Are You Reducing Fat and Cholesterol in Your Recipes?
Tips for reducing fat and cholesterol in your favorite recipes.
Avoid high-fat, high-cholesterol foods completely. These include animal based foods such as red meat, eggs, whole milk, butter or whole milk cheese. Drink skim milk or skim milk products. Use tub margarine with liquid olive or peanut oil as the primary ingredient in place of butter or sour cream.
Stock your refrigerator with foods that are naturally low in fat and cholesterol-free such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
When you cook poultry, remove the skin. To retain moistness, you can cook it with the skin on, but do not eat the skin. Remove it before eating the chicken.
Bake, boil, broil, roast or steam foods rather than frying. Avoid fried foods and aim to eliminate them from your diet entirely. This is a great habit for reducing fat and cholesterol.
Use nonstick cooking sprays which are low in calories. You could also use a small dab of butter in a pan if necessary but avoid lard, bacon fat and shortening.
When preparing recipes, experiment by cutting the fat by one-fourth or one-third. For example, if a muffin recipe calls for 1-cup of oil, try 3/4-cup. If that works try using 2/3-cup next time and so on.
When a recipe calls for milk, use skim milk or 1-percent milk. If the result is too thin, try evaporated skim milk, which also can be used effectively in cream soups. It can be whipped when partially frozen.
Remove the fat from gravy and soup using a fat separator (a small pitcher with a specially designed spout). Or refrigerate the food overnight and skim off the fat when hardened.
In recipes, substitute low-fat or non fat plain yogurt for sour cream. To help separation in cooked foods, bland a small amount of flour or cornstarch (1-tablespoon) into the yogurt.
For half or all of the ground beef required in a recipe, substitute ground white turkey or ground white chicken meat. In addition, in many recipes you can usually cut the amount of meat in half. This works best with recipes calling for ground meat to further reduce fat and cholesterol.
Eat no more than two to four eggs per week. Each large egg has about 213 milligrams of cholesterol. In recipes, use an egg white for one whole egg, or use egg substitutes.
Fat Substitutes for Reducing Fat and Cholesterol
Another way to reduce fat is to use products that contain fat substitutes or fat replacers. Most fat replacers are made of all-natural, food-based substances.
They fall into three categories.
Carbohydrate-based. An excellent thickener and stabilizer. Used in many formulated foods, such as margarine, mayonnaise and baked desserts.
Protein based. Good for frozen and refrigerated products such as dairy products, cream-type products and prepared entrees such as pizza.
Fat based. After being chemically altered, have fewer calories than fat or no calories at all. These are very stable when heated making them good for cooking.
Drill this fact into your mind: “The person with the most options is the one most likely to succeed“.
That applies in business, in pleasure and in fitness. Keep learning new options for your diet and your exercise and take those that you enjoy and mix it all up. Why? To avoid diet pitfalls and plateaus.
We often stress over and over how each of us is so wonderfully unique and it’s this very uniqueness that means no laid out plan is going to work for every human body. You have a unique body type and as such, the way you respond to combination’s of nutrition and training will also be unique to you. Not one single other human being has your body type or your physiology.
This is an amazing facet of simply being human; however, it does bring about some challenges. You’ll have to experiment a little while trying to get in shape or lose weight. You have to find what works for your genetic make-up. Certainly there are laws of fat loss that everyone can follow, but you and only you can determine which one’s work best for your body.
Are you familiar with Bruce Lee?
“With nothing but his hands, feet and a lot of attitude, he turned the little guy into a tough guy.” — Time
Bruce Lee worked hard to formulate a philosophy for self-defense and personal growth. His formula was:
Research your own experience.
Absorb what is useful.
Reject what is useless.
Add what is specifically your own.
Not a bad formula to follow! Learn from your experiences, determine what has worked (been useful) for you and absorb it, reject what hasn’t worked, create a system or exercise, diet, what-have-you, that is specifically your own, tailored to your needs, enjoyment, genetics and desires.
Physiological factors play a role in every facet of our lives, including our fitness levels, no matter what they may be at this moment. Some of us suffer a slow metabolism. This is worsened by on-and-off dieting over years, or if you never worked to strengthen and build your muscles in addition to dieting.
