For the average weight-loss warrior, comparing diets is hard to do.
Are you tired of the same old weight loss battle?
Tried more diets than you can count?
Feeling a little burnt out over it all?
You’re motivated but nothing you try seems to work…
You’re not alone.
Millions like you start diets every day but only a small handful actually see the results they want.
For most, it’s simply the wrong approach.
They get caught up in the latest fad diet in media.
The huge calorie restrictions, hunger and ultimate failure when motivation runs out.
So how can you lose weight and keep it off for good?
Its simple – use the proven weight loss strategies that have been around forever.
Forget the gimmicks and follow whats always worked.
In this post im going to cover everything you need to know about fat loss so you can finally achieve your ultimate body.
When we think of fat loss, a few things come to mind
• Heavily restricted meal plans
• Ongoing hunger throughout the day
• Hours spent exercising
• A feeling of low energy
Fact is, fat loss doesn’t have to be any of this. You can lose fat, enjoy yourself, and feel good all at the same time.
So what do you need to learn to lose fat for life?
• Understand your daily energy requirements
• Eat a balanced diet and track your food intake
• Lift weights so you can reshape your body and increase fat burning potential 24 hours a day
• Strive to reach a realistic goal
Get all of these in order and you’ll be seeing results in no time.
Let’s break these steps down so you can apply them to yourself.
STEP 1: UNDERSTAND YOUR DAILY ENERGY REQUIREMENTS
If you take nothing else from this post, take this:
You need to eat less calories than you expend to lose fat.
There’s no getting around this and anyone who tells you otherwise should’nt be trusted.
When you burn more energy than you consume, you put your body into what’s called an energy deficit, meaning it needs to get energy from another source other than your incoming food sources.
Losing fat doesnt mean starving yourself. Far from it.
To lose the most amount of fat and keep it off for life, you need to eat as much as possible, while still losing fat.
That why the latest crash diet in the media with less than 1300 calories is a terrible option.
If you want to know more about why crash diets are the worst possible option, checkout this video.
Once you’re eating less than you expend, your body will turn to stored fat for energy.
Thats when we start to lose fat.
To get into this deficit, you need to know two things:
1. How many calories you are eating
2. How many calories you are burning off
Its next to impossible to know exactly how many calories you burn each day, but you can make a pretty good estimation.
If you want to bring out your inner math whiz, there’s a formula that can be used:
Men: 10 X weight (in kg) + 6.25 X height (in cm) – 5 X age (in years) + 5
Women: 10 X weight (in kg) + 6.25 X height (in cm) – 5 x age (in years) – 161
Once you have this, you have your resting metabolic rate, which represents how many calories you burn all day just existing.
This does not include any sort of physical activity/movement that you perform on top of this.
To account for exercise, you then use an activity multiplication factor:
Sedentary (no exercise) = RMR (resting metabolic rate ) X 1.2
Lightly Active (exercise 1-3 times per week) = RMR X 1.35
Moderately Active (exercise 4-5 times per week) = RMR X 1.5
Very Active (active job + exercise 4-5 times per week) = RMR X 1.75
Work out all these numbers and you have your approximately daily calorie burn.
Not a fan of math? Don’t worry. There’s a simpler way.
You can get a good estimate by simply taking your weight in kg’s and multiplying by around 30 if you are moderately active or 20-25 if you are not very active.
Then to create the calorie deficit for fat loss, you’ll now simply subtract about 500 calories from that target number. This is your target food intake to lose about one pound of fat per week, which is a safe number to aim for.
Now let’s talk about how to structure your food intake to satisfy this goal.
STEP 2: EAT A BALANCED DIET AND TRACK YOUR FOOD INTAKE
When setting up your meals, you have two options.
1. Track your food intake using the app MyFitnessPal
2. Estimate your calorie intake using serving size approximations
If you like counting calories using a program – excellent. It’s a great way to stay on top of things.
If you aren’t one to count calories using those programs, no problem. Instead, just learn proper serving sizes.
You can estimate your calorie intake using the following guidelines.
One serving of protein, which is around 100-150 calories should be about the size of the palm of your hand. Good protein choices include foods like chicken breast, turkey breast, lean steak, fish and seafood, along with eggs and low-fat dairy products. Protein is a must to provide your body with the raw materials it needs to repair damaged tissues and help you build more lean muscle mass.
One serving of complex carbohydrates, which is again around 100-120 calories, should be about the same size as one cupped hand. Try and focus on those that are as naturally occurring as possible to maximize your nutrition. This includes foods like brown rice, quinoa, oats, sweet potatoes, and beans. These are high energy foods that will supply you with the fuel you need to get through intense workout sessions as well as day to day activities.
