What You Already Know About Fat Loss May Be Wrong
Over the past few years, people are getting more and more aware of leading a healthy lifestyle and how it affects their daily activities as well as their health in the long run. This includes working your way towards losing weight or fat loss by regulating your eating habits and having an exercise routine. However, whether you like it or not, there are still fat loss myths we are oblivious or clueless of. It is also surprising how some nutrition or fitness experts still remain in the dark when it comes to vital information regarding fat loss.
1. Body Fat vs. Visceral Fat
Contrary to popular belief, body fat or subcutaneous fat is not as dangerous or concerning as visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat is the fat located at the outermost layer of our skin, such as belly fat as well as the fat we can feel physically around our arms and legs.
Visceral fat, on the other hand, is the fat stored around the abdominal cavity therefore stored around important internal organs such as the liver, pancreas and intestines. This type of fat is a concern to us as it is stored internally, we are unaware of its build up or existence. Even people who appear in shape can accumulate harmful visceral fat.
Health Risks Associated With Visceral Fat
All of us store a certain amount of visceral fat, but those who accumulate an excessive amount are prone to health risks. These health risks include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Breast cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Alzheimer’s disease
2. Sugar Is Sugar
When talking about our sugar intake, I’m sure some of you may come across remarks like “Artificial sweeteners are safe to consume as they do not cause you to gain calories like sugar does”. False.
Artificial or not, sugar is sugar. Slapping an organic name or a healthy label packaging does not change the fact that sugar is one of the main contributors to calories. What’s more, artificial sugar does not only stall fat loss, but it causes sugar cravings. Examples of artificial sugar are; Agave nectar, sucrose, fructose corn syrup and honey.
3. Slow and Steady Works Best
People always say you when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle or starting your diet, the key is consistency. However, a study shows a more effective approach. In the 18 month study conducted, it found that people who lost fat quickly tend to keep their healthy lifestyles and are highly unlikely to rebound. This indicates they are able to motivate themselves continuously when they see fast results and are able to stay on track.
Some experts suggest you should snack or take mini meals in between main meals so you do not overeat afterwards. The truth is, each time you eat, you trigger fat-storing insulin. Therefore, whenever you snack or take light meals in between, you are only cranking up your insulin and keeping your fat burning sources locked. However, when you take a break from eating between meals will encourage your body to burn those extra calories and fat.
5. Everything In Moderation
When you practice this myth, it will eventually backfire. Why? This encourages you to consume food you are not supposed to take, especially when you need to start on that healthy regime. For instance, when you believe that everything can be consumed in moderation, you will definitely grab food with artificial sweeteners, trans fats as well as high-fructose corn syrup. In the end, it will only have you craving for more and you fail to take into account the long term effects it may have towards your body.
6. Exercise Regularly
This is another myth that needs to be busted straight away. Have you ever heard of the 70/30 rule? Studies have proven that no matter how rigid your exercise routine is, it will all be in vain if you do not have the right nutrition. Therefore your fat loss is dependent on 30% of your exercise routine, and the rest solely depends on what you eat.
7. “Skinny Food”
Ironically, “skinny food” can make you fat. We have all heard of skinny lattes, low-calorie breakfast sandwich, skinny margaritas, skinny flatbread and hoping to stick within your calorie count. Truth is, all these so called ‘skinny’ foods are actually high in sugar, and will only trigger cravings where you are bound to grab your second or third servings.
The 70/30 Rule
Being healthy may sound simple. You may hear people simplifying this into “Eat less, move more.” However, practicality is your key to effectively shed fat and drop the pounds. On the other hand, it is not enough that you start exercising vigorously while still sticking to a diet that isn’t helping your fat loss goal. The calories you put into your body matter so significantly in this. They are the single largest defining factor into deciding whether or not you can fit back into your old clothes.
Simply following a diet plan may not work as well. This is because many popular diet plans – low fat, low carbs, keto or paleo to name a few – have been shown in a study to not have significant advantage over one another. This is because the most effective diet for you is a diet you can adhere to and follow for a long time.
In short, keep the following 2 things in mind:
- That the keyword is always practicality, where you can effectively follow a diet/exercise plan which suits you.
