Tag: Meal Prep Benefits

A few years ago there was theory that eating every 2-3 hours will speed up your metabolism and as a result will create greater weight loss. As a beginner I was guilty of believing this at one point until I learned how to research and understand scientific studies that disprove myths from the truth. This theory derived from individuals in the fitness industry misunderstanding the “thermic effect of food” also known as “TEF”. This caused many fitness professionals to market their meal plans and/or supplement products as the missing piece to the majority of the populations weight loss struggles. All foods have a thermic effect meaning you body burns calories to digest them. But simply eating more frequently won’t cause greater weight loss and I’ll explain why.

The “TEF” of the foods you eat is a bonus. Trying to control “TEF” will only complicate your weight loss journey so instead I recommend focusing on maintaining a calorie deficit by controlling your total caloric intake versus how many meals you consume a day. Let’s say your at home doing some online shopping on your favorite fitness brands website. You have a 10% off discount code which we will use to represent the “TEF” of food. After about an hour of browsing you’ve added about $5,000 worth of items to your shopping cart which will represent a total caloric intake of food. You check out and pay the balance in full, you end up saving $500(10% of $5000) from the discount code. Now let’s say this website allows you to pay 4 installments of $1,250, for each payment your save $125(10% of $1,250). After all 4 installments are eventually paid off, you still end up saving $500($125 x 4). As you can see nothing has really changed. “TEF” works the same exact way. No matter how big or small your meals are, if total calories are the same, the results will also be the same.

Often times I educated my audience on my Instagram the benefits of certain foods with a high TEF but that doesn’t mean the more you eat, the more weight you will lose. Have you ever seen an insurance commercial or ad that claims you can save on your auto insurance by adding home insurance? Let’s say you’re currently paying $500 for an auto insurance policy and by adding home insurance at an extra $300, you save $100 on your auto insurance. You’ll have to spend an extra $300 dollar to save that $100. If we related this example to total caloric intake for the day, yes you’ll burn an extra 100 calories from “TEF” of foods but you’ll have to eat 300 more calories that will increase your total caloric intake for the day. The number one driver for weight loss is calorie in versus calories out. Therefore it’s definitely beneficial to understand the effects certain foods have on your body but more doesn’t mean better results especially when weight loss is the primary goal.

So if meal frequency isn’t as important as we thought it was, why even do it at all? There are several reasons why you would want to eat more frequently throughout the day:

  1. To control your energy levels
  2. To control your hunger
  3. To prevent bloating after eating

In conclusion if you struggle with the reason listed above, eating more frequently can benefit you. But when it comes to weight loss, everyone should focus on making sure they are not consuming more calories than what their body burns throughout the day. I personally practice meal frequency due to my busy schedule and my intense training regime. I perform better in the gym when I’ve had at least half of my calories for day prior to my training session. But when my goal is to ultimately lose weight, I put more effort in staying within my total caloric intake for the day because that will guarantee that I’m fact in a deficit and I highly suggest you guys to do that same!

 

Over the years I’ve dabbled  with a several ways to lose weight. What you put in your body will impact how you look and feel. When I first got into fitness I was well over 300lbs, wasn’t active and didn’t have the slightest clue as to what calories truly were. The cambridge dictionary defines “calorie” as a unit used in measuring the amount energy food provides when eaten and digested. If you eat 1 cup of blueberries at 80 calories, once digested your body will have 80 calories to expend for energy. Pretty simple right? When weight loss is the goal, as long as you’re not eating more calories than you burn you will lose weight so as a fitness professional I highly suggest tracking calories but it isn’t a must.

 

First let’s cover why tracking is beneficial for weight loss. For the majority of my life, I never was conscious of the food that I was putting in my body. If you’d ask me if I was allergic to any foods, I wouldn’t know because I would just eat whatever food that was available which explains how I accumulated the weight that I did. Tracking calories allows you understand how your body responds to certain foods due to the fact that your documenting all meals. But the most important part of tracking your calories is that you have data of what you’ve done in the past so that you can adjust to overcome plateaus. Plateaus are going to happen and there’s very little you can do to avoid them especially if you’re making great weight loss progress. The more your weigh, the more calories your body will require. As you start dropping weight, the less calories your body will require. As an online coach, my clients typically experience plateaus when their start calorie deficit becomes their new maintenance calories for their new weight. It happens, its normal and counting your calories will only make it easier for you overcome that small obstacle in your weightloss journey in my opinion of course.

