THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE; STRATEGIES FROM A 5 STAR GENERAL
There seems to be a problem. Despite all the books, tapes, videos, television shows, infomercials, abdominal toning fitness gadgets, miracle fat blocking pills, gyms and self professed fitness experts there is still more than 50% of the adult population struggling to control their weight. It is a sad fact but more than 300,000 people die each year due to weight related health issues. This is a very serious problem. However, there is some good news that I wish to share with you. By following some simple rules starting TODAY, you can win the battle and avoid becoming one of these disturbing casualties.
THE 7 RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
Rule #1.Calorie restrictive diets DO NOT work over the long term. Dramatically restricting your caloric intake will only slow down your metabolism (the rate at which your body burns calories) and cause you to lose your greatest ally in the battle- your muscles.
Rule #2. Eat your way thin. No, this does not mean daily trips to the all-you-can-eat buffet. What this does mean is you MUST eat small, nutrient dense, calorie sparse meals frequently throughout the day. Recent studies have shown that it may be the craving or hunger for food that triggers fat storage NOT just the food itself. Small, frequent meals every three hours will prevent you from ever feeling hungry again.
Rule #3. Focus on fat loss NOT weight loss. This is very important. When you put the emphasis on weight alone you are running the risk of losing too much muscle in the process. Stop stepping on the scale. Instead, purchase a body fat scale (available at every fitness supply store) and record your fat % weekly.
Rule #4. Avoid refined, fried and processed foods. Foods like sugar, white bread, French fries and pasta are very hormonally unfriendly. I tell all of my clients to follow one basic rule of thumb; if it does not grow on a tree, pop up from the earth or run by you in the wild- DO NOT EAT IT!
Rule #5. Be sure to take the right supplements every day. If we lived in the perfect world, all of our animals that we eat would be free of unwanted steroids and growth hormones and all of our produce would be free of pesticides and chemicals. Our soil would be rich in nutrients and our water would be fine to drink without the addition of poisons like chlorine. Of course, this is not the case. Therefore, it is necessary that we all supplement our diets with vitamins and minerals. In addition, we must all take an essential fatty acid supplement like fish oil and use a life giving “green drink” every day.
Rule #6. Exercise to build and preserve lean muscle tissue. Muscle is your greatest ally because it is active tissue. By that I mean that it burns calories regardless of what you are doing. Even while you are sleeping, your muscles’ thousands of little generators are chewing up unwanted fat stores helping you to look and feel younger and more energetic. The single best exercise for the building and preservation of lean muscle tissue is weight training. No other exercise on the planet will produce all the same benefits of resistance training. Weight training does not need to be done every day. In fact, doing the correct exercises in the proper way three non-consecutive days per week will have outstanding fat loss and hormone balancing benefits. Three hours per week! Who can’t find that? Supplement your weight training with cardiovascular exercises like walking or cycling. You may also wish to follow this with other useful forms of activity such as martial arts, Pilates etc. This type of active lifestyle is key to your victory.
Rule #7. Reduce stress. I know what you are saying- easier said than done, right? Well, we all better find the way since stress related illness is another leading cause of death and disease in this country. We should all take time to breathe. Relax. Meditate. Pray. There is really nothing to it; you just have to do it.
The preceding summation briefly outlines what is important in a well-balanced healthy lifestyle. Watch for future articles where we will dive deeper into the sea of information pertaining to health, fitness and fat loss.