How To Lose Fat Fast [And For Good!]

by: Aurora Smith

May 20, 2021

When it comes to health and fitness, there’s practically no more popular topic than how to lose body fat. There’s also practically no other topic that’s quite so highly debated. From whether you should prioritize cardio or weights to precisely what to eat, there’s a lot of confusion out there.

We looked at the science to collect the best information to help you lose fat quickly and keep it off. No more diet roller coasters for you! Let’s dig in.

First, What Is Fat and Why Do You Need It?

What is fat

Yep, you read that second part right. You do need a certain amount of body fat to survive as a human being. Literally. You run the risk of serious diseases like osteoporosis, malnutrition, or developing an eating disorder if you become too obsessed with losing body fat.

The total amount of fat in your body is broken into two kinds: essential fat and storage fat. Essential fat is located in your heart, lungs, liver, central nervous system, intestines, the marrow of your bones… see where we’re going? It’s all over your body and is, well, essential for everyday functions.

Storage, or subcutaneous, fat is located around your internal organs and directly beneath your skin. It provides protection and insulation for your body. Storage fat is what most people are trying to reduce when they say, “I want to lose fat.”

Fat provides energy for your body and is also involved in the regulation of some hormones. When your exercise extends beyond 30 minutes, your body taps into fat stores to fuel your workout.

What Is a Healthy Body Fat Percentage?

That will vary based on your biological sex, your age, and your activity level.

Healthy Body Fat Percentages for Women

In general, for women, your body fat percentage should be between 16% and 33%. By age, your body fat should be as follows:

Age

Body Fat Range

20-29

16-24%

30–39

17–25%

40–49

19–28%

50–59

22–31%

60+

22–33%

Women will usually have a higher range than men. Because women menstruate and have the ability to bear children, they need a higher body fat percentage to support that process.

Healthy Body Fat Percentages for Men

Again, in general, men’s healthy body fat percentages will fall between 7% and 25%. By age, your body fat should be as follows:

Age

Body Fat Range

20-29

7–17%

30–39

12–21%

40–49

14–23%

50–59

16–24%

60+

17–25%

How to Calculate Body Fat Percentage

Skin Calipers

There are a few ways to calculate your body fat. The most accessible for the general population is to use a pair of calipers. Skin calipers are a measuring tool that looks a bit like a claw. It’s usually got two arms and a ruler in-between with an indicator.

You can purchase skin calipers at most large chain stores or your local fitness supplier. Once you’ve purchased the calipers, there are a few different methods to determine your body fat percentage:

  • The Durnin & Womersley Method: measure your body fat at four sites: bicep, tricep, subscapular (triangular shoulder muscle), and suprailiac (near your hips). Add the total of the four sites together and use this method’s particular formula to figure out your body fat percentage. However, some folks have found it overestimates the result.
  • The Jackson/Pollock 7 Method: measure body fat at seven sites: chest, abdomen, thigh, tricep, subscapular, suprailiac, midaxillary (on your torso, below your armpit). Then use this method’s formula, and it will give you a body fat percentage. However, some folks have found it underestimates the result.
  • The Henriques 6 Method: measure body fat at six sites: the bicep, chest, midaxillary, suprailiac, abdomen, and thigh. This is thought to be the most accurate. Add the numbers together and use the chart below to determine your percentage:

Sum of Measurements

Male BF%

Female BF%

24

4.50

13.00

27

5.25

14.00

30

6.25

14.90

33

7.00

15.72

36

7.75

16.54

39

8.50

17.26

42

9.25

17.94

45

10.00

18.58

48

10.75

19.24

51

11.50

19.84

54

12.00

20.41

57

12.55

20.97

60

13.10

21.50

66

14.20

22.64

72

15.20

23.71

78

16.25

24.73

84

17.30

25.70

90

18.20

26.63

96

19.10

27.51

102

19.90

28.36

108

20.70

29.18

114

21.50

29.96

120

22.35

30.72

126

23.00

31.45

132

23.75

32.15

144

25.10

33.60

156

26.40

34.97

168

27.60

36.24

192

29.70

38.69

216

30.85

40.82

240

32.00

42.67

264

33.30

44.24

288

34.70

45.53

The Henriques 6 Method is one of the easiest to do because you can measure each place on your body without assistance. Consider taking the measurements a few times to ensure consistency. Using skin calipers means you can track your fat loss quickly and easily at home.

