Episode 233 – How Do You Lose Fat?Posted on January 16, 2017
Today we’re going to take a hard look at the most common question people ask us, How do I lose the fat around my hips and thighs or how do I get rid of this? And they point to their belly or my personal favourite, How can I get rid of my ‘butterfly wings’ on the backs of my arms. These are all variations of the same question, How can I get the fat that is on my body off my body. Today we’re going to explore this question and some of the options and possibilities around it. If you’re interested in losing fat this is a must listen to episode, so here we go.
Before we explore the ‘How do I lose fat’ question, I want to throw this out there; I don’t have the specific answer for what is going to work for you and there is no silver bullet or one single thing that is going to solve your problem. What I do have is a thinking and action process that you can apply to your life, and pick the pieces out that are going to work for you.
The first part of this is you have to look in the mirror and be honest with yourself, is the question you’re asking ‘How can I lose fat?’ or in reality is the real question you’re asking yourself ‘How can I lose fat, without changing anything in my life?’ The reality is you know what losing fat takes, a combination of getting enough high quality sleep, eating the right amount of high quality food and getting the right amount of high quality exercise. On a macro level it takes change in at least one of those areas, but usually in all 3. If you’re not willing to change any of those areas then it will be impossible for you to lose fat, so the first stage of losing fat is being honest with yourself and clarifying in your own mind that the question of losing fat doesn’t come with the ‘fine print’ of without changing anything in my life.
Okay, hard truth time, restricting your diet until you lose a certain amount of weight and then going back to how you were eating before is the same as you asking the question, ‘How can I lose fat, without changing anything in my life?’. On the surface and in the beginning this shows you understand the relationship between eating food and losing weight, because you’re making these changes. Unfortunately it’s a bandaid solution to a much deeper behavioural and mindset problem, which is you chasing this number or ideal on a scale and then once it’s reached, thinking you’ve ‘made it’ then becoming more lax about the changes you’ve made and then slowly or sometimes quickly moving back towards your old habits and putting all your weight back on in the process. Usually the more restrictive your changes are the more likely you are to put your weight back on. That’s because often the more extreme or restrictive the change the more you have to rely on willpower to keep with it and the more likely you are to resent or outright reject those changes. Something really important that I want to stress here though, is that just because you’re caught in this cycle of weight loss and regain doesn’t make you a failure and it doesn’t mean you’re incapable of losing weight it just means the changes you tried to make weren’t the right ones for you, so what we need to do is take a slightly different approach to find some better changes.
The only way to know whether or not a change is going to work for you is to try it, so let’s look at it like this we know on a macro level we need to improve sleep, we need to eat a higher quality of food or we need to improve the quality of our exercise program. What I would recommend, is taking 10 to 20 minutes and just reflect on each one of these areas and try to describe your current state for each one. You may want to grab a pen and paper to follow along if your situation permits.
Some of these could be good questions to answer to get you started in a productive direction.
For sleep your questions might look like this:
How many hours of sleep do I get a night?
How many times do I wake up?
Do I feel rested when I wake up?
Am I excessively tired throughout the day?
Is there anything else you can think of related to your sleep?
For food it might look like this:
How much food do I eat in a day?
Do I actually eat that much food or if I were to measure it all would I find out it’s really more?
How many times a day do I eat?
How much of my food is processed and how much is whole? Do I really understand the difference?
When do I make ‘bad’ choices? How can I live differently to make fewer bad choices?
When do I make ‘good’ choices? How can I live differently to make more good choices
Are there places I can easily make food substitutions and eat a healthier food without noticing I’m not eating the unhealthy food?
Do I eat very many vegetables? Is there a way I could eat more?
Is there anything else you can think of related to the types of food you eat or how you eat?
For exercise you might want to ask these types of questions:
How much do I exercise?
Does my exercise feel like it’s effective?
Am I getting stronger, is my endurance getting better, could I be more flexible?
Do I burn a lot of calories when I exercise?
Am I building muscle?
Is my current program making me more toned?
What do I like about my current exercise program? What do I not like or feel like I need to change?
Is there anything else related to exercise you want to consider?
You may want to pause this or re listen to this episode to help yourself answer some of these questions and really think about it or you may want to look at just one of these areas and focus on it for a while first. Then once you have a good understanding of what your current situation is you can pick a micro area to focus on.
If that’s going to bed earlier, what do you need to do to go to bed earlier?
If that’s to not eat or drink refined sugar during your day, what are all the things you need to do to not consume refined sugar during your day?
If it’s to start a strength training program to build muscle, what do you need to do to start your strength training program?
Then once you decide on that change and you make that change. As you go be willing to modify it and change it again and again to make it better fit your life, then once you’re comfortable with that, try the next change and keep repeating and repeating that cycle, and when you gear these changes around fat loss you will start losing fat.
Like I said at the beginning of this episode on a macro level there are 3 things that will contribute to your ability to lose weight, improving your sleep, the quality and volume of your food and improving the quality and volume of your exercise. On a micro or actual behaviour level this is going to look much different from person to person, which is why I gave you a process to follow, not actual hard things to do, what works for one person is going to be too different from what works for another, just be willing to do these experiments on yourself and you will find what works for you.
Pro tip before you take off today – If you’ve always tried to lose fat by focusing on food changes, but haven’t been successful, try focusing on sleep changes instead, because good sleep changes make those food changes much more manageable.
If you know someone that has struggled or struggles with fat loss please share this episode with them, we’re on a mission to help as many people as possible live longer, happier and healthier lives and we need your help to get the message out.
If you’re in the Ottawa area, today is the last day to register for our free goal setting workshop, which is happening at 6:30 tomorrow night, for more information and to register go to the show notes page, and yes even though it is free you do have to register and at the time of this recording which was last week, half the spaces had been taken, so you’ll want to get on that.