There is nothing in the world as simple than losing fat. So much so that it is hard to imagine a world in which most diseases are curable, dozens of vaccinations exist to immunize people from them, but people have trouble with fat loss. In fact, everyone reading this site already knows how to lose fat, as does every idiot on their couch watching TV. Losing weight (and yes I mean fat) is a result of reducing caloric intake.
We all knew that. Anyone disagreeing on the grounds that calories don’t matter should not be taken seriously. The only difficult part in the equation is how to implement a plan for the reduction of calories. Most of the ambiguity surrounding the issue of weight loss comes from people trying to market a way to help people reduce calories without them noticing it as much. The following guide will be a relatively short outline of how to lose fat, addressing the primary issue of diet and the assistance that exercise provides.
If the name of the game is calorie control, then diet is certainly the largest issue at play. The first step is to determine your approximate caloric need. The best way to do this is to multiply your body weight by 12. So lets use lbs to keep it simple. If you weigh 200lbs, that would be 2400 calories per day (more if you exercise, but on to that later). If anything this is a conservative estimate, which for the purpose of weight loss is very good. Now, we have to figure out a reasonable rate of weight loss.
I think that 1lb/week is very reasonable, although others with less patience may think this isn’t fast enough, I think it’s fine. Since 1lb of fat is 3500 calories, that means we have to reduce consumption by 500 calories per day to accomplish our goal of 1lb per week. So our 200lb man is eating 1900 calories per day. This is it. This is all he has to do. Since we underestimated his caloric needs a bit, if this is all he changes he will lose 30-40lbs of fat in the next 6 months, which could be the transformation from obese to lean. So how does he organize such a diet? Should he go “low carb” or “low fat” or “whole foods” or “the zone” or whatever the flavor of the month is? of course not, these don’t work for anyone.
The Real Secret to Fat Loss
To start with, I am going to reveal the only real secret there is to fat loss. It has nothing to do with calories, carbs, fat or even exercise though. It is a state of mind. You need to go to a mirror and look at yourself and say the following aloud: “I am fat. The reason that I am fat is because I eat too much. If I ate less I wouldn’t be fat.” If you say it and mean it, any diet that you do will be easy, because we all know that no doughnut tastes as good as thin feels. Now that you have the resolve, it’s time to look at exactly what to eat.
My suggestion is generally to stick with whole foods because they are more filling, and not to cut out anything entirely. I will also give a tip for dieters- try skipping breakfast, and eating only during an eight hour window during the day. Most people are not hungry early in the morning and there is never a reason to eat when you aren’t hungry (if you want to lose weight) but be prepared with a READY MADE healthy meal to eat when you do get hungry, like a water packed tuna sandwich on whole wheat with two pieces of fruit and some salad.
Eat a second and third meal at 3-4 hour intervals and once the eight hour window is closed, consume only non-caloric beverages like water. Try to plan your meals in advance, and eat satisfying foods, not low-whatever diet foods because an absence of fats or carbs will make your hungry and likely to binge. At every meal have a source or protein/fats, a source of complex carbs (grains, legumes, etc), and a source of simple carbs (fruits and vegetables). For protein, salmon is very good, but portions need to be watched because of calories. Chicken and turkey are very conventional, but I like brisket, tongue and chopped beef.
The fat is very satisfying and remember that it all comes down to calories so just watch your daily totals. For the complex carbs rice, bread or potatoes are good, and we all know how fruits and vegetables work. Drink plenty of water and eat lots of salad to keep your stomach full. Use vitamins and essential fatty acid supplements to make sure that you meet your RDA’s. If you want a treat, enjoy it in moderation and remember to account for it in your totals. Do not plan cheat days, but if they happen, get back on the wagon and don’t try to atone for them with drastic behaviors, it will only make you crazy.
Once Diet is Under Control
This is how to diet. I know that it sounds simple, but the reason people are fat isn’t because things are too complicated, it’s because they are either lazy, depressed, or in denial of the fact that they are fat. The diet that I described has helped me (and many people I know) to lose weight and keep it off. It isn’t part of a fad and there is no excuse to drop it because of cravings. If you mess up, don’t sweat it and just keep trying.
Exercise is extremely important for general health, but in terms of weight loss it is truly an afterthought compared to diet. Many people make the mistake of exercising too much while on a diet which causes stress and makes people (ironically) turn to food for comfort. Half an hour on a treadmill will burn a maximum of 350 calories, which is comparable to a rich piece of cake or some pizza. If you don’t eat the junk to begin with you get the same benefit with less stress to your body, mind and joints.
Exercise is also much harder than dieting because it involves doing something, whereas dieting is not doing something. It is always harder to do than not do. I don’t think that anyone beginning a weight loss program should introduce exercise until the second or third month, and even then should start out light doing whatever they most enjoy and are most likely to stick to. They should not be concerned about slowed progress because the diet alone will facilitate sufficient weight loss. Weights are always a good idea (once a person is physically and emotionally ready to do serious exercise) though, as they cause the body to burn more calories at rest.
Circuit training is a very time efficient way to train which also has an aerobic benefit for extra calorie burning. Try this circuit (use only machines): Leg Press-Lat Pulldown-Chest Press-Seated Row-Shoulder Press, for three circuits with 30 seconds rest between stations and 2 minutes rest between circuits. Use a 12-15 rep range at weights such that the last circuit you are failing before 15 reps. After this, do one set of Triceps Cable Pushdowns, Standing Calf Raises, and Barbell Curls (free weight) to failure. This can be done up to three times per week on non-consecutive days. It is a half hour workout which even intermediate level trainees can benefit from in terms of strength, endurance and possibly even muscle growth. It is simple but effective.
I hope that this has demystified the issue of weight loss for some people. Remember that if something sounds too good to be true there is always a catch and diet is no exception. The latest method of “tricking the body” or “causing 24 hour fat burn” is always a scam. Although weight loss is simple, no one ever said that it was easy. It is cumulative and takes a long time to reach the end goal. But I promise that if you take my advice, you will make it.
To keep muscle mass when dieting, increase daily protein intake by 150 grams. The core 150 protein shake shaker cup holds 200 grams for supplements, 150 in the compartments and 50 grams in the cup.