One of the biggest excuses I hear in the studio in regards to unsuccessful attempts at losing body fat is client dinners or work events. Granted this can be a challenge but it is not a REAL reason for not getting the results you want…..
I have been called obsessive and one dimensional over the years and despite the name calling I actually believe in BALANCE. I love a good night out at a restaurant with friends and I don’t believe my endeavour to be healthy stops me. Does it mean I make different decisions in regards to my meal choices? Yes it does but I don’t for one minute feel like I am missing ANYTHING.
If I am going out then I will prepare accordingly. It may mean that I just go all out and have a pizza and a couple of beers. However, I will do that once in a week and eat really clean the other 20 meals. It may mean that I organise an intermittent fast following the indulgence. Either way, I will not make it a habit without it being part of my bigger plan to be healthy.
I also make SMARTER choices. I will do little things like not eat bread preceding a meal, have a side of vegetables and have a big piece of protein as my main.
This is great but how about those situations where we don’t have that luxury….. I am sure we have all been in that situation where we are confronted with just a number of unhealthy options…. It may be a restaurant or a food court but we have all been there. Here are five 5 little tips to assist:
- Ask for an extra side salad or serving of vegetables. Every restaurant, sandwich bar or café will have vegetable and/or salad in the kitchen
- Swap some of the sides like chips for salad or vegetables. Even McDonalds and KFC have salads! I know because I ran a workshop the other day and despite my evil conscious wanting fries I had grilled chicken and salad.
- Ask for an open sandwich with just one piece of bread.
- Limit the alcohol pre-meal so you don’t CRAVE food. Restaurateurs are smart and know fuelling you up with alcohol before a meal will have you reaching for any food in sight.
- Be demanding. Restaurants should cater to your needs and if that means grilling instead of frying or less sauce or extra protein portions then they will do it.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Losing body fat and acquiring the body you want doesn’t mean putting your life on hold. Far from it! It just means that you need to develop some small smart habits and it is the collection of these small habits that will produce BIG results.
Have you ever had that feeling where you are totally starving and the only options are a service station meat pie, a sandwich or a pack of chips? I have often been caught out where I have been hungry enough to eat a horse and will demolish ANY food that is within a 1 metre radius. The main problem arises when the food options are CRAP! I will usually take the option of eating crap rather than being starving if given a choice between the two.
So my solution to this problem…. be prepared! The better prepared you are with your food the better you will eat. It is that simple! I purchased an overpriced food planner from Kikki K (a blank piece of paper will do) that lists all the days and the meals I will consume. Whilst it may sound anally retentive, the process works wonders!
I make sure I have all the ingredients I need in advance for my breakfasts, snack and dinners. I have lunch out and I plan my day to allow 45 minutes eating at one of my preferred eateries (Mad Mex is making a fortune from my right now! A naked burrito with no sour cream and cheese is the da bomb and healthy). The snacks are important as they prevent the temptation from naughty stuff when ordering a coffee like egg and bacon rolls and muffins (yes I am human and are tempted by these wonders regularly). My snack choice is homemade protein balls. They are full of protein and good fats and a little sweet (I have a killer recipe if anyone is interested, just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and it is all yours). A handful (yes I said handful) of raw nuts is also a great snack choice.
When it comes to breakfast, you really just need to give yourself the appropriate time. Wake up 15 minutes earlier to make an omelette or eggs and I guarantee you will be alert than if you slept in the extra 15 minutes. When it comes to dinner there are a few strategies I employ. Firstly, have my wife cook dinner (that won’t be happening anymore if she reads this!). Secondly, have some simple options that take 10-15 minutes such as grilled steak, chicken or fish with steamed vegetables. Lastly, cook a big batch of 1 meal and have leftovers in the fridge or freezer (chilli con-carne is my choice here; e-mail me if you would like the killer recipe).
I hope this helps and prevents you from inhaling some crappy food from a dodgy servo or café. I have some great recipes that are easy to cook (even I can cook them and I burn water) if you need some inspiration.
We are eating more than we have ever done so in the past.
In fact Australian Intake surveys have found that we are now eating over 200 calories per day more than we did 20 years ago!!
So why is this? One of the main reasons is that food portion sizes have gradually been increasing as a result of clever marketing. Manufacturers simply want us to eat more of their products and one of the easiest ways to do this is to make the products bigger (and therefore more expensive!)
