Category Archives: Body Fat
You can stage a coup on calories without ruining your life or eating a single rice cake: Just follow this simple advice.
The no-diet, no-workout plan that is better than running 5 miles a day! Check out The Lean Belly Prescription.
Always Eat a Man’s Breakfast
No more Lucky Charms—you want some protein and fat. Scrambled eggs and a few sausage links will keep you fuller longer than an airy doughnut will.
We’re talking three good snacks and three healthful meals. But what do you serve during the bowl game if you can’t have chips and dip? Mixed nuts—especially almonds—will satisfy your craving for something crunchy while helping to build muscle.
Just Say No to Starches
Foods like pasta, white bread, and potatoes make you fat. If you must have pasta, make yours whole-wheat. Same goes for bread, and swap white potatoes for sweet potatoes. Just don’t eat too much!
A perfect example of a great swap are these crispy sweet potato fries. You’ll never go back to regular potatoes.
Yes, you have to hit the gym, and no, lifting beer cans during happy hour doesn’t count. The muscles you build will not only improve your performance, they’ll stoke your metabolism so you burn calories long after your workout is over.
Think Before You Eat
Don’t just stuff your face with the stale cookies left over from the holidays, eat what tastes good and what’s good for you. Take your time eating; you’ll stay fuller longer.
Here are 7 ways to harness your hunger from a grumbling stomach.
But Have Fun Once in a While—or Once a Week
Stifle those cravings for too long, and you’ll be miserable and might fall off your new plan forever. Just splurge reasonably—two slices of pizza, not the whole thing.
It’s the easiest way to drop weight fast. The cravings are hard at first, but it gets easier—especially when you see the results.
It’s easier to alternate between hard and easy running instead of going for a long run—especially if you don’t like running. Plus, you’ll be done faster and burn more fat.
Break your speed limits by boosting your speed with intervals. You’ll not only get faster, but your gut with flatten in no-time.
Never, Ever Drink Sweetened Soda
But go ahead, have a glass of wine now and then. Low-carb beer is fine, too, in moderation.
Don’t Fear Fat
It makes you feel full, helps control your appetite, and your body needs it.
Of course, some fat is good while others are bad. See How Fat Attacks, and how you can make it work for you.
by Eric Hunter
(NaturalNews) Obese and lean individuals have different gut flora composition. The gut microbiota of mice and humans are similar, with Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes dominating. At this point it’s not clear exactly which species are important in weight management. Some studies show reduced numbers of Bacteroidetes in obese subjects, while others point to lower levels of beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus.
Even though diet will affect gut flora composition, most studies conclude that gut flora on it’s own has an effect on weight. Alteration of the gut microbiota can be an important part of a weight loss program.
Several mechanisms have been proposed as to how gut flora regulates weight. Inflammation, energy from polysaccharides, insulin sensitivity and energy expenditure and storage are all affected by gut flora.
What you eat affects the gut flora composition, but it can also be hypothesized that it can happen the other way around; that gut flora partly determines what you eat. People with gut dysbiosis and especially yeast overgrowth often feel sugar cravings. Gut flora can probably influence food cravings and thereby play a part in determining dietary choices.
Obesity is hereditary, and the importance of gut flora shouldn’t be underestimated. Flora is passed on from mother to child during birth, breastfeeding and early years. The child also comes in contact with microorganisms from other family members. “Obese gut flora” is passed on to the child.
Children born via caesarean have double the risk of becoming overweight, according to research by Harvard scientists. The obesity increase has been linked to a lack of exposure to good bacteria which may be found in the vaginal wall.
Differences in intestinal microflora during the first year of life have been associated with higher risk of obesity later in life. Especially low levels of Bifidobacteria make children more susceptible to weight gain.
Obese individuals usually have a dysfunctional gut flora with higher numbers of LPS-containing microbiota and methane-producing bacteria. LPS, Lipopolysaccharide, is linked to obesity, leaky gut and low-level chronic inflammation.
Colonization of germ-free mice with gut flora from either obese or lean mice, leads to significantly greater increase in total body fat in those colonized with “obese microbiota.” Animal studies further show that probiotic supplements with Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species help maintain a healthy bodyweight and promote weight-loss. Cattle treated with antibiotics store a lot of fat, and this is one of the reasons why these drugs are used so frequently in feedlots.
