Losing weight can be a daunting task. Many of us would like to burn the fat and at the same time build muscle.
Without the right knowledge and philosophy on nutrition it’s easy to fall into many traps that can keep you on a ferris wheel of dieting (often called yo-yo dieting). One of the best ways to avoid this from happening is to gain the right perspective, gather the right information, and make the proper changes in our habits.
We’ve teamed up with fitness expert Scott Herman to publish the following resource to you here. Be sure to read through, as it answers some very common questions and provides insight on the changes you can make today to get on the right path.
What is the secret to losing fat?
The secret to losing bodyfat can be found within your meal plan! Did you ever have a friend that went on a meal plan, lost a lot of weight, and then ballooned back up shortly after they started their horrible eating habits again? Has this ever happened to you?
Well, I can assure you it is not a coincidence that once you stopped your meal plan you gained all your weight back!
Does a diet mean that I have to eat all the stuff I don’t like?
A diet does not mean you have to eat foods you do not like. In fact, I hate using the word “diet” for the very reason that most people associate “diet” with “horrible food.”
So let’s use the phrase “meal plan.” A meal plan is a plan that allows you to eat the foods you like to eat portioned throughout the day to make sure you get the right amount of protein, carbs, fat, and calories, depending if your goal is to lose fat/tone or to gain muscle.
The answer will not be found in the bottle of fat burners. Do they help? Yes they can; but they will help even more if your base meal plan is right on track as well.
Why do I always gain my weight back and MORE after I stop eating correctly?
The answer to this question deals directly with carbohydrates. Most people believe that if they cut out carbohydrates that they will lose weight and become happy. Well, yes, you will lose weight. However, most of that weight you are losing will be MUSCLE!
Muscle is very important and you do not want to lose or weaken it. The more muscle you have the faster your metabolism will be and if you are losing more than 8 to 10 lbs a month I can guarantee you are losing mostly muscle.
Even if you were to eat the same exact food, calorie for calorie, at the same exact time of every day like you did before you lost the weight, you would gain all your weight back, and more, because your metabolism will be SLOWER because you lost MUSCLE!
If you have gained excess body fat, you must realize that you didn’t gain it all at once.
It happened over time, so do not expect to lose it all at once. Losing weight is a process that takes time, but if done correctly will result in only losing body fat, not muscle, and you will not gain all your weight back if you happen to stray from your meal plan for a couple weeks.
It is when you drop the weight too quickly and lose mostly muscle that you will then gain back a lot of excess body fat if you stray from your meal plan.
Do I need to eat special food to lose weight?
Over the years it has come to my attention that the hardest thing for most people to understand is how eating affects their body. You shouldn’t be searching online at all hours of the night looking for the perfect meal plan or a mystery pill or shake to lose weight.
All you have to do is eat regular healthy foods every 2 to 3 hours.
What about the food delivery services that I hear about?
There is a reason why people lose 80 to 100 lbs. on the infomercials for the meal plan packages you can buy and have delivered to your door.
Think about it, if you are overweight and have horrible eating habits, as soon as you change to a structured meal plan there is no reason why you wouldn’t start dropping some pounds.
For example, if you are the kind of person that eats 2 or 3 big meals a day and over a period of time and have accumulated a lot of excess body fat; there is no doubt in my mind that if you started to eat every 2 to 3 hours, even if it was the same food just spread out throughout the day, you would lose weight.
How will I lose weight by eating more food?
The best way to understand this is to compare your stomach to a fireplace. If you were to throw a huge log into a fireplace, when the fire goes out you will be left with ashes and chunks of log because the fire could not break down the whole log before it burnt out.
However, if you were to throw little pieces of scraps into a fireplace when the fire goes out there will be nothing left but ashes. This is because the fire could easily consume the little scraps of wood very quickly.
Your stomach is the same way; if you eat a huge meal your body will not be able to totally digest the meal and what the body can’t break down in a certain amount of time will be stored as fat.
