Burn More Fat Without Counting Calories

A Coaches Perspective on Nutrition Approach

By: Ariel Santillan

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Research shows that “Yo-Yo Diets”, that specifically focus on the counting of calories, result in the accumulation of more fat afterwards. So generally, people ON these diets either get fatter or “lose weight” and then gain it all back plus more (according to research, 8% more!). Let us discuss why this may happen…

Nutrition models that only focus on counting calories, usually identify all calories as being the same – AKA, “a calorie is a calorie.” This is a problem. Calories are NOT all equal, contrary to what university health programs taught us in the past, the calorie count – based on a system developed by Wilbur Olin Atwater, a late-19th-century American chemist – has been considered greatly flawed by leading scientists today.

A simple example would be comparing 500 calories from a blueberry bran muffin vs 500 calories from lean grass fed beef. The latter will increase your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR),  burning more fat and supporting muscle maintenance. The bran muffin, well, not so much.  Instead, you will get an insulin surge that will trigger fat storing hormones.  We can clearly identify the better choice but it’s not always so clear when we’re being misled by fad diets, popular gimmicks and weight loss establishments looking to make a profit regardless of a client’s overall health needs.

Some of these weight loss establishments will also have their clients “weigh-in”, like famous UFC contenders and focus the goals on overall weight loss on the scale. Although somewhat amusing, this is quite misleading, since clients may never know if they’re burning muscle or fat without an accurate body fat analysis. Remember, losing 15 pounds of overall weight doesn’t mean you lost 15 pounds of fat. If you are trying to lose fat and be healthy, the last thing you want to do is lose muscle, as research shows it is the best defence we have against fat gain among a lot of other things like healthy aging, longer lifespan, less injury and much more.

If your diets are based solely on calorie counting, take a step back and put the math equations to rest.  Realize that healthy living shouldn’t require math skills during meals,  limiting yourself to a handful of food options or weighing in every week.  It all sounds quite.. unnatural and stressful – which will lead to fat gain anyways.  Instead, focus on a tailored diet that provides you with quality and essential proteins, fats and carbohydrates and balance it with the correct active lifestyle.

Here are some other things you can focus on for fat loss, instead of counting calories and entering food data into your iPhone app all day:

  • Eat according to your active lifestyle
  • Manage stress with healthy eating and sleeping patterns throughout the day
  • Include Essential Fatty Acids in your daily nutrition
  • Include lots of lime, garlic, beet root and turmeric in your diet
  • Follow a “meat and nuts” breakfast regime, as it can regulate insulin throughout the day and promote fat loss within the first few weeks!
  • Get to know your fats, the good ones are your friends!
  • Stick to locally, organic foods and visit your Farmers Market more frequently – why would you shop anywhere else but the farm?
  • Avoid all sugar that doesn’t come from real food.  Yes, including naturally grown, organic, cane sugar and every other name for sugar.  Apparently there are close to 60 label names for sugar. Ouch.
  • Learn how to chew properly
  • “If it can fly, swim, walk or run naturally – EAT IT!”
  • Avoid GMO products, soy, high fructose corn syrup, gluten, dairy and processed foods
  • Replace two hours per day of social networking and electronics WITH  “exercise and activity”- research shows that increased participation in strength training and activities becomes addictive, just like cell phone and computer usage but without the cognitive damage. Plus, exercise and activity will make you look and feel great!

If you feel you’re doing everything right but still cannot lose the weight or put on muscle, get a full comprehensive assessment to identify YOUR specific requirements.  Diets focused mainly on calorie counting do not support the science behind optimal nutrition and therefore avoid key factors like functional requirement, physiological imbalances, depression, stress, detox and more. Addressing these determinants will help eliminate the obstacles standing in the way of your success, within any nutrition program.

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Have more questions about this article?  Contact Ariel directly at ariel@explorationfitness.com

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