How to incorporate this info into your weight loss program
A healthy diet with reduced consumption of sugar, processed carbohydrates, most vegetable oils, anti-nutrients, etc. will on it’s own promote weight loss and a healthier gut flora.
Additional gut flora modifications can also be an important part of a weight-loss plan. Simply eating yoghurt will not make any substantial difference in most people. Minimally washed organic plants and plant products, fermented foods and probiotic supplements are all good sources of beneficial bacteria. Prebiotics, soluble fiber that feed good bacteria, can be found in leeks, onions, apples etc.
Sources for this article include
Obesity alters gut microbial ecology.Ley, et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2005 Aug 2; 102(31):11070-11075.
Vael C, Verhulst SL, Nelen V, et al. Intestinal microflora and body mass index during the first three years of life: an observational study.
Gut Pathog. 2011 May 23;3(1):8.
Kalliomaki M., Collado M.C, Salminen S., et al. Early differences in fecal microbiota composition in children may predict overweight
Am J Clin Nutr March 2008 vol. 87 no. 3 534-538
Kondo S, Xiao JZ, Satoh T, et al. Antiobesity effects of Bifidobacterium breve strain B-3 supplementation in a mouse model with high-fat diet-induced obesity.
Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2010;74(8):1656-61. Epub 2010 Aug 7.
Takemura N, Okubo T, Sonoyama K. Lactobacillus plantarum strain No. 14 reduces adipocyte size in mice fed high-fat diet.
Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2010 Jul;235(7):849-56.
Chen JJ, Wang R, Li XF, et al. Bifidobacterium longum supplementation improved high-fat-fed-induced metabolic syndrome and promoted intestinal Reg I gene expression.
Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2011 Jul 1;236(7):823-31. Epub 2011 Jun 17.
Karlsson CL, Molin G, Fak F, et al. Effects on weight gain and gut microbiota in rats given bacterial supplements and a high-energy-dense diet from fetal life through to 6 months of age.
Br J Nutr. 2011 Sep;106(6):887-95. Epub 2011 Mar 30.
Human originated bacteria, Lactobacillus rhamonosus PL60, produce conjugated linoleic acid and show anti-obesity effects in diet-induced obese mice.Lee, et al. Biochem Biophys Acta. 2006 Jul;1761(7):736-744
Metabolic endotoxemia initiates obesity and insulin resistance.Cani, et al. Diabetes. 2007 Jul;56(7):1761-1772
It’s that time of year, when even the most anti-cosmetic guy thinks a little bit less about his lifting totals and a little bit more about how he looks in his spandex lifting suit.
If that just made you throw up in your mouth, or made you want to punch me in the face, you don’t have to keep reading.
Then again, maybe maintaining your functional lean muscle mass and strength while dropping some non-functional fat will allow you to perform better in a lower weight class, thus giving you a competitive advantage.
At the very least, it could help you improve your health profile, prolong your career – and maybe even your life – if that type of insignificant stuff matters to you? Unless of course, you’re still just a teenager at heart that thinks immortality awaits everyone.
We’re all fighting an uphill battle in Y2K America. Every human being shares a common problem, and current statistics prove only a very small percentage are able to overcome it.
Fat Loss Nemesis
Your biggest enemy in the war against body fat may be the one that you’re not even aware of – it is you, or more accurately, your internal instincts.
Make no mistake about it – human beings are preprogrammed to overeat.
There was no portion control for most of our existence. When you had access to food, you ate it, and stocked energy reserves to prepare for times when you didn’t have access to it.
Going crazy at an all-you-can-eat buffet is not weakness or a cheap way to bulk up. It’s simply a survival instinct. That may be cool during the off-season, but it’s a liability when trying to cut the fat.
In an environment where resources are limited, and food is real and scarce, this natural tendency to overeat leads to survival.
In an environment with unlimited access to highly refined, fake foods, it leads to chronic overeating, and the health and body fat struggles associated with living on the wrong side of excess.
I don’t care what the ADA says the arbitrary serving size of a bowl of Cocoa Pebbles is (3/4 cup), human instinct dictates it’s the whole damn box.
When you combine the natural evolutionary instinct to overeat with the following:
- Refined foods that have weak effects on the hormones that regulate appetite and energy intake.
- Unlimited access to those foods (The 5 AM mocha and muffin run to the 3 AM post-drinking taco truck stop).
