Posts Tagged ‘fat loss tips’

Carbohydrate TimingIlovecarbs

High levels of insulin and insulin resistance puts fat burning on the back burner.  If you can limit your carbohydrates so that you are only eating them during the time periods when your insulin sensitivity is at its highest (low insulin), you will make your goal of losing fat a whole lot easier.  When are these time periods?

(1) Your first meal of the day – After a night of not eating, your insulin sensitivity is higher than normal. This is because your body has been using the glucose in your blood and the glycogen stored in your liver to maintain body functions throughout the night. Upon waking, your body’s stores of glycogen are lower – resulting in a lower amount of insulin needed to store the carbohydrates you’re about to eat.

(2) Your pre-workout meal – Most people don’t think of insulin sensitivity being high just before your workout. And really, it isn’t. However, during exercise, your insulin response is muted. Your pre-workout meal is a great time to get in some carbohydrates and some much needed energy for your workout.

(3) Your post-workout meal – Your post-workout meal is the time when your insulin sensitivity is at its highest, and it’s a great time to implement nutrient timing principles. While you work out, your muscles use glycogen to fuel your exercise. So much so, that after your workout, your muscles just soak up the glucose in your blood. Your muscles are so starved for glucose that they are able to take the carbohydrates you eat and convert it into glycogen without any real need for insulin.

Knowing that these 3 time periods are preferred for carbohydrate intake, we can then start to formulate a diet plan. Depending on your carbohydrate demand and your goals, I would prioritize my carbohydrate intake like this:

Carbs post-workout only

Carbs post-workout and first meal of the day

Carbs pre and post-workout, and the first meal of the day

If you have a stubborn metabolism and have trouble losing body fat, eat the majority of your carbohydrates post workout. This meal should consist of protein and carbohydrates and very little fat. The remaining carb-less meals should consist of protein, healthy fats, and veggies. Planning your meals this way enables you to get all the benefits from the 3 macronutrients (fat, carbs, and protein).

It also puts you in a prime metabolic state to mobilize fatty acids. Nutrient timing is your answer to successful fat loss. By eating your carbohydrates at specific times of the day, you enable your body to remain in a fat burning state for a longer period of time.  If your energy is low and you feel you need more carbohydrates, add additional ones first thing in the morning.  If you workout early, then add them post-workout and before 2pm.  For those high energy, high volume exercisers, you could probably get away with all three, pre and post workout as well as first meal of the day!!!


Research shows that people who are more physically active throughout the day can burn an extra 300 calories per day, over 12 days that can add up to an extra pound of weight loss.  Our bodies were meant to move so don’t become victim of the “sitting disease.”  By just doing a little more throughout your day you can increase the total number of calories you burn.  To accomplish this just reduce the time you spend sitting, while adding calorie burning activities to your day.  Challenge yourself to sit for no longer than an hour at a time even if that means just walking around the office for 2-3 minutes at a time.  This summer wash your own car, mow the lawn, garden or weed, get out at lunch for a brisk walk, take a bike ride, etc.

To be more in tune with how much you are really moving you may want to invest in a pedometer.  First, determine how many steps you are averaging each day.  Then,  set goals for yourself to increase those steps.  You should be getting in at least 10,000 steps a day!

Insulin – a hormone produced in the pancreas regulates the amount of sugar in the blood.  In diabetics, the pancreas produces no insulin at all, too little, or it is defective.  Only about 10% of the people with diabetes are Type I where their bodies do not produce insulin.  The majority of the diabetic population produce too little or the system is defective.  The major function of this hormone is to distribute the broken down food (glucose) to leave the bloodstream and enter the cells of the body for energy.

