How to lose weight and shed fat? It’s a complicated question that comes with a wide spectrum of different motivations.
The first step is to be honest and establish your current position. If you are just getting started on the journey towards a fitter, healthier version of yourself then it’s important to concentrate on the long term and think about forming healthy habits that will last a lifetime, rather than looking for quick fixes.
One major issue with weight loss and shedding fat is that many people make drastic changes too quickly. They lose weight rapidly using some fad diet, but put that weight back on as soon as the diet is over and they return to their old habits.
Giving yourself time to adapt and change will allow you to make changes that last a lifetime, and lose unwanted weight and fat for good!
A FEW SIMPLE FIRST STEPS
Record your food intake
A great place to start is to take a notebook and record everything you eat over the course of a week.
Get into the habit of doing this. Do what you normally do, eat what you normally eat. Be honest. Accountability is exceptionally important when it comes to learning how to lose weight. This will give you a good empirical base of evidence on which to start your new life, and set you out on the path to transforming your body. You can also use a food tracker for this.
Drink more water
A very simple piece of advice. Often when we feel hungry, it is because we are thirsty instead. Every time you feel hungry outside your meal times, have a large glass of water instead of some unhealthy snack. Start each day with a large glass of water when you wake up and replace sugary drinks such as coke with water instead.
If you aren’t a fan of the flavour, buy a stevia flavouring. Get into the habit of carrying water with you wherever you go. Keep a big bottle in your car and at work.
Eat more protein
Many people simply do not eat enough protein, relying instead on diets that are high in simple carbohydrates to keep them full and satiated. Unfortunately, protein deficiency can have huge negative effects on muscle and tissue growth, healthy hormonal balance and general health. If you already exercise regularly and are not eating enough protein then you are not giving your body what it needs to recover and develop properly.
Try to eat more tofu, eggs, milk, fish, meat, beans, cous cous, oats, cheese etc.
Another simple and easy habit is to buy a quality protein powder and have one or two protein shakes a day.
The 100% Natural Whey Protein Concentrate from Olimp provides 27 gram of protein per serving, perfect for maximising muscle growth!
To reiterate the point above, a large part of learning how to lose weight is learning how to be disciplined and stick to good habits.
If you make this a core part of your life in general, then you will be less likely to buckle and fold when it comes to that tempting snack or deciding to quit.
Try to be more disciplined with the small things in your life, and this will naturally spread to your choices about food. Discipline is doing the right thing, at the right time, even when you do not feel like doing it.
Once you have all the above steps in place, it’s time to move to the next phase.
UNDERSTAND YOUR MACRONUTRIENTS
Everything begins with a plan. But the key thing with fat loss is “understanding your numbers”.
That means calculating how many calories you should be eating on a daily basis to support your goals – whether that’s fat loss, muscle building, strength or performance. There are so many websites now where you can easily work out your daily calorie need, which takes into account your age, sex, height and weekly training sessions.
Once you know your daily calorie total, you can break this down into macronutrients – so the proportions of carbohydrate, protein and fat you need in your diet to hit this daily calorie goal. So for example, that could be 300g of carbs, 180g of protein and 60g of fat for someone with a daily requirement of XXXXX calories.
ESTABLISH A CALORIE DEFICIT
Calorie balance is the ratio between calories taken in and calories expended in any one individual at any given time. To put it very simply, if you want to lose weight, then you need to expend more calories than you consume.
It is a good idea to measure this out over the course of a week to cancel out most fluctuations, such as drinking more water.
TIP: When measuring fat loss (or muscle gain) over time, weigh yourself first thing in the morning, before you eat or drink anything. Measure your weight 2-3 times per week and record all results. This will give you a clear and consistent record of your progress.
There are 3 states of calorie balance:
- Negative calorie balance (hypocaloric diet)
- Calorie balance (eucaloric diet)
- Positive Calorie balance (hypercaloric diet)
It is impossible to be in more than one of these states at any one time.
A negative calorie balance will always result in weight loss. Even though body water alterations may occasionally mask this loss of tissue, it is always going to occur, with ZERO exceptions so far discovered.
- A negative calorie balance will always result in weight loss. Even though body water alterations may occasionally mask this loss of tissue, it is always going to occur, with ZERO exceptions so far discovered.
- A eucalorie balance means that the athlete will not gain or lose weight because they expend as many calories as they consume.
- A positive calorie balance means that the individual is consuming more calories than they are using.
In order to maximize your chances for muscle gain or fat loss, you must know when and how to enter a hypo, hyper, or eucaloric state.
It follows then that in order to lose weight, you must operate in a negative calorie balance (a hypocaloric state). Whilst this is true in the vast majority of cases, there are other factors at play such as the effects of sleep patterns and hormonal imbalances. Always consult a qualified nutritionist to determine the right path for you individually.
EAT THE CORRECT MACRONUTRIENTS
The second most important factor for transforming yourself is to consume the correct macronutrients to support your body and the goals that you are working towards. These consist of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Having the right ratio between these three parts of your nutrition will differ depending on your exact goal, weight, sex, age, height and the way that you train.
It is best to consult a qualified nutritionist to find out exactly how many grams of each macronutrient you will need to support your goals.
