Food Freedom Friday Edition 176 - Simple Fat Loss Steps
(And feel good doing it)
Everyone wants to know how to lose weight fast. You have heard the usual “watch your diet and exercise regularly” or “eat less, move more” routine. If it was that simple you probably would have succeeded by now (and would not be reading any further)
Amidst all the lies and hype surrounding the weight loss industry, it can be hard to separate the myths and the lies from the truth. This is why I wanted to share my top tips and tricks that you can begin to do right now to get you burning fat, staying lean and feeling better than you ever expected!
Warning: some of the information you are about to read may contradict what you know about weight loss.
1. Set realistic and measurable goals
A lot of people give up on a fat loss program after a week or so because they did not see the results they were expecting. Firstly, an important reminder: You did not store all your excess fat overnight and thus should not expect a miracle of overnight fat loss to occur either. Setting realistic and measurable goals will help keep you motivated and continue towards your ultimate fat loss goal. Dropping a few pounds of fat a week is realistic. Losing half an inch off your waist after two weeks is realistic. Of course, you have to be completely honest with yourself when you are assessing these goals. Ask yourself if you are really following the program religiously? How many times did you waver or stumble?
2. Make small changes and stick with them for a short period of time
Let’s be honest, fat loss involves some behavioral and lifestyle change. Your current lifestyle got you to where you are now. Continuing down this path is clearly not the most productive means to get to your new goal. Behavior change is the hardest thing. This is why making small, incremental changes over days and weeks produces better, longer lasting results. For example, if you currently drink two cans of soda every day, cut down to one can a day. Then next week, cut down to one can every two days. You get the picture. Commit to sticking to any program you choose for 3-4 weeks. Statistics have shown that any behavioral change takes at least 21 days to accept and approximately 60 days to form into a habit. No matter how challenging your program may seem, persevere for 3-4 weeks. You will be glad you did.
3. Stop eating only salads
This is a well-known habit especially for lunch time options. You order a big salad with nothing but greens. Your friends and colleagues see what you eat and applaud your efforts to lose weight. Sadly, before 2pm rolls around you find yourself hungry and searching for cookies and chocolates to snack on. One step forward and two steps back in your fat loss attempt. While there is definitely nothing wrong with having salads for lunch, you should add some good clean protein such as eggs, chicken, fish or meat and a good helping of healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil or some nuts and seeds into your salads as well. Remember this: Every meal should have a both protein and a fat element. This is what will make you feel more satisfied after the meal and will sustain you for hours with no need to be looking around for a quick source of energy (read as unhealthy snack).
4. Don’t avoid carbohydrates completely
When carbohydrates replaced fats as the main perpetrator in many weight gain theories, many people began avoiding all known types of carbohydrates completely. Let us set the record straight. Not all carbohydrates are bad. Your body needs certain types of carbohydrates to function efficiently. Depriving your body of all types of carbohydrates can have detrimental. Every type food has its time and place to be consumed. As a general rule, you are best consuming carbohydrates in the form of vegetables that grow above the ground. Yes, those dark leafy greens, summer squashes, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower and the like are all carbohydrates and they are unbelievably healthy. Depending on your personal needs, some roots, tubers (below the ground vegetables) and fruits can be included in moderate quantities too. Processed and manufactured foods and refined grains and sugars are the carbohydrates to avoid.
5. Invest in a high-quality meal replacement nutritional supplement
Fat loss can be challenging, especially if you are struggling with digestive concerns, nutrient malabsorption and nutrient deficiencies. These will prevent your body from releasing its fat stores. Investing in a high-quality supplement that provides bio-available nutrients and supports restoring optimal digestive function is critical when looking to effectively and permanently lose fat. The supplement is mixed with a healthy liquid or added to a smoothie and can be used as a replacement for a small meal or as an addition to a larger one.
6. Learn to love water
Perhaps one of the most overlooked causes of weight gain, the liquids you consume can deceptively pack on a ton of nutrient poor, energy dense calories. A can of soda contains close to 10 teaspoons of sugar. A medium sized mocha Frappuccino contains a up to whopping 20 teaspoons. Drink a soda and a Frappuccino every day and you will easily and unknowingly be storing more fat.
