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Food for fat loss
Anyone looking to lose weight is always searching for that magic ingredient – food that helps you burn more fat. Of course losing weight is about a lot more than just eating fat burning foods, but there are indeed some foods that are much more beneficial in supporting weight loss and fat loss than others. Consuming fat burning foods can also help ensure your body doesn’t go into starvation mode and actually start holding onto ‘precious calories’ thinking they might be scarce, often the reason restrictive diets don’t work. Filling up on fat burning foods should ensure you lose weight naturally and will also prevent you from feeling hungry.
When we talk about fat burning foods what we are really describing is foods that speed up the metabolism and help burn calories more than others. These foods are known as ‘thermogenic’ after the biochemical heat production process ‘thermogenisis’. Of course all food is really thermogenic as we have to burn calories to process and digest it, however some foods are a lot more thermogenic than others, i.e. they burn fat quicker.
Calcium rich foods: calcium can support weight loss and fat burning as it helps speed the fat burning process and break down the fat in the fat cells. Good forms of calcium are low fat cheeses and yoghurts and green vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage.
Protein is known to have a significant role in fat loss and also in helping you feel full for longer after eating. The best form for weight loss is eggs, lean meats, fish and nuts (in their natural form) in reasonably quantities.
Vitamin C is an excellent supplement to support weight loss as it helps liquefy fat so that the body can get rid of it easier. Vitamin C rich foods include citrus fruits, apples and berries and also green veg such as broccoli and cabbage.
Apples and berries
As above apples and berries are rich in vitamin c but they are also high in pectin, which inhibits the amount of fat the body absorbs helping to boost metabolism and also ensure the body metabolising fats more effectively.
Green tea has been shown to have excellent fat burning qualities, helping speed up the fat burning process in the body and also providing a useful source of powerful antioxidants. It can also work as a glucose regulator, slowing the rise in blood sugar after eating with the help of the digestive enzyme called amylase.
Cayenne and Hot peppers
Both Cayenne and hot peppers contain a compound called capsaicin that naturally speeds up fat burning and metabolism, helping to burn more calories.
The overall health benefits of olive oil are often waxed lyrical but it also has a role in weight loss, helping to keep cholesterol levels down and also aiding in weight management. Research has shown that substituting saturated fat with olive oil means people tend to eat less food. Monounsaturated fat like olive oil also helps breakdown fat stores.
Along with olive oil garlic forms an integral part of that long-feted Mediterranean diet and like olive oil it can also help reduce the levels of fat stored in the body. It contains a substance called allicin that helps clean the arteries from unhealthy cholesterol and also has been shown to reduce weight gain resulting from high sugar diets.
Good old water helps with fat burning by flushing potentially harmful toxins from the body and helping other fat burning foods work properly.
Fibre, found in helpful quantities in whole grains and oats, helps you feel fuller for longer but also helps boost the metabolism and therefore help burn more calories and fat.
One-hour personal training session with Marko includes:
Specialist diet and nutritional advice based on metabolic type.
Diet program with exactly what to eat to lose weight.
Exercise program based on your specific fitness goals.
Expert tuition with the latest fitness training techniques.
Full body stretch to help ease and lengthen muscles.
Full body massage to help relax muscles after workout.
10 easy to follow tips for weight loss
- Eat good fats
Low fat diets don’t work if they take good fats out of the equation. Say yes to polyunsaturated: nuts, seeds and monounsaturated: avocados, olive oil and a big fat no to animal fats.
- Remember – little and often
Smaller meals will keep your metabolism revved and avoid you getting hungry. Especially if you follow rule number 3
- Have some protein
Make sure every meal includes protein to help burn calories and maintain muscle mass. An easy way to do this is drink a whey protein shake or add healthy lean meats, low fat dairy products, a handful of nuts or seeds.
- Cut ‘bad carbs’
You know you need to avoid sugar based carbs but the general rule is avoid anything white and processed – bread, pasta, white rice, cakes, biscuits and get your carbs from healthy veg a whole grain sources.
- Don’t starve!
Being hungry feels like crap but it also means your body goes into starvation mode and starts holding onto fat for survival. Eat! Just eat the right things. And never go without breakfast. Cut your daily calorie intact by no more than 500 calories a day for weigh loss.
- Don’t drink your calories
Soft drinks, fruit juices, milk… they all add to the overall calorie count. Stick to water, diet drinks if you must and tea. Green tea is particularly beneficial.
