To help you get ready for the 12-week Healthy Fitness Challenge, Hollywood trainer Jeanette Jenkins answers your health and fitness questions via Twitter.
Five Nutrition Tips to Break Through a Plateau
Try these tricks to bust through your plateau.
For more great nutrition tips, meal plans and more than 80 healthy recipes check out Jeanette's book, The Hollywood Trainer Weight-Loss Plan.
1) Fewer Calories In and More Calories Out
You can work out five times a week, but if you're not eating a proper caloric intake, then you will never achieve your goal weight.
You must make sure that you are eating fewer calories than you are burning to continue with weight loss. It sounds simple, yet most people have no idea how many calories a day they eat and never pay attention to portion control.
2) Choose Quality Fuel: All Calories Are Not Equal
Fifteen hundred calories of processed food has a completely different effect on your body than 1,500 calories of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean cuts of meat and whole grains.
The fiber and most of the nutrients are removed from most processed foods like snack bars, crackers, bagels, chips, bread, muffins and cereal, so when you eat these foods your body recognizes them as sugar, spiking your insulin and causing you to crave more food.
I am also talking about the processed food that comes in a box with all of the health claims on the front. If a processed food claims it is fortified with this vitamin and that nutrient, keep in mind that several nutrients were also removed, that is why it is now fortified.
Organic whole foods that have not been processed are loaded with fiber and nutrients that help you feel full and satisfied and provide the building blocks to all of your living cells. Eighty percent of your diet should consist of whole foods loaded with nutrients.
There are more than 80 healthy recipes in my Hollywood Trainer Weight-Loss Plan book and there are several free recipes online. Whole Foods has some of my favorites.
3) Eat Until You're Satisfied and Stop Before You're Full
The stomach is made of smooth muscle, and when you over-eat you stretch the smooth muscle of your stomach, which in turn increases your appetite.
Always stop eating as soon as you feel satisfied to avoid stretching your stomach. You can always eat again in two hours.
4) Don't Eat Sugar or Carbohydrates for Two Hours After Your Cardio Workout
Sixty to 80 percent of the fuel you use during your cardio workout is glycogen (sugar) already stored in the muscle. The harder you work out (both via intensity and increase in heart rate), the more calories you burn and the more glycogen (sugar) you burn.
During the two hours right after your workout, your body will refuel 50 percent of the calories you just burned during your workout back into your muscles. To make sure you refuel with your body fat in this window you should avoid any sugars or carbohydrates.
Your body's preferred fuel source is sugar, so if you drink or eat sugar in this two-hour window, you'll refuel your muscles with the sugar instead of your body fat. Yes, you will still burn fat for the rest of the day, but the number-one key to fat burning is to keep your blood sugar level low-to-moderate so your muscles are forced to burn your body fat.
Every time you eat a high sugar or high glycemic index meal your body is forced to burn some of the sugar in the blood stream before it can go back to burning its body fat. Most people stay in this high blood sugar state and end up turning the additional sugar into body fat, and in the long run they can become overweight and diabetic.
This tip always freaks people out, but remember, the way you eat to lose weight is not the same as the way an athlete that has to keep their muscle loaded with glycogen eats. You eat based on your goals. Weight gain, weight loss and performance all require different and specific plans.
Be especially careful not to sabotage your fat burning with a high sugar smoothie after your cardio workout.
5) Limit Complex and Processed Carbohydrates in the Evening
Complex carbohydrates are the foods that give you sustained energy to get through the day. Examples of complex and processed carbohydrates are: potatoes, pasta, rice, bread, quinoa, oatmeal, pancakes, cereals, beans and risotto. Your body needs this type of fuel in the morning and afternoon in appropriate portions to give you energy to get through the day.
If you have a medium-to-large serving of carbohydrates in your evening meal, you usually will not burn it off before going to sleep and it can end up turning into body fat around your belly. To maximize your fat burning, your evening meals should be loaded with vegetables, especially green vegetables (spinach, broccoli, asparagus, kale, collared greens, romaine lettuce, asparagus, etc.) and lean cuts of meat or other vegetarian sources of protein.
Be careful not to sabotage your fat burning with an evening bowl of cereal or bowl of pasta.
Follow Jeanette on Twitter @JeanetteJenkins to ask your fitness and nutrition questions and for daily fitness/nutrition tips and motivation!