But don’t get distraught about this; a slow metabolism can speed up. It just takes time. You have to practice patience and perseverance. Your patience WILL pay off when you find the fitness/diet “recipe” that is right for you. Plus, the more fit you get – even the tiniest increments – will help you slowly and steadily burn more fat. The better respiratory shape you’re in (cardiovascular endurance), the more fat you can burn at rest.
So even though you may be out of shape and weigh too much, you mustn’t give up just because improvement and results seem slow to accomplish.
Diet Pitfalls & Plateau Plunders
Oh those dreaded plateaus! Luckily, we do know some key factors as to why we hit these and with that knowledge, they can be over come. We’ve talked about the starvation-mode factor before but here’s a summary for those who haven’t read it.
When you drastically cut calories, your body goes into starvation mode. It’s the body’s way of adapting. Once you’re in this mode, no amount of increased training will help. You have to eat more! That’s right. If your caloric intake has been very low for a long time, the best thing you can do is raise your calories.
A brief 1 to 3 day raise in caloric intake may be all you need before you drop back down. But in reality, this is one of those “unique to your body” circumstances. You may have to experiment a bit. If you don’t see improvement in 3 days, go a little longer. You’ll have to discover what works for your body.
This is one of those things that just cannot be predicted, but it can be expected. To avoid these diet plateaus, don’t restrict yourself to the same amount of calories every day. Fluctuate your diet and never cut calories drastically low.
Over Training Plateaus
There truly is such a thing as over-training. And jumping into a program and pushing yourself too hard can cause it.
If you suspect over-training to be the cause of your plateau, then the best thing to do is take a rest. Taking a few days off from weight loss training might be exactly what you need. When you do start up again, add a few new toning moves. Try a new form of cardio exercise, etc. Plateaus can also come from adaptation- the body adapts to your new workout routine and no longer has any “response”. It’s become accustomed to it.
But now that you know all this, you know, too that you can avoid these diet pitfalls and fitness plateaus. Hopefully now you can succeed a bit faster and much more efficiently!
Then look to gaining muscle! You can gain muscle and literally decrease your body size without losing a pound. Yes, it’s true! So many are so obsessed watching the numbers on their scale they just aren’t seeing the bigger picture in the fat fight.
Try ignoring your scale for a while and instead focus on some muscle toning. If you’re a scale-obsessed person (I, too was guilty of this for YEARS), it can be tough. But it could literally be essential to your long term fat fight.
Look at That Fat
Fat doesn’t look good, does it? No… Fat covers up your natural muscle with a thick layer of ugly, spongy insulation, giving your body that soft, doughy look. When you strengthen the muscles, you burn off some of that spongy fat allowing the shapely contours of your muscles to become defined. Definitely more attractive. That’s the desired outcome of a good fat fight!
But aesthetic value is just a bonus. The real benefits are the health benefits.
Consider gaining muscle as your secret weapon in your fat fight. That muscle will fight for you ’round the clock, even while you sleep.
Body Fat Fight
According to Dr. William Evans of the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, the average American loses 6.6 pounds of lean body mass every decade after age 20. The rate of muscle loss increases after age 45. With advancing age, most people gain fat even when body weight doesn’t change much. The muscle shrinks as the fat accumulates.
It’s a good idea to measure your body fat as opposed to obsessing over the numbers on your scale. Body composition focuses on body fat and lean body mass. If you can determine that you’re losing fat while gaining or even maintaining muscle, you know your program is working.
Measuring Your Body Fat
So how do you go about measuring body fat composition? Well, first you have to accept the fact that gaining muscle to replace fat is a slow process. While physically this is better for you, psychologically it’s frustrating and discouraging. You need an accurate and scientific method of measuring your progress. There are at least a dozen methods of body composition testing. The most popular and widely used are as follows.
Underwater Weighing (Hydrostatic): You are submerged under water while sitting on a chair that hangs from a scale. The basis for hydrostatic weighing is the fact that fat floats and muscle sinks. The fatter you are, the more buoyant you will be, and the more buoyant you are, the less you will weigh underwater. The leaner you are, the more easily you will sink, and the more you will weigh underwater. Underwater weighing is interesting, but not very practical.
Bio Electric Impedance Analysis: – Bio-electric impedance analysis (BIA) measures body fat by testing the electrical conductivity of your body’s tissues. Because the test is based on your body’s water status, the results can fluctuate based on your state of hydration, but overall research finds BIA fairly reliable.
