I was going to be like everyone else and name this ‘advanced fat loss strategies’ to grab more attention, but I felt like a fraud. There are no ‘advanced’ fat loss strategies & you should never seek to find them. You always want to keep fat loss as simple as possible so it’s as easy as possible. The more advanced you make something, the more difficult you’re going to make it.
So, here we go - 8 strategies I use with my clients. I also use all of these strategies myself (other than #3, but I’ll explain that as I go).
1 - Increasing protein intake
Aiming to increase your protein intake is going to make you think just that little more about your food choices. This action in itself can have a huge impact on your nutrition. It’s pretty hard to increase your protein intake if all you’re eating is crisps & biscuits after all. All it takes is 1 small action for change, in this case, it’s as simple as ditching your cereal for some eggs at breakfast.
Being mindful of what you’re eating isn’t all protein has to offer, consuming protein is pretty special when it comes to fat loss for 3 main reasons
1. Protein is the most filling nutrient, increasing your protein intake will help keep you feeling fuller & for longer. Not a bad combo when on a diet, eh?
2. Thermic effect of food (TEF) - your body literally burns calories just digesting & using protein. Yep that’s right, you’re burning calories by eating food.
3. Muscle - protein will help build & preserve muscle mass, allowing your body to focus on burning fat for fuel.
2 - Eating a high protein & fibre rich breakfast
The problem with the modern day breakfast is that the majority of breakfasts I see are extremely high in simple carbs (sugars), low in fibre & certainly low in protein. The trio of problems above are screaming for a mid-morning slump & you guessed it, the sudden urge to eat at 10am.
Protein is the main concern here, as it will help keep you feeling the most satisfied, for the longest. Fibre will also help to keep you feeling full until lunch, but not only that - by increasing your fibre intake you’ll often instantly improve the quality of your carb source (think swapping cornflakes for porridge).
3 - Intermittent fasting (or skipping breakfast)
There is no real magic to intermittent fasting in terms of fat loss (regardless of what you have read) so if you love breakfast like I do, you should probably skip this one.
If you don’t like breakfast, intermittent fasting can be a great idea. Let’s say you set your eating window to 12pm-8pm, this can naturally decrease your calories as you have less time in the day to eat them. That’s the magic, nothing more. Maybe you’ll skip your 400 calorie breakfast & 300 calorie pre-bed snack, that’s a whopping 700 calorie per day you’re saving.
There are many studies that would show that you must eat breakfast. Often these studies can be a little misleading.
An example of this would be something like ‘studies show those that skip breakfast, tend to be more overweight than those that do not’ which may be true. But this isn’t because of breakfast at all. This is simply because people who skip breakfast often have poorer eating habits generally than those that eat breakfast. They also tend to drink more, smoke more & exercise less. So it’s not skipping breakfast that’s making them overweight, it’s their general care for wellbeing.
4 - Getting enough sleep
So technically, a bad night’s sleep isn’t going to make you wake up 3lbs heavier. But, there are in fact 4 ways that it can affect your calories in vs calories out. So it’s a much bigger deal than people realise in terms of weight loss when you have a poor night’s sleep
Hormones – there are 2 hormones that help to control your appetite. Leptin (tells your body you’re full) & Ghrelin (tells your body you’re hungry). When we have a poor night’s sleep, our leptin is reduced & our ghrelin increases (a terrible duo for weight loss).
Decision making – A poor night’s sleep will affect your decision making skills. Combine this with already feeling hungrier & you can see 3 biscuits seem more appealing than just 1
Reward hungry brain – your brain feels foggy, it’s desperate to feel good again. Guess what your brain knows makes it feel good? Calorie dense, highly palatable foods. Combine this with feeling hungry & making poor decisions & you’ve suddenly got a takeaway being delivered on a Tuesday.
Energy reserving – so not only are you eating more, but your tired brain will be doing everything it can for you to reserve energy. This can be something as small as sitting down rather than standing or completely dodging the gym that night (potentially for the takeaway mentioned above.
5 - Setting time aside for eating
Stop eating whilst working. Stop eating in front of the TV. Enjoy your food. You’re in a phase of calorie restriction; food has suddenly become that little more precious. Don’t waste it by not even thinking about it.
Sitting down to enjoy your food has been shown time & time again that not only will you eat slower, but you will also be much more satisfied at the end of the meal.
6 - Use calorie cycling to your advantage
You don’t need to hit your calorie target perfectly every single day. Think of your target as a weekly target. For example if you have a 2000 calorie per day target, that’s 14000 per week. If you know you’ve got a big weekend coming up, maybe drop your calories to 1800 mon-fri & you suddenly have an extra 1000 to use over the weekend.
My only advice to using this tactic is to respect it. Don’t just drop your calories every day so you can purposefully binge over the weekend. Save it for when you actually need it. Doing it ALL of the time can lead to an accidental binge over the weekend that would have been avoided by simply eating more each day during the week.
Check out my latest Instagram post I did on just this subject here
7 - Drink plenty of water, tea, coffee & some diet drinks
Water is free, it’s essential for survival and most importantly? It helps keep you feeling fuller for longer for the expensive of zero calories. Personally I think fizzy, sugar free flavoured water to be a god send.
Tea & coffee can be that little boost that you need to get you through a busy day. Just be careful of adding too much sugar/milk. Aim to keep your coffees regular (not lattes etc) & use sweeteners instead of sugar when possible.
Diet drinks can be exactly what you need on a diet. A nice little boost of sweetness can go a long way when you have a craving. Oh & zero calories. What’s better than that?
If you’re worried about zero drinks check out my article here on just the subject
8 - Focus on increasing your activity outside of the gym
Simply going to the gym 3 x per week isn’t going to make a significant dint in your calorie burning. The gym should be used to build muscle, increase performance & improve health.
There are 168 hours in a week, ~3 of which you spend in the gym. The other 165 are equally, if not more important in terms of burning calories.
I’m not saying go for a run every day. But what I am saying is stand up more, take the stairs occasionally, park further away from work or get off the bus a stop early. Nothing crazy, just small things that are easily achieved with minimum effort on your behalf.
Set yourself a step target, something realistic. Don't aim for a certain number just because it sounds good. Did 5000 per day last week? Aim for 6000 this week.
If you can burn an extra 200 calories a day doing the above, you could burn 73000 extra per year - that's the equivalent energy of 20.8lbs of fat
If you have any questions about any of the above, please feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org