Now, if you eat little meals every couple hours, your body will easily break down that food, utilize the protein, carbs, and fat for energy and rebuilding muscle tissue; and then be ready for the next meal a couple hours later.
How will eating smaller meals help burn more calories?
Think about this; 1 unit of energy equals 1 calorie. Your body needs energy to break down food. So if you are eating more often your body needs more energy (calories) to break down the food!
And if you are eating small portions of good food, then your body will have a constant supply of the right amount of protein, carbs, fat, and calories it needs to function properly, rebuild muscle, and burn fat! So eat 5 to 6 small meals a day and feel confident about reaching your goals when doing it!
Also keep in mind that if you are using more energy to break down more food throughout the day you are burning more calories overall. The key here is to eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed to the point where you cannot possibly eat another bite.
Is it possible to gain weight if I eat more?
The answer is yes and no. If you are over-eating every meal and eating non-healthy food, of course you will gain weight! If you are eating more times a day, but regulated portions of healthy food such as fruits, vegetables, whole wheat breads and pasta, brown rice, chicken, fish, sweet potatoes, salad, etc, you will lose weight.
The reason is because if you are eating more times a day, your body has to work harder to break that food down. Therefore your body uses up more energy!
Is it okay to eat at night?
Do not be afraid to have a snack after 7pm if you are hungry. Your body is telling you it is hungry for a reason and the reason is that it needs energy to perform the functions of a normal healthy body!
Eating at night only becomes a problem if you are eating large portions and junk food. The main reason why most people get really hungry at night is because their body is used to eating 1 or 2 meals throughout the day with about 4-5 hours in between meals.
So if your second meal was around 5pm, your body will probably want food again around 9 or 10pm. Our bodies are very smart and will follow a pattern if we let them.
So now its 10pm and you are very hungry and want a big meal because that is what your body is used to having. So you eat the big meal, go to bed with a full stomach, and whatever your body couldn’t break down will now be stored as fat.
However, if you change your eating habits to 5 to 6 small meals a day, your body will then have enough time to break down the whole meal and utilize it for energy. Also, now when that late night hunger hits you will be able to eat something small, be satisfied, and you will go to bed with enough food in your stomach for your body to digest and use as energy to perform its regular repairs while you sleep.
You should also keep in mind that your last meal will determine how you will feel in the morning.
If you eat junk, you will feel like junk, if you eat good, you will feel good!
How do you (Scott) feel about “diets”?
I think that the diets you find in all the health magazines/books, or the diets the stars are on that you find in the gossip magazines are great, but they give a false sense that you have to eat those foods to lose weight. When the reality of the matter is all you have to do is clean up what you are eating now.
Divide your meals into smaller portions throughout the day and try to eat 5 to 6 times a day.
You don’t have to change everything. To start try eating the same foods but portion them out. Even if it is junk, just portion them to get used to the idea of portioning your food. Then start to incorporate healthier choices. Take fitness one step at a time and you will succeed!
It takes 3500 calories to burn 1 lb. of fat. (3500/7= has a caloric deficit (The amount of calories you are burning vs. taking in) of 500 calories a day to lose 1 lb. of fat per week.
Range of Percent Body Fat in Different People
|Average American||32 %||22 %|
|Healthy/Normal||18-24 %||11-17 %|
|Athletes||9%-17 %||3%-10 %|
- It is best to measure body fat once a month because if done each week you may become disappointed if you do not see immediate change.
- The average person will lose between 1.5% – 2% bodyfat a month if their goal is to tone/lose fat.
Once we start interpreting the proper information and applying it in the right manner, the entire process becomes very simple. For the working professional, or if you work in an office, it may be a little more difficult to break away and prepare a meal every few hours.
One great tip is to practice prepping and portioning in advance or the night before. Another is to include plenty of cold water throughout the day. It will help with your metabolism and with curbing hunger. What about you? Do you follow any specific meal plans? Have you had any great successes, or failures? Leave a comment below and let us know…
Photo by Heavyweightgeek