Although by the standard of his day good old Ben Franklin would not have been considered a glaring example of the perfect masculine physique, he was however arguably one of the most successful men in history. It could be said that his success was due, in large part to what he called the 13 virtues that he made an effort to apply in his life everyday (not always successfully): temperance, silence, order, resolution and so on (see Franklin’s Virtues).
There are also specific nutrition attributes, virtues or rules we can follow to further the success of our quest for a leaner, sexier and healthier body.
Once you’ve learned them all and have determined where you fall short you may also want to add one or two of your own. After all fitness is never an off the rack fit… it’s custom tailored for every individual.
1. Plan and Prepare: Prepare your meals for the day the night before or that morning. Know what you are going to eat and when. Pack food in Tupperware and a cooler if you are to be away from home a good part of the day. Any time you are caught unprepared and hungry you have a 97.9% greater chance of screwing up.
2. Eat 5-6 Small Meals Per Day: Eating small meals every 2-3 hours keeps your blood sugar stable and keeps you from going into that “I’ll eat anything in sight” hunger mode. If you have ever dug for change while eying the junk food vending machine you know what I’m talking about. You cannot afford to miss scheduled meals; doing so will set your metabolism into a confused tailspin hell bent on vengeance.
3. Include Protein: Each one of your 5-6 small meals should include a small amount of protein 15-30 grams: chicken, fish, non fat dairy, lean beef, nuts, protein powder, etc. Low fat protein not only keeps your insulin levels stable but will also help you maintain lean muscle tissue while training and dieting.
4. Cut the Sugar: Simple sugars like those found in candy, cake, and other junk foods, not only contribute unneeded calories to your diet, but also rob your body of important nutrients, elevate insulin production, and make you fat…period! Candy and sugar products are emotional dependency.
5. No Starch Please: Eliminate starchy foods from your diet, pasta, white rice, bread, bagels, tortillas, etc. Starchy carbohydrates act the same as simple sugars, they breakdown and are stored as sugar very quickly. Most importantly they facilitate the production and release of insulin and spawning and entire chain of negative chemical events leading to obesity and muscle wasting.
6. Become a Veggie Lover: Vegetables are thermogenic foods, meaning they elevate your metabolism. Green leafy veggies like broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, brussel sprouts, etc. are particularly good for cranking up the metabolic furnace as well as providing much needed micronutrients and fiber. All vegetables are good for you so pick the one’s you like, steam ’em, grill ’em, or eat them raw, but eat them in abundance.
7. Hydrate: Most of us live in a constant state of chronic dehydration. The common symptoms vary between chronic fatigue, headaches, muscle cramps, dry skin, hair, and eyes, constipation, and physical weakness. Your body is made of 75% water; that water is used in almost every metabolic process in our body. If you do not replace it, you will die… or worse you muscle will look really flat and unattractive. Drink a minimum of 100-120 oz per day or more if you can handle it.
8. Drop the Bad, Increase the Good: Fats have gotten a bad rap. Yes, fats like those found in fried foods, pastries, candies, dairy, red meat, and, processed foods are bad for us in any quantity. But not all fats fit into that category. Fats from nuts like almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, and fish like salmon, cod, orange rouphy, and sardines, as well as some oils like extra virgin olive, safflower, and flax are essential to our metabolism, hormone production, and our well-being. A combination of various sources in the amount of 15-25 grams is recommended.
9. 11-12 and 13-14 Calorie Rule: If you are trying to lose weight, consume no more than 11-12 calories for each pound of your desired body weight each day. Say you want to be 138 lbs, consume no more than 1656 cals (138 x 12 cals =1656 total daily cals). Maintenance should be between 13-14 cals per pound of weight per day or 1932 calories max (138 maintenance weight x 14 cals =1932 per day). Stay within these caloric guidelines and you will be successful. Bear in mind these are only estimates. Consult with your fitness professional or doctor before starting any diet or nutrition plan.
10. Cut the Joe: Avoid caffeinated drinks as much as possible. A medium cup of coffee contains approx. 200 mgs of caffeine or more than enough to artificially elevate blood sugar levels and cause a subsequent spike of insulin. The caffeine in coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate, and a freaking 34oz BIG GULP of Mountain Dew will have a detrimental effect on your metabolism, energy levels, and long-term health. In other words stop with the double shot mocha lattes already or stop wondering why you’re not losing weight. Drink water or herbal tea!
11. Congruent Self-Image: If you identify with, derive comfort from, or have more than three “needs” met by being overweight, then you will never be successful at losing weight and keeping it off. In your own mind, you must first become the healthy, slender, and fit person you wish to physically manifest. Then you must behave as if that is already you.
That “fit you” does not eat junk food; the “fit you” would not be caught dead with a cheeseburger, fries or a snickers bar. Why? Because it is simply not who you are, and because you’re smart enough to know the consequences of those actions. The “fit you” does not eat emotionally and has other strategies for handling those decisive moments, like exercising, reading, or communicating with the people you love and loves you.
The real key to successfully living as the fit, slim, healthy, person you won’t to be is programming your subconscious to first accept that image as YOU.
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