Fat loss: A no nonsense guide and the science behind it

If you are reading this then there is a high chance you have tried to go for fat loss. And you failed miserably. And you wonder, what might have gone wrong with you, why the ‘hacks’ you read on the internet is not working out in your case.

No. You are not alone! Like you, I and everyone around you are trying to drop some of their weight. BY weight, I mean those extra kilos of fat you carry around. Much like everyone, I am sure you might have started diet more than once and after a few days, you have dropped that diet too. Things like this happen. We are human.

The biggest reason you quit after a few days of your mission to lose fat because of the way you took or the other to lose fat which is not backed by science. We do experiments. Come on. It is your body. So Stop experimenting, dump those ‘internet hacks’ and learn the science behind fat loss.

A no nonsense guide to fat lossImage source

What is fat loss:

I am not trying to start the Gettysburg address here about what is fat loss and why you should do it. We all know about.

But what I am going to tell is ‘Fat loss is a science.’ And like everything in science, it is too guided by some proven theories and methods.

Fat loss is not about stopping eating, killing yourself in the treadmill or buying those expensive superfoods. Fat loss is not about breaking a sweat over your weight. And regretting everything you eat.

You don’t lose fat by stopped eating. Eating less only helps in weight loss or better call it getting weaker every day and inviting diseases to house in your body.

Fat loss is a process of converting the extra amount of fatty acids and glycerol (mind the word ‘extra’. Fatty acids and glycerol derivatives are essential to humans) into energy. Yes! Fats give us energy too. It is one of the three macro nutrients that the human body depends upon for energy.

Fat loss vs Weight loss:

By now you might have been scratching your head about what is weight loss and fat loss? Are they different? 

Yes, they are different. Weight loss and fat loss are one of the biggest myth in the fitness industry. Even people who ‘live in the gym’ can not tell the difference. But worry not. I am here to make it clear for you and you will remember it as long as you live. Pun intended.

The human body is basically made up of bones, water, muscle and some fat mass. When you reduce the fat mass of the body without losing the muscle mass, we call it fat loss. And when you lose both fat mass and muscle mass together we call it weight loss.

While Fat loss only affects the amount of fat mass of the body, weight loss often take the fat out of your body and along with the fat, it takes out muscle mass too.

Studies proved Fat loss improves the strength, fitness and stamina. It also delays ageing. On the other hand weight loss actually does the very opposite.

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Burn more calories than you eat:

If you would ask me what is the simplest way to lose fat. My answer would be ‘Burn more calories than you eat.’ Yes! This may sound like a simple sentence. But ask anyone who holds good knowledge about the human body and nutrition. Everyone will say the same.

Wise men often say, the hardest of the question often have the simplest of answers.

Your body produces energy from everything we eat. And use this produced energy to perform the tasks (or better say keep us alive). From walking to breathing, talking to playing your favourite sports, every activity you do requires energy. Even thinking also burns energy that your body has produced.

The amount of energy our body needs to carry out the normal operations of the day is called BMR or Basal Metabolic rate. And everything else we do other than living is added to the BMR.

And every time you eat something, your body converts the food into energy, some of them are used to carry out the activities and rest is stored in the body for future needs. Human body stores energy in the form of fat cells.

What if your body runs out of energy it produced from the food you ate? It will switch to the mode where it produces energy from the fat cells to cover up for the shortage of energy. Sounds like pretty much the normal? Imagine what would happen if your body has to do this every day? It would definitely reduce the amount of fat stored in the body. That is what we call the fat loss.

Now you must be wondering how to calculate the energy your body burns? Well! For a rough estimate, it is easy to calculate it. Fire up your phone or computer and head over to Google, search for a BMR calculator. Now all you have to do is enter your vital stats and it would give you an estimate of your BMR. And now all you have to do is to reduce your daily calorie consumption below your BMR.

Word of caution, never take your Calorie consumption below 1400 calories a day.

