I know all too much how often scams and diets promise shedding weight or reaching a certain size dress…quickly. It is on every magazine, TV ad, or Internet ad. They tend to focus on three major points that are ALL wrong : that dress size is vital (to health), that weight is the all encompassing number, and that losing weight is easy and fast.
I just debunked MOST major diets and programs because they are focusing on all the wrong areas.
First of all, health is the most important. A rich, sick, man is heard to have said, “I would give all my riches to be healthy.” Health is vital to life (duh!), so that should be our aim and guide. Once we realize that that is the goal we should aim for (i.e a healthy percent of body fat), eating disorders, compulsive eating, and exercise disorders would go out the window. But they don’t. And they haven’t. So let’s change….and tweak our mindset shall we? (I had to, to get over my disordered eating and compulsive exercising….yes, I was there once too!)
This is not about being a certain size or number. This is about being fit, healthy, strong, and well.
I say this all (aka this post came) because many clients and fitness participants have asked me how to shed body fat in the best way.
My answer may not be pretty, nor may it be popular, but it is true : Small (healthy) steps, over time, will result in major body fat mass loss.
What are those small steps, you ask? Well, here they are–tried, true, and researched principles that will cause body fat mass loss (over time).
How to Shed Body Fat-the healthy way:
- Eat more vegetables and fruits. Fill your plate with colorful apples, oranges, spinach, beets, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, pineapple, blueberries, and kale. Take fruits & veggies with you on car trips, in your purse, or keep them at your desk. Filling up on these nutritious gems will keep you feeling full of fiber, nutrients, and satisfaction, leading you to make other good, food choices. Research shows that making one small change in lifestyle, such as adding more apples or carrots to your diet, can lead to other healthy changes as well.
- Pump some iron. You’ve heard me say it again, and again, but that is because lifting weights will not only make your muscles stronger, it’ll make your confidence grow, your desire to be healthy increase, and your motivation to reach your goals heightened. Plus, the metabolism increases that come because of gaining muscle via lifting weights will translate to fat loss….overtime. Be patient, but it will happen if you’re consistent.
- Interval it up. The new research that has come out is all to clear : adding high intensity interval training into normal workouts is the best way to shed body fat. The old saying that steady state cardio is the best way to lose weight, or that staying at a lower intensity for long periods of time burns fat best, are all but proven totally false. Want to shed some fat around your middle? Your thighs? Or off your arms? Incorporating 2 workouts to intervals will do the trick. Use your cardio of choice and alternate between 1 minute of slower cardio (ie. jogging or walking) with 1 minute of an intense interval (i.e. sprinting). Repeat for about 8-10 intervals. Best part? It only takes about 30 minutes!
- Eat more often. The research is mixed on this one, but most of the studies find that women tend to do better eating smaller meals throughout the day, rather than just eating 3 large meals (like men like to do). The reasons for that could be a mix between hormonal needs (I get SO cranky if I am hungry!!), a mood booster, or if our women bodies were designed to do so. However, science does prove that eating often burns more calories, as our bodies need to process the food each time we eat (called Thermic Effect of Food)….which stokes the metabolism fire every time! Burn calories because of eating calories? Could it be any easier? Just be sure to eat smart when eating often (i.e. eating a mix of carbs, fats, protein).
- Make breakfast a priority. If there was one meal in the day that was the most important to eat NO matter what, it would be breakfast. This is the meal that starts your day! So start it right. Most people find a huge decrease in mid-morning munchies if they eat a good mix of protein and carbs, with some fat. Protein is a macronutrient that is made up of amino acids (building blocks of life!), and is the substance that stays in the stomach the longest, and makes the body burn more calories (and body fat) every time it needs to be processed. In my experience, a breakfast built around protein, not around carbohydrates, is the most fulfilling and satisfying (with carbs still being a part of the meal, of course.)
- Track it. Notice the changes you make by tracking numbers, workouts, or the way you feel. Remember, this about how to shed body fat mass, so recognize how far you’ve come by noticing the more toned muscles, the smaller waist, or minimized jiggle. It ALL counts. If you don’t want to step on the scale, don’t (like I’ve said before, it CAN be a good tool if you’re not obsessed with it, but it can also cause way more distress than is needed. Tread with caution!)
- Plan it. Plan the workouts like you would an appointment with a dentist. You’d never miss that just to sleep in! Plan for being smaller in a few months. Plan for getting great comments. Plan for rewarding your small changes (mani/pedi anyone??) Plan for loving to be able to move and be fit. So many are incapable of moving, so cherish this gift! Plan on being fit and healthy for the rest of your life.
- Get a buddy or personal health coach. It is true that people are more successful with a buddy or reliant person who can help them stay accountable. I am a personal health coach and I have seen lives change because they have a coach who guides, instructs, uplifts, and motivates. Who wouldn’t want a peppy friend coaching them through a hard lifestyle change?!
How to shed body fat is a very good question….and everyone has their answers, but through a lot of school, my own research, and of course my own personal experiences with myself and clients, these principles are tried and true, and they WORK.
Yes, they are simple. And yes they may be redundant, but that is because they work. They deliver results if you stick to them, these small steps. And remember, if it seems like a lot, break it down and work on one step at a time. It is so much better to go slowly and love it, than to get overwhelmed and quit a month in.
Remember : Small (healthy) steps, over time, will result in major body fat mass loss. (major used as a word for emphasis!) THAT is how to shed body fat.
It is over time, and it is major body fat mass loss. So no, this is no diet, or low-calorie scheme, or some crazy crack pot pill or drug. This is real. And no, I will not apologize for saying there is NO magical body fat loss pill. Oh, and NO it will not only take one week.
My name is Maria. I am a fitness instructor by morning/evening, & an avid reader & fitness coach when I can fit it in. I write about being a new mom, a fitness instructor, a wife, and a lover of life!