BIA Body Fat Scales and hand grip tests – Tanita makes the best body fat scale. Omron sells the most popular hand gripper. The scale measures the lower body while a hand grip test measures the upper body.
There are many other methods used to measure body fat, including total body potassium, total body electrical conductivity, isotopic dilution, urinary creatine excretion, total body calcium, total body nitrogen, total plasma creatinine, computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, neutron activation analysis, and dual photon absorpitometry.
Say what? No worries. None of these are practical for personal use on a fat loss program.
Fat Fight Skin-Fold Testing
The most practical approach to measure your body fat is one we purposely waited to mention – skin-fold testing. It’s easy and when done properly, very accurate in determining your body fat percentage. All you need is a simple little, inexpensive device called a “skinfold caliper“.
The only downside is potential errors from taking the skinfold with improper technique. For example, taking a horizontal fold when it should be a vertical fold. But it isn’t a technique that’s difficult to perfect. And one last tip: Whichever caliper you pick, stick to it. Switching from one to another can make results appear different.
This doesn’t make one device “wrong”, it’s just that there can be fluctuations between different brands.
“Although you can find more glamorous contraptions, a skilled “pincher” can get a better estimate than with any other method except dissection. The only drawback to using calipers is operator error; but practice does make perfect.” -Dan Duchaine
Restricting Calories is Detrimental to Your Fitness
The most common means of dieting is restricting calories. The first thing we thing of when we think “diet” is “Can’t or shouldn’t eat this that or the other thing”.
This amounts to calorie restriction, which can actually lower your metabolism. When your metabolism lowers, so does your fat burning ability and your chance of dropping pounds.
But why does this happen? Basically because when you cut down on calories, you’re body works to adjust to less “fuel”. The first way it does this is to lower your metabolism. Adding more alarm, study after study tells us that low calorie diets without exercise will always cause 40 to 50 percent of the weight you do lose to come from lean tissue. Even with exercise, if a diet is too restrictive in calories, much of the weight loss will still be lean tissue.
The Thyroid Factor
Many of us are aware of the fact that we have a thyroid gland and that it can play a role in weight gain. This is because our thyroid gland is largely responsible for regulating the rate we burn calories while at rest. The thyroid has an active hormone known as T3. When significant calorie reduction takes place, it reduces output of this hormone, which results in a decreased metabolism.
The Dreaded Plateau
Now you can see how restricting calories to lose weight can actually turn on you. It should be easier to understand why so many dieters reach a plateau. A plateau is a point at which no matter what they do, how little they eat or how much they exercise, they can’t lose another pound. This means your body has adjusted to a lower amount of calories and adapted in order to conserve energy.
What’s really scary is that if you’ve reached this point, merely going back to normal eating habits could mean weight gain. Your body is not burning calories as efficiently as it was before the diet.
And it gets worse. At this point you can start having gnawing hunger pains and insatiable cravings. Ensuing frustration can cause you to break your diet. Weight creeps back up, body fat increases and you now have less muscle and a slower metabolism. Many people will not only gain back any weight they’ve lost, but will add to it.
This is where the expression “yo-yo cycle” comes into the picture. It’s a vicious cycle that some battle their entire lives.
The Signs and Symptoms of Restricting Calories
How would you know if you’re reaching this point in your dieting efforts? The first signs are those of being under nourished.
Inability to sustain levels of physical activity.
Restricting calories is known to cause all three symptoms.
What to Do?
Give up the idea that you have to starve to lose weight. Sure, if you starve yourself you’ll lose some weight. This simply IS NOT HEALTHY. Keep this thought in mind:
Temporary dieting can only produce temporary results.
Seven Suggested Steps
Adopt the mindset that you are going to be working on changing life-long habits permanently.
Plan to do muscle toning exercise at least 2 times a week for a minimum of 20 minutes per session. Hang onto that all important lean muscle mass. If you wish, work to develop more!
Obviously restricting calories is in order for anyone who has been in a bad habit of over-indulgence. Decrease slowly and intelligently! Healthier foods, cutting out fried foods, etc.
Work toward off setting reduction in calories with increase in physical movement. Formal exercise or things like gardening, walking, sweeping, vacuuming, etc., all count.
