In this article:
- What to eat and why for ultimate fat loss.
- Lifestyle changes for permanent results.
- Best foods to burn fat and how to eat them with complete meal plans.
Let me set the stage for you.
It’s 6 am, your alarm clock blares and you roll out of bed to start the day ahead. You feel sluggish, tired, maybe a bit “achy” in spots, and your joints are rebelling against the idea of movement.
Then you clumsily make your way to the bathroom and stare yourself down in the mirror. The realization has occurred that you are officially out of shape and frustrated with the person you’ve let yourself become. In your brain, the switch has been flipped and it’s finally time to do something about it.
The only problem is, the mere thought of embarking on an exercise program and doing a dietary overhaul makes you cringe in fear. Never mind the fact that you have to move your body repetitively for an extended period of time and most likely, break a pretty doggone good sweat.
Relax, take a deep breath or two, think happy thoughts and make yourself at home.
In reality, molding yourself into a shapely specimen is not as hard as you may have been led to believe. Sure it takes heart, desire, dedication and discipline, but, once you grease the groove and get a little momentum going, everything will fall right into place.
That being said, you are probably well aware that declining health paralleled by rising healthcare coasts has taken center stage in the public eye. This, in turn, has not only had a major impact on the economy, but, it has also caused multitudes of miracle diet plans to crop up like renegade weeks in the cracks of a sidewalk.
The companies driving these plans have steadfastly “guaranteed you fast results or your money back!” Unfortunately, they don’t always have your best interest in mind. They’re usually more concerned with the BOTTOM line instead of your waistline.
Truth be told, investing time in the latest, greatest diet fad is NOT the best way to go.
You are better served taking a smart, safe approach with sound practices that will get you to your goal with relative ease. This fat burning method is also a lifestyle change plan, instead of those fad diets that evolve around that useless “diet mindset,” where when the diet ends, so does the weight management and you go back to eating as you used to and the weight comes right back on, sound familiar?
True lifestyle change is the only way to guarantee permanent and life-long results that will allow you to enjoy all the benefits of being lean, trim and healthy.
This eating plan is a NOT A DIET that will end at some point.
It is a PERMANENT…
It is FOR LIFE!
Remember, there are no shortcuts. Stick to the plan, put the work in, and over time you will see the development of that prized six-pack or v-shaped back you’ve always longed for.
And although patience is a virtue, diligence is a game-changer!
As you are probably well aware, partaking in a regular fitness routine is only going to get you so far if you do not honor dietary changes. Diet is probably somewhere in the ballpark of 90% of the weight loss game. Spending countless hours in the cardio and weight room, but countless more at the local buffet, will quickly sabotage any progress that you made.
If you work hard in the gym five days a week and indulge in mass amounts of calorie-dense food and beverages, how can you expect to make good progress? The sad reality is, you won’t.
In the best of cases, you can maybe maintain your weight and stay in decent enough shape to ward off disease, but, you will never be able to fully turn the corner and achieve the best body of your life.
However, if you go from a horrible eating regimen to a completely clean diet, you will see results in a very short amount of time, as little as 30 days. Then if you couple the healthy diet with regular bouts of exercise, your progress will be exponential.
This goes farther than just fitness too. A smart and solid eating plan can keep you free from disease, give you better brain function and prevent inflammation through your entire body. These are the intrinsic values that you should look to for motivation to stay on track.
Every single cell in the human body regenerates in about one and a half years. These cells grow from the food you consume, so you definitely ARE what you eat. Keep that in mind the next time you reach for that bottle of pop, double chili cheeseburger and large order of cheese fries.
Winning At Losing
For some, weight loss is a lifelong struggle, and for others, it’s just a quick-fix stage before a major event like a wedding, class reunion or vacation.
No matter how you try to break it down, the process is still the same, and it involves a detailed approach that will give you a really good grip on the situation.
