Last Updated on October 23, 2017 by Michael Brockbank
A lot of people don’t like the idea of sticking to some strict diet plan. They can be troublesome, stressful and may be doomed to fail if you don’t have the right mindset. However, altering the way you eat is how you make changes in the body to lose fat. So, what can you do to gain muscle without jumping on a fad diet plan?
Lose Fat and Build Muscle
You’ve probably heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” That statement is more true than what many people actually realize. Unfortunately, not everyone puts much thought into the truthfulness of this saying…which leads many to become obese. I am one of them.
But if you want to gain muscle and lose fat, you need to consider the things that you’re putting into your body. Not all foods are the same, and some work better than others when it comes to promoting health.
Start with Portions
I’m not a big fan of diet plans. In reality, I lost 60 pounds and have more definition in my arms and chest without succumbing to mainstream fads. The biggest contributor to lose fat is portion control.
In the United States, many of us are grossly overfed. Marketing campaigns make it seem that a $5 lunch deal is great and we can fill up for cheap. Unfortunately, many of these “deals” are also nearly three times more food than you actually need.
Any elements your body doesn’t use immediately are going to be stored for later. It’s how most animals on this planet work. It’s a survival mechanism that ensures bodies have enough components to survive when food is scarce. As a result, you may be “storing” a lot of your food by eating too much.
I dropped the first 20 pounds incredibly fast simply by reducing the foods I ate. Instead of half of a pizza, I had two slices. If I wanted more, I had to earn it. I still eat all the things I loved before, only I eat far less of them.
Everything in moderation.
Increasing Physical Activity
The most obvious point to lost fat and gain muscle is to increase physical activity. Of course this also depends on what kind of muscle you’re looking to develop. If you want to bulk up, then you’d want to include more weight training. If it’s all about weight loss, then increase cardio.
I do a mixture of both as I would love to define my body but don’t want to be a hulk like “The Rock.”
The point is you need to keep the body moving as much as possible especially if you want to burn what you just ate. Anything to elevate the heart and work up a sweat is greatly beneficial. Even those who don’t have time to exercise can be healthy as long as they can get some kind of activity in throughout the day.
If you have a hard time following workout DVDs or don’t want to join an aerobics group, try to gamify your lifestyle. For instance, I make a game of house and yard work. How many calories can I burn in 30 minutes raking the leaves according to my Fitbit? Then, I try to break my own records.
Keep yourself moving and using up the stores your body has on reserve. Just keep in mind that the body cannot keep certain nutrients on hand. In fact, there are several vitamin groups the body needs that can only be found in food.
Even fat people need to eat to lose weight. But it’s all about what is being eaten.
If you’re curious, I have a list of tools I use for tracking my health that work exceptionally well.
Making Healthier Choices
Yes, I still have a bag of Red Velvet Chips Ahoy! cookies in the cupboard. But I also restrict how many of them I can eat. I also implement healthier options when it comes to snacks and meals. For instance, I have mixed fruit in the fridge which I am looking forward to eating later.
Pineapple, strawberries and blueberries are my favorite.
While it takes a bit more work to prepare food for the day, the end results are far better. And in reality, it doesn’t really take all that much extra time. For example, I made an egg with a slice of Colby jack cheese and two sausage links today for breakfast inside of five minutes. Not only did I get my proteins for the morning, but the act of cooking also burned calories as I was on my feet and washing dishes at the same time.
In my situation, I can still enjoy most of the foods I ate before. However, I also know the value of adding healthier alternatives to offset the bad habits. I don’t believe you need to focus on nuts and berries. But adding them to your daily routine is very helpful to lose weight and gain muscle.
Being Mentally Prepared
I’ve seen a lot of people fail in diets and exercise mostly because of mental issues. It takes quite a bit of commitment to change your lifestyle for the better, and not everyone is fully committed. If you don’t think a diet or exercise plan is going to work, chances are it won’t.
Just about any situation in your life is going to be mostly mentally driven. Effort, motivation, determination and ambition are all aspects of the mind that will influence your health. If you truly want to lose fat and gain muscle, it all starts with mentally preparing yourself.
I’ve slacked terribly over this last summer. My motivation and effort just weren’t there. I can say that I also battle severe depression, but in reality it was more laziness than anything. It’s difficult to stay mentally in the game…which I am hoping will change starting today.
I feel good about everything and I am trying to keep my head in what I need to do. So far, it’s been working out well.
It Takes Effort to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle
Don’t assume there is some magic pill or device that will melt away your fat. Some products may work in the here-and-now, but it takes lifestyle changes to make weight loss permanent. If you don’t want to jump into various diets, simply start by monitoring what you eat with apps like MyFitnessPal. Just reducing your intake may help you drop weight rather quickly.