Small Changes for Fat Loss
Many people want to lose a few kilos but fail to implement the habits needed to achieve this goal. If you are trying to get rid of some lockdown weight, check out the easy behaviors outlined below. These changes are simple yet effective. You can start practicing them straight away!
#1 - Cook without oil or butter
In order to lose fat, you must burn more calories than you eat. A simple swap to reduce your calorie intake is to cook without using butter or oil. One measly tablespoon of oil can contain over 120 calories. This adds up very quickly. A drizzle of oil could be the difference between losing weight or being in a calorie surplus.
Although fats are part of a healthy diet, most New Zealanders already consume too much of it. By omitting the butter or oil from your cooking you are reducing your calories and simultaneously ensuring your fat intake stays within a healthy range. Try using the microwave, air-fryer, oven or a non-stick pan instead of a deep fryer. It could make your fitness goals that much easier to achieve.
#2 - Increase your NEAT
NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. Basically it refers to the calories you burn doing everyday activities like folding laundry and fidgeting. Studies show that overweight people have low levels of NEAT. By moving around more, increasing your daily steps and doing physical activity, you are increasing your total energy expenditure and burning more calories. Have you ever noticed how lean people tend to move around a lot or frequently do active daily tasks? If you want to shed the fat try fidgeting more often, parking further away from the store, taking the stairs and spending less time in the day sitting on your butt!
#3 - Prioritise Protein
Foods are made up of either protein, carbohydrates or fats (or a combination of all three). These are called macronutrients. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient which means it makes you feel full after you eat it. Most people in modern society can easily hit their carbohydrate and fat targets but fail to consume sufficient protein, especially at breakfast time. This is because foods like rice and oil are readily available but proteins are more expensive and less frequently consumed. Think about the corn chip to meat ratio you would get served at a typical restaurant.
If fat loss is your goal then prioritising protein over fats and carbs would help significantly. Not only will you feel full but studies show you are more likely to preserve muscle mass when losing weight if your protein intake is adequate. Some excellent sources of protein include:
- Chicken breast
- Trim milk
- Whey protein
- Egg whites.
It is also worth noting that older people, breastfeeding mothers and athletes need more protein than the average joe. Next time you go out for a meal try to eat more of the protein source and leave some chips and sauces on the plate.
#4 - Only Drink Sugar Free
As stated above, fat loss depends on whether you burn more calories than you consume. Full sugar drink options are much more calorie dense than the zero sugar options. By making the simple swap to diet beverages you could drastically reduce your caloric intake. Full sugar drinks are often referred to as “empty calories” because they rarely make you feel full and satisfied. By removing the empty calories from your diet, you are well on your way to achieving your fat loss goals without having to omit the sweet beverages that you enjoy. Artificial sweeteners are generally safe for human consumption. A few coke zeros in moderation will do no harm. They may actually help you achieve your fat loss goals by reducing your appetite. So start practicing your “coke zero please” line for the next time you are out for a drink with mates.
#5 - Lighten Up Your Coffee
Many of us drink at least one cup of coffee per day. These calories add up in the long run, especially if you are getting venti Starbucks frappuccinos. By making some small changes to your usual coffee order you could significantly reduce your caloric intake.
For example you could swap from full cream milk to trim or almond. Trim milk is around half the calories of full cream yet still contains a decent amount of protein. Almond milk is the lowest calorie of the plant milks. If you are really serious about reducing your calories, just drink long blacks or Americanos. Black coffee is essentially calorie free and makes for an excellent pre-workout beverage!
Another strategy is to opt for a smaller size. Swapping your large latte to a medium is not a huge change but it can make a difference to your body composition. Even something as simple as asking for half the syrup in your mocha could make a big difference over time; especially if you are a regular coffee drinker.
Calories are not the ONLY consideration but they are the most important when it comes to fat loss. Finding sneaky ways to reduce your caloric intake means you can continue eating the things you enjoy while losing weight. The best diet is the one you can stick to for life. Focus on small sustainable lifestyle changes and you’ll achieve your fat loss goals in no time.