Anatomy of Body Fat
Your body contains subcutaneous and visceral fat. Subcutaneous is the type found right under the skin and you can easily palpate it with your hand.
Visceral is found deep inside the abdomen and surrounds the organs, which raises your risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and a number of other unwanted tragedies.
Although subcutaneous fat might make you feel self-conscious, it is relatively benign compared to visceral. When you lose weight, it occurs through your entire body as a whole.
This all means fat reduction occurs in the abdomen, arms, legs, face, neck and all other parts of the body at once—this includes both subcutaneous and visceral fat. You now have a win-win situation to regain your self-esteem and lower your risk for colon cancer by losing weight.
You don’t need to have a PhD to understand how to do this either. It’s really a game of numbers.
Burn more calories than you consume on a daily basis and you will create what’s called a caloric deficit. When you have a caloric deficit, your body has no choice but to burn stored fat for energy. The end result is weight loss.
Flip the coin over and eat more calories than you burn, and you’ve just created a surplus. The end result of this is weight gain. Fun stuff huh?
That brings us to calorie counting. You probably just let out a groan and are shuttering at the thought of counting calories, but it’s not as hard as it seems and it’s definitely effective.
Your can keep a journal for five days and track every single crumb of food and sip of beverages you consume that contain calories for each day. Add all the daily sums together and divide by five to get an average. But, there is an easier way.
There are tons of calorie calculators online that will determine exactly how many calories you need daily based on your age, height, weight and activity levels. You will notice that the more active you are, the more calories you can have.
The Mayo Clinic has a good one – (source)
Calculating The Deficit
The number provided by the calculator can be used to determine the calorie deficit needed for weight loss.
Things are going to get a little scientific now, but it shouldn’t be anything mind-blowing. You may already be familiar with this.
Example = The calculator gave a number of 2200 calories (based on 47 year old 180 pound female with a low activity level).
In order to lose 1 lb. of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories.
An easy way to achieve this deficit is by lowering caloric intake by 500 calories a day. If you go back to the calculator example, you would subtract 500 from 2,200 and be left with 1,700 calories. Since there are seven days in a week, a 500-calorie daily deficit would equate to 1 lb. of weight loss a week.
If you want to lose 2 lbs. a week, you’d need to create a 1,000-calorie daily deficit.
On a side note, most packaged foods that you buy will have calorie information listed, but, foods like produce, grains and meats do not. In these cases, you will need to be a bit savvier with judging your portion sizes and finding out how many calories they contain. It’s a good idea to seek out a resource online that shows calorie contents of foods or find a book that does the same.
A great resource is FitDay (www.fitday.com), it’s free and it allows you to search by food, and there is an app as well.
Here’s where exercise comes into play. Reducing calories alone to lose weight is a good strategy, but, a more foolproof plan would involve the inclusion of exercise. This approach is especially beneficial if you are striving for the 1,000-calorie reduction.
Instead of depriving yourself so much with food restriction, you can split the difference and burn 500 calories through exercise while cutting back 500 calories in your diet. Of course, if you were on the 500-calorie a day reduction plan, you can cut back by 250 and burn 250.
Creating A Deficit
The way you do it is less important than actually creating the deficit. Do whatever works best for you. But, keep in mind that regular exercise gets faster results, and muscle toning workouts build lean muscle mass, which helps to burn more fat even when the body is at rest.
Calorie Quality Control
When you break it down, calories in vs. calories out for weight loss makes sense. However, all calories are not created equal. From a physiological standpoint, you can eat junk food all day long and still lose weight if you are in a deficit. But unhealthy fare is not the best option.
Focus your attention more on the quality of calories you take in. This is often more important than the total amount. Let’s take a comparison of soda and almonds into consideration.
A 12 ounce can of soda and a ¼ cup serving of almonds are both 120 calories, but, which one is better for you?
Figure it out based on this information…
Soda is high in sugar and simple carbs with no nutritive value whatsoever.
