Top 5 Nutrition Tips for Losing Fat

The internet is full of recommendations for nutrition plans.  Nutrition plans or diet plans, in my experience, do not work.  I see people paying for meal plans that restrict certain foods because they are “bad” and give very limited options.  This type of dieting works for very few and is totally unnecessary.  My experience shows the type of diet that works is the one that you’re going to stick to.  This is always unique to the individual which is why the internet meal plans don’t work.  I can teach you and help guide you along to make the right choices but ultimately a diet plan or nutrition plan is one that is sustained by including food items that you love.

Here is my top 5 nutrition tips:

  1. Calories are king. If you are trying to lose weight or lose fat learning how to count calories is essential.  Losing fat has very little to do with which foods you eat or the time of day you eat them as the internet will have you believe.  Losing (or gaining) weight is all about an energy balance.  If calories in (the food we eat) is less than the calories out (the calories we burn) then you will lose weight.  This is the number 1 nutrition tip for weight control.  What is your goal?

If you want to lose weight and don’t know how to count calories let me help you.  Just shoot me an email.

  1. Eat a high protein diet. Protein is an important building block for bones, muscle, cartilage, skin, and blood. There are many benefits to eating a high protein diet but the most important is it supports muscle growth or wards off muscle loss as we become less active with age.  One bit of warning when eating certain meats for protein some often contain high quantities of fat.  The fat is not bad for you and in some cases it is good for you but it does add significant amount of calories to the equation if you’re goal is to lose fat.  Protein is a key part to a good nutrition plan.

If you want to know how much protein you should be eating in your diet send me an email.

  1. Fats are essential. A small amount of fat is an essential part of a nutritional and healthy diet  Fats provide fatty acids to the body which it cannot produce itself.  Fats help the body absorb important vitamins to help support internal body functions.  Fats also help with proper hormone function.  Fats are calorie dense so be aware of this for total calorie intake.  Fat sources include avocado, nuts, nut butters, oils, butter, meats, and fish.

How much fat should you be eating?  Let me help you with the amount of fat you should be eating to lose body fat.

  1. Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are not essential but they provide energy to fuel your workouts and life tasks.  Carbohydrates are typically the macro nutrient that gets adjusted most often to lose or gain weight depending on your goals.  Again, there are no “bad” carbohydrates like I hear so often.  There are some that provide very little in way of additional micro nutritional value but there are no “bad” ones.  Carbohydrate sources include cereal, breads, pasta, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, etc.  There are times in my diet when I like to vary my carbohydrate sources for pleasing my palate and other times where I eat the same carbohydrate for months.  I know that sounds boring but sometimes simplicity is better for me.  Again this is all a matter of your own tastes.  No strict diet plans here.

Need help adjusting carbohydrates levels for your goals?

  1. Fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, which protect against chronic diseases including heart disease and cancer.  Eating fruits and veggies provides important fiber to your diet to help fill you up and keep your digestive system happy.  I know that some of you HATE veggies but there are so many things now to enhance the flavor and texture.  There are cooking techniques and condiments that would please even the fussiest of eaters.  Look for what will help you get over the “eating veggies” stigma if this is you.  They are important to our nutrition especially as we get older.

There you have it my top 5 nutritional tips for those of us trying to get in shape for a better tomorrow.  I eat plenty of fruit but the tip that is hardest for me to follow is eating enough veggies.  It’s not that I don’t like them…I actually love veggies but I don’t eat them regularly.  This is one of my goals.

What are your top 5 nutritional tips?  Which one is hardest for you to comply with?

My Health and Fitness Approach at 54

At my family reunion when I realized I was almost 50 and overweight and my physical health failing quicker than I was comfortable with I knew I had to do something different.  I was 245 lbs. then.  I needed to improve my health and fitness.  The following week my motivation grew when I committed myself to a better quality of life as I get older.  I wanted to feel better and look better but most of all I wanted to live strong and fit into my retirement.

Walking in a gym for the first time 5 years ago I really didn’t know what I was doing but I had motivation.  I read up on workout programs and tried different types of training.  I learned that I really enjoyed lifting weights and conditioning work.  The weights made me feel stronger and the conditioning work helped me move better.  One of the training types I discovered was boot camp workouts.  This is where I met my first coach.  He coached lots of people and was starting a new round of bodybuilding stage prep clients.  My coach asked if I wanted to compete in a bodybuilding show I had my doubts but he convinced me I had the work ethic.

Training prep started and I had a long way to go and a lot to learn.  I learned how to manage calories, macros, and training cycles.  My coach had me on a blend of weight lifting and conditioning work.  I loved it.  The last month of prep was very difficult because my total calories were low and I had a limited food selection.  After six months I was down to 165 lbs., on stage and in the best shape of my life.  My favorite part was the training and watching my body improve aesthetically and functionally.

I thoroughly enjoyed the entire process of bodybuilding stage prep and learned a lot about training, conditioning, and nutrition.  For me, however, I loved the way I felt and moved but didn’t like being on stage.  My takeaway from this process was I built a good foundation for a lifetime of quality physical health.  I was grateful to my coach and what he taught me.  My goal now was to improve my functional fitness and strength and maintain a relatively low body fat.

Years of a sedentary lifestyle led to fat gain throughout my whole body including a lot around my middle stomach and lower back.  This lifestyle also came with poor mobility and flexibility, and weak muscles.  Bodybuilding prep was the first step in improving my health.  I still had a lot of work to do to improve these areas….and I soon realized this was a lifetime goal not just something I would do within a year and then I was finished.  This is something I could work on the rest of my life and the benefits would be a high quality of life as I grow older.

