Bench the Carbs? Fat Energy
Fitness pros have long hypothesized that strength training + a low-carb diet is a combo made in get-lean heaven. “Eating high-fat foods and no more than 50 grams of carbs per day, plus moderate protein—a ketogenic diet—can help increase your body’s reliance on fat for energy, so you burn more of it,” explains Carwyn Sharp, Ph.D., chief science officer for the National Strength and Conditioning Association. But for some, going too low on Cs can backfire. If any of these red flags persist for more than two weeks, slowly add the starchy stuff back in (up to 150 total grams daily) to find your sweet spot.
If you feel beat leaving the gym— even after slow-lifting sets—you may need more fuel. About an hour before your sesh, nosh on an apple or banana (both have 25-ish grams).
When your body burns fat for energy, it produces molecules called ketones. You pee them out, along with sodium, which can cause dehydration and headbangers. Sip a little extra water during the day, or drink a sodium-enhanced supplement pre-workout, like Nuun Vitamins ($7, nuunlife.com).
Carbs aid in the production of illness-fighting antibodies. So if you’re over-skimping—for many, that’s under 100 grams per day—you may get sick more often. Unrefined carbs like sweet potatoes can help keep you healthy and on track.
Lean, Mean Cardio Machine
True, heaps of research hint that eating habits are the most critical factor in losing weight (and keeping it of ), but a new study says not to count out the right kind of exercise. People who slimmed down through cardio alone or a combo of cardio and cal cutting lost the same amount (about 7 percent of their body weight over four months) as those who shed weight solely through dietary restrictions. The big “but” here? The first two groups lost more fat weight and kept more lean mass—the stuf that helps you burn more calories at rest gives you more energy and can prevent injury. Try adding a moderate amount of walking, running, or cycling to your plan (the combo group did about four hours a week).
Eating with your eyes? Girl, you don’t know the half of it. A new study ID’d seven types of hunger, and those who fail to recognize them are more likely to gain pounds. When a craving hits, determine its source and get your fix the right way — from food or not. Take it away, Homer!
1 /EYE HUNGER
THE TRIGGER: A decadent pizza in the conference room
YOUR MOVE: Ask yourself if you’d be jonesing for an apple. No? You don’t need food. Yes? Savor each bite so you can stop when you’re satisfied.
2 /NOSE HUNGER
THE TRIGGER: The sweet smell of cinnamon rolls
YOUR MOVE: If you’re truly hungry, have a small serving or, better yet, a healthy swap—like wholegrain toast with peanut butter and cinnamon.
3 /HEART HUNGER
THE TRIGGER: Sadness, anxiety, boredom—any uncomfortable feelings
YOUR MOVE: If you’re wandering around the kitchen looking for anything to eat, it’s likely tied to emotions. Acknowledge what’s bugging you and deal with that problem directly (e.g., take a few deep breaths).
4 /MOUTH HUNGER
THE TRIGGER: A craving for something creamy, crunchy, cold
YOUR MOVE: Certain textures and temps can be psychologically satisfying, even if you’re not physically hungry. Know which qualities you crave and keep small-portioned, low-cal options nearby that’ll scratch that itch, like Greek yogurt, carrot sticks, or frozen grapes.
5 /MENTAL HUNGER
THE TRIGGER: The clock
YOUR MOVE: Don’t have—and more important—don’t finish lunch just because it’s noon. If you’re truly hungry when the clock strikes 12, grab your meal and eat until you’re full.
6 /CELLULAR HUNGER
THE TRIGGER: Fatigue
YOUR MOVE: Feeling beat causes hankerings for junk, but heavy foods are hard to digest and can leave you more tired. A 15-minute nap is a smarter pick-me-up. If you can’t make time for that, grab a high-protein snack (think: a handful of almonds) that will boost your energy.
7 /STOMACH HUNGER
THE TRIGGER: A gurgling belly
YOUR MOVE: Eat! Rate your hunger on a scale of 1 to 10 — 0 to 3 is snack territory, 4 to 6 calls for a small meal, and 7 to 10 means you should fill your plate.
WORDS WITH FRIENDS
Give this finding a fist-pump emoji: Dieters shed more pounds when they receive personalized texts versus automated ones. Start a group and send motivating texts like these, from study author Mandy Schippers, e-research developer at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia
“Saw your 3-mile run on MapMyRun today—killing it! Even farther than last week’s!”
Direct and specific feedback shows that you’re following her progress and invested in her success.
“Check your e-mail. I sent you a link to a bunch of recipes for low-fat desserts. They look delicious!”
Nonjudgmental tips help her make healthy decisions, whether in terms of portion size, diet choices, or habits.
“You’re going to feel so great once you hit your goal. So proud of your progress!”
Motivational prompts amp confidence and let her know she deserves props for her hard work.
“How did your weekly weigh-in go this morning?”
Reminders of her plans help keep her on track and hold her accountable to someone.