Fat loss is simple in theory: Create a caloric deficit by burning more calories than you consume on a regular basis.
You can do this by increasing your frequency, duration and intensity of activity. You can also do it by decreasing the amount of calories you consume. Most people will do a combination of both to accelerate results, and this is what I recommend.
We are emotional creatures who unnecessarily complicate everything. Especially the process of losing body fat. I want to clarify some things to help you get better results:
You cannot out-train an improper diet, otherwise known as eating too many calories on a regular basis. I often hear people say things like, “I need to go run off these calories from the pizza I just ate.” Or, I’m going to the gym so I can earn my dinner.” This mindset is wrong.
It perpetuates disordered thinking around food and exercise, and as long as you believe this, you’ll repeat distressing cycles of overeating and panic-exercising for the rest of your life. Stop it.
Enjoy all foods in moderation. Stop labeling things as “good” and “bad.” You should never have feelings of guilt or shame around food or physical activity.
Learn to track macronutrients so you can educate yourself and understand what protein, carbohydrates and fat do for the body.
There is no such thing as a “fat burning” food or supplement. I wish there were, it would make my job a hell of a lot easier. While there are superior nutrition choices that will make fat loss easier, there is no food on this earth that can burn fat from your body.
When you see anything labeled as a too-good-to-be-true fat burning supplement or food, understand this is marketing jargon that companies use to sucker you into buying their products.
20 years ago, I worked for GNC (General Nutrition Centers). We were incentivized to sell quick-fix products to unsuspecting customers, and every store had a monthly sales quota to meet. The pressure was always on to sell more. During my time as both a sales associate and a manager, I learned all about how these companies bamboozle people and I wasn’t having it. I refused to sell anyone a product that gave them false hope. Don’t waste your money on gimmicks.
Fat loss is uncomfortable. It doesn’t have to be miserable, but some discomfort should be expected. After all, you’re disrupting homeostasis (balance in the body).
You will experience periodic hunger, fatigue and irritability as your body adjusts to a lower caloric intake. This is normal. Our brain strives to maintain homeostasis all day, everyday. When something changes, like a reduction in calories, warning bells go off in an effort to get you to return to a higher caloric intake and sedentary behavior.
Suddenly you’re tired, sore and irritated. You think about giving up. It’s easier to skip your workouts and give yourself an out when you’re not feeling 100%, but progress doesn’t happen this way. It happens when you push through, and follow your plan. Rest when needed, and do not quit.
Many people are shocked by sensations of hunger because they incorrectly believe the process should be comfortable. If you set yourself up properly with a good program, you can minimize these unpleasant side effects but you won’t eliminate them completely.
Practice delaying instant gratification and cultivating self-discipline. It won’t be easy, but you will not get results if you cannot stick to your plan and remain consistent.
If you want to change your body, you must change your mindset. Improve your relationship with food, and stop treating exercise like it’s punishment for something you have eaten.