However, it should be said that some studies have shown the reliability of caliper tools is not the best. They’re good to provide you with a baseline or general idea, but you’ll need to use one of the methods below if you want precision.

Bioelectrical Impedance

Technology is advancing fairly rapidly, leading to commercially available smart scales. Usually paired with an app, you stand on the scale, and it uses bioelectric currents through your feet to determine your body fat percentage. (The currents don’t hurt, you don’t even feel them.)

The device measures how fast the currents travel through your body and return to the scale. Lean tissue conducts electricity more rapidly than fatty tissue, so a faster response time usually correlates to a leaner body.

Other nifty gadgets that use electric currents include ones you hold in your hands or ones available at your local gym.

This method, while slightly more accurate than calipers, is still a bit flawed. Factors such as hydration level, whether you’ve just finished a workout, and if you’ve recently eaten a meal can all influence how quickly the currents return to the device.

Hydrostatic Weighing

One of the most accurate methods to calculate body fat percentages is hydrostatic weighing. Your weight is measured on dry land and then again when you’re completely submerged in water. Using these two numbers and the density of the water, a professional can calculate your body fat percentage.

This method is highly accurate because there are so few variables. However, it can also be out of reach for some people. It’s not an at-home solution; you usually have to find a nearby lab or high-tech fitness center equipped to take these measurements.

It can also be slightly expensive at anywhere from $30 to $60, depending on your nearest location. The cost means it may not be ideal for regularly tracking your percentage to see if you’re making progress in your fat loss goals.

However, if you’re extremely serious about losing body fat—like if your health depends on it, for example—it could be worth the investment, at least for the first few measurements.

One final consideration for hydrostatic weighing is that you must be completely submerged underwater for however long it takes to get the measurement. This is after forcefully exhaling as much air from your lungs as possible. That means this method might be uncomfortable for some people.

DEXA (Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry)

X-rays aren’t just for broken bones! With this method, you lie very still on a table. An arm passes over your body, emitting high- and low-energy X-ray beams. This beam measures your bone density, fat mass, and lean body mass.

One of the coolest parts of this device is it’s capable of measuring your limbs individually. If you’ve ever wondered whether your right leg is, in fact, a bit stronger than your left, for example, you can finally have the answer.

Similar to hydrostatic weighing, DEXA scans are incredibly accurate. With a DEXA scan, you also don’t have to be submerged underwater, making it a more comfortable option.

However, also similar to hydrostatic weighing, these scans aren’t readily available. They usually involve making an appointment at a technician or doctor’s office. These scans can also be expensive depending on the location, which will vary based on where you live and availability. This means it may be financially challenging to track your progress.

Air-Displacement Plethysmography

“Plethysmography” sure is a mouthful. Despite the complicated name, air-displacement plethysmography is very similar to hydrostatic weighing. You sit in an egg-shaped pod, and a technician measures how much air you’ve taken up (displaced). Then your body density is used to calculate your body composition.

Just like hydrostatic weighing and a DEXA scan, air-displacement plethysmography can be hard to come by. Your high-end gym might have a machine, but it’s unlikely. If they do, the price tag can also be preventative for consistent progress checks.

3D Body Scans

Technology advancement to the rescue yet again! Devices you can use in the comfort of your home are on the rise. Several brands currently make machines that use infrared light to provide a full-body 3D image. Most come with an accompanying app to track measurements and your body fat percentage.

Most of these machines are almost as accurate as DEXA scans, making them ideal for getting the most precise results. Plus, because you take these measurements at home and track them via an app, you can keep a solid eye on your progress.

The only downside is the upfront price tag. Some machines, like the one from a brand called Naked, will run you about $1000. Others provide their app via a monthly subscription service.

However, suppose you can afford one of these machines. In that case, it’s basically the perfect way to have a reliable, accurate measure of your body fat percentage from the comfort of your home, whenever you want it.

Why Am I Not Losing Fat?

