The difference between healthy eating and eating for fat loss

Written by Mark Coles - Follow on Google+ | Facebook | Twitter

This may sound very familiar to you. You decide it’s time to get in shape, so you join  the gym, clear out the cupboards of what you think are the “unhealthy” foods, and you go to the supermarket to stock up on what you think are the right foods to help you change your body shape.

I’m not normally wrong when I guess the type of foods that make up this new healthy shopping basket? Wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, various different types of fruit, low fat yoghurts, various different vegetables, possibly some brown rice, fish, eggs, chicken and maybe some turkey.

This all looks very healthy right? Sure, everything on the list is healthy and contains essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Surely it’s everything you’re body needs to function optimally and be in great shape.

So why is it when you start combining these food groups, you have an initial drop in weight and then you hit a plateau? Or why is it that when you look at yourself in the mirror without your clothes on, you don’t see a body that's changing?

This is where healthy eating and fat loss eating becomes interesting.

As you all know by now, I’m fascinated with body composition improvements, not weight loss. I want to see everyone that comes to see me, transform their physique whilst at the same time improving their health and quality of life. So for that to happen I have to combine, eating healthy and eating smart. People may think that our clients are put on strict low calorie eating plans to get the results we do, well it’s actually completely the opposite.



Whilst losing large amounts of body fat and increasing lean muscle tissue, our clients make some really huge health improvements. We’ve had clients come off statins as a result of following our program (recommended by their Doctor and not ourselves), female clients becoming pregnant when they thought they never would, sufferers of skin problems have had them completely disappear, we have people with chronic heart burn and indigestion have it completely stop and people with terrible sleep problems getting back into a solid routine of 7-8 hours restful sleep. Trust me when I tell you, this doesn’t happen when people follow low calorie and poor nutrient quality diets.

So what about the people that follow the “healthy” style eating programmes who don’t see these types of improvements in their health, and why is it that they struggle to shift body fat?

Well the difference is in the combination of these foods (what goes with what) and the timing of certain foods (when you eat them). Just like many of you, I have to work hard to stay lean. I used to always search for different methods of eating that would help me maintain a low level of body fat all year round, and support the development of my muscle mass. I’ve said this many times before but a huge key to fat loss is developing lean muscle, this goes for both men and women. Before you go into panic mode ladies, remember my article about why women should lift weights?

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So when I started moving my foods around and placing them at different times of the day, my body started to change. I was still eating all the healthy foods that make up my nutrition programme and I was in a lot better shape. I also started to adjust the way I was approaching the nutrition of all my clients and hey presto, they all started getting a lot leaner. Not only were they losing body fat but this is when all the health improvements started to become apparent.

So let’s look at an example:

You’ve been following a classic healthy eating plan of porridge for breakfast, some fruit for a snack, a wholemeal chicken sandwich for lunch, another snack of fruit or yoghurt and a grilled salmon salad for your evening meal. Does this sound familiar? Despite this you’re still struggling to lose the body fat from around your waistline. Now I talk about this at length in my article about insulin sensitivity and fat loss, but a large reason for excess body fat around the midsection is the poorly timed intake of carbohydrate rich foods (bread, rice, oats etc) and the affects they have on the body. Now none of these foods would be classed as unhealthy, but how they’re laid out through the day is a recipe for fat storage.This is a scenario that I come across all too often with clients, so below I have picked out some of my top tips to help you turn your healthy diet, into a fat loss diet.

  1. Start your day with protein, you will have heard me say this many times but what you eat first thing in the morning really affects what you eat for the rest of the day. This article on neurotransmitters and fat loss will help explain more on this subject. So choose a breakfast based around eggs (omelettes), meat (grass fed beef, free range chicken, fish etc) and vegetables. If you want to get started, give my quick and easy turkey burgers a try.
  2. Keep all your meals leading up to your workout free from starchy carbohydrates(bread, rice, pasta, potatoes) and fruit.  So by this I mean, every meal must contain a portion of lean protein (chicken, fish, turkey etc), at least 2 different vegetables and a portion of essential fats (nuts, seeds, oils or avocado). So if you train at 3 pm, every meal prior to your session should follow this format.
  3. Keep your carbohydrate rich foods to the window of opportunity; this is the 1 hour following your workout. In my article about carb cycling I talk about this, some of you will favour my once a week high carb meal option, others will prefer to have their carb meal right after they’ve trained. An example of this would be to finish your workout and have a sweet potato with your meal or some fruit. If you choose to have your carbs after your workout, remember you must deserve them so train hard!!
  4. Don’t combine essential fats (nuts, seeds, oils etc) with your carbohydrate meals. Carbohydrates stimulate the release of insulin which is known as the storage hormone. So if fat is in the blood stream when insulin is elevated, there is a very strong chance that it will be sent into your cells and stored as fat.

These tips should be very straight forward for you to put into practice right away, if you follow them correctly I can assure you that you will notice a huge difference in your physique.

Would you like to know the exact methods we use with our personal training and body transformation clients to help them change their shape? Pick up your copy of the M10 Blueprint today.

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