When beginning your journey to better health through a healthier diet, remember that trimming fat is more important than just losing weight. But in looking at ways to decrease your body fats, you’ll learn that there are good fats as well as bad fats. Without including good fats in your everyday diet, you’ll be on the road to starvation while wreaking havoc on the very hormones you need to keep in check to be successful in your diet.
To lose an extreme amount of fat, you must balance the proper amount of diet and exercise in your regimen. Exercising without dieting will not help you to achieve your goals, and dieting without exercise will lead to weight loss, but not the healthier you that you’re striving to be. To achieve extreme fat loss, only 25% of your efforts should be dependant upon your exercise routine consisting of cardio activities to strength your heart as well as intelligent weight training techniques to tone up and slim down. That means that 75% of your final success depends upon the how you modify what you eat!
What are good fats? Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good for both your goal of extreme fat loss as well as your overall dietary health. Monounsaturated fats help to lower your overall cholesterol and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL – your good cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats can be found in nuts and avocados – feed your peanut butter and guacamole craving! You can also improve your diet by cooking in olive oil and canola oil – both are high in monounsaturated fats, and will help your diet along the way. Polyunsaturated fats also help to lower your cholesterol. You can add polyunsaturated fats to your diet by increasing your consumption of fish, grains and soybeans. Polyunsaturated fats also include omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to lower your blood pressure while decreasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. Both mono- and polyunsaturated fats also help to increase your energy and fat burning ability while strengthening your joints.
You’ve successfully added “good” fats to your diet, but which “bad” fats should you avoid? Although nearly impossible to avoid entirely, included as few trans fatty acids and saturated fats in your diet as possible. Trans fats can be found in margarine, vegetable shortening, “regular” potato chips, many deserts and fried foods. Trans fatty acid has been found to increase LDL cholesterol while opening your body to an increased risk of heart attack. Use of vegetable oil in cooking and baking accounts for another large percentage of trans fat consumed. Instead, try using olive or canola oil, both rich in “good” fat. Many prepackaged foods – think “TV dinners” – are also high in trans fats. Spend a little extra time on yourself and your health and prepare a meal from scratch instead. Instead of fried food, try broiling, boiling or baking – you’ll help cook out some of the fat in your food while avoiding introduce new fats through oil used to fry.
Speaking of cooking out some of the fat that naturally occurs in the food you eat, this is the second “bad” type of fat – saturated fat. Saturated fats are found mainly in meat and dairy products. Think the thick slab of fat on the side of your steak means it will be juicier and healthier? Wrong! Trim off this saturated fat before you even start cooking. Skin on your chicken breast make your mouth water? Strip off both the skin AND any visible fat before ever picking up your fork. For dairy products, cut whole milk from your diet and instead use 1% or skim, and make sure to look for sour creams, butters, margarines and cheeses that are low-fat as well.
Your goal of extreme fat loss on the road to a newer, healthier you is a good one – just make sure you know which fats you’re consuming, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving your goals!