Use these helpful tips and foods to help lose weight and fat from your body.
First up, an important question. What are macronutrients?
Macro nutrients are the building bricks of your nutrition. Carbs, proteins and fats are the basics that give you fast energy, help to sustain energy and keep an eye on your blood flow and metabolism. Each different macro nutrient performs various different functions in your body.
Energy which your body gain from macro nutrients is measured in calories.
Carbs 4 calories per 1 g
Proteins 4 calories per 1 g
Fats 9 calories per 1 g
They provide energy for high intensity activities, like your training. Carbs are one of the cases when it is necessary to distinguish between good and bad guys.
Basically, in nutrition you can find three types of carbohydrates: simple carbs, complex starchy carbs, and complex fibrous carbs.
Simple sugar can be broken down to table sugars, fructose and lactose. Table sugar is the one we should avoid. We can find it in regular sugar, candies and also sweetened drinks. Complex carbs can be found in fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, cereals, rice… They contain vitamins, fibre and minerals.
The right choice of carbohydrates can also help your digestion system work well. It is important to remember that vegetables contain carbohydrates, and not just foods like rice, pasta or bread that are more generally presented as carbohydrates in mainstream culture.
Fat Loss – Proteins
Protein is basically a group of amino acids which are inevitable for building and maintaining muscles. Proteins also help with muscle recovery and tissue repair and support immune system.
They are divided into three categories: essential, semi-essential and nonessential.
Our body is not capable of producing essential amino acids on it own, that´s why we have to pay special attention to the nutrition when it comes to getting some proteins.
Great natural sources of proteins are meat, fish, diary products, eggs, nuts…
Fats are another part of nutrition that must be carefully distinguished between what is good and what can cause a harm. There are three types of fats: saturated, unsaturated and trans fats.
Trans fats are the ones you should forget. They are contained in all those fast food yummy but super unhealthy meals and can cause many problems including diabetes, stroke and hearth disease. Healthy fats on the other hand bring dozens of benefits.
8 Foods to Help Lose Weight
1. CAYENNE PEPPER
- Boost metabolism
- Reduce Hunger
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Aid digestive health
Cayenne peppers are a type of chili pepper. They belong to the nightshade family of flowering plants and are closely related to bell peppers and jalapeños.
They were originally grown in Central and South America, but brought to Europe in the 15th century by Christopher Columbus.
Cayenne peppers are a popular spice used in many different regional styles of cooking, and they have been used medicinally for thousands of years.
These peppers boast an impressive nutrition profile, which includes a variety of antioxidants that are beneficial for your health.
One tablespoon (5 grams) of cayenne pepper contains the following (1):
Fat: 1 gram
Carbs: 3 grams
Fiber: 1.4 grams
Protein: 0.6 grams
Vitamin A: 44% of the RDI
Vitamin E: 8% of the RDI
Vitamin C: 7% of the RDI
Vitamin B6: 6% of the RDI
Vitamin K: 5% of the RDI
Manganese: 5% of the RDI
Potassium: 3% of the RDI
Riboflavin: 3% of the RDI
Capsaicin, the active ingredient in cayenne peppers, is what gives them their medicinal properties.
It also gives them their hot taste. In fact, how hot a cayenne pepper is depends on its capsaicin content. The more capsaicin it contains, the hotter it is.
- Powerful antioxidants
- Source of vitamin c
- Lower cholestorol
- Great source of vitamin K
- Contains cancer fighting substances
Of all the super healthy greens, kale is king.
It is definitely one of the healthiest and most nutritious plant foods in existence.
Kale is loaded with all sorts of beneficial compounds, some of which have powerful medicinal properties.
Here are 10 health benefits of kale that are supported by science.
Kale Is Among The Most Nutrient-Dense Foods on The Planet
It is a cruciferous vegetable like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and Brussels sprouts.
There are many different types of kale. The leaves can be green or purple, and have either a smooth or curly shape.
The most common type of kale is called curly kale or Scots kale, which has green and curly leaves and a hard, fibrous stem.
