The Fat Ass Chronicles: Part 2 – To Eat Or Not To Eat
In Part One of the Fat Ass Chronicles, I focused on burning fat and made reference to the need to supplement your work out with a healthy diet. You can work out until you are blue in the face (not recommended) but if you’re eating ice cream, donuts and fries every day, you’re crippling yourself. In honor of Thanksgiving and the gluttonous binge to come, here’s my Top 10 worst things you can eat on a diet followed by my top 10 best things to include.
1) Ice Cream – It tastes so good because it is the unholy trinity, the perfect storm, for storing fat – calories, sugar, and fat. Try low fat yogurt instead.
2) Fried foods – Yes, all of them. High in saturated fat and trans fats. Here’s the problem – when food is fried, the essential fatty acids in the food are destroyed (the molecules are literally reconfigured to make them harder for your body to process). The more saturated/trans fats, the harder you are making it on your body to process it into useful energy.
3) Donuts – Freaking tasty (I love them too) but really bad for two reasons: the refined sugar with which they’re made and the high saturated fat. The white flour used in donuts contains no nutritional value and a typical Cinnabon has 670 calories and 34 grams of fat. 34 grams? That’s a whole lot, my friends. Oh, and to avoid creating another category, cakes, pies, and cookies go here as well, for the same reasons.
4) White sugars, candy, chocolate and sweets – You hate me. You really hate me! Lots of carbs in these items. A giant misconception about carbs is that they all make you gain weight when it is the refined carbohydrates that make you fat. The high density of sugar calories converts to fat when your body cannot process it all.
5) Soda pop – I was going to say just pop, but people in certain states would not know what I was talking about. The average person consumes roughly 55 gallons of soda pop every year, which is nuts. Soda pop is mostly water, but what gets you is the sucrose and high fructose corn syrup. Might as well bathe in sugar.
6) Fruit drinks – These are often just as bad as pop. Read the labels, and if it says anything about sugar, sucrose, fructose corn syrup, stay the hell away. If it says, “Contains real fruit juice,” big whoop. Drink water – most of us don’t drink enough H-Twenty.
7) Bacon & Sausage – As much as some guys like the sausage fest, if you want to lose weight and burn fat, cut it out of your diet. These are two of the worst things you can put down your throat. What about turkey bacon or some substitute? I guess if you are DYING for a piece, go for it. But if I were you, I’d stay away because they are highly processed with loads of preservatives.
8) White bread – …is useless because it doesn’t take the body anything to process it; it almost goes straight to sugar, which will convert into fat if you take in too many calories that day. That includes anything made from white flour – cereals, pretzels, bagels, pitas, and crackers. If you don’t want to waste it, go feed the ducks.
9) Potato and corn chips – You might be saying, “Sweet he didn’t mention Doritos!” Yeah, Doritos too. For one thing, too much sodium. Why is too much sodium bad? Well, it causes you to retain water and it hurts your blood pressure. In addition to the sodium, you’ve got the high fat, refined oils, and flavor additives that don’t treat your body like it deserves to be treated. If you absolutely have to eat some chips, go with Baked Lays. You might get 1 or 2 grams of fat with those, which is allowable. Not too high in calories either.
10) Hot dogs & fast food burgers – Of the two, hamburgers are the lesser evil. Hot dogs are a ‘meat product’ – read: lots of fillers, preservatives and stuff you really don’t want to know you’re consuming, like worms. If you’re going to eat burgers, do it once a week max and preferably no more than twice a month.
So what’s left? Here are the top 10 things that you do want in your regular diet. These foods will help you burn the most fat in addition to your cardio workouts.
1) Oatmeal – Remember, carbohydrates are not bad – you simply need to make sure you are consuming complex carbohydrates because they take longer for your body to process. It’s a slow release burn for your body which keeps your metabolism going instead of that ‘quick high’ you get with simple carbohydrates like sugar candy. Most bodybuilders and fitness models will tell you they eat oatmeal almost every day. Oatmeal has a nice balance between carbs, fat and protein with about 3 grams of fat (low), 27 grams of carbs, and 5 grams of protein per cup. By the way, do not buy flavored or sweetened oatmeal packets. (cheaters!!) The best kinds are all-natural oats, such as Quaker. If you want some flavoring, throw a little cinnamon on top.
2) Potatoes – Potatoes get a bad rap because they have carbs, but forget what you’ve been brain washed with for a second and let me tell you why potatoes are good. They are natural, rich in fiber and complex carbs, and are filling while being low in calories. Well then, what’s the entire craze about potatoes being evil? It’s all about what you put on the potatoes. (and how you spell it, Dan Quayle) If you load it with butter, bacon bits and sour cream, I don’t think I need to tell you this is a bad idea. Potatoes are also high on the glycemic index, which basically means your body will absorb it as blood sugar rather quickly. Solution? Eat your potatoes with a lean protein, such as chicken and that will even things out. What can you put on the potato that is healthy? It is not that butter is bad, but do not load it down! A little dab will do ya fine.
