1) Weigh Yourself Daily: When you’re trying to lose fat, it’s easy to become scale-obsessed. Weighing yourself too much can lead to panic if you feel like you are not seeing results. There are several factors that can affect what the scale says. Depending on hydration levels, weight can fluctuate two to ten pounds a day. You weigh more at night than in the morning. So weigh yourself once a week, at the same time and under the same conditions to get a more level perspective of how your fat loss is coming.
2) Use the Scale as Your Only Benchmark: As we discussed in #1, your scale body weight can fluctuate greatly day by day. So it’s important to have other concrete benchmarks to monitor your success. One you can do on your own is waist circumference at belly button level. As the bulk of our fat cells are located in this area, if you’re truly losing fat, you should also be losing inches; 1 inch for every 5lbs of true fat loss. Another good method is to find a personal trainer skilled in caliper use and get a 3 or 7 site body fat assessment done. The same measuring advice applies to these methods as to weighing yourself, use the same method, with the same measurer under the same conditions each time to get the most consistent and accurate reading.
3) Have a Lofty Goal: Yes, you need a Specific and Measurable goal. But as the “R” in S.M.A.R.T states your goal needs to be grounded in reality. Although popular weight loss shows like “The Biggest Loser” have contestants dropping 10-20 pounds in a week, you have to remember those people are on a fat farm, with a dedicated personal trainer, and only healthy food options available. You do not have such luxury. If you set a goal based on scale weight, aim for 1 pound per week. If you set a goal based on body fat percentage, aim for 1% to 3% a month. Aim for losing 1 inch or 1 pant size per month if your goal is based on waist circumference or pants size.
4) Eat A Highly Processed Carb Breakfast: The simple act of eating breakfast may help in your fat loss quest. However, if that breakfast is full of processed cereals (yes even whole grain cereals) and juice, you may be sabotaging your efforts. Take some time on Saturday or Sunday to boil a dozen eggs and have 2 hard boiled eggs each morning to give you the protein and healthy Omega-3s you need to stay satisfied. Or if you have the time, scramble up some eggs, throw in some spinach leaves and have a cup of blueberries on the side.
5) Eat More Salads: Salads can be healthy, but more often than not they do not have enough protein or nutrition. Switch out iceberg and romaine lettuce with raw spinach and pepper slices. Add in 6oz of grilled fish, chicken, lean beef or hard boiled eggs for some more protein. Use an Olive Oil and Vinegar based salad dressing rather than drenching your new healthier salad in a creamy “Fat Free” sauce.
6) Avoid Dietary Fat: More and more research is showing that healthy Omega-3 fats and some saturated fat are actually good for fat loss. Often “Low Fat” and “No Fat” items are filled with sugars that can spike insulin and make fat loss even harder.
7) Avoid *ALL* Carbs: Carbs such as vegetables and fruits are usually not what cause us to gain weight, so going “Low-Carb” and eliminating all fruits and vegetables is a recipe for disaster. The “Carbs” that you should stay away from are the overly processed grains and sugars. Breads, cereals, chips, crackers, cookies, cakes, pastas, and rice are all items that can be easy to overeat, spike insulin and cause fat storage. Of course the safest time to eat carbs, is the period after a heavy weight training workout, yes even after it’s 6PM!!
8) Eat Pre-Packaged “Diet” Meals: Remember those carbs I asked you to stay away from in #? Well most, if not all, pre-packaged “Weight Watchers” or “Lean Cuisine” meals contain them. If you’re not going to make the time to plan your own cooked meals in advanced and are gong to rely on these pre-packaged items, pick the ones that have more vegetables and meat in their packaging than those that have pasta and rice. They will be hard to find!
9) Do *MORE* Cardio: If doing “More Cardio” was the solution for fat loss, then no one would be obese! Take a look around your local gym cardio section, how many “more cardio” people are still fighting to lose those last 10-20lbs? Shorter, more intense, bouts of cardio are the way to go, ever see a fat world class sprinter? They are pretty darn lean *AND* muscular. Experiment with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Intensity is the key word here, you shouldn’t be able to talk or read a magazine when you sprint. You should be sprinting like you’re being chased by a cheetah, policeman, or drag queen scorned. Obviously, this is very hard to do on a Treadmill because of the time it takes the treadmill to ramp up to sprint speed. So sprinting outdoors at a track or using an aerodyne or wingate stationary bicycle would be best. Here’s a great article on some different HIIT methods you can try!
10) Avoid Lifting Heavy Weights: I know I hear you now, “I don’t want to be big, just toned!” Well muscle “tone” is what happens when you reduce fat and grow the muscle. So you have to include some sort of resistance training in your fat loss efforts. Learn the basic five compound moves: Squat, Deadlift, Bench, Overhead Press and Row. If you are in a fat-loss phase, you should be doing a variation of each of those five moves each time you are in the gym. Keep the reps under 12 and the weights around 70% of your 1 rep max. And *NO* “High Reps and Low Weight” doesn’t get you ripped faster.
11) Do It Alone: Your weight is a personal issue, but studies have shown that fat loss works best in a supportive environment, both at work and at home. It is easy to get sabotaged by other people, including family members. So you have to make sure everyone is clear on your plans and the changes that are going to take place. There are no shortage of *FREE* on-line support groups for Weight Loss, no need to plop down a weekly fee to belong to one.
12) Do It For Someone Else:If you are losing weight to impress a potential mate, lover, or family member, STOP IT! You need to think of fat loss as it’s YOU against YOU! The goal of fat loss is simple: look better, feel better, and be healthier. Do it for YOURSELF, not for someone else.