3 Easy Strategies for Fat Loss
Fat loss can often seem like an arduous task, and there are a lot of ways to go about losing weight. However, as is common in the fitness industry, people can often make this sound more complicated than it needs to be.
While it can be beneficial to be aware of things like calorie intake, macros, meal frequency, and lots of other good information, knowledge by itself does not cause behavior change.
If most of these topics are overwhelming for you, or even if you’re quite familiar with them, it’s good to remember that we don’t really eat calories and macros, we eat food! Different foods can be described in terms of calories and macros, but that doesn’t tell us much about your habits.
Think about points in a football game. The scoreboard can reflect the strategies and tactics taken by the players on the field, but the only way you can score is using the right plays. If you don’t have a playbook, you’re probably not gonna score! We’re gonna provide you with three solid plays that you can put into practice as you work towards losing fat.
1. One Plate Per Meal
First, stick to one plate per meal. Often without even thinking about it, we find ourselves going for seconds if we have the option. What this can inevitably lead to is a whole lot of calories unaccounted for that may put you outside your calorie deficit. For example, if you go for a second bowl of spaghetti and meatballs at the church potluck, tempting as it may sound, your dinner is now 1,400 calories instead of 700.
So much of this behavior has to do with your food environment. With the potluck example, there are a lot of incentives that motivate you to go for seconds. First is just the abundance of food at your disposal which isn’t a normal occurrence for most people. Smelling all that tasty food as it beckons you from the long table can be tough!
Not only that, but everybody else around you is going for seconds too! Like many other behaviors, eating in groups has a large social component. You don’t want to feel left out as everyone else is chowing down around you!
This is probably something you’ve experienced before. Even if you had a meal shortly before meeting up with some friends at a restaurant, once they order, and you see the waiter bringing those steaming plates to the table, you’ll probably catch yourself changing your mind.
While most of these examples are outliers to everyday life, you can see how important your food environment is in relation to your fat loss goals.
So if you’re going to stick to one plate per meal, then you want to make sure that the meal has all the calories and macronutrients you need. A pretty even spread of a protein, some kind of carbohydrate, and some fruit or vegetables is a great place to start. Once you finish your meal, you’re done!
If your meals contain a balance of these basic building blocks, after a while, you’ll find that you’re not quite as hungry as you used to be.
When you regularly consume high amounts of protein and fiber, your satiety increases so that you feel fuller for longer. With any diet for fat loss in mind, it’s important to select foods that are lower in calories compared to how full they make you feel after a meal.
From a behavioral standpoint, once all of your calories come from predictable meals that can all be accounted for, changes in weight are not so mysterious. So if you notice after a few weeks that you stop losing weight and hit a plateau, then all you have to do is modify food selection and portion sizes from your meals. This would be a lot more difficult if you had to factor in all those times you went for seconds.
2. Cut Out The “Ands”
Secondly, cut out the “ands” in your diet.
For example, Having a bowl of oatmeal and some eggs for breakfast, AND a doughnut from the break room when I get to work. A grilled chicken sandwich with a salad for lunch, AND a bag of chips.
Just like the concept of going back for seconds, all of these extra “ands” can be behavioral knee-jerk reactions that we don’t even think about. They can quickly turn into hundreds and hundreds of extra calories that prevent you from continuing to lose fat.
For all you snackers in our readership, keep in mind that this isn’t a universal law of nature! Having small snacks during the day can be a part of a healthy diet that allows you to lose fat. Snacking and fat loss are not mutually exclusive. It’s mindless snacking that can often upend your fat loss goals. Especially if your lack of fat loss is a mystery to you.
Simply cutting out that extra fluff from your diet can do a majority of the work for you. What you will find is that once you cut out these “ands”, then your meals can be slightly larger while not being as calorically dense as your snacks.
If we’re totally honest with ourselves, the foods that we turn to for snacking are usually highly palatable foods. Most of these are highly processed with high amounts of fat, salt, and sugar. You know, the things that make food taste really good!
While none of these things are bad by default, they can become a hindrance to your fat loss goals. The main reason why is because most foods that are highly palatable are also not very satiating. If you think about the last time you slammed down a large order of french fries, it was probably pretty easy! And you could definitely order another if you really wanted to, and you wouldn’t feel very full. However, if you stick to lean protein sources, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables, overeating is a lot harder to do.
If most of your snacks adhere to these types of foods, then you’ll probably be OK. At that point, it just comes down to personal preference and what gets you closer to your goals.
3. Cut Back on Liquid Calories
Lastly, cut back on your liquid calories. Getting your calories from different drinks is an easy way to overconsume. Just like highly palatable snack foods, drinks are not very satiating. If you’ve ever been to a fast food restaurant and ordered a soft drink, and if you’ve gotten refills, that’s an easy few hundred calories just from your drink!
One of the easiest substitutes is to just drink water. Go figure! But there are some other alternatives that might be enjoyable for you and keep you on track.
One is diet soda. Diet soda is an easy alternative to regular soda, they are widely accessible, and can make dietary changes easier. You can still get some of that sweetness in your drink without all the extra calories.
However, whether you include artificially sweetened beverages in your diet, is going to be up to individual preference. On the one hand, they can be very helpful in keeping you on track. On the other hand, they may increase your desire for sugar sweetened beverages. Odds are you know which description fits you, so keep that in mind.
Another great option is sparkling water. A lot of the satisfaction that comes from drinking soda is the bubbles! Many of them come in different flavors but don’t have any added sweeteners or calories. If diet sodas aren’t your thing, but you still want a cold fizzy drink to sip on, this might be a great option for you.
You may have noticed that all of these suggestions share one thing in common: cut back on mindless calories.
These tend to be the greatest source of confusion when you’ve tried everything and you can’t seem to lose any weight. No matter how hard you try to eat balanced meals, it’s all of the extra stuff in between that can make or break your progress. Over the course of a day, you may mindlessly consume 1000 extra calories. That doesn’t leave much left over for when it’s time to eat!
By exercising a little bit of mindfulness, you may find that weight loss is easier to attain than you think. While it does take some work, and you do have to make some adult decisions regarding your diet, these sources of extra calories tend to be the lowest hanging fruit.
If you’ve been struggling to continue your fat loss journey, then try out some of the strategies. With these plays in mind, let the fat loss games begin!