Weight loss vs Fat loss and 3 of the best ways to startJan 10, 2022
It's January. Cue the influx on social media, advertising, TV, magazines - of weight loss magic. So I'm putting this out there to help you stay balanced and hopefully avoid this year's newest fads (that don't have your long term health in mind!).
Firstly, let's get clear on the concept - people want fat loss specifically, not weight loss. Weight loss might look like loss of fluids/dehydration, loss of muscle mass, malnourishment, illness - none of which are optimal for health.
Case study after case study of before and after stories and images flood our screens - but these alone don't tell us anything about the person's well-being!
Next - fat loss can't be spot reduced - you can't (without surgery) lose fat from one specific chosen area of your body - each body will lose fat differently. Doing more crunches doesn't equal fat loss on your tummy.
Weight loss (/fat loss!) programmes use the concept of energy expenditure over time to create a calorie deficit. Meaning what your body uses is more than what it consumes.
Fat loss behaviours don't all have an equal effect on fat loss, and we can only impact SOME of the factors - food, exercise, stress management and sleep for instance, we have more control over. Genetics, hormones, injury/illness, body shape - we have less/no control over. Some have bigger impact on our ability to lose fat than others - and each of us will experience this differently.
So here's my top 3 tips if fat loss is your goal:
- Prioritise sleep - most people think that diet and exercise should be the first priority, but both of these become easier and more effective if you prioritise good quality sleep.
Evidence shows our daily choices change if we're sleep-deprived - we snack more, eat more convenience food, and reach for the sugars to give us a boost. Exercise is less effective - in both how hard it feels and how hard we work. Aim for 7-8 hours, either by getting to bed earlier, improving sleep routine, reducing caffeine after lunch, switching off screens and bright lights in the hours before bed.
- Don't obsess over which diet, which macronutrient ratios, which specific foods - this all takes up too much mental energy when aiming for calorie deficit which makes it HARD. It doesn't matter where the deficit comes from, the important thing is that you can maintain it, so simple, smaller changes are more effective.
It is a good idea to know which foods offer high nutrient value and which ones offer lower calorie options but you can lose weight and still eat chocolate if you want to so try to keep your rules really simple, less restrictive and you'll avoid the cravings and binges
- Ditch the cardio (if you don't love it!) - running is a popular choice for weight loss, but it isn't an ideal starting place for many people. It's a high effort and high impact activity which increases fatigue, people often consume more calories after a run, and move less throughout the rest of the day, which is counter productive.
Instead try strength training 2-4 times each week, using weights, body weight, resistance bands, or items around the house. You can find a simple programme online (the simpler the better, as you will perform the exercises better). Examples are squats, press ups, lunges, weighted punches.
But really, which exercise??
People worry way too much about which exercise is best, instead of creating some strong daily movement habits. Getting 10,000 steps daily is more important than any form of exercise session, as is doing something that you enjoy and that fits into your life right now, because an exercise session has a relatively small impact on your overall daily energy expenditure (about 5% of total energy used) - and many people quit after a few weeks. Consistency is QUEEN!!
P.S I can also help you with a 121 session
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