As summer approaches everyone starts to get into the dieting mindset. Everyone wants to have that perfect beach body. Where does that body come from? It can't be made on its own, and has to be done with a great foundation of nutrition. Most people think they can go into the gym and start working out to get into shape. Not so fast. Nutrition is going to be the foundation of your success. "Abs are made in the kitchen." A common phrase that holds a whole lot of merit. Take any gym trainee and put them on any training plan you want, without proper nutrition it will be impossible to get into great shape. In this article I will share with you some of my top tips and tricks to help make the dieting process easy. Anyone can benefit from this and implement them on their next cutting phase.
1) Eat slow
As hard as it is for some people, slow down and chew your food. Not only will this help your digestion, it will also help satisfaction set in. Anyone can go to a buffet and wreak havoc on 5 plates of food in 20 minutes. When dieting, food portions become smaller and smaller per meal, so chewing slowly will help you with feeling full and more satisfied. Eating slower will give your brain enough time to receive the message you are satisfied. Tasting the food is important, nobody should be forced into eating bland food regardless of your goal. Which leads to tip number 2.
2) Seasonings are the key to success
How many times have you heard someone dieting say "I am sick of eating the same thing everyday"? This should never be the case. There are so many different seasonings you can put on your food to make it enjoyable. Most people have never heard of some spices that could help provide variety into your meal plan. For example a dash of cinnamon on top of a chicken breast may sound bizarre, but provides a nice glaze of flavor. Using turmeric, paprika, and cajun can pack some heat into stir fry's. Garlic salt and sea salt can help bring out the flavor in a dish to make it more appealing. Personally, I am the biggest hot sauce junkie out there. I can put hot sauce on anything and it will make it taste great. Eggs, chicken, beef, and lean turkey all go great with Franks Red Hot sauce . A lot of condiments are low in calories and can help you explore a new sensation you never tried before. I would highly consider 1-carb ketchup, and mustard for other alternatives.
3) Plan Ahead
Many trainees fall of the wagon because of poor preparation. How many times do you hear people complaining about cheating on their diet?
"I forgot to pack a meal and just decided to grab some fast food."
" I went 8 hours without food because I did not cook ahead."
Excuses are simply that--excuses. When dieting, it will be much easier to bulk cook food in advance. This is a great way to stick to a meal plan, and allow you to interchange meals depending on the scenario. For myself, I will always have some protein powder in my car or in my lunch bag in case of an emergency. Protein bars are portable and give access as a snack to hold you over before your next whole meal. Stir fry's are life savers, and can be eaten cold or warm after you have done your bulk cooking. Nuts, nut butters, string cheese, yogurt packs, cans of chicken or salmon, low fat granola bars, and rice cakes are all great sources that can help in tight situations. Utilize your resources and adapt to your daily schedule.
4) Drink plenty of water
This has to be the most overlooked tip when dieting. Water can help fill your stomach and make you feel full in times of hunger. Drinking glasses upon glasses of water will make less room on your stomach and a faster feeling of satisfaction. This will help kill cravings, stomach growls, and hunger pains. This can help keep your mind at ease and off food until it is time to eat. Instead of watching the clock for your next meal this will allow you to focus on your social life, work life, or being mindful of the current real world situation.
5) Attack each meal with vegetables
One food source that can help prolong feelings of fullness and satiety is vegetables. Vegetables are dense in fiber which will help combat hunger in a dieting stage. While some people may hate eating them, it is very easy to make them enjoyable with calorically friendly condiments. Hot sauce goes great on broccoli, butter spray works on asparagus, and Walden Farms dressings can add variety to salads. Starting your meal with vegetables will give your stomach a sense of fullness before moving into other foods. This will allow you to stay away from excessive calories at a meal. The last benefit of doing this is vegetables contain a ton of micro nutrients. Vegetables help you get adequate vitamins and minerals on a daily basis.
6) Use conversation to prolong a meal
The spring and summer months are times where we can take eating outdoors. Not only are we with friends and family, but we are enjoying social gatherings. During those moments we get to engage with relatives we may have not seen for quite some time. At catered events where food is present and conversation is high, do not shy away from talking to others. Remember fitness is a balance to your lifestyle, sheltering yourself away from food and meetings is not a healthy choice. When we diet we like to get into set routines, meals, and training times. This is where the flexibility of talking during a meal can take your mind off the food. This can also help you think less about being hungry, think less about your next meal, and help pass the time to your next scheduled feeding. Getting out of your comfort zone can be a mentally tough task, but it will help you grow stronger in the future.
7) Put down your silverware after each bite
Easily the best tip I ever received when I had a hard time dieting was to put down my silverware after each bite. As easy as this sounds it is another tactic to prolong a meal. As calories dwindle the amount of time you spend eating diminishes. That means a longer gap between your next meal, and less food in your stomach to help curb hunger. I have seen far too many people blow a diet because they eat too fast. By using your silverware, putting it down after each bite, chewing your food in full this help suppress hunger. For individuals who eat very fast it does not give the body and mind enough time to register digestion. Chewing your food longer, making the meal last longer, and putting down silverware after each bite helps make the satisfaction of a low calorie meal last much longer.
8) Eat the protein portion of your meal first
If you are not drinking water before your meal, or digging into your vegetables first this is my last piece of advice. Protein is the most satisfying macro nutrient we can eat. Another positive is protein has a very high TEF which stands for thermic effect of food. The significance of protein being high in TEF meals it requires more energy for digestion. The longer it takes for protein to be absorbed and disposed in the digestive tract means it will decrease hunger. Anything used to decrease hunger on a cutting phase is a must! During the dieting process, protein is typically consumed more than those who are maintaining or in a bulking phase. It becomes essential to keep protein high and prevent any form of muscle loss due to a caloric deficit. Since TEF is so high with protein this will help with energy expenditure compared to carbohydrates or fats.
Being hungry sucks, lets face it, and we all will encounter it during a fat loss phase.
Take these tips and tricks and apply them to your current diet. See just how much these can make a difference. One of these may be something you are currently not doing. Give it a shot, make adjustments, and see the impact it can bring towards your summer shred.