At a basic level, you lose fat when you take in less energy (Calories/Kilojoules) than your body uses throughout the day. You still need energy to live, so to get the energy it needs, your body takes it from your fat stores, so you lose weight.
Eating for fat loss isn’t just about just eating less though. If you do that, you may not be getting all the nutrients you need to stay healthy, so here are some ideas on how you can create healthy eating habits, while losing weight.
1) Be Active
Most of your ability to lose fat is made determined in the kitchen, but adding exercise to your day will get you results quicker. It’s simple, the more energy you use, and the less you take in, the more your body will burn fat for energy. This will give you short-term weight loss, while the muscle you build will burn even more stored fat, so you’ll be losing fat in the longer term too, as long as you make sure you’re getting enough energy to help build and fuel your muscles.
Try to get thirty minutes of exercise per day. That may sound like a lot, but look at your time honestly. You get home from work, and it usually takes at least that long to “decompress” from a day of work. Instead of spending that time opening up the fridge four or five times while you plan for dinner, think of it as part of your daily job. You’re working half an hour longer, but instead of getting paid overtime, you’re getting healthier. Having a group of friends involved can make it even easier, because they’ll make sure that you don’t cheat and skip it.
Find an activity that suits you. It may be a boot camp, a gym session, running, swimming, martial arts, riding a bike or even rock climbing, find something that you like doing and make it part of your day that you don’t allow yourself the choice to bail on it. It’s just part of your day.
2) Don’t starve yourself
Starvation diets are a terrible idea. You’ll lose muscle mass, your thinking will be less clear, you’ll have less energy and to top it off, once you start eating again you’ll put the weight all back on.
What you need to do is eat less of the terrible foods. You know the ones, they’re full of sugar or saturated fat and very low in healthy nutrients. Just switch as much of the bad stuff as you can for a healthier option.
3) Fat loss may not mean weight loss
At least initially, especially if you’re working out. As you take off fat, you’ll be putting on muscle, which weighs more than fat. This means that your body is actually getting healthier, but it may not be reflected when you step on the scale. Take notice on how you look and how you feel more than the number on the scale.
4) Self discipline is VITAL!
Changing your habits takes willpower, and it can be hard to skip that regular treat that you’re used to. There is temptation on every corner, with a burger or a chocolate bar just waiting to jump into your hand. Having the mental strength to walk on by and opt for healthier options is the most important skill you can develop.
Maybe you have some habits that you need to break to make your fat loss goals a reality. It could be that you have a soft drink with lunch, or a chocolate biscuit with morning tea.
Have a look at your habits and see what you can do to lower the kilojoules you eat, and increase the kilojoules you use. Walk where possible instead of using transport, take the stairs, stretch while you’re waiting, there are many ways you can burn that little bit extra energy.
You don’t need to make all the adjustments at once, you’ll probably give up after a week or two of that, just try to make each week a little better than the last.
5) Drink around two litres of water per day
Ever felt like you’re hungry, but keep going to the fridge and seeing nothing you want to eat? It could be that you’re actually thirsty. Whenever you get a craving, try having some water first. Even better, have some green tea, which includes antioxidants and it is believed that works as a fat burner.
You don’t want to overdo it, but aim for at least two litres per day.
6) Plan ahead
If you’re dinner plans are “spur of the moment” it’s more likely you’ll take the convenient option and eat something quick and easy. usually this means it’s not very healthy. Plan a week ahead and do your grocery shopping all at once. That way you spend less time in the supermarket, and more time making healthy options that you can eat throughout the week.
7) Eat regularly
Get your body used to having regular meals. Skipping meals means your body has no idea when you’re eating next, so it tries to store up fat and other things, just in case. If you’re eating 5-6 smaller meals, you body knows it’s going to get a constant amount of food, so it runs at top efficiency. Kind of like a car, if you’re low on fuel, you’ll drive for economy, you don’t want to run out. But if you know that there’s plenty of petrol stations along the way, you’ll put the foot down and get as close to the speed limit as you dare.
8) More fruit and vegetables
You already know what you need to do. Eat more fresh fruit and vegetable greens, wholegrains and vitamin rich food. Less fat, oil, sugar and processed foods. It’s really that simple. If it’s fried or highly processed, it’s probably bad. If it’s fresh, natural and steamed, baked or eaten raw, it’s probably good! There may be some rare exceptions, but this is an easy rule to go by.
9) Get some sleep
Sleep is where your body repairs and refreshes everything. Ever tried to open a rusty tap? It hasn’t been maintained properly, so it takes a lot of effort to work. That’s like your body. without proper sleep, your body won’t repair as efficiently as it can.
On top of that, you won’t process fat or carbs as efficiently, meaning you’ll have more cravings, and store more of it. Think of sleep as the easiest form of exercise you can do! You add supplements such as sleep and recovery aides to your daily routine if you want.
10) Track your progress
You know that friend who puts pictures up of every city they visit on Facebook? It might just be their legs with a pool in the background, but if you ask them where they’ve been on holiday, they’ll know (unless it’s Vegas. No one speaks about what happens in Vegas).
That’s what you need to be like. Keep a record of your measurements, as well as how you feel. Celebrate when you hit a new personal best on the bench press, or running around the local park. These are all small milestones on your road to better health, and each one is an achievement that you did through willpower dedication and sheer refusal to quit. Improving yourself is hard. It’s uncomfortable and easy to give up on, so when you get that little bit better than you were, celebrate it! You’re on your way!
So there you have it. 10 tips to creating an eating habit for fat loss. How you combine them is up to you, but it comes down to eating well and being active. Stick to that and you’ll get rid of fat and get healthy. Good luck with it all!