“Get Fit in the Gym. Lose Weight in the Kitchen.” (Part II)

Today’s post is the second part to “Get Fit in the Gym. Lose Weight in the Kitchen”, originally posted in July. As a conclusion to that post, I will show you how to regulate your metabolism, show you how it’s possible to eat 4-6 meals per day and finally I will give you some homework to do!

Regulating your metabolism plays a tremendous role in losing weight and becoming fit. Your body craves regularity and order. If you don’t feed it properly and at regular intervals it will enter into “starvation” mode. Once here, any food that you eat will be used as storage (fat, yuck!). This is because your body doesn’t know when it will be fed again. To avoid this, make sure you eat every 3 hours (4 is stretching it). In most cases, you only need to eat a small meal consisting of the three basic macronutrients/components that I’ve previously shared with you (Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat).

I know that we all have hectic schedules and sometimes it’s work just to get in one good meal a day, let alone 4-6. But you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to really make an effort here so that you’ll be healthy and look great! There are many options for quick meals including a variety of snacks and MRP (Meal Replacement Products) on the market. I’ll be happy to point you in the direction of great quick alternatives for the busy person. To sum it up though, I really want to express the importance of eating quality food every 3-4 hours. If you absolutely cannot do this then remember this great quote: “Eat like a king (or queen) in the morning and like a pauper at night”. This means that you should eat the heaviest meals early in the day and taper off your calories the later it gets. By your last meal you want to eat smaller portions and avoid lots of carbohydrates and fats. Your body tends to go into storage mode at night and will retain more of each and convert it into fat.

So, you have the keys to nutrition in your arsenal. Let’s use them by doing some “homework”. I’m going to simply ask you to read labels of the food you eat and make some mental notes. That’s it. Read & learn! If you’re anything like me then the first time you will read the labels of your favorite foods now that you know what’s good and bad for you, you will be shocked. Especially at the amount of certain substances that food has. The important items to pay attention to are:

1.Carbohydrates. The higher the number (especially in the SUGAR category) generally the more it will negatively impact your waistline. If you find that the food that you are choosing has most of its carbohydrates coming from sugar, pause and think about whether it’s worth it.

2. Fat: Just like carbs, too much fat (especially Saturated) is bad for you. Fat is extremely dense, hard to burn off and has the additional problem of contributing to diabetes and high blood pressure. A way to greatly reduce the fat you eat is to prepare your food with minimal oil, trim the fat off of beef and pork and try to eat skinless chicken as much as possible.

The last thing I want you to look for is found in the ingredients: HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. Most processed food contains this sneaky additive. It was originally added as a cheap way to preserve and boost the caloric value of food. Beware of HFCS and what it can do to you. I’ll leave it up to you to Google it and learn about what it does.

Once again, knowledge is power! Now that you know how what you eat impacts your body, you also have a greater understanding of what to put into your body and at what time. Good luck on your journey to becoming more healthy and fit and reaching your goals!

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

*This ratio is subject to change, however depending on specific fitness goals/programs. 

“Get fit in the gym. Lose weight in the kitchen.”

This wise quote by an anonymous source is probably the most important key to your health and fitness goals! Many people have been mislead into thinking that doing hours and hours of exhausting exercises is the way to lose weight. It is true the you will have to move your body in order to get it toned and into shape. But even more important than the battle in the gym, is the war in the kitchen. I often like to tell my clients that your diet is 85% of your “battle of the bulge”. Since knowing is half the battle, I’m going to give you some basic information so that you will be well armed on your quest.  First, you should have a basic understanding of the three main components that your body needs to function properly: Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats.

