Losing Body Fat Is Hard | Here's How Science Says To Lose It
In 2020 more than ever before, body image is becoming an increasingly touchy subject. The truth is that we are inundated by popular culture, advertisements, and even each other with difficult, if not impossible-to-achieve body image standards. Beauty is pitched to us as the ultimate ideal, but as our lives get busier, our free time to go to the gym or even get outside for a walk becomes limited. Chances are you can relate; the reality is that the majority of people wish they were a little bit "different" than they currently are.1
If you fall into this majority and want to lose a bit (or a lot!) of body fat, there are only a few things you need to know. I know there's a mountain of conflicting information out there because I spent two years trying to sort through it all. I ended up being successful, having lost 95 pounds, but it was not without quite a few roadblocks and learning lessons along the way. To hopefully set the record straight, here are the three most important things I wish I knew before I started my weight loss journey that would have saved me time and headaches.
I'm not going to try and sell you anything, this is meant to be straight forward, helpful, and actionable advice.
1) Calories Are All That Matters For Fat Loss
I mean this with complete sincerity when I say that this is the most critical information you need. The non-negotiable science of fat loss is that you need to consume fewer calories than your body is using, which results in the use of body fat as fuel to make up the energy difference.2 To find the number of calories you should be eating to lose fat, look for a TDEE calculator online. I imagine this number will be higher than you thought, please try and trust it anyways.3
2) It Doesn't Matter What You Eat, Only That You Are Consistent
Your results will directly correlate to the consistency at which you eat in a caloric deficit.4 A pound of body fat is about 3500 calories.5 If you follow your diet Monday-Friday (500 calories x 5 days), you will have accumulated 2500 calories worth of deficit by Friday. A weekend trip to the bar and taco shop can easily wipe this 2500 calorie deficit out in a single bender. Realizing this should be a powerful insight. If you want to get results, you are going to have to commit, even on the weekends. You're body also doesn't judge you for what type of food you feed it; carbs are no different than protein or fat for fat loss. Eat foods that you can choose consistently, again and again. Portion size should reflect your goals.
3)Celebrate The Small Steps - Dramatic Results Take Time
This was probably the hardest lesson I had to learn. The results you likely want are at the end of a much longer road than you might have accepted yet. Realizing that and being able to celebrate the small victories, no matter how little they might feel compared to your big goals, will keep your head in the game for the long haul. Be sure to track your progress with regular weigh-ins; they will help you stay accountable and give you valuable feedback as to how your choices are working. If you have been very consistent for a few weeks without any results, it may be time to bump your calories down a couple hundred per day. It's ok to get frustrated, but keep faith in the process and know that if you continue to make the right decisions, good things will happen.
Someone once told me, "Fat loss is simple, but that doesn't mean it's easy." The fundamentals of weight loss are very straight forward; the trick is finding a way to stay consistent over time.