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I believe that the key to a successful fat loss plan is consistency, particularly with the food you eat. If your food doesn’t taste good, chances are you’ll crave the other options that could sabotage your efforts. Fat loss is a marathon. It doesn’t happen overnight. You need to find a system that works for you personally, and it has to be something you can do over a period of time.

The goal is to create a lifestyle change that is not temporary, but permanent. When you read a diet book that promises change but under extreme circumstances, you need to ask yourself whether or not you can do it long term. If not, you need to find something else.

Most of your fat loss is going to happen outside of the gym. I would be so bold as to say that the majority of it is going to happen in the kitchen. Finding foods that are healthy and delicious is how you are going to execute this plan of yours successfully until your reach your goal, or better yet, eat healthy forever.

One of my go-to healthy and delicious meals is oatmeal. When many people think of oatmeal their first thought is “boring.” That is why you need to spice it up a bit. Here’s my recipe to turn oatmeal from a boring meal into something you’ll want to eat every day.

½ cups oats

1 ½ cups of water

5 medium strawberries, sliced

1 tsp. cinnamon

10 almonds

Pour the oats and water into a pot and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling reduce heat to low and stir occasionally for 5 minutes. While this is happening slice your strawberries. Once the oats are ready pour them into a bowl, sprinkle your cinnamon on top, and add the strawberries and almonds. It’s really that easy.

You can honestly replace the strawberries for any berry, and the almonds for another nut. It’s up to you. Like I said, success is going to happen when you find a plan that works for you. The most anyone can do is make suggestions, and educate you on the foundation of building a food plan that is meant for fat loss.

Let me know what you think of this recipe if you try it, or what changes you make to better suit you.

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Photo Credit: www.ariix.com

Photo Credit: http://www.ariix.com

 

Cheat day: a designated day where one purposefully strays from their typical eating habits to devour endless amounts of delicious, naughty foods to satisfy physiological and psychological needs.

When it comes to fitness and nutrition, the idea of a cheat day has been a disputed topic among experts, practitioners, and internet trolls for many years. One of the first known mentioning of the approach can be traced back to 1999 where Bill Phillips encourages a “free day” in his book Body-For-LIFE. Over a decade later, Tim Ferriss suggests a similar idea in his best-selling bible The 4-Hour Body. Clearly this idea is sticking around.

Maybe you have heard distant ramblings of cheating on your diet from the dark corners of your gym’s locker room, or perhaps you read it in a respected book. You know it is good to cheat but you don’t know why. In order to better understand the art of cheat days it is better to step back and look at the core of reasoning behind it all: a hormone called leptin.

What the heck is leptin?

Leptin is “a protein hormone produced by fatty body tissue and believed to regulate fat storage.” Thank you, Google – but it is a little more than that.

Leptin is the reason why you see so many people drop a lot of weight at first and then struggle to get rid of those dreaded “last few pounds.” Its main function is to regulate hunger, food intake and energy expenditure and is produced in your fat cells. Therefore, the more fat you have on your body, the higher your baseline level of leptin is.

It also directly influences the production and secretion of hormones that regulate metabolism, such as thyroid hormones T3 and T4. A higher leptin level equals a higher T3 and T4 count, which allows for faster fat burn. On the flip-side, lower leptin equates to lower T3 and T4. That is why the more fat you have the faster you can lose it.

Another thing to keep in mind is that leptin levels are relative to your caloric intake. When you want to lose fat you need to create a caloric deficit. A caloric deficit means that your leptin levels will drop but that also means a drop in fat loss because of your lacking T3 and T4 hormones, so in return your fat loss goes from a sprint to a crawl. This creates a nutritional catch-22. Let’s recap:

You need to eat less to burn fat, but eating less produces less leptin. The less leptin you produce, the hungrier you become and the more likely you are to eat more than you should.

This can get extremely frustrating. Therefore it is necessary to make your goal revolve around keeping leptin levels elevated while restricting calories. Based on what you just read that might sound impossible, but it isn’t.

Enter, cheat day.

We’ve already established that leptin levels decrease while in a caloric deficit. It is the periodic “bump” in leptin that will help you avoid fat loss plateaus and lose fat faster by creating a caloric surplus (read: eating a crap ton) on your cheat day. This will create enough of a boost to prevent all the negative effects of low leptin levels from wrecking havoc on your body.

How often you cheat depends on your current diet and fitness level. The more restricted your calories are, the more often you will need to increase leptin levels. The same goes for those with a lower body fat percentage.

It has also been researched to take it all one step further and combine your feasts with intermittent fasting to experience the best of both worlds: enhanced metabolic hormonal output with increased growth hormone production. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

Incorporating cheat days into your approach has the physiological benefits outlined above, but it is also wise to consider the (not-so-solid) psychological benefits of removing dietary mental shackles with freedom and choice. Strategically eating what you want one day of the week and still reaping all the benefits of fat loss can be a great mental motivator.

What are your thoughts on cheat days? Do you cheat on your diet?

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I tried a new recipe a while back. It turned out so ridiculously good that I wanted to post it for all of you right away but never found the time. But fear not, because time is something I now have – for a few minutes tonight while I write this post at least.

This recipe is for a roast. It can be any beef roast of any size. You’ll just have to change the timing a little bit, which I will get into in just a second.

If you’re like me then you love your beef pretty rare. Nothing quite hits the spot like a medium rare to rare prime rib, that’s for sure. Prime rib can often be expensive, so I went on a search to find a way to cook any roast and have it come out as delicious as our supreme cut.

After failing many, many times I stumbled upon a method that I found very odd but the directions said to “trust the science.” Me, being naïve, thought it’d be a great idea to trust the science. And I did. And I am so glad I did.

When you first read this you may think I am crazy, but I am telling you that it actually works. The picture I used for this post is my actual roast.

You want to first start by rubbing the roast down with all the spices you want. This time around I was pretty basic and simply used garlic, pepper, herbs, and a little bit of salt. Then use a sharp knife to cut several ½ inch slits all the way around.

Preheat the oven to as high as most ovens go, around 500 degrees Celsius. You will only want to cook the roast at this temperature for 7 minutes per pound of roast. My roast for the picture was only 2 pounds, so I had it cook at 500 degrees for 14 minutes.

Once the time is up at the optimal temperature you’ll need to shut the oven completely off. Yes, that’s right. Turn your oven dial all the way off and let the roast sit in there for 2 hours. Please, please, please do not open the oven door during this time. The more you open the door and let the heat out, the more you risk ruining your perfectly rare roast.

I didn’t believe this method would work the first time I read it, but I gave it a whirl and sure enough it did exactly what it promised.

Do you have any special “tricks” you like to use to make the perfect roast?

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