Nutrition is a science, but not rocket science. As a matter of fact, most people make it WAY harder than it has to be by worrying about every little thing instead of just focusing on the most important things.
You may be asking “what is important then?”
Here are 5 simple rules to follow when eating to lose fat that when done correctly will yield maximal results :
Measure Your Intake
The single most important step you can take toward dialing in your nutrition is tracking your food intake. While most people might read that and cringe, it doesn’t have to be as bad as it sounds. Actually, you have options.
We have found that there are typically two types of people:
- Those that love measuring every item and logging it in an app like MyFitnessPal so they can visually see their macronutrient numbers and piece them together like a puzzle
- Everyone else
It’s no secret that 90 percent will fall into the second category and that’s ok. While it is best to try logging first in order to get a baseline of how many calories you typically eat most days, there is another option that is very simple: measuring food with your hands.
Using your hands to measure your portions will help limit your calories simply by minimizing highly caloric foods and maximizing nutrient dense ones.
Here’s a great article that outlines the entire process:
Only Eat Until 80 Percent Full
How many times have you waited until you were starving before eating or went to your favorite restaurant and scarfed down your food in less than 10 minutes only to wind up way too full shortly thereafter?
For most of us, we perceive hunger as an all or nothing type feeling. This leads us to perceive hunger as an almost immediate threat. Once this happens we eat, but often too much because there is a delay prior to our stomach telling the rest of our body that we’re full and by that point it is too late.
The simple fix is practice eating more slowly and try to only eat until 80% full. This will create the feeling of being satisfied without discomfort.
One of the best strategies to do this successfully is to put less food on your plate than you think you may want (or measure your portions with your hands as mentioned above) and take your time to eat. You may find that you may not actually want all of the food you put on your plate or decide to skip a second serving if you wait 5-10 minutes before getting more.
Drink Plenty of Water
As mentioned above, most of us aren’t very good at determining our hunger levels or deciphering other signals from our body. Thirst is a great example of that.
As a matter of fact, it has been found that many of us often confuse thirst for hunger.
That is one of the main reasons why staying hydrated is super important when trying to lose fat. Adequate water intake can help you maintain a feeling of fullness in between meals, but the biggest benefit is that it can improve tons of bodily functions.
A very simple formula for determining your water need for the day is to consume one ounce of water for every pound of body weight. If that seems completely impossible based on where you are at now then just start small and try to add 12 ounces per day to your current consumption. Once you nail that then increase your goal every week.
Get Protein at Every Meal
Protein gets a lot of attention from the fitness community due to its ability to help build and spare muscle, but it also does a great job of keeping us full and anyone that has ever been on a diet knows how important that is. That’s why even if you aren’t currently exercising but are still trying to lose body fat, adequate protein consumption is critical.
Additionally, protein is also very challenging to overeat. It may not be too hard to eat 1000 calories of ice cream, but I bet there aren’t too many people that could eat 1000 calories of chicken in one sitting.
By consuming reasonable amounts of protein at each meal, you will inadvertently prevent yourself from eating too many calories from foods that have less nutrient value.
Most adults should consume at least 100 grams of protein per day, but for ideal fat loss conditions it could range up to 1 gram per pound of body weight.
Eat 4-5 Servings of Fruit and Vegetables Each Day
Many people call fruit and vegetables “superfoods”, and for good reason. Not only are they packed with lots of vitamins and minerals, but many also contain a significant amount of fiber which many people lack in their diet.
Eating fruit and vegetables is a great way to add food to your diet without breaking your “calorie bank”. Many types of fruit could even be eaten in place of a sugary dessert to give you a sweet kick in place of a less nutritious option. Just be careful not to go overboard.
When it comes to vegetables, you should try to eat them often and in many varieties. Green, orange, red, yellow, all are great and often unique benefits. The thing they all have in common, however, is that they are great at keeping you full while adding tons of nutrients and few calories.