Chances are, you’re not currently losing fat because you’ve got something out of balance. You may be working out too much, not eating enough, overeating, not getting adequate sleep, or not following a nutrition plan.

The truth is, there are many reasons you may be struggling to lose fat. It could be your genetics working against you. It could be that you struggle to stick to your workout routine. Dig into the rest of this guide and compare it to your habits to see where you may be missing something.

How Fast Can I Lose Fat?

Like so many things in the fitness world, the answer is, “it depends.” A wide variety of factors will contribute to how quickly you can lose fat. These factors include body composition, age, biological sex, hormones, and the amount of muscles and fat you start with.

In general, however, you can expect to lose 1–3% body fat per month. To lose more would be unhealthy and risk losing muscle instead of fat.

Should I Count My Calories?

I bet you can guess our answer: “it depends.” First and foremost, it will depend on whether you have a history of disordered eating. If counting calories triggers obsessive behavior for you, you should find other ways to track your nutrition. Try watching your macros instead or working with a personal trainer to find different ways to track what you eat, if any.

If it’s safe for you to count your calories, there are still other options to consider. Do you have the brain space to watch your nutrition, or will it become a chore for you? Doing anything that’s difficult or not an intuitive habit to work into your day makes it less likely you’ll stick with it.

Convinced you’ll be able to count calories and keep it up? Then yes, you should count your calories. The best way to lose weight and make sure it’s fat is to be in a caloric deficit. (This is the opposite of trying to build muscle, where you need a caloric surplus.)

Calories are the energy in food. Your body has a constant demand for energy that it gets from that food. Aim for an approximately 500 calorie deficit when attempting to lose fat.

To make this as easy as possible, use an app. MyFitnessPal is the most famous one, but there are dozens of options. Shop around and find one that works best for you.

Is it Okay to Weigh Myself Every Day?

Congratulations, you’ve found one of the very few questions in the fitness world with a clear and definitive answer: no. Do not weigh yourself every day. Do not measure your body fat levels every day either.

Your body doesn’t change quickly enough to make weighing or measuring yourself every day useful. Your weight will fluctuate by as much as five pounds every single day because of a wide variety of factors: how much you’ve hydrated, what you’ve eaten, what time of day it is, etc.

The only thing weighing yourself every day will accomplish is adding stress and discouragement to your fat loss journey if you don’t see the results you want.

For the best mental headspace to stick with your fat loss, only weigh or measure yourself once per week. Make sure you’re weighing at the same time of day, ideally first thing in the morning when you wake up to be in a fasted state with minimal hydration.

How to Lose Fat Fast and for Good

Eat Less, Burn More Calories… Sounds Simple, Right?

Losing fat is easy. Not!

We’re being a bit sarcastic here, folks. Everyone knows you should just be able to eat fewer calories and burn more of them to lose weight. For some people, though, it’s not that simple.

You have something called your basal metabolic rate or basal metabolism. It’s the number of calories your body burns when you’re on a rest day, doing absolutely no exercise. Your body burns these calories by completing regular daily tasks like breathing, keeping your heart beating, thinking, etc.

Again, a wide variety of factors will influence your resting metabolic rate, including your age, biological sex, and your body size and composition. As you age, the amount of muscle in your body tends to decline, meaning you burn fewer calories. We already mentioned how women tend to have a higher body fat percentage than men. Lastly, people with more muscle tend to burn more calories as muscle requires more energy to maintain.

It’s true that the more calories you burn with a higher level of physical activity, putting yourself in a caloric deficit, should lead to weight loss. But the above factors will influence how easy or difficult that is.

Do cut calories and move more, but that’s not all.

TL;DR

Your resting metabolic rate determines how easy it is for you to lose fat.

Figure Out Your Daily Recommended Caloric Intake

Remember that daily basal metabolic rate we just talked about? Find out your specific rate using an online calculator. Once you know your basal metabolic rate, you can subtract the daily 500 calories to start a general deficit.

Or, to get even more specific, use a different online calculator to figure out your exact recommended caloric intake to lose fat. You can also work with a personal trainer or your doctor to find your specific needs.

TL;DR

Use a calculator or consult a professional to determine your caloric needs.

