SOME READERS MAY wonder why that headline doesn’t read: “Want to lose weight….”? Well, I’m not a fan of “weight loss” – as I covered here, weight loss is a concept that’s way past its use-by date and as discussed here, I’m convinced that the scale is your enemy. So forget about weight loss, think fat loss and you’re on track to make real long-term progress in terms of how you look and feel.
Losing fat is basically a simple matter of calorie control. Consume more calories than you need and you’ll put on body fat. Consume too few calories and you’ll lose body fat. Consume far less than you need and in addition to losing fat, you’ll burn muscle and slow down your metabolism, which is a disaster.
So why doesn’t everyone who wants to get lean just eat less and exercise more? If only it was that simple, especially when it comes to food. For every willpower fiend out there who can resist any and all culinary temptations, there are plenty of folk who battle with hunger pangs. For them, a carefully constructed, portion-controlled meal is followed by what feels like starvation, which is in turn followed by an epic binge, a cheat meal or calorie-laden and unhealthy snack.
Others will do silly things like skipping meals entirely, or eating only a few measly calories for a meal. Both these approaches also tend to lead to major eating at a later stage, when the hunger becomes overwhelming.
The easiest way to control hunger, and to be able to eat literally as much as you like and to still lose fat, is to go raw. I don’t mean dropping all cooked food and embracing the raw vegan way (although that’s a great option) but the more raw food you add to your diet, the better.
Think about it – it’s damn hard to overeat on raw food, especially on raw vegetables. Find me a raw vegetable that’s loaded with carbs, or with fat for that matter (avocados excluded), so you can pretty much pig out on as much salad as you like till you feel like you couldn’t eat another bite, and chances are that your total calorie count will still be nominal. Please note that I said “salad”, not “salad, a cup of Ranch dressing and a bowl of croutons”. By all means, feel free to dress the salad but stick with a light vinaigrette, or try olive oil and balsamic vinegar (as long as you don’t get too carried away with the oil).
A meal made up of a decent protein portion, a reasonable serving of carbs and a humungous bowl of salad is going to leave you satiated and unlikely to want to hit the vending machine in a hurry. If you’re worried about suffering “Chinese meal syndrome” and being hungry an hour later, it’s not going to happen, as long as you’re eating enough raw veggies. All the fibre in those vegetables goes a long way to helping extend that feeling of fullness, especially when combined with some protein.
The same is true if you make a sandwich with some good quality whole-wheat or multi-grain bread (avoid cheap bread, and run a mile from white bread) and pop a couple of inches of onion, cucumber, capsicum, rocket, tomato, sprouts, celery and lettuce or mesclun leaves on top of some avocado, a slice of tofu (or some cheese if you’re vegetarian).
Suddenly that sandwich is transformed into a meal, or at least it’ll feel like one by the time you’re done. You just scoffed a heap of healthy stuff (five or more a day – remember?) while adding little to your calorie count. Do that for lunch every day while your meat eating colleagues are tucking into something like a Big Mac, large fries and a large Coke (1,100+ fat laden, unhealthy, animal killing calories) and see who’s put on a heap of fat in a year, and who’s looking slim and trim…
Don’t be shy about eating fruit, at least the raw stuff, which is tasty, good for you, not to mention healthy. Canned fruit dripping in sugar syrup is no one’s friend, while dried fruit is delicious but dense in calories. Fruit juice has had much of the fibre removed and is effectively sugary water, even if the bottle says “no sugar added” – check out the label and you’ll see there’s often as much sugar in fruit juice as there is in fizzy soft drinks. Yes it’s fructose, not sucrose but still, 40 grams of the stuff sans most of the fibre found in whole fruit isn’t really what you want to be ingesting.
When it comes to raw veges, it’s hard to go wrong from a fat-loss perspective. I can guarantee that you’ll feel better for all the raw food too. In my experience, the more raw food I eat, the better I feel and the more I want to eat raw food. It’s a positive cycle all round, so chow down, exercise and watch the results in the mirror. You won’t be disappointed. ASHLEY KRAMER