Count your calories:

Now that you know how your body works and the mechanism of fat loss, you must be thinking about how to actually keep the track on the calories. How to watch what are you eating? And what to eat?

First, you need to know what you are eating and how many calories it has. Get a weigh scale and download a calorie tracker app. ‘MyFitnesspal’ is a good app to keep track of your calories. Measure everything you eat and note it in the app. It will give the number of calories you are eating. The app has a much need option to scan the bar code. Scan it up and get the details of anything you are eating.

Try to keep the calories you take from the carbs low, increase the calories you get from protein and some generous amount of fat too. Again, don’t be too generous with the fat you are eating.

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Protein: The messiah: 

Protein, one of the three most macro nutrients, often regarded as most important in bodybuilding. It is not only for people who want to grow muscle. Protein is good for everyone.

And if you want to lose fat, Protein is your messiah, the most important of all three major macro nutrients. Protein helps the fat loss more than any other nutrients. Protein helps fat loss in more than one ways.

Studies proved that higher consumption of protein often reduces the appetite. Eating a higher amount of protein often increase the production of hormones that regulates the hunger in your body.

Hormones like GLP – 1, Peptide YY regulates weights in the human body. A high protein meal often stimulates the higher secretion of these hormones which helps in reducing the hunger and thus lower the calorie intake. And your calorie intake is lower, in a long period of time you tend to drop fat.

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Your body burns some amount of energy to digest the food you eat. This is called the thermic effect of food. And studies have found that that different macro nutrients have different TEF. According to the same study, digestion of protein requires more energy than the digestion of Carbs and Fats.

Another benefit of high protein meal is it helps you to check the muscle loss and prevent the metabolic slow down of the body.

Red meat, fish, eggs are good protein choices for a non-vegetarian. And if you happen to be a vegetarian, you can go for cottage cheese, tofu and some pulses and legumes.

Fibre: The new super food: 

Fibres are the new super food. Yes! You heard it right. Fibres have the unique quality of absorbing liquids. Fibres often expand in your stomachs. And you feel fuller for longer than usual time.

A filled stomach often delays the releasing of hunger hormones and decreases the cravings and hunger pangs.

Do justice with your portion size:

If you want to lose fat, you have got to do justice with the portion size. You need to keep the foods that do not help you fat loss low and good nutritious food more.

Make the portions according to your nutritional requirements. Keep the portions of carb, protein and fat in every meal. But be mind full of the portions.

Always try to keep the weighing scaling and measure what you are eating. Keep the portions of high-calorie dense food portion small and eat low-calorie food like vegetables and greens more.

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Cut down the extras:

You need that packet of cheese or nachos every time you watch tv, stoping drinking coke while working. You can drink a cup of coffee without sugar on it. Sandwich do well without cheese too.

Knowingly or unknowingly you ate a lot of food items what we don’t count. These extras often add up at the end of the day. This becomes the reason why your diet does not yield the reason you want.

Sugars, Cheese, Fries, Chips are a calorie bomb. They may not look like it but they carry way more calorie than your average main dish. If you decided to lose fat you have to ditch the extras.

Don’t starve yourself:

Eating less will not make you lose fat. It will only make you weaker and eventually sick. No one becomes fit and lose fat by eating less. This is the biggest myth that is going around for quite some.

What makes you fit and lose fat is eating wisely and selectively. You need what according to your bodies requirements. Eat enough food to keep yourself going throughout the day. Drinking lots of water.

Skipping a meal often leads to unwanted consequences. Studies have proved that Skipping meals often reverses the benefits of weight loss. And

Occasionally reward yourself with a dessert or any food you like. Mind you, I said reward and occasionally in the same sentence.

The more the merrier:

Yes! Eat more meals. Time to through the notion of three meals a day away. Eat up to six meals a day. Keep the portion small and eat in every two or three hours.

Eating three meals often make meals heavier and will make you searching for the bed. And often seen in many cases People hungry often and end up binge eating.