Almonds contain a high amount of protein, essential fats, fiber and a number of vitamins and minerals that are all beneficial to your body.
While soda is considered empty calories, almonds are considered nutrient dense, which makes them the obvious better option.
Always keep this in mind when you are selecting your foods.
Since we’re addressing the quality of food, this is a good segue into macronutrients. The word “macro” means large or sizeable. When referencing food, macronutrients are made up of protein, carbohydrates and fat.
From a caloric perspective, protein and carbs contain 4 calories per gram, while fat contains 9 calories per gram. This is handy information to know when you are tracking.
Each one of the macronutrients has specific functions in the body and they also can be found in specific foods. Certain foods contain two or all three of the macronutrients, and are sometimes higher in one than the other. Let’s go a little deeper with each macronutrient so you have a good grip on how to include them in your diet.
Protein is often regarded as the building block of muscle. If you were to gaze around a gym floor and look for the biggest, baddest, bodybuilder-type person you can find, chances are he will be sucking down a protein shake in a shaker cup at the end of his workout.
It’s really not necessary to slug down metric liters of protein shakes, but, just be aware that protein IS important for muscle building. It actually works to repair damaged muscle fibers, which is what happens when you work out.
Protein also helps boost immunity and helps keep you feeling full, or satiated if you want to get technical. That’s why so many people turn to it when they are trying to lose weight. If it fills you up, you will be less likely to overeat.
It is important that you know what foods are high in protein and which ones are of good quality. Beef might be a good option because of its high protein content, but if it’s in the form of a burger that’s been cooked in oil, smothered with cheese and laced with mayonnaise, it loses its appeal.
Here is a list of good options that you should include in your diet to satisfy your protein needs.
- Lean beef
- Salmon or any fish
- Pork loin
- Low-fat or nonfat dairy products
- Hemp seeds
Ah yes, the dreaded carbs. Carbohydrates are not the enemy, but, wrong carbs are.
Avoid These Simple Carbs
- What starches: bread, rice and pasta
- Refined baked goods
- Sugary Beverages (soda, juices, energy drinks).
These are known as simple carbs and they will spike your blood sugar levels quickly.
A spike in blood sugar leads to a spike in insulin, which is a fat-storage hormone. They are also empty calorie foods that do no nothing, but, contribute to weight gain without providing nutritional value.
Complex carbs are what you want to reach for. These are high in nutrients and fiber, which automatically slows their absorption rate down.
- Brown Rice
- Oatmeal with no added sugar or flavoring, ie: natural oats.
- Sweet potatoes
- Whole grain bread, cereal and pasta
Mom said to always eat your vegetables, and she was so right. Vegetables are super low in calories, some, are so low they don’t even count, such as, spinach, lettuce and grape tomatoes. They also have an insignificant amount of fat and no cholesterol, so they are perfect for heart health.
While low in calories they are also highly nutrient dense, and so the pack a wallop of nutrition bite for bite. Vegetables provide a lot of important nutrients, such as, potassium, dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, and vitamin C.
All these nutrients play a significant role in providing energy, vitality and wellbeing. And, when you feel good, you will be much more focused on weight loss and have optimal energy to workout.
Another essential element in vegetables, specifically, green leafy vegetables is high fiber content. Fiber is your best friend in fat burning and weight loss endeavors because it keeps you full longer, and balances blood sugars, which, eliminates those wild cravings and out of control hunger that causes people to binge eat.
A diet rich in fiber also helps to stave off Type 2 Diabetes, which, is one of the most common and most serious conditions that results from obesity.
Vegetables can be eaten in abundance, and so you never have to go hungry when you have a bag of celery, or some grape tomatoes nearby.
Here are some of the best vegetables to include in your fat burning diet.
