I talk about habits a looootttttt!
Probably so much that many people get sick and tired of hearing about it, but I don't care because I think it's utterly important that people understand that everything we are is a product of our daily habits both physical and mental.
This is why building good habits and eliminating bad habits is so vitally important to having the life you want.
[Tweet "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. -Aristotle"]
It's also key to having the body you want.
And for most of us that body we want is hidden behind 10 to 50 extra pounds of fat.
This means most of us need to place an emphasis on cultivating habits that support fatloss.
When coaching clients on this I have a whole host of habits and strategies to accomplish this, but in my opinion there are 4 habits that build the foundation for successfully attaining and maintaining a lean physique.
Let's talk about them.
1. Eating slowly
This sounds simple, but trust me it isn't easy.
Seriously just think about the last meal you ate. How long did it take you to finish it?
Maybe 15 minutes?
Research shows that it takes close to 20 minutes before there is feedback between our stomach and brain that our hunger has been satisfied and we can put our fork down.
Can you believe that it takes at least 20 minutes before we can even feel full?
And I don't know about you, but I sure can shovel into quite a bit of food in those 20 minutes causing me to over eat and store excess calories that I don't need and will never use.
Eating quickly causes us to overeat which leads us to take in more calories than we expend and ultimately leads to gaining fat.
However eating slowly allows us to eat less food which means our calorie intake is reduced and places us in a deficit in which we can start to lose fat.
Don't believe it can actually have that big of an effect?
Then listen to what this study found.
A study performed at the University of Rhode Island demonstrated how effective this habit can be. 30 women were served lunch under two different circumstances. The lunch they ate was a large plate of spaghetti plus a glass of H2O to drink. During each meal the women were told to eat till comfortable. During one of these meals the subjects were told to eat as fast as they could and during the other visit they were asked to eat slowly and to put down utensils between bites.
The results were crazy the women ate 67 less calories in the 20 minute difference between meal durations. This doesn’t seem significant, but consider this figure times 3 or 4 meals a day and it starts to add up. Plus not only did those who ate slower eat less they also reported longer lasting satiation. Win-win!
Eating slower allows us to lose fat, but continue to feel satisfied and full.
2. Drink water
I know I know water is so bland, but without if you cannot live.
It's quite literally the solvent of life.
It provides are cells with the necessary environment to carry out key functions.
Without it our bodies don't operate properly and therefore we cannot metabolism the stored fat we are trying to get rid of optimally.
It also aids our kidneys in filtering and makes are bowels move efficiently.
I could go on and on about the benefits of drinking water, but I am going to save both you and me the time and just go bro-science on this topic.
Simply drink the water because it will help make you ripped!
3. Sleep 6 to 8 hours per day
I have been hammering sleep lately haven't I?
Sorry about that, but it's just that important! If you haven't had a chance go check out this article.
Sleep is important for a whole host of reasons besides looking better and affecting how we eat, but it does play a role in these and they are what interest us.
Want some proof?
Let’s look at a quick study that was performed to examine the relationship between sleep and obesity.
This study was a sample of 10,000 us adults that represented the nation.
This study suggested that the obesity epidemic may be due to a decrease in the average number of hours slept my a person.
The studies of the results showed a correlation that people between the ages of 32 and 49 who sleep fewer than 7 hours every night increase the likelihood obesity significantly. In addition the study showed that being awake after midnight often correlated to higher likelihood of obesity.
These relationships seem to have a dose response effect in that shorter sleeping durations results in a larger chance for fat gain.
It is not clear whether the sleep deprivation actually CAUSES a person to become fat, but it is continually speculated by researchers that sleep deprivation could disrupt the hormones that regulate appetite leading to overeating and increased body fat.
This is plausible because lack of sleep can influence different hormones in the body negatively such as decreasing growth hormone and increasing both TSH and cortisol in the evenings. In addition chronic lack of sleep slows the release of insulin.
Lack of sleep also can mean more time to eat and consume calories consequently leading to a surplus of calories and excess fat gain.
I mean seriously guys sleep holds all these benefits and we all seem to complain about never getting enough of it so it really shouldn't be that difficult to shut off the electronics and lights and get into bed a bit earlier.
4. Eat lean protein
One of the biggest problems when we are trying to lose weight and cut fat off our bodies is that our body doesn't only source fat tissue for energy which means that incidentally as we lose fat we are also going to be losing some muscle. The goal then is to keep as much muscle as we can and lose as much fat as we can.
However this can be hard at times as our body when in a large caloric deficit looks for the tissue that is most metabolically expensive to maintain to get rid of first which would be muscle tissue. It takes a whole lot of calories to maintain muscle, way more than fat.
That being said one of the first things that we can do to prevent this from happening is maintain the smallest caloric deficit possible that allows us to still lose weight and fat.
But if we truly want to hedge our bet while we are cutting weight and dropping fat we should be taking in a healthy amount of protein at each meal we consume. This will supply our bodies the raw materials needed to maintain existing muscle tissue and build new muscle tissue. This is even more important if we are still doing some kind of intense training during our cut.
Also our body is actually pretty inefficient at metabolizing protein. Way more inefficient as compared to how we metabolize carbohydrates and fat. This means that we actually force our bodies to work harder and expend more energy to metabolize a gram of protein versus a gram of carbohydrate or fat. This extra expenditure contributes to our efforts to maintain a caloric deficit and can help continue moving the fat loss forward without having to continually increase our level of activity or decrease our food intake.
Here's the deal though it's not enough just to know those four habits will help you lose fat.
You have to actually act on that knowledge.
Here's how I suggest you do it.
Pick one of the four habits above and work on it each day for two weeks. You can choose how to apply the habit to your own life and situation, but you choose to do so it should be so easy you can't help but succeed.
After those two weeks move on to another habit.
Repeat this process for a total of 2 months or 8 weeks until you have worked on each habit.
Take stock of how well you have mastered each and repeat the process again until they really do become true habits that are rather automatic and take little to no conscious awareness.
If you are interested in learning more about building habits and having a coach teach you how to develop lifestyle, nutrition, and training habits that will finally get you to where you want to be then you should take a look at this.
Otherwise go take action on one of these four habits today!
Happy moving and heavy lifting!
Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training