Find a Nutrition Plan that Works For YOU

Notice how we don’t use the word “diet” here. Diets are something you do for a while and then give up on before going back to your old eating habits. A nutrition plan and healthy habits are going to be key to long-lasting change.

An ideal guideline is to aim for 80% healthful foods and 20% everything else. That 20% of everything else is where you get your freedom, so you don’t feel restricted. Not feeling restricted is key to maintaining a nutrition plan. When you get to eat what you want at least 20% of the time, you’re less likely to feel deprived and binge on those foods or drop your plan altogether.

Whatever nutrition plan you design should be tailored to you. If you hate salads and avocado, don’t prioritize eating them every day. If your energy levels flag when you go low carb, don’t follow that nutrition plan.

Try keeping a food journal for a week or two with your regular eating habits. (Again, only do so if tracking your food is safe for you.) Note down how you physically feel after every meal or snack. Equally important is to note down how you emotionally feel. After all, eating foods that you hate won’t last, and we’re going for long-lasting change here.

Once you know what foods make you feel good physically and emotionally, you can work on finding healthier versions, if applicable. For example, if eating meat gives you energy, try to swap out red meats for leaner options like turkey or chicken. If eating leafy green vegetables makes you feel bloated or gassy, try root vegetables like sweet potatoes or carrots.

See later in the article where we discuss healthful swaps you can make.

TL;DR

Avoid Fad diets and crazy shortcuts. try to stick to Eating 80% healthful foods and 20% everything else.

Then, Start Tracking All That You Eat and Drink

Once you know what you like to eat and what makes you feel good, you gotta track it. Use an app like MyFitnessPal that we mentioned earlier.

Log everything. That teaspoon of sugar you put in your coffee, the drizzle of salad dressing on your lunch, the olive oil you use to saute dinner—it all counts here, people.

The upside is all your movement counts too. The ten-minute walk you take on your work break, the pacing you do on a phone call, the bodyweight squats you get up every hour to do—log all that as well.

At the end of the day, the point is to have burned more calories than you’ve consumed. And you need to track your intake and output to know if you’re doing so.

TL;DR

Log everything you eat, drink, and all your movements to track your progress.

Find Out What Triggers Your Hunger

Figure out what causes you to want to get up and check out the break room or open the refrigerator.

Start with your hydration. Often, people mistake thirst cues for hunger cues. Try drinking a big glass of H2O and then waiting for 10 minutes. If you’re still hungry, go for it.

Another tip is before you decide you need to eat something, stop, and do a mental and physical scan. Look for tension in your shoulders, knots in your stomach, or nervous tapping. Are you stressed? Anxious? Depressed? Bored? Some combination of the above?

A lot of times, when people want to eat outside of their three meals + two snacks nutrition plan, it’s not because they’re actually hungry. There’s something deeper at work, and figuring it out is key to avoiding mindless snacking.

To help manage stress and tough emotions, find a self-care routine that works for you. Meditate, go for a walk in nature, journal, take a long bath; whatever it is that soothes you, make it a point to incorporate that into your week.

TL;DR

You might not be hungry, so figure out what else is going on.

Eat Smaller Portions More Times Per Day

If you’re one of those folks who only eats two meals a day, it’s time to change that. One of the quickest ways to speed up your metabolism is to eat smaller portions more times per day.

When you eat, your body extracts glucose (sugars) from the food to use as fuel. When glucose levels drop is when your hunger and cravings spike.

To help keep your glucose levels more stable, use these portion guidelines at each meal:

  • A protein portion about the size of a deck of cards
  • A fat portion about the size of a pair of dice
  • A carb portion about the size of a hockey puck

For guidelines on how much fruits and veggies to eat:

  • A serving of vegetables about the size of a baseball
  • A serving of fruit is about the size of a tennis ball

For your snacks, prioritize protein and fiber-rich foods to keep you satiated. Ideally, following this schedule means you’re eating about every two hours, depending on how long your day is. You shouldn’t feel deprived or overly full if you time your meals right.

TL;DR

Eat three smaller meals and two snacks per day to boost your metabolism.

