“Six-packs are made in the kitchen.” This is the term my peers during my teens would tell me.
This statement can be true for many applications. For example: a six-pack of Bud Light, hot dog buns or Model Bakery English muffins also live in our kitchen. However, the statement my testosterone-driven 16-year-old friends in high school were referring to is the group of abdominal muscles on individuals who have managed to decrease their abdominal fat mass to where they can look like the Herculean men in the paintings of Michelangelo.
Managing abdominal fat is vital to human health. Maintaining a six-pack akin to Brad Pitt’s role in “Thelma and Louise” isn’t essential to our survival, though. A person possessing a lean midsection indicates their body utilizes fat as a fuel source efficiently.
However, on the opposite side of the abdominal girth spectrum, a mid-section protruding beyond the belt line could mean an imbalance in a person’s dietary choices and activity levels. A body holding onto excess fat usually means overconsumption of calories and decreased physical activity.
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The by-products of holding onto excess fat and suffering from decreased physical activity contribute to cardiac arterial disease, various metabolic diseases and decreases in bone mineral density.
One problem in the decision-making process for eating foods good for our health is caused by an overabundance of information sources with nutritional recommendations.
People looking for advice on the internet, in magazines and on social media can become quickly overwhelmed by the information available. It’s easy to get confused when there is conflicting information.
Additionally, attempting to refine dietary and exercise habits after a few weeks and seeing little to no result brings frustration. “I’ve tried everything, and nothing works,” or “This method works for my friends. Why doesn’t is work for me?” are common statements from our personal training clients frustrated with losing weight.
One of the first solutions for establishing effective weight loss tactics is to accept that a body’s adaptations are unique to each person. There is no cookie-cutter solution.
A simple way to take a step forward in the journey toward losing weight and adhering to exercise is to start with manageable steps.
If establishing a refined diet is the primary point of interest, then begin with enjoyable eating tactics. Nothing is worse than begrudgingly eating food that causes psychological and emotional distress. So, if you don’t want to eat meat, maybe the paleo diet isn’t the best fit. Instead, perhaps embracing a plant-based or pescatarian diet would be a better fit.
On the other hand, if meat and healthy fats make your day marvelous, then gravitating toward paleo, carnivore or ketogenic-like foods might be more down your alley.
Another simple concept is to stick to the concept of portion size. This helps limit the overconsumption of food in a short period. If we consume too much food in a period that has minimal physical activity, our body may not utilize calories we have eaten as a fuel source. The extra calories not used as energy can potentially be stored as fat underneath our skin.
An effective tactic is to focus on eating balanced portions of food consisting of carbohydrates and protein that are no more than the size of a handful of food. An example might include a handful of grapes paired with a handful of raw unsalted nuts. Adhering to the simple concept of consuming smaller portions every two to three hours can mitigate the effects of overeating, no matter what dietary model is followed.
Lastly, it’s essential to have patience and give the body time to adhere to the weight loss method. The physiology of the human body does not change overnight or in the span of a few weeks. Significant adaptations need to occur before any substantial weight loss occurs.
Specific research supports that the adaptations of developing lean muscle and efficiently utilizing fat as a fuel source occur after 90 days of adhering to routine exercise and a balanced diet.
Therefore, if losing extra fat and keeping it off is a monumental goal, it’s critically important to understand this is a journey that won’t start until a foundation of eating healthy and adhering to exercise for at least three months is established.
If we peel back the layers of healthy eating, we unveil simple and effective tactics. Paleo, ketogenic and intermittent fasting are practical innovations to help people advance their health.
However, if looking to get started fresh on a path to refining the body into a lean and fit state is your goal, it might be a good idea to focus on simple tactics that can be adhered to for a minimum of three months. Once that foundation has been set, we can start taking more steps forward in our path to living a strong and healthy life.
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Sean McCawley, the founder and owner of Napa Tenacious Fitness in Napa, welcomes questions and comments. Reach him at 707-287-2727, [email protected] , or visit the website napatenaciousfitness.com.