If you want to lose fat, but couldn’t be bothered to get lost in all the detail, this short article is for you. Fat loss need only be as complicated as you make it. It isn’t necessary to get sucked down the rabbit hole of fat loss complexities – unless of course that is your thing. Being educated and informed is great. The downside though is that it can often lead to confusion and feeling very overwhelmed.
So, let’s keep things super super simple. Here are a few guidelines to help you lose those unwanted kilos of fat – and I purposely use the word “fat” and not “weight” because it doesn’t matter so much what the number on the scale says, it’s how we look naked right? Or at the very least, how our clothes fit. The goal should always be to improve our body composition, which basically means maintaining or improving muscle mass (for a nice toned look) while losing the excess flab.
Basic laws of nature to remember:
- If you eat less than your body needs for metabolism and your day to day activities (including exercise), your body will turn to its own fat cells for fuel to make up the deficit. The result? Weight loss.
- If you eat more than your body actually requires, the surplus fuel consumed (i.e. calories) will be stored as fat in your fat cells. The result? Weight gain.
- Eating just the right amount that your body currently needs for metabolism and activity will result in you staying exactly as you are, whether that is overweight or underweight.
Healthy fat loss doesn’t have to mean feeling starved and hungry all the time. Just making some basic changes to your choice of foods will allow appetite to be kept under control, enabling you to eat less and create a calorie deficit (see first bullet point above), without any discomfort.
Carbs like bread, rice and pasta don’t keep you satisfied for very long – so it’s best to keep these types of foods to a minimum. Protein like meat, fish and eggs and foods high in water and fibre (in other words veggies) are the most satiating, so your focus should be on eating more of these types of foods. Having protein at every meal is the best way to avoid cravings and attacks of the munchies later in the afternoon. High fat foods like avocado, butter, coconut oil and olive oil are great for healthy hormones and your brain. Definitely include them in your diet as they keep you feeling full as well. Just use some common sense when it comes to fat. Calories from fats and oils add up quickly, which can easily tip you into a surplus calorie scenario (second bullet point above).
Now to state the obvious – junk food is not conducive to fat loss. Alcohol too unfortunately. This doesn’t mean you can never eat chocolate or have a glass of wine ever again. Any diet has to be sustainable and enjoyable long term to be successful. If you have been around the weight loss block a few times, I am sure you are tired of losing weight, only to find it again a few months or years later. You will need to experiment and decide how much or how little of these type of foods you include on an ongoing basis – knowing that while they don’t serve your fat loss or health goals, you can’t imagine life without the occasional treat either. It is called being realistic and human. Thats ok, just find the right balance that will enable you to move towards and not away from your goals.
To summarise the super simple approach to losing fat:
- Eat more protein and vegetables.
- Eat less carbohydrates.
- Have protein at each meal.
- Include healthy fats, but don’t overdo it.
- Cut down on the junk food and alcohol.
- If you are hungry – eat, if you are not hungry – don’t eat.
- Avoid having second helpings.
- Make time for exercise and don’t be scared to build some muscle.
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
- Be patient, fat loss takes time.