One serving of vegetables is also about the size of one cupped hand and will provide anywhere from 10-20 calories. Vegetables are so low in calories that they are highly encouraged on a fat loss plan. Especially those that are green-colored as they are so dense in nutrients, hunger-busting fiber, as well as disease-fighting antioxidants.
Healthy fats are a must in any good diet plan as they stabilize blood sugar levels, provide important vitamins to your body, and help keep your brain healthy.
One serving of fat is about the same size as your thumb and should come from healthy sources like nuts and nut butter, olive oil, coconut oil, seeds, and avocados. You can also find healthy fats in fatty varieties of fish, so these should be included regularly as well.
Finally, fruits are Mother Nature’s candy and should be included in every diet in moderation as well. 2-3 pieces of fruit per day is a great goal and one serving is about the size of a fist. Fruits typically contain around 50-80 calories per serving, so are a great low-calorie and nutrient dense way to satisfy your sweet tooth.
They are loaded with antioxidants, which are key for warding off disease and keeping you feeling your best.
As you create your diet, you’ll want to make sure that you are getting a balanced approach, consuming lean protein with each meal and snack you eat along with a serving or two of vegetables and some complex carbohydrates or fruit and/or healthy fats as well.
How many servings you eat per day will depend on your target calorie intake, but you should always strive for balance.
Remember, being flexible is key. If you have a food craving that won’t let up, treat yourself on occasion. That’s fine as long as the rest of the time, you are eating as you should.
It’s all about moderation. If you feel too restricted on your diet, you’ll just give up on your plan. Instead, strive for balance. Eat healthy, nutrient dense foods 90% of the time and 10% of the time allow for some fun.
As you track your calorie intake or servings, remember that you are trying to aim for the target number of calories that you found in step one.
Now let’s talk exercise.
STEP 3: LIFT WEIGHTS
The fastest way to losing fat will generally involve lifting weights. If youre new to weights, checkout my Women and Weights: The Ultimate Beginner Guide
If you want to lose fat without hours of boring cardio, weights are your best option.
Why no cardio? While you may burn calories when you hop on the treadmill, bike, or elliptical training, as soon as you step off, the calorie burning comes to a stop.
With resistance training however, it’s much different. You’ll burn calories during the workout and then because the workout is so intense, continue to burn calories for hours after its completed.
This makes resistance training a much smarter option for your program plan.
Another reason to use resistance training? It’s the only form of exercise that will completely change your body. While cardio training may help you get a little smaller, you’ll just become a smaller version of your current self. With resistance training, however, you will add more shape to your physique, gaining the muscle tone and definition that you are after.
You’ll also gain great functional strength, which will help make completing everyday lifestyle activities that much easier.
When doing your resistance training exercises, you want to really focus on pushing yourself to see how much you can lift. Test your limits. It’s the best way to make ongoing progress.
And, on top of that, make sure that your workout keeps changing. Your body will adapt quickly to whatever exercise you are doing, so if you aren’t continuously changing things around, you’ll eventually hit a progress plateau and stop seeing results.
In addition to resistance training, if you do want to include some cardiovascular training, focus on an interval training program. Interval training involves brief periods of all-out exercise with active rest periods added in between.
This form of cardio training is far superior in terms of increasing your resting metabolic rate and enhancing your overall fat burning potential. Plus, it takes far less time to do with the average session only lasting around 15-20 minutes.
You’ll be in and out of the gym in no time – and seeing great results.
Overall, there is no need to spend hours and hours in the gym in order to see great fat loss results.
Most people will be able to see excellent success with three, 30-45 minute resistance training workouts per week and another 1-2, 20 minute interval cardio workouts. If you place close attention to your resistance plan, you may not even need those cardio workouts.
STEP 4: STRIVE TO REACH A REALISTIC GOAL
Finally, the last step to see success with fat loss is to strive to reach a realistic goal.
You want to go in with proper expectations or you may find yourself getting discouraged early on, wanting to toss in the towel.
Unrealistic expectations are also what sets you up to fall for those quick-fix approaches as well, where you want to jump on the latest diet that is going to promise you fast results.
Instead, adopt a lifestyle change mindset. Know that you are making positive changes that you can stick with forever and hold yourself accountable. Each day you move one step in the right direction leading the lifestyle that you want to live.
When you stop viewing this as a program that you can’t wait to get off and instead, view it as a new way of life, you’ll be less likely to use extreme approaches that won’t deliver.
Instead, you’ll use approaches that you can maintain for the long haul, building good habits that will stick with you for years to come. When you do that, you’ll not only have a better chance of losing weight in the first place, but keeping it off for good.
So there you have the four steps you need to take to succeed with fat loss. Don’t put getting started off one day longer. Take action and begin today. If you do, a slimmer you awaits tomorrow.
Personal Trainer Dublin and Body Transformation Gym in Blackrock, Dublin