How to snack for fat loss

If you got even the least bit excited (perhaps even aroused) at the above picture, I’m glad you found your way to our website.  No, we’re not going to be having a party.   And even if we were, these particular friends aren’t invited!

Oh, get over it, Dawson!  In fact, I’m gonna be teaching you about all kinds of things you can snack on during the day.  But why snack at all?  Won’t those extra calories lead to fat loss?  NO!  In fact, eating more will probably lead you to lose more fat!

Why?  Because your body needs energy.  Let’s say you only eat 3 meals a day (this is a big assumption as most of you probably skimp or skip out on breakfast altogether).  If you eat breakfast at 7:00am and eat lunch at 1:00pm, that’s a gap of 5 hours.  Even the calories from the best of breakfasts would have been all used up before noon and then how does your body feed itself?  By feeding on itself, most likely muscle tissue, the one thing in your body that gets rid of fat.  D’oh!  Also, your body will know that it’s starving and make a contingency plan by storing away what you already have in your body as fat.  Your body is built to keep you alive, not to maintain a flat stomach.

The same scenario plays itself out in the afternoon.  You eat lunch at 1:00pm and you get home and fix yourself dinner at 7:00pm, a gap of 6 hours this time!  And the same thing happens in your body again, it is low on fuel and is forced to eat muscle and store fat to keep itself going.  This is worsened by the fact that you’ve been starving all afternoon and because of that, you’re going eat a big dinner to satisfy your hunger.  And since you had a long day, maybe even a can or two of beer, because you think you deserve it.

Now you’ve probably fed your body no doubt over 1000 calories, including alcohol (which you body has to digest first, before it gets to the food) and all that energy is available and read…and you sit in front of the TV or computer for 3 hours.  It’s a gonna take a long time for that food to digest and calories to burn off.  If you sleep at 10, your body will still be hard at work digesting and your sleep quality will suffer because of it.  Now repeat this process week after week, year after year, and before you know it, you’ve gained more than a few extra pounds (or kilograms to my metric friends).

So what do you do?  Easy, you eat more to lose lose fat.  WHAAAAT!!  How awesome is that!  Keep your body energized when it needs to be and it won’t be have to panic and store body fat and eat itself to keep you alive.  So what kind of things can you snack on?  Lots and lots things!

At the beginning of the week, I posted the following picture on our Twitter (if you’re not following us yet, tsk tsk)…

In the photo are the snacks I had available for just this week.  Take it in.  Why so much you ask?  Nutritional A.D.D. perhaps?  Nah, I like variety.  I like convenience.  I like little-to-no prep time.  I want something I can carry around without the bulk or the mess. Let me tell you what’s in the picture now…


1. Protein shakes and smoothies

– Easy to prepare, just put the powder in a shaker cup, add water (or [soy] milk) and voila, a nice, quick-and-easy snack that takes seconds to prep and drink.  Great anytime as well as pre- and post-workout.  If you do a morning workout like our bootcamp program, I would only drink a half serving shake before, and then a full serving post-workout.  If you use a blender, you can add a banana and/or other fruits, and some ice, and you’ve got yourself delicious smoothie.  I take Sun Warrior Protein, which is a brown rice protein, rather than the normal whey protein (derived from milk) you always see in stores.  I had a mostly vegan diet last year and I still eat that way about 50% of the time to keep healthy.  I’m not a big dairy guy, except when it comes to pizza (don’t mess with perfection!).  It’s a clean protein powder with a great amino acid profile and a great taste.  I also like Vegans Proteins+ by Genuine Health.  When choosing a protein powder, watch the carb content (some powders are ‘weight gainers’ so they have lots of added carbs and sugars).  My favorite flavor is vanilla, as it’s the most versatile, but I love chocolate as well.

2. Meal replacements shakes

– Protein powder x 1000.  These have got lots of vitamins and minerals, added fiber, healthy fats, probiotics, etc.  Some are great, some are not.  My two go-to products are Vega Whole Food Optimizer and The Ultimate Meal.  Absolutely great for snacks and even for breakfast, but for those who are new to these products, take a half serving at first as you probably won’t be use to the high fiber content and well, you don’t want to be in the middle of your commute when nature calls.  Again, these two products are completely vegan.  When I’m on the go, I always choose Vega as you can just use a shaker cup (rinse your mouth afterwards though as your teeth will be quite spotty afterwards).  When I have more time, I take the Ultimate Meal as you need a blender (I have brought a blender to work in my hardcore fitness days), as well as a banana and half an apple.  Some may be turned off by the thicker texture of the product and the fact that you should chew this particular shake, but I assure you it’s pretty awesome and uber healthy for you.


