3 Tips to Stay Slim

11 08 2011


By Stephen Perrine, Leah Flickinger, and the Editors of Women’s Health

Women’s Health

Inside your body, at this very moment, there’s a war going on: a battle between the cells that make up muscle and those that make up fat.

You know which side you’re rooting for. But here’s the problem: in this war, fat will always have an unfair advantage. The only way muscle can win is with your help. The Seven Secrets of the Slim from The Women’s Health Diet will show you how to win that battle.

It will help you build muscle and burn away fat while eating the very best food on the planet and never, ever feeling hungry. It will make you stronger, sexier, leaner, and healthier than you’ve ever been before. And it will start to take effect, well, pretty much from your very first bite.

Ready to dig in?

Slim Secret #1: “I Will Eat Protein with Every Meal And Every Snack”

Muscle doesn’t come simply from lifting weights or hauling groceries up the stairs. Eating protein triggers muscle growth. In fact, every time you eat at least 10 to 15 grams of protein, you trigger a burst of protein synthesis. And when you eat at least 30 grams, that period of synthesis lasts about three hours—and that means even more muscle growth.

Now think about it: When would you typically eat most of your protein? At dinner, right? That means you might be fueling your muscles for only a few hours a day, mostly while you’re watching Chelsea Lately. The rest of the day, you’re breaking down muscle, because you don’t have enough protein in your system. Eat protein at all three meals, which can include meats and eggs or other options such as cheese and milk. You need to boost your protein intake to between .54 and one gram per pound of body weight to preserve your calorie-burning muscle mass. (That’s a total of between 76 and 140 grams daily for a 140-pound woman.)

Your secret weight-loss weapon.


Slim Secret #2: “I Will Never Eat the World’s Worst Breakfast”

What’s the world’s worst breakfast? No breakfast at all. When you wake up in the morning, your body is fuel-deprived. It’s been seven to nine hours (or more) since you last ate. Your insulin levels have dropped, your protein stores are empty, and your muscles are desperate for nutrition. Your body needs food to restore its balance.

Breakfast is the one meal where, calories be damned, eating more is almost always better than eating less—in an ideal world, you’d get between 500 and 600 calories at breakfast alone. Just make sure some of those calories come from protein.

In a 2008 study, researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University found that people who regularly ate a protein-rich 600-calorie breakfast lost significantly more weight in eight months than those who consumed only 300 calories and a quarter of the protein. The big-breakfast eaters lost an average of 40 pounds and had an easier time sticking with the diet even though both groups were prescribed about the same number of total daily calories.

Easy, speedy and healthy breakfast options.

Slim Secret #3: “I Will Eat Before And After Exercise”

Eat a snack containing carbohydrates and protein 30 minutes or so before your workout and one of your protein-rich meals immediately after. Your body breaks down muscle during and after exercise to use as fuel, and it rebuilds muscle using calories that you’ve consumed. The longer you wait after exercise to eat, the more your body will break down its own muscle and the less it will build new muscle.

Eating before a workout speeds muscle growth, according to Dutch and British researchers. In one study, subjects who ate a protein-and carbohydrate-rich snack right before and right after their workouts fueled their muscles twice as effectively as those who waited at least five hours to eat. By feeding your body with protein and carbohydrates within an hour or two of exercise, you provide your muscles with enough energy to build strength and burn fat more effectively.

Research also shows that eating before and after a workout inhibits the storage of fat, inhibit muscle breakdown, reduce inflammation, and recover more quickly.





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