3) 100% whole grain and whole-wheat products – Make sure the label says this. And just because it’s 100% whole grain does not give you the authority to eat 8 pieces of bread a day. Moderation. Enjoy a sandwich at lunch, but try not to eat the bread products at night. Breakfast should be your biggest meal of the day, then lunch, and finally dinner as the lightest meal of the day.
4) Green vegetables (broccoli, green beans, etc) – These are also known as ‘fibrous’ carbohydrates. For burning fat, fibrous carbs are your number one go-to carbs. They are great because they are both calorie light and contain complex carbohydrates, which provide a slow release burn. You could gorge yourself on green vegetables and never gain a pound. One of the best food combinations for losing weight is green vegetables with a lean protein.
5) Fresh fruit – Finally, something most people actually like! Some psycho fitness freaks will tell you that fruit is fattening because they are simple carbs, but the positive is that they are natural simple carbs, not engineered. Plus, fruit is usually fairly low in calories, low in carbs (compared to starchy foods) and high in fiber. Nobody likes sitting on the stool trying to push it out for 15 minutes, so get that fiber. Only fruit I’d say to avoid when trying to lose weight would be raisins for their calorie density. Most apples, oranges, peaches, and grapefruits have around 60 to 80 calories in them and are an all around great addition to your diet. Just don’t overdo it with fruit, as you need complex carbs more than anything.
6) Chicken breast – Mmm, breast. Chicken, mmm. Why? It is lean and high in protein, which are the building blocks for putting on muscle. The more muscle you have, the more capable you are of burning fat. Chicken is the #1 protein source for most bodybuilders and people who want to get in shape. Grill, broil or roast it – do anything short of frying it. The ‘white’ meat, like the breast, is preferable as the thighs are commonly high in fat and calories. If possible, avoid eating lunchmeat. I’m getting ready to gross you out, but it’s for your own good. You will find that at places like Arby’s, or even your local grocery store, the lunchmeat you think are you eating, is actually all processed. So what you see in the store under that glass window, looking all nice and packaged, came from meat that was a ‘mix’ poured into a mold and cooked, no different than a pie. Kind of nasty, isn’t it? Instead, buy whole birds at the store, ones that still have legs on them, so you know those jokers aren’t getting one on you. With your chicken, choose brown rice over white rice, which doesn’t have much nutritional value.
7) Fish – Fish is a great, relatively unused source of protein as it contains Omega 3 fatty acids, which are beneficial to the body, and are low in calories. As with chicken, make sure it is grilled, broiled or baked and not fried. Some fish are high in fat, such as salmon, trout, and mackerel, but because of the Omega 3 fatty acids, they can still be consumed rather liberally. My favorite fish to eat is Tilapia. A typical 4 oz fillet provides 20 grams of protein with only around 120 calories.
8) Lean red meat – Most bodybuilders love their red meat and so should you. Red meat is high in three things: B-12, protein, and creatine. Unfortunately, most meat is also high in fat, but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater – all cuts are not equal. One good example is a top round steak. A 6oz serving will only get you 9 grams of fat. However, avoid cuts like the porterhouse, as a typical 18 oz cut will get you a whopping 100 grams of fat! One suggestion I have regarding a substitution for hamburger meat is buffalo meat. Yep, just go to the grocery store and try it out – I bet you’ll like it. Whereas an average burger will put you back 25 to 30 grams of fat, a typical ¼ pound buffalo burger is only 2 to 3 grams of fat. And while I hate it when people say this, it applies here. Buffalo burgers taste almost exactly like a regular cheeseburger. Give it a go.
9) Egg whites – If you want to eat the leanest protein around, this would be your #1 stop, aside from chicken. Egg whites are pure protein. Just make sure you’re not slurping down all those yokes. Give them to that midget Stallone for Rocky VI. Moderation is key here, so have a couple yolks, but don’t overdo it. If you want an omelet, use about 6 egg whites with 1 or 2 yolks. Your cholesterol will thank you.
10) Skim Milk / Non Fat Dairy products – Dairy products can be good because they are ‘combination foods’, which means they contain carbohydrates and protein. Because the protein found in dairy is almost always high quality (complete protein), this can count as an exchange for a food protein. For example, have some non-fat cottage cheese instead of lean meat.
Next up, weight lifting. You might think you don’t need it, but you would be mistaken. It is paramount in relation to the ability in which the amount of fat your body can burn. For now, bon appetit!