Avoid Empty Carbs

Avoid empty carbs

It’s time for some tough love, people: if you want to lose fat, you have to cut the empty carbs.

What’s an empty carb? It’s those refined grains like white bread, white rice, sodas, most breakfast cereals, pasta, pizza dough… get the trend?

Refined carbs have been stripped of their bran (nutritious outer later), fiber, and nutrients. That’s why they’re called “empty.” They provide you with basically no nutritional value for the calories.

Your body also digests them super fast, meaning you’re hungry again soon after. They can also lead to energy crashes.

Instead, swap those empty, useless carbs with their whole-grain counterparts. For example:

  • Whole wheat bread
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Whole oats
  • Buckwheat
  • Millet
  • Barley
  • Popcorn (not the microwave kind coated in butter)

Once you make the switch, trust us, you’ll never look back. Whole-grain carbs keep you fuller for longer because they take longer to digest. You also avoid that pesky sugar crash.

TL;DR

Swap refined carbs for whole grains for more nutrients.

Add More Fiber to Your Meals

Dietary fiber (also called “roughage”) is the parts of plant foods your body can’t absorb. There are two kinds of fiber:

  • Soluble: dissolves in water. Helps lower blood cholesterol and glucose.
  • Insoluble: does not dissolve in water. Promotes the movement of food through your digestive system.

Consuming enough fiber not only helps you maintain regular bowel movements, but it can also help reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer.

Additionally, fiber is what helps you feel full for longer. Adding more fiber to your meals means you’re less likely to feel hungry again shortly after, reducing snacking and grazing.

Nutritious sources of fiber include:

  • Whole grains (is there anything whole grain can’t do?)
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Beans, peas, and legumes
  • Nuts and seeds

Adding fiber to your meals can be as simple as opting for whole wheat bread for your sandwich or sprinkling nuts and seeds on your morning yogurt.

TL;DR

Fiber helps you feel full for longer on less food.

Replace “Bad” Fats with “Good” Fats

We already talked about how some fat is essential for your survival. Similarly, trying to lose fat doesn’t mean you cut it out of your nutrition plan altogether. You just have to get smart about the types of fats you’re consuming.

The most common type of fat that’s harmful to you are trans fats. Avoid these like you’re a time traveler avoiding 2020. Trans fats go through a process called hydrogenation, turning it into an unhealthy oil. It lowers the good cholesterol in your body while boosting the bad.

You’ll find trans fats in processed foods, fast food, frozen pizza, microwave popcorn, and fried foods. Look for words like “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated” on food labels and avoid purchasing those products.

Saturated fats are the true neutral option of the fat world. They’re commonly found in dairy products and red meat. These fats boost both your good and bad cholesterols. You can consume these fats but do so in moderation.

Good fats are called monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Both these types of fats help reduce your bad cholesterol levels. You can find monounsaturated fats in olive oil, avocado, and many nuts. Find polyunsaturated fats in fish, as well as safflower, corn, and sunflower oils.

Keep in mind that most fats are also high in calories, so stick to that dice-sized portion we mentioned earlier.

TL;DR

Swap trans and saturated fats for monounsaturated and polyunsaturated versions.

Boost Your Protein Intake

Protein is the final macronutrient to balance for optimum fat loss. Consuming adequate amounts of protein at each meal helps you feel full, builds lean muscles, is hard to store as fat, and boosts the thermic effect of your food.

The thermic effect is how much energy it takes to break down the food you eat. Protein has the highest “cost” in terms of the calories required to digest it.

Aim for approximately 1.6–2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight (0.73–1 gram per pound). Spread the total grams between your three meals and two snacks, and you’re golden.

TL;DR

Consume 1.6–2.2g of protein per kg of bodyweight.

Go Easy on the Sugar

go easy on sugars

Good news: you don’t have to cut out sugar altogether. Just go easy on how much you consume.

Try to avoid processed sugars as much as you can. Your body deals with processed sugars differently than the natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies are made of long-chain sugar molecules, making them a complex carb. These molecules are encased in fiber. It takes time for your body to break down this fiber, keeping you more full for longer.

