Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Get Lean (with Abs!) in Time for Summer PART I

Hey everyone, this is RawMatt. I've been getting a lot of questions lately regarding exercise and diet for losing weight and leaning out. So here we go...

PART I: Get Lean (with Abs!) in Time for Summer

Why Be Lean?
Many people have a warped perception of what is a healthy weight. The Body Mass Index is an inaccurate representation of what your weight "should" be because it does not take into account your bone structure, activity level, metabolic type or speed, etc. If I was to be in the "normal" range for BMI, I would look puffy and ridiculous, as my natural body type is smaller and leaner in structure. In addition, being thin is not unhealthy. (However, being anorexic is - I just want to clarify there). Human beings are meant to be naturally thin - in a natural setting, we'd be running around everywhere, scavenging, hunting, farming, etc. We would be generally active and off our asses nearly all day long, and we would not be eating the large quantities of processed, starchy, fatty foods. Being lean means your body has less fat and less toxins to flush out continuously, and your body has more resources readily available to it for repair and maintenance (translation: easier weight management overall, better health, youthful appearance, etc.).

Weight is irrelevant, as muscle is denser and heavier than fat, and water weight is also a factor. It is best to go by body fat, not weight. Men, keep your body weight between 8% and 14% ideally. Women carry a little more weight naturally (no worries, this is healthy) and should preferably keep body fat in the 10% to 18% range. In general, if you can see your muscle tone while flexed and un-flexed, you're doing great!

How to Get Lean
Summer 2009 is approaching and we're all gearing up for awesome hot weather. The human body can make HUGE transformations within a very short 8-12 week time frame, so do not fear if you have some weight to lose or muscles to gain.

First, and most important, is diet. What you put in your mouth directly affects the health and weight of your body.

• Eat until satisfied, not until full or stuffed, as this depletes your enzyme reserve and increases the chance that the excess food will be stored as fat
• Break up your normal meals into 4-6 small ones throughout the day to keep from overeating and speed up your metabolism for optimal fat burning
• Drink 2-4 liters of water per day by itself or in a smoothie or tea to flush out toxins and encourage the body to release water weight
• Consume any complex carbs like grains and starchy vegetables earlier in the day so your body can use them as fuel and not store them as fat
• Prepare your foods in advance and store them in individual containers in the fridge to take with you, this will help you not only portion your intake, but also keep you motivated since your food is already made and available to you
• Avoid stress and take time to chill out, since stress creates cortisol which makes us gain weight; do some stretching or yoga, read a good book, watch some funny movies...whatever it is that relaxes you and makes you smile
• Go to sleep by midnight; many people (including myself) tend to be night owls, but strive to be in bed by 12 a.m. (10 a.m. is preferable for optimum repair) to encourage a restful, fat-loss-inducing sleep
• Think positively and envision your new body - do NOT dwell on being overweight or out of shape, just picture yourself how you want to look and it will happen

• FRUITS: High-fiber and high water content fruits such as berries, cherries, apples, figs, cantaloupe, cucumbers, red/yellow/orange bell peppers, grapes, kiwi, peaches
• VEGGIES & GREENS: Steam them on the stovetop, blend them in a smoothie with fruit, or juice them for the best assimilation; celery, soft leafy greens, sprouts, broccoli, kale, cabbage, romaine, carrots (add a maximum of 1 carrot to a juice so you don't get a vitamin A overload and turn orange)
• COMPLEX CARBS: Yams, sweet potatoes, brown or heirloom rice (I like Lotus Foods), quinoa, amaranth, and millet
• SWEETENERS: For no-fat, low-glycemic, delicious sweeteners, use unheated, unfiltered organic honey (heated, non-raw honey has a high glycemic index) and stevia leaf (go for the green kind, not the processed white powder)
• ANIMAL PRODUCTS: If you're vegetarian or vegan, eat wild-caught fish like salmon, tuna, halibut, and mahi mahi; organic free-range eggs; raw goat milk, kefir, or yogurt; raw honey; bee pollen; royal jelly
• PROTEIN: Spirulina is higher in protein than meat; bee pollen, rice protein, pea protein, hemp protein, egg white protein; use one protein source per day and rotate them (i.e. one day egg white protein in all daily smoothies, next day just spirulina, next day rice protein, etc.)
• WATER: Vital to weight loss and health in general; keeps bowels moving which helps flush toxins and encourages the body to release fat and water weight; drink quality filtered water (I got mine from www.naturalwaterfiltration.com, since they have the best systems) or natural spring water; drink it cold and drink it often for additional calorie burn
• THERMOGENICS: Kelp, citrus (lemon, grapefruit), and apple cider vinegar are all effective thermogenics (fat burners) to add to your diet
• LIPOTROPICS: B5/pantothenic acid present in bee pollen and royal jelly, choline, inositol, and L-metionine are all effective at preventing a build-up of fat and helping to break it down

