Many people begin a weight loss program without really knowing exactly how to eat in order to maintain muscle while losing body fat. No matter what you do while calorie restricting, everyone always loses some muscle. The key is to minimize the amount lost. Remember, the more muscle you maintain or keep the more efficient your fat furnace is at eating up those calories. Below I have outlined several important points everyone should consider when attempting to lose weight.
The following are guidelines for a normal healthy adult and in no way should be taken over the advise of your Physician, Dietician or other healthcare provider. If you have any questions or concerns please consult with a doctor before beginning any weight loss or diet program. This is for informational purposes to give clients an idea of what I do to stay in shape.
Be sure to eat 10% calories less than your maintenance calories to lose weight. This will help minimize the amount of muscle tissue lost and will be a safe and slow way to lose weight. Another thing to keep in mind is to fluctuate your daily calories, one day higher another day lower, but have a weekly goal total. Remember, the faster you lose weight, the more muscle you lose! A good rule of thumb when trying to lose weight is to eat foods that are not calorie dense. In general, Foods that have more fiber. To gain muscle eat approx.. 10% more calories per day.
It’s important to eat protein with every meal. This will prevent your body from eating muscle tissue and will ensure you have enough available at all times to repair muscle tissue and keep your system functioning at it’s best. It will also help you feel full longer because it takes longer to digest. Note: 1/3 of the calories in a gram of protein are used up during the digestion of it. This is mostly where the term “Thermic effect” of food comes from. It is a good idea when following a resistance program to include more protein in your diet. About 1.2-1.8 grams per Kgm of body weight. (See food quality for examples of the types recommended)
Be sure not to go more than 3 hours without food and try to have your largest meals early in the day or before the busiest part in your daily schedule. Eating every three hours helps keep your metabolism running high. Not eating this way will slow your body down because it wants to conserve energy. It also causes a greater release of cortisol which tells your body to attack your muscles for fuel instead of fat.
BEFORE & AFTER WORKOUT MEALS: Be sure you’re doing this.
This is a crucial meal to eat and is the best time for nutrient absorption. Your body is rushing to replace the things it needs like Proteins and Carbohydrates. So it’s called the “Window of opportunity”. Right after your workout, consume simple carbs or sugars with a whey protein, which is an easily absorbing fast acting protein. The glycemic index is a good guideline to follow which is explained in the next bullet point-Food Quality. I believe sugar is probably the biggest culprit for sabotaging a persons weight loss success; however after a workout the body wants to replenish your muscles stores of sugar (Glycogen). It can do that fast with simple sugars and you will also help drive more protein into the muscle via insulin, the most anabolic hormone in the human body. The best sugars I am referring to are natural, such as pineapple, watermelon, cannelloni and other melons. Insulin is secreted in response to elevated blood glucose (sugar) to help maintain sugar homeostasis or balance. Once insulin is done replacing muscle glycogen extra calories are stored as fat! So any other time you eat sugar all you are doing is creating a FAT storing machine. Eating protein in the form of WHEY shortly after or during the sugar meal, will help provide the body with fast digesting proteins to help rebuild the muscle you just broke down. Remember, these guidelines are for healthy adults and NOT persons with blood sugar problems or other metabolic diseases!
No sugar or refined carbohydrates. Choose foods with a low Glycemic Index
Low GI =55< Medium GI =55>69
High GI = 70 or more (you can find this at any health food store or online)
For example, instead of the Frappacino have a Café’ Misto made with skim milk. The glycemic index can be found by doing a Google search.
A. No Saturated fats or trans fats. Usually in many fast foods and processed meats. When you see “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils on an ingredient list, the food contains trans fats. Like saturated fats, eating too many trans fats can raise cholesterol (LDL) and increase the risk of heart disease. Powdered Coffee creamer is a good example of something you may be eating that has trans fat and didn’t even realize it.
B. No bread or white flower.
C. No fried foods
D. If you have oils choose olive, flaxseed, sun flower and avocado oils.
Eat a variety of proteins (Fish, Chicken, Turkey, Eggs (whites only) and Lean meats (98% Fat free) beans are high in protein and excellent when combined with BROWN rice. Also good with brown rice are Hemp seeds and Chia seeds.
A. Eat as many green vegetables as you wish and choose other “colors” as well.
B. Make your dairy the fat free version –Greek yogurt is best, fat free. Also, if your lactose intolerant a good substitute for milk is almond milk. A brand called “Silk” is excellent and the unsweetened version only has 35 calories per serving.
