Here are the answers to the questions most commonly asked about fat burning and food.
Q: I work the night shift. How should I change my diet?
Q: Every time I hit a restaurant I want to flatten the bread basket. Why?
A: There’s a support group for that. It’s called everyone. You’re not addicted, you’re just hungry, which is why you went to a restaurant in the first place. Curb the impulse by snacking two hours before going out. Necking a protein shake works well and will probably halve your dinner bill. When you get to the restaurant, order a salad or shrimp cocktail as soon as you sit down. If the waiter brings the bread, simply tell him you don’t want it.
Q: How bad are hot drinks for my six-pack quest?
A: They’re pretty good, actually. You don’t even have to skip the sugar. Consuming a 5-gram portion of sugar, which contains 16 to 20 calories, every day isn’t going to bolster your waistline. Skipping the sugar would save you less than one kilo-gram of calories per year. But if you’re a sugar junkie, find small ways to reel in the sweetness quotient in everything you eat, including that first cuppa. If you skip all sugar, including sugar-rich foods such as yoghurt, fizzy drinks and cereals, you’ll be on the fast track to losing your body fat. Be vigilant and check the labels because sugars are hiding in all sorts of foods you’d never expect, such as tomato sauce. In short, give sugar the boot. You really are sweet enough.
Q: Will my wife’s diet programme work for me?
A: Yes, but you don’t have tell your buddies about it. If something gets you to eat less it will work. The real issue is how healthy the diet is, how active you are and how well you can stick to it. You’ll be more successful at sticking to your diet if you and your wife diet as a team. You can motivate each other and cook joint meals, and you can use some of your male competitive-ness to lose weight. To succeed you need a goal, some structure, some accountability and some exercise. Oh yeah—try eating a little less, too.
Q: When I first started dieting the weight dropped off me, but now it’s coming off slowly. Why? I still eat healthy and exercise.
A: Most blokes reach a tabletop thanks to problems on top of the table. If you eat too little, your body think it’s starving and stores fat as an emergency measure.
The problem could also be excessive tension; this makes your body release the stress hormone cortisol, which inhibits fat loss. You could also eat a little more before your workouts so you can hit them harder. Adaptability is the key to long-term success. Changing your exercise routine and then changing the foods you eat while still eating a low-calorie diet will help you bust out of that rut
Q: After a tough day at the office all I want to do is eat all night. How can I stop this?
A: Witching-hour munchies can quickly con-jure a cauldron-sized belly. Regardless of how much you toss and turn in the sack, you simply aren’t going to burn off the calories like you do when you’re awake. That’s not to say you need to starve. You should eat something to reduce the nighttime wave of low blood sugar. Go for healthy, appetite-curbing oats, an apple and cheese or a thin turkey sandwich on rye. If you crave sweets, try fruit yoghurt, cereal with a little brown sugar on top or berries with a drizzle of chocolate sauce. Cottage cheese is also a good option because it digests slowly. Avoid spicy or high-fat foods, which can make it harder for you to fall asleep. If you must reach for the unhealthy stuff, try to pair it with something healthy. Your belly will be gone in a poof.
Q: What’s the deal with cheat days? How much can I cheat?
A: Think of cheat days as your reward for sticking to your programme. You need to enjoy life and, more importantly, food. Weight gain isn’t the only issue here. It takes a 3,500-calorie surplus to pack on .45 kilogram of fat, so you’d really have to chow down to notice an effect. The real worry is that even one high-fat, high-car-bohydrate load can boost the amount of stress on your organs and make it harder for your brain to resist new temptations. The bottom line: Cheating on your diet doesn’t mean abandoning it entirely. Limit your splurge to a few of your favou-rite forbidden snacks. Once you’ve stuck to a healthy eating plan long enough to see a difference in how you look and feel, you’ll find that those greasy old favourites aren’t as seductive anymore.
Q: I train late at night. What should I eat afterwards? A big dinner?
A: Chug a protein shake after your workout, then cook up a small meal of meat and veg-etables sans carbs such as pasta and spuds. No studies show that eating before bed makes you put on weight; rather, the total number of calories you eat throughout the day determines your waist size. However, to be safe, allow an hour between your last bite and bedtime. Your metabolism slows down a little at night and you won’t easily digest the contents of a stuffed gut. More importantly, having a large meal before dozing off can interfere with your sleep. But so can going to bed hungry. Don’t deny yourself a light snack if you had an early dinner or feel hunger pangs. Satiate cravings with the food groups you skipped during the day. If you missed out on dairy or fruit, grab some yoghurt and berries, a smoothie or an apple and some cheese. If you’re hanging for starch, a bowl of oats is a safe bet. Never go to bed with a stomach howling for food because a good night’s sleep will serve you better in your quest to get lean.
Q: I love sandwiches, but are the carbs bad for my six-pack?
A: Not if you choose wisely. Start with the solid foundation of rye bread, which is rich in fibre and will keep you full for ages. Lay out the inside with solid walls of whole protein such as sliced chicken breast or a bit of meat. Decorate with at least three fruits and vegetables of differ-ent colours and you have the perfect meal to make a body worth building.
Q: Is it true that celery has negative calories?
A: This is a pack of hocus pocus. Celery has 10 calories per 100 grams. You cannot lose weight by eating a food that takes more energy to absorb than you get from it. To conjure a six-pack you need a balanced diet, not calorie sleight-of-hand tricks.