So you want to lose body fat – you’ve probably seen a ton of Instagram posts about Keto, 28-day Detoxes, eliminating certain foods/food groups, or “fat-blasting circuits” – what’s right for you? And more importantly, what actually WORKS?
Below you will find our top 10 tips to achieve fat loss in a safe and effective way – because despite the complicated and conflicting approaches that you might have seen.- the actual approach you need is very simple!
1 – ENERGY BALANCE
i.e. calories in vs calories out! This is the foundation of all fat loss results – you need to create a calorie deficit (less than maintenance) to lose body fat! One step further to this is breaking down those calories into protein, carbohydrate and fat targets (which all add up to your total calories) for most accurate results – also known as “tracking your macros”. This isn’t 100% crucial - you can just track your calories if you prefer, as long as you’re in a deficit – visit https://tdeecalculator.net to calculate your energy requirements based on your current stats and goals!
2 – EAT MODERATE TO HIGH PROTEIN
Protein has a higher thermic effect than other macronutrients (ie digesting protein burns more calories than digesting carbs/fats), has a higher satiety rate (ie it helps you feel fuller for longer) and it also helps to not only BUILD muscle (when eating in a calorie surplus) but when in a calorie deficit, sufficient protein is crucial to MAINTAIN the muscle you do have, to retain as much shape as possible while losing body fat. A general rule of thumb is between 1.6-2.2g of protein per kg of lean body mass.
3 – DRINK WATER
Get hydrated! Not only does H20 (2.5-4L per day) help maintain overall health & organ function, but water helps to flush out toxins from the body, helps reduce excess sodium (and the fluid retention you might experience after eating salty foods!), prevents cramps/headaches, improves your complexion, and also naturally helps to slightly reduce your appetite.
4 - MONITOR FIBRE
So many people track calories and/or macros, but don’t pay attention to sufficient fibre! 15g per 1000 calories is the “optimal” zone for most. Fibre helps regulate bowel movements and maintain bowel/intestinal health, but also, adequate fibre is beneficial to reduce bloating and digestive discomfort.
TOO much fibre (generally 40+ grams) can cause gassiness or discomfort, and too little will likely cause bloating and constipation, so you’ll find that most people’s “sweet spot” is around 25-35g. Being mindful of consuming enough fibre will ensure that you are incorporating more nutrient-dense, wholesome foods into your diet – fibre-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, oats, avocados, and even high fibre cereals, mueslis and pasta!
5 – CONSISTENCY & PATIENCE
“Instant” weight loss results aren’t always true FAT LOSS results. Genuine fat loss takes time, and the slower the better for a long term, sustainable results! Track your progress over a period of at least 4 weeks before deciding if something is/isn’t working for you, and the more consistent you can be, the better gauge you’ll get for how your body responds.
Scales aren’t the only way to track your progress – don’t forget non-scale forms of progress such as measurements, how your clothes fit, strength/fitness improvements, and how you FEEL!
6 - INCLUDE FOODS YOU LOVE!
The best way to create a sustainable lifestyle change is to incorporate foods you LOVE into your diet regularly! Learning to eat treats in moderation will get you much further than trying to deprive yourself for long periods. If you love chocolate, try including a single-serve portion as a dessert each night, factor it into your calorie/macro budget, and ENJOY it!
Your diet shouldn’t just be effective, it’s also important to enjoy it in order for you to stick with it!
7 - PREPARATION IS KEY
Whether you’re tracking macros or not, being prepared is always helpful! Weekly meal prep is great especially for busy humans who are time poor and need fast, healthy options. If you ARE tracking macros, pre-planning at least the night before is the best way to have a clear plan of how to hit your targets - having a plan for the following day, with meals prepared, means you take the guess-work out of it!
8 - OPTIMAL FOOD CHOICES FOR HEALTH
While there are no “good” and “bad” foods, there ARE foods which can make you function and FEEL better than others.
Minimizing (but not completely excluding) processed foods means you’ll spend more of your daily calorie budget on wholesome options like lean meats, fresh fruits & vegetables, complex fibre-rich carbs, and mono/polyunsaturated fats etc, and the more nutrient-dense food you can fit into your day, the better you’ll feel, optimising your digestion and energy levels.
9 - INCORPORATE STRENGTH/RESISTANCE TRAINING
Training with weights isn’t just for building muscle mass – did you know that resistance/weight training also burns MORE calories than cardio, within a 24-48 hour period?
This is due to the energy it takes your body to repair and rebuild your muscle tissue, which means you keep burning calories for hours or even DAYS after a weight training session!
Aside from the higher calorie burn, incorporating weights into your fat loss training regime means you’ll retain as much muscle as possible (along with eating enough protein to support this) while losing overall body mass. This helps you retain your shape, and keep metabolism as high as possible, as the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn at rest.
10 - MANAGE STRESS LEVELS
Lowering stressors (both external and internal) is a vital part of your progress when aiming for fat loss. When you are tired/stressed or overstimulated with caffeine, you may find it harder to adhere to your diet and reach towards sugary foods in particular, for comfort or energy.
Sometimes, skipping a workout after a long day and instead of going for an outdoor walk to wind down is a much better way to lower your stress hormones (cortisol) and get you into a more rested state, for solid sleep, and a fresher mindset the next day! If you find that you are constantly stressed, and struggling to lose weight, assess the following:
Could you get more sleep or higher quality sleep? Do you get at least 10 mins of quiet, you-time each day? Do you over-stimulate yourself with high amounts of caffeine/stimulants that you find it hard to wind-down from? Are there stressful situations in your day that you can remove/distract yourself from?
And lastly, are you absolutely smashing your body with strenuous workouts and not enough rest? Rest and recovery are crucial parts of your progress, for an overall healthy and sustainable journey.