Most people have heard about how to eat for fat loss, but they can’t figure out what to eat when it comes times for a meal. That’s because they’re asking themselves the wrong questions. To get the most out of this, keep these questions available and make sure to ask yourself the following before your next meal.
1. Are you eating too much food?
In Okinawa, heart disease and stroke rates are lower than in North America. So are cholesterol, homocysteine, and blood pressure measures. Rates of cancer are lower — especially breast, colon, ovarian and prostate cancer. Hip fractures are lower and dementia is rare. Plus the Okinawans tend to live longer.
What’s their secret? Hara hachi bu. Roughly translated this means eating only until you’re 80% full. And no more. Now, this isn’t a dietary suggestion. Rather, it’s part of their culture. Anyone who stuffs themselves is considered a glutton. In the end, many experts believe that this cultural practice, in conjunction with the Okinawan diet rich in fruits and veggies, fish, and legumes is the secret of their success.
2. Are you eating enough protein?
Are you eating something that was an animal or comes from an animal – every time you feed yourself? Your protein intake determines whether you’re going to lose body fat or lean muscle (we want to focus on losing the former and not the latter).
The ideal amount of protein per day for an exercising individual is one gram per pound of body weight. For a 150 lb person, that’d be 150 g of protein. Getting this much means grabbing some protein every time you snack or eat a meal. This amounts to about 2 palm-sized portions for men and 1 palm-sized portion for women.
N.B. If you’re a vegetarian, this rule still applies – you need complete protein and need to find non-animal sources (e.g., natto, tempeh, quinoa, brown rice and beans, or plant-based Powerfood or SunWarrior).
3. Are you eating enough vegetables?
By replacing your grains with greens, you’ll still feel satisfied at the end of a meal while also increasing your intake of fiber and other important vitamins/minerals. For fat loss, men should eat about 1 cup while women should eat about 1⁄2 cup each meal. Include some cooked, raw, juiced, or blended veggies with each meal.
4. Are you eating too many sugars or starches?
Too many starches and sugars can prevent fat loss and even cause fat gain. Grains are dietary staples in North America, but heart disease, diabetes and cancer are medical staples – and there’s a relationship between the two.
To stop heading down the heart disease highway, reward yourself for a good workout with a good carbohydrate meal right after (your body best tolerates these carbohydrates after exercise). For the rest of the day, eat your lean protein and a delicious selection of veggies with some fruits in the morning.
5. Are you consuming enough healthy fats?
Highly processed fats (found in many processed foods) can ruin your health and lead to fat gain.
There are 3 types of natural fats – saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Forget about that old “eating fat makesyou fat” maxim. Eating all three kinds of natural fats in a healthy balance (about equal parts of each) can dramatically improve your health, and even help you lose fat.
Your saturated fat should come from your animal products and you can even toss in some butter or extra virgin coconut oil for cooking. Your monounsaturated fat should come from mixed nuts, olives, and extra virgin olive oil. And your polyunsaturated fat should from flaxseed oil, fish/krill oil, and mixed nuts.