If you are struggling to lose weight, and you know that you are in a caloric deficit already, then what is the big hold up?
There is a famous saying that goes like, “you get out, what you put in.” This statement should be a gospel truth for you when it comes to your fitness goals. You can be in a caloric deficit, but if those calories aren’t coming from quality sources, then you are just wasting your time.
A caloric deficit should always come first, because you have to expend more energy then you consume to lose weight. After that, macros are your key, and you shouldn’t be afraid of any of them.
My biggest rift against fad diets like keto (low carb) or low fat diets, is they don’t actually help you in the long run. Your body needs protein for protein synthesis. Your body prefers carbohydrates as its almost exclusive energy source for your brain!
Every cell and a lot of hormones in your body are derived from dietary fat. If you neglect your body of one of the three macros, you are doing more harm than good.
With that being said, let’s set a framework of how you increase your fat loss.
Eat more protein
We all know that protein is for building muscle, and believe it or not, this is crucial for weight loss!
Unless you eat in a huge surplus and “train to gain” then you won’t get bulky, so don’t worry ladies. Gaining a little bit of muscle mass through weight training and eating adequate amounts of protein is key to healthy fat loss. This is because muscles are a very metabolically active tissue. Therefore, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn and the easier it is to lose weight!
Also, having a little bit of muscle mass will help you look more toned and healthy as you lose weight, versus just looking skinny.
Protein also helps with satiety, which means it helps to make you feel fuller. This will lead to less cravings and snacks throughout the day, which again, helps you to lose weight faster.
But how much protein do you need to eat? A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that natural bodybuilding athletes preparing for competition do best by consuming 1.1-1.4 grams per pounds of body weight, for example, 204-259 grams of protein per day for a 185-pound person
The recommendation from the study is a great starting point. You’ve also got to make sure you distribute your protein intake evenly throughout the day to maximize muscle growth and maintenance. Like I noted above, make sure your protein is coming from quality sources like lean cuts of pork, beef and chicken.
Protein supplements are also an amazing way to make sure you are getting enough protein without breaking the bank! Check out MyProtein for an amazing selection.
Which carbohydrate should you eat?
As I said earlier, carbohydrates are extremely important, as they are essentially your brains food. They also provide your body with the majority of its energy that it uses on a daily basis. It is pretty safe to say, that carbohydrates are crucial to your fitness goals.
There are different types of carbohydrates though. I am sure you have heard of the terms “simple” and “complex carb” before. So what are they referring to?
All carbohydrates, regardless of what food they are in, always get broken down to glucose in our body. Glucose is the molecule that our bodies and brains use to get their energy from. I have been asked many times, if they all break down to glucose, what makes them different and why is it important to avoid “simple” carbs.
The answer is time. Simple carbs breakdown into glucose much faster than complex carbs do. Whenever you introduce glucose to your body, insulin is released to help lower your blood sugar and store that glucose. With simple carbs, there is a huge spike in blood sugar because there is so much glucose present. Insulin then stores the majority of this as fat to avoid issues like stroke, heart attack and kidney failure.
This is why diabetics have trouble with sugar, because there are issues with insulin availability (type 1) and function (type 2).
Complex carbohydrates are broken down more slowly and the body can efficiently handle the slow rise in blood glucose. So instead of a huge spike in insulin, where everything is stored, your body uses the glucose right then and there. So next time you want to eat a sandwich, pick the whole wheat bread instead of the white.
Reduce Fat, but don’t exclude it!
I mentioned above how fat is used to make cell membranes and a lot of the hormones that your body uses. So for this reason, you should never exclude it from your diet.
If you are struggling to create a caloric deficit however, fat is one of the first macronutrients you should cut for two reasons.
Reason number one, is that protein and carbs are too important to your health to cut. Most people don’t eat enough protein and as long as you are eating complex carbohydrates, you won’t be gaining weight from eating carbs.
Reason number two, is that both carbs and protein only have 4 calories/gram, while fat has 9 calories/gram. Here is an example and how that plays out with your meals.
Let’s say you need to create a 300-calorie deficit. You can remove 33 grams of fat, the equivalent of 2 tablespoons of olive oil or 4 tablespoons of peanut butter (I know, it still sucks, but it’s for the gains). Or you can cut out 75 grams of carbs, or about 2 cups of brown rice or 3-1/2 medium-sized apples!
Cutting those carbs would probably have a bigger impact on your satiety. And if you’re constantly hungry when you’re dieting, your chances of sticking to your plan are slim to none, which means those abs won’t be popping anytime soon.
Fill up on fluids
Drinking more water is rarely ever a bad thing. Staying hydrated is imperative to healthy weight loss, but there is another aspect to increasing fluid consumption that can help you with your fitness goals.
Drinking more water can trigger stretch receptors on your stomach, that will in turn tell your brain that you are not hungry because your stomach is full. So drinking more water can actually help you to stay in a caloric deficit.
Don’t exclude any of the macronutrients from your nutrition plan. To help create a healthy deficit, increase protein while decreasing your fats and make sure you stick to complex carbohydrates. Also, by increasing your fluid intake, you can stay fuller, longer.
Start applying these principles today, and you will hit your goals before you know it!
If you want some extra help for your fat loss check out our article on the Top supplements for weight loss / fat burning