Unless you are already almost entirely pure muscle, losing fat really only comes down to a few, simple steps. All these weight-loss teas and pills are unnecessary. I’ve been using a traditional approach to cutting weight and have lost at least 15 pounds of mostly fat and water weight in nearly 8 weeks. And I have’t even weighed myself on an empty stomach – I’ve only done it at night, so I probably weigh even a few pounds lighter.
Lift weights regularly
Lifting is necessary otherwise you will lose muscle. Someone who is losing weight and only doing cardio or no exercise at all will be skinny fat, not lean and toned. Lifting causes the body to build muscle, and this in turn makes it less likely for the body to eat away from its muscle preserves. In the gym, use whatever technique is best for you to build muscle. I generally complete 3 sets of 8-10 reps of each exercise.
Eat protein – lots of it
To lose fat but preserve muscle, a constant replenishment of protein is necessary. If you want to have a toned physique, it doesn’t matter whether you are gaining or cutting weight… consuming at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight is needed for optimal results.
Count your calories to a T
All weight loss really comes down to is burning more calories in a day than you consume. I have read and heard countless accounts now of people who claim to be counting their calories, but are not losing weight. This is simply not possible. In reality, these people are usually only guesstimating how much they consume. Let’s say, for example, they are eating a salad and don’t include the calories of the dressing. That would actually account for more calories than the lettuce. One tablespoon of olive oil has about 100 calories, whereas a serving of lettuce has no more than 10 calories.
Counting calories diligently is really the best way to lose fat at a steady and reliable pace. Here is the formula for losing one pound of fat per week:
maintenance calories – 500 calories = daily caloric needs
The reasoning behind this is that 500 calories x 7 days in a week is 3500 calories, which is equal to one pound of fat.
The most convenient way to monitor calories is the brilliant app called “My Fitness Pal,” which allows you to keep a log of everything you eat and to track your changes in weight. I use it nearly every day to log in every meal. It even has a feature to scan the barcodes of packaged food to quickly bring up their nutritional values. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can still use their database online.
Prepare your own meals
Restaurants either don’t provide nutritional information about their foods, or the information they provide is oftentimes inaccurate. The only way to truly know the nutritional values of your meals is to prepare them yourself. In order to do this, a food scale is necessary so you can weigh out each ounce or gram of food.
If developing a leaner physique is important enough to you, you will improve your eating habits. Most people will slip a little and eat over their allotted calories every once in while, however.
Over the last ten days I actually had 4 burgers and fries, 2 slices of pizza, and an ice cream cookie sandwich. Sometimes I succumb to eating socially.. One of my professors brought pizza for our class and I couldn’t say no! I made up for this by starting HIIT/ High-Intensity Interval Training again. I hadn’t done it in weeks. My favorite form is doing sets of good ol’ sprinting as fast as I can for 15 seconds, followed by rest. It must really work, because I lost 2 pounds even though I ate all that junk food and surpassed my caloric deficit every day! I knew and accepted that I ate too much each day, but did not beat myself up about it. I enjoyed each of the foods and company I had, and I will continue to the next day with a fresh start, every day.
So if you find that on a particular day or even during a whole week you are overeating, simply continue to the next day or week with a clean slate. If this isn’t enough, do a little more cardio. Calories in, calories out.