The 5 most important things for fat loss
As we come closer to holiday season, more and more people dial in to losing weight. The desire
to look good on the beach or feel confident by the pool incentivises and inspires us to make a
change. But it can feel like a minefield to know what’s good or bad in our attempt to drop that
stone or 2. I want to take you through the 5 most important things for you to lose fat.
1. Calorie Deficit for Fat Loss
The body needs to be in a calorie deficit in order to lose fat. We take in calories as fuel
and store them. We use those stored calories for everything we do (if you want to know
how your body uses the calories that you take in, click here). If we take in less calories
than our body needs (what a calorie deficit is), then simply put, we’ll use energy from our
fat stores to top up the difference and live how we need to and lo and behold, we start to
lose weight. Being in a calorie deficit is the most important thing when it comes to
2. Adhering to a calorie deficit
Once we decide that we want to lose fat, and that we’re going to enter a calorie deficit,
we have to decide that we’re going to stick to that calorie deficit. This is where losing fat
starts to become difficult, because it requires the willpower to choose fat loss over the
comfort of eating more, whether that’s more calorie dense foods, or just more volume of
food. When we look at food, we often don’t see fuel, we see comfort. Adhering to a
calorie deficit means delaying the gratification of calorie dense foods or even eating the
volume of food that you’re used to and instead choosing the pleasure of looking and
feeling how you want to. That might be comfort in being out socialising and eating and
drinking out. It might be comfort in eating something nice and calorie dense to make us
feel happy on a hard day. There are many ways the body looks to food as comfort and
3. Being consistent with a fat loss plan
On a similar theme to adherence, we have to be consistent in order to achieve fat loss.
What you’re trying to achieve isn’t going to happen overnight and I want to change a
sentence that I used above to highlight this. Adhering to a calorie deficit means delaying
the gratification of calorie dense foods or even eating the volume of food that you’re
used to and instead choosing the pleasure that exists in a month/3 months/6 months
of looking and feeling how you want to. If you can muster up the strength to keep
adhering to the calorie deficit you’re in, you’ll get to where you want to go. There will be
easier days. There will be harder days. There will be days where you smash it and you
feel like you’ve hacked your body and can eat everything and still be in a calorie deficit
and there will be days where it’ll feel impossible to stick to and you’ll go over your calorie
allowance. Whatever happens, stay consistent. Tomorrow is a new day. The only way
you f*** it up is if you give up completely.
Quick little pause before I break down the last 2 important things for fat loss.
First is that if you just do these 3 things, you’ll lose fat. Let that liberate you. You only need to
focus on 3 things to get this right.
Second is that when I said earlier that there will be days where you smash it and you feel like
you’ve hacked your body and can eat everything and still be in a calorie deficit, these next 2
important things are ways to make this a reality.
4. Eating more protein
Protein is a super macronutrient. Getting this right will help you adhere to the calories
deficit you’re in. Protein helps keep us feeling fuller for longer. It’s more satiating for a
few reasons. First is that you can eat more of it for less. Protein is 4 calories per gram
which is great when we compare it to Carbohydrates (7 kcals/gram) and Fat (9
kcals/gram). Second is that it takes more energy and a longer amount of time to break
down so we ‘feel’ fuller for longer. Because it takes more energy to break down, it means
that the thermic effect of eating protein is higher than when eating carbohydrates or fats.
We spoke in detail about the thermic effect of food in this blog post if you want to find out
why that’s important. A good daily protein allowance recommendation is 1g of protein for
every pound of body weight.
5. Eating more fibre
Fibre is similar to protein in that it helps us feel fuller for longer. I’d recommend choosing
fruits and veggies as a source of fibre as they are lower in calories. This way, we can
add bulk to our meals to feel full instantly by the amount of food consumed, but also full
later on because of the fibre intake doing its job.
Is that it?
There are some other things that I think are important, but didn’t quite make this list. As a bonus
for making it this far, here are three more things that can help.
1. Increase activity for fat loss
It should come as no surprise that being active helps to burn calories. When we decide
to enter a calorie deficit, we can do this by eating less, doing more, or by a combination
of the two. The key to this one is not to increase your activity too drastically so that your
hunger levels increase. This makes it harder to keep to your calorie deficit.
2. Daily Calories vs Weekly Calories
Say you calculate that you can have 2000 calories per day and still be in a calorie deficit
(just an example, you can calculate your calories here). Rather than living and dying by
this 2000 calories per day, you can times this by 7 to give your weekly calories of 14000
calories. This means that you can scale your calories for each day. Say you know that
you’re going out at the weekend, you can eat less a couple of days beforehand or afterwards and still enjoy yourself. If you had one day where you ate 3000 calories but 2
days where you ate 1500 calories to make up for this, you would still average 2000
calories per day. All of a sudden you don’t feel as though you've failed for that one night
out because it's been accounted for in your week.
3. Plan for Eating Out
Piggy backing off the above tip, I’d recommend that when you go out to eat, or when you
get a takeaway in, that you overestimate the amount of calories in a meal by 10% to
account for variation in that meal, like the type of oil used and the amount for example.
Restaurants now are getting better with listing their calorie information, So take this
number and times it by 1.1 to add 10% to it. If no calorie data exist, ask or google the
meal to see similar examples to give you a rough estimate.
We hope you found this blog post useful and have some great ideas about how you can kick start your fat loss journey. If you think you'd benefit from some more 1:1 support then get in touch and we can work on your fat loss plan together. We offer a range of services including personal training, nutrition advice and accountability and check in calls.