To a lot of people, fat loss means cutting out carbs, spending hours in the kitchen prepping food, working out everyday, and running all the miles, but when it comes down to it, FAT LOSS IS SO FREAKING SIMPLE. And, it doesn’t have to suck. It can be really enjoyable, you can do all your favorite things, you can eat all your favorite foods and your life can carry on as normal, for the most part.
Fat loss does not require an entire life overhaul to get results, but it does require that you make a few sacrifices here and there in the best interest of you reaching your goals.
Below are the 4 things I think everyone should focus on in the beginning of their fat loss journey to ensure that it starts off, and stays, #SimpleSaneSuccessful.
1. Less sides of fries, more side salads.
When it comes to losing fat, we have to get comfortable with modifying our food choices to make them more inline with our goals. Things like leaving the bun off of your burger and getting a side salad instead of fries, not eating the chips and salsa before the meal, not ordering the pizza when you know you have chicken and veggies ready to go in the fridge for a healthy dinner…things like that which can save you HUNDREDS of calories
It’s not to say that we can never eat fries if we have a fat loss goal, but if we consistently choose the fries over the salad, the chips and salsa because “I just can’t say no!” or order the pizza to make everyone happy (everyone but you) then you’re in for a long, hard, frustrating fat loss journey.
The fact of the matter is, we can’t eat all the cheese, sugar and fried stuff when we want to lose fat. We have to pick and choose when something is actually worth it and when it’s not.
2. Less Zumba, more weights.
Now, to all my Zumba peeps, I’m NOT dissing on Zumba. It’s fun, it’s a workout and it makes getting to the gym easy because it’s something to look forward to. I totally get that so while we’re at it, lemme throw in Spinning, running and ellipticalling into the mix here, too.
Look, cardio is great. I teach spin 3 times a week and I really love it, but I also know that if I want to ramp up my fat loss, the answer isn’t more spin (or Zumba, running, etc). The answer is to pick up the weights. Strength training helps us build muscles, which elevates our metabolism, which allows us to burn more calories throughout the day than if we had no muscle. In other words, putting some muscle on your body helps you burn body fat almost effortlessly. So, yes, you can still Zumba your heart out a couple days a week, but you also have to prioritize the strength stuff.
3. Less screen time, more sleep.
Sleep is by fat the most underrated and least talked about aspect of fat loss and it’s a bummer because sleep is SO FREAKING IMPORTANT. Getting more sleep can help us:
- Stop late night snacking- If you’re sitting on the couch at 9:30 at night eating another bowl of ice cream “just because” and you’re not even physically hungry…get your butt to BED. Especially for my emotional eaters out there, some extra shut eye will do WONDERS for your stress levels versus that bowl of ice cream.
- Ensure we get our workout in the next day. I don’t know about you, but if I’m tired AF, the chances of me skipping my workout, or at the very least doing it half-assed, is highly likely. Prioritize sleep so you can get your lift in and give it 100% and maybe, as a bonus, hit that Zumba class after, too.
- Reduce cravings. Less sleep = cravings like a mofo. Why? Because when our body is running low on energy, it’s constantly looking for that boost- usually in things like donuts, bagels, muffins and candy. If we let our body get the rest it needs at night, we’re much more likely to stick to our plan and stay the course.
So, if you want fat loss, you want to stop eating so much at night, you want to squash your cravings and finally start seeing some results… Get more sleep.
4. Less stress, more stress management.
Similar to sleep, if we’re constantly living in a high stressed state, fat loss is going to be a struggle. We’ll seek out eating food for comfort (I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen someone seek out comfort in a bag of baby carrots), going to the gym will feel like just another thing to do and we’ll be a lot more likely to count ourselves out because with all the stress in our lives, how can we even begin to focus on eating healthy and exercising?! So, yet again, our health goals get pushed to the wayside.
The solution? Manage your stress. Easier said than done, maybe, but there are TONS of things you can do to help reduce stress. Journal, walk, exercise, call a friend, begin setting boundaries with people who are pushing you too far, sleep more… If you’re someone who is always saying “I’m just so stressed all the time” or “my job is so stressful,” check yourself.
So does losing fat mean you have to make some sacrifices? Yes. HOWEVER- if that goal is a priority for you, these things won’t feel sacrificial because it’s simply what you need to do to reach your goals. Remember, wanting to lose fat is a choice. It’s up to you if you want to do it or not and it’s up to you to make the right choices to get yourself there.