On the other hand, processed sugars are made of short-chain sugar molecules, making them a simple carb. Remember above how we talked about refined carbs being bad for you? Yep, processed sugars are refined carbs in disguise. (Or are refined carbs processed sugar in disguise???) Your body absorbs them quickly, leading to an energy crash and increased hunger.

It’s not all about limiting dessert, though. To lose fat, you need to become a label-reading professional. Look for things like “X grams added sugar” or those “hydrogenated” words we mentioned earlier.

Again, you don’t have to quit sugar entirely. Just be aware of the choices you’re making. Some easy swaps are to switch to honey in your coffee instead of white sugar or making “ice cream” out of blended frozen bananas.

TL;DR

Limit–not eliminate–processed and refined sugars.

Drink Plenty of Water

Staying hydrated is key to staying healthy. Studies have shown people who are not well-hydrated have a 1.59 times higher chance of being obese. Drinking a glass of water about ten minutes before each meal can help fill you up, so you consume fewer calories when you sit down to eat.

Swapping your sugary sodas or other drinks for water is a quick and easy way to immediately cut down your caloric intake.

Plus, if you’re hydrated, you’re less likely to mistake thirst for hunger, cutting down on excess snacking. If hydrating is a challenge for you, try keeping a reusable water bottle beside you all day and practice sipping from it. Or set reminder alarms on your phone.

If plain water is boring, try cutting up some fresh fruit and adding it to your bottle. Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight for a natural flavor boost.

TL;DR

Staying hydrated helps avoid overeating and needless snacking.

Take it Easy

Stress is a hidden factor in fat loss. When you have high levels of stress, your body triggers your fight-or-flight response. This results in a rush of hormones like cortisol, the “stress hormone,” which releases sugar into your bloodstream.

This sugar dump can result in a similar situation as eating refined carbs and sugars. Your blood sugar level spikes and then crashes. For some people, they cope with stress by either overeating or undereating.

Both over- and undereating are problematic for fat loss. Obviously, overeating means you’re not burning more calories than you’re consuming. On the other hand, eating too little means your body thinks you’re starving, so it slows down fat burning. Studies show it’s not just your eating habits—stress also slows down your metabolism.

To prevent this from happening, get a handle on your stress levels. Developing the self-care routine we talked about earlier will help. Also, look for warning signs of stress like muscle tension, feelings of anxiety, or unwarranted irritability.

You can also try keeping only nourishing snacks in your kitchen. That way, if you do stress-eat, at least you’ll be fueling your body with healthful foods.

Try keeping a record of your mood and actions to see if you notice any patterns. For example, if you find yourself feeling extra stressed on Wednesday nights, why might that be? Is there a regular work meeting or a family issue? Figuring out what’s triggering your stress can help you prepare for and handle the situation.

TL;DR

Stress inhibits fat loss, so learn to mitigate it as much as possible in your life.

Go All-In on the Cardio

go all in on cardio

Cardio is about to become your new best friend. Let’s talk about the two types of cardiovascular activity:

  • Aerobic: requires the presence of oxygen in the blood and activates Type 1 muscle fibers (the kind that supports long-distance activities). Examples include slow jogging, bicycling, or swimming.
  • Anaerobic: does not require the presence of oxygen in the blood and activates Type 2 muscle fibers (the kind for short bursts of movement). Examples include sprinting or lifting heavyweights.

Both kinds of cardio are useful in fat loss. Aerobic exercise results in more fat being used as fuel during your workouts. Anaerobic cardio results in a higher loss of fat in the long-term. Pair both together in your training routine for optimum results.

For example, perhaps one of your cardio days is a long, steady state-run. The other could then be high-intensity interval training.

TL;DR

get moving! no matter which type of cardio you choose, make sure you're exercising regularly and effectively.

The Low Down on High-Intensity Interval Training

This type of training, also known as HIIT, is when you do intense periods of exercise for a short amount of time, followed by an even shorter period of active rest. The exact time requirements are up to you, but a general example would be 45 seconds of work followed by 20 seconds of rest.

You repeat this cycle for however many sets you’d like. Studies have shown that HIIT workouts can give you the same results as aerobic cardio in about half the time. You can use just your bodyweight or incorporate equipment like dumbbells or resistance bands.

