Living Well Nutrition
by Jen Kavanagh
If you’re on a mission to increase muscle tone then it’s essential to focus on fat loss rather than simply weight loss. Losing pounds feels good, but if those pounds are muscle, then you’re actually hurting your overall ability to lose fat. That’s because muscle burns fat. It’s also easy to get deceived because muscle weighs more than fat. So you’ll feel the gratification of losing weight— but in the wrong places.
Following the below tips will ensure you’re losing the right pounds, so you can be well on your way to a more defined physique.
Keep Track of Your Calories
Being serious about losing fat means taking note of every calorie you consume; making sure these calories contain enough protein; and stopping when you meet your daily allowance.
Don’t Overestimate Your Caloric Burn
You may think you’re burning far more calories in a workout than you actually are. But do not be deceived! Even if it seems you’re burning 600-700 calories per go, you’re almost without exception going to be burning in the 300-400 range. So at this juncture, reaching for a pizza, nachos, or other soul-satisfying calorie-dense foods as a reward can derail your progress. Instead, refuel with something easily digestible and not too calorie-dense. A whey protein shake with some berries or half a banana is ideal, followed by plenty of water. Then wait. Your brain needs time to tell your body it’s full. A few hours later you can eat a complete meal. Just remember to skip the nachos.
Your favorite restaurant may be calling your name, but resist the siren call. By cooking your own dinner at home, you’ll sidestep the variety of pitfalls that can occur while eating out: no extra calories from cocktails, bread baskets or added oils, butter, cream and dressings.
Reduce Alcohol Intake
Alcohol helps you relax and red wine is touted for its health benefits. But alcohol also comes with a lot of additional calories. To sidestep them, skip the bar and opt for a glass of seltzer water. Or set boundaries: enjoy wine or cocktails twice a week, and have one drink instead of two or three.
Redirect Your Focus When the Going Gets Tough
Have a good support system in place for when you feel down rather than inspired about your goal. Identify those who can be there for you to cheer you on when the going gets tough— a family member, friend, or someone who’s working towards the same goals. Turn to pleasurable activities that boost your morale— long walks in nature, time with a pet, or any other hobby to help redirect your focus.
Hit the Hay
Remember when your parents gave you a curfew because, “Nothing good happens after midnight?” This is particularly true when fat loss is your goal. Get to bed early to help your body function at its best. Your body will reset and you can actually lose weight during the night.
Weigh Yourself (occasionally)
The scale is a great way to monitor your progress. However it can also be a source of stress. Fat loss takes time, so weighing yourself any more than once a week is unnecessary. I weigh in monthly just to make sure I’m not getting off track.
You may think it’s too easy a tip to list, but very few people have the will power necessary to keep with a program long enough to see the desired results. Commit yourself today to being one of those few.
Jen Kavanagh— Nutritionist