Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.
The internal and external obliques, which I like to call "nature's girdle," are located at the sides of the rectus abdominis. They are the muscles you use when you bend sideways at the spine or twist at the waist. They also contract to compress the abdomen, so you should work them just as hard as you work the rectus abdominis. Adding a twist to crunches works, as well as dumbbell side bends, but be careful not to use any jerky motions, especially if you've had back problems.
Let’s step back and think about this issue from a cultural/historical perspective. If Native American nomads (e.g., the Osage, Kiowa, Lakota, Blackfeet, Shoshone), the Inuit in the Arctic, or the Maasai in Africa ate moderate protein and virtually no carbs, they would remain in nutritional ketosis year around, and yet they manifestly did not keep losing weight until they wasted away.
At rest and low intensity training, when there aren't an influx of calories from food, the body prefers to use mostly fat stores for energy. And your body is almost always using some fat for energy, and you are also always store some for energy. Which is why "burning fat" and losing fat are not quite the same thing. Oxidizing fat for energy doesn't always mean you are losing fat. Fat loss, just like weight loss is more dependent on calorie control than hormones and fuel utilization.
Meal prepping was super helpful to me. Packing lunches and making dinners that lasted more than one night were great strategies for my meals. I usually used Sunday as my day to prepare lunches for the week, and my dinners on Sunday and Wednesday. There are so many amazing meal ideas on Pinterest, and you can experiment with all of the meals you life. My Recipes for Success blog post lists a lot of my favorite food bloggers where I get several recipes. Overall, more mindfulness about when and what I was going to eat set me up to make positive choices.
Taking control of your diet and the foods your are eating, is one of the best ways to make sure you are successful. Having a plan and food on hand will prevent you from making poor, hunger based decisions when they arise, and can cut down on the amount you are eating out - saving you money in the long run. And with research continuing to suggest that meal planning is associated with better nutrition and more weight loss, it is definitely something worth considering if you are trying to get in shape (83,84,85).