A single cup of raw kale (about 67 grams or 2.4 ounces) contains (1):
Vitamin A: 206% of the DV (from beta-carotene)
Vitamin K: 684% of the DV
Vitamin C: 134% of the DV
Vitamin B6: 9% of the DV
Manganese: 26% of the DV
Calcium: 9% of the DV
Copper: 10% of the DV
Potassium: 9% of the DV
Magnesium: 6% of the DV
It also contains 3% or more of the DV for vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), iron and phosphorus
This is coming with a total of 33 calories, 6 grams of carbs (2 of which are fiber) and 3 grams of protein.
Kale contains very little fat, but a large portion of the fat in it is an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha linolenic-acid.
Given its incredibly low calorie content, kale is among the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. Eating more kale is a great way to dramatically increase the total nutrient content of your diet.
3. CHIA SEEDS
- Loaded with antioxidants
- Almost all the carbs are fibre
- High quality protein
Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the plant Salvia hispanica, which is related to the mint.
Chia seeds were an important food for the Aztecs and Mayans back in the day.
They prized them for their ability to provide sustainable energy. In fact, “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength.”
Despite their ancient history as a dietary staple, chia seeds became recognized as a modern-day superfood only recently.
In the past few years, they have exploded in popularity and are now consumed by health conscious people all over the world.
Don’t be fooled by the size — these tiny seeds pack a powerful nutritional punch.
A one-ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds contains (1):
Fiber: 11 grams.
Protein: 4 grams.
Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are omega-3s).
Calcium: 18% of the RDI.
Manganese: 30% of the RDI.
Magnesium: 30% of the RDI.
Phosphorus: 27% of the RDI.
They also contain a decent amount of zinc, vitamin B3 (niacin), potassium, vitamin B1 (thiamine) and vitamin B2.
This is particularly impressive considering that this is just a single ounce, equalling 28 grams or about two tablespoons. This small amount supplies only 137 calories and one gram of digestible carbohydrate.
Interestingly, if you subtract the fiber — most of which doesn’t end up as usable calories for your body — chia seeds only contain 101 calories per ounce (28 grams).
This makes them one of the world’s best sources of several important nutrients, calorie for calorie.
To top things off, chia seeds are a whole-grain food, usually grown organically. Plus, they’re non-GMO and naturally free of gluten.
4. BRUSSEL SPROUTS
Brussels sprouts are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, making them a nutritious addition to your diet.
They may also come with added health benefits, including the potential to reduce the risk of cancer, decrease inflammation and improve blood sugar control.
Adding Brussels sprouts to a balanced diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains has the potential to make a major positive impact on your health.
5. BONE BROTH
1. Source of beneficial amino acids
2. Good for digestion and gut health
3. May support immune function
4. Supports the production of anti-ageing molecules
5. Support weight loss
6. May support joint health
7. Might help you to get to sleep
What is bone broth?
Bone broth is the clear, protein-rich liquid obtained by simmering meaty joints and bones in water. It distinguishes itself from stock due to its lengthy cooking time. Much like stock, it can be used as a base for soups, stews and risottos.
Uh, what are macros?
Ok, so you might be a bit new to this, but that’s ok. Macros is short for macronutrients:
- – Protein (4 calories per gram)
- – Fat (9 calories per gram)
- – Carbohydrates (4 calories per gram)
There is technically a 4th, alcohol, but I’m not going into that one specifically. However if you drink alcohol, you should know that 1 gram of alcohol has 7 calories and they do count. They just won’t build muscle.
Determine your goal
When setting up a macro goal, this can be for 2 reasons:
- lose weight
- gain weight (muscle)
What’s important, is to actually find out how much you’re eating now. This can simply be done by keeping track of your food intake for 2-4 weeks. An excellent tool for that is MyFitnessPal. Weigh yourself before and after.
Did you lose weight? Then you are not eating enough. Did you gain weight? Then you are eating too much. No change in weight? Then you are eating enough (but I’m sure you figured that out by now)
In all cases it’s handy to calculate your daily caloric intake. Simply add up all the calories you’ve consumed and divide them by the days. This will give you a daily average.
