Fat loss occurs when you regularly expend more calories in a day than you put in through food and drink.
The basic science is easy to understand – the delicate intricacies of a diet come when you want to manipulate the type of body you are trying to achieve – but the hard part is getting your brain to act to on this basic science.
If you were to follow the above protocol, you will eventually lose weight and get smaller no matter your genetics or build; however, we need to use the mind to play tricks to enable us to achieve weight loss. My 10 tricks themselves won't necessarily burn fat from your body within a second of implementing them, but they will put you in a better position to be able to achieve the 'more calories out than in' mantra at the end of each day.
1. Soup it, don't juice it
Jucing is all the rage, but I would recommend souping. The difference is mainly the use of vegetables rather than fruit. Fruit is healthy, yes, but it often has high sugar as it is a carbohydrate and this can lead to a desire to have more sweet things and lead to over consumption. Vegetables are also carbohydrates but tend to have less sugar. Green vegetables are notably sugar low but water and fibre high meaning the soups will fill you up and not leave you wanting sweet things to satisfy your brain's craving. An example of a good soup: 150g broccoli, 50g peas, a few cloves of garlic with a teaspoon of vegetable stock powder which provides just 100 calories but is surprisingly tasty, leaves you feeling full and even allows you to have a side of protein to further satiate your hunger.
2. Green or black tea or coffee for 'energy'
We all lead busy lives and get tired during teh day. To pep us up, many people reach for food, notably sweet food, which gives a temporary boost but then leaves you craving again soon after. Why not get the pep up through a zero calorie option first to see if that does the trick? Green or black tea or coffee has no calories but contains caffeine to stimulate the mind. The liquid you ingest can also help to fill your stomach, quashing hunger and also can answer the question about whether you are actually hungry and tired but just dehydrated.
3. Use Fry Light spray for cooking
Oil and butter are not bad for you in controlled doses and won't automatically store fat unlike the scare stories said in the 1990s. However, the reasonining behind their alienation for weight loss was actually quite sound. If you reduce your fat content, you have a good chance of losing weight because fat has the highest caloric value of all nutritional substances (over double the calories of protein and carbohydrate per gram). We need fats, especially healthy fats from nuts, olive oil and fish, in our diets for hormone and cell process regulation as well as for satiation but it's better to use them with control – 10 almonds as a 70 calories snack, for example. Liberally applying fats to the sauce pan or roasting tin can add a massive 200-400 extra calories to the dish without even trying. If you were to stop that for 6 out of 7 evening meals per week, you would save at least 1,200 calories over that week just by using the simple method. To keep the food from sticking to the pan, try using Fry Light spray – 1 calorie per spray and under 10 sprays does the job perfectly.
4. Eat lots of low density calorie foods but balance your plate
Seeing a small bundle of food on a big plate makes you feel like you are on a strict diet that doesn't allow you to eat anything. This can make you sad, make you feel even hungrier, and potentially lead to you stopping your weight loss plan. I prefer to have a massive plate and fill it with lots of food that fills me up! Doesn't that sound so much better? Fill the plate with as much green and non-starchy vegetables as you like – broccoli, spinach, rocket, asparagus, cauliflower, kale, sprouts, beans, aubergine, courgette. A handful of ALL of those foods on a plate would only total around 150 calories! Then just control the fat you cook your meat in to ensure the 200 calorie chicken breast is only bumped up to 210 calories rather than 400; add your healthy fats of some seeds and a drizzle of olive oil and you have a massive plate of food with only 400 calories. If you were to eat FOUR of these a day and that's only 1,600 calories. Add your 100 calorie soup for FIVE meals and that's 1,700. The average small female will burn 1,800 per day without any concerted exercise. Fat loss made easy!
5. The more you move the more leeway you have
The main equation is that you need to expend more calories than you put in. Move more than you eat. Thus, if you can get that 'calorie out' number as high as you can each day, you will have more margin for error and more chance to burn fat. Let's say at rest you would normally burn 2,000 calories. If you were to workout – burning 300 calories more – and then walk for half an hour at lunch – burning an extra 100 calories – you will burn 2,400 calories that day meaning that if you slip with your butter hand at dinner, your extra 100 calories there will have less of an impact on your daily calorie deficit because you added in that extra movement in. And if you are careful and don't add in any extra calorie butter slips, you are taking an even greater step (literally) closer to your fat loss goal.
6. Get an activity tracker and set targets
People berate them for being inaccurate. They may not be perfect, but activity trackers are not bad at all. Moreover, they give you something to compare your own day-to-day activity against. If you know that you normally eat 2,000-2,500 calories in a day, then set your activity tracker calorie burn target to 3,000 calories. You will be surprised how seeing only 300 calories to go until you hit your daily target will make you walk that extra bit or get you doing housework chores to burn calories if you really want to lose weight. It's the one thing that will be with you day-to-day to record your moves and pat you on the back when you achieve what you need.
7. Breathe deeper
A very simple one based on science. Body fat is used as energy when oxygen is present. This is why the 'fat burning' zone on the cardio machines in the gym shows the zone between 50-75% of your maximum heart rate, rather than 80-100% – this is area where you are still mainly using aerobic respiration (using oxygen) to perform exerice. Fat isn't hard to burn! You don't have be incredibly out of breath at 100% HR. Anyone can burn fat. It is just also easy to store fat and to use food as your energy source that is the reason people struggle. However, the greater the intensity of exercise you can do with your heart rate in this zone, the more fat you will burn. Breathing deeply and allowing the body to take in and use as much oxygen as possible will allow you to work a little bit harder and keep your heart rate in this area. Just remember, fat is oxidised when oxygen is present. We breathe in oxygen. Breathe more and deeper.
8. Clear out your fridge and cupboards
In a time where we look to make pennies stretch to do a pound's job, the store cupboard, fridge and freezer can be raided on many an occasion to create a meal out of 'what's left'. Of course, if 'what's left' boils down to biscuits and ice cream or onion rings and chips, you aren't helping yourself. If you don't have in what you should not have, you won't eat it. Simple as that. When you want a treat, go out and get it for that specific occasion in the right portion and don't leave it for leftover temptations after your treat is done.
9. Go to sleep earlier
When you are awake you have a chance to eat into your calorie deficit. When you are asleep, you do not and you are at your fat burning best. If you eat dinner at 6pm and have a small Greek yoghurt at 9pm before bed at 10pm, you are likely to be satisfied all night. Whereas if you eat dinner at 6pm and have a small greek yoghurt at 9pm but bed is at 1am, chances are you may get hungry (or bored) in those 4 hours or in the night without expending many more calories than if you were asleep. These calories will 'eat' into your daily calorie deficit (or even put you in a surplus), can potentially be stored as fat as the calories are not burned off through activity, and furthermore the time you are at your fat burning best will be reduced as sleep time is reduced. Set yourself a schedule and head to bed as soon as you can for the time period you are looking to lose weight.
10. Go for a walk if you eat for boredom
It is a common thing to eat because you mistake hunger for boredom. You will find that if you go for an hour's walk afterwards it could legitimately be time for your next meal, the 'hunger' will dissipate if it is boredom led as the serotonin from the exercise will stimulate your brain, plus you will be burning more calories to help you towards your calorie deficit rather than eating in to it.
Fat burning is simple; just use these tricks and you'll be on that simple path without any problem.