C. Consume fruits consisting of a low glycemic index. I believe focusing on any berries is best but for variety these are good as well. Apples, Grapes, Kiwi, Cherries, Grapefruit, Oranges, Peaches, & Plums.
D. Eat grains that consist of wheat and not white flower. For example- Eat brown rice not white and have wheat pasta instead of regular. Many people suffer from gluten intolerance and some of these items may cause gastric distress. Again check with your doctor.
E. Instead of cereal select oatmeal (Old Fashioned) or cream of wheat.
F. If you must have breads, eat pumpernickel or Sour dough ONLY. They have a lower glycemic index.
G. The best fats too eat are: Avocado’s, walnuts, almonds, flaxseed and coconut oil occasionally. Some great oils are olive oil, fish oil, avocado oil and Palm Kernal oil. Note: When it comes to oil do not cook with olive oil, it has a low smoke point which means it degrades and do more harm than good. Use it for cold foods like dressings for salads and vegetables. A great oil to cook with is avocado oil. It has a much higher smoke point.
I always recommend not salting your food and to be aware of food labels and how much sodium is in the product. Daily sodium intake for normal healthy adults should be below 2300mgs a day.
It is very important to drink approximately 1oz per kilogram of body weight (89kg =196lbs) spread out evenly throughout the day. It will not only keep you healthy and hydrated but it will also aid in fat loss. When the kidneys don’t get enough water they work harder and don’t function at their best. The liver is forced to work harder to help out and “puts aside” its less important tasks, like burning fat for energy. Instead it will use more carbohydrates, which is easier to use than fat and much more is stored in the muscles than the liver. One more important water fact. Try not to drink too much with a meal because it will dilute the digestive enzymes. Have it before or 45 minutes after. Unless you are eating something very dry. The best advise though is to thoroughly chew your food. The longer you chew the more salivary enzymes help to aid the digestive process.
Fibers are the structural parts of plants. Most are complex carbohydrates. Fibers can also be classified according to their solubility in water. Two types of fibers include soluble and insoluble. In general, water soluble fibers dissolve in hot water and occur in high concentrations in fruits, whole grains, oats, barley, legumes, and some vegetables; water insoluble fibers are found in higher concentrations in vegetables, wheat, and cereals.
It is important to include both types of fiber in your diet. Water soluble fibers delay the stomach’s emptying and the transit of chyme through the intestines; they have also been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels. Water insoluble fibers accelerate the transit time of chyme and increase fecal weight. In the body both types of fiber slow starch breakdown and delay glucose absorption into the blood. Most healthy adults require approx. 21-40 grams of fiber a day.
Many people have a need or desire to eat late at night before bed. I am a firm believer in not eating carbohydrates at least 4 hours before going to bed. That means any carbohydrate other than green leafy vegetables or other low calorie vegetables ie, hearts of palm, artichokes, tomatoes, onions and string beans. I also feel competitive athletes or other persons striving to obtain a low level of body fat and who are on a calorie restricted diet, should consume a slow digesting protein before bed. Ie Egg whites, chicken, fish. This will provide the body with a “time released” version of amino acids during the time you are sleeping, which is 8 hours without food. This is a good habit to minimize muscle breakdown.
VITAMINS & SUPPLEMENTS:
I am not a big believer in taking vitamins if you are healthy and under 40 years of age. Vitamins are needed in small amounts and minerals even less. Some vitamins if taken in excess such as Vitamins A, D, E & K are harmful to the liver. Too much Vit B6 (More than 600mg/day) can cause loss of sensation in peripheral nerves. Too much Vit D can cause excessive Calcium deposits. If you have a poor diet or have been advised to by a Nutritionist, Dietician or Physician or you are involved in a vigorous exercise program, I believe supplements have their place and can be a good addition to a healthy lifestyle. As we age our digestive systems are not as efficient due to aging, poor diets, alcohol and other environmental factors. So supplements, if taken wisely under a knowledgeable professional, can be a good addition, especially a good protein supplement or bar. If you are one of those people that must eat on the run, it’s important to remember, protein supplements ARE NOT meant to be meal replacements and only to be used as a supplement to your regular diet. Be sure to have your doctor test your vitamin D levels!!!!
God bless and all the best.