People want to lose fat for a variety of reasons. But losing fat without breaking down any muscle mass is important for a healthy body composition. Is it possible? Yes, it is, but it requires careful planning and strict execution. If you are serious about losing weight by shedding fat and not muscle, a half hearted attempt at the job is not enough.
The fact is our bodies will do everything to resist change. That is why changing your metabolism is so tough, your body is comfortable at the present fat levels, and to trick it in to change the metabolic rate and to burn fat is not all that simple. What most of us lack is motivation and inspiration. And to make sure you shed fat cells and achieve your weight loss goals, it is very important to first identify these goals and take a practical approach towards them. If you want to lose 5 kg in the next 2 months, make sure you are conscious of all your waking hours and take all necessary steps towards it. For inspiration, take a friend along to the gym to be your spotter and to help motivate you to exercise for a little bit longer, do a few extra reps and run for 5 minutes more on the treadmill every day.
Now that setting goals and being inspired as well as motivated is taken care of, let us create a foolproof plan for you to lose fat and preserve muscles so that you achieve your weight loss goals more effectively as well as efficiently. In this article, we will focus on the Nutrition aspect of losing fat and not muscle.
How To Plan A Balanced Diet?
Remember that restricting calories is not the best idea. What will happen is that your metabolic rate will reduce, as your enemy – the Lipoprotein Lipase, still manages to store fat because the body doesn’t have enough fuel for energy as calories are being restricted. What happens is that the body will burn muscle tissues to generate fuel, and you will think you are losing weight because the scales show you have dropped a few kilograms. Remember, the muscles are 70% water, so what you are losing by calorie restriction is water and muscle, not fat. Once you get back on a regular diet, you will inevitably gain the weight back. The right approach is to target the fat reserves in your body and not the muscles.
So How Do You Do That?
Begin by making sure you don’t go more than 3 hours without a meal. By this, we don’t mean you eat unlimited quantities of food every 3 hours. Talk to a dietician and find out how many calories you need to eat every day to lose weight. Also mention your workout regimen, so that the dietician can analyze how many calories you need every day to burn fat cells and not breakdown muscle mass. Now divide those calories into 3 main meals and 3 snacks. You will not be eating more calories than you need and you will eat these at regular intervals to ensure your metabolism stays revved up. This results in two things – more energy because you constantly fuel your body with healthy food & less hunger pangs that are often the culprits when it comes to mindless binging.
To lose weight, you need to eat lesser calories than your body requires. Now, counting calories is not only difficult, but it is also frustrating. Instead, you should try portion control. Eat everything but eat in moderation.
Understand that your body will need more calories before and after a workout. These two meals must have a healthy balance of carbohydrates and proteins. The proteins will help you build muscle while working out and help in muscle repair and recovery post-workout. The carbohydrate will fuel your workout with more energy before a workout and replenish glycogen levels in your muscles after a workout.
Add more Essential Fatty Acids to your diet. Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids will improve your blood circulation, mobilize fat cells, reduce muscular and joint inflammation that is a result of wear and tear post-exercise and will also regulate your sleep making sure you get enough rest. Aim to eat fish 3 times a week, add flaxseed to your diet and shift to olive oil.
To eat more quality protein, you might need to tweak your diet to concentrate more on protein than carbohydrates. Eat lean cuts of meat, but make sure you remove the skin. Avoid any fish or chicken cooked that has been fried and opt for steamed, broiled and grilled versions. Choose low-fat cheeses, like cottage cheese and add low-fat milk and yogurt to your diet. Eat as much soya, legumes and eggs as possible.
For more energy, you need to eat the right kind of carbohydrate. Make sure that you eat carbs that come with added dietary fibers. Though a protein and carbohydrate meal replacement shake works very well for weight loss, you will need to supplement that meal with fresh fruit and vegetable for the fiber content. Every meal should have a source of protein and carbohydrate, where 2 meals get their carbs from fruits and vegetables only.
To make sure you continue losing body fat at a steady pace you need to stay hydrated. Muscles are made 70% with water and drinking water is important for all nutrients you intake through food to be transported easily within the body. If you don’t drink enough water, the nutrients you have eaten will not be able to reach their destination with ease, and you will feel tired and fatigued. Drink water before and after a meal. While training, drink enough water. Make sure you drink a glass of water every 3 hours and not all 2 liters together.
With these 7 simple steps, you can ensure that you burn body fat without losing on muscle mass. However, monitoring your body fat percentage is also important. You should measure your body fat percentage every month, to know of your progress. This can be done either using body calipers at your gym. Just make sure the same expert measures your body fat every month for more accurate readings. You can also use the Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis or BIA from time to time. This non-invasive method can be done at any health center and will keep you updated on your progress and tell you how much body fat you have lost over a month. Checking your body fat percentage is very important, otherwise, you wouldn’t know whether the plan you have created for yourself is taking you in the right direction or not.