Within the health and fitness space, it is inevitable that the subject of weight (fat) loss comes up often. Fat loss is a very valid goal for some people and it is important that it is spoken about from a fact and health based perspective. With there being so much information available to us at the click of a button or swipe of a finger, it is important that anyone embarking on any weight loss or fitness journey comes at it from a healthy and balanced perspective. Read on for a little about the basics of fat loss and some
great tools to have in your kit to achieve it in a healthy way.
You may have heard this term thrown around a bit lately, and it is the very principle of fat loss. A calorie deficit simply means that you are consuming less calories than you are expending, therefore resulting in weight loss. The opposite of this being a calorie surplus, which is what is required to gain weight.
Seems simple, right? In theory, it is for sure. Where people often come into trouble is coming at this too aggressively - whether that be by cutting out entire food groups, skipping meals or just plain not eating near enough to keep them functioning as a grown human being (let alone someone who chooses to push their bodies with exercise regularly).
A much healthier and sustainable way of entering into a calorie deficit is to simply make more healthful choices, adjusting the meals and snacks you're already consuming and being more mindful of what you eat. Some examples of this might be reducing portion sizes of existing meals slightly, swapping the morning tea baking for a whole nut or seed bar or piece of fruit or maybe even adjusting the way you are cooking your food (grilling rather than deep frying etc).
Making small changes like the above not only mean a higher likelihood of sticking to your goals long term with minimal disruption, but also the possibility of improved health.
Where to start? Learn a bit about food! Knowing a little about what is in the foods you regularly consume and what protein, carbs and fats actually look like on your real life plate can be a real eye opener and catalyst for positive change! This previous blog about 'The Balanced Diet' might be of help.
Steps or NEAT
One of the most underrated tools for weight loss and health in my opinion! The simple act of moving your body more can add up to great change - this in itself may even be enough to put you into a calorie deficit without having to alter your diet much (increasing your daily activity means you are expending more energy, therefore requiring more fuel to keep your body going).
NEAT stands for Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis and is essentially all the activity you do just going about your normal life - all the incidental movement in your day (think hanging out your washing, picking up your kids, doing the grocery shopping, moving around your house, etc).
Steps are a little more intentional and are a great place to start when embarking on your health based fat loss goal. No, you don't need to take up running to lose weight - walking is FAB! What's better is that the benefits of walking aren't just for your physical body - walking is great for your mind as well as social connections if you go with a friend!
Hitting 10,000 steps a day is not at all necessary. If you know how many steps you generally do a day, maybe aim to add an extra 1000 for a while and see how you feel. If you have no idea, no worries! Start by aiming to move more - get out for a half hour walk outside most days, wander around the block in your lunch break or park a little further away from your destination, it all ads up!
This blog might help explain NEAT a little, as well as how our body uses the energy we give it in a day.
As the title suggests, this part is the 'icing on the cake' when it comes to fat loss. It won't get you there alone, but in conjunction with the tools mentioned above it will definitely help you achieve your goals! A lot of us overestimate just how much energy gets burnt during our training sessions, they attribute to such a small portion of our days and weeks after all. This is why all of our habits outside of structured exercise are so important and have the biggest impact.
Don't get me wrong, training and exercise are obviously a big YES from me! But many of us need to flip the mindset as to why we train.
Rather than thinking of training as a way to burn calories, earn food, or lose weight, what if we came at it from a more positive perspective? That we train to get strong, increase our cardiovascular fitness, become able to do things we haven't done before and increase our social interactions? Not only will this make our planned exercise sessions more enjoyable with less pressure, but there is a higher likelihood of maintaining regular exercise consistently.
While we're talking training, a little note on strength training in particular...
We should ALL be doing it, and if your goal is fat loss or body recomposition you should definitely be doing it. More muscle = more energy required to fuel your body. Getting stronger and increasing your muscle mass can help you burn more energy in a day, therefore aiding weight loss - so push those heavy weights around team!
Also, please stop letting the number of calories burnt according to your smart watch determine the effectiveness of a workout. These are highly inaccurate for starters and don't take into account the long term adaptations your body makes from regularly challenging it with heavy weights.
As well as the aesthetic and body composition benefits of strength training, it is also very important for bone and heart health. It is recommended that we do some form of strength training twice a week for overall health.
Having goals and targets is GREAT - whether fat loss or otherwise. But if they begin to control your life or become obsessive, it's time to take a step back and reevaluate. If the way you're going about achieving your goal is impacting other areas of your life in a negative way, stop and ask yourself 'is it worth it?' Or, 'is there another way I could still achieve this goal more positively?'
With a fat loss goal, it is important to have progress markers other than the scale, as this will fluctuate and may even go up if you're gaining muscle whilst losing fat. Other markers could include the way clothing feels, performance or general health markers like sleep. Having a why that is not purely aesthetic based is also a good idea. Our health and performance should always be at the forefront, weight loss (if this is your goal), should just be a by product of a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
If you know me, you'll know I've had quite the battle with finding a healthy relationship with exercise and food, if you need support or would like to chat, please get in touch. I am not an expert, but have made many mistakes along the way and continue to learn from them! Likewise, if you have any questions or comments - I love hearing from you!
Find me on Instagram - @kando_training, or Facebook - @KANdoTraining.