Gulping down beverages is easy and they are often consumed carelessly, without a second thought. This is why liquid calories are more harmful that food-based ones. Fruit juices are no better. They all contain naturally occurring fruit sugar, fructose, which like all other sugars if consumed in excess will result in fat accumulation. One of the quickest ways to lose weight is to always choose water over all other beverages. Water has zero sugars and is a natural source of hydration for our bodies. Water also supports your detoxification system in flushing out toxins and harmful substances and supports fat burning metabolism. Simply replacing all your other sugary laden beverages with water will produce rapid fat loss results.
7. Start a simple exercise routine
Every fat loss program needs to have an exercise component. Contrary to popular belief, exercise will not make you lose fat, but it will get blood flowing through your body and regular movement will keep your digestive tract and metabolic processes functioning at their best. No need to take up anything too challenging to begin with. It does not have to be jogging or swimming if you have never exercised before in your life. Starting with something as simple as brisk walking every day for 20 minutes and working up the intensity from there is perfect. The main objective is staying active and moving your body regularly. As you get fitter (and you will), you may choose to challenge your body to reach new levels of fitness.
8. Focus on building muscle
To me, fat loss is all about changing our body composition – reducing the fat mass and increasing fat-free mass (muscles). Increasing fat-free mass will invariably contribute to the lowering of fat mass. For each extra pound of muscle your body has, you become more efficient at utilizing your energy (calories) and can tolerate more carbohydrates. Fat on the other hand is relatively inefficient and in and of itself promotes more fat storage. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate will be. And contrary to popular belief, having more muscles is what will give your body those sexy curves that the opposite sex desires.
9. Keep a food diary
Often you may not realize the compounding effects of a bite here and a nibble there. You think you are eating less by skipping a meal but you fail to consider those sodas, coffee beverages or the cookies distributed by your colleagues that you so casually put in your mouth during the day. If you write down everything (and I mean every single thing including those breath mints) that you eat into a meal diary, you might be surprised as to how many mindless mouthfuls you are consuming. Yes, I get that it is rather laborious to record everything, but do yourself a favor and do it for one day. It will be an absolute eye opener.
10. Surround yourself with like-minded people
Social support offers a form of motivation and accountability and has proven to exponentially increase success rates in all aspects of life, especially behavior change and fat loss. During your initial few weeks it is important to stay motivated and focused on the goals you have set for yourself. You are bound to encounter challenges and struggles as you go through the program. Those will include days when your thighs are so sore after doing full body squats or even good news like when you succeed in losing an inch off your waist. If you have friends who are doing the fat loss program with you, great! Share your results and how you feel about the program with them. Talk to fitness professionals; join online communities or Facebook groups to share experiences and gain knowledge. Focus on more than simply fat loss. Participate in the entire health experience. Notice, share and celebrate your successes, all of them and feel supported and recommitted when things do not go exactly as planned Do whatever you need to stay motivated.
Bonus quick fat loss tip (which may make me unpopular, but it works)
Limit alcohol consumption
I know it is almost impossible to completely abstain from alcohol. If your goal is to find the fastest way to fat loss, then you must cut down on and preferably eliminate your happy hours. Alcohol is a toxic substance with absolutely no nutritional benefit whatsoever. What’s more, each gram of alcohol can only be processed in your liver. This organ is very busy keeping your body free of toxins and supporting your metabolic functioning. Alcohol gums up this process. A few glasses of cocktails with sugary mixers can easily pile on more chemicals than your poor liver is equipped to deal with. This makes fat loss next to impossible. You should also know that alcohol is an appetite stimulant. This may not surprise you when you realize how hungry you feel after a night of partying. If you are focused on building muscle, excessive alcohol lowers your testosterone and increases cortisol levels (stress hormone) thereby reducing your body’s ability to build muscle effectively. Red wine and clear spirits are you best choices but you would still do better removing them entirely for a while.
With so many disadvantages to your fat loss goals, do you still need another reason not to drink?