If your goal is fat loss, the first step is all about establishing your start point. This involves taking measurements such as your body weight, your waist circumference, and pictures. These will be your metrics when it comes to measuring your progression. Losing body fat is going to involve a change in certain habits which will take time, it is not going to be an overnight process.
If you are somebody who has little experience with fat loss and you have a lot of body fat to lose, you will be better served making small adjustments to your current lifestyle, rather than drastic ones. Avoid completely cutting out food groups or trying to go to the gym every single day.
Smaller changes such as going on one walk per day, beginning to track your calories, or eating out of smaller bowls/plates would be your best bet.
The most basic principle of fat loss is to create a calorie deficit. This is also known as a negative energy balance. Body fat is just stored energy, so for us to release this stored energy, you need to expend more calories than you are consuming.
How can I ensure I am in a calorie deficit?
Before you can start to reduce your calorie intake to lose fat, you need to find out how many calories you are consuming to maintain your current weight. One way to do this is by eating as you normally would for a week and track your calorie intake. Every snack, drink, food you pick at. All of it. Weighing yourself fasted each morning alongside this.
If through the week your body weight stayed relatively the same, this means you are at maintenance calories. From this point on, all you would need to do is set a calorie goal below your maintenance, for example 300, and go from there.
Things to consider when entering a calorie deficit:
Prioritising weight training
Weight training plays an important role in maintaining/building muscle mass. During a fat loss phase, you do not want to lose muscle. This is associated with poorer health outcomes. Although not the primary goal of weight training, it does also provide calorie expenditure, which contributes to placing you in a calorie deficit.
Tracking your data
Tracking data is going to be crucial in measuring your progress. It will also let you know when adjustments need to be made. For example, weighing yourself daily would be wise to then calculate an average for each week. Based on those averages, you can make changes! Visually, progress photos will also show you that changes are happening to your physique. For most, tracking your calories using an app such as MyFitnessPal would also be wise.
Increasing your NEAT
NEAT is non exercise activity thermogenesis: which is how much energy your body is burning from non-exercise related activities. You can do things like walk more, let us say you drive to work, you can park a bit further down the carpark to get a bit more walking each day than you normally would. Or you can take the stairs instead of the lift. NEAT plays a more significant role in energy expenditure than going to the gym does.
Eating a balanced diet/avoiding quick fads.
You do not need to turn your life upside down and avoid certain food groups. However, you will need to make compromises to your diet if you want to make progress. Instead of 3 courses, have two. Instead of fast food over the weekend, make your own food. Include more vegetables in your meals and have a consideration for your protein intake.
Get enough sleep
Make sure you are sleeping enough every night, as sleep plays an important role in stress management and the regulation of hormones involved in appetite. Getting enough sleep is an important aspect of any weight loss program and can help to support overall health and well-being. The general recommendation is 7-8 hours, but this can vary depending on the individual.
Try this formula: your body weight in kg x 0.033. This will give you a rough estimate of how much water to drink daily, which is crucial for normal body function. Dehydration can be detrimental to your joints, muscles, and energy levels.
Losing fat is no easy feat, but it is achievable with consistent effort and commitment. It requires a consideration of your diet, regular exercise, and lifestyle changes that promote overall health and well-being. It is important to remember that losing fat is not just about achieving a certain body shape or size, but also about improving your health and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
To lose fat effectively, it is important to set realistic goals, track your progress, and stay consistent despite fluctuations in motivation. Remember to focus on making sustainable changes to your lifestyle rather than relying on quick fixes or fad diets. With patience, determination, and a positive attitude, you can achieve your desired level of fitness and enjoy the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle.