Aug 14 , 2021
Hippocrates once said: “all diseases begin in the gut”
A healthy digestive system allows the mind and body to operate at full capacity.
Fat loss has always been over complicated over the last couple of years, probably to sell more “fat-burners”, diet plans, and training programs.
The biggest lie in today’s industry is: “it isn’t that simple”
Well let me tell you this: “it is that simple”!
The two sacred words for a small waist, shredded muscles or couple lbs off a body.
In today’s article, we will be going through the fundamentals of a healthy, effective and sustainable diet.
A calorie deficit is the difference between calories consumed and calories expended. This shortage is what allows us to lose fat: the body, realising it can’t maintain its weight with our calorie deficit, starts burning fat cells for energy.
There are two ways of inducing a shortage; cutting down on food intake, or increasing expenditure with physical activities.
Let’s take Anthony, and Richard as an example. Both consume 2500kcal for maintenance daily. Richard decides to cut down 500kcal off his diet, while Anthony chooses to do 90 minutes of weightlifting to burn 500kcal.
Both of them will be in deficit of 500kcal. Fat loss will be occurring simultaneously. But which option is healthier? The one with physical activity as the main factor of deficit.
Indeed, losing fat by adding sports is the optimal way. Not only are you working your cardiovascular system but also pushing your body to adapt to the effort, thus making you stronger, faster and fitter overtime.
Let’s also not neglect the effects on your sleep, your hormonal balance and your overall feeling of well-being.
That said, be conservative in your calculations as it is very easy to overestimate the calories you burn.
What makes up the calories you burn daily?
- Basal metabolic rate (normal body functions) 60%
- NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), walking to work, climbing stairs etc 20%
- Food thermogenesis (digestion) 10%
- Exercise activity thermogenesis (sports) 10%
The quality of your deficit matters too, as well as the quality of the calories.
On a fat loss diet, you will try to prevent as much muscle from breaking down. You will achieve so by providing an adequate amount of protein. It is recommended to provide 1.5-2.2g/kg bodyweight of protein. This is vital in a negative calorie diet, because the body will start using muscle cells for energy if it feels that it’s stores of carbs and fat are being depleted too much. If you find it hard to reach your optimal protein amount, options such as Whey protein, Casein or Vegan protein powders can come into play to supplement the lack of protein.
You should also try to stay away from processed foods. Processed foods get digested a lot faster, which then leads to an increase in ghrelin production, the hunger hormone. The amount of added sugars will also cause a spike in insulin, which will inhibit your ability to lose fat.
"Processed food" includes food that have been pre-cooked, canned, frozen, packaged or changed in nutritional composition with fortifying, preserving or preparing in different ways. Any time we cook, bake or prepare food, we're processing food. Processed food falls on a spectrum from minimally to heavily processed:
- Minimally processed foods — such as bagged spinach, cut vegetables and roasted nuts — often are simply pre-prepped for convenience.
- Foods processed at their peak to lock in nutritional quality and freshness include canned tomatoes, frozen fruit and vegetables, and canned tuna.
- Foods with ingredients added for flavour and texture (sweeteners, spices, oils, colours and preservatives) include jarred pasta sauce, salad dressing, yogurt and cake mixes.
- Ready-to-eat foods — such as crackers, granola and deli meat — are more heavily processed.
- The most heavily processed foods often are pre-made meals including frozen pizza and microwaveable dinners.
Insulin is the hormone that regulates glucose dispatch from the blood towards muscle cells or fat cells. Unfortunately, insulin blocks the process of breaking down fat cells. So, the lower your insulin level is, the better you will be at burning fat. In the case of a cheat meal, you can prevent your carb intake to affect fat loss by adding in supplements such as: Glucose disposal agents, commonly known as GDA.
This product will aid the uptake of glucose from the blood stream into the muscle tissue where it can be used immediately to fuel activity, or can be stored in the muscles and liver as Glycogen to provide energy when needed later. GDAs increase muscle cells sensitivity to Insulin therefore reducing the need for high levels in the blood and helping to ensure that the carbohydrate we consume is used as fuel for activity, rather than stored as body fat.
Fruit and vegetables are vital for fat loss for two reasons:
- the amount of space they occupy in the stomach, which leads to feeling full longer
- the quantity of vitamins and fibers it provides your body with
On a deficit, your body needs all resources available in order to function optimally. Fibers will help the bowel with digestion and nutrient absorption, while vitamins will help with energy, sleep, mood and endurance during sports.
If you are not keen on eating veggies, there are alternatives such as “greens”, which are supplements based on powdered dried fruits and veggies, that provides you with all vitamins and antioxidants you would find in vegetables.
Fats are also vital for your hormonal balance. Due to your body being in a deficit, the level of certain hormones might be affected by the lack of energy, but you can greatly reduce such effect by keeping your fat intake at around 25% of your calorie intake. This is will evidently be only at the start of your diet. Once you achieved couple of weeks, you can start to slowly drop down on the fats in order to create an even bigger deficit.
In addition to all these constituents of a balanced and healthy diet, one remains unspoken of:
The main reason why people quit diets is because it is hard. It’s all down to how much you want it.
Gym problems are life problems, and vice versa. If you don’t have that drive to get out of your comfort zone, you will find it hard to keep a diet long term.
If you are not willing to feel hunger, say “no” to a night out, or go to sleep at a reasonable time instead of binge-watching Netflix, you will never truly reach your goal.
No matter how hard you train, you can’t out train a bad diet.
So, remember, calorie deficit.