Have you been weight lifting for some time, only to look in the mirror, and find a layer of fat over your hard-earned muscle?While it is impossible to turn muscle into fat, it is not hard to make it seem like that is what happened. Consistent workouts combined wiht a clean diet will produce that result.In my experience, it is not nearly as hard to get into the gym as it is to control your eating, but you must if you want to make real progress. One thing you can do to make it all a little easier is to take a closer look at your most calorie dense macro-nutrient – fat.
It seems like there’s always a lot of buzz in the media concerning fat. How much should we have, what kind should we eat, when should we eat it and even should we combine it with protein and or carbohydrates at specific times of the day.
As with most most things concerning nutrition and weight loss, there’s a lot more data than there is real information.
We have to eat fat. We can go without carbohydrates. Hell, some Eskimos go without carbohydrates their entire lives. But they can go without fat and neither can we. Dietary fat is a building block for the internal fabric cushions or organs, it provides energy storage for times of famine — not the times of famine seem to be much of an issue for most Americans, at least not based on what I see at the Wal-Mart parking lot. For us, the main concern is how we are going to lose weight and burn stomach fat.
I do have two real concerns with dietary fat though. The first concerns trans fats. We all know that these are bad for you, but I believe that most people don’t realize just how bad they can be. One of the things that dietary fat is used for is a building of cell walls and other membranes inside your body. You may have read or heard that most of your body is rebuilt about every 6 to 12 months, and that’s true. The problem with trans fats is that when they are used to build cell walls the walls don’t work right. Because trans fats are in properly constructed relative to the size and shape of real dietary fats from natural sources sell walls built with trans fats do not pass through water or nutrients properly. What person eats too many trans fats, their body is literally unnatural.
The other problem I have with that is that it is just so darn calorie dense. Proteins and carbohydrates both have 4 calories per gram. Fat has nine. This means that you don’t have to eat much at all to consume a lot of calories, and remember calories in versus calories out is the key here.
- One thing that I would recommend for everybody trying to lose that last 20 pounds or that first 20 pounds is to cut back on the dietary fat. While I don’t want to be the “fat Nazi” (or a fat Nazi for that matter LOL) I do think that there are a few simple things that we should all be doing to minimize our fat intake.
- Switch to leaner sources of animal protein. If you’re already a vacant or vegetarian this will be an issue for you of course. Instead of cheap hamburger, buy ground buffalo. It is extremely lean, to the point that I sometimes have to add a little olive oil to the skillet to cook my buffalo burgers. It also tastes better than beef, and by federal law buffaloes cannot be fed all of the steroids, hormones and antibiotics that are given to beef cattle.
- If you’re drinking whole milk, switch to 2%. I can’t abide the taste of skim milk, and I can’t really tell the difference between skim and 1% milk. 2% milk has enough flavor and texture that I don’t feel like I’m drinking cold water but I’m still saving on the fat and calories.
- Limit processed foods. You should be doing this anyway simply because it’s a lot healthier to eat real food than the Franken foods that are forced upon us by food manufacturers. You’ll notice I said that food manufacturers, and not farmers. They are completely different things. As you move through the grocery store on your next shopping trip, take a look at the labels on the processed food that you’re putting in your cart. I think you’ll be surprised to see just how fatty it really is.
To summarize losing that 20 pounds will be easier if you limit your calories, and one of the easiest ways to limit your calories is to simply cut back on those calorie dense fatty foods. You’ll find that you can lose fat and build muscle at the same time – but you have to pay attention to the entire picture.