by Coach Tommy
No, it isn’t going to be a fat-burning supplement, a “magic” diet, or more cardio. The three most significant determinants of healthy and consistent fat loss are:
- Eating in a Consistent Caloric Deficit
- Eating enough protein
- Doing weight training
I know…you may be thinking that I sound absolutely crazy, but these are the elements that matter most when it comes to consistent and healthy weight loss.
Eating in a Consistent Caloric Deficit
There is no way of getting around the laws of thermodynamics. If you want to lose weight, you need to be burning more calories than you are taking in. When most of the clients I work with do not see progress or hit a plateau, it is because they are not consistently staying in a caloric deficit.
Most research suggests that most people should be eating somewhere between a 10 and 20% caloric deficit to see meaningful progress week over week. Before we get into knowing whether or not you are actually in a caloric deficit, I wanted to review the critical components of your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).
- First, you have your Basal Metabolic Rate. This is the number of calories necessary for you just to live and survive and typically makes up 60-70% of your overall TDEE. Given its significant contribution to how much energy you can expend on any given day, you may be asking, “how do I increase my basal metabolic rate?” We will address this in the following bullet point, but carrying more lean muscle mass will increase your basal metabolic rate over time.
- Next, you have your Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT), all of the activities you do throughout the day that is not considered exercise. This can make up anywhere from 10-20% of your TDEE. Making sure you are getting your steps in, walking the dog, going for a post-lunch stroll are all great ways of increasing your NEAT
- Next is the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF), which makes up 5-10% of your TDEE. This is the energy burned from feeding and digestion. Generally speaking, you burn the most energy by digesting protein.
- Lastly, we have our Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (EAT). This is all of the exercise you do throughout the week and surprisingly makes up a tiny part of your overall TDEE, somewhere in the realm of 10-15%.
Now tracking food and macros may seem like A LOT to start with, and in all reality, you don’t necessarily need to start there. But we do need to make sure you are eating in a caloric deficit. So here are some key things you can do to get started:
- Start eating more vegetables with your meals. This is an easy way to start feeling more full without getting a full-calorie bomb as you would with nuts, seeds, or protein bars.
- Make sure you are eating some sort of lean protein with each of your meals. Not only will you feel full faster (i.e., more satiating), but you will also increase your overall thermic effect of eating (TEF).
- Drink more water. Surprisingly enough, being fully hydrated helps suppress the hormone in charge of regulating hunger (ghrelin).
Eat Enough Protein
Protein is the building block of the lean muscle mass we have in our bodies. It is necessary for many different functions in our body. Most importantly, it helps us build or maintain the lean mass we have in our bodies. As I mentioned above, because basal metabolic rate makes up most of our TDEE, eating enough protein will keep our overall calories high.
This is the biggest mistake most people make when they go through an aggressive weight cut. They end up losing fat AND muscle, which isn’t good. This is also why we typically see most people yo-yo back up to their original weight after their diet. The goal should be to maintain lean mass and lose fat during weight loss.
Great sources of protein for you to utilize are lean meats (chicken, pork chops, top round beef) that you can cook in bulk, canned tuna (be careful not to overuse this one), Greek yogurt or Skyr, or you can even look into a casein protein powder. I would recommend Legion Athletics products.
Do Some Sort of Weight Training
This one may sound a little taboo, but this is incredibly important for healthy weight loss. When you weight train, your body starts protein synthesis (i.e., creating muscle). Like I mentioned earlier, carrying lean muscle mass is one of the most important factors that influence how many calories you can eat on any given day. Don’t worry; you will not bulk up like Arnold (unless that is what you want); you will have that “fit” look that most people desire.
You also don’t need to feel like you have to go to some globo-gym and do the Big 3 (squat, bench, deadlift). A pair of dumbbells and some simple movements will do the trick.
Those are the 3 most important factors determining whether or not you will experience healthy and consistent weight loss. If you are interested in learning more about our nutrition coaching programs, please schedule a complimentary consultation by clicking the link below.
I would love the opportunity to work with you.