- What you eat accounts to 70% of your fat-loss goal.
What Are Calories?
To put things simply, you lose weight when you eat less calories than you burn and vice versa. In order to lose one pound of fat, you must be 3,500 calorie in deficit. Let’s say that a 200 pound man wants to lose one pound in a week. Through exercise alone, he needs to run about 3.5 miles per day (or 24.5 miles total), or cut 500 calories/day if the diet or exercise regime stays the same.
But in reality, this is always not the case, due to the case of adherence. The ideal world would be living at a place where the gym and Whole Foods are nearby. This is something not many have.
Dr. John Briffa, who runs a health blog, analyzed a study examining weight loss without dietary intervention here. He explains:
In this study, 320 post-menopausal women whose weight ranged from normal to obese were into an additional exercise or no additional exercise group. Those in the exercise group were instructed to take 45 minutes worth of aerobic exercise, 5 times a week for a year, and instructed not to change their diets. It was found that the exercise group lost an average of 4.4 lbs of fat.
It sounded good, but it took the women 155 hours of exercise to lose the amount of fat. That’s about 77 hours, or more than 3 days, of exercise for each kg of fat lost, which is something even the best trainers cannot do. This is why the best approach is to focus only 30% into exercise.
Why Exercise Focused Regimens Are Relatively Ineffective For Weight Loss
If you’re puzzled by the statement above, there’s a simple explanation behind it, which is broken up into 2 parts:
The calories you spend through exercise are small in the grand scheme of things. But first, it’s also important to understand the calculation behind our daily caloric expenditure.
You spend most of your calories every day just “staying alive.” This is known as our resting metabolic rate. The Katch-McArdle formula is the most accurate way to calculate this number:
- 9.81 x your amount of non-fat mass + 370 calories per day
- Jake, a 200 pound man who is at 30% body fat, expends 1,743 calories per day just staying alive (200 x (1-.30) * 9.81 + 370 calories).
- Add 10% on top of that to account for the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) which is the amount of calories spent digesting and absorbing his food, and another 10% for a metabolic process known Non Exercise Adaptive Thermogenesis, or energy wasted by small things like fidgeting. This means that without any exercise, Jake has already expended 2,100 calories.
Adding exercise barely makes a dent because most of the work is done before he starts lifting the weights.
Calories In vs. Calories Out. We as human beings, are basically bad at this. Here’s a proof: the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness did a study where subjects are asked to exercise, estimate their caloric expenditure, and then brought to a buffet afterwards. They were asked to consume the amount of food that they believed they burned in calories. The result was that they ate 2 to 3 times the amount of calories they burned.
How To Effectively Incorporate Diet and Exercise
Dr. Yoni Freedhoff who runs one of the largest obesity clinics in Canada, explains:
Most people I see struggle far more with their kitchens than with their gyms. They’ll readily find 30 minutes or more a day to hit the gym, go for walks, or simply up their daily activity than they will for packing a lunch, prepping ingredients, cooking dinner, or keeping a food diary.
I think in part it’s because that’s what the world believes — fueled by shows like The Biggest Loser, and by the huge amount of money the food industry is throwing at the message of ‘balancing’ energy-in with energy-out, but also because we don’t get endorphin rushes from prepping vegetables.
Most folks want to lose weight and to improve health and so both gyms and kitchens are required. If weight’s a primary concern, I’d never ditch the kitchen in order to find the time to exercise.
Dedicate at least a third of the time you spend you spend at the gym, in the kitchen. But people are different. So the simplest litmus test question to ask is, “Could I Live Like This Forever?” If the answer is no, you’ll need to change something up.
The people who are most successful are those who embrace both consistency and imperfection. Think of starting a fat loss mission like learning karate. You will never start right at black belt, but with basic moves that is practiced over and over and over again. Failing will be an expectation, not disappointment.
Slowly but surely you will get better and better at it. Same thing is true when building any skill set, including healthful living. Sure you might have a mind’s eye idea of what your healthy lifestyle should look like when you’re done, but getting there will be slow, plodding, and will include many falls.
