You want to get leaner, right? Welcome to the club! You share your goal with about 90% of the population who wishes they didn’t carry around quite so much extra fat on the body. We hit the gym, we watch what we eat, but our bodies – particularly as we grow older – just seem to hold on to that extra 5 or 10 pounds of what. What gives? You can blame Fred Flintstone for that!
A cartoon isn’t to blame for your extra half-dozen pounds you can’t seem to shake. Rather, your caveman ancestors are at fault here. Back then, people survived by hunting and gathering, either eating what they could find on trees and the ground, or by an animal they could catch and consume. As seasons changed and ice ages came and went, food wasn’t always as readily available as it is to you in your cupboard today. During those times of scarcity, the 6-pack studs of the time rarely survived. Those ancestors with the spare tire, however, managed to stick around through the winter until food arrived once again in the spring. Being fat(ter) saved them, allowing them to pass on their genes, to you! So while existing is nice, for you, the tendency to hold that extra 6 or 8 or 10 pounds of “survival fat” isn’t a needed skill anymore.
Still, you’re stuck with it. And the only way that you are going to be able to conquer those extra pounds is to change up your eating. Sure, you’d be a lot skinnier if you only ate what you could hunt or gather. But thanks to modern grocery stores, the items you can gather are often very highly processed and packed with the wrong kind of ingredients. Instead, let’s check out a list of rules you can follow to achieve a leaner body. Ready to dive in?
Take your body weight and multiply by 15. The answer will be approximately the number of calories you need to consume each day. Now divide that number by 5 and the answer will be approximately how many calories you should be consuming in each of your five daily meals. Sure, there will be fluctuations. But if you stay in that approximate ballpark, you’ll be able to manage and monitor your caloric intake and start the fat loss process.
It can be hard to think on our feet, particularly in very loud and crowded places. “Winging it” in a packed grocery store on Saturday morning is certainly not the best way to try to design and implement wise shopping practices so that you can meet your fat loss goals. You should be sitting at your computer with a spreadsheet, mapping out your macros and designing the perfect meal plan.
When in doubt, eat protein first with each meal. You’ll meet your meal requirements of 25 to 30 grams, and you’ll fill up valuable real estate room in your stomach that won’t be falling victim to dessert and the other clever temptations that meals can offer! Protein is a requirement for muscle recovery, growth and maintenance, even during a dieting period. Choose foods such as beef, chicken, fish, turkey, egg whites and whey protein powder for best sources.
Eating so frequently and including so much protein in your diet can quickly put you in a situation where your pipes aren’t working as quickly as you’d like. Bumping your daily fiber consumption is a way to combat this scenario! Fruits and vegetables (and fiber supplements when needed) will contribute a great deal to overall health and immune system function as well, which is imperative for living a long life. No sense getting lean if you’re going to be unhealthy at the same time!
Don’t radically transform your diet overnight. Rather, work to slowly change up the foods you’re consuming each day until you reach the ideal diet for fat loss. Shocking your body will crush your metabolism as well, and possibly weaken your immune system to the point where you’re catching a cold. Slowly pull 50 to 100 calories out of each day’s overall menu until you can drop the 500 to 1000 calories daily required to drop 1-2 pounds per week. You should never attempt to lose weight any faster, or you’ll risk burning valuable muscle.
Bloat, high blood pressure, and an overall feeling of sluggishness will attack you if you allow your sodium intake levels to go unchecked. Lots of the foods you enjoy quickly become toxic to both your health and overall fat loss agenda if you’re loading everything with salt. Track sodium intake and drink plenty of water – you may notice you look and feel much better without so much salt in the foods you eat.
You aren’t going to be able to follow all of the rules, all of the time. However, by sticking with the basics and doing right every chance you have, you will see a gradual change and improvement which will lead to fat loss over time. Weigh yourself 1-2 times each week and take progress pictures along the way to honestly monitor your fat loss situation. Above all, stay disciplined and be patient. Those caveman genes have been chasing you for a million years… you can wait a few months to get rid of the fat you desire. Good luck!