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The 5 Laws of Staying Lean

The Protein Base

Pick a lean, quality protein to begin your meals and build your meal from there. That may be easier at dinner when the choice is chicken or fish, and lunch has many options also (think grilled chicken salad). Breakfast stumps many of us. A staple favorite of ours is to mix egg whites into the morning oatmeal (before cooking). It boosts the boosts the protein content and keeps you alert and full for hours.

Carb Management

As the day progresses, decrease your intake of carbohydrates. Carbs provide feul and energy, and since you generally don't need as much energy at night as you do in the morning, eat more quality carbs at breakfast and reduce the amount at every meal thereafter. For example, dinner might consist of meat and vegetables, which have very few carbs. Science concurs. Research finds that the body's ability to metabolize carbs drops as the day goes on, so more end up stored as fat.

Digestion Science

Select slower digesting foods. That means limit sugar and white flour-such as most breads, pasta, and baked goods-which are quickly digested, causing a rapid spike blood sugar. A dramatic rise in blood sugar stimulates the release of the hormone insulin, which signals your body to stop burning and start storing-fat. If you love bread, learn to love the flour-free, 100 percent whole-grain kind. (See Food for Life online at foodforlife.com).

Balance and Moderation

Sure there will be days when you simply can't get to the gym as much as you'd like, but as long as you're eating right 85 to 90 percent of the time, you'll be fine. It's not realistic to expect your diet to be perfect, especially when you're busy. For example, let's say you eat five times a day. That's 35 meals a week. Stay disciplined for 30 of those meals and you'll keep your diet-and your midsection-on track.

Monitor More Than Your Abs

You really are what you eat. Your mood swings and your whole outlook on life revolve around what you're putting into your body. The take-home advice: Start paying attention to the way you feel-for instance, by keeping a daily log-and not just the way you look. Chances are, you'll find even better reasons to stick with a healthy diet for the long term.

Article Reviewed: July 25, 2012
Copyright © 2014 Healthy Magazine

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