Friday, April 29, 2011

The Switch (Part 1)

Let’s now (really) move to the practical side on how to make The Switch to awaken the Perfect Fat Burning Machine that is your body.

From the previous post you know that it is key to:

Keep your blood sugar levels stable all day long to maintain your insulin level under control, so it does not interfere with the natural fat burning mechanisms in your body

There is an additional point which is also critical to burn stored fat:

Create a caloric deficit: Ingest a little bit less calories than what you are burning, so you consume your stored fat reserves for energy.

But this point is really easy to do if you follow the principle of keeping the blood sugar levels stable. No need to count calories or become crazy about portions sizes. Just follow your appetite levels and never eat to the point that you feel “full”. Obviously, eating until you feel like you are about to explode is a complete “no-go” (although I confess I do it every once in a while!...what is life without pleasure, right?)

Ok, let’s get into business. Here are the practical tips for you to follow:

Avoid (or eliminate) sugar, sweets, desserts, white bread, white pasta, white rice
All these create a sudden peak in the blood sugar levels if eaten alone. Thus, if you really have to eat them (i.e. during social events, traveling, etc) try to limit as much as possible the quantities consumed and combine them with: protein, fats, and/or fiber. All these three elements slow down the digestion and in so doing, they slow down also the entrance of sugar in the blood (reducing the risk of creating the sudden peak).

It is better if you cut sugar completely out from your diet. But pasta, rice, bread and desserts are so ingrained in our diet habits, that it could represent a severe sacrifice to cut them out completely. And sacrifices do not take you to real success in the long term.

If you really want to make a sustainable lifestyle change, then it has to be doing something that you enjoy. Or at least something that you learn to enjoy. No sacrifices!

Thus, when eating pasta, rice or bread, try to eat the whole wheat version and make sure that you do not eat them alone. Instead, use fats to accompany them: extra virgin olive oil, sauces, or butter. Do not worry about the calories in fat, just reduce your pasta or rice portion, and cover it with oil/fat! In this way you will feel your hunger satisfied for much longer, and you will end up eating less total calories in the day (this is true if you really follow your appetite levels and avoid eating just for distraction or out of habit).

Besides fats, if you use fiber by adding vegetables and add also protein to your plate (chicken, beef, turkey, eggs, cheese, etc), you will obtain a further reduction in the speed with which sugar enters the bloodstream.  Thus, you will avoid the start of the Vicious Insulin Cycle generated by the blood sugar peak.

Finally, if you really want to go for a pasta or rice dish, make sure you are eating the whole wheat version. Although it has a different taste (it is an acquired taste), it provides much more nutrients and fiber.

Therefore, to summarize this point, avoid or eliminate completely sugars and white bread, pasta and rice. But if you eat them, make it a small portion, use the whole wheat version and add fats, protein and vegetables for fiber and healthy nutrients.

No carbs at all for dinner
This might sound extreme, but if you do it, you will exploit the full power of one of the best hormones in your body for natural fat burning: The Growth Hormone (GH).

This is a very potent hormone that is released when you go into deep sleep at night, and it is fundamental to repair your body cells, reduce inflammation, and avoid premature aging. It does all that while also burning lots of stored fat.

GH is such a powerful hormone that some professional athletes or bodybuilders tend to use the synthetic version as doping to lose fat and recover faster from strenuous training.

Of course, you do not need to dope to get results (me neither, by the way!), so just make sure that you do not eat carbs at night, because when there is insulin in your blood, GH production is reduced drastically. No insulin equals lots of natural GH for you!

In practical terms, for dinner you can try to have a large portion of protein of your choice with lots of vegetables. You can also add some nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, etc) to add extra good fat, some protein, and lots of other minerals and nutrients.

If you want to be really strict to get faster results avoid also alcohol at night.

Sometimes I drink red wine because I like it, and because I do not care about losing fat now. However, if you want to get faster results, avoid alcohol until you reach your desired results.

Have several small meals during the day
It is much better to eat 5 or 6 small meals during the day, than 2 or 3 large ones. If you avoid peaks in your blood sugar levels and have several small meals during the day, you will end up eating less calories in total during the day, and without feeling any sense of hunger or food deprivation (no sacrifices! remember?).

By reducing your meals sizes and keeping them constant throughout the day, your blood sugar levels are much more stable and your energy and concentration levels remain high.

Additionally, with smaller portions per meal, your stomach tends to reduce its size (after all, it is an elastic bag!) and you end up needing less and less food to feel satisfied after a meal.

In practical terms, have three meals where you eat protein and vegetables and add two or three snacks where you eat fruits and nuts. Plain yogurt is also a good option for a snack. 

For breakfast, avoid sugary cereals, donuts, and any kind of refined carbs or sweets. Chose from plain yogurt (no added sugar), nuts, cheese, ham, eggs, or natural cereals like oatmeal or whole grain (no added sugar!!! Did I say that before?!).

Ok, before I bore you to death, let me finish the post here for now. But I will continue with the practical tips in future posts.

In the meantime, start putting these tips into practice from today.
It takes time to build lifetime habits, but once you get the hang of this, you will notice an incredible difference in energy levels. And in your waistline, too!

It is easy!
Trust me on this.
Or better yet, don't trust me.
Try these changes yourself for at least a month.
You'll notice The Switch.

In Parts 2 and 3 of this post, I will give you further tips on how to reduce your hunger and speed up your metabolism so you can make The Switch to becoming a Perfect Fat Burning Machine even faster!

Stay tuned!

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