Here are some simple tips you can follow. Never eat lunch out unless someone else is buying. Do light exercises consistently rather than a heavy session intermittently. This cannot be stressed enough: Spending 2-3 minutes a day with a food diary will have a bigger impact on your weight than 30 minutes a day in the gym.
Three Essential Rules
Not eating enough calories can actually hinder your fat loss goal. But, the food choices you make are going to determine the numbers on the scale. Here are 3 golden rules experts have used for their clients and will surely work as well for you:
1. Say No To Packaged Foods
Foods from a box, jar, or can have a high likelihood of having high calories and low nutritional value.
2. Eat A Lot More Veggies
Vegetables should be in every meal you eat. There is virtually no other type of food that offers wonderful nutritional value at very low calories.
3. Plan To Indulge
Never expect yourself to eat perfectly all the time because this will become a punishment for you. However, it is also wise to plan your cheat meals well so they do not screw up your calorie balance.
Exercise is awesome. If you love lifting weights, running, yoga or climbing, do it! It’s a great way of staying physically active. But, exercise is not a good weight-management strategy. You actually need to focus most on how much calories you consume versus how much you expend. You just cannot out-exercise a broken diet.
As mentioned before, your fat or weight loss is 70% of the food you eat, and only 30% of exercise. Therefore, this projects how crucial an eating plan is if you are serious on shedding those pounds.
Here are some pointers, which you can follow to help you with your meal plan:
- Natural, Fat Burning And Metabolism Boosting Foods
- Supplements For Fat Loss
- No Eating Rule
I. Natural, Fat Burning and Metabolism Boosting Foods
Fat burning foods exists in abundance without us even realizing. Here is a list of top 15 foods that can help you achieve that waistline you have always dreamed off (in no particular order).
1. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are originally grown in Mexico. These seeds function by slowing down your body’s digestion. This in reducing sugar cravings and hunger. Not only that, it stores energy for you to survive your long days.
3 ounces of chicken is enough to supply you with37% of your daily protein requirement. Having the right amount of protein keeps your body energized and reduces your cravings by making your tummy feel satiated.
3. Coconut Oil
Yes, we commonly associate “oil” as fats, but not all fats are created equal. In fact, coconut oil is one of the most healthiest fats that can help you lose those extra pounds. It helps in eliminating body weight, as well as body fat. Not only that, it keeps your thyroid run smoothly. Try coconut oil in your cooking for a change!
4. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper has the ability to eliminate those fats and converting them to energy. It increases your metabolic rate, aiding you in losing fat faster and easier.
5. Cruciferous Vegetables
Vegetables under this category include kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. These veggies are packed with nutrition as compared to others. This simply means it will aid in speeding up your fat loss process.
6. Green, Leafy Vegetables
Green, leafy veggies such as spinach, collard greens and Swiss chards are packed with nutrients, especially iron that can aid you in burning calories after a workout and most importantly, help your muscles function properly.
7. Matcha Green Tea
Sipping on matcha green tea regularly can aid in reducing body fat, as well as lowering your cholesterol levels. One of the main benefits is that it can help your body in the repairing process after an intense workout.
8. Rooibos Tea
Rooibos tea has become increasingly popular just like green tea. It contains flavonoids as well as phytochemicals that helps in boosting your metabolism and lose calories.
9. Whey Protein
Whey protein has multiple benefits. It does not only help your body to lose those extra calories, it aids in toning your muscles as well as boosting your energy levels and stabilizing your blood sugar levels.
Kefir is a fermented drink similar to yoghurt. Loaded with probiotics, it does not only help in fighting against infections, probiotics also aids in weight loss.
11. Grass Fed Beef
Red meat has always been labeled as unhealthy; but get this, it is truly a misconception. Grass-fed beef, or high quality beef is definitely worth an investment as it is one of the highest sources of protein. This will prep your body for fat loss and reduce bad cholesterol levels thanks to the lower fat content found in the meat. Not to mention, grass-fed beef also has higher level of anti-oxidants, vitamins and good fats.
Grapefruit is a major fat burning food. This is because the enzymes found in Grapefruit help your body break down sugar, which boosts your metabolism and aids in fat loss. Fun fact; even sniffing grapefruit essential oil can help speed up and boost your metabolism!
