If you want to lose fat and keep it off for good, it is going to require some preparation, discipline, the right information, and a strategy moving forward so that you don’t get derailed from your goals.
How many times have you decided to lose weight before, only to fall off of the tracks 4-8 weeks into your new program?
So what went wrong?
In my experience, it’s not that most people lack the discipline or the time to stick with a diet or workout program. I have plenty of lazy friends and really busy ones too, who stay in shape by sticking to simple rules and doing the bare minimum of work, to see lasting results.
Here are the reasons why you have probably fallen off track and failed to lose fat in the past.
- You over-complicated the process. You took on too much too fast by waking up at the crack of dawn, working out hard 6-7 days per week, you completely quit all of the foods that you love, and you adopted a crazy diet that you found online. You eventually got sleep deprived, worn out, maybe injured, and discouraged that you didn’t see results.
- You didn’t give yourself enough structure. Sometimes, we don’t give ourselves enough definitive rules or ways to quantify our results. Those usually look like “I want to eat healthier” or “I just want to lose a few pounds.” This is more of a precontemplative state that may or may not make it off of the ground because there aren’t any goal dates or goal numbers associated with that goal. There’s also no plan to achieve those goals. You might workout sporadically a couple of times per week or tighten up your diet occasionally, but never see any results because you don’t fully commit to anything specific, for a long enough period of time.
Do either of these sound familiar?
Either of these sound familiar to you? It’s interesting that we usually see goals of losing fat and losing weight in two extremes. Dipping your toes into the shallow end, vs. a full-blown high dive belly flop in the deep end.
The reality is that moderation is a really difficult concept for most people. We are drawn to either complete emergence or total abstinence, but finding the best gray area for us is really hard to do.
Lose Fat by Simplifying the Process
I have found that my clients are most successful in losing fat when they
- Simplify as much as possible and
- Remove all barriers that would stop them from developing healthier habits. Putting their healthy decisions and behaviors on autopilot.
The more demanding and complicated the process is, the less appealing the end goal becomes.
To make the process of losing fat as simple, actionable, and easily understandable as possible, I would deconstruct sustainable fat loss into just 4 steps that you can follow.
1) Losing Fat Requires a Consistent Caloric Deficit
Anyone who has ever said that you need to eat less to lose weight is correct. But how much less?
If you are going to be successful at losing fat, you need to be burning more calories than you are consuming. Unfortunately, we can’t gorge ourselves on delicious food, lift weights, and just lose fat. It’s just not that easy.
Why do you need a deficit to lose weight?
When you give your body more calories than it is able to burn, it starts storing those extra calories in long-term energy storage. That long-term storage becomes fat. When you give your body less calories than it burns, it starts eating away at your stored fat, for energy.
You don’t want to eat too few calories though, or your body will start down-regulating your metabolism to slow the rate at which it burns calories. It will also start preserving fat as a survival instinct. That being said, losing fat requires the right balance of calories in and calories out.
Use a metabolic calculator like this one to calculate your resting metabolic rate. Subtract 10% from that number and that should be your approximate daily calorie goal to lose fat.
Bottom line: You need to be burning more calories than you are eating for fat loss.
2) Losing Fat Requires the right Macronutrient Balance
You can totally lose weight by cutting calories and eating the same way that you are now, but there is a slim chance that your body composition will improve. Losing fat and changing your body recomposition requires the right kinds calories from nutrient-dense, high-quality, relatively low-calorie foods. Macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, and you NEED the right combination of each of those to lose fat successfully.
What do I need to be eating to lose fat?
You need to be getting your calories from whole food sources like…
- Proteins: Chicken, fish, pork, beef.
- Healthy fats: Eggs, EVOO, EV coconut oil, animal fat, nuts, seeds, even grass-fed butter
- Slow burning carbohydrates: some fruit and a lot of vegetables.
Supplements aren’t really necessary for losing fat, but they can help. You really want to focus on eating as many high quality, solid foods as you can so that you can stay as full/satisfied as you can while losing fat. Shakes just aren’t as satisfying as steaks.
