If you who are looking for a simple, get-started-quickly diet program that will help you burn body fat while conserving lean muscle tissue, this is for YOU. Muscle tissue is the metabolic furnace of the body, so it’s important not to burn it off at the same time that you are peeling away the fat pounds. In this post I hope to clear out the confusion on what is healthy eating.
All you’ve got to remember about healthy eating is what, how much, and when. First, let’s look at what you’ll be eating on the Lean Body Program. Imagine your dinner plate divided into thirds:
Rule of Thirds
Cover 1/3 of your plate with a protein,
1/3 with a carb, and
the final 1/3 with a vegetable, salad, or fruit.
P = Protein Foods C = Carbohydrate Foods VSF = Vegetables, Salad, and Fruit
The first wedge will hold your protein: the most important part of every meal. No matter what, always make sure there’s protein on your plate. The second wedge will hold your carbohydrates. Important note: Not all carbs are evil incarnate, and the right ones can actually help burn fat. The third wedge will hold vegetables, salad, and fruit. And, yes, there will be a little room for good fats.
The Lean Body Meal Plan is based on the balanced intake of the three major categories of nutrients found in food: protein, carbohydrates, and fats. These nutrients, known as macronutrients, supply the material your body needs for energy and repair. The Lean Body Meal Plan is moderate in complex carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and low in fat. Planning a Lean Body meal or mini-meal is as simple as choosing foods from each of these categories and arranging them on your plate in thirds. Let’s talk about each of these parts in a bit more depth.
Protein: Muscle Food
Protein builds muscle, so the Lean Body Meal Plan includes plenty of protein. It’s important to build your meal plan with a foundation of protein because protein stabilizes blood sugar (thereby easing cravings), feeds muscle tissue, and revs up your metabolism. It is also the only macronutrient that supplies nitrogen, which your muscles need to function properly.
Here’s your Lean Body protein list. (The fish with asterisks contain higher levels of fat.)
egg whites or egg substitutes
lean ground turkey breast
fat-free cottage cheese
Protein Powder (ProV60)
Lean Body Meal Replacement Powder (MRP) Packets,
Lean Body Ready-to-Drink Shakes (RTD)
and Protein Bars
There are some sources of protein you want to avoid. Beef is way over consumed in this country. If you need your meat fix, choose the leanest cuts but keep in mind that only a small handful of cuts fall into that category. You should limit fatty sources of protein, including beef, pork, lamb, and other meat products, because of their high content of unhealthy saturated fats.
What separates good carbs from the bad? Simple (bad) carbs are converted to sugar very quickly. Those bad boys hit the ground running. That’s because simple carbs, if you were to examine them at a molecular level, have a lot of surface area, which make them easy to break down. Complex carbs, on the other hand, don’t have as much surface area, so they require more digestion and are broken down more slowly. The release of sugar into the bloodstream is slowed considerably, which means that insulin levels remain lower.
By eating protein with your complex carbs you’ll slow the carb-to-fat conversion process even more. This is why you should never eat complex carbs alone; always pair them with protein.
Here’s your Lean Body complex carb list. You should limit the carbs denoted with an asterisk:
whole-grain cooked cereal
Cream of Wheat
new potatoes (with skin)
whole-grain pasta and bread*
There is still another way of slowing down the release of carb sugar into your bloodstream. It’s a method that has been handed down through the generations, and was most often uttered by your mother at the kitchen table: “Eat your vegetables.”
Essential Fats: The Friendly Fats
Fat intake might sound like a strange part of a diet plan, but I like to tell people they need to become fat conscious (aware of the fat content of their foods). As with carbs, there are good and bad fats. Bad fats contain large amounts of partially saturated, saturated, and trans-fatty acids. You find these in processed and fried foods, beef, pork, lamb, cheese, cream, and butter.
Good fats, on the other hand, usually contain essential fatty acids (EFA’s), which our bodies can’t make on their own, and which play a role in virtually every function in the body.
Here are examples of healthy fats:
flaxseed oil (check out Barleans.com)
salmon, mackerel, sardines
fish oils (check out Carlson’s Finest)
walnuts, almonds, cashews, other nuts and seeds
You can still get chubby on the over-consumption of good fats. They’re not free foods by any stretch. But in small amounts, they’re an important part of your diet. To make sure you’re getting enough good fats in your diet, add a tablespoon of fish oils, flaxseed oil, olive oil, or a small handful of nuts to two or three of your daily meals. A slice of avocado works great also.
How Much to Eat?
You have the what. Now it’s time for the “how much” part of our meal plan. There is a no-brainer way to make sure you’re dishing out the correct proportions.
1. Protein – The portion of protein at primary meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) should be the size of the palm of your open hand.
2.Carbohydrates – Your serving of complex carbs at primary meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) should be about the size of your fist.
3.Vegetables and Salad – Good news: no measuring required! You can have as much of these foods as you like. But remember the rule of thirds, and aim to have this portion be about a third of your total plate.
4. Fat – Add a tablespoon of fish oils, flaxseed oil, olive oil, or a small handful of nuts to two or three of your daily meals. A slice of avocado works great also.
5. Fruit – Have a small serving of low-calorie fruit at two or three of your meals for dessert. Or, you may prefer a scoop of sorbet at lunch or dinner.
Mix and match from the lists of Lean Body foods, and you have the makings of perfect fat-burning meals.
Until next time, I am
Your Lean Body Coach™