Saturday, May 2, 2009

Nutrition Strategies to Turbo Charge Your Metabolism

By Scott Tousignant, BHK, CFC
Creator of Unstoppable Fat Loss
Author of “The Fit Chic” and “The Fit Bastard”
Co-Author of “101 Great Ways To Improve Your Health”

First of all this is not about a new miracle pill that melts the fat off your body.  The best strategy of fat loss is to EARN IT.

The first step in earning a lean and tight body is to consume five to six small meals per day.  It is something so simple yet many of us choose to ignore it.  This alone is enough to kick-start your metabolism.

You should eat every 2 ½ to 3 hours.  Each meal should be small and leave you feeling satisfied but not full.  If you are not quite hungry 3 hours after you’ve consumed your meal, it’s a sign that you ate too much.  Basically, take what you would eat during your 3 meals each day and spread it out over 6 meals.

To get the most out of each meal and turn up your metabolic furnace it’s best to combine a lean protein, a complex carbohydrate, vegetables, and essential fatty acids with most meals.

Eating carbohydrates alone will result in quick digestion and an insulin spike.  Protein takes longer to digest and requires your body to burn more calories during the digestion process (thermic effect of food).  Consuming proteins with your carbohydrates will cause the digestion of the carbohydrates to take longer and you will stay satisfied longer as well.

A common problem with the typical low calorie diet is the significant reduction in calories for extended periods of time.  During the beginning stages of the diet you may lose a significant amount of weight but then you notice that your results start to decrease until eventually you are no longer losing weight even though your are still following the strict diet.

At this point you figure that you probably hit a plateau and you decrease your calories a little bit more so you can lose those last ten pounds.  The plateau that you have experienced is due to your bodies ‘defense mechanism’ that is on red alert screaming, “We’re starving!” 

So what does your body do? 

It releases more fat storing hormones and enzymes into the bloodstream and decreases the fat burning hormones and enzymes.  Why?  The answer is that your body is simply trying to protect itself so it stores whatever it can as fat in order to prepare for this famine that you are putting yourself through.  The end result is a decrease in your metabolism.  So what can we do to prevent this from happening?

The first strategy is called ‘calorie cycling.’  It goes by other names as well, but this pretty much sums it up.  To lose weight you definitely need a caloric deficit, meaning that you need to burn more calories than you are taking in.  You should never drastically reduce your calories.  Aim for a 15% to 20% reduction in calories. 

With calorie cycling you follow this deficit for 3 days and on the fourth day you go back to your maintenance caloric intake, which is the amount of calories that you could eat without gaining or losing any weight.  You then repeat the cycle.

What this strategy does is just when your body starts to think that it better make some changes to lower your metabolism and store up some fat, you trick it by slightly increasing your calories.  This also gives you a boost in energy and does not leave you feeling deprived.

The second strategy improves upon the calorie cycling and is called carbohydrate cycling.  So if you reduce your calories by 15%, the reduction would come entirely from carbohydrates. 

This is not your typical low carb diet.  A 15% decrease is not an absurd amount, and you get to bring it back to normal on the fourth day, which will replenish your glycogen stores in your muscles to give you more energy and strength to get through your workouts.

The third strategy is called calorie tapering.  In a five to six meals per day plan, you consume more calories in your first few meals of the day and reduce the amount of calories in each meal as the day goes on.  For example at breakfast, mid morning and lunch you may consume 400 calories at each meal.  Then for the next two meals you consume 300 calories and finally 200 calories at your last meal.

To improve this strategy you should consume your starchy carbohydrates, such as oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and brown rice in the earlier meals and for the remaining two or three meals consume fibrous carbohydrates such as vegetables.  The reason for this is that the starchy carbohydrates are more calorie dense meaning that a small portion of them would equal the same amount of calories as a large portion of vegetables.  By consuming the starchy carbs in the morning it will provide you with the right amount of fuel to get you through your day.

This is not a quick fix weight loss strategy.  Incorporating nutrition packed whole, natural foods into small frequent meals is not rocket science, but it definitely works.  It will take some planning to prepare meals ahead of time, but the results will be worth it.  Best of all, this is a program that you can follow for life.  Eating frequent meals will leave you satisfied and the temptation to binge will be reduced.

Nutrition is a very large piece of the puzzle in your battle for fat loss and should be taken seriously.  To truly ignite your metabolic furnace, it is absolutely necessary to include weight training, cardio, and the most important piece of the puzzle, which is developing a powerful mindset.

Your body will only go as far as your mind will take it.


About the author:

Scott Tousignant, BHK, CFC is the creator of Unstoppable Fat Loss, "What separates the people who achieve fat loss success, from those who struggle to lose weight.”

Scott has also authored 2 books that are transforming the bodies of people around the world.  "The Fit Chic" and "The Fit Bastard" not only contain a FULL YEAR of workouts, they provide intense motivation to drive you to fat loss success.

You can grab a free month of workouts at the following sites:

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