 

But as I mentioned earlier, counting calories isn’t a must because for the first 4 years of my fitness journey I didn’t count a single calorie. I just created a structure that I could commit to, but will also change my eating habits. If you are like the old Chayan in the past who ate anything and everything, incorporating meal preps into your routine can help you lose weight. From eating as you go through your day to having a set number of meals for day is what help me lose my first 70lbs. Makes sense right? Prior to starting my journey, I would rarely cook. Most of my calories would come from eating out which means I never knew how much I was really eating at a time. Once I incorporated meal prep, now I cook my own meals, I know exactly what’s in them and I have a food scale to weigh out my portions for each meal. Even the best tracking app isn’t 100% accurate when eating out therefore cooking your own meals and knowing every single ingredient that included is the best way to know the exact amount of calories you are consuming.

 

Now let’s say you’re not like the old version of me and you eat home cooked meals consistently but still struggle with weight loss, one thing you can try is try to identify on average how many meals a day you eat. For example let’s say you eat 6 home cooked meal a day and scale isn’t going down. It’s a possibility that the 6th meal is putting you in a calorie surplus or maintenance which is why you haven’t been losing weight. Easy way to correct this is by simply eliminating one meal all together or replacing one meal with a small snack that isn’t as calorie dense. Let’s say that 6th meal is about 500 calories, by eliminating it from your diet you are eating 500 calories less everyday. If you replace it with a small snack at 250 calories, now you’re eating 250 calories less each day. Both method can create a calorie deficit and that’s the most important factor to weight loss. Calories in versus calories out!

 

Life can be so fast paced for the majority of us that we sometimes ignore the little things that could be hurting our weight loss journey. From the creamer in your coffee to the one serving of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream you have every night. All these factors matter because everything has calories. In all honesty you can continue eating the way you do especially if your eating a well balanced diet of home cook meals, but eliminate those small factors from your diet and you’ll lose weight. Next time you grab coffee either look into drinking it black, add a artificial sweetner or almond milk. It’s easy to get carried away when using a creamer because we never just add the recommended tablespoon serving. Depending on how many cups of coffee you drink a day, you can see that eliminating the creamer all together can save you anywhere from 30- 200 calories. These calories that can be used towards your deficit instead of adding extra calories to your drink. Evaluate your overall diet, look at those added factors that aren’t a necessity and by minimizing or eliminating then all together, you will set yourself on the right path to a successful weight loss story!

When the majority of the fitness community say “macros”, they are referring to the three macronutrients that account for their total caloric intake. These are protein, carbohydrate and fat. The term “macros” became popular once people started adapting the IIFYM(If It Fits Your Macros) diet. This form of flexible dieting allows just about anyone to consume any food, regardless of it being a whole food or process food, as long as you can reach your desire macros for either losing weight, maintaining weight or gaining weight. Each macronutrient has foods that fall within their category and have specific benefits to the human body. Continue reading below to learn more about how macros can help enhance your fitness journey.

If you’ve ever done a workout and you were left sore for days, it could be in fact of lack of protein. Protein is the main component for muscles to recover from strength training exercises. Working out simply means breaking down muscle fibers. Protein helps repair muscle fibers and generates new protein for muscle growth. This is very important to understand. Regardless if your goal is to lose weight or gain weight, adequate amounts of protein will help with recovery from your workout session. Protein can be found in foods such as seafood, poultry, lean beef, eggs, soy, yogurts, etc. If you struggle with getting a sufficient amount of protein for your current body and activity level, look into purchasing a whey, grass fed or vegan powder to supplement your diet. If you can’t recover from your workouts, you won’t make much progress. No matter how hard you train in the gym, without enough protein, you’ll never build the muscle you’d like.

Carbohydrates on the other hand is our body’s main source of energy. This is why we feel such a rush of energy when consuming simple sugars. Carbohydrates help fuel our brain, kidneys, muscles, heart and central nervous system. If you want to have an amazing workout, consuming carbohydrates 1-2 hours prior to your session will give you fuel you need.  Carbohydrates have been getting a bad reputation over the years as far as weight gain. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, eating any of the three macro nutrients in unnecessary large quantities can cause weight gain not just carbs! A few carbohydrate sources are bread, rice, oatmeal, pasta, cereal, beans, sweet potatoes, fruits, etc. Similar to how the gym has many tools to help you reach your goals, carbohydrates is a tool you use in your diet to help you power through your day and finish your workout strong.

Fats can sometimes be tricky for most to understand. The easiest way to explain fats is by saying that “all fats are not created equal”. Let’s cover the bad fats first. Saturated fat can be found in animal sources of foods such as full fat diary, red meat & poultry. Trans fat is usually found in cakes, donuts, microwave popcorn & margarine. While trans fat lowers healthy HDL cholesterol and saturated fat increase blood cholesterol levels, they both increase unhealthy LDL cholesterol which increases your risk of cardiovascular disease also known as a heart attack or stroke. These are the fats you want to avoid to be main sources of your diet. Individuals who have died from cardiovascular disease have had a history of consuming these fats which only contributed to their risk. I’m not saying don’t eat them at all. But limited them in your daily diet will keep you healthy and will prevent visit to the doctor’s office in the future.