An example of a HIIT workout would be:

  • Squats - 45 seconds
  • Rest - 20 seconds
  • Jumping jacks - 45 seconds
  • Rest - 20 seconds
  • Mountain climbers - 45 seconds
  • Rest - 20 seconds
  • Push-ups - 45 seconds
  • Rest - 20 seconds

That’s approximately 4 minutes per round. Repeat that 5 times and you’ve got a solid, 20-minute workout.

TL;DR

HIIT is an effective way to burn fat.

Don’t Forget Strength Training

While cardio will be your (whole wheat) bread and butter for fat loss, strength training plays an important role as well. Muscles require more calories to maintain than fat, even at rest. Therefore, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn throughout your day without even trying.

Fat is stored in the form of three connected triglycerides. When you strength train, your body undergoes a process with the fat cells called lipolysis. It’s essentially the breaking down of the three triglycerides to be used as energy.

Aim to incorporate at least two strength training days in your workout routine. Stick to lighter weights with more repetition, rather than extremely heavy lifts you can only do two or three of. Think of being able to do 10–12 reps of each exercise.

TL;DR

Strength training not only builds muscle, but it also breaks down fat cells.

Don’t Underestimate a Good Night’s Sleep

Your body can’t make any progress doing anything, including losing fat, if it’s trying to recover from poor sleep habits. Studies have shown that poor sleep quality runs a higher risk of obesity. This is because a lack of sleep causes an increase in insulin, which regulates blood glucose levels.

Remember earlier, when we talked about how blood glucose levels crashing causes you to feel hunger and cravings? The same principle applies here. A sharp increase in insulin causes an increase in blood glucose, followed by a crash.

This means you’re more likely to overeat and consume extra calories when you’re tired. It’s basically your body trying to make up for lost energy.

So prioritize those Zzz’s, people!

TL;DR

Bad night’s sleep—especially consistently—leads directly to overeating.

Make All of the Above Into a Habit

taking selfie

If this sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. You can start doing everything we’ve detailed in this guide by enacting small changes, one at a time.

The key is to start small. Really, really small. For example, say you want to start with boosting your protein intake. Break that down into adding more protein into each meal. Then break it down even further into adding a card deck-sized portion to your lunch each day. Once you’re doing that consistently, add it to breakfast. Then dinner.

Starting small enables you to build the habit gradually. It also means you’re more likely to reach your big goals because each “little” win gives you a boost of dopamine, the pleasure hormone. The more you feel successful, the easier it is to keep going.

Draw up a list of little goals to tackle each of the changes we’ve detailed in this guide. Then, add what the next step will be once you’re regularly meeting the little goal. Once you’re regularly meeting one single big goal, start the process over with a second little one.

This part of your fat loss journey is key: you must maintain the habits. If you make drastic, sweeping changes and see results but a month later slide back into your old ways, that’s not sustainable. The entire purpose of this guide is to lose the fat and keep it off for good.

TL;DR

You must maintain your fat loss habits to keep the weight off. Start small and build gradually.

Wrapping It Up

To lose fat, you need to maintain the following in a permanent, habitual way:

  • Figure out your daily calorie needs
  • Develop a nutrition plan to meet those needs 
    • Including avoiding empty carbs, boosting protein, adding fiber, limiting sugar, consuming healthful fats, and drinking more water
    • Remember 80% healthful, 20% everything else
    • Track this plan
  • Eat three small meals + two snacks per day
  • Notice your hunger cues and make sure you’re actually hungry before you eat
  • Develop a workout routine
    • Including upping your cardio, incorporating a HIIT workout, and two days per week of strength training
  • Manage your stress
  • Sleep well and consistently
  • Weigh yourself/measure your body fat once per week, at maximum

Start small, build gradually, and you’ll be crushing your fat loss journey before you know it. Get to it!


Aurora Smith

Aurora Smith's detailed research skills and curiosity have given her a wide base from which to approach many topics. She delights in providing in-depth blog posts and articles in hopes of helping you change your life around. That's why she's our In-House health and fitness expert, but she would be overjoyed to find someone who’d pay her to write about Halloween. Seriously!

Aurora Smith

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