Keto, fasting, Paleo, Whole30, Atkins ; all of these diets generally have one goal. They are designed to help an individual shed excess bodyfat and achieve a physique that they most desire.
The problem is that many of these approaches are not only restrictive and may cause an unhealthy relationship with food, but they also tend to overcomplicate the process that allows one to lose weight.
Articles and books have been written that delve deeply into the science behind these different diets, but none of them seem to explain the basic of fat loss when it is stripped back to the fundamentals .
Therefore, I thought it would be good to write a wee guide on the absolute basics of achieving your goals without all of the extras that obscure the core principles of losing the weight and keeping it off…
Energy Balance : The Main Driver of Losing Fat
Losing weight is primarily down to energy balance: the relationship between the energy you take in through nutrition, versus the energy you expend throughm physiological processes, exercise & everyday activities such as walking to work:
• If you consume more calories than you expend, your body stores energy and you generally gain weight.
• If you expend more calories than you consume, your body loses energy and you generally lose weight.
• If you are in energy balance, you generally remain weight stable.
In order to lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit, meaning that you are consuming fewer calories than you are expending (see the diagram on the right)
Consideration #1 – Resting Calories (BMR)
What you probably don’t realise is that our bodies burn a certain number of calories without factoring any movement in whatsoever; if you were to lie in bed, motionless, all day, you would still burn a certain number of calories through physiological processes that allow us to live and breathe.
This number is referred to as Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).
As a rough guide, normal BMR ranges for females go from 1200-1600kcal, while for males this range is 1400-2000kcal.
BMR is, however, totally dependent on your individual height, weight and age, so for an accurate figure of your personal BMR, please follow the link below and enter in your details to find out:
This figure will provide a baseline for the number of calories you should be consuming every day…
Consideration #2 – NEAT and Physical Activity
After working out your BMR, the next thing you have to factor in when determining how many calories you should be eating is how much activity you do throughout the entire day, not just when you are in the gym or doing some form of exercise (i.e. going for a run)
Studies show that low-grade activity done consistently throughout your waking hours can account for 350 + kcal every day burnt; this includes fidgeting, feet-tapping, and hand gestures while talking.
This diagram shows the kinds of activities that you may or may not be doing on a daily basis, and the amount of calories that each one burns every hour.
If you want to increase energy expenditure in a sustainable way, incorporating more of the green and amber activities into your daily routine may help you achieve a calorie deficit.
It is as simple as making sure you stand up and go for a wander for every hour that you are sitting down.
TOP 3 EXERCISE TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE FAT LOSS
1. ENDLESS CARDIO IS NOT THE SOLUTION -most people’s go-to form of exercise for fat loss is to run at a steady-state for hours on end on the trusty treadmill. However, multiple studies have been conducted that disproves this common belief in favour of regular resistance / strength / weight training. Most of these studies document how resistance training causes an Afterburn Effect (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, to be precise) for up to 48 hours after a session. Luckily, you are in the right hands as you are about to embark on a training programme with me that will include a huge variety of resistance training methods and techniques.
2. TECHNIQUE > WEIGHT –It is true that lifting heavy during weight training will be beneficial for fat loss, but first of all it is important to master the correct technique of every exercise in a programme BEFORE going crazy with the weight. Once you have the form of each exercise engrained on the brain, you will be able to maximise the physical benefits of strength training
3. UP THE INTENSITY THROUGH MODIFIED SETS -When you start training with me, we will use various training protocols specifically designed to maximise the amount of work your body can do during a session. Once we have mastered the technique of the different movement patterns involved in your programme, we will be working with things such as supersets, dropsets and pyramid sets to help take your training to the next level
Consideration #3 – Nutrition
I have left the most important element of fat loss till last…
The Road to Effective Fat Loss 80% down to Nutrition, 20% down to Training
As we talked about earlier, fat loss is all about energy balance, and one of the key determinants of energy balance is what goes into your body via nutrition and hydration.
There is no One-Size-Fits-All Diet, contrary to what you have probably seen plastered all over the internet. Fad diets popularised by social media, such as Cleanse Diets, Low-Carb, and Juicing Diets that promise results in ridiculous time frames like 30 days will hinder your progress in the long term.
Yes, it is true that short-term diets result in weight loss, but it isn’t sustainable or accurate: the weight lost in these sorts of dietary approaches is 95% water weight, meaning that the scales will go straight back up once you resume normal eating habits.
Whatever the dietary approach you choose to go with, I will give you support as to how to fit it into your lifestyle. The main thing to keep in mind when losing fat is staying in a calorie deficit, and the best way to do that when starting your fat loss journey is using MyFitnessPal. I will talk you through how to use this App during our weekly check-ins.
TOP 3 NUTRITION TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE FAT LOSS
1. FILL UP ON FIBRE -Fruit and vegetables are going to be your best friend when it comes to nutrition. As well as packing a hefty nutritional punch with all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants contained within them, getting a decent intake of fruit and veg will increase your fibre intake that will help keep you satiated and satisfied between meals.
2. DON’T FEAR THE CARB – The most demonized of all macronutrient groups, carbohydrates are one of the most misunderstood foods when it comes to fat loss. If you know where to go when it comes to the source of your carb intake, they will play a central role in maintaining your energy levels when you are in a calorie deficit. Too low a carbohydrate intake may result in lethargy and a subsequent decline in performance.
3. PORTION CONTROL -Do not think that a fat loss diet has to be 100% chicken and broccoli; you can still enjoy foods that you love. During your fat loss programme, we are going to work at developing self-control and discipline with regards to portion size as this is a key part of maintaining a calorie deficit.