Ghee, an ingredient made popular in India, has fat burning properties. The medium chain fatty acid content is the main reason why ghee can help you in losing those unwanted calories. What’s more, Ghee is also suitable for lactose and casein intolerant individuals.
14. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider can help you lose weight by reducing your sugar cravings. Consuming apple cider before your meal can also help you feel fuller, therefore eating lesser.
15. Bone Broth
As bone broth contain an abundance of amino acids, it detoxifies your body by increasing your metabolism, and it also prevents muscle breakdown.
II. Supplements For Fat Loss
You are now familiar with the food that can help you in weight loss. However, if you want to speed up the process and make your weight loss journey more effective, it is necessary for you to take up supplements. These supplements will aid you in the following:
- Reduce your appetite; you will consume lesser calories
- Reduce the absorption of fat
- Increase your metabolic rate and fat burning; make you burn more calories
Here are the top 5 supplements that you should take to aid you in your fat loss journey:
1. Fish Oil
Fish oil can help speed up your fat loss as it contains of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is an essential fat that our bodies are unable to produce. However, the interesting part is these essential fat would not turn into harmful or excess fat in the body. Instead, it is used to build the outside fat layer that protectsour cells. This improves the activity of your cells as it improves the activity of insulin where insulin is the principal factor of fat loss.
2. Green Coffee Bean Extract (caffeine)
Green coffee beans are simply coffee beans that are not roasted yet where they contain 2 weight loss agents; caffeine and chlorogenicacide. Caffeine can help speed up your weight loss process by increasing fat burning while chlorogenic acid helps slow down the breakdown of carbohydrates in the gut.
3. Garcinia Cambogia Extract
Garcinia Cambogia is a small, green fruit shaped like a pumpkin. The skin of the fruit contains hydroxycritic acid (HCA) that can reduce cravings by increasing the levels of serotonin.
Glucomannan is a type of fiber found in the roots of elephant yam, also known as konjac. Glucomannan has been proven to reduce your appetite by making you feel fuller after consuming the supplement. Not only that, this supplement is also able to lower blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels. This works by consuming Glucomannan, paired with a healthy diet. Results have shown that people are able to loss 8-10 pounds in a span of 5 weeks.
5. Green Tea Extract
Green tea has made its way in numerous weight loss supplements as the key ingredient. This is due to the fact the green tea contains the main antioxidant, known as EGCG, which aids fat burning. Studies show that green tea extract can increase fat burning and fat loss, especially in the belly area.
III. No Eating Rule
Many of us are unaware of how eating too close to your bedtime may deter your fat loss journey. This may not be a problem to some of you, but for those who have long working hours for instance until 9 or 10pm, this can be proven to be a challenge. However, you can start slowly and try by eating your main meal before you leave work. This lengthens the time interval from you arriving home and going to bed.
The rule is simply this. To effectively lose weight, you need to stop eating 3-4 hours before you go to bed. This habit must be followed alongside a healthy diet. Don’t expect to shed off those pounds if you are eating junk food all day long.
When you eat too close to your bedtime, it will not only cause you to gain weight; your body will also experience indigestion, feeling bloated and it can also disrupt your need for a well-deserved sleep. When you disrupt your sleep cycle, this can also lead to irregular blood sugar levels, which in turn results to insulin resistance and diabetes. Therefore, try and make it a habit to have lighter dinners and give yourself at least 3-4 hours of a non-eating before you head to bed.
Foods To Avoid
As cliché as it may sound, it is definitely true that you are what you eat. The food you consume will affect your health in the long run, and most importantly, influence your fat loss or gain.
Have you ever wondered why the United States have higher obesity rates as compared to other countries? Obesity is the number one health concern across the country where the main factor leading to it is nutrition. Therefore, it is important for you to note the food you should avoid in order to lose fat effectively and steer clear of chronic diseases.
12 Foods You Should Stay Away From
1. Sugary drinks
Sugary drinks are the absolute worst form of sugar you can possibly consume. They can drive insulin resistance and cause fatty liver disease.
2. Alcoholic beverages
Alcohol abuse can cause not only obesity, but also the failure of your organs.