Determine your minimal calorie requirements with the help of a physician and never drop below them!
Practice “grazing”, not gorging. In other words, eat several smaller meals (4 to 6) throughout the day as opposed to 2 or 3 large ones. This keeps fuel going in while energy expenditure is going out. It also wards off binge-type urges, hunger pains and feeling unsatisfied.
Set out to lose no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week. Yes, it takes some patience but the long term, satisfying results are well worth it. And remember, if you’re doing your muscle toning exercises, you’re replacing some fat with muscle which could actually reduce your body size. This occurs even if the scale isn’t showing a significant reduction! It’s exciting, trust me. Once you’ve experienced a drop in clothing size while your scale remains the same, you’ll embrace muscle toning!
any severe restriction of food or calories that’s temporary.
Conventional diets usually call for low calorie consumption:
800 to 1200 or less for women.
1500 to 1800 or less for men.
The Foils of Starvation
When you starve your body, your body begins to fight back by conserving energy — it slows down your metabolic rate, which in turn slows down fat loss.
Starving also forces your body to start cannibalizing muscle tissue for use as an energy source. This leads to a loss of muscle tone and shape. After time on a starvation diet, you will also become irritable, reduce mental focus and grow tired and weak. Your health becomes compromised and your immune system will be impaired due to an inadequate amount of health-promoting nutrients in your system. After a time, you will most likely binge and end up gaining all the pounds back only this time it is all fat, and usually more of it, too. Every time you go through this process, your metabolism is slower than ever because during the last episode, muscle was burned for energy. Thus, you have to eat even fewer calories to reduce pounds — you see the pattern?
Of course, if you proceed to restrict calories, you will lose weight. So, on the surface, it may sound simple. Just enter starvation mode and you can lose weight! But no one likes to walk around with a rumbling tummy all day. There are other major problems with this simplistic approach.
When you lose weight from starvation you’re unlikely to keep the weight off over an extended period of time.
When you do lose weight this way, most of the weight lost is actually from your muscle mass, not fat.
When you re-gain weight, it’s highly likely to be gained as fat (unless you’re on a kick butt weight lifting regime), replacing the muscle you lost in point 1.
The National Institute of Health says there are over 100 million Americans over weight. That equates to over 55 percent of the population. The Center for Disease Control reports a steady increase through the years in people considered clinically obese. Clinically obese is defined at least 30 percent over ideal body weight). These stats tell us that dieting alone just isn’t working.
The good news for you today is, diets fail. The human body is created with defense mechanisms that protect you from starvation. It’s physiologically impossible to permanently lose body fat with a low calorie diet. When your wonderfully made human body senses a food shortage, your defense mechanisms kick in to protect it. This is good news because it means you can just kick calorie restricting diets to the curb.
At this point we must note that there are situations in which calorie restriction is necessary or helpful. Whether or not this would apply to you is something you would have to ask your physician about; we are not qualified to assess that on an individual basis. Also, one area being researched is in the elderly. Studies are suggesting that as we become senior citizens, some calorie restriction may prolong the aging process.
The Human Defense Mechanism
Our body’s weight-regulating mechanism recognizes starvation and decreases energy expenditure to protect you.Â This survival mechanism is known as the starvation response. In a nutshell, your body senses that it’s deprived of calories and consequently reacts as if to say, “It looks like this is all the food we’re going to be getting for a while, so we’d better stop burning so many calories and start saving energy“. Your body does this so it can survive longer on the smaller amount of food it’s being fed.
BUT – while starvation mode can save our lives, it wasn’t meant to be a permanent lifestyle. Our bodies let us know this if it continues too long.
Your body cannot tell the difference between dieting and starvation. Period.
Drastically cutting calories will ALWAYS send your body into the eventually dangerous starvation mode.
Why dangerous? There are many “side effects” of calorie restrictive dieting but the very first and very worst is that your metabolic rate will decline. Other repercussions on your body include:
Loss of muscle.
Increased fat storage.
Decrease in fat burning ability.
Decreased thyroid output.
Increased chance of gaining weight.