Also, by documenting your current eating habits, you can assess more easily what types of changes you need to make, or find out if you were already on the right track.
BMR & TDEE
A BMR is the Basic Metabolic Rate, this is the amount of energy your body needs to survive each day. This energy is needed for breathing, your heart beating, nails growing, digestion, you get the idea.
On top of that, you need energy for daily activities, like walking, weightlifting, running, etc. These 2 combined are called the Total Daily Energy Expenditure, TDEE. This is different for everyone, since it depends on gender, height, weight and activity level.
There are easy tools to help you calculate these numbers. The one I like is 1percentedge.com. This tool is pretty accurate with calculating the BMR & TDEE.
Why still calculate this you ask?
If you compare the numbers in step 1 with the numbers in step 2, you can get the most accurate number possible in order to set your macro goals. It’s simply eliminating as much error as possible.
Calculating the Macros
This depends on your goal in step 1. The drop-down in the tool will give you options. The – or + numbers indicate how much % you need to be below or above your TDEE. The tool will do the calculating for you, don’t worry.
Which option to choose? Again, this depends on you goal, but good options are:
- Lose weight: Weight Loss (-20/0)
- Gain Muscle: Lean Massing (-10/+20)
Both options are in a safe range, Weight Loss will cause a slower, gradual weight loss, Lean Massing will ensure a slower gain without too much fat gain.
This is where it really starts. Assuming you are using MyFitnessPal, you can enter the desired calories, protein, fats & carbohydrates in your profile:
Now it’s up to you to track what you eat every meal, every snack, every day.
This may sound tedious, but after a few times this becomes a habit quickly.
You may have guessed it, but if you want to be as accurate as possible, a kitchen scale is an essential tool. At some point you will get better a estimating portions without the scale, but in the beginning you will need one for sure.
There are of course multiple tools out there to keep track of your food intake, but MyFitnessPal is used by most peaple (including athletes), has a huge database of foods (that you can scan the barcode of as well) and also provides an overview on how your progress is during the day and if you are on the right track:
The graph on the left gives an easy overview on the macro intake during the day, the summary on the right gives a more detailed overview of both macro- and micro-nutrients.
This way you can tweak your food intake as you go along, and you won’t run into surprises at the end of the day, when you might have gone over your target, or perhaps are still way under.
This is very important to define right from the beginning. How are you going to measure your progress? If you want to lose weight, the scale is a logical option, but should not be the only way to measure your success. The scale can give conflicting results as well.
For example, if you are also doing weight training, you will gain muscle mass, which results in more bodyweight.
To make sure you can truly see results, do the following:
- Take before & after pictures. Take them preferably at the same location, at the same time (heck, even wear the same underwear) to really see the difference.
- Take measurements. Muscle tissue may weigh more than fat tissue per square cm, but takes up less space.
So get out a measuring tape and measure up. The most common areas to measure:
- upper arm
Body fat measurements
Another way to really see results, is by measuring body fat. This should be done by a skilled person, and is usually done with calipers. The skin fold will be measured on several parts of the body, and the average body fat percentage is calculated.
There will always be a discrepancy, for more accurate body fat measurements you can do a DEXA scan, hydrostatic weighing or a bodpod, but these are often not always available everywhere and are more costly.
The tutorial above is intended for those that have a specific goal in mind, whether that is losing fat, gaining muscle mass or both, but is not intended to turn you into an obsessive calorie counter. But to be realistic, calories DO count.
The fact of the matter is, that in order to achieve a certain goal, you need to define the path towards it and this can be a way for you to do that.
Simply saying “I want to lose weight, so I’m going to eat less” will perhaps work for a while, but sooner or later you will hit a plateau and without insights into your eating habits, things could get a lot more difficult. To be honest, the more I talk to people about nutrition and calories, the more I realize that most people have no clue on how much they’re eating. This study comes to an interesting conclusion on that very issue.
Educating yourself in what your numbers are, what the caloric value of food is and how to implement it in your life will make the road to achieving your goals a lot easier.
ARE YOU GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR DIET?