Obesity is the excess accumulation of fat.  The excess fat is stored in the fat cells (adipose cells), which, collectively make up the adipose tissue.  So, how does this fat get into the fat cells?  The answer is Insulin.  It’s well known that insulin stimulates an enzyme on the surface of the fat cells that moves the fat into the cell.  So, if you produce a lot of insulin, there is going to be large amounts of fats moving into the fat cells.  People always ask about the fat in their diet.  You would assume a lot of fat in your diet would increase your fat storage.  That is not the case.  Take a look at Type I diabetics.  They can have large amounts of fat in their diet and eat ravenously but cannot store fat because their bodies don’t produce insulin.  So, dietary fat, even in enormous amounts, won’t even find the way to the fat cells without insulin.  The opposite holds true for a low amount of insulin.  With it low, insulin’s sibling, glucagon, plays a role in retrieving energy from the fat cells for usage.  Problems arise when this system becomes defective, which most commonly happens when people develop insulin resistance.  Insulin talks, but the cells don’t listen.  In other words, the pancreas keeps producing insulin and the blood levels continue to rise until the cells finally get the message.  But it’s a message that has taken a lot of insulin force to deliver. 

If all the different types of cells developed resistance to insulin at the same rate, we wouldn’t have as much of a problem.  But they don’t. Different cells develop insulin resistance at different rates.  Typically the first cells to become insulin resistant are the liver cells.  The liver cells are continuously producing sugar and dumping it into the blood.  Insulin shuts this process down.  If the insulin level drops to zero, as it does in type I diabetes, the liver dumps a huge load of sugar in the blood causing all the blood sugar problems associated with this disease.  Under normal circumstances, just a little insulin stops the liver cells in their tracks.  But if these cells are resistant to insulin, much more is required to get them the message to turn off the sugar flow.

In most people, the fat cells develop insulin resistance later, which creates the problem.  If insulin levels are high to control the liver’s sugar output, then these elevated insulin levels are sending a strong message to the non-insulin-resistant fat cells.  The message is take this fat and store it.  High insulin not only drives fat into the fat cells, it prevents it from getting out.  Fat is packed into the fat cells and kept there.

Between meals when insulin levels would normally fall, allowing the fat to freely feed all the body’s tissues, insulin remains high in an effort to keep the liver in check.  Fat can’t get out of the fat cells, and the tissues begin to starve.  Even though there is plenty of stored fat, the body can’t get to it because elevated insulin is preventing its release.

Starving tissues send a message to the brain, saying ‘we’re hungry.’  The brain responds by increasing the drive to feed.  We eat, and the carbs we eat are consumed by the cells for immediate energy, and insulin stimulated by the dietary carbohydrate drives the fat into the fat cells where it is trapped with the rest of the fat already there.  The fat cell mass gets larger and larger, and we become obese.

We make too much insulin because we eat too many carbohydrates, especially sugar and other refined carbohydrates.  The key is to stay away from these kinds of foods, increase your amounts of lean proteins, choose healthy fats, and moderately eat fresh fruits and vitamin packed veggies.


Spring is here and summer is right around the corner.  Pool season is coming upon us.  Outside events and dinner parties wearing sun dresses and shorts.  You’ve probably been going at it hard for awhile or maybe you are just starting.  Either way, right now, your decision to get lean and in shape for the warm weather is decided now.  Maybe you’ve been try to lose weight and have been working hard to sculpt those shoulders but just haven’t found the right mix to get it done.  Use these strategies as they are the Keys to Getting Lean.

  • Get the proper amount of sleep.  Aim for 7.5 hours a night.  The human body requires fuel in order to function correctly.  Just as a machine would malfunction if you take away an essential part, the body fails to operate in a competent manner if you remove an essential component. Sleep is a crucial element to retain energy and stamina throughout the day.  In addition, sleep supports the maintenance of balancing in hormone levels, which significantly affects body weight and body fat.  A good night’s sleep allows the body to restore the physical and mental stresses of the day and provides the body with the vital means to function correctly.