Fasting Can be Risky
Fasting could cause dehydration and dangerously low blood sugar levels, which can make you pass out. If you’re otherwise healthy and still drink water, 100 percent fruit juice, and no calorie beverages, you probably won’t suffer health consequences if you fast for only a day or two, or one day at a time every once in a while (not twice a week). But get your doctor’s OK first, and know that most of the weight lost will be water and muscle, not fat. Our advice: Forget fasting and make small changes you can live with for a lifetime.
Whatever choice you make in your journey to weight loss, always remember the good news – you not only need not, but should not starve yourself.
We have a free PDF to offer you again! It’s called, “Finding a Weight Loss Program That Works for You“.
This free guide will give you some guidelines you can use if you’re having trouble choosing a weight loss program you think is just right for you. It’s only 9 pages, but contains all the helpful information, charts and worksheets you can use to help sort through confusion. It won’t take you long to read through it but you should learn a lot.
Finding a weight loss program that suits your lifestyle is tough. We try to make it a bit easier with this free guide. Do use the charts and worksheets, too. You may be surprised at just how helpful they are.
What is in the free guide for choosing a weight loss program?
The guide will assist you in:
How to get the answers you need.
Asking the right questions for your personal needs.
Rating your personal risk of being over weight.
Finding your body mass index (BMI).
Includes a Personal Health Profile Evaluation Checklist. This is a very helpful too in finding a weight loss program.
Evaluating weight loss products and services.
It’s free, so download now and see if it will help you! But remember, do utilize the worksheets. That is the best way to get the most out of it.
PS. NO there is NO sales pitch of ANY PRODUCT in the document! No catch, either. Strictly informational. 😉
Want to lose weight but are confused by numerous books that promise the latest diet breakthroughs? Here are some tips from the American Heart Association (AHA) that can help you recognize a fad diet.
Say NO to a fad diet that advocates the following.
Magic or miracle foods. Foods don’t burn or melt fat away. There are no foods that can undo the long term effects of overeating and lack of activity.
Very Rapid weight loss. Sound weight loss plans aim for losing no more than one to two pounds per week. Studies show that gradual weight loss increases your success for keeping it off permanently. There is no fad diet that can accomplish this.
No exercise. Simple activities like walking or riding a bike are important tools to losing and maintaining weight loss. Yet a fad diet won’t emphasize these easy changes. An increase in any daily activities that fit your lifestyle will help you to burn more calories.
Bizarre quantities. Foods that are emphasized or others not allowed, such as unlimited amounts of cabbage soup or grapefruit.Â Avoiding dairy or carbohydrate rich foods, should raise concern. Forbidding certain foods or entire food groups, in addition to being unhealthy, may increase the likelihood that you will cheat, binge or just give up on the diet.
Specific food combinations – Eating the wrong combination of foods does not cause them to produce toxins or turn to fat. There is no scientific proof that combining specific foods enhances weight loss.
Rigid menus – Limiting food choices and adhering to specific eating times is a daunting, unpleasant task. Rather, look for a plan that you can realistically follow for a lifetime. One that emphasizes a variety of grain foods, vegetables, fruits, lean meats and low-fat dairy products.
Experts agree that a healthy diet involves eating a variety of foods and keeping your fat intake to 30-percent or less of your total calories. Easier said than done? We will take a look at how simple it really is. But first, a word about fat.
All fats contain nine calories per gram, more than twice the calories in proteins and carbohydrates. One teaspoon of fat contains about 45 calories.
But not all fats are created equal. Fats can come from both animals and plants. Animal sources of fat are found in meat, poultry, fish, whole-milk dairy products, egg yolks, butter and lard. Plant sources of fat are found in shortening, margarine, nuts and vegetable oils.
Hidden fats (fats you may not see) are found in meat, poultry, fish, nuts and whole-milk dairy products, as well as in prepared foods and bakery products.
Unsaturated fats primarily come from plant sources.
Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature (unlike saturated fats, which usually are hard).
Polyunsaturated fat is found in oils such as corn, sunflower, safflower, soybean and cottonseed. These oils, and foods made with them, tend to lower cholesterol levels when used in place of saturated fats in your diet.
Monounsaturated fat is found in oils such as canola, peanut and olive. Foods rich in monounsaturated fat also may promote heart health.
