One of the traits I have come to notice a lot with clients who are unhappy with the way they look is their eating pattern -- or lack thereof. You would think if someone wanted to lose weight, you would tell them to eat less and exercise more. However, most of my clients who say they want to "look like me" eat significantly less and less often than I do. It's all about what you eat and also when and how often you eat it.
To be fast, your metabolism has to be constantly working. It can't take breaks every day because there's no fuel to keep it going. The ideal way is to eat every two to four hours, starting within 30 minutes of waking up. Just because it's the first meal of the day doesn't mean that your body interprets it with the same enthusiasm as breakfast. You want your body to always have the correct fuel and the correct energy during all parts of the day. I recorded my meals in a notebook so that I could give real-life examples of the way I eat to maintain my body and lifestyle.
Meal 1: Half-cup oatmeal with fresh berries, 1 tablespoon flax seeds, quarter-cup chopped raw cashews, half-scoop vanilla protein powder
Meal 2: Two hard boiled eggs (one white, one whole egg), banana and one brown-rice rice cake with half tablespoon of unsweetened creamy almond butter
Meal 3: Chicken sandwich -- grilled chicken, spicy mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pepperoncinis, half of an avocado, and two slices of reduced-fat turkey bacon
Meal 4: Protein shake -- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, cinnamon, ice, blend!
Meal 5: Grilled salmon and asparagus
Meal 6: Protein shake -- usually just protein powder and water and that's usually only about two or three nights a week if I find myself still hungry or working harder to build more lean muscle.
As you can see from this example day, carbohydrates are cut out after lunch or after 3 p.m. at the latest. Complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, wheat bread and wheat tortillas are actually beneficial because they take longer to metabolize than simple white carbohydrates. They keep your metabolism running and they have a lot of other added benefits, such as fiber and sometimes Omegas, so they are worthwhile to have in your diet.
However, you want your body to burn them off before you go to bed, so that's why not eating any sort of carbohydrates (outside of vegetables) after meal No. 3 or No. 4 can really prevent your body from storing the sugars as fats. If your goal is to put on weight or maintain, then don't worry about cutting out the carbohydrates but keep them always the complex type.
If you keep your metabolism lit and maintain that fire, then your metabolism will gradually become more efficient. How can your metabolism function properly if it doesn't know when the next "refuel" time is? Your body will latch on tight to anything that you eat if you aren't eating at the right intervals.
I surf Pinterest now and then and once found a quote along the lines of "Fit chicks don't eat salads!" While I consider myself to be a fit chick, I do eat salads. But I think what the quote means is that fit chicks don't just have a salad appetite -- they fuel their body with everything it needs -- and don't just cling to the iceberg lettuce.
Get your body and metabolism on fire and in check. Now is the time. Start setting an alarm in your phone every three hours to remind you to eat your snack. Use the tools for preparation and creative meal ideas that I've written about before and really take charge of your life. You will have more energy throughout the day and feel a lot happier.
Lunden Souza can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.