If you’re getting ready to start up on a fat loss diet plan, it’s going to be very important that you take the time to learn some key nutritional concepts that you must follow if you hope to see optimal results.
One of the biggest mistakes that many people seeking fat loss make is rushing right onto a diet plan without really evaluating what that diet plan is going to do for them. If you look at the latest quick-fix diet and think that it’s going to be the best way to reach your dream weight, you may want to reconsider.
Most diets simply aren’t designed properly and while they may produce fat loss in the short term, they aren’t going to help you sustain your weight loss over a lengthier period of time.
So how do you eat for fat loss? What important points do you need to remember?
Let’s go over some of the main things that you need to note.
Calories Are Critical To Success
The very first thing that you need to always keep in the back of your mind is that calories are what determine whether you lose or gain weight. You can eat the right foods day in and day out, but if you are eating too many calories with those foods, you aren’t going to be able to shed the weight like you desire.
For weight loss purposes, most people will do best consuming somewhere between 10-13 calories per pound of body weight. If you’re highly active you may need more, but most people will lose weight at a good rate eating at this level.
Keep in mind here that lower is not better however. Some of you may think if 10 calories per pound is good, that must mean 8 calories per pound would be superior. Not so.
If you bring your calorie intake too low, the body will get frightened a period of starvation is taking place and it will begin to slow its metabolic rate, causing you to burn fewer calories each day.
This will then just make it even more difficult to see weight loss occurring, moving you away from your goals rather than closer to them.
Get Your Protein Intake Set
Once you have your calorie intake set, then the next step is to make sure that you get your protein intake in order. Your protein intake is going to be the next thing that determines whether you have success or not because failing to eat enough protein will mean you lose lean muscle mass rather than body fat.
Protein is what will preserve your muscles during a period of low calorie eating and help to promote the utilization of body fat as a fuel source.
So how much protein do you need for fat loss?
Aim for no less than one gram per pound of body weight. If you’re using the lower end of the scale for your calorie intake, you may want to aim for 1.5 grams per pound just for added assurance.
The lower your calorie intake comes down, the more protein you’ll need as there is a higher likelihood that the body begins to burn off protein as a fuel source since less carbs or fats are available.
Remember to get your protein from lean sources as well including foods like chicken, turkey, egg whites, fish, lean red meat, low fat dairy products, and whey protein powder.
Think About Your Personal Preferences
Now we come to the confusing place of setting up a diet – your carb and fat intake. If you’ve been reading any fat loss articles out there, you know very well that low carb diets are in style right now. Everyone seems to be jumping onto a low carb diet and claiming to be seeing great results.
While it is true that low carb diets can help with the weight loss process as they’ll reduce your hunger level and make it easier to control your calorie intake, there are some people who do absolutely miserable on them.
If you decrease your carbs and feel like you have to ‘survive’ each day on a diet you hate, chances are you won’t be sticking with that diet long.
The truth of the matter is that you can successfully lose weight just as well on a moderate carbohydrate diet, so if that’s your preference go for it.
More important than whether you’re eating 100 grams of carbs per day or 200 grams of carbs per day is that they balance out with your dietary fat intake (the higher carbs go, the lower fat has to be) and that you are still within the right total calorie range.
In addition to that, you must make sure that you’re taking in healthy forms of carbs that will digest slowly in the body and prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes as that will only bring on rebound hunger, driving you to eat more food.
Oats, quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes, fruits, and vegetables are all excellent forms of carbs to be choosing.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, having some healthy fats in your diet plan will help you control your hunger levels and ensure that you are keeping your hormones at appropriate levels as dietary fat plays a key role with them.
Just be sure here again that you select healthy fats over unhealthy, getting your intake from foods such as nuts, nut butter, seeds, oils, and fatty sources of fish.
So there you have the main tips about how to eat for optimal fat loss. Once you know your ‘numbers’ in terms of what you should be eating, then make sure that you take the time to plan out a daily diet to follow so there’s never any question about what you should be eating.
Those who have a plan in place to follow for their fat loss diet will always have a greater chance of success, so make sure that you don’t overlook this.[stextbox id=”grey” caption=”About the Author”] Shannon Clark holds a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Alberta, where she specialized in Sports Performance and Psychology. In addition to her degree, she is an AFLCA certified personal trainer and has been working in the field for over 8 years now.[/stextbox]