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The Best Ways to Lose Body Fat

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Rob recently got personal training and nutrition coaching certifications from NASM and has been weight training for over 30 years.

How To Get Rid Of Unwanted Body Fat

With the high rates of obesity in this country, there are many people who want to know how to get rid of unwanted body fat quickly. Just look at all of the infomercials for diet products and exercise equipment that promise to get you into great shape in record time. Of course, many of the claims that you hear on these infomercials are exaggerated and those "before" and "after" pictures are often doctored. You don't have to spend an extravagant amount of money buying the latest diet fad or exercise product that you see advertised everywhere. There is no magic pill and the types of substances that do give fast results are usually of the unsafe variety.

If you want to learn how to lose fat naturally you need to put forth the effort. It takes a combination of exercise and diet to succeed. However, if you really want it, you need to embrace what it will take. As you see results, it will certainly fire you up to keep at it.

My Story

I was always carrying around a little extra even though I always exercised. My thought process was, well, how out of shape would I be if I didn't work out? This would be glass half full thinking for sure. However, during the spring 2020 lockdown I put on more weight, and once it ended it was time to put some effort into dropping weight.

I started at a weight of around 230 pounds and over about a year's time got all the way down to 175. This was done without losing muscle mass and I've maintained it now for over a year. I have no desire to ever overeat to the point where I get even close to my previous weight.

As you can probably guess, the factor that held me back in getting into optimal shape was my diet. It's so easy to eat like crap and use "well I work out every day" as an excuse. I did it for so long myself that it became routine. However, it's so possible to start enjoying new favorite foods that are much less calorie dense and aren't overly processed.


Create A Caloric Deficit

Fat loss comes down to creating a calorie deficit. This is done by burning more calories than you take in. The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy in an isolated system can neither be created nor destroyed but can be transferred from one form to another. When it comes to your body, you won't lose weight if the energy, in the form of calories, exceeds the calories you burn away through your metabolism and activity. It boils down to consuming less and exercising more.

The best way to know whether or not you are creating a caloric deficit is to track your consumption and calories burned through activity. With the best fitness trackers, you can keep tabs on how much you are burning while working out. Some of them will even track the calories you burn through everyday activities. Keeping a diet log is also gonna help you know how many calories you are taking in.

Change Your Lifestyle, Don't Go On A Diet

To really do what you need to do to get into the best shape you've ever been in, you can't just lollygag and eat well just some of the time. Your nutrition has to be on point to get rid of unwanted body fat. No more "I'm going on a diet" or "my diet starts next week". What does that even mean? It's just an excuse to eat like crap. I did it myself for many years. Take it from me, once you see positive results, your desire to eat bad foods will go down.

What It Takes To Lose One Pound

One pound of fat contains 3500 calories. Due to the First Law of Thermodynamics losing one pound will require a net deficit of 3500 calories. However, for the vast majority of people, this is an extremely large amount and will take time to do. The realistic goal for many is to try to create this 3500 calorie deficit over a week's time. This means it will take a combination of lowering caloric intake and burning calories through exercise. The goal is to get rid of 500 extra calories per day through diet and exercise.

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Small Dietary Changes Add Up

To decrease your caloric intake by the amount you need to create a daily deficit of 500 (with some being burned off due to exercise), you need to optimize your diet. Fortunately, even small changes can go a long way.

One major thing I did to lose fat was to change the types of foods I snack on - and not to have as much as I used to. Common couch potato foods like chips should be eliminated as much as possible. In their place, snack on your favorite or seasoned unbuttered popcorn. I started making my own yogurt/honey/peanut butter/chocolate protein powder mixture to take the place of ice cream. A ton of calories will be saved by doing this.

Another big change I made to my diet was to have vegetables as a side instead of fries, chips, or a baked potato ladened in butter. I like multiple green veggies already like asparagus, broccoli, green beans, and peas so I made those my new sides with lean meats for my meals. Trader Joe's green vegetable foursome medley is now one of the staples of my diet.

Get Active!

In my case, exercise in some form has never been an issue. Even at my worst, I was into heavy weight training. I go to the gym almost daily - and the other days I'm taking a bike ride. Unfortunately, exercise is not a priority for many, and it's getting worse.

No matter how sedentary your lifestyle is, just getting out and walking will burn more calories. You can eventually work up to brisk walks, or even running. Swimming and cycling may be preferable if your joints take too much of a beating from walking and running. However, they don't benefit your bones as much as walking and running.

Burn More Calories Through Exercise

Exercise is the key to burning more calories. You should start slowly if you haven't been active in some time. Even 5 to 10 minutes of activity is gonna help. As you get used to more exercise, you'll want to gradually work up to workouts that last at least 30 minutes. The intensity level of your cardio will also dictate how long your workouts are.

Set Realistic Goals

Setting unrealistic weight loss goals is what holds back many overweight people from getting into good shape. If you have 50 pounds you could lose, that number 50 can seem quite daunting. This can cause a sense of hopelessness for some.

The way to go is to set a much smaller goal and keep at it as you reach them. If losing 5 pounds is your goal, it's going to seem very reachable. Once you hit your goal, make another 5-pound weight loss goal. Rinse. Repeat. If you keep at it eventually you'll reach the big goal.

You've Finally Reached Your Goals, Now What?

Once you reach your ultimate goals you need to stay the course to maintain. By now you've already changed your lifestyle with exercise and proper nutrition anyway. Why would you ever go back to your previous way of life?

To keep the juices flowing you can always set performance goals. These can be in the form of trying to lift heavier when you weight train or run a faster 5K. You can also frequently change your workouts to keep your training fresh. Trying new running and cycling trails will also help keep your exercise routine interesting.

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