- Drink the right stuff
Water, everyday. Being dehydrated causes headaches and low energy levels. Water will also help flush out your system and help breakdown fats. Have at least two and a half litres a day.
- Get moving
Exercise, exercise and more exercise. Weights work better than too much cardio to help create lean muscle mass and boost your metabolism. With weights you can create tone and really sculpt the body. More muscle means more calories burned.
- Make a note of it
Write a food and exercise diary. Studies show that if you chart your progress you’re more likely to be successful in losing weight. And that way you can’t kid yourself either!
- Score goals
If you’re charting you should also set goals. Having a goal to achieve will keep you motivated. A realistic weight loss goal is 1-2lbs a week.
The amazing effects of celery
If I told you there was one incredible vegetable that will help you lose weight, address carb cravings, lower blood pressure and help keep your bones healthy you’d eat it, right?
You might not have given celery much thought but I am a huge fan of this vegetable for lots of reasons.
Firstly it’s great for appetite control. Spoon some almond butter or peanut butter on a stick of celery for a daytime snack or at the end of a meal and this will take away any carb or sugar cravings. It is a perfect low-sugar snack.
Chewing celery also helps stimulate saliva and this can therefore aid digestion. Pop a bit of celery into a freshly squeezed juice; however don’t go too mad with the juice, as it can be very high in sugar.
Celery is also excellent in addressing high blood sugar. It’s been used for centuries in Chinese Medicine for this purpose and experimental evidence has shown it to be very useful. One study on animals helped lower blood pressure between 12-15%. This works by relaxing the tissue in the artery walls, which will help increase blood flow. In humans the same effect can be simulated with about four stalks of celery a day.
It’s also a great source of silicon, which is lately getting a lot of attention as a very important nutrient for bone health. Because of the silicon effect celery can help with renew joints, bones, arteries and all connective tissue.
I recommend celery for anyone who has any kind of problems with carb cravings, especially if you are at the start of a training routine and you want to target fat on the belly area or the love handles. This often means you cannot process carbs well. Cravings are often caused because your body is used to carbs, the craving is down the bacteria in your gut craving the sugar that carbs process. To help address any of these cravings I would strongly recommend you start eating celery. It helps to eliminate these bacteria; helps you address carb cravings and therefore helps you reduce body fat around the stomach and sides.
For best results in targeting belly fat download my Six Pack Abs workout from www.mmworkout.com and follow the short workouts. You can perform these at home with no need for expensive gym memberships. Combine this workout and the recommended diet as well as including celery regularly in your diet, this will give you some amazing results in helping to target fat around the stomach.
How alcohol affects body fat
Although we all know that too much alcohol is can be seriously detrimental to our health, we all also know that many people enjoy a drink on a regular basis and suffer no real serious side effects. In terms of long-term health it is all about drinking responsibly. But what might put you off regular drinking, if you are trying to lose weight and get fit, are alcohol’s affects on body fat.
Firstly, alcohol is full of ‘empty’ calories, so called because they don’t have any real health benefit for you. There’s no nutrition in pure alcohol. Of course you’re not drinking just pure alcohol either. There’s a whole load of additional calories that make up our favourite drinks and that’s before we add any mixers.
In addition, if the body has alcohol to burn, it will burn it before it burns everything else. Whilst there is alcohol in your system, you’re not going to burn much body fat. If you are on a diet and get back on the wagon after a drink you’re not going to sabotage the diet completely, but you will postpone the fat loss whilst the body processes the alcohol. And you have added extra calories you don’t need. Think of every pint as the equivalent of a bar of chocolate. You wouldn’t have three bars of chocolate in a row would you?
With seven calories per gram, this is twice as many calories as protein or carbs. Fat has only two more calories per gram. Alcoholic drinks also contain carbs, beer and wine are quite high in carbs and don’t even get us started on cocktails.
The other thing about having a few drinks is if you’re feeling a bit merry you are likely to be more tempted to say sod it to the healthy eating plan. How many people go for a kebab at midnight when sober? Appetite is stimulated by alcohol. At a more civilised do it will make you much more likely to hit the buffet table as well as the canapés. Or eat a four-course meal with wine. Or stumble your resolve with a bag of crisps or three in the pub.
