Five Habits of Nutritional Mastery

1. Eat High-Octane Foods

Eating high-octane foods speeds up metabolism. High-octane foods are foods as close to their natural source as possible. The foods that burn the most calories in the act of digestion usually contain more nutrients and are the healthiest. If you want to know how to determine which foods are best to eat, ask yourself this question:

Where did it come from?

If you have to think about it for more than a few seconds then it probably is not a good idea to eat it. Consider this:

Which is better?

A baked potato or instant mash potato flakes?

They are both potatoes, right?

A baked potato comes from the ground; you clean the dirt off, cook it and eat it.

Instant mash potato flakes come from the ground but are then cooked, crushed and pulverized. With each step of processing, nutrients are removed or destroyed to the point where it possesses very little nutritional value. The end result: Fiber has been removed; therefore, it will be absorbed very rapidly causing a subsequent increase in insulin levels and a decrease in glucagon.

This prevents the body from burning stored fat. Another negative is that since the machines did the “digesting” for you now you will burn fewer calories in the act of processing the food (a decreased thermic effect).

Another example is an apple as compared to apple juice. Both are healthy but the fiber has been removed from apple juice so it is absorbed as quickly as a soda. This locks in fat stores. It’s best to opt for the apple and keep it close to its natural source.

2. Eat the Right Combination of Foods

The optimal food combination to ignite the body’s fat burning abilities is combining a Lean Protein and a High Octane Carbohydrate. According to the glycemic index, starchy carbohydrates (such as white potatoes) are absorbed quickly, and when eaten alone, can lead to a massive increase in blood sugar levels. Many “experts” have condemned potatoes, carrots and other such foods for this reason. However, this is only fact when the potato or other starchy carb is eaten alone and in a large amount. When was the last time you saw someone order only a potato? Or someone bee-bopping down the street eating a potato while whistling Dixie?

Remember we are combining two other elements, a lean protein and other high-octane carbs like fibrous vegetables. The fat in the lean protein and the fiber in the vegetables both delay absorption and allow for a steady release of glucose into the bloodstream. This creates a hormonal environment optimal for adding lean muscle and burning fat for fuel.

3. Eat every 2-3 hours

The calorie burning effect that an optimal meal produces lasts three to four hours; therefore, it is wise to eat frequently. In order to fully comprehend this principle, go in your car and start the ignition. Listen to the engine as it idles. Think of it as your metabolism. Metabolism is how fast we process food or fuel. The faster your metabolism the faster we use fuel. When you push the gas pedal, the vehicle is using a greater amount of fuel without moving. The human body has this same response with the consumption of an optimal meal.

For this example, your car runs out of fuel after three to four hours, so does your body. If fuel is not added then your vehicle will stall. When this occurs in the human body, blood sugar levels drop. Low blood sugar levels usually result in bingeing episodes. The body craves an immediate source of fuel, as well as dense energy sources. Sugar and fat! The typical American gets caught up in the stress of daily life and doesn't take the time to eat frequently. This usually results in massive dinners and late night bingeing. So, by eating every three hours, it is like revving your metabolism throughout the day. As it begins to slow, you eat to rev it back up.

If you are looking to speed metabolism and incinerate fat then eat every 2-3 hours. Whether you eat every 2 or 3 hours will depend upon your appetite.

4. Drink Enough Clean Water

Water is the single most important nutrient. Every second of every day, literally billions and billions of chemical reactions are taking place in your body. With the snap of your fingers 7 billions liver cells die and instantaneously 7 billion more are reproduced. For every one of those chemical reactions water is needed. Either it is put in (hydrolysis) or taken out (dehydration synthesis). When water is not present in the necessary amounts, the reactions still occur, but they are much less efficient. They “mis-fire” so to speak. This leads to a decrease in energy, a lack of focus and concentration, and water retention, which compromises your body’s ability to release fat. Simply drinking more water throughout the day often alleviates these symptoms. How much?

