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    « Why Diets Don't Work | Main | Why Breakfast is Important »
    Saturday
    Jul042009

    The Quick Fix for your Diet

    Everyone wants a quick fix.  We live in a microwave generation - everything should be ready NOW, should happen NOW.  Pizza to your door in 30 minutes.  Service at the drive thru in 2 minutes or less.  That's just the way we've been trained to think.

    That's the reason that supplement companies are raking in billions of dollars a year - people want an immediate solution to their "fat" problem.  They want some super fat-burning pill that will melt away the flab without so much as getting off the couch.  Well, I'm here to be the bearer of bad news - dropping fat takes time.  People don't get fat overnight, so expecting an overnight fix (striking surgery from the list of possibilities) is expecting the impossible.

    There are, however, ways to accelerate your fat loss process WITHOUT resorting to taking "fat burner" supplements that are expensive and of dubious effectiveness.  Here are 5 simple dietary changes you can make to speed up the rate at which your body burns calories.

    1 - Drink more water.  Research is mixed on the effect drinking water has on fat loss, but one thing I know is this: a person who is focused on drinking water isn't drinking a number of other non-water drinks.  Most people walk around in a perpetual state of dehydration.  A dehydrated body doesn't work optimally to begin with - and that includes dropping fat stores.  A well-hydrated body functions at a higher level, and that's going to be good even if it doesn't burn more calories.  Further, a person who is drinking water isn't drinking a bunch of soda, juice, coffee, and other non-waters, which are nothing more than empty-calorie drinks.  The reduction in calories from drinking water alone will allow fat loss to occur.  Optimally, 8-10 cups of water per day should be consumed.

    2 - Eat 6 small meals a day.  I see the looks on a lot of faces now.  "6 meals?  Did he just say 6 meals a day??"  Yep.  6.  Now, let me clarify a bit.  I'm not talking about 6 meat-and-taters meals here with 30 minutes of prep time and 30 minutes of cooking time.  We all have a life, and I'm sure we'd like to leave the kitchen for at least a few minutes out of the day.  A meal is simply a combination of a carb source, a protein source, and a veggie (in at least 2 meals).  My meals are simple: an apple and 1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese is a meal.  1 cup (cooked) oatmeal and 1/2 cup lean ham cubes is a meal.  It's not hard.  I eat a pretty typical dinner - grilled skinless chicken breast, 1/2 cup brown rice or corn, and steamed broccoli for example.  Meals should be spaced about 2 1/2 - 3 hours apart to keep the metabolism and blood sugar levels constant.

    3 - Eat spicy foods.  Spicy foods have a tendency to jack up the metabolism.  Ever notice after eating spicy foods that you're sweating?  That's a sure sign your metabolism has ramped up a bit.  I love my spicy breakfast burritos and spicy chicken fajitas, and I make them in such a way that I can actually feel the metabolic rush afterward.  Just a fair warning: people with ulcers or heartburn should look to less-spicy alternatives in their diets.

    4 - Don't stop at a drive thru.  Don't go into a restaurant that has a drive thru either.  In the event you weren't aware of this fact, I'm going to give away a trade secret here - the junk you buy at a fast-food joint isn't real food.  It's so processed that any resemblance to real food has long since disappeared.  Back in March or so, I was happily munching on my grilled chicken salad from a nearby fast food restaurant.  Curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to look up the ingredients of the salad.  To my suprise, I found that the "grilled chicken" was a combination of chicken meat, wheat gluten, hydrolyzed proteins, polysorbate 80 and a bunch of other junk.  In my opinion, grilled chicken breast should have 1 ingredient - chicken breast.  Here's the point - you're not eating food when you stop at the border, arches, or the king's.  You're eating crap that will fill you up while starving your body of nutritional content.

    5 - Reduce carbs.  Note that I did NOT say eliminate carbs.  A low-carb diet is stupid, non-sustainable, and dangerous.  I know this from personal experience.  The best way to reduce carbs is to cut out white bread, pasta, and rice.  The only carbs I would recommend are those that are found in nature without human modification - raw fruits (preferably organic), and whole grains.  With any reduction in carbs, you should automatically raise the protein intake to make sure you're getting enough calories each day.  Eat your carbs in moderation, giving your body the opportunity to start devouring stored fat as a fuel source.

    Applying these 5 simple dietary strategies will get your body primed for fat loss.  Let me be clear, however, that doing these 5 things while sitting on the couch all day will not yield the results most people want - exercise is still a key component of any overall fitness program.

    Be well!

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