• Processed carbohydrates like pasta, bread, muffins, chips, etc. as they will really inhibit your weight loss progress
• Regular potatoes and french fries will spike your insulin and slow down weight loss
• Cow dairy like milk, cheese, and butter; high in fat and cholesterol, and made for a thousand-pound animal, not a 110-210 pound human being; dairy will certainly impede weight loss
• Whey protein; a glue-like substance that will certainly provide protein but generate mucus formation and allergies over time; just avoid it as there are much better sources of protein (see above)
• Wheat and gluten (i.e. barley, spelt, kamut, rye); most people are gluten-sensitive or Celiac and may even be unaware of this; in many people, this will create a bloated or distended abdomen and prevent weight loss
• Nuts and seeds and their butters; too high in fat and need to be avoided during weight loss, may be added back in small quantity once you reach your target weight and remain active
• Soy products; estrogenic and hormonally unbalancing, often inhibiting weight loss, especially in women
• All cow, pig, and chicken products; high in fat, cholesterol, and hormones; no fiber; not beneficial to weight loss and there are much better sources of protein out there (see "What to Eat")
• Snack bars; often loaded with chemicals and preservatives, high in calories, fat, and carbs that hurt, not help, weight loss

NOTE: I do not give measurements because you will be able to adjust measurements for yourself based on your own preferences and hunger/satiety points.

REMEMBER: Eat slowly and chew well for better nutrient assimilation and digestion, and eat until satisfied but not stuffed

**FOR VEGETARIANS, VEGANS, & RAW FOODISTS: The diet below is easily adjusted for you. Do this by eating mainly fruits, vegetables, pea protein, rice protein, hemp protein, and egg white protein (vegetarian-appropriate). Avoid soy. Enjoy a lot of smoothies, blended soups, blended greens, and granola made from gluten-free oats, buckwheat, and dried fruits.

• Pre-Breakfast: this is not the time to stuff yourself, as your body is just waking up and this is time to "Break the Fast" (i.e. Breakfast); hydrate yourself with 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, a squeeze of lemon, and a pinch of green stevia leaf in a tall glass of water (aim for 8-16 oz. of water upon waking)
• Meal #1: when you get hungry, eat your first meal of either oatmeal with blueberries, raw honey or stevia, and a scoop of protein powder; or a smoothie consisting of water, protein powder, fruit, raw honey or stevia, and 1 or 2 other whole-food ingredients of your choice for added nutrition and flavor
• Meal #2: Wild-caught fish (steamed, poached, or grilled) with steamed veggies, rice or yam optional
• Meal #3: Your choice of fruit, or a protein/fruit smoothie
• Meal #4: Wild-caught fish with steamed veggies or steamed greens, side of lentil or pea soup
• Meal #5: Your choice of fruit, or a protein/fruit smoothie

Remember that you can rotate your diet out daily - if you feel like having tea in the morning instead of your ACV/lemon drink, do it. If you want salmon instead of halibut, or a salad for lunch with nothing else, do it. Listen to your body above else (unless it tells you to eat cookies or pasta).

Continued with PART II...

Welcome to Dominant Health!

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