5 Questions for Fat Loss
June 12, 2012 // Nutrition
Eating habits vary from person to person, depending on culture, finances, available time, and goals. Our relationship with food is an evolving process that changes throughout our lives. As we age, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves about our eating habits and the effects.
When setting a nutrition goal, the first and most important step is to understand how our choices affect our outcome. For example, you want to lose 10 lbs. within a six month timeframe. Your first step should be monitoring your current relationship with the foods you eat and the choices you make. How do you approach a meal – do you decide beforehand or at the moment you are hungry? How do you choose your foods – do you map out a plan of action and the necessary foods or eat to satisfy your cravings? How do you measure success – do you establish daily/weekly/monthly goals or do you just try to “stick with it the best you can”? Establishing a well-versed plan will eliminate most of the difficult decisions associated with an eating regiment and lead to improved compliance.
There are many strategies to educating yourself with your food choices. I find that the most effective way to make better food choices is to ask the following 5 questions.
5 Questions for Fat Loss
1. Is This Too Much Food?
Remind yourself that the goal is fat loss, not storage. Retaining food internally can be diminished if a lesser amount is consumed. Realize that all restaurants serve oversized portions, and create a mindset of limitations. Learn to say order smaller dishes. Understand the serving size of the foods you eat. Know when to stop eating. The general rule is stop when you feel 80% full.
2. Am I Eating Enough Protein?
Your protein intake will directly influence the loss of either body fat (which you want) or lean muscle (which you want to preserve). Men should eat a protein source about 2 times the size of his palm. Woman should eat a protein source about the size of her palm. This macronutrient is the vital aspect to any positive eating lifestyle and is widely underutilized. Sources include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, and legumes.
3. Am I Eating Too Many Sugars or Starches?
Unfortunately, you must have your nutrition guard up at all times because this food source is abundant and excessive in most meals. It is cheap and easy to produce. It also has a negative effect on your health and fat loss. Limit the sugars and starches as much as possible. Be creative and seek a way to get the “core” of the meal without having to intake the “filler”. Example: Instead of a sandwich, make a bowl of the foods that you would normally order in between the breads (Turkey sandwich -> salad with turkey, beans, cheese, veggies). Also, notice the influence of sugars in your common condiment and dressing choices. Consider the use of healthy oils to enhance flavor without increasing sugar intake.
4. Am I Eating Enough Vegetables?
Replace the grains with greens. Actually, eat whatever color vegetables you’d like. Eat as many vegetables as you’d like. Alongside proteins, vegetables are vital to a positive eating lifestyle. They provide a plethora of nutrients and microbiotics that aid in digestion, fullness, health, wellness, and fat loss. If you are not a salad person, like myself, consider sautéed or grilled vegetables. Add spices and flavors to make your healthy eating enjoyable.
5. Am I Eating Enough Healthy Fats?
People are always astonished to hear that their fat intake is sub-optimal. Statements such as “You’d be proud; I ate low-fat today” only further illuminate the misinterpretation of the general public with regard to the macronutrient “fat”. A healthy mix of natural fat is important for fat loss. Oils, nuts, fish (or fish oil), seeds, and avocados are great sources of unsaturated fats. “Fat is too high in calories.” When is the last time you said the same thing when you ate grains? If the portion size is controlled and the food sources are optimal for fat loss, calories will bear minimal influence on body reduction.
Even the best eating habits can be tweaked to improve its effectiveness. Understand that the most important factor in any eating habit is compliance. Most people will never see results from long-standing diets due to their impatience and deviations from the set principles. My best piece of advice is to ask yourself these 5 basic questions before every mea. That’s it. Do not worry about anything else that was not presented in these 5 questions. As basic as these questions are, most people do not follow the basics. Fat loss is easy and manageable. Create a mindset for success and you will see the results.