Something that many people never consider when implementing a weight loss strategy is retaining muscle while loosing fat. You don’t want to loose muscle do you?
Ok, so maybe you had a couple of weeks having fun on your holidays eating and drinking whatever you wanted, and took a break from training. Great! Now it’s back to reality. It’s hurry up panic time, and loose as much weight as you can, as fast as you can. So you drastically cut calories. There is no harm for the first few days, as you will shed some extra water weight, maybe a little fat. Longer term tho, your definitely loosing muscle, and reducing your metabolic rate, which could leave you in worse shape. Drastic calorie reduction can end up leaving you looking skinny fat, you know, less weight, no bum, slimmer with a pot belly! Ok, just teasing! But seriously, after a drastic calorie reduction, and you go back to eating normal, you typically will gain weight. So what’s a gal to do?
1. Only cut calories moderately to begin. You should only reduce calories by maximum 20% which means, for an active person eating 2200 calories, you start at 1760 cal and pay attention to how quick you loose weight, and adjust from there. Depending on how much water your carrying you may a little extra the first week, but beyond that, 1-2 pounds per weeks is more than enough. Remember the goal is to loose fat, not muscle, and muscle burns fat. Focus on the mirror and your condition, not the scale. Go slowly, and you will keep the weight off.
2. For Calories: What I like to do is look at someone’s (actual consumed) overall calorie intake for the whole week, add it up, divide by 7 for daily intake, divide by 5-7 meals or snacks, look at the overall content, is there enough protein etc? People often eat eratically, missing meals, then over eating. Sometimes when you look at the total calories, then content, sometimes you don’t even need to reduce calories, get the meal timing right, and eat smarter with the right foods, following the 5-7 meals plan. Then dieting is not a shock to the system, and people can usually cope no problem with a less drastic change. Once they reach a plateau, then they are ready for more serious fine tuning. Just watch the empty calories that catch up on you quickly like wine.
2. Eat small meals frequently. I know, I know you have heard this before, and it’s too hard. No it’s not! If you take a few minutes twice a week, and PLAN your meals, buy the food, do some prep work, it will be simple. If the food is there you have a better chance to follow the plan, and you know what your next meal is, your less likely A) to binge B) go and buy something junky that is not part of your lean strategy. 5-7 meals is ideal. Just eat enough to take away your hunger not leaving you over full, and rev up your metabolic rate. These meals should be smaller than your used to.
3. Less carbs? Carbs cause an insulin release, where at most times of the day, your body wants to store it as fat. If you keep your carb intake around the hour before to the hour after working out you will benefit from the carbs. Reducing carbs the rest of the time, particularly later in the day, it supports body fat loss by reducing insulin impact. On days your not training, reduce carbs, and eat them early in the day. If for what ever reason your not working out, eat your carbs early in the day as well.
4. Consume more fats and protein. In most cases, while cutting carbs, or on low carb days, it can be beneficial to increase calories from Fats and Protein. The Fats help you not feel like your starving, and the Protein supplies you with amino acids that prevent muscle-tissue breakdown, and boosts your metabolic rate to increase fat burning. A simple tip for that, have a no carb protein shake with fish or MCT oil, or fish with salad, and avocado.