If you’re a walker who’s looking to lose weight, your diet doesn’t need to be complicated – it just needs to be smart. These new rules of lean eating represent the most effective nutritional strategies that I’ve distilled from my years of work as a nutrition researcher, counsellor and practitioner. Some of this advice may run counter to what you’ve previously heard (especially on the internet!), but keep an open mind. Not only are these rules grounded in science, they’ve also been shown to work in the real world. Try them yourself – and you might finally achieve the results you really want.
Eat greens first
The more vegetables that you eat at a given meal, the less total kilojoules you will eat. This is one of the few “eat more and consume less” claims that’s actually supported by scientific research. For most people, the best way to do this is to eat vegetables first. Have a small salad prior to your meal, and if that isn’t possible, eat all the vegetables on your plate before diving into anything else in front of you.
Chew Your Food
Don’t underestimate the power of your mother’s sage advice. Digestion starts in your mouth; not just mechanically, but metabolically. Chewing your food causes your body to pre-emptively release the hormone insulin in small amounts, leading to better blood sugar control and thus a more optimal environment for fat loss. So eat slowly, take smaller bites and chew well.
Spike your protein
Protein is good for your fat-loss and muscle-building efforts, but constantly flooding your body with amino acids – the building blocks that make up protein – can be counterproductive. Instead, you need to spike your blood amino acid levels, let them fall, and then spike them again. This is most easily achieved by eating at least 30 grams of protein no more frequently than every four hours.
Be the best at being average
Most failed diet attempts are due to an ill-fated cycle of intense food restriction, followed by massive binges. Break this cycle and lose more fat by trying to be average. Strive to have your diet be one that you can sustain forever. Don’t greatly under-eat and don’t binge on a lot of kilojoules. Be average and watch the fat melt off faster than average. Australian nutrition experts agree that you should aim to go no lower than 6300kJ (1500 calories) a day if you want to keep it off.
Meal-frequency maths matters
Remember this formula: 3 +1 = fat-loss success. You should eat three meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – every day, plus one protein-rich snack. On days that you walk vigorously, the protein-rich snack can be replaced with a post-workout drink. This eating framework allows you to eat large enough meals so that you are satisfied, while aligning your eating habits with regular meal times, so that it’s easily executable.
Drink Water and Unsweetened Tea
Sugar-sweetened drinks are the biggest and easiest obstacle to remove in your efforts to get lean. Displace sugar-sweetened drinks from your day by focusing on drinking water and unsweetened tea. Through its unique combination of caffeine, amino acids and antioxidants, green tea provides added fat-burning and cognitive-boosting benefits.
© Prevention Australia
First published: 13 Dec 2019