I can say with a large degree of certainty that there’s is no shortage of bullshittery out there in the nutrition, and fat loss space.
Truth be told we’ve all been duped into believing some dumb things when we didn’t know any better, myself included!
In fact the inspiration for this blog was born out of a friend and I sitting around drinking coffee and talking about the things we’ve done in the past because we thought it would help with fat loss or build muscle.
Yes, I was one of those people putting butter and coconut oil in their coffee and blending it up for a few years.
We all make mistakes on the journey to finding what works the best for us.
When thinking about the conversation I had with my friend about what didn’t work for us, I saw an opportunity to collect and share some best things I’ve learned about fat loss over the years.
Use this blog series like a checklist and implement 1 new tip every 1-2 weeks and before you know it you’ll be well on your way to reaching your fat loss goals.
Fat Loss Tip # 1: Emphasize Protein Intake.
Most people have a tendency to under eat protein, and over consume both processed carbohydrates and unhealthy fats.
Making sure that you’re getting enough protein is a great way to help with staying full and more satiated at meals while curbing food cravings as well
Protein helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer allowing greater satiety, and also has the highest thermic effect of food or (TEF) Which means the body has to burn more calories to digest protein than it does carbs or fats.
Consuming adequate protein is shown to help preserve muscle mass when in a calorie deficit to lose body fat. The more muscle mass you can maintain the higher your caloric burn will be because muscle requires more calories to maintain. Shoot for 1-2 palms worth at each meal or 0.7-1 gram per pound of body weight.
Fat Loss Tip # 2: Hit 10,000 steps per day (70K a week)
Contrary to what you may have heard, the amount of non gym activity you do is more important to your fat loss goals than how many hours you spend in the gym for.
Aiming to hit 10,000 steps a day is an easy and low stress way of ensuring your levels of non exercise activity thermogenesis or "NEAT" stays high.
This is basically all the activity you do every day that isn't formal exercise and it can add up to an extra 1,500-2,000 calories per day you’re burning.
Walking, yard work, cleaning the house, running around after the kids, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning up meals all count towards your daily caloric burn.
It’s been shown that when people diet to lose body fat their NEAT levels typically drop, but you can help to prevent this.
Any easy way to remedy this is to buy a fitbit, pedometer or activity tracker so you can see how many steps you’re getting on a daily basis. Start walking for 30 minutes when you wake up, walk to work a few days a week, mow the lawn this week, park further away at the store or get off the bus a few stops early and walk.
All of these seemingly small habits add up significantly over time, and allow you to make big progress towards your fat loss goals.
Fat Loss Tip # 3: Create a calorie deficit
The diet someone chooses to utilize for fat loss can differ, and requires they be consistent to see results.
There are a multitude of of diets work for people when it comes to helping them lose fat.
One principle they all have in common is that they help to create a calorie deficit meaning that you expend more calories than you take in on a regular basis.
A calorie deficit can be created by changing food choices, using calorie awareness to consume fewer calories or simply moving more throughout the day.
Honestly though the difference in effort it takes to remove 300 calories from your diet compared to trying to burn off an additional 300 calories is in favor of removal.
There are a number of different diets people can use to lose body fat, however they all rest on this principle of expending more calories than you take in on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
People like to say it’s either all about calories or quality of food when it comes to fat loss, but it’s really both of them.
You can eat too much of a healthy food, take nuts and nut butters for example. They’re healthy and tasty but contain a ton of calories and are very easy to overeat.
At the same time other minimally processed foods like protein, vegetables, fruits, starches and healthy fats are going to keep you much fuller for longer and allow you to eat less as a result.
Fat Loss Tip #4: Don’t Drink Your Calories
When you drink calories, even with something like a smoothie they are going to be less satiating and filling than the solid version of that food.
Think of how much whole fruit you’d have to eat to get the same amount of fruit juice you can drink in a glass, or the amount of salad it would require you to chew for your kale smoothie.
The amount of fiber, water and overall volume from the whole fruit and vegetables would prevent you from being able to consume the amount of whole food it would take to fill up a glass with juice.
