There will come a time in life when you will hit a fat-loss plateau. Everything seems to be going fine, until week after week, the scale doesn’t move, your skin fold measurements stay the same, and you still have that stubborn belly fat. What do you do then? You fine tune your diet; that’s what! A lot of people think that they are eating the proper things to lose fat, when in fact, it is the opposite. Well, I have some good news for you. I’m here to help:
1. Eat Better. Move Smarter. – This is one that I stole from Joe Dowdell and Brooke Kalanick. They suggest to ditch the old “eat less, move more” for eating better and moving smarter. How do you eat better? Learn the basics in my article Eat to Win, then fine tune your diet with the rest of the tips I suggest in this post. How do you move smarter? Ditch isolation lifts in the weight room (biceps curls, triceps kickbacks etc) for compound movements (squats, pushups, pull-ups etc).
2. Avoid dried fruit – this includes raisins, craisins, dried peaches, dried apricots, dried figs, dates, and dried plums. They have too much concentrated carbohydrates for such a small amount of fibre. Bulking? Go ahead. Trying to lose fat? Cut them out.
3. Stop drinking milk – A recent study found that pasteurized milk is more insulinogenic than white bread. The more insulinogenic the food is, the more likely it will be stored as fat instead of burning fat.
4. Follow nutrient timing with your fruits – The whole idea behind nutrient timing is to only eat your starchy carbohydrates within 1-2 hours of working out. I’m taking this idea one step further by telling you what fruits to eat, and when to eat them. Below, I will give three lists: High Fibre/Lower Sugar Fruits, Moderate Fibre/Moderate Sugar Fruits, Lower Fibre/Higher Sugar Fruits (these lists were taken from The Ultimate You by Joe Dowdell and Brooke Kalanick).
- High Fibre/Lower Sugar Fruits – 1 serving is ½ cup – 2-3 servings of these fruits can be eaten per day (if your goal is fat loss).
- Moderate Fibre/Moderate Sugar Fruits – Limit these to two or three times per week.
vii. Passion fruit
x. Pitted prunes
- Lower Fibre/Higher Sugar Fruits – These are only allowed 2 hours or less after a workout.
5. Just because honey is a natural sugar, it doesn’t mean that you can eat it whenever you want – It’s still sugar and needs to be treated like sugar. Duh!
6. The problem with nuts – If you are not losing any fat, this could be your deal breaker. I am often guilty of this. Nuts are super high in fat, and thus, high in calories. When it comes to calories in versus calories out, nuts can sneakily and drastically increase your daily caloric intake. For example, 1tbsp of Natural Peanut Butter contains approximately 100 kcal. This is one serving. This is not the problem. The problem is when you start sneaking another tablespoon here and there. At the end of the day, you could have snuck 5tbsp: a whopping 500kcal that you have unknowingly eaten (that’s the size of a full meal).
7. Fatty Meats – The same goes for fatty cuts of meals. Always trim the fat, and do not eat the skin. It’s a pretty simple rule that can decrease your daily caloric intake severely.
8. Avoid most sauces and condiments – This is a great way to cut out the added sugar of your meals. Less sugar = more fat lost. Check your labels and read the ingredients. This tip was super hard for me, but the most rewarding. I love Ketchup (and still do). I cut it out, and my abs thanked me.
9. Cheat meals – These are a great way to make or break your diet. When in a caloric deficit, they can help speed up your metabolism, replenish glycogen stores (so you can workout harder), and psychologically keep you on track. The problem is, most people don’t know what a cheat is, or they have too many of them. A cheat meal is any meal that doesn’t help you reach your fat loss goals. For example, this could be ordering something unhealthy at a restaurant, or eating dessert, or eating starchy carbs when you’re not supposed to, or eating a cookie that someone has brought to you at work. These all count as cheat meals. In order to be successful with fat loss, you need to limit yourself to 1 to 2 cheat meals per week. That’s right, I said 1 to 2 per week, not 3 to 4. Don’t believe me? Try only eating 1 to 2 per week and tell me how much fat you have lost. Prove me wrong, I dare you.
10. Avoid (or limit) your alcohol consumption – Alcohol is highly estrogenic. Through aromatization, your body converts testosterone to estrogen. This is a problem for both men and women, as testosterone helps keep you lean, keep your menstrual cycle on track (ladies…), and increases your sex drive. Also, when alcohol is ingested, it is metabolized before anything else. This means that anything you eat (while drinking alcohol) will be stored as fat. It doesn’t matter how healthy the food is (exceptions: spinach, celery, super low calorie vegetables). This is a problem, because alcohol also lowers your blood sugar. This sends hunger signals to the brain (not good), telling you to eat more.
11. Try German body composition training – This is my favourite method for fat loss. It involves supersetting an upper body lift with a lower body lift (with minimal rest). Lift in the 10-15 rep range for 3 sets. Here is an example: Pushups x15, Romanian Deadlift x15, rest 30 seconds, Pushups x15, Romanian Deadlift x15, rest 30 seconds, Pushups x15, Romanian Deadlift x15. For more info in this type of training, check out my article, Strength Work – Follow the 80/20 Rule.
Now that you’ve read all 11, what do you do now? Apply these tips today. Not tomorrow. Not next Monday. Start now. I’m serious. This will help you lose fat sooner. Also, start practicing these tips while they are fresh in your mind. A fresh mind = looking good naked (not always, but you get my point). Burn baby, burn.