Fat loss is like a puzzle. A puzzle that’s unique for each of us. And because it’s unique, what works for me may not work for you. But despite these vast differences, there are a few “rules of the road” that are universal when it comes to the game.
Today, let’s look at a few proven tips that can help you to see some awesome fat loss success.
Tip #1: Get in the habit of learning portion sizes
Many people don’t realize exactly how much, or how little, they eat on a daily basis. And when fat loss is your main goal, being sure to eat in a way that fits your goals calorically is crucial.
The game of fat loss isn’t as simple as calories in vs. calories out. But we can all agree that knowing exactly how much you’re eating is important. Learning portion size control is very simple. One way you can start is by simply measuring your foods. When serving yourself meat, put it on the scale before putting it on your plate. Learn what roughly 3, 4, 5, or 6 ounces of meat or fish looks like. This way, when you’re in a situation of when you’re eating out, you can sort of guestimate how much you’re eating if tracking your food is a part of your fat loss meal planning (which it should be).
I would even say to go as far as measuring servings of rice, potatoes, pasta, and even something like your peanut butter. On the label, it typically is listed for about 2 tablespoons for a serving. Those 2 tablespoons amounts to roughly about 32 grams. You would be shocked to see exactly how small 2 tablespoons (32 grams) actually is! So get into the habit of measuring your food, this alone will help you to better understand, and control, portions.
Tip #2: See things as a lifestyle not simply a diet
I know you’ve heard this before… It’s a lifestyle, it’s a lifestyle, it’s a lifestyle… Well knock, knock – IT’S A LIFESTYLE. Diets start and end. You don’t truly learn any of the tools you need to make your fat loss a long term success, and most times – you’ll quit before seeing the end of it all. So keep in mind, this is all about making changes in your life that will not only help you to make your goals a reality, but make the changes you make LONG LASTING. For most that’s going to mean really changing habits, and choosing to see things in a different light. By that I mean you will probably have to change the way you shop for food and the types of things you keep around the house to avoid snacking and temptation, or programming yourself to schedule your workouts like you schedule your daily appointments… Being sure to never miss them, and if you do, you simply work out on an off day instead.
So seeing this stuff as something you plan to do for the longterm is the most important process in all of this. Without it, you’ll only fail once again.
Tip #3: Learn to include freedom and a flexible approach to dieting
Dietary freedom is just about as important as being compliant on your plan. Restricting yourself completely by not allowing food substitutions and/or free meals (what you may call “cheat meals”) is so important. In my own online coaching practice, I allow clients to sub foods out of their plan whenever they wish. As long as the serving size matches roughly the same amount of calories as the original item on their plan, then they’re totally fine. On the same token, I also allow clients to enjoy one to two free meals a week. We call them “free meals” as opposed to “cheat meals’ for a reason. Free meals has a more positive connotation and releases any feelings of guilt often associated with the word “cheat”. A “cheat” to us is something truly off plan and not accounted for.
But overall, what I’ve found with just about all of the clients I’ve worked with (and at this point it’s just about in the 1000s since 1997), is that having a flexible approach to dieting helps them to stay compliant, establish habits that help them in the longterm and well after the diet, and shows them that balance can be had in this process – thus leading to far more success.
Which leads us directly to my next point…
Tip #4: Slipping Up Is OK
That’s right… Read that one again. Slipping up on your diet IS OK! The one thing you want to think about is the good ole 90% Rule. If you are on your diet, and consistent, 90% of the time, then the small 10% when you slip up doesn’t greatly effect things.
This game isn’t about being PERFECT and SPOT ON every single day. In fact, that isn’t even realistic. But instead, focusing on being consistent, and not even skipping a beat when you slip up is the true key to success. That’s another thing I realize about my most successful clients, when they realize that small slips don’t completely ruin their entire program, they are able to recover from them better, and they see their goals become their reality.
Tip #5: Obey The 90/10 Rule
You know I couldn’t finish this article without touching on the 90/10 Rule. This is the rule that’s the cornerstone to my own coaching business, yet it’s not something I’ve made up on my own. In the case of dieting and fat loss, the 90/10 rule basically says that if you comply with your plan within 90 percent, the 10 percent when you are off of your plan (little slip ups, cheat meals, that pizza you like to eat once or twice a week, that ice cream you’ve been craving, etc) doesn’t throw things of completely – and you will still see fat loss happen. This could mean having all your meals on plan 6 days a week, and on the 7th day, having more freedom to eat loosely on plan, and then a meal that’s completely off plan of your choice. The only thing you need to be careful of with this kind of approach is that you don’t turn it into a binge day. Another approach you can take is having all your meals spot on for all meals of the day except one where you eat a little loosely. With this approach, you want to be careful not to go overboard, and adjust things as need depending on how your body is responding.
I cannot stress how important it is for you to not embrace perfection – dietary perfection. It can set you up for a host of stress and unrealistic expectations. Allowing yourself to mindfully cheat or eat off plan, allowing yourself to STILL have the foods you crave and love all teaches you how to do this stuff in the longterm. It teaches you how to take a more balanced approach, or dare I even say a far more realistic approach, to your fat loss game.
In conclusion, fat loss doesn’t have to be this insurmountable task. It’s only as hard as you allow it to be. And although all of us needs to approach our diet and training differently to see our personal level of success, if you follow the five tips above, you’ll see your goals become your reality – no matter how much you need or would like to lose.