Check out how some snack foods have increased over time;
Average serve size
20 years ago
Average serve size
These bigger serving sizes have happened gradually so for most of us we haven’t even noticed. In addition the original smaller sizes have been phased out to make room for the more profitable ‘king sized’ packets. So for most of us these ‘king size’ foods are now just the norm. As a result it is not surprising that most of us don’t know what an actual ‘standard serve’ is.
By learning to measure appropriate portion sizes you will be able to control your kilojoule/calorie intake much better as well as meet your nutrition requirements more appropriately.
What is a Standard ‘Serve’ – Measure your portions
Grains & starchy vegetables (600kJ/150calories per serve)
2 slices of bread; 1 medium bread roll; 1 cup cooked rice; ¾ cup cooked rice or rice noodles; 1 cup cereal; ½ cup muesli; 1 medium potato or 1 corn cob.
Non-Starchy Vegetables (100kJ/ 25 calories per serve)
½ cup cooked vegetables; 1 cup salad
**This group contains minimal kilojoules/calories so if you are hungry you can definitely have extra of these.
Fruit (300kJ/ 70 calories per serve)
1 medium piece of fruit e.g. apple, banana or orange; 2 small pieces of fresh fruit e.g. apricots, kiwifruit; 1 cup canned fruit; ½ cup juice; 5 dried apricots; 1 ½ tbsp. sultanas
Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, legumes (600kJ/ 150 calories per serve)
100gmeat or chicken; 150g tofu; ½ cup mince or casserole; 2 small chops; 2 slices of roast meat; ½ cup cooked legumes; 130g fish; small tin of tuna/salmon; 2 eggs
Healthy Fats & Oils (150kJ/45 calories per serve)
1 tsp of margarine; 1 tsp oil e.g. olive, canola, flaxseed; 20g avocado;10g nuts;½ Tbsp LSA; 8 olives (no oil)/ 6 with oil; 1 tbsp seeds (eg sunflower, chia, pumpkin)
We have a special blog this week as we have a video blog. Coastal Bodies founder ‘Dan Henderson’ has had incredible success with a number of clients losing significant amounts under his guidance. Check out his ‘5 Biggest Nutrition tips for Fat Loss’.
I’m sure that you have heard a million times that we should be eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, leafy greens, those with bright colours, with a wide variation. So what’s the big deal, what’s the worst that will happen if I have the same breakfast every day, a sandwich every lunch-time, and meat and three veg every night? Well for most people who luckily have a healthy weight, and the muscle tone they want, then not much is going to happen. They are the lucky ones with favourable genetics who don’t need to read this article, because they will always be lean and muscular without trying all that hard. For everyone else without the genetic edge, who need to work hard to maintain a weight their happy with, then diet variation is key to improving results.
Sydney’s Garvin Institute recently published a study looking at diet variety and levels of a neurotransmitter called Neuropeptide-Y (NPY). After analysing the diet and NPY levels in a 120 people, researchers found elevated NPY in those people with inadequate variety and protein in their diets. What’s important for those tyring really hard to look better naked is that NPY is a signal for hunger and the nasty stress-hormone cortisol, which is damaging to muscle tissue and prevents fat tissue breakdown during exercise. Low diet-variety, as well as low protein intake are sensed by your brain as a degree of starvation, so protecting your fat reserves and eating more will logically follow. Interestingly the researchers at the Garvin also found poor libido in those with the low variety diet, again another survival mechanism for a brain sensing it’s no getting enough nutrients or protein.
Now think about some of the common mistakes made by the uneducated dieter. Most will reduce the amount they eat, including protein, with a lack in variety soon following. Next they wonder why they are hungrier than ever, and are not losing any fat or growing the muscle they have been working so hard to gain. If this sounds somewhat familiar then start a food diary, and if for over a seven day period you do not get thirty different foods, then it’s time you made some changes.
An easy way to fix both a variety and protein insufficiency is to make yourself a blended fruit and vegetable shake like the one below. It makes a fantastic breakfast or mid-afternoon snack:
- 3 – 4 organic kale leaves
- 1 large organic silverbeet leaves
- 1 organic apple
- 1 organic pear
- 1/2 – 1 cup pineapple chunks
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups filtered water
- 20-30 grams whey or brown rice protein powder
So if you’re struggling to see any results with your new diet or have hit a plateau, even though your diet may seem healthy, go and record all the foods you eat in a week. Getting over thirty a week and the body you want could be just one ‘supershake’ away!