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Five Steps Towards Losing Body Fat

1. Eat 5-6 small meals per day
Each of these meals should range from 200 to 400 high volume low calorie foods. Eating small frequent meals throughout the day allows our bodies to better utilize the foods we eat and prevents storage of excess calories.

If you fast all day, then eat 1-2 large meals your body thinks you are starving. During this 'starvation' time, your body puts a halt on your basal metabolic rate and essentially drastically slows your metabolism. Now, after this starvation time, you begin to gorge on whatever you can find — sometimes adding to 1,000 + calories. When this happens your body will use the calories needed for basic functioning and store the rest. By storage, I mean stored as fat. Our worst enemy.

2. Eat High Volume Low Calorie Foods
You want to get the "biggest bang for your buck " — the most volume for the lowest amount of calories. Why, you ask? The average size of a full stomach is 1-2 liters. You need to fill this space and stretch the nerves in order for your stomach to send signals to the brain that the stomach is expanding and you are full. These types of foods include very lean proteins, high fiber whole grains, fresh or frozen fruits and veggies. If needed, the veggies may be topped with herbs or a low calorie dressing or sauce (less than 15 calories per tbs.)

3. Water, Water, Water
About 61 percent of an average person's body weight is made up of water. Water also makes up roughly 80 percent of the body's blood and 90 percent of the brain. Water is vital for optimal functioning of the human body. When consuming at least 64-96 ounces per day the human body will:

  • reduce fluid retention
  • aid in the body's waste removal
  • speed up metabolism
  • be a key component for an effective high quality workout

4. Cut Out the Junk
Essentially, I am saying cut the excessive junk. By junk, I mean calorically dense foods (low volume foods with high calories).

  • M&M's: 200 calories and 8 grams of fat per handful (1/4 cup).
  • Cheesecake( plain): 450 calories and 32grams of fat per slice.
  • Medium Fries: 380 Calories and 19 grams of fat.

Not to mention whole meals at local restaurants that accumulates as much as 2,000 - 3,000 calories per one meal! YIKES!! Not good for the waist line. And you already know what happens if you "save your calories" for this one meal. Just think, for two handfuls of M&M's you would have to run at a decent pace for about 40 minutes!

5. Exercise

  • Aerobic - "Cardio' causes you to breath harder and increases your heart rate. Ex-Biking, Running, swimming, basketball, etc.
  • Anaerobic- Such as strength training which increases the amount of muscle on your body. This tissue is "metabolically active' and thus… the more you have, the higher your metabolism and the more calories you burn per day. Ex- Weight Lifting with free weights or machines at a high enough resistance to challenge you .
  • Plyometrics- Combination of aerobic and anaerobic. High Intensity. Lots of jumping and agility.

Our bodies are machines. Similar to why cars need gas, our bodies run on the blood sugar or blood glucose. When we exercise enough to 'eat up' our supply of blood sugar, our bodies release hormones that tell our fat cells to release fat into our bloodstream. The fat circulates to our muscles that need it for fuel, and we end up with less fat on our bodies and a leaner physique.

Cora Villagomez, APRN, FNP-C
Cora Villagomez, APRN, FNP-C

Cora Villagomez, APRN, FNP-C is a Nurse Practitioner Coordinator at CHI Health.

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