If you’ve ever tried a diet before, you may have been indoctrinated into thinking that the key to your happiness is “weight loss.” This is one of the slickest terms used in the diet industry because weight loss includes the loss of not only fat, but valuable lean muscle tissue and water as well. Muscle is essential towards building a healthy body, because each lb of lean muscle burns an additional 50 calories of fat per day and keeps our metabolism humming along. Proper hydration is also essential, because water is required in order for our organs and digestive systems to work efficiently at processing what we consume and for ridding our bodies of fat and harmful toxins. Many of the diet fads that claim miraculous results are simply masking water loss, and as soon as you begin to drink what your body requires, you’ll gain the lost weight back, plus some, because the necessary muscle that burns fat has also been compromised.
Quick-fix dieting has become so popular that in the past 10 years it's estimated that around 70% of our adult female population and 30% of adult males have tried some form of diet and failed over the long-term (Raising hand to be included in this statistic). There’s a new diet phenomenon occurring every few months, and the only long-term and lasting weight that we actually lose comes not from our guts, waists, hips or butts. It comes from our wallets!!
Most diets require a significant change in our normal eating habits over an extended period of time. This becomes the problem. We may try a new approach for a few weeks or even a few months. Once the success of the initial water weight we’ve lost begins to wear thin or we simply get tired of eating those restrictive high-protein, low-fat, low-carb, rice-only, green foods only, food that was blessed by a Tibetan monk only….OK…that may have gone a bit too far, but I’m sure you know what I mean. We simply want what we want and we like what we like because they fit in with our lifestyle and the people around us. Therefore, the key to truly making a change is to first change our minds so that lifestyle and the folks we surround ourselves with will also change. Something tells me you are beginning to see where this may be headed.
To lose body fat, we can’t focus just on caloric intake and macronutrient ratios. We need to plan out our meals so that we can decide what we eat and when. In addition, we must consume carbs, fats, and proteins in ratios that are best for burning fat. It is also vital that we eat these foods in a particular manner. That means gone are the June Cleaver days of only eating three large meals. Instead, we need to now target 5 to 6 times every 3-4 hours. As counterintuitive as this may sound, it really works!
By consuming more frequent smaller meals, our body has a constant supply of nutrients. As a result, the body will no longer be forced to store extra nutrients and calories as fat. This also has the additional benefit of providing an increased fat-burning metabolism throughout the day.
Another reason for eating smaller meals is that we can maintain lean muscle mass by not forcing our systems to burn muscle tissues during extended periods when glucose, glycogen, and fat are no longer readily available. As we discussed earlier, lean muscle not only puts us on the road to looking like an underwear model, but each pound of it requires us to burn an additional 50 calories of fat each day. Therefore, by adding 10 pounds of lean muscle to our frames we can burn up to a lb of fat each week just by breathing.
Finally, our body seems to manage smaller meals more efficiently while our blood sugar levels remain constant and diminish cravings. In fact, when our stomach is empty it can be as small as our fist. Surprisingly, it can reach the size of a gallon jug when full. Just imagine the stress we place on our digestive systems as a result of our individual and collective gluttony.
Take a break and go to your refrigerator right now and thoroughly assess what you see.
An often overlooked benefit of almonds is the heath benefit gained from its tryptophan content, which is very good for brain development. Having almonds around will help you in relieving stress and controlling your mood swings by making you feel good. Magnesium content in almonds helps reduce the risk of cardiac arrests. It increases HDL and helps reduce LDL, thereby controlling cholesterol levels. A handful of these little dudes perform dietary wonders, and don’t worry about the bad press that they are high in fat. Almonds contain unsaturated fat, the good kind.
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and antioxidants like chlorophyll, carotenoids, and vitamin E. Scientists have identified a compound in olive oil, oleuropein, which prevents the LDL cholesterol from oxidizing. It is the oxidized cholesterol that sticks to the walls of the arteries and forms plaque. Replacing other fats in your diet with olive oil can significantly lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack.
Eggs: Our little white oval friends have gotten a bad rap over the last few decades. (Whew! It sure is nice to know that sometimes “white” things can get a bad rap from time to time as well.) After being deemed “bad” for the heart by health experts, eggs have been the subjects of criticism and scrutiny over the past few decades. But are they really all that unhealthy for us? In the last few years, numerous health organizations have been vindicating the eggs' reputation.
About the Author: James Hackley is an author, inspirational speaker, and a philanthropist who earned a B.S. degree in Physics from Longwood College and an M.S. degree in Engineering from the University of Virginia. He's the founder of Omega Consulting Enterprises, chaplain of a local chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, and faithfully attends Holy & Whole Life Changing Ministries International in Lansdowne, Va. His latest book, Body, Mind & Spirit: The Awakening can be purchased by visiting him at www.jameshackley.com , www.Amazon.com, and http://www.barnesandnoble.com.