Like most things, fat loss is largely about mindset, with the mechanics actually being very straightforward. But the health and fitness industry loves making the simple complex. That means you and I get primed to believe some pretty outrageous ideas.
End result? Some folks even claim that they don’t know how to lose weight anymore – it’s all just so darn complicated! So, with that in mind, here are five simple things we can start understanding and applying today. These will put us back in the driver’s seat to achieve our fat loss goals.
The Best Ways To Speed Up Fat Loss
1. Take note of your calorie intake.
No matter how few calories you think you’re consuming, it’s almost always more.
We’ve all had this experience at one time or another – you receive your monthly credit card statement, and the total is way more than you expected. Sure, you remember the big spends – the 60” TV or the washer dryer – but you’re sure they made a mistake.
You check your receipts and find that all those little spends (the $4.99s and the “it’s only…”) sure do add up. And it turns out that the statement was correct all along.
Well, energy intake works the same way. Calories have a habit of sneaking in under the radar and they always make it through. They don’t simply disappear just because we can’t remember consuming them.
That’s why tracking your caloric intake for a week is one of the most important things you can do for your waistline and your health. It really is that powerful.
2. Weigh yourself regularly to keep track of your progress.
Rapid losses (or gains) in weight almost always come down to nothing more exciting than changes in body water levels.
Start a low-calorie or low-carb diet and the initial results can be just as breathtaking. Studies have found that some people can lose as much as 15 lbs in only four days! Unfortunately, very little of that weight loss will actually be from fat.
The reality is that fat loss is just a few ounces per day. That rapid losses or gains in weight almost always come down to nothing more exciting than changes in body water levels. For example, a high-salt meal might see your weight jump by 3-4 lbs. overnight.
That’s why it’s a good idea to weigh yourself daily, after waking and using the bathroom. That way, you’ll become familiar with how your weight can fluctuate and you’ll avoid the anxiety that, say, weekly weighing can cause.
The bottom line is that fat is gained or lost in terms of ounces per day rather than pounds. So, don’t let those rapid fluctuations in weight either make or break your day.
3. Eat the right carbs – in the right amounts.
Short-term, transient hormonal responses (like spiking insulin) shouldn’t be extrapolated to long-term, clinically-relevant outcomes.
OK, that’s kind of a mouthful. But here’s what many people think happens:
Eating carbs causes blood sugar levels to rise
Rising blood sugar levels lead to increased insulin releas
Insulin blunts fat burning and promotes fat storag
We put on fat
Therefore, consuming carbs makes you fat.
But all that ignores the two most important factors: the amount being eaten and the context in which it’s being consumed. That’s a fundamental mistake that folks who obsess about carbs and meal timing always seem to overlook.
The fact that spiking insulin can be one part of a process that could lead to a clinically-relevant outcome doesn’t automatically mean that spiking insulin is a clinically-relevant outcome.
The bottom line is that eating carbs doesn’t automatically translate to fat gain or ill health. Now, that sounds almost heretical, right?
But I recently completed a little N=1 experiment where I consumed 22 lbs. of white rice in just 31 days. Interestingly, I actually lost weight and my blood bio markers (fasting blood glucose, cholesterol, Apo-B) were unchanged.
Of course, bestselling authors with a carbophobic agenda might not want us to believe that, but it doesn’t make it any less true.
4. Think of fat loss for the long-term.
There’s only one way to lose fat.
I know, I know – search Amazon for “diet books”, and you’ll get over 100,000 results. But the reality is that there’s only ONE way to lose fat.
We have to be in a sustained, long-term negative fat balance.
That’s all there is to it. But what does that mean?
Well, at any one time we can be doing only one of two things: either storing body fat or burning body fat. There is no “option three.”
What happens is that our bodies cycle between fat storage and fat burning during a 24-hour period. Typically, fat storage happens after meals, while fat burning happens mainly while we’re asleep.
And whether we’re losing, gaining or maintaining body fat really comes down to the net result of all that storage and burning. So, if we burn more fat than we store over 24 hours, we get fat loss for that day.
Sure, it may only be a few ounces. But if we string enough of those days together, we’ll lose all the body fat we want. Ultimately, it’s the net fat balance over days, weeks and months that matters, not what’s going on over short timescales like a few hours.
That’s how every diet works and how every person who has lost a serious amount of body fat managed to do so – whether they realized it or not.
5. Continue to become aware of the type and amount of calories you consume.
Now, if fat loss ultimately comes down to a negative fat balance, what’s the deal with calories? Well, first the bad news…
We can’t accurately measure how much our fat balance is changing by on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis. Even if we have unlimited funds and access to a state-of-the-art laboratory.
So we can safely say there’s no wearable device, no smartphone app, and no online calculator that’s up to the job either. And until there is, we’ll need to use the next best thing available: count calories.
Now, that may sound kind of archaic, but here’s the way I like to think about it. Even if it’s state-of-the-art digital, the speedometer in your car isn’t 100 percent accurate.
It isn’t actually measuring vehicle speed anyway, it’s measuring how fast the wheels are turning. That means things like tire tread depth, pressure, temperature, and even how many passengers you’re carrying, introduce significant errors to the number you see on the dial.
But does that mean a speedometer isn’t worth having? No way – it’s still a fundamental part of keeping control of the car. Counting calories works the same way.
The bottom line is that, the fewer calories you consume, the bigger the negative fat balance and the greater the weight loss. Of course, it almost goes without saying that we can’t pin this down to exact numbers.
As in, consuming 2441 calories per day will allow me to lose 2.74 pounds in 17 days. It simply doesn’t work that way. After all, the body is an inherently variable and complex system.
But counting calories is still the best proxy we have for fat balance, and therefore the most powerful tool for weight loss we have.
Wrapping It Up
So there they you have it. Five surefire ways to hasten fat loss. Now all we have to do is apply these ideas consistently, and you can eventually get the results you want.