The same holds true for many other drinks people look past when it comes to their fat loss goals like sugar fllled coffees, beer, smoothies or wine.
The calories from these drinks can add up significantly, while not making you or keeping full, leaving you to eat just as much as normal plus what’s in those liquid calories
In fact some calorie dense/sugary drinks or booze can actually cause you to have greater food cravings after their consumption, and tempt you to eat more.
Eat whole fruit instead of fruit juice, have a salad instead of a smoothie and account for the calories in the beers after work otherwise you may be stalling your fat loss progress.
Fat loss tip #5: Drink More Water
But wait, what does water have to do with fat loss…. Let me explain
Many times people are walking around chronically dehydrated letting is drive false hunger. People who are chronically dehydrated commonly mistake thirst for hunger.
If we don’t pay attention we can all fall victim to this. I’ve had multiple clients who thought they couldn’t make it through a day without their snacks in between meals.
I asked then for one week to try drinking a 16 oz glass of water, and wait 10-15 minutes and if they were still hungry to have a snack.
Overwhelmingly clients came back saying that they think they’ve actually been dehydrated for years, and didn’t need to snack nearly as much.
This is something we’ll get into in a later fat loss tip, but unnecessary snacking between meals doesn’t alter the size or timing of anyone’s meals and that extra food adds up in the coming weeks and months.
A lot of the time when people feel fatigued during the day it can attributed to dehydration, and that fatigue can make you want to move less decreasing your NEAT levels, and hinder athletic performance in the gym
Fat Loss Tip #6: Clean Up Your Food Environment
We make over 200 food related decision every single day, and we are very unconscious of many of these decisions, which is why mindless eating is important to pay attention to.
You can you easily alter and change your mindless eating habits by changing your food environment, and the types of foods that are easily available.
Willpower is a limited resource, and some days when we’re especially stressed, tired or hungry that willpower piggy bank get emptied and we’ll make poor dietary decisions.
Let’s say you come home after an especially stressful and long day at work. You’re hungry, tired, stressed and don’t want to make any more decisions about anything, let alone food.
Right there on the countertop in your kitchen there’s a basket with cookies and candy. At this point the likelihood of you eating the cookies or candy is very high because its right there.
However what if you came home and instead of the cookies and candy basket there was a bowl of fruit with apples, bananas and oranges on that countertop.
Well your likelihood of eating the fruit instead of candy would be much higher because of the environment you’d set up.
This is a perfect example of what I mean by food environment. Where and how prominently we place foods can have an impact on our consumption of them without us thinking about it.
Here’s a few ways to positively alter your food environment:
1.) Keep fruits and veggies in plain sight: Put fruits and vegetable in a basket on the countertop where you’re likely to walk by. Have a vegetable tray or chopped up veggies and fruit in the front of the fridge, or freezer where you’ll see them. Get lots of different colored fruits and veggies to make them enticing. No one ever wrecked their health eating too many colorful vegetables!
2.) Don't Keep Junk Food In The House: A lot of the time the old out of sight out of mind principle helps to deter you from wanting to eat junk food. If you have to go out of your way and take a trip to the store to get junk food that extra effort is likely reduce you doing so. This is especially true if there are certain foods that you feel like you have a hard time controlling intake of. For me interestingly enough it’s not sweets, but peanut butter so I don’t keep it in my house.
3.) Use smaller plates and bowls: By using smaller plates and bowls the same portions of food eat are going to look much bigger. This allows you to trick your brain into thinking you’re eating much more than you actually are. Fat loss is much more of a mental game than a physical one.
4.) Remove Tempting Foods From Plain Sight: By removing many of tempting foods from plain sight it helps to reduce the consumption of them. Put them in cupboard or an entirely different room from the kitchen if you’re going to have them in the house at all and can’t remove them.
5.) Assess Work And Other Food Environments: Position the sweets jar or designated doughnut area as far away as possible at work. Put sweets in a jar that isn’t see through and don’t hover by the snacks you’re trying not to eat. Drive home a different way to avoid fast food restaurants or take a walk during lunch to prevent overeating or unnecessary snacking on junk food. Find ways to make your food environment work for you, not against you.