Put your hand up if you're trying to burn fat, but it's not going so well.
Lots of hands. Ok...
Now, put your hand up if your nutrition strategy is to "try and eat better."
*All the same hands go up*
Just what I thought.
If you put your hand up, you're not alone. Most people struggle to get lean. But it's no coincidence that the same people who struggle are also the ones who's entire strategy is to "try and eat better."
The question is, why is simply "eating better" such a poor strategy? I mean, if you eat healthier food, you should lose fat, right?
The problem is, the strategy is so poorly defined, there's no way to measure whether or not you're actually doing it.
What does "eating better" really mean?
How much junk?
What's considered junk?
What foods will you be eating instead?
There are too many questions left unanswered, which means you have too much room to eat whatever you'd like and easily convince yourself that you're "eating better."
What you need is a clearly defined restriction.
It needs to be clearly defined so you know exactly whether or not you're following your strategy.
And it needs to be a restriction because, despite what we all wish were true, in order to lose fat we need to eat fewer calories.
How exactly you achieve this? This is what we're covering today.
Here are 3 clearly defined strategies to take your fat loss to the next level.
At the end of the day, fat loss comes down to energy balance.
Put another way, it's about the calories coming in (via your mouth) vs the calories going out (via exercise, metabolism, and daily life).
To burn fat, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. How many you should eat depends on the person, but generally speaking, 300-500 below what you'd need to maintain your body weight is a good target.
One of the most effective ways to make sure you're eating the right amount of calories is to track your meals.
Now, I know this sounds like a pain in the ass, but it's actually a short cut. Apps like MyFitnessPal make it fast and easy. And it beats the hell out of the frustration caused by mediocre results.
Click here to learn more about the importance of energy balance for fat loss: 7 Nutrition Myths You Need to Know
One more note: If you're going to track calories, you might as well track protein.
Eating enough protein is challenging, but it's an absolute game changer when it comes to transforming your body.
It's going to...
Learn more about how protein will change the entire game here: How to Add a Massive Edge to Your Fat Loss Nutrition.
We went over this strategy a couple posts ago. But I'm mentioning it again because it works and it's worth mentioning again.
Here's a solid intermittent fasting strategy in a nutshell:
So, you eat two meals each day, which means those meals can be huge, while still not over eating.
For example, if your goal is to eat 1600 calorie/ day, each of your meals will be 800 calories. Those are big, satisfying meals, which makes it easier to stay on track.
You also eliminate snacking, which means you eliminate mindless grazing.
And finally, the black coffee in the morning will blunt your appetite, making it easier to push back your first meal by a few hours.
Go Low Carb
I almost hate to include this one.
Not because it's not a viable strategy.
But the last thing I want to do is feed into the idea that carbs are in any way "bad."
But, the fact is, reducing carb intake makes it harder to overeat.
Carbs, particularly processed ones, tend to spark hunger and cravings. By reducing them, and replacing them with fat and protein, blood sugar stabilizes, and so does hunger and cravings along with it.
Do carbs make you fat? No.
More on that here: Why Carbohydrates Aren't as Bad as You Think
But they should be used as a tool. Here are a couple considerations when choosing your carbs:
1) Keep the sources high-quality- Things like fruit, veggies, potatoes/sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and rice are a great way to go.
2) Eat them at the right time- if you're going to eat carbs, eat a good chunk of them in the meal following your workouts, when your body is primed to use them for recovery and muscle-building purposes.
Now, here's the real 'magic' behind eating low carb...
By reducing your carb intake, you eat less junk food and more protein by default. And that is a gigantic step in the right direction.
So, to summarize, carbs aren't bad. But reducing them is a viable fat loss strategy that will work for many.
Now, you can do all of these strategies if you like. Or you can do just one.
What really matters here is, your fat loss strategy moves from...
"I'm just trying to eat better."
To a clearly defined strategy.
This shift will make all the difference.