Although it may not seem like it in Saskatchewan, and my Map 10 work (90:00 Nordic Strut) still involves snow, beach season is in the foreseeable future. With that in mind, you might be thinking about how you may look in that bikini or speedo. Perhaps you want to shed a couple % of body-fat. Now, a set meal-plan is going to be your best bet, but that may not be realistic right now, and that is ok. Another approach is to bring some guidelines into your life that can be a great starting point.
Avoid Carbohydrate Only Snacks
One of the most common “errors” that I come across when talking to people about nutrition is carbohydrate only snacks. The reason it is so common is because it seems like having an apple is a healthy snack. And in some respects it is, if we are looking at food quality. An apple is definitely a healthier snack than a bag of Skittles paired with a Mountain Dew. BUT, an apple is still mostly sugar, albeit naturally occurring. When you ingest a carbohydrate only snack, unless it is post-training, the energy you take in is likely going to be stored as fat and will not provide lasting energy throughout the day. So, a good rule of thumb is to always snack on protein and/or fat. If you are going to have a carbohydrate snack make sure that you pair it with a fat or protein to slow down the digestion process, and give you energy that lasts throughout the day.
Food Label Test for Mixed Macro Food Items
A mixed-macro food item is one that has a combination of fat, protein, and carbs. An apple is not a mixed- macro item, but yogourt is. There is no exact science here, but something I have done for years, which seems to help keep me on the leaner side of things, is a simple food label test. I make sure that either the fat or the protein content is equal to or greater than the carbohydrate content. If I am being a bit more lenient with myself my bottom line is that the grams of protein and fat added together must equal more than the grams of carbohydrates. Very rarely (post work-out is the exception) will I eat a food that has more carbs than fat & protein. Here is an example of the test.
1 Serving of Hemp Hearts: 15g Fat, 9g Protein, 3g Carbohydrates = 25:3 (Hard Pass)
1 Serving of Special K Nourish: Fat 2.5g, Protein 5g, 44g Carbohydrates = 7.5 : 44 (Hard Fail)
If I want to look fantastic in my bikini this summer, I’m going to definitely going to skip the Special K which seems purposefully designed to keep people soft while disguising itself as a “healthy” option.
Empty Your Kitchen & Start Fresh + Travel to Treat
When I am spending time at my parents house, it is often a wake up call and my bullet-proof will-power is revolted to be a sham and more self-proclaimed than deserved. My will-power is strong when I am doing the shopping and choosing what goes into my fridge and on my shelves. Basically, if there is no tempting food around, it is MUCH easier to stick to a meal-plan or healthy/real foods list. However, when at my folks’ place, the den of sugary temptation, I become weak. I have a mini-egg, then 10, then I am pulling fudge from Christmas out of the freezer. The human addiction to sugar, and the pull it has on our psyche is powerful. I don’t trust myself against it. Nor should you. If sugary foods and chips are near/available, they will win. So, the best thing to do if you want to cut some weight, is empty your fridge/kitchen, and fill it with real food. Your temptations will dwindle, and the fat will follow.
Another way to frame this was brought to my attention by a ripped Crossfit mom. She said that in their house if someone wants to have a cheat or a treat, that they have to leave the house to get it. If you set up your house like this, then you have to really consider whether or not you want to eat some crappy food, because you have to travel and take time to do so, rather than mindlessly reaching into the pantry for whatever is going to make you feel better about the suffering that is human life ;) Now, if you are from Saskatchewan, and it is winter, you are going to have to really want those damn Doritos if you are going to brave -30C weather to indulge a craving.
So, there are three rules I use to stay lean. If you have some rules or guidelines of your own that you like to follow, share in the comments section so others can learn from your experience and success.
Best of luck,
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