Trans Fatty Acids
Trans fatty acids may increase the risk of heart disease. Trans fat results when polyunsaturated oil is partially hydrogenated in order to make it into stick margarine or solid shortening in a can. The bulk of trans fatty acids in the typical American diet are found in hydrogenated oils (used in crackers, baked goods, cereals and breads); fast foods such as French fries, fried fish and onion rings and margarine, especially stick margarine.
Recently, some researchers have suggested that we should eat butter instead of margarine because butter does not contain trans fatty acids. However, butter is saturated fat and does contain cholesterol. Both may increase your risk of heart disease, but since butter is all natural, if you must indulge, do watch amounts and perhaps go with the butter. Most margarine is made from vegetable fat and provides no dietary cholesterol. The more liquid the margarine (tub or liquid forms) the less hydrogenated it is and the less trans fatty acids it contains. Some margarine’s contain no trans fatty acids.
The American Heart Association recommends that consumers follow these tips:
Use naturally occurring, non-hydrogenated oil such as canola or olive oil when possible.
Look for processed foods made with non-hydrogenated oil rather than hydrogenated or saturated fat.
If using margarine as a substitute for butter, choose soft margarine’s (liquid or tub varieties) over harder, stick forms. Shop for margarine with no trans fatty acids, no more than two grams of saturated fat per tablespoon and with water or liquid vegetable oil as the first ingredient.
French fries, donuts, cookies and crackers are examples of foods that usually are high in trans fatty acids.
Saturated fat comes from animal sources, such as fatty red meats. It also can be found in plant sources.
Tropical oils such as palm, coconut and palm-kernel oils are vegetable-derived and found in many processed foods, especially commercially baked cookies, crackers and snack items. These oils are more saturated than lard.
High consumption of saturated fat is a major risk factor for the development of heart disease and certain types of cancer.
What About Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is not the same as fat. Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by animals that is found only in foods that come from animals. Sources of cholesterol include whole milk, dairy products, fatty meat, poultry, fish, butter, and lard and egg yolks.
Eating dietary cholesterol may raise blood cholesterol levels. However, the body also makes cholesterol when a person eats foods that are high in saturated fat. Saturated fat often is found in the very same foods as cholesterol. Remember that a diet high in saturated fats leads to high blood cholesterol, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and some cancers.
To control your cholesterol, get a cholesterol screening, eat foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly and follow all your healthcare professional’s recommendations.
Desirable — Less than 200 mg/dL
Borderline high risk — 200 to 239 mg/dL
High risk — 240 mg/dL and over
How Much Fat Do I Need?
It is neither possible nor desirable to eliminate all fat from your diet. Fat helps maintain healthy skin and hair. It helps your body digest and absorb fat-soluble vitamins (such as A, D, K and E). It also regulates cholesterol levels and stores the body’s excess calories.
Eating too much fat, especially saturated fat, can be a health problem. But how much fat is too much? Fat requirements are based on calorie needs. It is recommended that you get no more than 30-percent of your daily calories from fat. You can determine your calorie needs by multiplying your desired weight by 12 (multiply by 10 if you are trying to lose weight). Most moderately active women need between 1,800 and 2,000 calories. Most average men between 2,200 and 2,400 calories.
Your calorie needs depend on your age, sex, and overall body size and activity level. You will know that you are taking in the right amount of calories to match your current amount of activity when your weight is being maintained at a healthy level. Consuming too many calories or getting too little physical activity will cause weight gain. You may become overweight.
Determine Your Fat Intake
To determine your desired fat intake, drop the last “0” from your calorie intake and divide by three. For example, if you determine your calorie needs to be 1,800, dropping the last “0” gives you 180. 180 divided by 3 = 60. A person eating 1,800 calories a day needs no more than 60 grams of fat to stay healthy.
The American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee recommends that healthy Americans over age two limit their daily intake of saturated fat to less than 10-percent of total calories and total fat intake to no more than 30-percent of calories. This recommendation equals a daily intake of fats and oils of about five to eight teaspoons.
To make things worse in the world of fitness and weight loss, you’ll often read about weight loss – only to turn around and find yourself reading about fat loss. Weight loss fat loss …
Is there a difference? Yes, there is.
Weight loss and fat loss are not only confusing subjects, they can be conflicting and enormous amount of “advice” floating around from “experts” can be contradictory. This can lead to major mind turmoil for just about anyone. So much so, a person can easily wind up giving up before long.
