‘How’ to Lose Weight And Get a ‘Six Pack’!
I guess I’m quizzed about diets almost daily, people always want to know how to either lose weight or increase their muscle mass. Reaching any level of ‘fitness‘ for you, or anyone, unfortunately, is not as simple as you may think, if it were then the gym would be full to the rafters with people, and obesity wouldn’t exist.
Diets you can do at home is a vast subject, one that would require a book to give it any real justice, but I will do my best, keeping it as simple as I can for you. Having said that, there is a glimmer of hope for us all, but it will require you to take a leap of faith and change your life style, are you ready?
Either way, even if you didn’t want to lose or put on weight, there is some very interesting research going on that confirms an old idea “Reducing calories as some very beneficial and useful side effects”. Let’s start this fascinating journey into the world of diets, by taking a look at the evidence so far and its effects.
Reduce Calories not just for a six pack but also for Your Heart’s Sake too?
Like I said, even if you aren’t interested in losing weight or increasing muscle size, there’s plenty of good evidence to suggest that a well balanced diet offers some very welcome benefits for us all.
For decades now, it’s been believed by many health professionals that those who eat less…tend to live longer. A study carried out by the University of Wisconsin offers even more support for this belief.
Researchers considered ‘how’ caloric intake could affect the function of the heart and concluded that less food could indeed possibly result in a healthier heart. Based on their finding, it would appear that if people reduce their current calorie intake between 20 and 40%, even if they start in middle age, they may well delay the development of heart disease or possibly even…prevent it.
According to professor of genetics Tomas Prolla, PhD, when your heart ages the cells change their source of energy from fat molecules, to carbohydrate molecules.
Carbohydrate molecules burn at a faster rate, leaving the heart with less energy to execute its functions…in effect, the heart becomes stressed out. This being the first step that leads onto heart failure.
But when Prolla’s team reduced the caloric intake of mice, these changes in energy sources was seen less than in those who maintained their normal caloric intake. So don’t be afraid to reduce your calorie intake you could live longer, happier, life’s.
A side note:
It’s also been noted that the older generation are living longer, well into their 90’s and beyond, despite the hardships and lack of food during and just after the First World War, when they were forced to reduce their food intake…food for thought!
Latest Study Results
I’ve been to Greece and to Tuscany in Italy, and for those who haven’t; I can tell you that their Mediterranean cuisine is fabulous. They are full of richly coloured heart-healthy fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and poultry and, of course, plenty of olive oil…fascinating.
Despite their liberal use of oil and grains, researchers have found that people who eat a ‘Mediterranean’ type diet have vastly lower rates of heart disease than people in many other parts of the world…what’s the reason?
Dimitrios Trichopoulos, MD, PhD, from the Harvard School of Public Health, worked with a group of Greek scientists from the University of Athens Medical School, who together investigated the impact of their diet. They studded over 22,000 Greek men and women, between the ages of 20 to 86. They recorded what they ate each day over a four-year period.
They rated the responses of each participant on a scale of zero through to 10, based on ‘how’ closely the participants stayed within the tenets of the diet, with 10 being the best.
The results clearly showed that by following the diet closely not only did it lower the risk of death, from heart disease or stroke, but that for every two-point increase achieved in the rating scale, there was a 25% drop in mortality risk, it clearly also had an effect on overall total fitness.
A similar, but completely separate American study implied the diet also helps reduce the risk of gallstones by almost 20%.
Let’s Look At These Dietary Details that will help get your six pack…
Unlike the detailed approach of many weight-loss plans, this diet has no particular structure. Instead, it includes…
Lots of fruits and vegetables
- Plenty of whole-grain products
- Some beans, legumes and nuts
- A moderate amount of fish and poultry
- Limited amounts of meats, dairy and alcohol.
By following the strategies listed below, will help you stick to a more authentic Mediterranean diet…
Whole grains are whole grains
In addition to their nutritive value, whole grains slow down the digestion of other foods leaving you feeling fuller for a longer…lowering the ‘net-carb’ effect. Whole grains are also very good sources of fibber, which is required to help move waste products out of the body. People are also urged to select the least processed whole-grain foods even if a food is technically a whole grain.