When it comes to macronutrients, the following points are important to consider
- Protein is the most important macronutrient for muscle gain and retention
- About 1g of protein per pound of body weight is best for most people
- Healthy fats are needed for health and hormonal function
- Healthy fats are the main macro added during massing phases and removed during cutting (fat loss)
- Carbs are secondary to protein but very important to fuelling and recovering hard workouts
- Higher carbs should be eaten with higher workout volumes and daily activity levels
The word protein originates from the Greek ‘protos’, which means ‘the first’. Proteins are the basic building blocks of the human organism. All tissues and organs contain proteins and they are essential for fat loss and muscle gain. Additionally, proteins also fulfil important signalling functions in the neural system.
WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE WPI
Suitable for those, who want to improve their performance. Take post-workout, mixed with water for faster absorption.
- Contains at least 90 grams of protein per 100 g.
- Undergoes further filtration which minimizes the content of carbohydrates and fat but also filters out some of the bio-active substances (depending on the level of processing).
- Faster absorption than WPC.
The Amino acid tryptophan, included in the proteins from chicken or turkey meat, is important for production of serotonin, which is an important neurotransmitter, and melatonin, which regulates the sleep cycle.
Albumin is a reserve protein, which regulates distribution of nutrients and maintains the pressure in the blood capillaries. Low albumin levels can signal liver disease or problems with processing the nutrients. A high level of albumin is typical during dehydration.
Transferrin is a transport protein for iron. It is related to immunity-boosting lactoferrin, which can be found in whey protein supplements with lower degree of processing (concentrate).
Carbohydrates seem to have acquired an unjustly poor reputation, but they are the preferred fuel source for our bodies and brains. Without the proper amount of carbohydrates in your nutrition you will lack the necessary energy to train hard. Carbohydrates also supply the nervous system with its preferred fuel, refuel glycogen stores and help the body to secrete insulin – all important functions.
What you should know is that there are two types of carbohydrates:
- Simple carbohydrates
- Complex carbohydrates
Complex carbohydrates will supply you with a slow burning supply of energy.
They typically have a lower Glycemic Index (the rate at which energy is released – measured in blood glucose levels) and will not give you spikes in your insulin levels. This in turn means you will avoid the inevitable crashes that follow the consumption of food and drinks that have a high Glycemic Index.
Fat sources heavy in monounsaturated fats are some of the healthiest calories you can take in.
Foods high in monounsaturated fats include olive and canola oils, avocado, natural nut butters, and almost all raw nuts including peanuts and almonds.
Monounsaturated fats and the foods that contain them are exceptional for general health. There is a conventional myth that you should cut all fats out of your diet if you want to lose weight. This is a spurious idea, as healthy fats are essential for hormonal health and effective brain function alongside many other benefits.
TIP: While proteins and carbs have 4 calories per gram, fats contain 9.
Nutrient timing and food composition are also important here, however calorie balance and eating the correct macronutrients should be the higher priority. Once you have them dialled in, then move on to fine tuning your nutrient timing and food composition.
Food composition refers to the quality of the food, and the way that you combine foods to create meals.
For proteins this relates to the bioavailability of the nutrients, for carbohydrates it refers to the fibre quality and the Glycemic Index. With fats a good rule of thumb is to try and stay away from Tran Saturated fats (fast food etc) and consume Monosaturated (Avocado, nuts and their butters, olive oil) and Healthy Saturated fats (Coconut/macadamia nut oils, grass fed animal fats) wherever possible.
HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT – MEAL PREP
Having a structured and well-planned diet is critical to success, whatever your fitness goals – be it strength and performance gains to compete in the Olympics or optimal body composition to look good on the beach.
What is Meal Prep?
Meal prep is exactly what it says on the tin – preparing your meals for the day or week ahead, to enable you to consistently meet your fitness and performance goals.
Now it’s all about planning your three, four or five meals a day, along with snacks and post-workout nutrition, to hit your macronutrient targets.
So this means taking your 300g of carbs, 180g of protein and 60g of fat (or whatever those measurements are for you) and dividing it between all your daily meals – ensuring that you’re getting a steady supply of quality protein throughout the day from your meals, while utilising your carbohydrate and fat intake at the right times for maximum impact.
Meal prep then, in its most essential form, is consistently preparing every meal, with the right amounts of macronutrients to ensure your food is there exactly when you need it – boxed up and ready to go. This prevents you from straying off course with sub-optimal convenience food and keeps you on track to meet your fitness goals.
Nothing was ever achieved through guesswork alone. Having a clear goal, and then a solid plan to get you there, will invariably yield results – whether that’s smashing a squat PB, losing 10lbs or finally getting a shredded six pack.
Ultimately, prepping your meals brings consistency. If every meal is pre-planned, has the exact macros your body needs, and is ready to go whenever you need it, you will steadily progress towards your goals.
It stops you veering off course and prevents you from falling back on convenience food or eating to satiate hunger and cravings, which can easily make you overshoot your calorie targets and dent your progress.
Proper regimented prep ensures you’re getting the right macronutrients in the right amounts:
- Enough protein to support muscle growth and tissue repair,
- The right amount of carbohydrate to support performance and replenish muscle glycogen
- The right amount of fat for vital functions like hormone production.
Having quality, nutrient-rich whole foods on-hand means your body is getting a constant supply of the right macro- and micro nutrients it needs to function optimally. A properly planned diet can keep your metabolic hormones and blood sugar levels balanced and stable – so no more spikes and crashes, just constant energy to help you perform at your best in the gym and be at your most productive and creative at work.
In that sense, getting your nutrition right can be life-changing.
The combination of the above points will help you to optimise your health, performance and body.