Summer is always around the corner, so the big question arises of what is the secret for leaning down and shifting some body fat!
Firstly, my biggest piece of advice is to ignore and avoid any product or plan that promises overnight results! If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is!! There are some key principles to know and understand when it comes to fat loss. I can tell you know that none of those include a fat burner pill or detox tea!
Step one, you need to be in a calorie deficit, ie, you are expending more energy than consuming. This can be done through reducing food intake or by increasing your daily movement. Ideally you want to be looking at both factors. It is much easier to reduce ~500 calories from your diet than burn the same through exercise so I tend to encourage starting with your diet and then incorporating more movement from there. Either way, a deficit is vital in order to create a demand for your body to use its own energy stores (stored fat) for fuel.
Be sure to make the deficit large enough to see results, but not so large that it is not sustainable long term. As I mentioned above, this isn’t about an overnight quick fix diet, this is a sustainable process. Ultimately you want to lean down and then keep the weight off, we don’t want to be in a continuous yo-yo dieting cycle.
Consistency is key for any fat loss journey. Your goals need to be achievable and the process needs to be sustainable. You are much more likely to see the results you are after by being consistent across the week / month as a whole, rather than being consistent for 5 days and then bingeing on alcohol and take-aways at the weekend. Accountability is going to help consistency. Having someone to check in with can be really helpful. Setting yourself mini goals each week or different focus points can be a great way to keep the motivation up and keep you on track to where you want to get to.
One thing you want to avoid, which is sometimes thought of as the right thing to do, is skipping meals. It’s a very common mistake that is made. However, when going long periods of time without eating, particularly when training hard, will lead to low energy levels, low mood, being under-fuelled in workouts, and then an increased risk for overindulging later on and making poor food choices later on in the day.
I encourage you to map out your days, and structuring in your meals and snacks around your other commitments. We don’t want to see the majority of your calories being pushed back to the evening, so this can help to encourage spreading out calories across the day.
When creating your calorie deficit and making food choices, you still need to prioritise food quality. Base your meals and snacks on whole foods, to ensure you are getting adequate micronutrients in your diet. Poor quality foods, which tend to be high in saturated fats, and sugars lead to increased inflammation in the body which can halt your fat loss progress.
Protein intake is going to be key! When in a calorie deficit, you want to ensure you are optimizing muscle maintenance and preventing the risk of muscle loss. Therefore, aim to have a source of protein in each meal and base your snacks on a protein source to ensure you are getting adequate protein throughout the day.
Protein is also the most satiating macronutrient, when compared with carbohydrates and fats. This means that you will stay fuller for a longer period of time following a protein rich meal compared to a meal predominantly made up of carbohydrates and fats. Therefore, reducing the temptation for unnecessary grazing throughout the day, reducing your overall food intake.
Protein also has a much higher thermic effect (20-30%) compared to carbohydrates (5-10%) and fats (0-3%). This means that you will use more energy to digest and metabolise protein, leading to a higher calorie output. This is why a consistent protein intake throughout the day can help to increase calories burned across the day.