The battle of the bulge began with the phrase 'feast or famine’. That’s exactly what life was like for our ancestors.  Unpredictable food supplies resulted in survival adaptations: we got really good at storing excess energy in the form of fat.

We’re still governed by this evolutionary necessity in a world where food is fast and easy. Honestly – we need the ‘foodcourt’ concept like another hole in the head. In the 21st century we have to work alongside our ancient survival mechanisms.  Here are some smart nutritional strategies that can turn the tables in your favour.


Eat Often

All over the world people try to lose weight by fighting the natural urge to eat.  This is a mistake.  Skipping meals and following very low calorie diets simply trains your body to get by on fewer calories – you ‘down-regulate’.  Your body responds by squirreling away any extra calories it does get into lumpy fat stores.

Work with your internal furnace instead: stoke your body’s metabolic fire by frequent feeding.  A small meal balanced in protein and carbohydrate every three hours is the clever way to get lean – you’ll keep your fat burning potential high and have more energy.

Eat a smaller meal every 3 hours – a mix of protein and carbs.


Make a Fist of It

The impact of bigger portion sizes over the past two decades is an estimated 9% average increase in daily calorie intake.  Sound harmless?  That’s the same as eating three extra DAYS worth of calories every month.  It’s absolutely critical to keep your calorie intake in check.

Use your flat palm and clenched fist to gauge portion sizes.  Hardly rocket science, but it works.  A complete meal comprises one palm-sized portion of lean protein (chicken, fish, egg whites or cottage cheese) plus one fist-sized portion of low glycaemic index (GI) carbs (brown rice, rolled oats, or sweet potato).  The only exception to this rule is leafy and cruciferous vegetables in any colour (especially dark green and red).  Eat these freely and in whatever quantity you desire.

Control your portion sizes: 1 serving = 1 fist or palm size portion.


Protein Power

When looking to strip fat, be aware of your body’s ‘thermic response’ to food. As you eat, your body burns calories to digest the food. When you consume protein, your body expends a little more energy to digest it than either fat or carbohydrate.

  • A diet high in protein increases the calories you burn simply by being metabolically expensive
  • Protein is also the key satiety nutrient – keeping you full for longer, helping to control appetite and to minimise low blood sugar related cravings.
  • Protein in a meal reduces the glycaemic load, slowing the release of carbohydrates to the bloodstream.

A high blood sugar level strongly stimulates insulin secretion, which activates the fat storage enzyme called lipoprotein lipase.  This enzyme encourages storage of blood sugar as fat, rather than leaving it to be burned as energy.  Keep insulin levels in check throughout the day by eating small, balanced protein and low GI carb meals.

Eat 1.5-2g of protein/kg of body weight per day, spread over 5-6 meals.


Learn Fat Friend from Foe

Whilst eating fat will not necessarily make you fat, there are some fats that will actually help you get lean and stay that way.

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) act like hormones, increasing fat burning and turn up your body’s heat production (known as thermogenesis).  EFAs belong to two groups: omega-3s and omega-6s but you do need to get them in the right ratio to be optimally effective (1 omega-3 to 4 omega-6).  EFAs are found in green leafy veggies, seeds and nuts and cold water fish like salmon.  Good sources of both groups can be found in flax seed and hemp seed oil.

Add 2 tablespoons of flax or hemp oils to your food every day. Avoid vegetable oils high in omega-6 fatty acids, e.g. sunflower and canola and replace them with healthier oils such as olive and avocado oils.


Bulk it Up

We all know that fibre keeps us regular but a diet high in wholegrain foods has been scientifically linked to a lower body weight

  • Fibre facilitates fat loss by slowing the entry of some carbohydrates to the bloodstream, decreasing blood sugar levels.High levels of sugar in the blood create an insulin spike which slows fat burning
  • Fibre assists appetite control by helping you feel full
  • High fibre foods are generally less processed, meaning less calories gram for gram.

Put wholegrains, brown rice, bran, beans, lentils and green vegetables on your shopping list. Aim for a minimum 35g of fibre every day.


Moo-ve It

More and more studies are showing calcium-rich, dairy products have positive effects on maintaining a healthy body weight.   Although the mechanisms are still not clear, researchers believe that blood lipid metabolism and the pathways by which fat is stored and released may be affected.  The research does indicate that calcium in a pill form just doesn’t seem to work as well as the calcium in real foods.

Kick your fat loss efforts into high gear by getting at least two servings a day of dairy with no free sugars added – including milk, cottage cheese and yoghurt.


Tea Total

Green tea contains high concentrations of catechin polyphenols.  These compounds work with other chemicals to intensify fat oxidation and thermogenesis.  Green tea also slows carbohydrate absorption, preventing sharp increases in blood insulin levels.  Drinking green tea regularly will increase your metabolism.  For an extra fat burning boost, the active compound in green tea (EGCG) can also be found in Horleys Ripped Black capsules.

Drink two cups of green tea a day: an hour before a workout and the other with one of your mid-afternoon meals.


Happiness is Hydration

Research shows that dehydration can result in a significant drop in your resting metabolic rate and result in your body using a higher percentage of energy from carbs as opposed to fat.

What’s more, too little water upsets your sodium balance and will result in your body holding onto water, meaning you end up looking puffy.

Make sure you’re getting one and a half litres of fluids daily for optimal hydration.


Fail to Plan = Plan to Fail

Plan your daily meals every morning (or better yet, the night before).  To be successful, you must be prepared.  The old ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants’ approach to nutrition, which means eating whenever and whatever’s convenient, isn’t going to get you any leaner.


Thermogenic Timing

The best times to have a serving of a thermogenic capsule are one hour prior to a workout (to allow the full effect to benefit your workout intensity) and early afternoon to counteract he natural lull in the 24-hour circadian rhythm and metabolism.


Three, Two, One, Gone

To lose 5 kilos of body fat in 12 weeks:

Calories: Decrease by 20%
Carbs: 3g per kg body weight per day
Protein: 2g per kg body weight per day
Fat: 1g per kg body weight per day

If you increase your energy output with more intense or frequent workouts, you could drop either the same weight faster or more weight in the same time. 

Note: lose weight faster than 500g per week and you will find it much harder to keep it lost long term.


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