I’m not quite sure why the title of this blog is a play on The Sound of Music.
Oh ok I remember now! I was watching How I Met Your Mother yesterday and it was the episode in Season 7 where they’re talking about how it’s not uncommon to end up with someone like your parents. Then there’s a scene where Barney’s mom (in the past) and girlfriend Nora (in the present) are both singing that “Favorite Things” song.
So that’s where that came from… Makes sense! I know you were dying to know…
Anyway, on to the ACTUAL words I was planning to share.
Fat’s got a bad rap. So many of the products we see in grocery stores these days are advertised as low-fat or fat-free. If you are the type that looks at labels for the macronutrient breakdown (grams of protein, fat, carbs), calories or ingredients, you’ll see that these low/no fat items are often peppered with extra carbs (usually added sugar) or salt in an effort to make them palatable.
Many times, this also means they’re high in calories or other weird added chemicals, too. So don’t be fooled by the hype – just because something is low fat, it doesn’t mean that it IS better for you. So read the labels carefully! Of course, I prefer to buy foods without labels or with labels that list 1 ingredient and that I can guess what the macronutrient breakdown is… but that is for another post on another day.
Ok food labels was a small tangent, but no worries. Tangents are fun and you never know where they’ll lead. But for the 2nd time, back to the actual subject…
Fats are not ALL bad. I think they first starting getting looked down on in the 1990′s (someone please correct me if my timing is all off, thanks) but in reality, they’re super important to eat when you’re trying to get the fat cells on your body to burn baby burn. I know it seems counterintuitive but let me fill you in. Get ready cause here at Once An Athlete, we’re in the business of blowing minds…
Brace yourself… Here are a few knowledge bombs for you…
– Body fat (you know, the fat that’s hanging out on your body and cushioning your vital parts like your liver and kidneys and so on) is an active, hormone-secreting organ. Yup! It’s true! It can release all sorts of intense hormones like leptin, estrogen, cortisol, and inflammatory molecules into your body. When the powers of these 4 hormones combine, the result can be the perfect storm for additional fat storage. Crazy huh??
– Depending on where fat is stored on your body, it acts differently (in the active, hormone-secreting way). Example – belly fat releases more “garbage” into your body than fat on your thighs does. That’s why you hear about apple shapes being more likely to have various health issues.
– Even though dietary fats are calorie dense, meaning they have a lot of calories per serving, if you look at their hormonal effects they can be REALLY good for you! Omega-3 fats eventually cause an increase in fat metabolism through gene regulation (remember we want to metabolize/burn the fat on our bodies… we don’t just want our body burning stored sugars). You can get Omega-3s from supplements (like fish oil), flax and fish!
– Dietary fats help with satiety at meals because it causes the release of a hormone that helps lower hunger. When I’m not eating as many starchy carbs (ladies tend to burn more fat when eating less starchy carbs and that approach works for me!), I’ll eat an extra serving of healthy fats each day to help me feel fuller and more satisfied at my meals. If I have a giant salad with some chicken on top, I am sure to dice up half an avocado and throw that on top, too (I love avocados almost as much as I love bacon).
Take away message?? Consuming dietary fats is important to reducing the amount fat on your body. So which fats do I like to eat and how much?
As I already mentioned, I like avocados, fish, and flax. I also like nuts (almonds are my favorite and walnuts are good too), nut butters (make sure you don’t get the kind loaded with sugar – try making your own!), olive oil, seeds, and grass-fed meats. Typically, I’ll go for 2 servings of healthy fats in addition to 4g of fish oil supplements a day (2g in the morning and 2g at night).
FYI – you get what you pay for in fish oil supplements. The lower quality, lower purity fish oils will be more likely to result in fishy burps… so this is a supplement worth splurging on a little. My favorite brand is Nordic Naturals.
In your quest to lose weight as an ex athlete, don’t forget that burning body fat requires that you take in healthy fats like the ones mentioned above (and a fish oil supplement wouldn’t hurt either!). Tell me what your favorite fat is in the comments below!
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