Water is the single most important nutrient.
Daily Water Intake Formula
Bodyweight (lbs.) X 0.5 = Minimum ounces of water to drink daily

For example: A person who weighs 200 pounds would consume 100 oz. or 3 Liters of water per day.
Common Question

“I thought everyone was supposed to drink 8 glasses of water per day.”

Water is found in each and every cell in the body. In fact, the body is made up of approximately 70% water. With that said, a 250-pound linebacker has many more cells than a 130-pound woman. To think that the linebacker and the 130-pound woman both possess identical water intake needs would be absurd. Obviously the 250-pound active man requires a larger amount of fluid per day to maintain optimum health and fat burning capabilities. 8 glasses for everyone? Absolutely not.

5. Eat the Right Quantity of Food

People have been misled into thinking that eating less will cause greater fat loss. You now know that it requires much more than eating less and the importance of all five EAT principles. To explain the error in just eating less you must first understand the first law of thermodynamics. This law states that energy cannot be created nor destroyed; only change in shape or form. In the human body, we calculate energy in kilocalories, or for our purposes, calories. Calories are like gallons of gasoline in a vehicle. They are a measure of how much fuel we are ingesting.

The first law of thermodynamics is in effect each day of your life whether you like it or not. For example, let’s say that you ate a total of 2,000 calories today and your total activity throughout the day burned off 2,000 calories. According to the law you would remain the same. Now let’s say you went out for dinner and at the end of the day you ingested a total of 3,000 calories. That is 1,000 surplus calories that will be either dissipated off the body as heat or stored as body fat. If that pattern of eating and not exercising occurred for a week, then 7,000 calories or two pounds would be stored as fat.

Let’s say you take in a total of 2,000 calories throughout the day. You stimulate muscle tissue through resistance training and perform some aerobic exercise on the treadmill. You burn off a total of 500 calories. Since you need 2,000 calories daily in order to remain the same and you expended 2,500 calories, your body is forced to rely upon alternative energy sources. In a mild calorie deficit, the body will burn stored body fat. In a course of a week on this type of schedule you will utilize 3,500 stored calories or one pound of fat.

When people hear this, a light bulb usually goes off!

“Well, if I only eat 1,000 calories and work out twice as long then I will lose fat 4 times faster. I can’t wait!”

Hold on there, Poncho! If it were that easy you wouldn’t be reading this. You may want to read this next section several times because this is the most abused and misunderstood principle, but also the most critical for you to grasp.

The body’s main objective is survival. When it is deprived of the necessary amounts of foods, it reacts by stripping away metabolically active tissue – muscle. Several studies confirm that for every ten pounds lost on a typical starvation diet, four to six pounds of it comes from muscle. Any type of starvation diet will enhance the body’s ability to store fat! Let’s me say that again. Any type of starvation diet will enhance the body’s ability to store fat!

For those people who do manage to lose weight on a starvation diet, they will appear soft and are often referred to as skinny-fat people. They will possess the muscle tone and definition of a walrus and look more like a melting wax figure than a work of art. Not a pretty picture…
So How Much Do You Eat?

Unless you are preparing for a photo shoot or going to be in very little clothing in front of other people it is best to not to calorie count. However, there is a time and a place to measure your food and count your calories but only once you master the basics. Otherwise, you could go insane. Eating is meant to be pleasurable and not a mundane task. For now, eat until you are satisfied but not stuffed to the gills. Since sense of satiety is a delayed response it is critical eat mindfully. Before you begin take 10 deep breaths. This will calm your nervous system down and shunt more blood to the digestive tract to aid in digestion. Now take the 30-chew challenge. Just as the name implies, chew each and every bit 30 times. If you are as impatient as me then you will find the 30-chew challenge a worthy adversary. When combined with the other EAT principles, it will allow you to control your hunger and cravings and absorb more nutrients from every bite. You don’t need to do the 30-chew challenge forever. Just try it for one meal or anytime you are feeling stressed. This simple strategy works wonders when applied.