Over the next few years I worked with a couple of strength and conditioning coaches and built my training and nutrition knowledge through coaching and studying books, magazines, and internet searches.  My goals then and now are to improve my strength, mobility, and flexibility while maintaining a relatively low body fat.  To continually progress over time in these areas. I also learned at my age my body does not heal as quickly as it did when I was 20 or 30.  I have too many responsibilities to be injured and unable to do my job.  So I had to learn how to eliminate or limit injuries. This meant I couldn’t be all out 100% aggressive in the gym.  I had to leave my ego at the door and look for small improvements.  I was in this for the long haul.

Today my workouts consist of core strength movements along with accessory movements mixed in with some conditioning work.  My nutrition is flexible at times.  Most days I eat a consistent number of calories that are high in protein, to support muscle growth, and high in carbohydrates, to fuel my workouts.  I keep my fats fairly low to help keep my overall calories at a maintenance level.  But I always eat foods I like.  This is important for long-term adherence to a nutrition plan.  There are times on weekends and special occasions where I indulge and overeat but if I do I just go right back to my normal calorie level the next day.  I am not a professional bodybuilder or athlete but just a regular guy who has learned the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.   In the end I strive for improvement in strength, mobility, and flexibility, and maintain a certain level of body fat.  I will follow-up with posts about my specific training and nutrition as it is today.

Are you faced with the effects of a sedentary lifestyle and need help improving physically?

Were you once active but fallen into inactivity and want to feel better?

What do you do to improve your functional fitness?

Let me know….send me an email so I can help you with your goals.

Top 6 Reasons for Over 50’s to Lose Weight

Losing weight is not an easy goal especially as we get older.  We become less active and often eat more than we should…I know I did.  If you’re like me you have tried to lose weight over the last 10-20 years as we aged without any lasting results.   In fact I have steadily gained weight over the last 20 years.    So the question becomes as I approach my 50’s, how will I be successful losing weight this time when I have tried several times in the past with little to no success?   The answer to this questions lies in my motivation.  What are my motivations for losing weight?  As I was approaching my 50’s I had envisioned my life continuing the way it had the last 20 years with weight gain and declining health.  Motivation is key to being successful.  The list below is my top 6 motivations or reason for losing weight as I was turning 50.

  1. Serious health risks

One of the most important reasons for losing weight was I knew being overweight put me at risk for different illnesses or diseases like diabetes or cardiovascular problems.  I saw my father-in-law die suddenly at 62 before he had a chance to enjoy his retirement.  His death was shocking and we miss him every day.  He never got a chance to meet my daughter.  He had a massive heart attack and died just before he was going to retire as he had planned for years.  I don’t want that to happen to me or my children or my future grandchildren.

  1. Being broke when I retire

I was terrified of not being able to physically do my job long enough to fund my retirement.  I couldn’t image having to rely on the state to take care of me or worse placing that burden on my children.  I want to take responsibility for my physical health so I can take care of my financial health for my retirement.  I never thought about these things until I was 50 years old.  Now they have become very important to me and continue as a great motivator for staying in shape.

  1. Chronic foot and lower back pain

I had orthotics for my shoes and was unable to stand in the same spot for more than a couple of minutes without having to sit down.  My job often has me giving 1-2 hour tours to our customers.  This requires me to be on my feet the entire time.  Because of my foot and lower back problems I was unable to do this part of my job to my satisfaction so I had to have others help me with the tour so I could find a seat and rest.  This made me feel like I was 70 years old!  Improving this was a big motivator for me to lose weight.

  1. Not being able to travel when I retire

That’s Positano behind me

One thing I love to do is travel and especially to Italy.  I love this beautiful country and its beautiful people.  However, any trip to Italy requires a certain level of physical fitness.  And for me to fully enjoy Italy the way I want to requires me to be in excellent physical shape.  A typical day in Italy has me walking 8-10 miles.  I am an active tourist and love to see everything Italy has to offer.  With my declining health and being overweight this would not be possible as I got into my 60’s and certainly not into my 70’s if I even lived that long.  One of my favorite things to do is visit Italy and I was afraid I would be unable to do that if I didn’t improve my health.  This was and is one of my great motivators for getting and staying in shape.

  1. Didn’t like what I saw in the mirror

For years I avoided the scale and mirrors.  I knew that I had been overweight but didn’t want to see how far I had let myself go.  I hated to see myself in pictures or in the mirror. I couldn’t admit to myself that I was unhealthy.  It wasn’t until I was at a family reunion approaching the age of 50 when I admitted to myself that I was unhealthy and needed to do something about it.  I was sick of feeling this way about myself.  It was a lot of work to avoid being honest with myself.  I had finally reached a point where I was ready to take some action.  This is not about being vain this about seeing a healthy me.  I grew up an athlete in a family that was always involved in physical activity and couldn’t believe I had let myself get to this point. This is a great motivator for me.  I want to look in the mirror and be happy with my transformation to a healthy me!

  1. Reduced energy levels

While being overweight I always felt tired, lazy, and sedentary.  I had to work harder to do simple tasks like climbing stairs or walking the dogs.  Being overweight simply requires more work to do ordinary daily tasks.  I also didn’t sleep well which compounded the feeling of being tired.  When I’m tired there is no better place than on my couch watching some stupid show on TV.  I convinced myself that the reduced energy levels were just a result of getting old.  But when I started to get honest with myself about my weight and overall health I knew the laziness was from being too big.  If I could lose some of this weight and keep it off I would feel better about myself and have more energy.  This I discovered was exactly true.

What are your top motivators for losing weight?