Without a proper foundation, nothing that you do will last. When it comes to losing body fat, there’s a lot of confusion as to what that foundation should look like. In this article we cut through that confusion to bring you 8 essential rules that should form the foundation of your weight loss efforts.
Rule #1: Throw Away the Scales
In fact, forget about losing weight altogether. You goal should be to lose fat. The scale won’t tell you whether you’re doing that. Too many people end up sacrificing vital muscle tissue, water and minerals in a vain quest to bring their scale weight down. So, get smart and invest in a body fat monitor and a tape measure. They will let you know just how much fat you are losing around your belly. Then you can set your fat loss goals around body fat percentage and tape measurement rather than scale weight.
Rule #2: De-stress
Stress is the enemy of weight control. In fact, as we’ve already learnt, Cortisol – the stress hormone – if over supplied in the body, will cause fat to increase on your belly. Deep abdominal fat has four times more cortisol receptors than subcutaneous fat, and it is believed that the body removes fat storage from storage cells and puts it in the fat cells for easy access. Another effect of stress is that it often causes us to snack on comfort foods like chocolate and pastries. In addition, it plays havoc on other hormones – such as melatonin and adrenaline – which sabotages our efforts to lose fat by slowing down the metabolism.
Rule #3: Cut Out Ab Exercises
It is scientifically impossible to spot reduce fat from your body. Focusing on doing set after set of ab exercises while you have a covering of adipose tissue over your core is nothing but a waste of time. It is far better to put your energies where it will really work for you – into your weights workout and your HIIT cardio sessions.
Rule #4: Slow Down
Eat more slowly. It will stop you from over eating as well as enabling much better digestion and enjoyment of your meal. Slow down, too, in your fat loss expectations. Make sure that you are losing only fat, rather than muscle. Set a goal to lose between one and two pounds per week – and keeping it off.
Rule #5: Eat More Frequently
The way that most people in the western world eat is counterproductive to health, fitness and weight control – small breakfasts, medium sized lunches and huge dinners is a perfect recipe for weight gain. You need to flip that script by eating smaller more frequent meals. Plan to eat every 3 hours with your meals being smaller than you would normally eat. Every meal should include 1-part fats, 2 parts protein and 3 parts complex carbs.
Rule #6: Resistance Training
Resistance training – wither using weights or your body weight – is one of the best ways that we know off to exercise for fat loss. A fast-based exerciser resistance workout that is built around such compound exercises as squats, lunges, deadlifts and the bench press are your best exercise choices. Keep the reps relatively high at 12-15 reps for 3 sets per movement to shape and define your muscles while helping to burn the excess calories off.
Rule #7: Prioritize Sleep
Leptin resistance as a result of sleep deprivation prevents us from controlling our carb cravings. Ghrelin overstimulation as a result of lack of sleep leads to eating more and enhanced cortisol levels, preventing us from burning fat as well as putting fat directly onto our abdomen. When we do get adequate amounts of sleep, these hormones work perfectly together to control our eating habits.
Plan to get 7-8 hour of seep each night. Here’s how:
- Develop a sleep routine that includes a period of winding down both mentally and physically.
- Go to bed and get out of it at the same time every day. Limit daytime napping.
- Get stress under control.
- Maintain a dark, cool bedroom environment (the ideal temperature 22 degrees Celsius).
- Invest in a quality mattress and pillow.
- Make your bedroom a tech free zone.
- Do not eat a large meal within 2 hours of retiring.
Rule #8: Consume More Water
It is very easy to mistake thirst for hunger. Get into the habit of drinking a glass of water prior to sitting down to eat a meal to help tell the difference. You should also carry a water bottle around with you and sip from it regularly. This will help to offset the urge to snack while also reducing your desire for less healthy drink like soda of alcohol!