The world of fat loss can be incredibly overwhelming, confusing and often contradictory. This is partly due to the fact that people like to complicate things, so they sound more impressive, but it’s also down to the fact that so many people are looking for a quick fix or a short cut in order to lose body fat, fast.
So in this post I want to address two things that I feel are common mistakes in a quest to drop body fat, as well as a few things you can do to ensure your fat loss journey is more enjoyable, realistic and most importantly healthy and sustainable.
1) Yo Yo Dieting
Most diets out there are simply encouraging you to implement a calorie deficit in order to lose weight and possibly an attachment to a product that is making someone else a LOT of money. It’s easy to believe there is a “diet’ out there for you and keep hunting for the golden ticket but the truth is you’re wasting your time!
Most diets work initially, you cut calories drastically, lose a lot of water, motivation is high, you exercise more and it’s easy to commit as everything is new and exciting territory. However, reality kicks in when your mind and body adjust to the situation. Not only are you feeling bored and deprived, your metabolism will often slow down massively (to protect your from starvation), your energy levels slump and your thyroid starts to take a beating – you develop insatiable cravings because your body is lacking so many nutrients and calories it just wants you to eat more and more. You are pretty much at war with your body and it’s natural instinct which inevitably lead to a major f*%$ it moment and you go off the rails.
At this stage that you pile the weight back on and fast, normally more than you had to lose pre-diet because your metabolism is geared up to storing more fat and rescuing you from this apparent famine you’ve just subjected it to. Now that you understand this hopefully you can understand how most fad ‘diet’ methods will not bring you sustainable results and are certainly not advised by us when working with clients or on our online plans. Calories matter of course but usually the quality and source of those calories is where you can make a real difference when it comes to fat loss. In fact many of our clients – especially women but men too – often lose body fat when we increase their calorie intake and actually get them to train a little less. I say women because they are far more likely to follow the ‘I must eat less, must train more’ mantra. Whereas us dudes just lift weights and think everything else will just take care of itself 🙂 I’m generalising but you get the picture!
Fat loss is about finding a sustainable solution, you have to find a nutrition, training and lifestyle plan that you can see yourself doing in 10 years time because you enjoy the food, love the exercise and feel happy, healthy and energised making those lifestyle changes. I like to think we’ve nailed with Fat Loss Kickstarter but then of course I would 😉
2) Not Sleeping Enough
I have always said that sleep is the mac daddy of fat loss yet so many people under utilise this awesome fat burning tool. People are so focused on training and nutrition (which is great), but they almost completely ignore major lifestyle factors such as those mentioned above. The mainstream media will lead you to believe that fat loss is all about food and exercise but healthy and sustainable fat loss actually looks at the bigger picture.
When we sleep our body detoxifies, burns fats, secretes growth hormone and replenishes and repairs those hard working muscles. If you have a fat loss goal here are few things to consider:
A) Lack of sleep down regulates your metabolism. So you wake up with your body ready to burn less calories than it would with longer sleep.
B) Lack of sleep down regulates leptin. Leptin is the hormone that tells you that you have enough body fat. So if this is down regulated chances are you will eat more than you need to as your body things you need more calories!
C) Lack of sleep up regulates ghrelin. Ghrelin is the hormone responsible for appetite. Ever noticed that when you have a bad nights sleep you feel pretty ravenous the following day? Well now you know why.
As you can imagine the above combo is no recipe for fat loss. Plus reduced sleep comes with reduced energy, which means you are less efficient in the gym! Also not a good thing when you have a fat loss goal.
So what is the solution? Well in short:
1. Eat enough calories to support your training, energy and hormone function.
2. Start with a small deficit and increase the deficit gradually.
3. Make sleep a priority and do it as often is possible.
4. Smile and laugh as much as you can.
We cover all this in much more detail in our Fat Loss Kickstarter online plan but here’s the big take away I want you to remember. Fat loss is a lot less complicated than people make out, not to mention more enjoyable!