If you feel like your internal fat burning machine is broken, try implementing the following strategies for easier fat loss.
Do a Cleanse (of Your Kitchen)
If you’re anything like me and love to snack, this is one of the biggest moves you can make to create a better environment for fat loss. Take a look around your kitchen and take note of the foods/drinks/treats that you regularly snack on. Once you’ve identified the culprits,
get rid of them donate them to the less fortunate. Most of us snack out of habit, not hunger. So removing the option to snack out of habit forces you to recognize that you’re not hungry nine times out of ten.
Don’t think your snacking is a problem? Take a look at the 120-calorie example. Let’s say the classic “1 pound of body fat is composed of 3,500 calories” example holds true. (It does, for the most part.) Cutting 120 calories each day for 30 days would result in a 3,600-calorie deficit and roughly one pound of body fat lost. That’s without adding exercise or doing anything else. And who snacks on 120 calories? Most of the time, it’s probably double or triple the calories. Small changes matter.
Go on a Short-Term Liquid Calorie Hiatus
I’m talking about all liquid calories – soda, juice, coffee or tea with cream or sugar, condiments (within reason), and even protein shakes or other supplements. The idea here is to reduce as many hidden calories as possible. You may be surprised at how fast the inconsequential calories add up over the course of your day.
Give this a try for two weeks or so and see what you learn about your liquid intake.
Find Your Why
One of the most powerful exercises for improving your mindset in any area is finding your “why” behind your goal(s). We want to shift our mindset from total pounds lost to the reason(s) we want to accomplish that end result. An example might be:
Goal: To lose twenty pounds in twelve weeks.
Why: I want to lose twenty pounds because I have a family history of diabetes, have struggled with eating my entire life, want to gain confidence, and I have a class reunion in twelve weeks that I would like to look my best for (nothing wrong with vanity reasons here).
What’s going to be a better motivator when times get tough, losing twenty pounds or looking better than Becky at the class reunion?
High-volume eating is a simple concept. You want to eat as much food as possible for as few calories as possible. Whole, unprocessed foods like fruits and vegetables will fit this mold, but they’re not the only options. A giant bowl of sugar-free Jell-O (3 packets prepared) weighs over six pounds, yet it contains 320 calories. I wouldn’t advise eating that much sugar-free Jell-O so here are Five High-Volume Recipes to get you started.
Find an Accountabilibuddy
Maybe it’s pride or our animalistic nature, but the lone wolf mentality is quite often glorified. And while there’s something to be said for independence and resolve, wolves don’t have to worry about fast food, margaritas, and sweet ‘n’ salty snacks. Finding someone to hold you accountable to your goals and call you on your shit will make your fat loss efforts so much easier. Ideally, this person will have similar goals and be on their own fat loss journey so that you can hold each other accountable. That said, it could be anyone who you know will hold you accountable and not let you off the hook.
Note: You could use a fat loss bet or accountability bet where you have to pay that person if you don’t achieve your goal. Using the twenty pounds example from earlier, you could pay your accountabilibuddy $25 for every pound you don’t lose at the end of your 12-week goal. (If you lost 10 pounds, you would owe them $250. This person has to be someone who will make you ante up. Or you could stake the money up front and they pay you back.)
Try Intermittent Fasting or Planning Your Meals Around Your Appetite
Intermittent Fasting (IF) is a nutrition strategy that regulates how often you eat, simply put. It has less to do with what you eat, and more to do with when you eat. A common example would be the 16:8 ratio, in which you fast for 16 hours of the day and consume all of your food within an 8-hour window. You could start/stop your fasting window at any point that suits your schedule and preferences. If you experience more hunger late in the day, your feeding window might look something like 12 PM to 8 PM. Meaning you wouldn’t consume any food between 8 PM and 12 PM the next day.
Who could benefit from Intermittent Fasting?
- If you struggle with snacking or grazing
- If you enjoy eating bigger meals
- If your hunger is strongest at day’s end, causing you to consume most of your calories at dinner/night
- If you don’t want to track calorie/food intake
- If you don’t want to follow any specific diet or style of nutrition
- If you have a sedentary job or don’t move much in the first half of your day (think: student)
- If you’re not hungry in the morning and only eat breakfast because “it’s the most important meal of the day”
- If you have issues with digestion
- If you find yourself less productive or sluggish after eating
Click here to read my full article on Intermittent Fasting and learn more about creating an eating schedule that fits your appetite.
Add Simple, Mini Exercise Bouts
Even if you’re training regularly, most of us could benefit from additional exercise and physical activity. This doesn’t mean start doing two-a-day workouts, only that you can easily incorporate mini-bouts of movement into your day. Here are a few examples:
- Stand up while working
- Take 5 minutes out of every hour to stretch, mobilize, or hit the stairwell
- Walk the dog for 10 extra minutes
- Do 5-10 minutes of stretching or body weight exercises first thing in the morning
- Alternate between an assisted squat and plank for a cumulative total of 5-10 minutes each
Develop a Routine for Your Food Intake
Think about your commute to and from work. Chances are you take the same route each and every day. Why? Because you’ve done it a thousand times, and you know it accomplishes the end result – arriving at work or home. So what if your fat loss diet mirrored that process?
Once you find a strategy that works (think: meals, total calories, eating times, etc.), repeating that consistently will lead to results. It may take some work to initially figure things out but once you do, stick to it and tweak it over time as you burn out on certain foods or lose weight and need to taper calories.
Consistency may be boring, but it produces results.
Stay Away from Temptation
A quick mental audit will show when and where you sabotage your fat loss efforts most often. If you can’t go out to eat without diving into the chips, bread, appetizers, or ordering alcoholic beverages, then you may need to stay away from certain restaurants. That doesn’t mean you have to forego dining out entirely, you’ll simply have to pick restaurants that don’t offer those types of things and/or overprice their drinks. Identifying your weak spots and stay away or save them for special occasions will make the short-term fat loss and sustaining a healthier lifestyle 10x easier.
Use a Coach
The strategies above work, no questions asked. You can implement them and make your fat loss efforts easier right away. The key point is to take action. One of my favorite, cliche sayings is:
No change. No change.
Meaning, unless you take action on the things you’ve learned in this article and every other piece of information you come across, nothing will change except for your knowledge level. Coaching can bridge the gap between desire and action. Having someone who is bought into your success just as much or more than you is a powerful thing. Coaches provide programming, strategies, and knowledge, but more importantly, they provide you with a support system (caring) and the accountability to keep pursuing your goals when you don’t believe in yourself.
If you know what you need to do to achieve your goals but struggle with taking action on those things, I would encourage you to consider working with a coach. And if you do, I happen to know a guy.
Download for Free
Nutrition Made Easy 2.0 contains everything you need to know about nutrition for fitness.