While carbohydrates is the main source of energy, our bodies uses fat when carbohydrates are low or not being consumed. This is why when weight loss is goal, most trainers/coaches start decreases carbohydrates for their clients in order to lower their body fat. Fat is essential to our health and they support several body functions from vitamin absorption to regulating our body temperature. Its never a good idea to completely cut fat out of your diet. Its best to monitor your fat consumption and learn about the good fats you could consume. Monounsaturated fat can be found in nuts, peanut butter, olive oil, etc. and polyunsaturated(Omega-3 included) fats can be found in fish, walnuts, flax seeds, etc. They both have shown to improve blood cholesterol levels which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. If you’re currently consuming a lot of saturated and trans fats, look into replacing those with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. But make sure your don’t over do it! Fats are very calorie dense including the healthy ones. As long as you consume 10-20% of your total calories assuming your following a well balanced diet, your body will get the nutrients it needs to work the way it was designed.

Meal prepping can be an easy task for someone who has done it many times. Similar to anything in life, the more you do something, the better and more efficient you will become. It’s okay to struggle the first few times. The good news is that it won’t this way forever. I’ve utilize meal prepping since that beginning of my weight loss journey back in 2011.There are golden rules that I follow when I’m short on time or just don’t feel like spending hours in the kitchen. If you can incorporate these tips, your meal preparation will be breeze which will allow you to focus on others tasks for the day.

 

First things first, step foot in your kitchen and take a look around. Do you have an oven? Do you have a rice cooker? Do you have an indoor/outdoor grill? I want you guys to be aware of all the possible tools you have available to you that you can utilize while you meal prep. There’s no sense in using the stove for all your foods, if you have to wait for one items to be done to start cooking the next. Think about how can I cook everything I need all at once? The more foods that can be cooked simultaneously, the less amount of time you’ll spend simply waiting. You want to be as efficient as you can in the kitchen based on the amount of food you need to prep. If you’re someone like me who preps the same things for weeks or even months, start playing a game against yourself where you try to beat your time the last time you prepped. This can be fun and challenging but the main benefit is that it makes you think of ways on how to reduce the time you spend prepping your meals. I highly suggest you try this!

 

Shopping at the supermarket today is very different from a few decades ago, from what I’ve been told of course. We have variety of convenience items being sold to make our lives easier. Please keep in mind, additional convenience will cost some extra money. Remember the last time you went to the car wash on a beautiful day and purchased a basic wash for your car? Then you see another car just drive right pass you to get their wash while you were still waiting in line? That’s a VIP service that will cost you some extra dollars. Is it worth it? Absolutely if you’re someone who doesn’t like wasting time waiting in lines which brings me to my next tip. Buy vegetables that can be microwaved or can be eaten as is. I use Cauliflower Stir Fry Crumbles a lot during my preps especially when I’m trying to cut weight. I fill up to about half on each tupperware right out of the bag and it actually cooks or softens when I warm it up in the microwave prior to eating. Extremely convenient but worth it in my opinion.

 

If you’re undecided about what you would like to prep for your protein source, you’re overthinking it. If it doesn’t need to be chopped, marinated for a couple hours or sauteed first then baked, its probably going to be a good and quick choice. Anything that starts with “ground” are my staples. Ground turkey, ground beef, ground chicken, etc. are all great options because you can toss it in a pan, stir it a few times, season it, stir it a few more times and before you know it its fully cooked. Bonus tip in case you’re always on the go, add your condiments to all of your meals right after you get done prepping. I like to add mozzarella cheese, sriracha sauce and sriracha ketchup to my meals. This allows me to just grab my meals and go without having to think of what to add the day of.

 

I hope that now everyone reading can see easy and simple meal prepping can be. The more you have think about that foods you would like to eat for that week, the more difficult it will become. If you follow these simple rules moving forward, meal prepping will always be a breeze to get done. At the end of the day, you and only you should enjoy the foods you’re eating. If it’s boring to others, who care because as long as it’s bringing you closer to your goals, that’s ultimately all that matters!