  • Be consistent. Make a commitment and continue to strive for excellence.  Even when you don’t feel like the scale is reflecting the effort you are putting in, keep pushing.  Don’t rely on a number.  Instead, base your results on how you feel with regards to energy and stamina.  The scale may not have changed but your clothes are fitting better.  Remember, this is a process and it takes time to achieve your goals.  Stay motivated and remain consistent.


  • Nutrition is very important.  How’s the saying go: “Nutrition is 80% of it.  Results are based on the quality of foods you put in your mouth.  Abs and lean bodies are made in the kitchen.  You are what you eat.  If you eat cookies and doughnuts, you’re physique is going to look and feel like them, soft and round.  You want results, start eating better.  Incorporate lean proteins from lean beef, chicken, turkey, fish, preferably organic and wild caught.  Cut out all your sugar, bread and other processed food items from your diet.  You don’t need them.  Energy is minimal if you make those choices.  Eat a lot of veggies and fruits in moderation.   Also don’t forget your healthy fats.  Sources such as avocados, nuts, and Omega 3 oils.  Drink plenty of water.  Your body cannot burn fat without proper hydration.  Limit the consumption of alcohol.  If the liver is metabolizing alcohol, fat burning is non-existent.


  • Strength train 2-3 times a week.  Focus on all the major muscles groups.  Stay away from machines and use your own bodyweight, dumbbells, functional apparatus like bands, kettlebells, and the Trx.  Add a little muscle and your body becomes a more efficient fat burner.  Do not, I repeat, do not go all out on your cardio.  Chronic cardio will only raise your stress hormones.  Higher stress hormones (cortisol) cause more carbohydrate consumption.  Hormonally your body doesn’t know the difference between you having fun running on a treadmill or you fleeing a predator.  Chemically, the system sees it as a fight or flight response.  Instead, be active and do some light activity throughout the day.  Continuous movement and walking are the best ways to burn energy.  


  • Write stuff down. Write your goals down, write your measurements down, record your workouts, write it down or keep track of it with online tools.  There are many websites and applications you can use.  Two that I like are myfitnesspal and lose it.  Seeing your daily progress serves as an inspirational motivator.  Studies have shown better weight loss results and goal achievement with those individuals who keep a diary.

Look at this as a lifestyle, a journey with continuous change.  There will be times when you falter.  But, remember, it’s only a mere bump in the road.  Have a strong reserve and move forward with a consistent valiant effort and you will achieve excellence!

Happy Friday everyone! The weekend is here and March Madness has begun.  The roundball games will be aired all across the tube. A perfect time to gather with family and friends.  I’m sure there will be some cocktails and toasts in the air.  I just wanted to give you some tips to aid in helping you maintain your weight.  First off, drink alcohol in moderation.  Always have H20 on the side to stay somewhat hydrated.  This will minimize the chances of overindulging the heavy carbohydrates, especially the next morning after a binge.  When dining out go with the triage principle – assign your priorities based on urgency.

  • Your  number one conern is to get a main dish that is not a starch based food.  Avoid sandwiches with bread and pastas for dinner.  Typically, if you’re out with friends, chances are you will have a few drinks and enough carbs right there.
  • Next, try to choose a lean protein source like meat or seafood, etc.  Make sure it is cooked simply with no added breading or extra fat.
  • Always to get some fresh fruit or non-starchy veggies at every meal!
  • Finally, KISS, keep it Simple, Stupid! The fewer the ingredients, the better.  If you a have wide array of choices on your plate, the chances of overeating and gorging will be much greater.

Stick with these principles.  Use moderation as a defense.  And, most of all, enjoy life and don’t beat yourself up if you happened to falter.  Tomorrow is another day to pursue success. Go Big Blue! CATS CATS CATS

Last week, I discussed some of the basics regarding the Paleo lifetstyle and nutrition program.  Today, I wanted to give you ammunition so you can incorporate some of the foods into your own daily eating regimen.  Below is a Paleo grocery list and then, some sample meal plans.  Challenge yourself to make some positive changes by eliminating simple sugars and processed carbohydrates while increasing vegetable intake, quality protein, and healthy fats. Here goes:

Grocery List (Paleo style/Caveman Strong!)