- Green Cabbage
- Bok Choy
- Brussels Sprouts
- Bell Peppers
Green Leafy Varieties
- Swiss chard
- Mustard, Collard and Turnip greens
- Swiss Chard
Red, Yellow And Orange Vegetables
These are rich in iron, beta-carotene, vitamin B-complex, vitamin-C, vitamin A, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
- Carrots (a more starchy variety of vegetable that should be eaten in moderation)
- Yellow and red bell peppers
Purple vegetables offer phytonutrients, and essential antioxidant-rich flavonoids. They are low in calories and are a great sources of fiber, protein and B-vitamins.
- Purple Cabbage
Fat is another macronutrient often thrown to the curb by people looking to lose weight. Don’t be fooled. It is vitally important in your weight loss efforts. The key is to choose the right type of fat, which is called unsaturated.
This type helps fill you up, lubricates your joints, improves brain function, and certain kinds like coconut oil, can actually boost your metabolism.
The most important factor is to avoid saturated fats that are found in processed baked goods, deep-fried foods and packaged foods that contain partially or fully hydrogenated oils.
You’ll know what foods these are by simply referring to the ingredient labels and looking for the words “partially hydrogenated” or “fully hydrogenated.” Stay away from them!
Good Fat Options
- Nuts – Avoid nuts packaged or roasted in oil, choose raw or dry roasted varieties. Lowest in calories are almonds, cashews and pistachios. Highest in calories are macadamia nuts and pecans.
- Nut butters, including, peanut and almond
- Seeds (pumpkin and sunflower)
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Olive oil
- Canola oil
- Olives (choose lower sodium options)
- Coconuts and coconut oil
- Red palm oil
- Fish oil
Now it’s time to put all of your knowledge together to form a solid eating plan.
This is known as grazing and it comes with many advantages, such as, blood sugar stability, elevated energy levels and boosted metabolism. You already know how to find your daily caloric average. All that’s left to do is divide that number by the amount of meals you want to eat.
Let’s use five meals as a guideline.
If you were to eat 2,200 calories and five meals a day, each one would be 440 calories.
For six meals daily each one would be 367 calories.
The most important factor is to always have a balance of protein, carbs and fat with each meal.
This will further help keep your blood sugar levels stable and provide you with all the macronutrients you need for proper function.
7 Day Meal Plan
Here is 7 day meal plan with 5 or 6 meals per day. Feel free to use this as a guideline to kick start your progress or simply repeat the menu every week. Once you get used to eating this way, it will become much easier to pick and choose appropriate foods for your meals.
As you can see there is plenty of food, and so hunger should not be an issue. Your blood sugars will remain stable and your metabolism will soar as it will always be working processing all the nutritious food you ingest every 3 hours.
Also, this diet will provide you with all the energy you need for power workouts that will make your body a fat burning machine and you will soon have the body you have always dreamed of and you will have it for life!
All the food listed here is available at the supermarket. There are two special products listed, protein powder and Braggs Liquid amino acid.
Braggs Liquid Amino Acid
Liquid amino acids are like soy sauce, but as the name implies, they contain amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. The Bragg’s company has a good form of liquid aminos and you also have the option of getting coconut liquid aminos, which are raw. They are produced by the coconut Secret Company.
Protein powder can be purchased at health stores, like GNC Nutritional Centers, or online. Make sure to use a protein powder that is free of antibiotics, hormones, and artificial flavors, colors and sweeteners. Biochem, Jay Robb, Vega, Natural Factors, Jarrow and Gnarly are all good brands.
2 scrambled eggs, 2 slices of 100% whole wheat toast, ¼ c shredded mozzarella cheese, 2 tbsp. of salsa. Mix the salsa in after you place the eggs on your plate.
2 whole carrots, 2 celery stalks and ½ c hummus. Chop up the carrots and celery into small pieces and dip them into the hummus.
Turkey sandwich. 2 slices 100% whole wheat bread, 3 slices turkey breast, 1 large slice of tomato, 3 leaves of lettuce, 1 slice of provolone cheese, 1 or 2 tbsp. of mustard.
