I think when it comes to losing weight, the majority of people do so with the goal of losing fat. Of shedding all the excess pounds and uncovering a lean and slimmer form. I thought this way – every single time I started a new diet – this is what I wanted. Hoped for. Dreamed of.
I can tell you that after twenty years of serial dieting that I had a few brief shining moments where I thought I had achieved success in that quest to shed the fat. I can also tell you that each time I thought I had, I lost patience with the diet and then went back to eating ‘normally’. Once I was back to eating as I had before the diet, I regained all the weight I lost – plus more. Not fun and not great for the self esteem.
Two years ago I went in a different direction than the fad diets I had frequently followed in my younger years. I chose to focus on my health over trying to simply lose weight. To be even more honest, my goal was to be strong. I love Marvel movies so I have to admit Black Widow was my inspiration. Skinny just didn’t appeal. I wanted to be able to kick ass.
I followed a regimen that included a healthy amount of calories, regular workouts and healthy vitamins and supplements. I worked with a nutritionist and he helped me to get even further off the fad diet train by teaching me about macros and encouraging me to give up foods or beverages with chemicals in them. I listened, I learned and my body got both healthier and stronger.
Two years later, I am still working hard at transforming my body but I have learned that it’s a work in progress. I will always be investing time and effort into my body so that it is healthy & strong. I have lost over 20% of my body fat and that to me, is significantly more important than scale weight.
Based on my healthy approach to losing weight, here is what I learned about successful fat loss:
1) You Need to EAT to Lose Weight: Yes, you read that right. You need to eat a healthy amount of calories every day. Extreme calorie deficits not only aren’t sustainable but they stress your body out and cause your metabolism to stall. Fad diets encourage this kind of eating and the tough part is when you quit a fad diet and start eating normally, your metabolism isn’t working effieciently so you end up packing on not just more weight, but mostly extra fat.
2) Think Quality just as much as Quantity: The quality of foods that you consume matters just as much as the quantity – maybe more. Eating whole foods and avoiding processed/frozen/fast foods will make a difference not only in how satisfied you are after meals but in how healthy your body becomes.
3) Workout Consistently: We all start somewhere so choose an activity you like, that gets you active, and get moving three times a week. Once you start to get more fit, change up your activity and start adding 1-2 sessions of weight lifting to your schedule. I can tell you without a doubt that by adding strength training to your activity that you really build lean muscle mass and shed fat. Even better is that by building that muscle, your metabolism will run better and you will burn more calories, even at rest. If you don’t know how to add strength training to your workouts, working with a personal trainer is beneficial. This way you learn proper form and technique and minimize the risk of injury.
4) Nourish your Body: Adding supplements and vitamins to your regimen is important to long term health. Look for high quality supplements, vitamins, protein powders etc. You want quality products with minimal fillers or additives. For my recommendations, send me a message.
5) Cut out Sugar & Chemicals: Lots of sugar found in treats, carbs and processed foods make you tired and can add a lot of fat to your body. To lose fat, take these foods out of your diet as much as possible. You still need carbs but add complex carbs to your diet (for a list of good carbs click here) to ensure that you not only lose weight but add muscle too. In terms of chemicals, they are found in sweeteners, ‘diet’ foods or ‘low fat’, ‘sugar free’ products that people often turn to on a diet. They are also found in pop – even diet pop – and our bodies literally don’t know how to process them. Chemicals act as a poison in our bodies, causing cravings for sweets or physiological problems like headaches/stomach problems or worse.
So, in a nutshell shedding fat isn’t a quick fix but it IS achievable. You won’t get there on a fad diet but with a healthy lifestyle, there is no reason why you can’t become the leanest, healthiest version of yourself.