On the other side, stress can prevent fat loss and actually encourage fat gain by deregulating the functioning of key hunger hormones in the body, ghrelin and leptin. Leptin helps to control your appetite, while ghrelin gets released anytime you’re hungry.
When you’re overly stressed, leptin levels will drop and ghrelin levels will dramatically increase, making you hungrier. In addition, the chronic elevation of cortisol levels caused by excessive stress negatively affects the receptors for both insulin and leptin, which makes it harder for the body to read the signals of those hormones, thus keeping fat trapped in the cells and making you hungry all the time.
All in all, finding effective strategies for dealing with stress is a crucial step to improving both your physical and mental health, and it’s also one of the cornerstones of developing an impressive physique.
#5. Eat Your Veggies
A diet comprised of lean protein and fibrous, satiating vegetables as the primary source of carbohydrate is the best way to lower your calories and get super lean. However, in the case of vegetables, you shouldn’t reduce the quantity of food ingested in order to lose fat – on the contrary, this might be one of those rare situations where more is better!
The large amounts of fiber will make you feel full and increase your metabolic rate; but what’s even better, the body can’t absorb a big part of the carbohydrates from fiber-loaded vegetables and is then forced to burn off body fat for fuel.
Leafy greens, including kale, spinach, collards and Swiss chards are low in both calories and carbohydrates but they’re incredibly nutritious and loaded with fiber, so add lots of them to your meals to increase the volume without increasing the calories. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, are also high in fiber and incredibly filling and even provide certain amounts of protein. Soups and broths are another great low-calorie option that can fill your stomach and keep hunger at bay.
And don’t forget about the potato, which has been unfairly demonized in popular health-oriented media, but it’s actually one of the most potent hunger tamers that deserves a place in your weight loss diet. Baked potatoes can provide you with steady energy and lasting fullness, as well as plenty of vitamins and fibers. And if you boil them and then allow them to cool for a while, they will form large amounts of resistant starch, which is a fiber-like substance that has been shown to support fat loss.
#6. Prepare Your Meals
Besides helping you get into the right mindset for fat loss, preparing your meals in advance will help you prevent making a detour into a fast food restaurant. If you have never done this, start small, for example by making a commitment to prepare one meal per day. It doesn’t have to be a gourmet meal – with a little effort, you can find a ton of recipes that suit your budged and which you actually have time to prepare. You can plan ahead by cooking bigger amounts of food that will last a few days.
Choose one or two meal prep days in the week and stick to them. Consider the busiest times of your weak, when the risk of eating ‘bad’ food is the greatest because everything else is impractical, and prep for those weak spots. Believe us, as soon as you start preparing your own meals, your fat loss progress will speed up simply because you’ll be able to choose the products yourself and also keep a better track of the calories you’re getting in.
So if you’re serious about getting lean or shredded, it’s time to buy appropriate containers and start cooking! Don’t worry if you don’t have enough skills or even passion for cooking. If you think of it as a part of the process of re-gaining control over your own life and investing into a healthier, fitter, more confident you, you’ll soon start truly enjoying it!