3. Protein bars

– There are tons of these products out there and just a word of warning, not all of them are great.  Some are really high in carbs, or sugars, or fat, or a combination of the three, some are so high in these areas that they may as well be candy.  Others use lower quality proteins like soy, and some just outright taste terrible.  Do your research and do a bit of trial-and-error.  For me, I have 3 favorites: Probar, Clif Bar, and Organic Food Bar.  Even though these are my favs, I will warn you that for example a Probar has almost 400 calories, 50mg of sodium, 47g of of carbs and 18g of sugar.  Protein levels are around 10g in each.  Because of the high calories and carbs, feel free to eat only half per snack.

4. Fruits

– Nature’s candy and oh so healthy.  But for fat loss, fruits should be eaten in moderation.  I prefer to eat my fruits in the morning and early afternoon, when the carbs, natural sugars, and energy can be best used by your body to power you through your day.  Towards the late afternoon and evening, vegetables should take precedence.  I’m not going to stop you from eating your after-dinner fruit, but know that for optimal fat loss, you really should eat fruit earlier in the day.  Dried fruits, like raisins are good, but they have a high glycemic index rating, so they may spike insulin levels in high doses.  I like 1 or 2 handfuls of raisins post-workout, along with a banana, and protein shake.  I also eat prunes in morning for fiber and dates pre-workout for a natural energy pick-me-up.


5. Nuts and seeds

– Expensive in Japan, ne!  It’s hard to find good quality nuts like almonds at a good price.  But you can find them in the better supermarkets around Tokyo.  Also, trail mix type snacks are hard to find with ideal ingredients.  For example, the ones at Costco have M&Ms in them (for those of you on my mailing list, I totally didn’t mean to recommend these, whoops typo!) and a high peanut content, but if the alternative is a donut or a bag of cookies, then go with the lesser of two evils.  A handful or two of nuts and/or seeds, along with a piece of fruit is a perfect mid-morning or afternoon energy boost and will keep you away from the temptations awaiting you at the nearest combini after work.

6. Whole wheat anything

– Take a pass on the white bread, please!  Yes, you were taught that white bread was a nutritious part of a balanced diet when you were younger–you were lied to!  White bread, is devoid of anything that can benefit you and is essentially just sugar and carbs.  Always choose the whole wheat version (not just the white bread with some whole wheat bits you Japan, the real thing!).  And since you want to lose fat and get toned, moderation is necessary.  Brown rice/bread/pasta is healthier and has protein in it, but know it’s still high in carbs, so watch your portions in the evening and don’t eat every day.  Eating these on days you work out is a good strategy.

7. Zero calorie drinks

– 90% of what I drink has 0 calories.  Water and green tea make up the majority of the liquids I consume.  I don’t drink juice, soda, energy drinks (anymore!), or coffee (sometimes I have my frappucino fix on a nice day) because they’re not the best for you.  In fact, most of them are high in sugar, have no fiber or health benefits, and have high calories you normally don’t take into account (i.e. a can of Coke has 140 calories, 200ml of OJ has 88 calories, even a cup of milk has over 100) and they add up when you’re at a restaurant and have access to the drink bar.  Coffee can be a great pre-workout drink for an energy boost but for me, sometimes I don’t do well with caffeine, so it’s an occasional indulgence.  My other indulgence right now is my BCAA (Branched chain amino acids) drink, for building muscle, recovery, fatigue, and extra fat burning.  If you want to buy, I recommend a flavored version (it also comes in a “plain” version where when added to water, tastes very bitter and most people won’t be able to handle it–hence I went with a green apple flavor this time).


8. Others

– This list is not at all exhaustive, it’s only based on what I had in my possession this week.  For example, string cheese, yogurt (without fruit), veggies with hummus (or organic peanut butter), a couple hard boiled eggs are also good examples of healthy snakcs.  There are plenty of healthy choices out there, the important thing is to actually choose and buy them and have them on you during the day to eat when it’s time.  So no more starving during the day and binge eating in the evening.  Choose what you like from this list and go out tomorrow and stock up.  Eating is indeed good for you, so eat more and lose more weight and feel better during the day!

If you’re interested in trying our bootcamp program and getting toned and pumped for summer, follow this link and fill out the short consultation request form.  Our program launches next Monday, so it’s an exciting time for everyone at Tokyo Bootcamp!  Stayed tuned for my next blog, which will be a video, coming soon!


One Response to “How to snack for fat loss”
  1. christina says:

    i have recently moved to Japan. I live on a military base. NAF Atsugi. Is there anything like this in my area?
    Thank you for your time:)

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