As a personal trainer, one of the biggest misunderstandings I hear almost daily is that less food is better. In fact, the total opposite is true. The more you eat, the more you lose. How, you ask? Well, if you only feed your body once or twice a day, your body goes into survival mode, this causes your body to store anything that you eat as fat. The reason is that if you are not fueling your body with at least a small snack or meal several times a day, your body will know it has stored fat to survive off of. This all is a vicious cycle that will never get you any progress.
To get results from any meal program, you need to eat three good, healthy meals per day, as well as a few small snacks. When you do this daily, your body will start burning off what you eat, and your metabolism will increase, turning your own body into a calorie-burning machine. When you add in any activity that raises your heart rate, you will start burning off body fat. The idea then is to burn more calories than what you are taking in each day, and you will start getting the results you are wanting.
What are healthy ways to reach these goals? Avoiding fried foods, sugar, white starches, and sodas, is a good way to start cleaning up your eating habits. After you have made this change, you will want to add in healthier options such as lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, veggies, and healthy fats. Here are some good choices:
Lean Proteins – Chicken breast, lean steak, lean ground beef, greek yogurt, egg whites, tuna, turkey breast, and protein powder.
Complex Carbs – Brown or white rice, oatmeal, quinoa, black beans, green peas, sweet potatoes, and whole-wheat pasta.
Veggies – Zucchini, spinach, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, celery, cucumber, bell peppers, and kale.
Healthy Fats – Olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, flaxseed, dark chocolate, almonds, cashews, cheese, and chia seeds.
These are just samples of each category to make choices from. You can use these choices for your meals and small snacks. The next thing you should factor in is your weight, age, gender, and goals. For example, if you are an average person wanting to lose some weight, you will not need as much as a person trying to put on muscle mass. If you are someone trying to just be fit and healthy, you are not needing to eat as much to be lean, you do still need three meals and snacks, just smaller portions. People who are larger or have more muscle burn more calories, even at rest. Your gender should also be considered. Men usually have less body fat and more muscle than women do of the same age and weight, which means men burn more calories. As people get older, their energy tends to decline, therefore they burn fewer calories. Older people’s calories need to be lower than a younger active person would need. They would still need to eat three meals a day and snacks, but at smaller portions.
The key is to eat lots of healthy food, and get to moving! You only get one life, and a healthy lifestyle can make all the difference!