I recommend eating a high fat, high protein diet so that you can start conditioning your body to run on fat (instead of carbohydrates) as its primary fuel source.
For example, I am working on cutting down to 8% body fat now(AKA- total six pack abs territory, for guys) and my macronutrient balance…
- Carbohydrates: 5-10% of my daily calories
- Proteins: 40%
- Fats: 50-55%
3) Losing Fat is Infinitely Easier with Weight Training
Getting stronger and building muscle is going to make losing fat easier, hands down. Cardio eats into your muscle tissue and makes you hungrier. Weight training builds muscle tissue which will give your body better definition. Muscle is way more metabolically demanding (it needs more calories to sustain itself) and higher maintenance than fat tissue is. So you are going to be able to increase your metabolism and burn more calories at rest with a favorable amount of muscle on your frame.
You can definitely do bodyweight and calisthenic workouts at home to build muscle and get stronger too. I just recommend weight training because you can give your body the variety and progressive loading that it craves, to develop high-quality, functional muscle mass.
If your initial goal is just losing fat and you are 20-30+ pounds overweight, don’t waste time on isolation exercises. You can starting fine-tuning your biceps and calves when you get down to your goal weight and goal body fat percentage.
Use compound exercises with a high metabolic demand like…
- Back Squats
- Dumbbell Bench Press
- Barbell Bent-over Rows
- Overhand lat pull-downs
- Dumbbell Bent-over Rows
- Dumbbell Lunges
- Dumbbell chest fly
If you need help putting these into a weight training program, use one of these 3 simple weight training programs from this blog post, so that you can start losing fat with your own weightlifting program.
4) You Need to Modify Your Environment to Make Fat Loss as Easy as Possible
One of the greatest ways that you can be successful at just about anything is modifying your environment to support the healthier decisions and behaviors that give you the results you want.
That means removing as many unhealthy options and temptations as you possibly can from your immediate surroundings, and making your healthy tasks so in-your-face that you would have to try to avoid them.
You want to remove as many unhealthy decisions as you can from your day so that healthier choices require little to no effort, and eventually become automatic.
Removal of unhealthy options can include everything from the ice cream hiding at the back of your freezer to your Frappucino stop on the way to work…and at your lunch break. Think about all of the sweets and chips that you have stored at your desk, and get rid of them.
This also includes removing all barriers that are keeping you from acquiring healthy habits, and implementing healthy strategies.
- Keeping a gym bag packed in your car with a change of workout clothes and shoes, at all times.
- Batch prepping healthy food one day per week, for an entire week’s worth of eating. Use tupperware to portion out your meals.
- Take your healthy lunch to work.
- Set fitness equipment out in the middle of your home office, garage, or somewhere that that is out in the open, so working out is always on your mind.
- Make sure you drive by the gym you are going to every day, on the way home from work.
- Set your workout clothes and shoes right by
your bedroom door so you have a constant daily workout reminder. The clothes don’t move until the workout is finished.
What can you change about your work or home environment right now to
- Remove unhealthy options and eliminate unhealthy decisions
- Put your healthy eating and workouts on autopilot
What about Cheat Days?
Personally, if you are in that 20-30+ pounds overweight range I wouldn’t take a cheat day for your first 30 days on this program. After that, you may test having a cheat day or re-feed day every 10-14 days.
Test using these 4 steps for the next 8-12 weeks and track your results with measurements or calipers if you can. A scale will do fine do, but the former methods will give you a better idea of body recomposition than the scale will.
You can simply use this program to get super lean off and on throughout the year (like spring and summer), or use this to stay ripped and shredded year round.
Is this is your first time checking out my website, WELCOME! If you need a little something extra to get your fat loss or body transformation journey off in the right direction, here’s my new book
If you want some more ideas for how to start using this information to rid yourself of stubborn body fat, check out…
- Why You Need to Build Muscle to Lose Weight
- How to Use Weightlifting to Melt Fat
- 3 Simple Weight Lifting Programs that Torch Fat
- 4 Reasons Weight Lifting is Ideal for Weight Loss
- 8 Cardio Workout that Are Better Than Running