As beach season arrives, I’d like to initiate dialogue about fat-loss, and even turn the blog into a Q & A or troubleshooting hub for general adipose tissue — AKA, fat — destruction.Â The first installment features 10 fat-loss tips for men:
1. Weigh yourself daily
No, this is not unhealthy obsessive behavior. Yes, I realize water and sodium and carbohydrate intake can cause significant fluctuations in weight, even on a day-to-day basis. Still, excelling at anything requires constant, impartial feedback. Daily scale accountability will focus you on your goal every morning.
2. Don’t watch mindless TV
Merely seeing food can trigger a physiological hunger response. And let’s be honest, the types of foods seen in commercials aren’t conducive to visible abs. Boredom, too, destroys physiques: if women eat their feelings, men eat their boredom.Â Do something, and you won’t snack; do nothing — e.g., watch TV — and you will be tempted. Aim for output: creating something — anything — activates higher brain functions which relegate hunger to the back burner.
3. Avoid excess hunger
Hunger potentiates salty and sweet taste buds; salty or sweet foods will taste better when you’re hungry. This spells disaster for those with bingeing tendencies: miss a few meals during a hectic workday and a slice or two of frozen pizza when you get home becomes the entire pie with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s to boot. The solution? Eat offensively: every few hours. Don’t go hours on end without food and previously irresistible cravings become negligible.
4. Snack on nuts/monounsaturated fats
Most nuts are rich in monounsaturated fat, protein, and fiber. This combination exerts a powerful hunger-blunting effect. 15-20 nuts constitutes a snack (try adding a protein shake for a host of additional benefits), and 50 nuts can be used as a meal replacement. Monounsaturated fats in general are very satiating; consider adding high quality extra-virgin olive oil or my personal favorite, macadamia nut oil, to your pantry. (Don’t skimp when purchasing olive oil; real extra-virgin olive oilÂ has a natural peppery finish and a deep, green aroma of grass and artichoke. It is not bland and not merely used to grease pans.)
5. Make your intentions public
Set a target weight-loss date and share it with a loved one, or participate in a team-based fat-loss contest. Enter into a head-to-head bet with a friend, withÂ sizableÂ stakes — men flourish in competition. Added social incentives are powerful motivators. Like Warren Buffett says, you want some “skin in the game.”
6. Make one small nutritional improvement per day, and one large behavioral change per week
Look, I get it: fat-loss is a very emotional process. When people embark on a diet, they want to lose 10 lbs. yesterday. They depart culinary hedonism — burgers, fries, and soda for lunch and pizza and beer for dinner — and opt for a monastic diet of ice water and steamed tilapia filets. And an asparagus spear. Coupled with hundreds of dollars of supplements. This lasts all of three days, and when they inevitably fall off the wagon it’s bad: 17 Pop-Tarts bad. A whole cheesecake bad. Too much change all at once overwhelms.
Bypass this ascetic doom loop and instead implement the above advice. When compounded over several months, it leads to dramatic changes in appearance and healthy, new habits; when examined microcosmically, in the course of a week or two, it’s painless. Exchange lunchtime soda for water (small daily improvement), and establish a Sunday ritual of grocery shopping and planning your meals for the upcoming week (large behavioral change), for example.
7. Eat a man’s breakfast
Yes, carbs can be beneficial in the morning, but protein and fat bestow real fullness. Don’t shun whole eggs in your omelet or peanut butter on your toast; man cannot subsist on cereal alone. Consume more calories in your first meal of the day and you will eat less during the rest of it.
8. Practice slow meals and hara hachi bu
Eat slowly and mindfully. Learn to savor, and actually taste, food. Converse with friends over dinner, listen and contribute. Don’t bolt down your food in a hectic rush to return to whatever you were last doing. The quicker you eat, the more you tend to eat. Experience one thing at a time, including meals; they weren’t meant to be multitasked.
Why? It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to send “I’m full” signals to your brain. Complete a meal in less than that, and you’ll have no biofeedback on how much you ate until it’s too late. Meals that exceed 20 minutes confer two-fold weight-loss benefits: you’ll be fuller longer, and you’ll feel full from less food.
Hara hachi bu is a Okinawan phrase meaning, loosely, “eat ’til 80% full.” Okinawans also have the longest life expectancy in the world; they’re doing something right. If that doesn’t appease you, elite Russian athletes have a saying, “always be a little hungry,” which they rigorously apply in the gym and in the kitchen. Turns out humans weren’t meant to eat until drowsy.
9. Don’t drink calories
Think of your apportioned daily calorie total as a bank account: you only have so much to spend before you’re broke. If I can “spend” 2,500 calories in a day without blowing my budget — i.e., I can still lose weight — then I’d much rather spend those calories on food than drinks. Why? Because there’s plenty of things I can drink that cost me nothing. Tasty, zero-calorie beverages abound: water, teas, coffee (black), diet sodas, and Crystal Light. There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but there exists a free refreshment to go with it, at least when we’re talking calories.
10) Butt in gym
Don’t complain about lack of weight-loss if your butt is not in the gym. Regularly. Make a routine, and adhere. Also don’t obsess over the workout itself; consistency trumps any “magic” program. Here’s a rule of thumb: when you leave the gym, someone walking in should readily perceive that you just worked out — that you exerted yourself. Sweat, lose your breath, exhaust some muscles. Don’t just show up, get your butt in the gym.
Questions on how to pair this advice with some supplements that work? Call us at 800-499-4810