1 cup trail mix. Add 3 cup soy nuts, 2 cup sunflower seeds and 1 cup cranberries to a bowl and mix thoroughly with a large spoon. Make a big batch and have it on hand for easy access.
1, 3-oz. baked chicken breast, 1 cup steamed broccoli, 1 baked yam.
½ cup cottage cheese, ½ cup vanilla yogurt, ½ cup frozen blueberries, ½ scoop vanilla protein powder, 1 tbsp. agave, a few shakes of cinnamon. Swirl all the ingredients up in a bowl and you’re good to go.
½ cup oatmeal, 1 cup vanilla almond milk, 1 tbsp. PB, ½ scoop of protein powder (Make sure to use one with no hormones or antibiotics), few shakes of cinnamon.
2 hard-boiled eggs, 2 carrot sticks, 2 celery stalks and one apple.
- Add one can of chunk white, albacore tuna to a bowl with 1 tbsp. pickle relish and 2 tbsp. of low-fat mayonnaise.
- Mix thoroughly and spread onto one slice of bread, then place the other slice on top.
- Feel free to add lettuce and a honking slice of tomato, and have some carrot and celery sticks on the side.
1 banana with 1 tbsp. of PB spread across the top.
1, 3-oz. lean steak, 1 cup of steamed Brussels Sprouts and 1 cup of cooked long-grain, wild rice.
1 cup steamed edamame. You can find this at a local health food store in the frozen section. Edamame is immature soy beans. They are super good and nutrient packed! Get the shelled kind. It takes a mere five minutes to steam them. Once they are done, place them in a bowl and sprinkle some sea salt over top.
2 hard-boiled eggs, 1 sprouted cinnamon-raisin English muffin with 2 tbsp. of peanut butter. Feel free to toast the muffin or leave it as is. Drizzle some liquid amino acids on the eggs for additional flavor.
Meal replacement bar. Choose one that is organic and has a balance of protein, carbs, fat and fiber.
Chicken wrap on a whole wheat tortilla.
Add lettuce, tomato, sprouts, peppers, and any other vegetable you like. Cheese is fine too, but don’t overdo it. Provolone and Swiss are good options. Add mustard, raspberry vinaigrette, balsamic vinegar or barbecue sauce, but, make sure to go sparingly! You only need a little dab to flavor it.
2 tbsp. of nut butter of your choosing spread across apple slices.
1 cup lentils, ½ cup quinoa, 1 cup of steamed cauliflower, 1 apple.
Prepare the lentils and quinoa with a cube of vegetable broth in each or actual broth in a carton. Combine lentils and quinoa together after prepared.
Sprinkle some sea salt over the cauliflower if you’d like and use organic butter if you want a little more flavor. Just go easy on it.
Protein Pudding. Add one chopped up banana and one scoop of chocolate protein powder to a bowl. Mash the two together until you get a thick, even paste.
Wafflewich – 2 whole grain, frozen organic waffles, 2 tbsp. PB, drizzle of agave syrup.
Toast the waffles, spread the PB and drizzle the agave syrup across one half. Place the other half on top and make a sandwich out of it.
2 organic cheese sticks, 2 chopped up carrots, 2 chopped up celery stalks, 10 almonds and 1 apple.
Meal replacement bar (remember the criteria from above).
Turkey burger and sweet potato fries.
- Prepare 1 free range turkey burger and place it on a sprouted bun.
- Add lettuce, tomato and a slice of cheese of your choosing.
- Prepare a side of sweet potato fries and have a portion the size of your open hand. You can find these in the frozen section of your local health food store.
Add 1 cup of vanilla coconut milk, 2 scoops of vanilla protein powder, 1 cup frozen blueberries and 3 ice cubes to a blender. Fire it up and blend until you achieve an even consistency.
Add 1, 7-oz. container of plain Greek yogurt, 1 scoop protein powder, 2 tbsp. of agave or coconut nectar and 1 c frozen berries to a bowl and mix thoroughly.