Consider this: You can take a diuretic and lose 5 pounds of so-called weight off your scale over night. But have your REALLY lost any body fat? Your body is 70 percent water, so no, you didn’t. You just drained it of vital fluids.
A general guideline to follow is anything that creates a fast drop in poundage is nothing more than “weight loss fat loss”. And this “weight loss” can also damage muscle. Oftentimes this type of weight loss can be bad for your health. Be careful.
Fat loss, on the other hand, takes time. You need patience and perseverance. But with every day you’ll feel a bit better, become a bit leaner and find that you’ll reap rewards you can FEEL (very important) in short order. This will motivate you! And when those jeans are suddenly lose around your waist and you need to put another hole in that belt you bet you’ll be smiling! Even if the scale doesn’t appear to be budging.
Weight Loss Fat Loss Can Intermingle.
Hopefully you can now clearly see how weight loss fat loss are not the same thing. Your goal should be losing fat while maintaining muscle. As long as your body has solid muscle, you needn’t worry as much about what the scale says. The ratio of muscle to fat in your body counts for more. You can weigh in at a very lean 5’7″, muscle-intense 140 pounds and wear a size 8, whereas another woman who is more “flabby”, also around 5’7″, would weigh in at 140 and be a size 12!
So basically, when you lose weight, it’s really FAT you want to lose. The best way to do this is to replace fat with muscle. Muscle will keep burning fat ’round the clock, too. Even while you’re asleep.
The 3 most common answers I get when I ask people what their fitness goals are:
Feel better with more energy.
Those are fine; however, you should zero in on your goals and be more specific. Determine a “weight loss fat loss” goal in specific pounds. Determine a “be stronger” goal along with “feel better” in gaining strength and endurance that allows you to easily skip up a flight of stairs without becoming a bit out of breath.
Where to begin losing fat?
Of course, exercise. You don’t need to follow “no pain no gain” approach, but you should work your muscles to the point you feel “stiff” and a bit on the sore side. Don’t think of it as “sore” though, think of it as STRENGTHENING. Visit our exercise section for a myriad of ideas on different exercises you can perform for strength gains. Try to do muscle gaining exercise every week – at least 3 times, about 20 minute per session, okay? On alternate days, get in a walk or other form of cardio exercise you enjoy for 20 to 30 minutes per session. Housework, lawn mowing, gardening all count, too!
In your diet you should try to:
Reduce saturated fat.
Cut trans fats.
Reduce refined sugars.
Eat a variety of natural foods (fruits, vegetables).
Eat plenty of fiber.
Eat small, frequent meals.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has established guidelines for healthy weight loss. Their recommendation for a weight loss goal is 1 to 2 pounds per week. This is very reasonable and more importantly, very doable for anyone. It also helps you achieve permanent, healthful weight loss.
Some fitness gurus will tell you to sit down, write out goals, do this and do that. Well, if you feel something like that will work for you, go for it. However, for those not inclined to this type of approach, one little note jotted down and kept near you – repeated until ingrained in your mind – DOES help:
I can accomplish virtually anything I set my mind to.
Totally on the house. No catch. No sales pitch. Just a free printable food diary. In fact, we have a few to chose from. Take them all if you like!
Keeping a food diary can be surprisingly helpful when trying to diet – and it can be a surprise! Sometimes we eat more in a day than we realize. Not on purpose but rather by rote.
This is a simple, intuitive food diary you can print out. It’s easy on your printer ink and will give you a chance to take a good, hard look at your eating habits. It’s important to be 100 percent honest on your food diary. In other words, every bite and morsel of food must be accounted for. Did you grab a piece of hard candy at the office? Add it to your food diary because it all adds up!
Remember, unless you choose to let someone share or see your food diary, it’s completely private. No online hackers can get at it, no need to hide anything from anyone – because no one will see it but you!
Try it- even if it’s just for 3 days. It can be an incredible eye-opener because most of us don’t fully realize how often we pop something into our mouths without even thinking about it.This will make you think about it, especially after you see your own eating habits staring back at you on paper.
So give a free printable food diary a try – it won’t take much time and it may help you determine where you’re goofing up with your eating habits or perhaps just where you can make some improvements. Here’s a screenshot of one we’re giving away in PDF – not super fancy but they get the job done! Grab the PDF of this one: