Fat loss can be challenging. Especially when you don’t know where to start or how to do it safely. And sadly, modern day media has turned fat loss into a marketing scheme, selling you on all kinds of fad diets and weight loss pills. It’s sad, but it's true.
And unfortunately, thousands of people fall for it- myself included. For years I tried every diet, every diet pill and I was left disappointed when I would watch the scale move up instead of down. I mean I've gone from being vegan, to fasting, to doing the keto diet, to taking every green tea and coffee fruit extract vitamin I could get my hands on and nothing. Not only did I not lose any of the weight- sometimes I ended up putting on some weight.
It wasn’t until I learned how fat loss works that I was able to bio-hack my body and completely change my life with just a few tweaks to my lifestyle.
So, in honor of my younger self who struggled so much to find her confidence, I figured I would share with you everything I learned about fat loss so you can skip the first few years of trial and error and jump right into seeing results.
What is fat loss?
When you eat food, your body uses the calories you get from that food as fuel. When there’s an excess of calories, your body stores it as fat. Fat is not a bad thing- contrary to popular belief. It’s meant to be an emergency stock of energy in case you ever need it.
Fat becomes a problem, however, when it’s stored in excess. It can be the reason why you develop health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, fatigue, lethargy, poor sleep, bad mood and much more.
But you can combat all of that by decreasing your body fat percentage. That is what we call fat loss.
People often interchange the terms “fat loss” and “weight loss'' but the two are not the same at all. Weight loss refers to a decrease in your overall weight. This includes weight from your fat stores (obviously) but also from your muscle and bone mass. This can be dangerous seeing as muscle is crucial for a healthy body. So you want to make sure you keep as much of it as possible.
Fat loss on the other hand aims to preserve your muscle mass while decreasing your body fat percentage. A much better and safer option for your health and safety.
How fat loss works
The one thing about fat loss is that it all comes down to calories. How many calories you burn throughout your day determines how much fat you burn over a given period. And that's the important thing to remember. Fat loss isn't a one time commitment. It's the result of a few lifestyle changes you make that are sustainable enough for you to enjoy and keep up with.
First, you want to include exercise as part of your daily life. This will help you increase the number of calories you’re burning while making use of your muscles. Your body then understands that you should be burning fat to fuel those muscles, making it tap into your fat stores while preserving your muscle mass.
While aerobic exercise is shown to be the most effective form of exercise to burn calories, resistance training acts as an investment you make that will help you increase your metabolism in the long run. According to one study, those who did cardio alone without resistance training were successful in losing fat, but also lost a lot of muscle and bone mass. On the other hand, those who combined cardio with resistance training were able to preserve, and even increase, their muscle mass all while losing fat.
However, it’s very important to be careful with the amount of exercise you’re doing because overdoing it can actually lead to weight gain and here’s why:
- When you exercise you create you create an energy deficit that your body needs to correct
- The way you do this is through food
- When it's a manageable demand, you can eat the diet you intend and recover at a normal pace
- When the demand is too high or too extreme, your body will often times crave more than is necessary as a stress response
- This causes many individuals to have episodes of overeating or burnout which leads to a lack of desire to exercise the next day
So in an attempt to get the results faster, people often compromise their journey by exhausting themselves- making it nearly impossible to lose weight. The important thing to remember is that fat loss is a journey. It’s not something you will achieve in a few days, but a commitment you have to be willing to make as part of a lifestyle change.
The second and arguably most important thing to do during a fat loss journey is your diet. The biggest misconception people have about fat loss is that as long as they exercise, they’ll see results. But that is not always the case!
Your diet and nutrition habits define whether you will lose weight or not. The simple truth of the matter is that you can’t out-train a bad diet. And by diet, we mean the types of foods you decide to eat, and the quantity as well.
See in order to lose fat, your body needs to be in a calorie deficit. Otherwise, you’ll be training hard without seeing any results. It doesn’t matter how hard you train, what types of exercise you do, or how often you do them- if your goal is to lose body fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit.
What is a calorie deficit?
In order to be in a calorie deficit, you need to be consuming less calories than you’re burning. It’s as simple as that.
Calories are the units of measurement for the energy your body uses to perform all of its functions. You acquire that energy through your food and you spend it on digesting, breathing, moving- everything.
So naturally, if you consume less than what your body requires to function, it will be forced to get its calories from another source. And what will that source be? Your fat stores. That’s the sole reason why your body stores fat to begin with. It’s an emergency energy source.
And in order to tap into that emergency stock, you need to give your body less than what it requires.
Now, that doesn’t mean you should go ahead and starve yourself. A calorie deficit of up to 500 calories is sufficient for seeing changes in fat loss without significantly affecting your hunger, energy, and mood. You want to be careful, however, not to under-eat because that will once again push you into a negative feedback loop where your body will experience excessive hunger and cravings forcing you to binge eat and ruin your progress.
To create a calorie deficit that is safe for your body and its needs, you need to figure out your maintenance calories. Your maintenance calories is the amount of calories you would need to maintain your current physique. So for example, if your body currently requires 2000 calories per day, you can decrease those calories as low as 1500 to safely ensure weight loss. The bigger your calorie deficit, the faster you will lose weight.
It’s important to note that as you lose body fat, your maintenance calories will decrease as well. So once you reach your goal weight, you will want to adjust your maintenance calories to your new physique to make sure you don’t gain all that weight back.
That being said, it’s understandable that cutting down your calories can be hard- there’s a huge gap between eating 2000 calories a day versus 1500. This is why we recommend combining a slight calorie deficit with exercise. While exercise alone won’t help you lose weight, combining it with a calorie deficit that works for you will do wonders for your health and your silhouette.
At the end of the day, you want to stick to a plan that is sustainable and that you can stick to. You have to ask yourself what you can do for 30/60/90 days in a row in order to lose the fat and then you have to ask yourself what you are prepared to do forever to maintain your physique.
If you’re unsure about where to start, the Booty King’s very own Booty Program offers not only a structured 8-week workout program, but also a nutrition and diet guide designed to help you lose fat and build muscle- anywhere, anytime.