  • Protein is what your body needs to build muscle. It usually is “anything that had parents”. From best (leanest) to worst (fattest), the main sources of protein are:Fish, Poultry (including eggs), Beef, Pork and Dairy. Great examples of protein are: baked chicken breast, egg whites, baked fish, turkey, lean ground beef, nuts, greek yogurt, etc.
  • Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for your body. They give you energy, keep you “regular” and includes whole grains, fiber and sugar. Great sources of carbohydrates are: brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, whole wheat bread, vegetables and fruit. Not-so-good sources are anything that has lots of sugar. In fact, and I cannot stress this enough, SUGAR IS YOUR ENEMY. Sugar is processed by your body and is often converted into fat. You would be surprised at just how much of it we all consume everyday. A little bit of sugar is fine but it is really important to minimize the amount of sugar we take in. This will be illustrated in the homework assignment that I will ask you to do at the end of this article.
  • The last component is Fat. Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are bad. Unsaturated (good) fats can be found in cold water fish like salmon, trout, tuna, cod, halibut, mussels, oysters, plant based cooking oils like vegetable oil and most nuts and seeds like almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, etc. As you can see, sometimes, especially with fish you are consuming good fats in the protein sources you eat.

How much of each component we all require depends on weight, current level of fitness and level of activity. A general rule of thumb for the average person however is the principal of “1-2-3″. In each meal (generally speaking) you should have 1 part of your calories from “good” fat, 2 parts from protein and 3 parts from “good” carbohydrates. The easiest way to measure this is by “eyeballing” what you put on your plate.

Now that you know WHAT to eat, stay tuned for the next post which explains WHEN to eat. The timing of meals is just as important as the type of meals we eat. I will also be giving you a “Homework” assignment. So get ready!

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

“Now you know…And knowing is half the battle!”

Hats off to you if you know where this quote comes from. It’s true. Knowledge is power. Which is why this very first fitness post will be about knowing how to properly weigh yourself and take your body measurements. This information will be vital in your quest to become more fit. Now, I know that this can be a humbling experience in the beginning but as you progress you will come to love your numbers and even brag about them to family and friends. The whole measurement process will only take about 10-15 minutes and you should do it every 6 weeks. Weighing yourself can be done as often as you like but, as I’ll next explain, you should keep “official” weigh-ins to once per week.

Question: When is the best time to weigh yourself?

Answer: The best time to weigh yourself is right after you wake up. You aren’t carrying excess weight from food or liquid.

Your body weight fluctuates greatly during the day and during the week. The best time to assess your weight is after you wake up. Your body is essentially empty of most food and consumable liquid when you wake up. This is the most accurate time to weigh yourself. You should also make it a point to record your weight each week on the same day, ideally after you wake up. You’ll then have a great gauge of your weekly progress. Whether you’re trying to lose fat or gain lean muscle, you should aim for no more than a 2 lb. change per week. Any more than that and you’re risking a host of issues like dehydration, fatigue, muscle loss (if you’re losing weight) or excess fat gain (if you’re “bulking up”).

Question: Which areas of my body should I measure and how often should I keep track of them?

Answer: Generally speaking, there are 7 main areas that are important to track:

  • Shoulders
  • Chest
  • Waist
  • Hips
  • Thighs
  • Calves
  • Arms

It is important to track these changes every six weeks so that you can get a good idea of how you’re progressing.

You may need some help the first time you measure but after a few attempts you should be able to do it by yourself. There are great clips on YouTube about how to do this, so I’ll skip the detailed instructions. However, a few tips to remember are:

  1. Get yourself a good soft plastic or nylon tape measure and a journal to record your entries in.
  2. Measure yourself on the same day of the week, every 6 weeks. Try to do it under the same conditions: i.e. before a meal or after you wake up.
  3. Always measure each area 3 times. This ensures accuracy.
  4. Make sure you are relaxed when you measure yourself. Do not tense and contract your muscles.
  5. There are many thoughts on where exactly the waist is. I am from the school that measures it above the belly button but below the rib cage. At the narrowest part of the abdomen. The point is to pick a place and make sure that you measure the same area each time. Also, never measure yourself immediately after a meal (unless you want to be depressed for the rest of the day.)
  6. Have fun! Use these measurements as only one gauge of your progress. The important thing is that you learn something about yourself so that you can see what’s working and what’s not.

Well, there you have it. Two great ways to keep track of your progress. Remember to reward yourself for your success and continue to set new goals. In the next post, I will be sharing with you the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING you’ll ever need on your journey to being more fit and healthy.Image

Remember…

Dream Fit. Live Fit.