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Just so you know, this is my opinion.
Many of my explanations are foundational at best… so if you’re a real science person, don’t freak out.
It’s my opinion formed after many many many training sessions with clients. After hearing the struggles… what’s really happening at home with food… and what types of excuses that tend to pop up over and over again.
Here’s the thing…
It’s got to be easy to comprehend. Simple to do… easy to do would be much better.
Our nutritional habits can be extremely tough to change. The thing is… if you can just get one good habit that works for you, it will snowball into something much bigger.
It’s the reason Taylor and I believe in a Fitness First approach to weight loss and getting in shape. That’s an article for another time though.
Taylor, an expert in nutrition, and I have talked a lot about how to get our clients in our boot camp and at Fit Women’s Weekly started faster when it comes to food changes.
1. Eat the same foods over and over again
This was a great concept and can work really well. After all we already eat the same foods over and over most of the time. This just takes learning some new recipes and then eating the same foods over and over.
It’s a proven way to lose weight. (It also helps to have a supplement like a greens option. Here’s our Athletic Greens review… the best option although a little expensive.)
However, it didn’t work too well when we tried it. Nobody would learn the recipes. I guess too much upfront work.
2. Find Your Fulcrum Foods
We are big on this one… a fulcrum food is either a food or drink that you tend to consume a lot of. If you remove this food from your diet equation, you can jump start a fat melting on the scale of global warming.
For most clients this is either a diet soda drink, sweet tea, alcohol, or some drink. It might be cookies or those small dessert style snacks you keep grabbing.
This does work and it does take experimentation though. We’ve had clients lose 10 to 30 pounds FAST when they eliminated their fulcrum foods.
Overall though, most people have a hard time with this because it does require getting rid of something you love. You will feel a void when you do this one.
There are more, but the other week I was thinking and talking to one of our groups when I said…
“You know there was one piece of nutrition advice above all others I would give… the piece of advice that has the biggest impact… I think I know what it would be.”
Immediately they started shouting guesses… the best of those guessing being portion control.
I do think portion control is huge. The problem is if you’re eating the “typical” American diet, even a small portion can be loaded with calories… calories that get burned up super fast by the body… leaving you hunger and needing more fast.
It’s a dangerous catch-22 of fat gain.
So what’s more important that portion control?
The number one best piece of nutrition advice I think I’ve finally settled on?
Get Rid Of All Processed and Chemical Laden Foods!
In other words, eat what has been dubbed the clean diet.
There are a couple things you have to know about this though. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first so we can really focus on the good news…
1. It’s Not Very Simple Or Easy To Get Going
Eating clean is going to take a lot of work because you have to start paying attention to your food in a new way… i.e. you have to start reading the ingredients label.
Let me quickly interject and say right now… going 100% clean is probably impossible so base this on the 80/20 principal. 80% of your diet is clean… 20% is as clean as you can get it.
On the ingredient label you’ll see what’s in there. If there is anything that’s near impossible to read, it’s most likely not clean.
Not only do you have to find substitutes for these foods… and get rid of many of them like the Oreos and anything with high fructose corn syrup in it… but the right substitutes might cost a little more money at first. That is until you learn to shop better. (Learn to love your local Farmers Market!)
That too is an article all by itself.
Okay so the negative is out. It’s tough and it’s not going to be a seamless change you succeed at right away.
2. Eating Clean Will Destroy Fat For Simple Reasons And Then Snowball!
It’s most likely the case you’ve heard of the paleo diet… eating vegan… being a vegetarian… or the Mediterranean Diet…
All of these are pretty intense in their requirements. Eat this, but not that… definitely don’t eat that… but you can bend this rule and eat this… and on and on they go.
Eating clean is pretty simple. Again, get rid of the processed ingredients and chemicals.
Why is that so effective?
First off, it forces you to get rid of the junk food. The cookies, bagels, fake cheeses, pretty much all the industrial/chemical company designed foods.
These are the foods that are responsible for making America fat in the first place. I blame the rise of the supermarket in the 1950s after WWII.
That’s tough and you have to learn a lot about how you eat to get rid of all that food.
Second though, you’ll stop eating foods that burn up so fast in your body. The easiest example is your favorite bowl of spaghetti.
Most of the spaghetti we buy is make from processed wheat of some sort. It’s stripped down, nutrients removed, and nothing but gluten and wheat based carbs.
These wheat based carbs burn up like crazy when they hit your intestinal track turning to a pure sugar avalanche overwhelming your blood stream.
You’re revved up and feel good.
An hour to two hours later… your glucose high is gone. What could be used by your cells (assuming they’re not insulin resistant) has been used and Cortisol has been storing the rest as body fat.
And it’s all gone. Fast.
Plus the spaghetti sauce you used… has added sugar in it as well.
Now you’ve left with a body that is signaling hunger again even though you may not directly feel hungry. But you have a craving for more calories.
This happens because everything got digested so quickly. There was nothing to slow the absorption of food by your body down to regulate it’s used.
When you eat foods that have not been processed, they tend to digest slower. And since most clean foods are devoid of added sugar, unless you’re eating fruits or some “real” whole grains, you won’t be getting too much pure sugar in your body. That means better blood sugar levels.
So your slow the absorption down… or you’ll curb the pure glucose absorption.
You’ll be eating more vegetables… more high quality fats… and most likely minimizing unhealthy carbs.
You’ll get fuller faster even though you can eat more.
You’ll see results much quicker too.
I could go on and on, but I hope you get the point.
This is starting to drag on, but here’s a check list you can quickly follow:
Step 1 – This week, write down the foods you eat the time you eat them. No calorie counting… just the foods you eat and when you eat them.
Step 2 – At the end of the week, group the foods and see how much of your diet is the same thing over and over again.
Step 2b – If you eat out a lot, make note of where and what you actually ate. Restaurant food is terrible unfortunately.
Step 3 – Start learning more about the foods and ingredients you eat. Read the nutrition label, mainly the ingredient label. Start ranking them from obviously horrible to most healthy.
Step 4 – Get rid of the top 2 obviously horrible foods or ingredients for 30 days.
Step 5 – Measure results and tweak from there. All the while research new substitutes and even learn to cook some new dishes.