2 Turkey jerky snack sticks and 1 apple.
Ready-to-drink meal replacement shake. Choose any flavor you like and make sure it has no artificial flavors, colors, hormones or antibiotics.
1 hormone-free chicken and apple sausage link, 1 cup steamed asparagus, 1 cup pearled barley.
Protein shake with banana.
- Place 2 scoops of vanilla protein in a shaker cup, add 8 oz. of unsweetened vanilla coconut milk and shake thoroughly.
- Drink the shake and eat a banana with it to balance out the carb-to-protein ratio.
3-egg spinach scramble with a sprouted bagel.
- Beat the eggs in a bowl with a little bit of water added.
- Place 3 cups of spinach in an oiled skillet and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Pour the eggs into the pan and mix with the spinach until the eggs become dry.
- Feel free to top the eggs with salsa, ketchup or hot sauce.
- Either toast the bagel and add organic butter and agave syrup, or just eat it plain.
Meal replacement bar or shake.
Turkey log rolls and an apple.
- Place two slices of hormone-free turkey breast stacked on top of each other flat on a cutting board.
- Add a slice of provolone cheese, several leaves of Romaine lettuce and a line of mustard right down the center.
- Place a carrot on the edge and roll it forward as you wrap the contents around it into the shape of a log.
- Make two of these and eat them with an apple.
2 cheese sticks, 2 chopped up carrots, 2 chopped up celery stalks and 10 dried apricots (make sure to get the organic kind with no sulfites or preservatives).
One serving of Rail Fagioli.
You will need: 8-oz. box of quinoa elbows, 1 head of cauliflower, 1 can of garbanzo beans, 1 can of pasta sauce and ½ cup of hemp seeds.
Prepare the elbows and cauliflower, add the other ingredients and mix everything evenly. You will have enough for at least two meals, if not three.
Banana Berry Medley.
Add 1 banana, 1 cup of fresh or frozen berries, 1 tbsp. of raw sunflower seeds, 1 scoop of protein powder and a drizzle of agave or coconut nectar to a bowl. Mash everything together with a spoon until you get an even consistency.
PBS—Peanut Butter Sprouted bagel. 1 sprouted bagel, 2 tbsp. of peanut butter.
½ cup dry roasted edamame. Place in a Ziploc bag.
Roast beef sandwich on sprouted bun, raw veggies and apple.
Add three slices of lean roast beef, 1 slice of provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato and either mustard or barbecue sauce on the bun. Have 5 cherry tomatoes, 2 carrot and celery sticks and ½ of a sliced cucumber on the side.
2 celery sticks with almond butter, chia seeds and raisins. Spread the almond butter in the crevices of the celery, drizzle chia seeds over top, then pack the raisins inside.
- 1, 3 oz. wild caught baked salmon steak
- 1 romaine heart
- 3 cups of 50/50 greens mix
- ½ cup garbanzo beans
- ¼ cup organic shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ chopped red pepper
- ½ cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 chopped carrot
- 1 chopped celery stalk
- 4 chopped cherry tomatoes
- ¼ cup of raisins
- 1 tbsp. of hemp seeds
- Drizzle of Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids
- 3 tbsp. of sesame ginger dressing
Add all the ingredients in large bowl, chop up thoroughly and enjoy!
If you follow this fat burning eating plan you will be amazed at how fast you get lean and trim.
Consider this a permanent lifestyle change!
This is NOT A DIET…
It is NOT TEMPORARY
It is a NEW WAY OF LIFE!
If you want to get results even faster, workout 5 to 6 times per week with cardio and muscle toning exercise. Interval training, like HIIT or Tabata will get your results even faster.
Kettlebell workouts combine fat burning with muscle toning into one great workout and are highly recommended.
Stick with it, you deserve to feel and look great, and it’s all in your hands!
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