3. White bread
Majority of white bread are made from refined wheat which is low in essential nutrients and leads to a spike in blood sugar levels.
Pizza is one of the unhealthiest junk food around. Not only it’s made of refined wheat flour, but also processed meat. Therefore, it is very high in calories.
5. Vegetable oils
Vegetable oils are high in omega 6 fatty acids and when consumed in large amounts, are proven to be detrimental for health. It can cause increased oxidative stress in the body. It can also increase the risk of cancer.
Margarine is loaded with artificial ingredients. It is usually made with industrial vegetable oils, which increases their trans fat content.
7. Pastries, cookies and cakes
These are usually made with refined sugar, refined wheat flour and added fats. Therefore, they have tones of calories.
8. French fries and potato chips
Studies have proven the high consumption of French fries and potato chips contributes to weight gain. These food also contain a high amount of acrylamides and carcinogenic substances.
9. Agave nectar
Agave nectar is usually labeled as a healthy sugar. Contrary to popular belief, its not. Agave nectar is high in fructose as compared to other sugars (85%)
10. Processed meat
Studies have proven people who consume a lot of processed meat tend to have a higher risk of colon cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
11. Processed cheese
Processed cheese are a far cry from regular cheese. They are mostly made with filler ingredients and engineered to have the same look as regular cheese.
12. High calorie coffee drinks
Coffee is generally good for you, except when it is added with artificial creamer and sugar. Then you will only be consuming empty calories.
Mental Conditioning Secrets
Your weight loss journey is not just dependent on the physical changes you make in your lifestyle. Your mental state also plays an important role in determining whether you will succeed or fail in your pursuit for weight loss. Sometimes, the mental limitations and deep rooted beliefs we have hold us back. People can have all the best resources for weight loss available to them, but if they are not mentally ready, it will be all for nothing.
What you think is what you are – this phrase holds true even here, in the context of weight loss. To lose weight and sculpt your figure, you should also work to change your existing patterns of behavior as well as mindset. This step ensures that you do not end up sabotaging your efforts and fighting against yourself as you navigate your weight loss journey.
Here’s a list of oh-so-common negative weight loss mindsets.
1. Impatience – “I Want It Now”
Many people expect instantaneous results when it comes to losing weight. Weight that took a period of months, or even years to gain, is expected to melt away with just one workout.
The reality, however, is that huge changes takes time. It takes 4 weeks for you to be able to notice small changes in your body, and up to 8 weeks for friends and family to notice the change in you. And sometimes, it can take even longer than that. Just give it time, have faith, and don’t give up!
2. Pessimism – “I Can’t Do This, I Will Fail Again.”
Maybe you failed trying to lose weigh in the past. However, fixating on your past failures will only prove detrimental to your weight loss efforts. This form of negative mindset will only keep you focused on the obstacles fixed in your mind, with no way to overcome them. You are helpless, a victim of your circumstances You blame yourself and refuse to do anything else, when in fact, all you need is a new approach to things.
What you should do is to identify the obstacles in your path towards weight loss, and think of ways to overcome them.
3. Push Hard or Go Home
This is a common misconception many beginners have when it comes to weight loss. They think that they should push themselves beyond their limits even though they’ve just started, as this will ensure results. However, this is one wrong mentality to have. Pushing yourself too hard so early may potentially result in injury. Even if that doesn’t happen, the strain, pain and stress you go through so early in your weight loss journey will demotivate you and cause you to give up.
Start slow, particularly if you’re a beginner. Take things one step at a time.
4. It’s All or Nothing
This too is a common mindset people have when trying to lose weight. Many are obsessed with the idea of perfection – believing that they would need to practice everything perfectly in order to get a reasonable outcome. To them, anything less than 100% means that they’re a failure.
You’re only human – things don’t always go according to plan and sometimes you may end up taking few steps backward. Perhaps you did not follow your diet plan and succumbed to temptation, eating pizza when you should be eating steamed chicken and salad. Or maybe you skipped a day in your workout plan because you were tired.
But that does not mean that you should give up. Find your middle ground, and keep going from there.