Eating as much as 6 meals a day will definitely reduce the portion size and give you the feeling of a full stomach throughout the day.

Eating more meals often reduces hunger pangs and thus reduces the chances of binge eating.

Keep the meals balanced. Eat enough carbs, protein and fats in every meal.

Every diet works:

‘People don’t fail with diet. People fail to maintain a  diet for a long time.’

Diet never fails you. It is you who fails the diet. Diet is not about restricting you for a better part of the day and then binge eating once you feel hungry.

Diet is about discipline. It is about knowing what to eat and when to eat. Diet is not a weekday hobby. If you are on a diet, you are on a diet on weekends too.

As I have said earlier, the one and the only way to lose fat is keeping the calorie intake below the calorie you and your body uses. Incorporate this to any diet of your choice. Be it Vegan, or Vegetarian, Paleo or Keto. Every diet will work if you are disciplined and keep burning more calories than you eat.

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Start to lift:

I have seen a lot of people actually killing the treadmill. But the results often disappoints them. Cardio is not for fat loss. But not the only option. The biggest problem with cardio is weight loss. Yes! Cardio only helps in losing weight. Excessive cardio often results in muscle loss.

Start lifting weight. Lifting weight (Strength training) is very good for weight loss. It develops your muscles and helps in fat loss. Weight training strengthens condition the muscle. It also boosts the metabolism in the human body.

Another problem with cardio is the effect of cardio is short term. This means cardio increases the metabolism in the human body for the time period when your body is warm and the metabolism rate goes down once your body is cool down.

On the other hand, the effect of weight training lasts almost the whole day. This means the rate of metabolism is elevated for a longer period of time. And your body is more calories than usual. Is not it a cool way to burn fat?

The hardest step:

The hardest part of doing anything is taking the first step. I know you are comfortable in your life. And you are happy with everything you have. But I can bet, you often feel you need to do better. And but for the fear (or say too lazy) of getting out of your comfort zone, you don’t do it. You often hide the thoughts of self-improvement. But remember nothing grows in the comfort zone.

You need to decide and make your mind up. Once you decide, the hardest part will begin. You need to change your lifestyle. Learn to to cut down your trigger foods. You must have to avoid those occasional (but the truth is, it is more regular than occasional) eating outs. You got to work out. It may be hard in the beginning, but you will get used to it.

But the first step is making your mind and start the change. So get off the couch or from anywhere you are comfortable in and start take the first step.

Don’t cheat on your sleep:

Don’t cheat on your sleep. Take at least 6 to 7 hours of sleep every day.

A night of good sleep is very important for a good day. Sleep revitalises your body, gives your organs much-needed break. Sleep works like wonder.

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Keep a journal:

Visualisation often helps to keep track of the goal. This gives a real-time idea of what is working out and what you need to change.

Keep track of everything, what you ate, how much you work out, how many steps you took and most importantly your progress.

Go for body-profiling in every 15 days. Note down the weight, Lean muscle mass, fat mass, total body fat percentage and BMR. And plot them nicely in a graph and track your progress.

This will help you to know better what is working and what needs to change. Make the change immediately.

You can use ‘InBody’ to keep track of your body vitals.

There is no magic pill:

I am sorry to break this to you. But there is no magic pill. There is nothing that can make you lose fat if you don’t want to.

Everything available in the market with a glossy packing and eye-catching headline is fake. There is no much wonder formula.

These wonder pills have more side effects than benefits. Avoid them at any cost. And save your hard earned money and use it to buy healthy food options. 

There is no magic pill:

Rome was not built in a day. Nothing worth having comes so easy. It takes time.

Always have patience. Never stress yourself about the results. If you are doing everything right and you are truthful to yourself. Eat your meals,  workout well, keep your trigger foods and junks in check. Avoid taking the stress. And you will have your result in front of you very soon.



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Fat loss: A no nonsense guide and the science behind it

by Mridu time to read: 9 min