Diet as you probably already know is the key to success when it comes down to building a better physique. No matter how well or hard you train in the gym unless your diet is in check you will fail to see the results you desire. The good news is that eating for fat loss is not as complicated as it is believed to be, and as long as you have a little discipline and follow some key rules then you can certainly achieve your fat loss goals.
To get you started here are 8 basic food rules for you to follow for
EAT PLENTY OF VEGETABLES
Dark green leafy vegetables are perhaps one of the best superfoods on the planet and yet they are one of the most ignored foods. They contain a powerful dose of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Green vegetables should be the foundation of your diet and included with most of your meals.
Leafy green vegetables have more nutrition per calorie than any other food and make up a significant source of vitamins A, C, E and K as well as several B vitamins. They are rich sources of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium.
Some good options for vegetables include asparagus, broccoli, bok choy, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, celery, bell peppers, green beans, spinach, kale, mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and the list goes on.
EAT PROTEIN WITH EVERY MEAL
Protein is considered the building block of muscle, and is essential to repair muscles, skin, hair, teeth and bones among other things. A diet high in protein will help you build lean muscle, and stay fuller for longer which will help you lose weight.
You should aim to get your protein intake from lean animal proteins such as fish, poultry, eggs, lean red meat, and low fat dairy products such as cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, and low fat cheese’s.
DON’T AVOID CARBOHYDRATES
Carbohydrates always get a bad name and are often believed to cause weight gain. Consuming carbs will not make you fat. In fact, if you consume the right carbs that can actually help you lose weight. Try to eat slow digesting carbs such as P28 bread/Ezekiel bread, rolled oats, brown rice, quinoa, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and low glycemic index fruit such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, grapefruit, apples, pears and oranges.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF FAT
Let me just clear up one thing, fat does not make you fat. In fact, you will want to consume a good amount of healthy fats in order to burn fat, because they play an important role in energy expenditure, vitamin storage and increasing testosterone, which helps increase lean muscle mass. Healthy fats can be found in red meat, avocado, peanut butter, nuts and healthy oils such as olive oil and coconut oil. You should avoid any saturated fat and trans fat that are found in cakes, biscuits and processed foods. These fats raise your “bad” cholesterol levels, decrease your “good” cholesterol levels, and increase your risk for heart disease.
NOT ALL CALORIES ARE EQUAL
Many diet programs focus on calories in and calories out. It’s a simple equation that we’ve all become used to hearing. This means if you burn more calories than you consume, then pounds will simply fall off. This equation is true to some extent but it definitely shouldn’t be the one and only focus of your diet.
The problem is not all calories are equal. For example 2000 calories from chicken and vegetables isn’t going to be the same as 2000 calories from ice cream. There is a huge difference in the way food affects your body, your appetite, your energy levels, and your long-term health.
The best long term strategy for weight loss is to simply avoid eating junk, process and sugary foods, even if you are counting calories. If you focus on healthy nutritious choices, the weight loss results will come easier and be sustainable over the long term. This doesn’t mean that eating has to be plain and boring. It just means making healthier choices.
CUT THE SUGAR
Eating a bag of skittles may seem harmless enough – after all they only have 250 calories and 2.5 grams of fat, so what could be the harm. The problem starts when you intake the whooping 47 grams of sugar per serving. Sugar has a cascade of negative side effects. This includes a sugar high and crash that will send your energy levels on a rollercoaster ride and set the stage for more cravings down the line. Indulging those cravings can lead to weight gain and health problems like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
You want to aim for products with the least grams of sugar, and less than 2.5 grams of sugar per 100 calories. The World Health Organization recommends keeping sugar intake to no more than 10% of your daily calories. On average that’s a limit of around 50 grams of sugar per day. However, you should be aiming much lower if you’re trying to lose weight. The best source of sugar is fresh fruit, which provides vitamins, minerals, and fiber. If you must indulge in a sugary snack, eat it right after an intense workout. In the 20 to 30 minutes immediately following a workout that’s longer or more intense than usual, your body is especially efficient at metabolizing sugar. In fact, pairing these carbs with protein will help your muscles recover faster.
CONSUME ENOUGH FIBER
From helping weight loss efforts to preventing a range of diseases and controlling blood sugar, fiber-rich foods are fast gaining popularity in every form of media. With so many far-reaching benefits, you may be wondering what it actually is and how it can help you.
Fiber is a natural nutrient contained in foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes, particularly in the outer layer and in the seeds. Fiber is a key component to any healthy eating plan or diet, and plays an important role in overall health.
For best results you should aim to intake about 14 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories you eat. The average women will have a diet plan consisting of 1500 to 2000 calories , depending on your body weight and activity levels, so that should convert to 21-28 grams of fiber total per day.
KEEP YOURSELF HYDRATED
Water makes up about 75 percent of our body and is essential for good health. Water regulates body temperature, transports nutrients, carries waste away from cells, protects the organs from damage, and keeps you hydrated. Water is also necessary to keep the metabolic processes functioning and helps you expel waste by keeping you regular (adding fluid to the stool so you don’t become constipated).
Dehydration will lead to poor focus and lack of motivation, which can cause you to make bad food choices and perform badly when you are training in the gym. You should aim to drink at least 2-3 litres of water a day, more if it’s a training day.