Diets have been growing over the years. Its almost feels like a new diet is created every day in the attempt to help people lose weight. You may just been browsing on social media and saw a post from your favorite Fitness Icon promoting Intermittent Fasting or Keto. Before covering the most popular diets of today, I would like to say this, there isn’t any special diet that would cause massive weight loss. Which ever diet you choose, the determining factor on you losing weight is ultimately “calories in versus calories out” or in simpler terms “burning more calories throughout the day than you consume”. Please keep that in mind while I go over various diets and how they can apply to you.

 

IIFYM(If It Fits Your Macros)

This diet is extremely popular and used by most of the fitness community because of the flexibility you have between the foods you can consume. Generally speaking you can eat what ever your little heart desires if at the end of the day you don’t go over the three macro nutrients, protein, carbs and fats. If you are someone who practices self control and can limit the amount of processed foods you consume on a daily basis, this can be the diet for you.

 

Intermittent Fasting

This diet is similar to IIFYM only difference is that you have a window when you don’t eat and a window when you do. The idea behind this diet is that the less amount of time during the day you have the eat, the less chances you have of going over you total caloric intake for the day. I personally use this diet on the weekends mostly when I know I’m going to eat a bad meal to end the night. It works great for people who prefer to save their calories towards the afternoon/evening and not indulged throughout the entire day.

 

Paleo Diet

The purpose this diet in simple terms, is that if it doesn’t growing from the ground or can’t be hunted, you shouldn’t eat it. A paleo diet typically includes foods such as lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts & seeds which completely eliminates the need for any processed foods. Foods such as cereal, donuts, pasta, etc. shouldn’t be consumed. This is a perfect diet from someone who doesn’t like processed foods to begin with and enjoys eating whole foods that obtain a solid nutritional profile.

 

Keto

In order to be in ketosis your overall calories need to be divided primarily by fats(70%), moderate protein(25%) and very little carbs(5%). In my onion this this is a very strict diet that requires a lot of discipline meaning very little room for error. If you eat any form of carbohydrate that increasing your blood sugar levels, it can take you out of ketosis. If you consume too much protein it can take you out of ketosis. Please keep this in mind if you thought about giving this diet a try. But if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy eating frequently, enjoys feeling satiated throughout the day due to the high consumption of fats and isn’t a huge fan of carbohydrates, this may be the diet for you.

 

Carb Cycling

There was a time period where everyone thought carbs was the enemy when it came to obesity. So instead of completely eliminating carbohydrates all together you break down the days of the week between low, medium and high carb days. This allows you to lose fat, still able to perform physically and overcome plateaus that come about in a weight loss journey. I’m sure you’ve heard your gym buddies talking about their “refeed days”. “Refeed days” are the same as a “high carb day” where you replenish you’re glycogen primarily from carbohydrates in order to power through another week of dieting. I personally enjoy this diet because on low days, I can consume lots of vegetables and on the med/high carb days, I can eat the carbohydrates that I enjoy. I’ve never been a huge fan for vegetables but when you limit the carbohydrates, vegetables allow you to increase you food volume while keeping a low caloric intake.

From the professional body builders to the single dad who works as a full time web developer, meal prepping can help you achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. To the people who say “I never have time to cook” or my favorite “I’m too tired to cook when I get home”, incorporating this practice will relieve some stress on what to eat during the week. If you can dedicate 1 or 2 days each week, you’ll always have your meals ready and prepped when you need them.

 

Meal prepping isn’t meant only for fitness enthusiast. Put yourself in a mother shoes that needs to prepare her husband and kid’s lunches every morning, along with breakfast, then make it to work on time to then arrive home after a long work day to cook dinner for the family. Can you imagine how crazy that mother’s day will be if she did that every single day? It sounds extremely stressful but it doesn’t have to be. Most foods can be precooked and stored in the fridge or freezer to maintain freshness. Vegetables and carbohydrates can be cooked in 30 minutes or less which are other factors that can be used to your advantage when prepping.

 

If you’re driving to work, riding the bus or just home watching TV, pay attention to all the fast food and restaurants advertisements. If your meals are already prepared, why would you waste your money on something else? Chances are that you won’t which is the main benefit for this practice. Many of my coworker’s are always contemplating what they want to eat for lunch and if you’re not a boss for a company, your lunch time is limited on average to 30 minutes. Long story short, the fast and easy option is most likely fast food going to be the winner. It will save you money, time and keep those unwanted pounds off if you dedicated a few hours to plan out your meals.

 

With our busy schedules, some of us can forget to eat which is never a good idea because we need fuel to get through our days. One of the vital components of our metabolism is energy formation. When your meals are waiting for you, there is no excuse to eat when it’s time to eat which is the beauty of meal prepping. I like to think of the human body as a car. What does a car need to function gas right? Therefore we as humans need gas in the form of food, in order to function properly and power through out our days.