You have yourself one big, modern problem – an obese country with biomarkers of health that resemble the zombie apocalypse in an episode of The Walking Dead.
When analyzing the root causes of this problem, it becomes clear there are two different ways you can lose fat and get on the right side of the energy balance equation.
Fast Loss Strategy #1 – The Food Choices Route
I don’t want to beat a dead horse. I’d rather indulge my inner Francophone and eat it. I mean, look at the nutrition analysis and essential fatty acid profile of 1 pound of raw horsemeat:
6.5g saturated fat
7.3g monounsaturated fat
1,632mg omega-3 fatty acids
1,315mg omega-6 fatty acids
But alas, horsemeat is not available in my city yet. I’d have to pull up stakes and move to Quebec and kick it with Coach Thibaudeau. Sadly, that would also require swapping my striped Hotskinz unitard for a throwback Quebec Nordiques jersey. Sorry Thibs, not going to happen.
For now, I’ll have to settle for kicking that dead horse one more time.
Improving your food choices is the healthiest and easiest (after a rough transition phase) way to lose fat. It’s also the most sustainable approach for the long-term.
If you hate counting calories, calculating macronutrient percentages, measuring and tracking foods, etc., your only choice is to start making better food choices. It’s way too instinctual and easy to overeat refined foods.
It’s much harder to overeat real foods. I’d argue it’s almost impossible. Without any tracking or measuring, I’ve had female clients struggle to eat 1200 calories a day and male clients had a similar problem getting 2000 calories a day when cutting out all refined foods, and only eating real, natural foods.
They couldn’t believe how so much food volume led to so few total calories. That’s the beauty of real food.
Here’s the thing: fat boys like to eat (they used to call me Baby Sumo, so I’m not trying to be a jerk).
A client of mine called me last night complaining about having to eat too much for dinner. What was on the menu?
It was 3/4 pound of top round steak and 2 pounds of potatoes. Remember, my overall approach is to eat lighter during the day and eat the majority of calories and carbs at night – which allows us, at least once a day, to satisfy that natural urge to feast like a beast.
That’s a crap-load of food to eat; yet it’s still less than 1500 calories. No late night, starvation-induced binges here.
This guy couldn’t lose weight when he was on his ketogenic, unlimited fat diet pouring oils on everything. Why?
Refined oils are much easier to overeat than real food, so he was always in a caloric surplus despite treating carbs like rat poison.
On his new plan, he’s lost 50 pounds.
Simple Eating Templates
- If you’re sedentary, eat like a caveman: animal proteins, vegetables, whole fruits, whole food fats (nuts, shredded coconut, avocado), and muddy pond water.
- If you’re active, follow the patterns of a Japanese village-style diet, which simply means adding in some low sugar, gluten-free starches to the above caveman diet to support anaerobic training: sweet potatoes, potatoes, or rice.
Now I’m sure I’m going to get some nit-picker saying something like epidemiological research shows no culture has a universal diet and food intake varies across geographical locations, etc. My response?
- When was the last time you got laid? Seriously? And Palmela Handerson doesn’t count.
- “Themed” approaches to eating aren’t meant to be 100% historically accurate dogmatic scrolls. They’re simply educational tools to give people simple templates to remember.
The bottom line is that emphasizing lean proteins, vegetables, whole fruits, whole food fats, and a select few starch foods if you strength train is good advice regardless of historical era or geographical location.
Fat Loss Method #2 – The Portion Control Route
Here’s the tough love reality: 90% of the foods available to us these days aren’t that great for either body composition or biomarkers of health. That’s why people are always shocked, or even offended, when I give my honest opinion about certain food choices.
If I didn’t list it, I don’t like it. And the list is relatively small. But remember, I’m not the be-all-end-all of nutrition. To paraphrase the Dude, well, that’s just my opinion, man.
And for a lot of people, a full-blown real-foods diet may seem too restrictive or extreme.
There are some people out there who just don’t want to eat better, despite their knowledge of the health effects of food. It’s mind blowing to me. But I get it at some level – refined foods and sugar have drug-like effects. Like any addict, we scour the earth for justifications for including them into our plans.
Some people just aren’t going to give up their cereals, wheat bread sandwiches, fruit juices, high n-6 cooking oils and salad dressings, pastas, etc., no matter what. Fair enough.
Fake Foods and Real Instinct Don’t Mix
If you think you can take an instinctual approach to eating while making less-than-ideal food choices, you’re in for a rude, belly fat awakening. See beaches and poolsides everywhere.
