FIND OUT how many meals a day suits you best. When your eating habits are bad it is best to start of by eating breakfast as soon as you wake up and plan a small meal every 3-4 hours. This will give you structure. After a while you investigate whether instead of 6 or 7 meals a day you feel better with maybe 3 or 4 meals a day.
EVERY meal should contain complete protein, vegetables and fat. The protein will keep your blood sugar and insulin levels steadier, thus reducing appetite. Protein and vegetables will make the body use more calories digesting it than carbs, this effect is called the thermic effect of food. Carbs do the opposite, they spike the blood sugar and insulin levels, causing a bigger drop later on and therefore creating a craving for more carbs. The vegetables bring lots of fibers as well which are needed for good digestion.
ONLY one of the meals should be a carbohydrate dominating meal. That is the meal in which you eat rice, potatoes or other carbs. Preferably whole grain, or in the case of potatoes choose sweet potatoes. The rest of your carbs come from the vegetables in your other meals. This is probably a lot less carbs than you´re used to. It will help your body turn to fat for energy and keep your blood sugar and cravings in check. Later on it is possible to include 2 carb meals a day but always with at least 1 protein meal in between. This low carb approach will shed weight right away because of the water the body sheds, so this is not all fat loss yet. With less glycogen storage the body will more easily turn to using fat for energy.
Don’t drink ALCOHOL if you want to lose weight! That is, at least not in the first 2 weeks. We understand that drinking a beer or a glass of wine can be a favorite part of enjoying life. Therefore we don’t want to tell you to quit because a good diet is the one diet that keeps you happy so you can stick with it forever. But keep in mind that alcohol for the body is like poison, the liver needs to detoxify it and stores the energy as fat when the glycogen storage is full.
DRINK at least 3 liters of water and green tea and refrain from fruit juices and soda. Coffee is good for 2-3 cups a day.
PROTEIN should dominate your diet. For fat loss eat at least 1 gram of (high quality) protein per pound of lean body mass per day and eat them EVERY meal of the day.
About 40% of your daily calories should come from protein, the other 60% can be divided into 30% carbs and 30% of fat. Keep in mind that it’s not the portion sizes we are talking about but the calories. 1 gram of protein and carbs is 4 calories whereas 1 gram of fat is 9 calories. So if eating 2000 calories a day is the target, that means 800 calories should come from protein and that would be 800 divided by 4 = 200 grams of protein. Same thing for carbs, 30% of 2000 = 600, divided by 4 = 150 grams of carbs. Fat: 30% of 2000 = 600, divided by 9 = 66 grams of fat.
EAT plenty of ‘good’ FAT, preferably with every protein meal. This may sound surprising but the fact is that the body needs beneficial fat in order to have it function optimally. It also provides taste and texture to low carb meals. ‘good’ fat is found in avocados, fish, raw nuts, olives and olive oil. For cooking it is best to use fats that don’t oxidize, for instance plain butter or coconut oil. Tip± supplement with omega-3.
Avoid STRESS! High cortisol levels have too many negative effects on weight loss and health!
SLEEP! It may sound silly but sometimes taking a nap instead of doing a workout is more effective. When you have trouble getting out of bed in the mornings or wake up tired or sluggish you might want to reconsider your sleeping habits. Sleep deprivation makes it hard to lose fat and reach hormonal balance. During the night the body produces important hormones like growth hormone, this is the big boss of all hormones, the one that repairs and renews the cells. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation also has an effect on hormones that affect our metabolism and insulin sensitivity. Next to enough sleep it is also important to reduce stress as much as possible. Too much stress has a ton of negative effects on weight loss, not to mention health! A relaxing bath, a stroll in the park, enjoying a massage are all stress reducers that lower cortisol levels (stresshormone).
INVESTIGATE your pitfalls, trigger foods, psychological sensitivities, energy levels and possible allergies. The easiest way to monitor effects is to keep a food log, what you eat and drink, at what time and how much of it? Lots of people are sensitive or allergic to certain foods without even knowing it. Common allergic reactions occur when eating gluten (wheat), lactose (cow milk), eggs, shellfish or peanuts for instance.