Google “fat loss” and you will be inundated with information on unpleasant-sounding diets, obscenely difficult workouts or potentially harmful supplements. The one thing you won’t get a lot of is sensible, simple, easy to follow tips for losing fat! In this article I want to buck that trend by skipping all the “lose 20-lbs NOW!” hyperbole and giving you some tried-in-the-trenches tips for losing fat easily, simply and cheaply.
Tip one – eat more protein
Every day your body uses calories for energy and the greater your metabolic rate, the more calories you will burn. If your calorie intake exceeds your metabolic requirements, you will gain fat but if you eat less than your metabolic needs, you will use body fat for energy. Exercise and physical activity in general will raise your metabolic rate but so too will eating protein. Protein, foods like chicken, fish, beef and eggs, has a high thermal effect. This means that when you eat it, protein increases your metabolic rate in much the same way that a mini-workout will do. Eating protein periodically throughout your day ensures your metabolism remains elevated which will result in easier fat loss. Try to include protein in your three main meals of the day and for even better results, snack on protein rather than fruit or other carb sources.
Tip two – dial back on your carbs
Contrary to what you may have heard, carbs are not inherently bad for you. However, when you eat a lot of carbs, your body produces a hormone called insulin which can inhibit fat burning and promotes fat storage; not what you want when you are trying to develop six-pack abs for the summer. By lowering your carb intake (while increasing your protein intake) you reduce the amount of insulin your body produces which sets the scene for fat burning rather than fat storage. You don’t have to eliminate carbs completely but cutting down on carbs will help prime your body for fat loss.
Tip three – don’t drink your calories
Alcohol, orange juice, soda, coffee with cream and sugar…all these beverages contain a lot of calories in the form of fat and/or sugar. Because fluids do not fill you up like solid foods do, it’s all too easy to consume a lot of calories in liquid form and then eat a lot of food too so that you end up ingesting a very large number of calories. If you want easy fat loss, you should cut out as many calorie-rich beverages as you can and drink more calorie-free ones such as black coffee, green tea and plain old water. Save your calories for when you eat.
Tip four – fill up on fibre
Vegetables, fruit and whole grains contain a lot of fibre. Fibre is an indigestible form of carbohydrate that, for all intents and purposes, has no calories. Fibre is filling, takes time to chew and digest, is good for your intestinal health and keeps you feeling fuller for longer. As well as basing your main meals around protein, make sure you consume plenty of vegetables and, wherever possible, leave the skins on because that’s where you’ll find a lot of the fibre. Choose wild rice over white rice and eat wholemeal pasta and bread rather than the fibre-free white versions. Eating lots of fibrous foods can help prevent overeating as you will feel fuller sooner and for longer and, because they are lower in calories than their low-fibre equivalents, you can eat a good-sized portion of food without ingesting lots of unwanted calories.
Tip five – eat little and often
Every time you eat, your metabolism speeds up. This is because the process of eating, digesting and then eliminating food uses energy. Studies have shown that eating six small meals per day increases your metabolic rate more significantly than fewer, larger meals. Yes; this does mean that you have to be organized, prepare food in advance and even carry food with you when you head off to work or school but this inconvenience pales into insignificance when you see the fat melting from your abdomen as a result. Eat roughly the same amount of food per day but divide it equally across six meals to maximize your fat burning potential.
Bonus tip – the perfect fat-burning meal
After reading the other tips, you should now have a pretty good idea of what sorts of foods you should be eating to lose fat. In an effort to make things even clearer for you, here is an example of what to put on your plate when you are eating for fat loss…
Grilled chicken breast (protein – tip 1)
Large portion of oven-roasted mixed vegetables (fibre – tip 4)
Small portion of wild rice (carbs – tip 2)
Water with freshly squeezed lemon juice (calorie-free beverage – tip 3)
Eat four to six meals a day that follow this framework (meal frequency – tip 5) and easy, uncomplicated weight loss will be the result.