Sometimes people just want basic advice to shed a few pounds and stay trim, rather than achieve Olympian conditioning in 10 brutal weeks. Recognising this is very important I think, because it isn’t everybody’s dream to look shredded and stacked, although it is mine! Here 8 very basic principles I use whenever I advise an average Joe or Jane on a diet plan to tighten up their waistline a little.
Ok – overall I would recommend sugar is a counterproductive nutrient in regards to keeping trim. However there a couple of times in the day where you do need it, so I always insist people utilise these windows to get certain foods in. Fruit, for example is very healthy yet it does contain fructose which is a form of sugar. Whether it is natural or not is irrelevant, it will still cause insulin levels to spike and in turn stimulate the production of fat cells. At breakfast and straight after exercise you can enjoy some fruit and even some pro-biotic yogurt because the insulin spike is actually required during both of these times. Apart from these periods of the day, stay away from sugary foods including fruit.
Nobody loves a cup of coffee more than myself, and I also love it sweet! However, you cannot afford to have sugar in your hot drinks because this will create unwanted insulin spikes as I pointed out above. Instead, choose a natural sweetener which can satisfy your cravings without the unwanted side effects. Stevia is a great choice, and you only need a tiny amount considering it is 300 times sweeter than sugar! Remember, aspartame and MSG are also popular sweeteners however they have been linked to long term health issues so I never recommend anybody uses these. Stevia is a natural plant extract which is why I believe it to be the healthiest choice.
I will fight the corner of a balanced diet until the cows come home because I believe complex carbohydrates have a place in everyone’s diet. The trick is to know when you can get away with eating them. As a rule of thumb for the average guy on the street I recommend cutting them out after about 5PM and switching to fibrous carbs. This way you are limiting the amount of excess energy your body has later in the day, where you’re more likely to store it as body fat. Complex carbs are great for fat loss though, they stimulate your metabolism and sources of complex carbs such as oats are also excellent for your heart! I always recommend a portion of complex carbohydrates with the first 3 meals of the day as a minimum. These include brown pasta, brown rice, baked potato, sweet potato and oats.
Even if muscle mass is not a desire, every meal should contain protein. Why? As well as promoting muscle recovery and growth, protein enables you to sustain steady blood sugar levels which is essential if you want to shed body fat and stay slim!
Cravings are probably the biggest issue everyone faces when they try and get rid of their bulge! The key here is to know what foods you CAN eat which will help suppress the desire for food you shouldn’t eat. Cravings are normally for sugary foods, which as I said is why protein is essential because it will stabilise blood sugar levels resulting in fewer cravings. Having said that, I always recommend a handful of nuts with some carrot sticks as a snack should the need arise because the fats in the nuts will help keep you feeling full for longer. Great!
As a rough guideline I recommend you drink 1 litre for every 50lbs of body weight. People just do not grasp the importance of water, and more importantly the dangers of dehydration. The majority of the population are dehydrated, by as much 80% believe it or not! Water helps transport nutrients around the body which will certainly aid fat loss, but it also helps keep your vital organs healthy and keep you feeling full. I always a recommend supplementing on a high quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplement because with this level of water intake you will flush out some of these nutrients.
Alcohol is a simple one, it is not an option! As well being loaded with empty calories, alcohol is also poisonous to the body. Whenever you drink it, your body cannot focus on metabolising body fat and staying healthy, all it focuses on is getting rid of the alcohol as fast as possible! Alcohol also produces a high level of free radicals in the blood stream which can be a contributing factor to illnesses such as cancer!
As a minimum, you need to be eating 5 small meals a day. What this does is help keep your metabolism firing, it helps prevent blood sugar crashes which helps prevent cravings and it also helps keep your energised! This really is a key point!
Following these 8 very simple guidelines will help ensure you lose those unwanted pounds around your waistline, improve your overall health and start a new healthier lifestyle!