Improving your diet does not need to be difficult.
Weighing or measuring food is too time-consuming for real-world people and simply cutting calories to lose fat does not work either. Over time not consuming enough calories slows down your metabolism and you will lack energy to workout and gain precious muscle. Muscle not only looks great but burns calories all day long!
So what is the key? It’s all about food quality and 7 key healthy habits.
Changing everything about your diet all at once causes most people to fail. It usually takes a person 2 weeks to establish a habit. It is very important to establish each habit one-by-one before moving on to the next. This will make improving your diet and losing fat much easier and set you up for long term success.
We find when you can establish just one habit others start to fall in place. Also, having a supportive community around you is essential for many people.
To establish each habit, simply track whether you’ve been compliant with each habit daily for 2 week. If you have been more than 85%, compliment for the 2 weeks, move on to the next habit.
1. Slow down enjoy your meal.
Meals were meant to be enjoyed and time spent with family. One of the first things we find in most people’s diets, and sometimes the easier to change, is overeating.
It takes time for your brain to register when you are full, so by the time you feel full you have already overeaten.
First, take at least 15-20 minutes to eat each meal. Second, eat until you feel about 80-90 percent full then stop for 4-5 minutes and see if you still feel hungry after.
You have been compliant and established this habit when you have accomplished the two tasks above in 85% of your meals over 2 weeks.
2. Smart Carb Choices:
This is one of the most important habits not only for fat-loss but for staying healthy through the rest of your life.
We recommend limiting the consumption of Type 2 carbs to only before and after a higher intensity workout or weigh lifting session.
You’ve established this habit when only eating carbs found in “Smart Carbs Type 1 & Type 2” and eating 2 fist full of vegetables with every meal for 2 weeks.
Don’t worry too much about being perfect right off the bat, simply log what you do each week and slowly increase the number of days you are compliant each week. It may take you a month or two to fully establish this habit – that is OK!
3. Protein-Dense Food with Every Meal:
Protein is the most essential macro nutrition we can consume. Its the building block for muscles repair and it also makes us feel full the fastest.
Not all protein is the same, protein from meat sources is far more essential than vegetable sources. Egg, fish, beef, poultry are all good sources of protein, especially: organic, grass fed, free range and wild caught. Organically sourced protein has large amounts of essential Omega 3 fats which have amazing healing properties and none of the bad antibiotics and hormones.
How much protein to eat with each meal:
For men we recommend 2 palms full with every meal.
For women we recommend 1 palm full with every meal.
You have established this habit when you eat the above prescribed amount of protein for 2 weeks.
4. Quality Fats with Every Meal and Snacks:
We wrote a whole separate blog post on: what is good fat and what fats to eat and cook with.
How Much fat to eat:
For men we recommend 2 thumb-sized portions with most meals.
For women we recommend 1 thumb-sized portion with most meals.
You have established this habit when you eat the above prescribed amount of fat for 2 weeks.
5. Drink Water:
Water provides the medium for passage of nutrients and oxygen from the blood to the cells and the return of by-products to the blood. Countless metabolic reactions in the human body rely on water as a medium. If our cells don’t function well, we can’t lose body fat!
Water loss occurs daily in the stool (200 mL), urine (500 to 1500 mL) sweat, skin (500 mL) and respiratory tract (400 mL). These vary with humidity, environmental temperature and respiratory rate. As we get older we lose more body water and require even more outside intake.
Dehydration of as little as 1% body weight (2 lb for a 200 lb person) is enough to reduce both endurance and strength performance, as well as cognitive performance.
During exercise, we need more water. The enhanced metabolic rate of muscle contraction requires a larger delivery of nutrients and oxygen along with faster waste and heat removal from the body.
For men, an average of 16 cups of water a day from fluid and non-fluid sources is adequate; for women, an average of 11 cups. 1 cup = 8oz
6. Get Enough Sleep:
Check out a whole new blog post on: sleep and how it effects fat gain.
7. Start Working Out:
We recommend higher intensity shorter duration workouts using functional movements like, running, rowing, kettle bells, push ups, pull ups, squats, and interval training. These types of workouts give you a short cut to results without speeding hours working out. Because on a hormonal level, your body responds strongly to these workouts and tries to adapt faster to change.
Vs isolated movements or machines do not provide the same response inside you body. Doing cardio for long duration to lose fat, really stresses the body by producing cortisol hormone. Which will imbalance your hormone balance the same way insulin hormone does from eating sugar, killing your metabolism.
For anyone starting out, we recommend 3 workouts a week, a perfect manageable number. Going 6-7 times a week usually produces quick burnout.
If you need more help implementing any of these habits or with your workouts, check out our 6-week Fit Kamp. Kit Kamp is your start to a lifetime of health and fitness by building sustainable healthy lifestyle habits through education, coaching and accountability. Fit Kamp is designed around individuals of any fitness level. You can do this!
But does this work?
Here is just what a few of our members at Cedar Rapids CrossFit achieved in just 8 weeks by establishing these habits!
Also note, healthy fat loss is about 1 lb of fat a week. Going any faster than that means you are cutting too many calories, which nor only cannot support muscle growth, it may cause you to lose muscle. Muscle is very important for long term sustainable fat loss, as it increase how many calories your body burns everyday even when doing nothing!