Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Science of Fat Loss

This week, I was reading an article from the health gurus at Precision Nutrition. Over the years, the team there have done extensive research into the science of fat lossand recently, they released this little gem of a statement: the more we know about food, the fatter we’re getting!
For all our focus on specific nutrients, understanding the effects of certain foods on our bodies, ‘smarter’ diet plans and supplementation to aid weight loss, as well as the development of ‘diet foods’, we’re getting further away from the solution.
My thoughts are that we’ve forgotten about the simplicity of food – these days, most Aussies are so disconnected from what’s on their plates and no longer really know what it means to eat food in its most complete and ‘whole’ form, let along thinking about where that food came from!
Processed and ‘partial’ foods seem to make up an unhealthy chunk of our diets and perhaps by eating so many fake foods, which our bodies just don’t recognise as real nutrition, we’ve also forgotten how to listen to our own internal hunger cues? 
It makes sense then, that in order to be successful in your journey to better health and a lean physique, there are a few old-fashioned rules you should follow.
Her are the main ingredients we reckon you need to maintain a healthy/low body fat:
  • Exercise for at least 5 hours per week (it doesn’t all have to be the intense kind, a walk at lunch time counts too!)
  • Eat whole/unprocessed foods
  • Make sure you’re eating at regular intervals (every 2-3 hours)
  • Sleep 7-9 hours per night (super important – but that’s another article!)
  • Don’t “do” extreme dieting (this inhibits serotonin production and makes you sad, grumpy and more likely to go back to bad eating)
  • Stay consistent with your habits (remember, consistency is key with diet AND exercise, so don’t be impatient)
  • Incorporate non-exercise physical activity (i.e. take the stairs, play with your kids, do the vacuuming, throw a frisbee at the beach)
  • Ignore food advertising – no, you shouldn’t purchase that ice-cream just because the latest Hollywood star looks glam eating it in that shiny advert. I guarantee she/he doesn’t really eat it!
  • Stop counting calories – it’s not a useful habit! Focus on eating real food instead.
According to the guys at Precision Nutrition, other factors associated with lower levels of body fat include:
  • nuts
  • green tea
  • low energy-density foods (fruit & veggies mostly)
  • dietary protein (from lean meat OR non-meat sources)
  • avoiding refined carbohydrates (goodbye pasta, white bread, mashed potato)
  • adequate hydration (aim for 2L of water per day)
  • dietary fibre (veggies, beans, nuts, fruit and dried fruit contain the most)
  • fruits and vegetables
  • regular exercise
  • adequate sleep
  • a supportive social network
And remember, your ‘diet’ is not what causes you to be overweight, or unhealthy… it’s an entire lifestyle thing.
Consistently healthy, active people who see exercise and good eating habits as part of who they are, rarely struggle with weight gain.
So tell yourself you just “don’t do junk”, that you love being active and really enjoy eating clean, whole foods… then live it!
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