Produce Department

  • Focus on the crops that are in season in order to get the best prices and nutrient content.
  • Choose organic when/if possible and if your bank account allows.
  • Stock up on what’s on sale – many vegetables can be frozen for later use!
  • Purchase spinach, salad blends, pre-cut vegetables, etc. if convenience and minimal prep time are important.
  • Fill your cart with color!

Get Lots!!

  • Great choices include: spinach, greens, broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, asparagus, brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, garlic, fresh herbs, sweet potatoes (for post workout meals), mushrooms, tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, avocado… (Avoid the nightshades if you have autoimmune issues.)

Don’t go crazy here! Fit fruit into your diet primarily in the post workout period.

  • Great choices include: Berries, watermelon, cantaloupe, mango, peaches, grapefruit, oranges, plums, apples, bananas

Meat Department
Go for grass-fed meat, wild caught fish, and free range poultry if it’s available and within your budget. If choosing farm raised meats opt for leaner cuts, if grass fed the fat is good!! Remember, look for the yellowish/orange color and limit the purchase of the meat with the whiter type of fat.


  • Beef, bison, venison, wild game, pork – they’re all good! Sirloin, tenderloin, flank, and strip steaks are the leanest choices.
  • Poultry – When choosing poultry, the breast and thigh portions will yield the most meat and from a food to $$ ratio are the best bets! There are also many ‘natural’ sausage options available in large supermarkets – chicken apple sausage is wonderful!!

Fish & Seafood

  • -Salmon, tuna and other fatty fish are the best choices due to their high Omega-3 fatty acid content. Oysters are a great source of Omega-3 and they tend to have an aphrodisiac effect as well. For variety cod, perch, tilapia, mahi, scallops, shrimp, etc. are good choices too.

Dairy Department

  • Don’t spend too much time here!! Look for the eggs. Omega-3 fortified eggs from free-range chickens are the optimal choice!

Many times this is where people get in trouble! So many pretty packages with pictures of cookies, crackers, snacks, etc. AVOID aisles of temptation!!

  • Next stop – oils. Coconut oil and olive oil are must haves. Avocado and walnut oils are also very good on salads.  You can go with canola but the previously mentioned are the best for you.
  • Coconut milk (the kind in a can with no sugar added), in post workout smoothies, and as an alternative to creamer if you’re a coffee drinker. Get some!
  • Nuts and nut butters are also good to have around for quick snacks and in a pinch. Walnuts and macadamia nuts are the best choices and almond butter is EXCELLENT! When choosing nut butters make sure there are no added ingredients (sugar and hydrogenated oils). Also, purchase unsalted nuts.

Breakfast (7-8am)

 Protein Choices: Choose One

1 organic egg + 3 whites

2-3 whole organic eggs

3 slices nitrate/nitrite free turkey (boars head), beef or pork bacon

2-3 oz lean beef, poultry, pork, or fresh fish

Vegetable Choices: Choose One

1 cup cooked broccoli

1 cup cooked cauliflower

1 cup sautéed spinach

1 cup steamed asparagus

Fruit Choices: Choose One

1 apple

1 pear

1/2 medium banana

1/2 cup strawberries or blueberries (or combination of both)

Lunch (1-2pm) and Dinner (6-7pm)

 Protein Choices: Choose One

3-5 ounces chicken (dark or white meat)

3-5 ounces turkey (dark or white meat)

3-5 ounces fish (tuna only 1 time per week)

3-4 ounces beef (lean varieties, bison or laura’s lean of at least 93% lean, or grass-fed beef)

Over a salad that is made up of any of the following:

All lettuce except for Iceberg (It has no nutritional value)

