My clients laugh at me when I tell them I got to lose some weight. I'm about 195 pounds and six foot two. What they don't know is that I'll fluctuate anywhere from 185 pounds to 210 pounds. After I put on muscle mass, I need to lose fat.
And, as every knows, the hardest weight to lose is that last 5 or 10 pounds, right? I'll be honest with you, I prefer to lose fat instead of gaining muscle, and it's not because of my metabolism. I've had to learn from experience to be patient, realistic, and strategic about my fat loss. Here are my top seven strategies.
I just put a salad bar in my kitchen to simplify things for my fat loss efforts.
1. Have at least one fruit or veggies (or both) with each meal.
I don't care if my clients have the same fruit or vegetable at every meal. I just want them to get them in. I personally have two to three total with every meal. I've noticed the more you have, the easier it is to have more at each meal.
2. Have a pure protein source with every meal.
This can be yogurt, beef, seafood, whey protein, wild game, chicken, eggs (with not too many yolks because it can get pretty fatty), or whatever else has a lot of protein and not too much carbs or fat.
Also, having a sandwich with two thin slices of ham does not count as a pure protein. It's literally like 5 grams of pure protein. I highly recommend at least 20 grams of a pure protein at each meal regardless if you're a man or woman. Nuts are not a pure protein even if it's peanut butter or almonds. Nuts have much more fat calories compared to protein calories.
3. Don’t get in too much fat.
Healthy fats are great like olive oil, cooking sprays, some butter, fish oil, nuts, and seeds, but you really have to watch the amount you use. If you eat low-carb, you definitely need to watch how much fat you consume.
I personally use a food scale to measure my foods, but you don't have to. Typically, a thumb portion of fat is appropriate.
4. Minimize the In-Between Foods.
I define “in-between foods” as breaded chicken strips, restaurant meals, "healthy" microwave meals, "healthy" fast food meals, protein bars, etc. These are meals which seem okay, but they often contain too many processed ingredients, not enough protein, too much fat, and not enough whole food nutrients.
5. Have a plan, template, or calorie count.
Obviously, you need to have some plan to lose weight. However, I find that without writing down what you eat, calorie counting, or having some template, it's easy to fall apart.
I really like the Precision Nutrition Online Program which I offer. Heck, even with most of my clients who I work with personally, I still have them do this program.
6. Be Slow
You should want to shoot for slow weight loss. Maybe not at first, but eventually, all weight loss should slow down.
This is to your advantage. If you take it slow, your body in the long run will have a much easier time adapting to your new weight. There is a world of difference in losing 100 pounds in two months, and losing it in two years. It'll be nearly impossible to keep 100 pounds off if you lost it in two months because your body set point is still set so high.
A body weight set point is simply where your body prefers to eat at. The only way to change this is by eating at the same level over a long period of time. And, if you don't eat gradually, it will be much harder to keep the weight off.
You know the old adage, "it's a lot easier losing the weight than keeping it off."
7. Maintain When You Need To
I have a client who lost over 50 pounds at the end of the last fall school year through the summer. Knowing he would be going back to school, and get very busy, he realized he could maintain his weight loss by continuing to eat well and get in whatever exercise he could.
Here's the reality. It is far more difficult to choose the goal of "I will maintain" than the goal "I will continue to lose weight."
However, maintenance is a very-appropriate goal at times and people should be proud that they maintained their progress. The flip side is that if you expect to lose weight, and you are not, you are a failure in your own mind. You'll also likely revert back to old habits.
Whenever I am trying to get under 10% body fat, I need to eat at a maintenance level every three to five days. When I do this, I feel normal. However, if you have me go for a week or two, you will oddly appear to be edible if I'm training you. The lower your body fat percentage goes, the more "maintenance" breaks you will need.
Fat loss can be manageable. By making sure are not cheating yourself with too many "in-between meals", and getting in enough high-quality proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, you'll do well.
Please make sure you have an appropriate goal for your lifestyle. If you just had a pair of twins, have a demanding job, and had the in-laws move in to help, please don't add in the extra stress of "losing fat" into the mix.