Because it’s so easy to overeat refined foods, you’ll have to do the ol’ measuring, calorie counting, macro-calculating, and tracking thing if you have any real shot at dropping a visually significant amount of body fat.
My ears are already ringing from all the complaints.
Quit whining. Damn, am I talking to a T-Man or my Auntie? If you don’t want to eat real foods, you’re going to have to measure your fake foods.
I like to make fat loss as easy as possible for people, but you can’t be completely lazy and expect to achieve goals. If you refuse to fight one battle, you’re going to have to fight another one. You can’t win a war from the sideline.
Besides, all it really takes is one extra step. If you’re on a carb-based diet, is it backbreaking to pour your cereal or pasta into a measuring cup first instead of directly into a bowl?
If you’re on a low carb, fat-based diet, how hard is it to pour salad dressing into a tablespoon measurer instead of directly onto the salad, or count out twenty-four almonds?
I’ll even help you. I have two nuts for you right here for you to get started with.
For most foods, especially the energy nutrients (added fats or carbs) that are the most important to measure, it takes an extra 10 seconds to get an exact measurement, instead of just winging it.
Portion Precision Tactics
Here are some thoughts about how to implement this process in the real world. It’s not as hard or inconvenient as you think:
- Buy a couple sets of measuring cups (1/4 cup to 1 cup) and teaspoon/tablespoon measures.
- Use measuring cups as serving spoons instead of traditional serving utensils, particularly for starch foods and added fats like nuts.
There’s no need to weigh your meats, poultry, and fish on a scale. Simply buy these foods one pound (16 oz.) at a time and cut them up according to your dietary needs.
If you’re supposed to be eating 3 oz. servings cut into 5 pieces, 4 oz. servings = 4 pieces, 5 oz. servings = 3 pieces, 8 oz. servings = 2 pieces. It doesn’t have to be exact; we just want the right range. Food scales seem a bit excessive to me.
- Pour oils, dressings, and condiments into teaspoon or tablespoon measures before cooking or topping food.
- When you don’t have access to measuring cups and spoons, like eating at a friend’s or at a restaurant, you’ll have to eyeball portion sizes.
4-6 ounces of meat, poultry, or fish is about the size of the palm of your hand or a deck of cards. 1 cup of starch is about the size of a closed fist or a baseball. 2 tablespoons of dressing is about 2 spoonfuls, or about 1/2 of most of the cups they use for the “dressing on the side.”
- No need to measure non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, lettuce, spinach, onions, etc.) unless they’re cooked in butter or oil. Plain vegetables are pretty much free foods that can be eaten in unlimited amounts.
The first half summary is really simple. To lose fat you can either:
- Make better food choices.
- Start measuring your crappy food choices.
For health, and overall ease of the program, I prefer route #1. You’re always going to be hungry trying to diet on refined foods, and your biomarkers of health probably aren’t going to be great either.
The Lethal Combination – The Only Get Ripped Method
Now all of that’s for losing some fat – a relatively easy process, right? The problem is with summer coming up, the approaches to just lose some fat start to get marketed as effective approaches to get ripped. I respectfully disagree with that.
Getting ripped is a whole different ballgame in a completely different stadium than just trying to lose some fat and get healthier. It’s an athletic endeavor that needs to be treated as such.
The only way I know of for most people to achieve this higher-level goal is to combine fat loss strategies #1 and #2. You must make good choices and measure/track your food intake so you consistently hit targeted calorie and macronutrient numbers.
Extreme fat loss nutrition is all about details – portions and ratios. It’s about a well thought-out plan based on science that gives our body exactly what it needs without any excess.
Why do you think there are serving sizes and measuring cups in your Surge® Recovery containers? Because the people that use Surge® are most likely advanced athletes with more advanced goals, not just average goals.
And advanced goals require way more details and precision.
Don’t Follow the Exceptions to the Rule
Many fitness professionals proclaim that you don’t need to count calories or macronutrients to get ripped. Really? Those are generally the ones who are:
- Blessed with great genetics, and could do whatever they want and would still be in shape.
- The drug enhanced, that still have to work hard, but have a lot more leeway than the average dude.
- Have never been ripped. Trust me, there are plenty of fitness experts, dieticians, and PhD types who write about getting ripped because they know it sells well, but have never successfully gone through the process themselves.
