Are you looking to lose weight or shed excess fat, but it is difficult for you?
Fat Loss is so Easy: No one has ever said that. However, we can make it more manageable mentally and physically. Both are vital, don’t ya think?
For the past few years, I have been experimenting with fat loss like an ardent scientist. My online and personal experience have taught me a lot about what works in losing body fat.
You can lose excess weight with simple, practical advice that’s sometimes not so obvious. There are many reasons you might be frustrated. Avoid diets promising to help you lose weight fast, but then promising to make it back. Beware of diets that promise to make you lose weight quickly, only to have you gain it back just as quickly. The following tips will help you to achieve your goals in a healthy way in the medium and long term.
Create a favorable environment for reducing your calories
For me, that’s always been tracking my calories. And at first, weighing and measuring food. At least for a while. There are non-tracking tricks that work too –like limiting the number of meals you eat or having general guidelines about how much and what kinds of food go on your plate.
Having some structure will give you valuable information, builds awareness of your eating patterns and possible saboteurs, and creates overall mindfulness with eating.
Find the sweet spot for cardio
I used to be the cardio bunny who did nothing else except run myself ragged. And we often over estimate how many calories we burn doing cardio.
But I also got lazy for a while too and only lifted weights. For body composition, strength training is incredibly effective. But most of us could stand to get out of our chairs and infuse more physical activity into our weeks. 3-4 strength sessions, 1-2 metabolic conditioning workouts, and regular, low intensity cardio that lets me recover for the other stuff is my own sweet spot.
Your own may look a little different, and that’s fine too. And most importantly? Do what you enjoy – you’ll be way more consistent.
Read also: What Is The Best Cardio To Burn Fat?
Do not go for a crash diet
When you cut back too much over time (skipping a meal won’t kill you), the body tries to adapt to survive as long as possible in this harsh environment. To extend our lifespan in times of hunger, it will therefore reduce our metabolism (the rate at which we expend energy). Because less energy spent each day means more days of survival… and more chance of finding food.
Studies, especially on anorexics show a reduction in metabolism of up to 45 percent. This means that even though you eat half the amount, you won’t lose weight. Muscle mass is very energy-intensive and can be a waste of time. Losing muscle is the best way to cut down on your energy consumption. The body makes use of unused muscle fibers as a priority.
At the same time, it preserves as much as possible the brain, which must continue to function as a priority. Any other activity then becomes secondary. To feed the brain, which runs on sugar by default, it converts muscle proteins into sugar.
Whether it is to survive or to feed the brain, all studies show that prolonged restriction increases the creation of glucose from body proteins and therefore the use of muscles. Beyond the reduction in metabolism (which makes it increasingly difficult to lose weight), losing muscle is also not a good thing for a good physical appearance. Muscle gives definition.
Even if you are lighter, you don’t necessarily look better in the mirror and when you eat again, you will gain weight back very easily because of the slower metabolism. In order to lose mainly fat, you have to avoid losing muscle in the first place.
Read also: Why You Should Not Go For Extreme Diet
Find foods you like with naturally low calorie counts
These are your secret weapons for those days when you just want to eat all the things. Mine are celery, strawberries, a pickle, a small bowl of Greek yogurt with berries, and baby sweet peppers. These typically have either protein or filling fiber and will take the edge off without zapping your progress.
Read also: Eat Real Food That Is Good For You
Take a break some times
You know what women’s bodies hate? Being in a calorie deficit all the time. We have some hormones that enable muscle gain, others that enable weight loss. A good hormonal balance is therefore essential for healthy and sustainable weight loss.
Our hormones create lots of problem for us. They create roadblocks and make things more difficult. It’s true. This is a more difficult task if your body is already lean, and less so if there’s a lot to lose. Calorie cycling is a way to get around this. Some days you will eat more slowly and others in a more aggressive manner. A few days a week, you’ll be eating at a more moderate level of calories. It allows your brain and body to take a break.
And if you’ve been dieting a really long time, it might be time to take a full diet break for 2-4 weeks. When you return to working on fat loss again, your body will be in a better spot to handle it.
Create livable rules
Moderation sounds great in theory. But what does that actually mean? Maybe it means ditching rigid food rules like “no bread, ever.” God, that sounds awful huh? But sometimes temporarily we can create some rigidity where we need it, and be looser where we may need it.
I know I could never live without desserts. Saying “I’m banning sugar for a month” won’t work for me, because that would make me miserable. But “dessert every Saturday” seems doable, and yet encourages me to stop inhaling baked goods on the regular.
Increase your basal metabolic rate to burn more fat at rest!
Metabolism is a transformation process in which we burn calories. The higher your metabolism, the more fat you burn. To lose weight, you need to increase your metabolism! But how?
A distinction must be made between the basal metabolic rate (minimum expenditure of the body to ensure vital functions) and the active metabolic rate (increase in energy requirements due to physical activity).
Increasing your activity metabolism is the most obvious (and most tiring!) way to lose fat. But did you know that it is just as possible to increase your basal metabolic rate and thus lose fat 24 hours a day, i.e. also at rest and even while sleeping! Little work is needed to achieve this. Once your basal metabolic rate has been increased, all you have to do is maintain it and wait to see the results. Great, but how do you increase your basal metabolic rate?
Read this: Simple Ways to Boost Your Metabolism
Play the long game
For most of us, losing fat isn’t a six week process. It’s a six month or longer journey. It can be slow at times. It doesn’t always go as planned. But don’t let that discourage you. Because the best part about the long game is that you can allow yourself to see the big picture. Screwed up your plan last night? It’s no big deal – just get right back at it.
Because when you see that night in the bigger context of many days of healthy habits, it doesn’t even cause a ripple. Be kind and patient with yourself. Not because I’m trying to sound like a motivational meme. But because people who feel shame after perceived slip ups end up sabotaging themselves. That leads to days and weeks of going backwards.
You’ll have steps forward – and a few backward. And that’s normal. We’re human, after all.
Ask yourself this. Why do you want to make a change? There’s no right or wrong. But unless you have a reason that matters, fat loss is going to feel harder.
Flip your internal dialogue.
I used to feel pissed off that at my size and age, I had so little wiggle room for fat loss. Unlike my 6’4” husband, who can demolish a bag of Doritos and not gain an ounce, I have no such luck. I whined a lot. Then I began to just be less emotional about it. Saying “I can have all the things, just not all at once” helped me chill out.
If you tell yourself something is going to suck, it will. Funny how that works? I’m not saying you need to chant “I freaking love celery” into the mirror. But a positive attitude about the process is going to help more than you’d think.
Finally, remember that you’re beautiful
You matter. And your self-worth has absolutely nothing to do with your body composition. Keep that perspective. That’s the tough one for me. I rationally understand this and yet am sometimes still so unkind to myself. Let’s knock that off, shall we?
One thing that has always helped is focusing on improving things that have nothing to do with my body’s appearance. Enter a race. Work on a new gym PR. Find that demonstrate how you’re getting stronger. Or faster. Sleeping better, or finding more energy for life. That you’re living a life that makes you happy and healthy. Isn’t that what matters most?
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!