. Keep your insulin levels down, by eating the right amount and type of carbohydrates (see1 above).
6. Increase Omega 3
Adding fish oil omega 3 to your diet increases fat burning. People on a diet lose more weight when they add omega 3. Animal studies show Omega 3 increases thermogenesis (increase heat production and burns more calories).
Omega 3 also appears to decrease appetite by influencing hormones like ghrelin and leptin.
People with higher levels of Omega 3 have lower body fat than those that have low omega 3 levels.
Add omega 3 to every meal to increase thermogenesis and control appetite.
Take a good quality Omega 3 supplement at each meal. You need at least 2.5 grams EPA+ DHA per day to encourage fat loss.
7. Vitamin D – keep your level in the high range
Low vitamin D levels are linked to being more overweight.
In one US study increased intakes of vitamin D improved weight loss while following a calorie-restricted diet.
If you have had no sun on your skin all winter and no vitamin D as a supplement – you will be deficient in this incredibly important vitamin.
How much vitamin D do you need?
Now that we can see the sun – get 10 minutes exposure on arms and legs daily before 10 am or after 2.00pm. You may also need to supplement.
Recent advice is to supplement with 2000iu – 5000iu per day to keep your vitamin D levels between 125 – 150nmol/L (A blood test will show you if you are taking enough)
8. Keep your body more alkaline
Keeping your body alkaline promotes fat loss according to nutritionist Dr Libby Ellis. Foods are either acid forming or alkaline forming. Our body functions best when it is slightly alkaline. Our diets have become increasingly acid forming. All grain products, all meat, protein, dairy and salt are acid forming foods. Most fruit and vegetables are alkaline forming.
Keep your body alkaline by eating lots of fresh colourful vegetables and fruit to balance protein. These are preferable to grains which are acid forming.
Cut the salt: Salt increases alkalinity.
Cut out salt and don’t eat processed meats and cheese that contain salt. We eat too much salt and this increases alkalinity and fluid retention.
9. Iodine – you need to get enough for thyroid hormones, important for metabolism.
Iodine is a mineral that is deficient in our soil. This is why salt is iodised. Iodine is critical for making thyroid hormones which are important for your metabolism. However if you have little salt, you may be iodine deficient, and your thyroid can’t make the hormones you need to keep up your metabolism. Take kelp tablets, and include seaweed in your meals.
NOTE: do not take iodine if you have Hashimotos (auto-immune thyroid disease)– it can aggravate your thyroid.
10. Probiotic bacteria can increase weight loss
Healthy gut bacteria play a role in digestion. Some experts theorise that the more good bacteria can aid fat loss. In one study pregnant women who took a probiotic while pregnant lost weight more easily after the baby’s birth than those who didn’t take one.
11. Take a good quality multivitamin and eat high nutrient food to curb cravings, and decrease inflammation.
New Zealand soils are deficient in many minerals including zinc, iodine, selenium and magnesium. Food grown in our soil is also deficient in minerals. Cravings can result from nutrient deficiencies, so take a good quality supplement that has minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. You should find those cravings that are unrelated to hunger disappear.
(Zone Micronutrient support is particularly good)
Eat high nutrient food:
Organic food grown in nutrient rich soil will give you far more minerals and vitamins than non organic food.
Eat food high in antioxidants to decrease inflammation and this will increase fat loss
12. Do the right type of exercise.
Low level cardio is the wrong type of exercise to maximise fat burning. A long brisk walk or slow jog will burn a few calories while you exercise but it will not increase your metabolic rate much post exercise. It will not build extra muscle or trigger hormones like growth hormone that increase fat burning. Also low level cardio can increase your appetite, so undermines your weight loss efforts.
So what type of exercise should you do?
High intensity exercise and weight resistant exercise. This will result in fat burning between workouts as it increases growth hormones. Weights and high intensity exercise build your strength and muscle mass – and also tends to suppress appetite. More muscle leads to an increased fat burning capacity. And instead of a walk – do sprints. Map out 100 metres and sprint then rest, repeat several times.
Don’t over-train though, this increases cortisol. Cortisol = high insulin. Workouts should be no more than 45 minutes long.
13. Cut out dairy foods
Dairy foods like milk and yoghurt trigger a large release of insulin. The amount triggered is out of proportion to the amount of sugar they contain. High insulin levels not only increase fat storage, they can also increase insulin resistance.
Cheese is also very high is salt and fat, mainly saturated. Salt contributes to acidity and fluid retention. Saturated fat in excess will get stored in your fat cells.
14. Chew Chew Chew!
Chew your food well – don’t vacuum. Chew every mouthful until your food is turned to a puree – do not swallow one single mouthful until it is well chewed. Not only will this aid digestion, it also slows down eating. It takes at least 20 minutes until your brain registers your stomach is full.
15. Put a mirror in your kitchen
Not surprisingly this has been shown to be extremely effective. It reminds you of your goal every time you see yourself as you are about to eat!