When it comes to fat loss, no one argues that nutrition plays the primary role in someone’s success or failure. Your continued nutrition also decides whether or not you keep the weight off or gain it back.
Crash diets and quick fixes are often extremely restrictive and require you to eat in a way that you could never sustain for the rest of your life. This is why over 90% of people who lose weight gain it back (plus some).
If you have ever lost weight or attempted to lose weight and failed, you know how frustrating it can be – not only in the moments that you find yourself falling off the wagon but also as you watch yourself regain the fat you did lose, despite a conscious effort not to slip back into old habits.
The goal of this cheat sheet is to give you easy-to-implement, PERMANENT fat loss strategies that are neither restrictive nor unsustainable. I suggest implementing one new strategy every two to four weeks before adding on a new one to make sure you’ve really got the habit nailed down.
STRATEGY #1: EAT SLOWLY
What does this mean? Become conscious of how you’re eating. Time yourself on how long it takes to consume a normal meal, then aim to increase your meal times.
How do I implement this? Here are a few strategies: put your fork down between bites, count the number of times you chew a normal bite and practice doubling it, or set a timer that extends your meal time at least five minutes longer than you’d usually take to finish a meal.
STRATEGY #2: EAT UNTIL YOU ARE 80% FULL
What does this mean? You know those times you’ve eaten until you felt sick or like you needed to lie down and go to sleep? That’s you at 100% full, and that’s not where you ever want to be for sustainable fat loss. Instead, stop when you are satiated but not uncomfortable.
How do I implement this? It’s truthfully a bit of a guessing game at first. If you are consistently practicing eating slowly, your brain will have the time it needs to register that you are full. Pay attention to the signals your body is giving you that you are no longer hungry. Become in tune to the feeling of satiation, not fullness.
After each meal, you can rank your level of fullness on a scale of 1 to 10 – 1 being starving and 10 being stuffed miserably. Stop between a 7-8.
STRATEGY #3 EAT LEAN PROTEIN WITH EACH MEAL
What does this mean? Examples of lean protein are chicken, turkey, fish, lean cuts of beef and pork, or even supplements like high quality protein bars or low carb protein powders that can be mixed with water or added to smoothies. For a woman, a serving size is approximately the size of your open palm (without fingers). This is typically 20-30 grams. Men will double that.
How do I implement this? Prioritize eating your protein first so that you become satiated faster. Pre-cook proteins so they are easily accessible or know where to find them – whether it’s in the form of a protein bar, off a hot bar at a grocery store, or even something like grilled chicken from a fast food restaurant.
STRATEGY #4: DRINK ONLY VERY LOW CALORIE BEVERAGES
What does this mean? It’s really easy to forget what we drink throughout the day or to fool ourselves into thinking that because we didn’t chew it, it doesn’t count. Reality, as you know, is that these things add up FAST.
How do I implement this? Read your labels, but mostly focus on water. I’d suggest staying away from artificially sweetened beverages as well, since they tend to enhance cravings for sweets and chemically trick your brain into releasing insulin, just as regular sugar does (and insulin plays a huge role in fat loss). I’m ok with adding a bit of milk to your coffee or tea!
STRATEGY #5 CHOOSE SMART CARBS
What does this mean? There are two types of carbs: starchy and fibrous. Examples of starchy carbs would be breads, pastas, rice, potatoes, cereals, etc. Fibrous carbs are fruits and vegetables. The hierarchy for fat loss in regard to carbs is:
How do I implement this? A good basic rule is to limit your starchy carbs to once per day. A portion size is roughly the size of your cupped palm. Better yet, have your serving after you’ve exercised for the day when you metabolism is at the highest (within two hours post-workout).
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