Theory is different from real world application and results. What looks good on the chalkboard doesn’t always end up looking good in the streets.
I’m not interested in theory or opinion. I’m interested in real world results. And if you look at the diet plans of the most ripped people on the planet – bodybuilders – you’ll see that they all measure their food. Whether they’re as natural as grass-fed beef or a Salisbury steak TV Dinner is irrelevant.
Eight ounces of this, 1 cup of that, 2 tbsp., etc., are used for the good food choices that make up the bulk of their diet. If you’re serious about reaching elite leanness, follow their example.
Saying you can’t learn anything from bodybuilders is just as ignorant as saying you should learn everythingfrom them.
Because of the negative association with the extreme chemical experiments that have become bodybuilding, the industry as a whole seems to have this subconscious need to dissociate from anything related to its core principles. Anything even remotely resembling old school bodybuilding methods gets blasted. This is ridiculous.
The truth is, measuring food is a bodybuilding habit that will serve you well in your get-shredded efforts.
Arguments Against Purely Instinctual Eating
We’ve used caveman, village, and farmer-style eating as templates to help people lose fat. But these demographics were eating simply to survive.
Modern athletes are eating and training for much more than just the fulfillment of the general life cycle. They’re trying to reach the pinnacle of physique development, and “get ripped.”
If you want to reach peak condition and ultra-low body fat percentages, then certain sports nutrition principles must creep their way into a 100% natural or instinctual eating plan.
And sports nutrition is all about numbers, calculations, and details.
Look, I get it. I have a genetically elite colleague who is about as honest as it gets, and he always says to me, “People don’t get it Nate, I could do anything and be ripped. I don’t need to measure anything, especially doughnuts. But that’s not what I recommend to other people.”
While we’d all like to dream that could be us, and a lot of us use those ‘exceptions to the rule’ as examples of why we don’t need to do certain things, the reality is, it’s not.
Simple Summer Shredding Tips
I’d rather go outside and look at some bikini babes than continue writing, so let’s wrap this thing up.
Debate could go on forever about what the best plan is to get ripped. Who cares? It all needs to be tested and refined in the real world, for you personally, anyway.
Here’s a decent starting point, assuming you strength train 3 or more days a week:
- 12 calories/pound of lean body mass.
- 1-1.5 grams of protein/pound of lean body mass.
- 20% calories dietary fat mostly as byproduct of protein sources and maybe some Flameout™.
- Remaining calories to carbs.
- Have a cheat meal/re-feed meal once a week.
- Choose the meal frequency pattern that’s most functional and sustainable for you.
- Aside from your peri-workout nutrition, I think the easiest plan is to eat lighter during the day and eat the majority of calories and carbs at night.
- Try measuring your foods and making sure you’re consistently hitting the above recommendations before you think you need some crazy, triple-carb rotating, ketogenic cycling diet to get ripped.
Chances are you just need to be better with the basics.
Until next time, enjoy your summer loving! It happens so fast.
1) You’re Eating Too Many Carbs
2) You’re Eating Carbs at the Wrong Time
3) You’re Eating Too Much Fat
4)You’re Not Eating Enough Protein
5) You’re Drinking Too Many Protein Shakes
6) Your Liver is Over Stressed
7) You’re Eating Nuts
8) You’re Eating Fruit
9) You’re Not Training Heavy
10) You’re Overdoing Cardio
11) You’re Not Running Sprints or Doing Sled Work
12) You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep
The Perfect Body Fat Percentage
Factor #1: Hormones
|Hormone||Too Much||Too Little|
|Testosterone||Rarely an issue||Increase in body fat, decrease in muscle mass|
|Estrogen||Increase in body fat||Joint issues, health issues, slower muscle gain|
|Cortisol||Slower metabolism, decrease in muscle mass, increase in body fat||Rarely an issue|
|Thyroid||Difficulty gaining weight, muscle weakness, fatigue||Slower metabolism, fatigue, increase in body fat|
|Insulin||Insulin resistance, increase in body fat , increase in blood pressure||Type-I diabetes|
Factor #2: Psychology
Factor #3: Health Considerations
Factor #4: Strength and Leverages
Putting It All Together
Endomorphs: A Guide for the Big Boys
Ectomorphs: The Skinny-Guy Guide
Mesomorphs: We Hate You. No Guide For You!
Set Point Considerations