Celery, Peppers, Cucumbers, Tomatoes

Vegetable Choices: Choose One

1 cup cooked broccoli

1 cup cooked cauliflower

1 cup sautéed spinach

1 cup steamed asparagus


Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Spices (salt, pepper, Italian Seasonings, to taste)

Snack #1 (10-11am) and Snack #2 (3-4pm)

 Protein Choices: Choose One

2 TBSP Natural, Raw Almond Butter

1 oz Raw Almonds

1 oz Raw Walnuts

1 oz Raw Pumpkin Seeds

1 oz Raw Sunflower Seeds

2 hard boiled eggs

2-3 oz sliced turkey breast or chicken breast

Vegetable Choices: Choose One

Celery Sticks

6-7 Baby Carrots

1/2 sliced red, yellow, or green pepper

1 cup broccoli or cauliflower


Fruit Choices: Choose One

1 apple

1 cup strawberries

1 cup blueberries

I’ve been hearing alot about this Paleo lifestyle lately.  Many books have been published the last few years or so promoting the Paleo diet as a way to lose weight and promote better health.  The recent buzz regarding this way of eating has become more popular by the wave of Crossfitters in gyms across the country.  Crossfit just finished doing a 30 day challenge eating only the Paleo way.  So, what exactly does a Paleo diet entail?

First, let’s describe Paleo itself.  Paleo, short for Paleolithic, is a pre-historic period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered.  It extends from the earliest use of stone tools some 2.6 million years ago.  During this period, humans gathered in small tribes and lived by gathering plants, hunting, and scavenging for wild animals.  Basically, our ancestors foraged through the woods looking for fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and if they were lucky, stalk and killed a wild animal fo some sort.   So, why all the buzz?

The caveman way is all about natural foods to help achieve better health and the perfect physique.  The human body evolved for more than 2 million years with the food found in nature: game meat, fish, vegetables, wild fruits, eggs and nuts.  The human race was thriving on this diet high in animal fat and proteins and low in carbohydrates, but things changed when we introduced unnatural foods to our bodies.  Hence, the start of the agricultural revolution.  Our society has become detached to the food we’ve been eating in nature for millions of years that has allowed us to become a highly evolved species.

The Paleo diet idea is that our genes and physiology evolved through the process of natural selection and are most adapted to be nourished with the food that we evolved around.  That includes the whole array of animal protein (beef, fish, shellfish, poultry, pork, lamb, bison, …) including their fat and organs as well as eggs, vegetables and limited amounts of fruits and nuts.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, some of the foods that we started eating in large quantity since the beginning of the agricultural revolution about 10,000 years ago are completely foreign to our genes and metabolism and wreak havoc in our body, often causing what we call the metabolic syndrome or diseases of civilization.  These include obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s and a host of other conditions that were unknown to our ancestors while destroying us today.

After learning more about the Paleo diet, I decided to start a challenge with my boot camp group to figure out my own results.  We’ve been going at it for a little over a week now.  The challenge seemed somewhat hard due to the fact that we had to give up starches, beans, and dairy.  Starches were not too difficult for me as I only eat oatmeal, ezekial bread, and the occasional handful of tricuits.  Dairy was the hardest to give up.  I really enjoy my Grande, Sugar-free, Vanilla latte every morning.  But, it has been a week now and things are going smoothly.  I’m missing my latte a little but the changes have been wonderful.  My body is burning fat more efficiently.  I’ve lost about 3 pounds the last week, some of it water with the lack of carbs and some fat.  Body fat tests indicate a drop of a little over a half percent.  My energy has increased, my workouts are stronger, I feel more satiated throughout the day and my sleep has vastly improved.  We’ll see what happens the remaining two weeks.  I will post a basic meal plan and a Paleo grocery list in the next few days for anyone intersted in trying to go Paleo.  I highly recommend eliminating dairy, minimizing the amount of grains in your diet, and loading up on the veggies regardless if you choose to go Paleo or not.