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    Eating for Fat Reduction

    A proper eating routine is a cornerstone of a major body transformation.  Exercise only won't cut it, as I pointed out in my article "You Can't Out-train a Bad Diet".  You need both exercise and a proper dietary plan in order to create a body that is a master work.

    Our society has been raised to believe that eating 3 meals a day is the appropriate eating pattern.  Few options could be further from the truth.  The "3 squares" approach to eating means that we eat more food than is necessary at each meal in order to feel satiated in the period between meals.  Since the body will only use the calories it needs while storing the rest, the end result of eating every 5 hours or so is a lot of calories being stored away as fat, between meal energy crashes, and overall feelings of sluggishness.

    The proper timing for meals is to have 6 smaller meals spaced out through the day.  Eating once every 2 1/2 to 3 hours will provide a steady stream of nutrients to the body.  All of the negatives of the "3 squares" plan are minimized by eating every few hours.

    Eating 6 meals each day might sound rather daunting until you consider what exactly constitutes a meal.  These are not all meals that have meat, starch, veggie, and bread.  Simply, a 'meal' is a composed of a protein portion, a carbohydrate portion, and a veggie (in at least 2 or 3 meals).  Here's a sample menu for a 6-meal day:

    M1 - protein shake w/ 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
    M2 - 1 cup lowfat cottage cheese, apple, water
    M3 - turkey breast sandwich on wheat bread with mustard & lettuce, water
    M4 - 2 pieces lowfat string cheese, apple, water
    M5 - grilled chicken breast, brown rice, steamed broccoli, water
    M6 - protein shake

    Let's look at the plan in detail.  Meals 1 and 6 are protein shakes, which usually consist of a nice balance of protein and good carbohydrates.  Meal two has a protein (cottage cheese) and a natural carb (the apple).  The turkey breast sandwich is the first meal to include a vegetable (the lettuce) in addition to the protein (turkey) and carb (wheat bread).  Meal 4 is similar to meal 2.  Adding the broccoli to meal 5 provides the second vegetable, while we end the day with another clean protein shake.

    Tweaking the diet is always an option.  For example, the protein in the cottage cheese is a slowly digested protein.  Some people prefer to eat it later in the evening, often as the last meal of the day, in order to prevent overnight hunger pangs.  Whenever you adjust the diet, the one thing to remember is keep it clean - lean protein sources with good carbs.

    Now, let's define what constitutes "lean protein" and "good carb".


    Lean proteins can consist of many different meat options in addition to the dairy and plant options that are available.

    Meat options include chicken breast (ground or whole), turkey breast (ground or whole), lean cuts of beef, lobster, albacore, salmon, crab, and whiting.  You might try some more exotic options like venison, buffalo, ostrich, and emu.  Eggs are also animal protein, though they aren't exactly meats.  Dairy options include lowfat cheeses, lowfat cottage cheese, whey protein and lowfat milk.  Milk doesn't do well as a protein source on its own, but it is fine to add to a protein powder.  Plant proteins include soy protein and beans.  Plant proteins are often not complete proteins, so their addition to a meal plan should be occasional rather than regular.

    The size of a portion of protein should generally be no larger than the size of your palm (not including the fingers).  In my world, I consider a cup of cottage cheese or two sticks of string cheese a portion.


    Not all carbs are created equal.  Some have a more dramatic effect on the body than others.  When we consume carbs, we want to minimize the rate at which blood sugar is raised.  The more complex the carbohydrate, the better.  Natural carbs (with little processing) are optimal.

    Good carbs include apples, oranges (OK, virtually any fruit), potatoes (sweet and white), brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole wheat tortillas, oatmeal and natural juices.

    A single piece of fruit or a single apple-sized potato constitutes a portion.  A cup of rice or a cup of oatmeal (cooked) are a portion.  Two slices of bread or a single tortilla are a portion.


    While we're talking about it, let's include veggies in the discussion.  The nice thing about vegetables is that they are so calorie negligible that you can often fill up on them without as much concern for calorie intake.  Most of us know what a vegetable is, but it's worth pointing out that corn and tomatoes are actually carbs and not veggies.

    Putting It All Together

    Meals are constructed by selecting one protein portion, one carb portion, and one vegetable portion (twice a day).  With every meal, drinking 12-16 oz of water should be the norm.  The importance of water in any dietary regimen cannot be understated.  Those looking to drop fat should be drinking a gallon of water a day.  Toxins will be flushed away and the body will work at a higher level.  Considering that the body is mainly composed of water, drinking this lifeblood only makes complete sense.

    Most meals do not require a lot of preparation or cooking.  I am able to prepare the meals that I will eat during working hours in about 10 minutes.  I eat dinner at home with my wife often doing the cooking (though I am often there to help).  My last meal is usally a shake, which takes about 2 minutes with a blender.  The only trick to meal planning is having the stuff in the house.

    Meal planning doesn't have to be a complicated venture.  Keep it simple, even redundant, and you will be well on the way to a healthy lifestyle.