Some of you will need to lose weight for surgery.
Some will want or need to lose weight for health reasons.
Others may have decided they want to lose weight for an aesthetic reason.
Whatever your reason, I’m going to break down my keys for you…but first, lets do the initial assessment you should undertake before you even look at my 3 keys, or any other method for that matter!
Wait wait wait. Hold up. Put that sweat-band down and hit the sofa for a minute here. I’m loving the enthusiasm, but we need to work out what you need to do first. We need to work out what the cause of the fat gain is, before we can work on causing fat loss. With me?
The sciency bit is simple: If you eat more calories than you use, your body will store the excess as fat. In essence, that’s it.
In an emergency ward, they triage patients based on their levels of urgency. Similarly, when looking at a project, you do a risk assessment to see what items are urgent. You need to do that with yourself. Going to the gym is rarely the fat loss solution. Shocking, I know. We get fed the idea that the gym is a magic land full of fat-eating Unicorns.
Here’s how we start:
If your aim is fat-loss, then initially start logging what you eat. You need to work out how many calories you are consuming per day vs your total daily energy expeniture (TDEE), and where those calories are coming from. I use a free app called ‘My Fitness Pal’ but there are others, and you can also do it manually.
Now…I know for some of you, even that is daunting. All the fiddly working out how to use the app, and the time to read labels, and the pretending you didn’t just eat what you ate even though only you will see the log (oh yea, I know that one, I like that one too)…so, let me make it easy, I’ll tell you what the main culprits are:
- Fizzy Drinks
- Olive Oil
- Take-out/Ready-meal habits
- Sauce (Ketchup, Mayo, etc)
Have a think about what you consume daily, or in bulk. Are you liberal with the olive oil because you think it’s ‘healthy’? Do you binge drink on a weekend? Are you a chronic cola drinker? All of these items are highly calorific.
For most people, there is at least one item on this list which needs to be addressed. You can reduce, remove or replace – and immediately lose weight. Yes, I just told you no gym and make ONE, just one major change in your eating habits, and you will likely lose weight.
I also want you to assess your time. How much time do you REALLY have to commit to this? If you’re going to go to a gym for example, when are you going and how long are you allocating to the activity? You need to consider your travel time, workout time and shower time.
Treat your time and your calories the way you treat your finances.
Finally, are you going it alone? I would always suggest you find a buddy to support you, or get your partner on board. This may help keep you accountable when your own motivation is waivering. Nobody is an endless pool of motivation, no matter what the media tells you. Once you know it’s going to waiver, and allow for that, it will take a lot of judgement and pressure off, allowing you to be more effective.
Key 1: Nutrition
What do you enjoy eating? Look for a way to eat which enables you to enjoy the things you love, but which ensures you do not tip your calories into the fat-storage zone. There is no need to go on fad diets, to join plans or to restrict yourself from your favourite things. It’s about conscious eating and conscious decisions. Food is a joy. I refuse to change that by refusing myself, or you, things we like. It’s not actually necessary. What is necessary, is taking control of your food intake. Make it your job to start understanding what is in the food you are eating. When you start paying more attention, you can start making the right choices for yourself. Until then, it’s not a choice, it’s an accident – and there’s the problem.
Key 2: Cardio
Whilst the gym isn’t full of fat-eating Unicorns, it does have a use here. Once you have mastered your food, you can increase the number of calroies your body burns by undertaking cardio. This does not mean running a marathon. Let me repeat that: YOU ARE NOT TRAINING FOR A MARATHON. If you do very little or no exercise already, then going for a walk is sufficient. I recommend Low Intensity Steady State (LISS) cardio. That involves walking on a steep incline on the treadmill for 45 minutes at least 3 times a week (or venture outside!). You should not be holding on to the treadmill, and you should find it manageable, but not easy. You’re aiming for 300 calories.
Key 3: Compound Movements or Flows
One of the benefits of gym work, is that the musclier you are, the more calories your body burns. It is therefore beneficial to look to add some muscle to your frame. With fat-loss as the goal, it’s best to do this in a way that will also give you some cardio benefit. Compound movements, such as deadlifts, use multiple joints and target more than one muscle group. Flows on the other hand are a set of movements that you perform one after the other and which ‘flow’ together.
What Did We Learn?
Assess your eating habits to find out what you need to address urgently.
Fat loss happens when you burn more calories than you consume.
Fat loss is about your rituals – there is no single magic key, but there are sets of things you can do to help youself.