“Nothing worthwhile is ever easy.”
As I was scanning through the T.V. guide this past rainy, Sunday afternoon, I saw a show dubbed as “I Can’t Stay Thin.” To my surprise, this is actually a part of the MTV series documentary, “True Life.” In this particular episode, they were following the lives of two teenagers. One girl claims to be a yo-yo dieter who has to resort to various diet pills and who can’t seem to keep her weight off after she resumes her normal eating habits. The other person in this episode is a guy eats 300 calories a day and does not exercise at all so that he can go from 340 lbs to 215 lbs.
I can see why these two teenagers and many others resort to drastic measures when it comes to losing weight/fat. Everyone wants the fast and easy way to lose fat (especially belly fat for that matter) that we’ll try just about anything that promises these kind of results. At the same time, there is so much misleading information from the diet industry that we lose sight of the basics of nutrition and exercise which actually deliver results because it requires a lot of hard work, motivation, will power and time, among other things.
While it’s common knowledge that fruits and vegetables should be a part of a healthy diet especially if you’re looking to lose weight, many people are confused as to which diet (by the way, I don’t do “diets.” I believe in eating healthier as a lifestyle.) to follow, how many calories to eat, what food groups to eat more of, or how to eat so many servings a day etc. To minimize this confusion, I basically follow the nutritional priciples outlined by 3 different books or e-books. These are:
While the principles in these books vary and sometimes conflicts with each other, they do agree on the fact that you must feed and treat your body in a way that you’re nourishing it to move you towards a leaner, healthier you. They also agree that every diet has to have some leniency. In other words, you can have cheat meals as long as it’s in moderation.
So, here is an overview of what you can get from these books:
- Eat Stop Eat – This is a book about intermittent fasting. Brad Pilon, the author, goes into depth about the scientific reasons behind how and why fasting works and why it’s a beneficial practice. He also disputes the common assertions about the “starvation mode” and losing muscle mass while fasting. I’ve also learned a few things about which hormones go up and down which eventually result to fat loss. For me, knowing the science behind what Brad claims is important because it helps me understand that there is a purpose for the fast, that I’m actually doing my body good and I’m not doing it just because I wanted to lose fat. I also find the information in ESE helpful during those times when I just want to break my fast earlier than Brad recommends.
From my experience, ESE really does work and it’s the easiest, most hassle-free way to lose fat especially from the lower ab area. If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you’ve probably read about and seen my results from ESE. But, if you haven’t, you can read it here.
Who is it for: For fairly, healthy people who are having trouble losing weight even with a daily caloric deficit. If you’ve been thinking of fasting as a way to weight loss but haven’t decided if it’s for you, check out this article by Rusty Moore and another one from Life Spotlight.
- Precision Nutrition – this is a comprehensive resource for nutrition advice and gourmet recipes by Dr. John Berardi. The major part of this package is the Gourmet Nutrition (version 1) cookbook but it comes with many other helpful resources such as: the body fat measurement guide, nutrition individualization/personalization, cooking tips and techniques, food history and background, 5-minute meals, Supershakes recipes, and many more. This also includes a membership access to the online articles, resources, and forums.
Take note that this is an actual book that gets physically delivered in the mail (not an e-book).
Who is it for: This is for people who want a personalized approach to nutrition and, of course, who love to cook. I personally use the cook book a lot because I like to know what goes into my food (i.e. whole some ingredients without the bad fats and not much sugar). While I got PN after learning how to cook and eat healthy for awhile, I love the gourmet recipes and liked reading all the additional nutritional stuff. There’s something in there for quick meals or a full-blown gourmet meal to impress your friends or your date. The body measurement guide also talks about other assessments that can give you feedback on whether you’re going in the right direction. If you want another person’s take on the Precision Nutrition System, here is Maggie Wang’s review of it.
- Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle – this is an e-book that talks about nutrition from a bodybuilder’s perspective, Tom Venuto. Don’t let the term body builder fool you either because Tom V. is not one of those bulky, freaky looking body builders – he is lean and HOT! Oh yah, and he also has some great stuff to say about nutrition, nutrition strategies, macronutrient ratios, types of exercise, different body types in terms of genetics, etc.
Who is it for: This is for everyone who wants to have a good understanding of nutrition basics and exercise basics (he mainly talks about cardio so don’t expect workout programs here). Tom explains all the priciples in detail, in a manner that is funny and easy to undestand. He also added some sample meal plans that is meant give you an idea of how and when you should be eating. Overall, this is a book that is highly recommended. If you only have money for one e-book, this is the book to buy! And yes, I’m putting my name on this recommendation because it is one of the best fitness and nutrition books that I have ever read.
Once I have the principles down from these three books, I just tune out whatever ridiculous advice I hear in the news or read in the newspapers and magazines. This is one of those cases wherein the saying, “less is more (or better)” really applies. As for those two teenagers in the documentary, MTV showed them to have developed better eating habits and exercise routines. I just hope the story will be the same for everyone because, for me, this is the only way to go. There may be times when I fall off the wagon but I have acquired the mind set that this is the only way to go – eating healthier and regular exercise. So that after falling off the wagon, I know where to get support and which strategies to implement to help me get back on track.