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14 Strategies to Your Best Body: Part 1

Posted by tdifranc on September 1, 2012

Most people looking to lose weight and feel better have some sort of body composition change/improvement goal in mind. The problem is that very few have the success they are looking for. I often remind people that you simply can’t out-train a bad diet! Yes, exercise is important and you won’t truly succeed without it, but eating healthy is the MOST significant factor in changing your body composition for the better. Here is the proof on that…scroll to “Insight #4 & #5” 

Here are the first 7 strategies out of 14 that you can employ immediately to help you towards Your Best Body without much effort at all:

1. Ice Cold Water: Drinking ice cold water first thing in the morning helps in several ways. Fat burning occurs best when you are hydrated, and your body has to burn calories to try to warm up the cold water. Also, don’t forget that if you are dehydrated you often feel hungry…sometimes a big glass of water is all you need instead of a snack or meal1,3.

2. Slow Down: Don’t eat as fast and your stomach will be able to tell your brain when you are full 1,2. The alternative is to wolf down your meal and grab seconds before your stomach can alert your brain that you are full. In this case,  you consume twice as much as is necessary and then prepare for some version of a diabetic coma while your body finds ways to use or store the excess calories (often as fat). As a teaching point: during digestion, which starts when the food hits your tongue there’s a slight delay between the food in your stomach and your body’s ability to recognize that. Receptors and hormones need TIME to transfer the messages to our brains and let our body’s know that we just ate!

3. Make a Menu: Making a menu and posting it in a central location in the house not only lets family members know what to expect, but it also saves you time and money while shopping. Furthermore, it will give you a plan each week to follow. Menu BoardIf planned carefully it keeps you clean and accountable. You will be much less likely to end up at a restaurant or fast food joint in a mad panic for food if you already have every meal planned out ahead of time.

4. “Go-To” Meals: Having 2 options each for breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner and dessert that can be made quickly will make that menu making project very simple! You can plan to always shop for these knowing you will have them 1-2 times per week minimum. They may evolve or stay the same, but either way you will always have them in your back pocket when you are in a pinch.

5. Prepare In Advance: Make a big pot of your “Go-To” lunch options. Chili on Sunday takes care of lunches for the week! If it is prepped you will eat it…

6. Give yourself a day off (if you NEED it): Allowing yourself a day off if you feel like you need it or if it comes up naturally on your social calendar can slash the guilt of having a “slide” meal/day, and even makes sense physiologically. In order for you to feel full and satiated after a meal, your brain must receive signals from your digestive system. One of these signals comes from the hormone leptin. Leptin is secreted by fat cells and is responsible for controlling hunger as well as metabolism (another reason to seek out good fats).  You feel hungry when your leptin levels are low and you feel full once your levels rise again. When you consistently restrict your daily caloric/fat intake, your leptin levels adjust to being low and your metabolism slows down to accommodate. Sooooo…when your buddy calls and says lets go watch the game at the bar downtown and you end up having an unplanned “slide” meal sandwiched by consistent GREAT meals, this can actually spike your leptin levels and rev up your metabolism2. If you like to plan a weekly “slide” meal/day or if you prefer to let it happen naturally it’s ok and you should not feel guilty. I have attempted both and I do prefer to let it happen naturally but this does take some discipline to a.) decline some invitations from friends/family and/or b.) avoid nasty trap foods and beverages while at social gatherings. The issue with planning them is that inevitably you will have those impromptu dinners, celebrations, and gatherings…when you add those into the planned “slide” meals/days they can add up! The bottom line is to avoid stringing a weekend or 3-4 days/6-8 “slide” meals together…make it an approach you can sustain for a lifetime!

7. Sleep: Getting a good night’s sleep helps your body recover and avoid production of fat storing hormones4. Research has found that a lack of sleep creates hormone imbalances within the body by decreasing leptin levels and insulin sensitivity, both of which can ultimately lead to a decrease in energy and an increase in appetite. Stay tuned for our post on how to get a better night’s sleep!

Sources:

1.) Blevins JE, et al. “Hypothalamic-Brainstem Circuits Controlling Eating” Forum of Nutrition 2010;63:133–40.

2.) Leinninger GM, et al. “Leptin Acts via Leptin Receptor-Expressing Lateral Hypothalamic Neurons to Modulate the Mesolimbic Dopamine System and Suppress Feeding,” Cell Metabolism. Aug 2009;10(2):89–98.

3.) Dennis E, et al. “Water Consumption Increases Weight Loss During a Hypocaloric Diet Intervention in Middle-aged and Older adults” Obesity. Feb 2010;18(2):300–07

4.) Garaulet M, et al. “Ghrelin, Sleep Reduction and Evening Preference: Relationships to CLOCK 3111T/C SNP and Weight Loss” Plos One. 2011;6(2):1-7

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7 Responses to “14 Strategies to Your Best Body: Part 1”

  1. Steve Zirolli said

    Thanks Tim. This is very helpful as I am on a quest myself to get into great shape.

  2. Jeffrey Gold said

    Wow. I’m not sure what to do w this in my inbox. Are my eyes actually seeing this?

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. Daniel Sanders said

    blair, subscribe to this newsletter. The guy that writes them is a strength coach for the Lakers.

    Halla!

  4. […] machine…actually forget about raising your hand, just read Part 2 of our Best Body series (**UPDATED Part 1 here). I have no problem with working hard and it certainly takes hard work and discipline to […]

  5. Reblogged this on New Hampshire Strippers, NH bachelor party and commented:
    Great articles, part 1 of 2 I assume

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