100% of new coaching clients we work with have heard about how to eat for fat loss and building muscle. But they struggle with deciding what to eat for each meal. Below is the simple cheat sheet we use ourselves and with clients to help them make better nutritional choices more consistently.
Nutrition for fat loss cheat #1 – Are you eating too much food at each meal?
The majority of our clients want to lose fat. To do this you need to create a caloric deficit through training and nutrition. But you already knew this – the hard part is implementing it on a daily basis. There are a number of ways you can go about this. You can follow a “diet” like Palo, keto, or vegan. You can count calories and track macro’s. You can do things like intermittent fasting or juice cleanses. All of which will work because they can help you create a caloric deficit in one of two ways:
- Eliminate certain food groups like grains, dairy, meat, carbs in general. Or entire meals (Intermittent fasting and cleanses).
- Force you to become aware of your intake. This is done when you weight and measure everything that you’re eating and drinking
As we have always said, we are more nutritional agnostist. We don’t really believe one method is better than another. There are a number of ways you can approach nutrition to help you lose fat and build muscle. However, for most of the people we have worked with following “diets” and counting calories is never a long term solution.
Counting calories works but can be a pain in the ass and most people hate doing it. Following a specific diet comes with a steep learning curve and Most people get frustrated trying to figure out what they can and can’t eat. And how to eat out and still follow the diet.
If you want to start losing fat today here are 2 strategies you can implement immediately that will help – Without changing the food that you eat.
- Eat slowly:Most people eat far to fast and don’t let their tummy signal to their brain that they’re actually full. It takes roughly 20-minutes for this to happen. If you finish a meal in 2-minutes, there are 18-minutes in which you can still keep eating without realizing you’ve had enough to eat. Set a timer, use chopsticks, and put utensils down in-between bites. Give yourself a chance to feel full. Studies are showing that just by slowing down when you eat you’ll consume fewer calories. Enough to lose 20 pounds a year without making any other changes.
- Eat until you feel 80% full:We’ve been conditioned at a very young age to clear out plates – Because you know, there are starving kids out there and some how us overeating even though we’ve had enough will save them all. Learning when you’ve had enough to eat can be tough but if you’re eating slowly it will give you a chance to check in with yourself and assess how much hunger you actually have. A few ways to eat to 80% full are to use smaller plates or purposely leave 20% of your meal on your plate at the 20-minute mark of eating (then ask yourself how much hunger you still have).
Nutrition for fat loss cheat #2 – Are you eating protein and veggies with each meal?
Protein with every meal will help you lose body fat and maintain lean muscle. Adding a serving of vegetables with that source of protein will help reduce your appetite and keep you feeling full for a longer period of time. Thus, you’ll be eating less over a 24 hour period. But how much protein and veggies per meal?
- For men: 2 palms of protein or roughly 8 ounces and 2-3 fists of veggies
- For women: 1 palm of protein or roughly 4-6 ounces and 1-2 fists of veggies
Mix and match your favorite sources and get creative with herbs, spices, and various seasonings to create meals you’ll enjoy.
Nutrition for fat loss cheat #3 – Eat smarter carbs and swap grains with greens
Restaurants want you to feel like you’re getting your monies worth, so they give you large servings of inexpensive foods like rice, breads, and other grains. Carbohydrates are also typically easy to prepare. Making a sand-which takes less time and clean up than cooking a meal for yourself. Pouring a bowl of cereal is less time consuming then mixing up some oatmeal and scrambling a few eggs.
Make smarter carb choices by including a fist sized serving of berries with a meal or two. If you eat starchy carbs like sweet potato, bread, or rice – be aware of the portions. A fist sized serving for men and 1/2 – 1 fist for women is usually enough. If rapid fat loss is a goal of yours limit starchy carbs to post exercise only and swap vegetables with some of those carbohydrates.
Nutrition for fat loss cheat #4 – Have some healthy fats with each meal
Healthy fats are not only important for proper hormonal function but also help with satiety and controlling hunger. Most people OVER eat fats and this can lead to an inefficient metabolism, blood sugar swings, and difficulty controlling appetite. For men, 1-2 thumb sized servings or tablespoons of a healthy fat will do the trick and for women, 1 thumb or 1 tablespoon of healthy fat is a good place to start.
Healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, and nuts and seeds are perfect for this.
Nutrition for fat loss cheat #5 – Drink zero calorie beverages.
The following list is the average amount of calories in some of our favorite beverages (calorie king).
- Fruit juice (8oz.): 115 calories, 29 grams of carbohydrates, and 27 grams of sugar
- Soda (12oz.): 140 calories, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 39 grams of sugar
- Vitamin Water (20oz.): 125 calories, 33 grams of sugar
- Beer: 153 calories, 12 grams of carbohydrate
- Coffee w/cream & sugar: 120 calories, 19 grams of carbohydrate, 17 grams of sugar
By eliminating caloric beverages you can save yourself hundreds and sometimes thousands of calories per day. That’s enough alone to lose a pound or two each week.
Should I make all these changes at once?
These tips are ways to make any meal healthier, faster to make, and better.
But here’s the deal. Making changes like this can be tough. Far too often people try to bite off more than they can chew and end up failing in a week or two. You don’t need to implement all these tips at one time or to follow the meal plan I’ve provided 100% to start making progress.
Pick one of the tips above and practice it for a week. Or pick one of the meals – lunch for instance – in the meal plan and make it for a week. Start slow, build momentum, and when you’ve found your groove start adding a little more.
One small improvement at a time
When we coach clients we never give them a strict meal plan to follow, wish them luck, and expect them to follow it perfectly. That’s not realistic and that’s not coaching. Most people need help navigating healthy eating in their everyday life. To learn how to eat well when they travel, go out with friends, and to manage emotional eating and constant snacking because of excessive hunger.
This takes time. It takes practice. You’ve probably tried to follow a super strict meal plan before. We are willing to bet you did well with it for a few weeks, saw some progress, but then life got in the way and you were done with it. That or you felt deprive and hated it. Learn how to eat healthy without nutrition consuming you. Make one small change today and practice it for a week or two. Slowly add in new healthy habit when you’ve got that one down.
The team at Club Sweat