Have you been struggling with yo-yo dieting, can't seem to get past that plateau you always hit or aren't even really sure where to start with your fat loss? Notice I emphasize "Fat loss" and not weight loss. Our weight is compromised of everything that we are made up of; our body fat, muscle mass, bone mass, water weight, organs etc. We can't always use the scale to measure fat loss (unless your scale measures body composition like the one I have in my office). If you don't have a body comp scale, have no fear. Use the fit of your clothes and the scale as a general guideline to help track if you are efficiently burning fat for fuel. If you have been struggling with fat loss, you might be missing these 5 simple tricks to successful fat loss and how you can actually keep it off for good!
Too often, I see people who have tried endless amounts of programs, diets or exercise classes to help them lose the stubborn and uncomfortable excess fat they are trying to shed. In the end, the programs or diets may work in the short term but the quick fixes won't stick long term and that's where the body fat will come back.
1. Eat MORE, Eat Often
Yes, if you eat more and eat often you will burn fat! This is probably the biggest mistake that a lot of my clients make. Too many of my clients will come in to see me and are only eating 1-2 or 2-3 main meals per day. The less we eat, the slower our metabolism will be. Our metabolism will adjust to how often we eat. If we eat less, it will be slower because our body does not know if we will be getting fed anytime soon so it wants to store what we eat more likely as body fat. Whereas if we eat more often, our metabolism will rev up to speed and start to burn through our food and our own body fat like crazy because it will get used to relying on a fuel source more often and will feel more secure burning it all off. I would recommend to try and eat every 2-3 hours throughout the day. The key is to not over indulge, stick with portion size and prevent feeling overly full or stuffed. Remember, it will be time to eat again in another 2 hours!
2. Reduce Sugar
Sugar is the biggest culprit to fat storage. Too much sugar is very easily stored as body fat. When we talk about sugar the most common sugar forms to come mind like candy, sweets or soda. Always make sure to read nutrition labels and avoid products that have "added sugar". Our body will metabolize and store sugar in any form whether it comes from candy or fruit. Fruit is loaded with vitamins and minerals but it also can be packed full of natural sugar. Fruit is natures "desert" and should only be had when we are craving something sweet! Berries are the best type of fruit because they are lowest in sugar. Aim for about 1/2 -1 cup of berries per day. Keep in mind, if you are concerned about lack of fruit in your diet, vegetables have just as much, if not more, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Aim to incorporate vegetables at each meal to add up to a total of 4 cups per day.
3. Increase Healthy Fats
Once you reduce sugar from your diet, your body will need another adequate fuel source to help give it the energy it needs and to start burning your own body fat for fuel. Our body can burn one of two things for energy: sugar or fat. Most people are in a sugar burning mode where their metabolism will burn off the sugars and carbohydrates from their food, use that for energy and then get hungry or experience a low blood sugar crash to tell their body it is time to eat again. When we lower our sugar and carbohydrate intake, we should increase the intake of healthy fats to help fuel our body and stimulate it to become a fat burning machine! Healthy fats include extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, ghee (clarified butter for those more lactose sensitive) and coconut oil. The more fat we eat, the full we feel and the more body fat we will burn! Remember, lower your sugar and carbohydrate intake BEFORE you start adding more healthy fats into your diet. Aim for about 2-4 tablespoons of healthy fats per day and spread it out throughout your daily intake.
4. Track it!
I'm sure we have all heard this at one point or another but tracking what you eat will help you stay on track, be honest with yourself and reach your goals that much faster! I wouldn't be recommending this if it didn't work! It is the best form of accountability you can give yourself aside from hiring a Dietitian or Nutritionist to keep you on track. My favorite app to use is My Fitness Pal. It is easy to use and has almost every single food you can imagine including restaurants, brand names and so much more. You can personalize your goals and see exactly where you need to focus most within your diet. I would recommend keeping your overall carbohydrates the lowest, protein the second lowest and healthy fat being the highest. Low carbohydrates and moderate to high healthy fats will keep you feeling full and jump start your weight loss. The key is to make it a habit and track multiple times a week if you can and be consistent. If every day isn't realistic to track, try tracking your food for one day to see what your typical dietary intake looks like and what you may need to adjust to be successful.
5. Eliminate "cheat day" from your vocabulary
Ah, the classic "cheat day" is a phrase I hear so often. It is a double edged sword because it's a day that everyone looks forward to because they can have whatever they want by the rules of a "cheat day" but it is also a day that will set you back a few days. In order to be successful with fat loss you don't want to deprive your body so much to the point that you are just counting down the hours and the days until you can "cheat" and have whatever you want because it will only set you back and our body isn't meant to go through such extremes of restriction and purging. It puts a lot of stress on our body by being so extreme! The best way to be successful with bringing down your fat stores is to do it slowly and be prepared! Have a plan of action ready for the week. Meal prep some delicious and tasty meals that you look forward to eating and want to enjoy and that way every day can be like a "cheat" day if you really enjoy the foods you are eating. Dieting is no way of living. A lifestyle and mindset change is the only real thing that will allow you to make this fat loss permanent and never have to start your diet again. Make healthy choices, eat tasty and unprocessed foods and enjoy your food! My favorite meals include roasted vegetables with olive oil and salt, grilled protein or scrambled eggs with avocado, spinach and mushrooms. Try something new too! Explore the Whole Foods salad bar or hot bar and pick from a variety of prepared vegetables and proteins. You might be surprised at what you end up liking and it could become a new healthy habit!
I hope that these 5 simple steps to successful fat loss can get you started on your journey today. Whether you have done multiple diets in the past or have never tried to lose weight before, these steps are great for making the lifestyle change and adopting the mindset necessary to keep your success and value your health and hard work. If you need a little more guidance or have any general questions about fat loss, please email me at:
Remember, you are worth it and your health matters! You can start to see amazing change in your life because you are in control and decide your destiny! Tomorrow will never come so start today. Healthy is not a condition; it is a state of being.
Much love my friends!