Commercial preparation pulverizes the grain, reducing its healthfulness. It’s important not to be sidetracked by marketing and packaging ploys. Only pick those ‘Bread’ products that display the word ‘Whole’ as the first or second name listed on the ingredients list to qualify as truly ‘whole wheat’.
Variety of grains
The Mediterranean’s eat a variety of delicious and nutritious grains, but ‘Brown’ rice also counts, as does a number of other grain products, including ‘Oats’, especially steel-cut oats and ‘Barley’.
Lots a produce
The Greeks characteristically eat almost a pound of vegetables a day…twice what Americans eat. So don’t be shy with your produce.
Plenty of protein
It’s important to have a good source of daily protein, be it fish, poultry or eggs. Plant protein, in the form of beans and nuts, is also a good source of fibber…just what the bodybuilder ordered!
‘Super-sizing’ your portions is definitely not the way to go. Eat small amounts at all times throughout the day is key. Portion control is just as important when it comes to olive oil too.
Although the Mediterranean’s consume up to 40% of their calories from fat, this includes fish, poultry and dairy, as well as from monounsaturated oils, canola, soy and especially olive oil.
The Mediterranean people work hard physically each day, unlike Americans who live a more sedentary life. So exercise should also be as much a part of the diet, as is olive oil. You should aim to get at least 30 minutes of brisk exercise most days.
You should also limit other ‘extra’ foods to occasional treats. Foods like red meats, should be eaten in small quantities throughout the day and don’t think just because your consuming a good clean diet that you can eat 3 scoops of ice cream after each meal, unless you are the type of person that as a lot of difficultly putting on body weight…even then think about the quality and not the quantity of calories that you consume that’s important.
The diet includes dairy, but doesn’t emphasize it. Stick with low-fat products when possible and limit portions.
Although the above diet will help those who are looking to reduce their overall weight don’t be fooled into believing that it has no value for those who are looking to increase muscle size, because following the basic outline of the diet will help you reach your end goals.
How I hear you ask, “well muscle requires more than just proteins, they require good fats, minerals and vitamins to help stimulate muscle growth”, and you are spot on, but this diet will do just that.
First, make the decision and set it as a goal. Over whatever period of time you are comfortable with, slide the right foods into your eating regimen and the wrong ones out. Review often and see what changes you may need to make. Just remember to increase your proteins and bob’s your uncle!
Rules of Thumb
Regardless of whether you are trying to lose or gain weight, by following these simple rules you will reach your goals.
You should be eating around 5 small meals a day this will help burn fat creating your ‘six pack’!
By applying this rule you avoid the possibility of your body slipping into what we call “starvation mould” and needs to start the process of hanging on to every calorie you eat. By eating 5 small meals a day will help speed up your metabolism, reducing body fat, and increasing your energy.
If you are trying to lose weight, then ‘Don’t’ reduce your calorie intake by too much, this is the biggest mistake people make, they decrease their calorie intake by 1000 calories or more, and then give up, because they are starving. And even more disturbing for the bodybuilder, following this action can only lead to muscle deterioration or shrinkage. Instead, reduce your daily calorie intake by 200 calories a day then stick with it for about ‘four’ weeks.
If you don’t start to reduce weight, then reduce your calorie intake by another 200 calories a day. When you start to lose these unwanted pounds don’t reduce calories any further.
If on the other hand you lose too much weight to quickly, then increase your calorie intake by 100 calories at a time until you find a balance that allows you to lose weight and then maintain…remember that you don’t want to lose any muscle size.
Remember that muscle weighs more than body fat; therefore, it’s easy to mistake body weight reduction as fat loss.
Try to eat all your calories in between the hours of waking and midday. In this way your body will burn up those calories over the course of the day.
Reduce the calorie content of your meals as the day goes by until you last meal is purely a protein one…no carbs.
If you are looking to increase muscle size then increase both your calorie and protein intake, but remember to do this slowly as you need to find a balance that will allow you to increase muscle size without the body fat.
There really isn’t any way around this dilemma, unless you have perfect genetics that is. If you are eating too many calories for the amount of fuel you burn off during everyday activity or exercise, you will put on body fat. And if you don’t eat enough calories then you won’t put on any muscle mass, and you run the risk of fatiguing your body.
So the trick is to find…your balance!
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