Game Plan for Losing Fat:

27 November 2012
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Nutrition
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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published for WINForum by Emily Edison of Momentum Nutrition & Fitness.

Losing the Fat: Your Game Plan for WINNING at LOSING

Be a winner at losing! Losing weight or losing “fat” more specifically, can be challenging. Our sport nutrition game plan for fat loss will help you be healthy and improve your performance on the field.

Be a Winner…

Some body fat is necessary for human function. However, excess body fat can weigh down your performance. There are no secrets to losing body fat, but many athletes make the mistake of following fad diets, skipping meals, and not fueling adequately when energy is needed (i.e. before and after practice and games). This results in loss of muscle and a decreased metabolism.

When and where can I start?

The best time to change your body is in the off-season. Most athletes don’t have the time or energy to focus on dietary changes and extra training during the season. Allow plenty of time to meet your goal. To lose about one pound per week, burn 500 calories more a day than you eat and drink. This is a safe weight loss plan. One way to know whether you’re losing fat and maintaining muscle is to have your body composition measured by a trained professional. Also, some can tell by the way their clothes fit.

“Eating 3 meals and at least two snacks daily will help your body maintain strength and muscle. Skipping meals or eating too little can cause your body to use those hard earned muscles for energy.” – Emily Edison, M.S., R.D. Momentum Nutrition & Fitness, Sports Dietitian

Should I follow a certain diet?

Most diets require you to over-restrict calories and leave you “running on fumes.” The best diet for you is a plan you can follow. You might choose to follow a structured meal plan or just fine-tune your current diet. It’s critical to maintain a balanced diet that has enough calories, protein and other nutrients to support training, aid recovery, and help you resist illness and injury.

“Focus on fueling for performance, not dieting. Eat the foods you need, around when you are most active, to maintain muscle and lose fat.” -Emily Edison, M.S., R.D. Momentum Nutrition & Fitness, Sports Dietitian

Winning Game Plan For Fat Loss

1. Calculate Energy Requirements

Use the “Nutrition Fundamentals: Calories” section found in the WINForum Gameplan.

2. Eat frequently

Spread your calories throughout the day. Try to have TWO meals and ONE or TWO snacks before afternoon practice. This supports muscle and metabolism, while allowing the body to use stored fat for fuel.

Have a daily plan for eating. Listen to your body’s signals for hunger and fullness. Going longer than four to five hours without eating can lead to overeating at night, when you are typically less active. Figure out where and when you will eat.

If you’ll be eating on the go, pack the food and drinks you will need. Don’t leave your eating to chance.

3. Reduce portion size

If you tend to overeat, cut down on the portion size of foods. Use slightly smaller glasses, cups, bowls, and plates. Research suggests this can help reduce your portion size. Minimize caloric beverages (soda, juice, sweetened teas), aside from low-fat milk.

4. Burn more calories – when necessary

Some athletes can benefit from additional training outside of practice to aid in fat loss. In most sports, one hour expends fewer calories than one hour of constant aerobic activity.

Try cross-training with cardiovascular workouts like running, cycling, rowing, and stair climbing. Be sure to check with your coach before adding additional exercise and follow a designated plan to avoid overtraining.

Lifelong weight maintenance depends on eating a balanced diet and moving more in everyday activities. Take the stairs instead of the elevator and walk, don’t drive when possible. Adding more activity to your daily routine utilizes more calories without much notice.

5. Don’t deprive yourself

Be sure to include favorite foods in your fat loss plan. Deprivation can lead to overeating, which can cause weight gain. Mix in plenty of fruits and veggies, whole grains, dairy and the occasional scoop of your favorite ice cream to round out your winning plan.

Remember: “Skinny” does not mean you are fit, and “big” does not mean you are fat.

TIP: Many athletes meet with a Registered Dietitian, who specializes in Sport Nutrition, to help them create an eating plan for weight loss.

Go to www.eatright.org to find a sports dietitian in your area.

Information presented is intended to impart general fitness, sports nutrition, and health information. WINForum is not engaged in rendering medical advice or services. The information presented in this packet is not intended for diagnostic or treatment purposes. You should consult your doctor or registered dietitian for professional advice or services, including seeking advice prior to undertaking a new diet or exercise program. Advance consultation with your doctor is particularly important if you are under eighteen (18) years old, pregnant, breastfeeding, or have health problems. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here.

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