Fat loss. You'd think with all the info, websites, blogs and magazines out there we'd have it nailed. Even with all the diets and plethora of gyms popping up obesity levels are higher than ever. The carefree advice of 'move more, eat less' just doesn't seem to be cutting it. So here is what will help get you on the road to burning fat.
Get the coffee ready or grab a beer, turn off the television and take a seat.
This won't take long.
Focus on this recommendation and you will see a noticeable difference in your physique.
Do you have any of the following:
- Cakes, Sweets, Baked Goods, Breads, Microwave Dinners, Snacks, Fruit Juices, Sodas (Fizzy drinks or minerals for you Irish), Mochafrappabullshits, Crisps, Frozen Dinners, Pizza, Takeaways, Deli Meats, Cereals, Cereal Bars, Oat Bars, Chocolate, Perceived Healthy Snacks, Low Fat Foods.
Get rid of all of these processed foods. Grab a bin and dump away. Do you think its a mortal sin if you throw away food? Then donate it to a local charity. But in all honesty, why would you. If its not healthy for you, its not healthy for anyone else.
Doing this will straight away get you in a calorie deficit (as long as you don't over eat other foods), which is THE most important factor to lose weight.
2) Keep a Record
I can't tell you how many times people under-estimate the number of calories they eat.
'Oh, I can't seem to lose weight. I don't even eat that much.'
Sorry, you do.
One of the issues with high-sugary/high-calorie foods is the lack of satiety or fullness with these products. We tend to link 'amount' to the 'feeling' of fullness and unfortunately high sugary/high calorie foods don't tend to create that feeling of fullness like high-fibre, nutrient dense foods such as vegetables.
The great thing about keeping a food log is that after, it opens your eyes to portion control. It also provides you with bulletproof evidence of when you are scratching your head wondering why you gained weight or didn't lose any.
3) Push Away From the Table (Food Quantity)
Anybody who says that calorie control, quantity or portion control is not important is either lying or misinformed.
The same person will contend that just eating real food or quality produce will get you results. They are correct, of course. But they are correct because of portion control.
If you eat more fruits, nuts, vegetables and proteins you will feel more satisfied as these foods will blunt hunger and take longer to digest. The winner here is that they will contain significantly less calories than the options in point 1.
Do you need that extra mouthful? Have you always been told to finish your plate as a child? Are you feeling full?
Option 1: Hand Measurement
- Make a fist = 1-2 portions of vegetables
- Open Your Palm = 1 portion of lean protein
- Cupped Hand = 1 portion of carbs (fruit/starchy carbs)
- Thumbs Up = 1 portion of fat
Men and women begin with these guidelines. Eat 3-4 meals per day. Adjust as necessary.
Option 2: Calorie Counting
Some find this a little tedious, but is actually pretty simple. It is the most accurate way to determine calories in the food you eat. Reading the back of foods for calorie/macronutrient content is extremely helpful too. It gives you a much better understanding of the calories you are consuming.
Once you get used to this you can then begin eye balling the meals you eat as you will have learned how many calories are in the foods that you eat regularly.
Measuring your calories with a digital food scales and reading labels is THE most accurate.
Choose what option you prefer.
4) Eat Like an Adult (Food Quality)
You are not a five year old who spends hours doing chores only to blow their pocket money on a blackout splurge of flogs, apple jacks, Roy of the Rovers bars and Wham bars.
You are of a higher breed. You sir, are a grown up. What does this mean?
Choose nutrient dense foods; a variety of fruit and vegetables, lots of colours for a mix of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. Not only will you eat less calories (see point 3), but your cells will be working optimally and you will be able to limit deficiencies.
5) Exercise 5 hours Weekly
As a start aim for 3 resistance training sessions that work the total body. Think squats, deadlifts, push-ups, dips, leg curls, rows and pulls.
At the end of two of these sessions, perform high intensity interval training on a cardio machine of your choosing (10minutes) and then top it off with some steady state low intensity exercise (15-20minutes).
Add some extra activity to reach the five hours. Running, jogging, walking, swimming, cycling, gardening, manual labour. Use your imagination.
This 5 hour per week recommendation from the American Heart Association is just a starting point. You more than likely will have to make adjustments and changes.
Five hours is not a lot of exercise. It might seem like a tonne in comparison to what you do now, but it really isn't. Think about how much running, jumping and climbing along with all the other activity you used to do as a kid. Then look at your activity levels now.
Are you doing more, less or the same amount of activity now as you did as a kid?
Consistent daily movement is king. Don't make it complicated.
6) Train Hard, Challenge Yourself
Train outside your comfort zone. Push your limits. Lift progressively heavier weights. If you are not finding it difficult, then you are not working hard enough.
I'm not saying squat until you puke, that's just stupid. However, an honest level of intensity needs to be exerted to ask the body to adapt and change.
Listen to that again...an honest level of intensity.
7) Sleep 7-9 Hours
After battering yourself in the gym and reaching new personal bests, the body needs recovery. It DEMANDS rest and time to grow and heal.
You don't get stronger from training, you get stronger from recovering after training.
8) Be Consistent
I've said it before; exercise and health has no end point.
While '10 Week Transformations' and the like, are fantastic at focusing goals. You don't simply just stop and revert back where you were. Only to begin again.
You keep hitting the hills. Lifting those weights. Being mindful of what you eat. Preparing your meals and trying new recipes.
Nobody is going to do it for you.
Be consistent and responsible and your efforts will be rewarded.