Contrary to popular belief, exercise is inefficient for burning calories.
I feel bad for overweight individuals trying to burn weight simply by using cardio or low weights at the gym. I applaud them for their effort, but I want to help them at the same time.
Why is it inefficient? To burn around three hundred calories, you’d have to run about 3 miles or intensely lift for a couple hours. Or, instead, you could choose not to eat that sugary processed donut that contains around 300 calories. One decision takes an hour, another decision takes about 30 minutes, and the other takes 10 seconds. Which one is more efficient?
I used to say that consistency was better than perfection. But you can be consistently bad at something and be as worse off as someone trying to be perfect.
I prefer to say that it’s better to be efficient than perfect. Efficiency is the ability to avoid wasting materials, energy, efforts, money, and time in doing something or in producing a desired result. In a more general sense, it is the ability to do things well, successfully, and without waste. I’d rather be efficient than consistent, because if you’re efficient, it’s assumed that you’re consistently good.
So how can you utilize efficiency and minimize your hunger, snacking, and ability to stay full longer without wasting your time or money? You don’t need to be perfect with your nutrition for this. You just need to be efficient.
Efficiency Tactic 1: Don’t Drink Your Calories
Save your calories for real food that you actually enjoy eating. Soda, Diet Sodas, Fruit Juices, and even some protein drinks have lots of sugar and hidden ingredients that go straight to your gut. Plus, they increase your caloric intake but don’t actually make you feel full. So you end up eating more!
But don’t just take these drinks out. You want to replace suboptimal habits with efficient ones. Plus, you want to be hydrated as well. Flavored water, BCAA drinks, low-sugar protein drinks, tea, and low-sugar coffee are more efficient options.
Efficiency Tactic 2: Eat Lots of Protein (Protein is the most satiating macronutrient)
If you’re hungry frequently, you want to eat foods that minimize hunger for longer stretches of time. Protein is perfect for this. Because it takes the body longer to digest, it creates larger gaps of time where you feel fuller longer. Ever eaten a big egg breakfast or large steak? The high protein content mixed with animal fats creates a long period of fullness while the body digests.
If you’re accustomed to protein shakes, try casein protein if you’re looking to expand upon its ability to keep you full. Casein is released slowly into the body, making it ideal for minimizing hunger.
Efficiency Tactic 3: Eat More Fiber
Like protein, fiber keeps you fuller longer. It’s also important for your gut bacteria because the body doesn’t digest it. Instead, it ends up in your colon feeding your friendly bacteria and producing various health benefits, along with promoting weight loss and lower blood sugar levels.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends an average of 14 grams of fiber per every 1,000 calories consumed. This roughly equates to 24 grams of fiber for women and 38 grams for men, depending on your caloric intake.
Besides beans, fruits, and vegetables, you can also find foods such as high fiber tortillas and wraps that can be used in place of breads. Talk about being efficient, right? Save your carbs for other foods with lower carb, high fiber tortillas while also ingesting your daily intake of fiber.
Efficiency Tactic 4: Drink Your Caffeinated Beverages
Permission to drink your coffee and tea freely. Caffeine often has the side-effect of reducing or minimizing cravings by making you feel full. Add in the thermogenic uses of caffeine (and green tea extract) for promoting weight loss, as well as intaking enough fluids to keep hydrated, and you have another efficient tool for keeping yourself satiated throughout the day.
Remember to exercise caution with your caffeine intake. My advice is to use this between your breakfast and lunch timeline to minimize your cravings while also minimizing the ability of caffeine to keep you up late at night. The morning is also a perfect time for those that utilize intermittent fasting in the mornings.
Efficiency Tactic 5: Don’t Eliminate, Just Substitute
Look, we all need to live a little. And we need to enjoy the journey in order to continue on it. I constantly preach modify, modify, modify. What is modification? It’s the opposite of elimination. It’s taking something, whether that be food or an exercise, and changing it to make it more effective or enjoyable (preferably both).
You can’t take something out and leave a void. We, in our human nature, will fill it with something. If you put away your video games in order to be more productive, but you don’t fill in that void with something productive (like reading a book), you’ll fill it in other ways, like watching more tv or playing on your phone more. The same with food: if you take out all the “bad” stuff in order eat “cleaner” you’ll eventually fill it with something when you don’t fill the void.
So instead of eliminating foods, substitute.
- Take that fatty steak and substitute it with a leaner cut. For those of you tracking your macros, you’ll be able to eat more meat because it’s not pumping your fat macros sky high.
- Use unsweetened almond milk in place of regular milk.
- Use warm cereals like oatmeal or cream of wheat in place of cold sugar cereals.
- Use fat-free plain Greek yogurt in place of heavy cream.
- Use spaghetti squash and zucchini for noodle substitutes.
- Use cauliflower substitutes to make pizza crust, mashed potatoes, alfredo sauce, or lasagna.
- Eat Halo Top or Artic Zero for great tasting, low calorie ice-cream.
Remember: Efficiency > Perfection. If you can be efficient with your nutrition, you can spend less time at the gym, more time doing what you want to do, and feel less guilt and stress over not being able to eat the foods you love.
If you want help with this, check out my program, where I train and teach you how to get shredded efficiently without giving up all your food or running for hours. Have a great weekend!