At some point, it simply won’t matter how talented you are, how much time and effort you put into sweating at the gym, programming your workouts and analyzing the weaknesses in your training if you don’t have the nutritional side covered as well.
‘FANCY NAME AND HYPE ASIDE, SUPERFOODS DON’T HAVE TO BE EXOTIC OR EXPENSIVE – YOU’LL BE SURPRISED HOW MANY OF THESE MULTI-TALENTS YOU’RE ALREADY EATING.’
So here’s a list more Superfoods that have the most benefits for Crossfitters:
6. COCONUT WATER
This beverage isn’t only good for hydration levels (and making you feel like you’re on a miniature vacation). Coconut water is the perfect solution to get back on track after a tough WOD:
Like a primal, healthy version of Gatorade, it will give back the electrolytes you lost sweating. The natural coconut sugar is a great way to quickly replenish the glycogen (= energy) deposits in your muscles, paving the way for efficient muscle recovery and growth.
Ever wondered why the Crossfit Dottirs are so successful?
It might be because of a special sort of Icelandic dairy, Skyr. Made from four times the amount of skimmed milk used in yoghurt, it packs a huge amount of calcium and proteins, with next to no carbohydrates and fat, which makes it a perfect fit to hit your protein goals.
8. BERRIES & CHERRIES
As an athlete, you require a lot more anti-oxidants than the sedentary population. Berries and Cherries provide them in abundance, while also catering to your sweet-tooth in a clean way.
Cherries are especially great if you’re working on your endurance: Studies have shown that endurance athletes that drink cherry juice recover more quickly and measurably increase their performance. Way to improve those cardio-WODs!
9. SUPERFOODS: QUINOA
A pseudo-grain that is actually a seed, Quinoa packs both a decent amount of proteins and complex carbohydrates, as well as essential amino acids, making it a perfect fuel for your body. Its use in sports nutrition is said to reach back all the way to the ancient INCA civilization and their famous warriors, which is not surprising if you look at its further benefits:
All hide in these tiny seeds that can perfectly replace the wheat in your diet.
10. MATCHA TEA
Made from green tea and usually found as a powder, Matcha is like the Hulk of the superfood family.
Feeling fatigued? Matcha boosts your energy level with a good amount of caffeine. It also contains iron, a mineral that especially athletic females need to maintain their vital functions and stay active. Additionally, it offers tons of important vitamins, calcium for your bones -strength and anti-oxidants to speed up your recovery. And the biggest plus for your six-pack ambitions: catechine, which studies have shown to speed up your metabolism and strengthen the immune system.
11. KIMCHI & FERMENTED FOODS AND DRINKS
Whether you eat them (Sauerkraut; Kimchi) or drink them (Kefir, Kombucha): Fermented foods have a lot more to offer than the fact that you can practically keep them in the fridge forever.
The probiotic bacteria they contain help the balance in your digestive system, helping your stomach get the most nutrients and vitamins from all of the other foods you eat. As an athlete, you’ll be able to digest the ridiculous amounts of food you sometimes eat, without having to compromise on the nutrient absorption. (This also means less supplements.)
A handful of Almonds after a strenuous your workout is the perfect snack to get your recovery started and your nervous system working properly. They combine healthy, mono-saturated fats and protein with Vitamin E, copper, riboflavin (a B-vitamin athletes need more of), potassium and calcium.
13. LEAFY GREENS
The superstar in this group is kale, but other leafy greens like spinach are just as good at living up to their healthy image.
Aside from the fact that they’re a low-calorie staple with loads of different minerals, they are also a fantastic source of folate, which is the natural form of folidic acid. This is a key ingredient in helping the body break down proteins and create new ones from the amino acids (hello, muscles!) and also forming new blood cells and DNA.
‘TRUTH: EVERYTHING TASTES BETTER WITH AVOCADO ON TOP!’
This delicious buttery fruit is full of unaltered, natural fatty acids, a great source of energy after your workout, especially if you’re avoiding carbs. They also contain vitamin A&K, promoting bone and heart-health, a lot of fiber for a functioning gut, and anti-oxidants to prevent soreness.