Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Nutrition Tips To Get Things Started!

"Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food." - Isaiah 55:2

Your first and most important step to increasing your metabolism so you can burn fat and get a leaner, healthier and more attractive body is to begin eating better. Follow these guidelines starting today. No excuses. Make the time to do it.

1. The most important key to success is to surround yourself with people who will support you and your goals. A strong support system is crucial to your overall success.

2. Always eat breakfast - Ideally, you should choose from the following:

  • Eggs (scrambled with veggies, an omlette, poached or soft boiled)
  • Real oatmeal (not the sugar-filled instant stuff)
  • Cottage cheese (at least 1/2 cup) and fruit
  • Leftovers from dinner as long as it contains protein and veggies (fruit and veggies are your friend. Eat as much of them as you want and with every meal. But you need protein with every meal as well - see number 5).

3. Eliminate ALL calorie-containing drinks such as fruit juice, sweet tea, soda, Gatorade, etc. You should try to only drink water, green tea and in limited amounts - Crystal Light. I suggest also staying away from all diet sodas as well, even if they are 0 calorie/carbs. There are other things in them that you don't want and they will prevent fat loss for a variety of reasons.

4. Eat 4-6 meals per day. Frequent small meals will help speed up your metabolism and keep your blood sugar level throughout the day. The best way to do this is:

  • Breakfast
  • Mid-morning Snack
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon Snack
  • Dinner
  • Evening snack

Men and athletes should aim for the higher end (5-6 meals per day) and women trying to lose fat should stick with four meals per day (breakfast, lunch, dinner and one snack).

The only change to this is during hard training days. On those days, you want to also have a post-workout drink immediately after. This is where a protein shake and some raisins/fruit or a specially-formulated drink (I recommend Surge by Biotest) comes in handy. If you're trying to lose fat, just eat or drink something with protein and skip the extra sugar and carbs from fruit or other sources.

Also, if you become hungry an hour or two after each meal, then you may need to eat more protein at each meal (it helps keep you satisfied longer) and also more healthy fats (avocado, raw nuts, olive oil, natural peanut butter, etc.).

5. Eat protein with every meal - Get protein from all lean meats - organic is best - (beef, chicken, pork, turkey, fish, buffalo, ostrich, etc.), eggs, raw nuts, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc. This is VERY important. Protein helps speed up your metabolism. It helps build muscle. Muscle BURNS fat. So yes, you want to build muscle to burn fat - You will not bulk up unless you eat enough food, train hard for many years and have the testosterone and genetics to be big (if only it were so easy!).

6. Elminate any and all sugary foods or processed foods. If it comes in a box don't eat it! The rare exception to this rule is real oatmeal, quinoa, unprocessed whole grain brown rice, Ezekiel bread and unprocessed whole wheat pasta (all of which should be eaten in small portions). However, you should only eat the "starchy" carbs at two times during the day - breakfast and after your workout (after the post-workout drink).

For the most part, you want to only shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Why? This is where the best stuff is and the healthiest stuff. Think about it. What is on the perimeter? Meat. Fruits/Veggies. Dairy/Eggs. Legumes. The stuff on the aisles is all the bad food (heavily processed, overly salted, filled with additives and other harmful ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats, etc.). The only stuff you should buy in the middle aisles of the store would be frozen veggies (very good for you, and also very convenient and don't go bad as quickly as fresh stuff - So yes, all frozen non-saucy veggies and fruits are fine).

7. Go to Sam's Club or Costco and pick up some of their fish oil caps. You want a basic, high-quality fish oil that contains at least 1,000mg of fish oil per cap (gel caps). You should take AT LEAST two of these with every meal. This means you should have 6-8 or more per day. Yes! 6-8! Six should be the minimum - two per meal! Don't worry about what the label says. Three is not enough to get the health benefits.

Fish oil helps speed up your metabolism and has many other health benefits, so you want to include them in your daily diet. Don't worry about the "fat" or small amounts of calories. People who take fish oil reguarly tend to burn an additional 500 calories per day just from that one supplement! Go to Sam's and get them and take them - two per meal, 4-6 meals per day. Also, keep them in your refrigerator for optimal freshness and potency.

8. Stop drinking soda and junk food - Remove all soda and junk food from the house. If you are unwilling to remove the junk in your home, then you will fail. You will fail because if this stuff is in your home, it will be eaten.

Or, it will be there to tempt you. Or, you will have someone who is "toxic" (a term coined by Chris Shugart in his article - It's Sabotoge! - WARNING: This article contains adult language) and ends up trying to foil your attempts - conciously or unconciously - at getting healthier, losing weight and getting in shape.

It happens all the time. One person loses weight and looks great and the significant other is not secure with how they look or is jealous of you - or something like that - so they offer you bad foods, ask you to skip your workout, don't give positive support, etc. Stay away from toxic people. Many times, they are the people closest to you (friends, family, etc.).

9. Drink a lot of water - Our bodies are made up of water and it needs plenty of water to flush toxins from the body and to help keep our organs and other bodily functions working properly. John Berardi, a nutritionist, recommends drinking half your bodyweight in ounces each day at a minimum. If you weigh 150lbs, you should drink 75 ounces of water.

This doesn't include those who have an active job, train hard, live in a hot and humid climate, etc. That is just the minimum recommendation. You will need to consume more than that due to the above-mentioned conditions. Water is your friend. Slowly work on increasing how much you drink each day and you will see and feel the difference.

Never rely on thirst as a reminder to drink water. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. How do you know you've had enough water? When you pee clearly at least twice per day (not yellow or light yellow), then you are doing well.

10. Don't forget the fat - Your body needs fat for many reasons. Healthy fats are beneficial for normal organ functioning as well as to help you get leaner and healthier. Even saturated fat from lean meats and eggs is beneficial. Be sure to get plenty of healthy fats in your diet from avocados, fish oil caps, raw nuts and seeds, natural peanut butter, olive oil, eggs and lean meats. Your body will thank you.

Now get started!

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