On a more serious note, because if it’s the occasional kebab or bag of crisps it is not going to do you too much harm, alcohol’s more dangerous affects encompass liver problems, reduced fertility, high blood pressure and increased risk of various cancers and heart attacks. The irritation it can cause to your stomach will mean digestion is a less efficient process. The liver’s job is partly to get rid of toxins and process fat for fuel consumption.
In terms of exercise, alcohol has another rather inconvenient side affect – lowering the male hormone testosterone. A lower level of testosterone can ultimately mean less muscle gain. Less muscle can mean a slower metabolism.
Can I still drink?
Not everyone wants to go completely tee total all the time. If you have a lot of weight to lose and are just starting to target fat then it is sensible to give up drinking for at least a few weeks. Many top athletes and fitness gurus will avoid alcohol completely too. If you don’t need to lose a huge amount of weight and control your diet and fitness levels most of the time then drinking occasionally is not going to do much harm. Just make sure you stick within healthy limits, limit alcohol days to occasional days and keep some healthy food on hand to help absorb what you’re drinking and stop you for reaching for an unhealthy meal.
If you must drink, stick to safe recommended limits of red wine, which at least has some health giving properties in the form of Resveratrol. Straight spirits such as scotch, vodka or gin would also do for special occasions but make sure you don’t mix them with calorie laden sweet, sugary juices or soft drinks. And remember to take on lots of water when you drink too.
Calorie content of drinks
|White wine standard pub measure (175ml) (11% ABV)||130 Cals
|Red wine (175ml) (11% ABV)||120
|Pint of Lager or Bitter (4% ABV)||170
|Premium lager (5% ABV)||250
|Pint of cider (5% ABV)||200
|Cream liqueur (50ml) (17% ABV)||160
|Alco pop (standard bottle) (5% ABV)||200|
|Spirits (25ml), vodka or gin (37.5% ABV)||55|
Good carbs vs bad carbs
Ever since the Atkins Diet and the South Beach diet began to flood the diet book market an awareness that cutting out carbs can help you lose weight has seeped into most weight-conscious folk in the western world. The idea that if you want to lose weight you cut out carbs seems relatively simple. Not easy or indeed much fun, admittedly, but simple if you know what you’re looking for. But what are we looking for? Not all carbs are built the same and carbohydrates still have an essential part to play in a well-balanced, healthy diet. Carbs play an important role in nutrition and can boast many health benefits.
What is a carbohydrate?
You might know by now that carbs are essentially the starchier foodstuffs we eat – bread, pasta, rice, potatoes – but what makes up the complex compounds we know as carbohydrates is a combination of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. The human body uses these as an important form of energy. Stored in the body as glucose or fat carbs have 4 calories per gram.
Of course there are many different types of carbohydrates and these all have a difference effect on the body. What separates the good effect on the body from carbs that have a bad effect on the body is the Glycaemic Index (GI). This is a rating given to every food in direct relation to the effect the food has on glucose levels (and therefore energy levels).
Why are some carbs good and some not so good?
When we consume food this has a knock on effect of raising blood sugar and the pancreas will then secrete insulin to carry this glucose from the blood to the cells to supply the body with energy. GI is calculated as the value of this glucose – set to 100 – and the GI of foods is calculated in relation to this value. Slower release carbs are the ones that have lower values. The slower the body digest carbs, the better for weight loss – this food will take longer to break down in the stomach and therefore help us feel full for longer and also mean the pancreas will produce less insulin. When we eat something with a high GI the pancreas produces more insulin and this excess insulin will often bring out blood sugar level down too quickly meaning we are soon hungry again.
I am guessing that you know by know that white bread, white pasta, white rice (all the over processed white carbs), processed cereals, high sugar products such as honey and sweets and other such food stuffs are classes as high GI – the higher the carb and sugar content it can often be assumed the higher GI. But good low GI foods that form an essential part of a healthy diet and also help you feel fuller for longer and therefore manage weight loss (as well as providing vital nutrients) are fruits, vegetables, sweet potato, whole grain rice and whole grain bread. If you want to lose as much body fat as possible however it is suggested that you skip even the wholegrain products at first and stick to non-starchy foods like meat, fish, dairy, nuts, green veg and lower sugar fruits. An easy way to remember this it to:
- Limit the amount of grains you eat (bread, pasta, cereals)
- Get most of your carbs from vegetables and some fruit
- Fill the carb-void with healthy fats such as avaocados, nuts, seeds and health proteins
- Avoid processed foods as much as possible