By Carla Schuit RD, LDN, MPH
2015 is here! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and am ready to start the New Year off right. What better way to do so than a ForwardFit quick start challenge! I know from following the workouts and progress Bill posts that you all are not messing around here and are committed to fitness and bettering yourselves. My zone is a great tool to aid you in seeing your progress and staying on track. But as we all know the workouts are only part of the equation. You need to fuel your body with the proper nutrition to really get the most out of your efforts. The New Year is a great time to reset for the coming months and get on the right track. As we mentioned during the Healthy Holiday Tips presentation it isn’t what you eat between Christmas and New Years that matters as much as what you eat between New Years and Christmas. We have had plenty of treats and indulgence the past few weeks to last us quite a while. So it is game time!!
The goal of this challenge is to lose the most body fat percentage. To do so we want to reduce our body’s ability to store fat. We are making our bodies in to fat burning machines. The stress on body fat percentage and not over all weight is great! This will show you how your body is changing internally, how you are gaining muscle and transforming that you may not be able to see on the scale. To accompany this we want to feed our bodies with foods that will help burn fat. Here are a few tips to speed up the fat burning process.
1. Bye, bye, bye sugar-Sugar has become a staple in our diet. It is even in foods you don’t realize such as infant formula and beef jerky. This simple carbohydrate is processed quickly in the body and hangs around contributing to central adiposity or better known as belly fat. It contributes to inflammation and increased desire for sugary foods. Omit as much as possible. If you have a sweet tooth left after the holidays try using natural, less processed sugar such as fruits and honey.
2. Lean proteins– Turkey, eggs, fish, lean beef are great sources of important omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as iron, folate, selenium and other vitamins and nutrients. These are digested at a slower rate keeping you full longer. These also provide the amino acid building blocks you need to build muscle, which in turn burns fat! Keep fatty meats and those high in sodium such as jerky and bacon in moderation. Salt is great but in these colder months when we aren’t sweating as much we are retaining more sodium than we are using. This can lead to increased water retention and blood pressure if not controlled.
3. Eat the rainbow-Dark leafy greens, bright oranges, blue berries, grapefruit. These dark colored fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, antioxidants and a variety of essential vitamins and nutrients. The fiber in these vegetables will keep you full and maintain a healthy digestive track. Berries have been shown to reduce cravings and satisfy sweet desires.
4. Fats– Fats are what make food taste good and keep us full longer. Make sure you are choosing healthy fats such as coconut oil, olive oil and avocados. Make homemade salad dressings and marinades to keep meals interesting but not adding more preservatives and hidden sugars to our diet.
5. Calorie budget– We have talked a lot about the foods we should and shouldn’t eat as well as how important the sources of food are. When we are trying to burn fat we also want to be sure we are staying with in our calorie budget. We can have the cleanest diet but we are still consuming too many calories our bodies will use what they need and store the rest. Your TDEE or total daily energy expenditure is the calculation that will tell you how many calories in a 24hour period your body uses. This equation takes into account your age, sex, weight, height and activity level. It is most common for people to overestimate their activity level. If you have a desk job, go home sit on the couch and then go to sleep you have more of a sedentary lifestyle. Adding physical activity 3 times a week helps and doing something daily make even more of a difference. If you go to this link and type in your information it will give you your calories budget http://iifym.com/tdee-calculator/.
Keep your diet to whole and nutrient dense foods while avoiding as many processed and packaged foods as possible. Use this opportunity to experiment and use those kitchen gadgets you got for Christmas! Blenders, crockpots, food processors and stand mixers are great for making bulk meals that you can have throughout the week or freeze and eat another time. Double recipes and share!