5 Basic Yet Crucial Fat Loss Habits
Everybody wants a chiseled physique, but that can’t happen with blubber covering all your muscle. In other words, you need to get lean. And getting lean comes down to some key habits. Namely jumpstarting your fat loss. You don’t simply wake up with six pack abs, your perspective and behaviors have to change.
Here are some fat loss habits that you should practice to lose those inches. Let’s get into it.
1. Set realistic goals
One of the most complex parts of losing fat is starting. No seriously. Most people don’t lose any fat ever because they’re too afraid, hesitant, or wimpy to start. After you get started, you must stay committed and be relatively consistent. Losing weight has no shortcuts. You can’t starve yourself lean because those methods usually aren’t sustainable enough to see noticeable results long term.
So get stupid passionate about why you want to lose weight, but most importantly, set realistic goals.
Start with something realistic enough to be achieved. You can start by aiming to lose a pound or two however long that takes. Don’t worry about losing 15 or 20 pounds just yet.
Just focus on seeing 1 or 2 pounds shaved off the scale. It’ll be much more manageable. Furthermore, achieving small goals will motivate you to keep going. Don’t overlook this first step and aim for the stars. Professional bodybuilders and physique competitors start dieting for shows months before their competition and set realistic goals. They lose weight steadily. If the pros are doing it that way, you should too. You’re not so amazing that you can sustain double digit weight loss weekly.
2. Eat Nutritious Foods
Losing fat comes down to being in a caloric deficit which is burning fewer calories than you consume over time. Ideally, you’d also maintain adequate protein intake. The deficit will force your body to shave off calories from stored tissue. The protein intake will feed your muscle, so fat tissue is lost.
Achieving this is simple in theory, but the fitness industry has overcomplicated this and have coddled towards people’s desire for pleasure. How so?
You can’t go 2 seconds on any fitness page without seeing someone promote pop tarts, pizza, and donuts while dieting. Yes, you can consume all of these and still lose fat.
However, it’s simply not practical or optimal to do so in large amounts or frequencies.
Despite what many fitness pages will tell you, you can’t view foods as only macros to fit your deficit. All foods can fit your deficit, but some foods do a better job at it because they are more satiating while providing more vitamins/minerals for health, performance, and recovery. This should be common sense, but was somehow lost in our age of information overload.
So yes, monitor your calories, but you’ll find that eating mostly whole, minimally processed foods make this much easier. This includes foods like lean meats, seafood, fruits, veggies, and grains. Drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day and with your meal can help as well. This makes up the base of your habits.
The pizza, donuts, and pop tarts should be more of an afterthought not a priority. I know, growing up can feel hard.
3. Start Walking
Walking is the most underrated thing for fat loss. People often consider it ineffective or pointless. That’s nonsense. Steps are a gamechanger because they force you off a sedentary lifestyle. In addition, they ensure you’re burning additional calories beyond your gym session because if you only work out for an hour per day while sitting the rest of the day, your life is still quite sedentary.
But beyond merely burning extra calories, walking is also easy to implement. Many people can walk their dogs, play with their kids, or go on hikes.
Many of my clients report better moods as well. And if you want to get extra sciency on why steps are amazing for fat loss, it also mitigates your unconscious drop in NEAT.
You see, when you lose weight, your body conserves energy by being more selective with how much energy it uses. You burn fewer calories for the same movement because you’re getting lighter in addition to unconsciously performing fewer spontaneous movements.
Research finds you may fidget or blink less especially after significant weight loss. By intentionally walking, you’re able to offset this loss in energy expenditure. In fact, without walking, your weight loss can easily plateau which nobody likes.
So don’t overlook walking and get your steps in.
4. Appreciate the slow progress
Always remember that slow progress is still progress. Well, actually what many people perceive as slow progress is simply normal or expected progress. Dieters don’t realize this though because snake oil marketing has lead everyone to believe you’re supposed to lose 12 pounds every week when most people would be lucky to lose 3 pounds per week.
Most people should lose 1-2 pounds per week and that’s excellent. Excessive weight loss leads to muscle loss anyways, so you’re not in position to brag about your 8 pound weight loss if half of it is muscle loss.
Anyways, having clear expectations allows you to keep going and psychologically stick with your habits. This is key because the effectiveness of fat loss isn’t based on how powerful an approach is. Rather, it’s based on how long you can sustain an approach.
The accumulation of days being in a deficit is what gets people lean whether you’re in a big or small deficit on a day to daybases. In most cases, the tortoise does outrun the hare because the hare was an idiot and took a break instead of accumulating more progress.
So if you find yourself accumulating progress, keep going. Repeat your habits until you’re at the finish line. You can always keep going and adjust as needed. But if there’s one key habit to keep in mind, it’s to simply not give up. To do so, you have to be ok with any progress you get. It also takes time to see progress, so don’t forget to be patient.
5. Get Proper Sleep
Sleep is the most ignored activity that enhances weight loss. Not having enough sleep makes you feel tired and stressed. This leads to feeling hungry, skipping exercise, unknowingly moving less, and performing worse in the gym. Worst of all, not getting sufficient sleep screws up your partitioning ratio.
This is the ratio of body composition changes you experience between muscle and fat tissue. Research finds that insufficient sleep skews you to lose more muscle and retain more fat. The more sleep you get, the opposite happens. More muscle retained and more fat loss.
In fact, people who eat in a deficit, but get very little sleep still obviously lose weight thanks to the deficit, but end up losing far more muscle. This keeps you at the same body fat percentage or makes it worse on a smaller frame. So the scale might go down, but your body looks nowhere near your desired physique.
As for practical steps in repairing your insomniac like habits, most people will noticeably feel and look better by doing the following:
- Dedicate 7-8 hours of sleep every night
- Turn off electronics, especially screens 1 hour before bed
- Stretch, read, relax, journal, or anything you need to destress before enetering your bed
- Take melatonin if needed.
Go Crush Your Fat Loss
Fat loss really isn’t groundbreaking or complicated. Most people know some of the key basics needed. You have to eat fewer calories than you burn. You should be eating veggies. And you shouldn’t be sitting all day.
Most people suck at getting started, so set realistic expectations and just put in the dang work. Don’t read another article or listen to another podcast. You just need to take these habits and keep repeating them day in and day out.