Whenever we see a lean athletic build we presume that the person sporting those razor sharp abs has denied himself to the extreme in the form of diet. A frequent comment that I hear from people is that I must be very careful on what I eat and spend considerable time working out. Well I will admit that thought and effort must be present to accomplish any goal including the maintenance of a lean body but the view that it takes herculean effort is not correct. Ghandi like self denial is not necessary and maybe even counterproductive to losing and keeping fat off!
First let’s add some food to our diet before thinking of removing food. We need to focus on nutrition rather than calories, initially. So many people (including athletes) are fixated on what they need to give up (the negative) rather than what they need to add (the positive).There is so much tasty, satisfying food that will boost our fat busting capabilities. Here is a starter list of my favorite as well as effective fat burning foods.
#1 Add some veggies!
Mom’s admonition to eat all our vegetables could not be truer when it comes to fat loss. If I could convince you to accept only one food addition to your diet it would be “Cruciferous vegetables.”
BROCCOLI & CAULIFLOWER
Eat these raw with low fat dip or cooked. Buy them fresh or frozen and eat up to five pounds a week. Yes, eat lots of them, there is no limit on the portions just do not cover them with a rich sauce. You can stir fry them with lean meat or just melt a little low fat shredded cheese on them with your main course.
If you do not like broccoli or cauliflower then learn to like them! This one food choice is the boot camp of lean healthy eating. Fail this and there is little hope you will ever be truly lean and healthy. I did not like these vegetables at all growing up. It was not till I started reading about the healthy virtues of cruciferous vegetables that I was determined to have them in my weekly diet. Once I made up my mind my taste buds followed. Now broccoli and cauliflower are my favorite veggies. There is no shortage of articles that tell us about the anti- cancer, nutritional and health benefits of this high nutrient, low glycemic source of complex carbohydrates.
#2 Try an apple a day!
This has to be the easiest food to add to your daily meal plan. Often I will eat two or three apples a day as a snack or sliced in my oatmeal. Start eating three apples a day, one a half hour before every meal and you will lose fat every week. This is my personal guarantee. If your present activity level and diet has you maintaining your same weight, the apples will start to have you shed pounds. What is the magic in the plain apple for fat loss? The apple is a low calorie, high nutrient, high fibre whole food just like broccoli or cauliflower. The more we eat these foods the better our bodies will be. I suppose there may be a limit to the amount we could eat these foods and still have a healthy outcome but I have not reached that limit. So start eating!
#3 Oatmeal with fruit
Typically the people with high body fat rarely eat a good breakfast, if any at all. A cup of cooked oatmeal with unsweetened fruit like frozen peaches, fresh berries and a table spoon of protein powder will fortify your body with the nutrition you body desperately needs first thing in the morning. To feed it toast and jelly with a cup of coffee is asking for energy deficiency that will manifest itself as gorging on fat friendly meals for the rest of the day. I have known hugely obese people that lived on coffee for the first three to four hours of the day. Take the time to cook some oatmeal in a large pot ,enough for a week then put it into the refrigerator to microwave a good portion every morning .Once you start the oatmeal habit you will quickly find the quality of you day to skyrocket. This is by far the easiest most nutritious breakfast you can have bar none. By now you can see the common thread in these fat busting foods is that it takes more time and effort to eat these foods. Proper chewing of your food is necessary with whole foods versus refined food products. At work I had two fifteen minute breaks as well as a twenty minute lunch. I spent the entire time (50 minutes) eating while my mostly chubby counterparts swallowed their meal in a quarter of the time. Check it out; the fastest eaters tend to be the fattest eaters.
#4 Boca burgers on whole grain bread
This is the tastiest veggie burger going. Made with soybeans which are an excellent source of protein, low in fat and sodium but high in potassium. You can make this burger even tastier by lightly toasting your whole wheat bread, adding some mustard, and then pile on some alfalfa sprouts or lettuce. This is another take your time and chew meal, so enjoy the taste!
#5 Bean Salad
Beans are one of the least expensive sources of protein available. My bean salad recipe calls for 7 different beans; they are black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans, black eye peas and chick peas. This salad is so tasty and filling it can be added to any meal or used by itself as a snack. I always like to have some bean salad in the refrigerator at all times. Like the rest of this list bean salad is a low calorie, low fat, high fibre source of low glycemic complex carbohydrates. Try to use a bean salad recipe that has 5 or more of these beans with as little added sugar as possible.
To lose fat and keep it off you need to reduce both calories and fat content of your diet. Reducing your portions of high calorie and high fat foods will eventually cause you to fall off the wagon and gorge yourself. The logical recourse is to find low calorie foods that will fill you up and keep your body satisfied. The more you add these foods the more they will displace the obviously bad food choices in your diet. Add at least three of the five foods listed EVERY DAY and watch the fat melt and your energy soar. If you do not have the discipline to add food to your diet for fat loss what makes you think you will have the disciple to reduce food in your diet for fat loss?
This list of foods is first and foremost what works for me over this last decade so I know it will work for you.