One search online for how to lose fat can bring up thousands of results that offer all kinds of advice – including conflicting information. For instance, you’ll find articles saying you should eat plenty of fat and others will say to avoid fats. Some articles say embrace carbs, while others say avoid carbs entirely.
What’s the truth?
Well, most of the time what seems like conflicting advice is just a matter of different fat loss methods. While it seems like fat loss should be a simple, repeatable formula that works for everyone, it’s actually a little more nuanced.
For instance, your body can burn both fat and carbs for fuel but won’t utilize fat until you limit carb intake. Avoiding carbs is good advice when you’re burning fat for fuel, and limiting fats is good advice for people who aren’t very active.
Beyond that, some fat loss tips are short-sighted and don’t account for the complexities of a person’s goals and conditions that affect metabolism.
However, provided you aren’t suffering from a health condition that disrupts your metabolism, there are some tried-and-true methods to lose fat. The key is to pick one method and stick to it.
- Lift heavy weights
If you’re hitting the gym as part of your fat loss routine, you need to lift heavy weights to burn fat. If you’ve been lifting light weights and performing 20 or more reps per set, your efforts are counterproductive to fat loss. If you’re afraid to lift heavy because you don’t want to get bulky, you don’t have to worry. Bulking up requires eating a specific meal plan in addition to lifting. You can’t gain size without eating.
Lifting light weights increases cortisol production, which suppresses fat-burning testosterone and human growth hormone (HGH). Also, the more muscle you have, the more fat you’ll burn, so increasing your muscle mass helps you burn fat.
Unfortunately, you can’t build muscle by lifting light weights because you’ll never place a heavy enough load on your muscles to cause them to fail and rebuild stronger.
Many people are afraid to eat when they want to lose weight because it seems like eating will be counterproductive. Actually, eating plays an important role in losing fat. While it’s important to maintain a caloric deficit, you don’t want that deficit to drop too low because the less you eat, the slower your metabolism becomes.
As you lose weight by not eating, your metabolism slows down because there’s not much to process. Eventually, your body will get used to this, and your metabolism will remain slow. When you reach your fat loss goal, you’ll start eating more food, and because your metabolism has slowed down, you’ll gain weight even faster.
Provided you still have some fat to lose, not eating much can also make your body store more fat because it will think it’s starving. In starvation mode, your body will hang on to nutrients and burn fewer calories.
The best solution is to consult with a nutritionist to find out what you should be eating based on your goals.
- Change your perception of calories
Shifting your perception of calories will help you lose fat because the common perception of calories is slightly off and can make you feel like you can eat things you shouldn’t eat.
The common perception is that food contains a certain number of calories derived from fat, carbs, and other nutrients. For example, an apple typically contains 95 calories split between sugar (19 g), carbohydrates (25 g), and fiber (4 g). However, this is only partially true.
An apple doesn’t actually contain any calories. Those 95 calories actually happen inside of your body. Those 95 calories are a measurement of the energy your body uses to break down that apple.
You can’t eat a calorie. No matter how many people discuss calories as things that you eat, it’s not true. A calorie isn’t a thing – it’s a unit of measurement on the same level as inches. The reason people refer to calories as edible “things” is because it’s the easiest way to discuss the nutritional value of various foods.
However, when you view calories as something you eat, it’s easy to get stuck “counting calories” in a way that doesn’t serve your fat loss goals. For instance, you might believe you can eat an 800-calorie cake and then go burn 800 calories at the gym and you’re even. However, the 800 calories you burn at the gym won’t be from that cake – you’ll be burning pre-existing fat.
Eating that cake will have an impact greater than just 800 calories. It will also raise your blood sugar for an extended period of time, which will prevent your body from absorbing nutrients and increase your weight gain.
The best way to look at calories is to understand the nutritional profile for everything you eat, specifically macronutrients. Forget about the total number of calories and look at how carbs, fats, fiber, etc. all impact your health. Then you’ll see why eating an 800-calorie nutrient-dense meal is far better than eating an 800-calorie cake.
- Choose a fat loss plan and stick to it
Although you can find hundreds of fat loss plans with fancy names, they’re not all gimmicks. There are different ways to lose weight and each method relies on eating or eliminating certain foods. If you don’t follow the plan, you’ll fail. For example, you can lose weight by burning fat for fuel, or you can choose to burn carbs, but you have to choose one. That’s where pre-made plans come in handy.
For instance, the keto diet generally keeps carbohydrates under 20 grams per day. Once you understand why keto requires low carbohydrates, it’s easier to stick to the plan and get results.
Fat loss is a long-term goal – we can help!
Last but not least, remember that fat loss is a long-term goal. Take your time and go at your own pace. If you can’t do vigorous exercise, you can still get results. Contact us to learn more about our nutritional and fat loss programs tailored to help you meet your goals.
And that is it. Have questions? Let me know on social media. You can click the links here, or just look up Nathan DeMetz Personal Training on Facebook and Instagram.
Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, Utah State University, and the ISSA College of Exercise Science.
Nathan has 20 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.
To work with Nathan directly on your personal training goals, contact him today!