5. Comparing Yourself To Others
Our bodies work differently – no two people are alike. What works for one person may not work for another and one may see results at a different pace from the other person on the same diet or fitness plan. Plus, we don’t really know what’s going on behind the scenes. Maybe the person is starving themselves, or has a faster metabolism – we don’t know.
Measuring your progress based on others can be a demotivating process, and leave you defeated and feeling like you are not good enough. Not only that, it distracts you from what you should instead be doing. The person you should compare yourself to is yourself. Strive to be better than you were yesterday. Focus on you and your efforts.
Ask yourself these questions instead: How can you do things better? How can you make better choices?
How To Condition Yourself Mentally For Effective Weight Loss
Now that you are familiar with common negative mindsets associated with weight loss, you can look into training your mind to help you shed off those pounds.
A certain amount of mental toughness is needed in order to embark on this difficult journey. Here are a couple of mental techniques to help you succeed in your quest for effective weight loss.
1. Write Down Your Goals
Write down your 3 month goals, 6 month goals and 1 year goals. Remember to be realistic; don’t set for yourself impossible goals, you’ll want something achievable that is also suited to your schedule.
Also, as you write down your goals, also take some time to reflect and write down these things:
- Your source of your motivation to lose weight. Simply put: why are you doing this?
- The reason for past failed weight loss plans (if you have tried before)
- Negative things associated with your current weight.
Put what you have written up where you’ll be able to see it often.
2. Visualize Your Goals
Visualization can help increase confidence, self-awareness, and motivation, as well as decrease anxiety, stress, and doubt. So, do this each day, whenever you can. Picture the new, transformed you. See in your mind’s eye your new body, and how would you be like then. Visualize how the transformation will change your life.
Now act like the new you. Act as though you have attained your weight loss goals. When you encounter something that may potentially derail you from your weight loss plans, stop. Think of the person that you are trying to be, and be that person. What would the you whom you want to be do in this situation?
To help you with this step, you can also create a vision board. Pin images of the life you want to achieve on this board, and place it where you can see it often.
3. Develop Your Own Motivational Phrase
Come up with your very own motivational phrase, and say it out loud when you are doing your workouts, faced with obstacles, or when you feel particularly demotivated. An example can be “Everyday I am becoming healthier and fitter. I can do this.”
When a negative thought comes back to haunt you, visualize your goals. Repeat your motivation phrase to yourself, to put yourself in a more positive frame of thought.
4. Work On Your Attitude
You can hire a coach to help you with your journey. The coach can guide you when it comes to the right kind of nutrition and exercise, and help you to a certain extent, but ultimately – you are the only person you can count when it comes to weight loss.
Your choices, define who you will be. You will need to take responsibility for the choices you make, and not play the blame game. Examine your attitude when it comes to losing weight. Do you make a lot of excuses? Blame others for your failures?
5. Never Give Up
Lastly, never give up on the journey. You will have good days. And you WILL have bad days – we’re not immune to it. Don’t let negative thoughts cloud your mind and judgment. Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back either – embrace it as part of the process. Pick yourself up and keep on going.
Start Your Journey To A Healthier Future
You started your weight loss journey with the intention of ridding yourself of the extra fat and being a better, stronger, leaner and fitter YOU.
By now, you should have found out that the right way to fat loss is not only getting rid of external body fat visible to the eye that most diet and fitness plans target, but also losing the visceral fat in your body. This is the kind of hidden fat that increases your risk for diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, dementia and even cancer.
You should have also learned about the importance of maintaining a healthy diet consisting of the right kinds of foods and doing physical exercises for overall fat loss. You would also now be aware of the importance of conditioning yourself mentally for effective weight loss.
Now, it is up to you to take that crucial next step: To take action and set your fat loss program into motion. This journey you are about to embark upon is not going to be easy. There will be hardships and obstacles ahead; some days may seem unbearable, and you’ll feel like giving it all up.
But imagine the possibilities ahead and visualize this: A healthier, fitter you in the near future. You look great, and you feel absolutely great – the best you’ve ever felt in years. You feel happier. Stronger. Unstoppable and ready to take over the world. The power to change is right in your hands. All it takes is that first step from you.
Remember that Lao Tzu, the famous Chinese philosopher, said “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”