Hello! Welcome to Marvinspire Fitness! You must be searching for fat loss or weight loss on Google and you are in the right place. Fun fact for you, fat loss is the most popular resolution beginning of every year. I got news for you! You do not have to wait until the beginning of next year because you can start today. I am going to share the 5 secrets of fat loss and keeping it off forever. Bonus secret included as well. Keep on reading!
1. Caloric Deficit
Generally, it is impossible to lose fat without a negative energy balance ( 1 ). You need and must put your body into a caloric deficit state. So what is a caloric deficit?
Let me break it down for you. First thing first, you need to understand what is fat. Fat is a form of energy storage in your body. The next thing you need to understand is calories. Calories are the unit of the energy that is used by your body. It is like when you measure your height, in meters or centimetres. There is energy for your body to fully function to keep you alive and moving. Calories come from the food you eat every day which mainly consist of the following macronutrients;
1 gram of fat is equal to 9 calories.
1 gram of carbohydrate is 4 calories
1 gram of protein is 4 calories
Finally, you need to understand the energy balance of your body. The energy in and energy out. The energy in the food that you eat and energy out is the energy that your body used up.
What do you need to do to burn your fat? You need to increase your energy out and decrease your energy in. Here is some practical guideline you can use, by just using your hand to manage your food intake.
The general recommended portion for fat loss in one meal is;
2 palm size of high protein food.
2 fist size of vegetables and fruits.
1 cupped size of carbohydrate
1 thumb size of fat.
This is assuming you are taking three meals in one day. Once again, I would like to emphasise food portion control is very essential for fat loss and you must be very self-aware of what you eat.
Let us break down your energy out! Total Daily Energy Expenditure (T.D.E.E) is the amount of energy the body burns daily. Four specific components influence T.D.E.E:
The primary energy consumption is from the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the minimal amount of energy required to support the body’s physiological functions. BMR is approximately 60-75% of T.D.E.E and is influenced by an individual’s amount of lean muscle mass, age, gender and climate (extreme environments can increase energy consumption). During rest, various organs are responsible for consuming energy to support their functions.
Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (N.E.AT) is the energy used during your daily living activity that is not under the category of deliberate exercise. It is the common things you do every day which include walking, shopping, walking up the stairs, standing, carrying your groceries in the plastic bag and etc.
The Thermic Effect of Food (T.E.F) is the energy used to break down macronutrients for digestion, absorption, and removal, and can consume up to 10% of TDEE. It means the food you eat requires energy to digest.
Exercise Activity (E.A) is the amount of energy burned during all physical activity, which includes running, lifting, jumping, skipping rope, pull-ups and etc. E..A can range anywhere from 15 to 30% of T.D.E.E.
Having a better understanding of how the energy expenditure works in your body and how the body uses the energy you consume through your diet can help you determine the best strategy to put your body in a caloric deficit state so that you can burn your fat.
You do not have much control over your BMR because it is very dependent on your body type. What you can focus on activities that promote N.E.A.T, T.E.F and E.A. There are as follows;
Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (N.E.AT) - Walking, washing the dishes, cleaning your car, walking your dog, playing with your children, walking up the staircase.
Thermic Effect of Food (T.E.F) - Prioritize high protein and high fibre food. We will talk about this in the next secret.
E.xercise Activity (E.A) - Lifting in the gym, HIIT, jogging, sprinting, and body pump.
Summary: The only way to lose fat is to put your body in caloric deficit state by control your food portion and be active throughout your daily life.
2. Prioritize Protein Intake.
Let us talk about food! Every meal that you are going to eat, I recommend you to prioritize the following sequence of food choice;
Protein - Chicken, beef, beans, salmon, edamame, and a protein shake.
Fibre/Vegetable/ Fruits - Oatmeal, any leafy vegetables, apple orange,
Carbohydrate - Rice, bread, potato, sweet potato,
Fats -Butter, peanut butter, olive oil, avocado.
So why protein first? High protein intake help to reduce muscle loss. And you can build muscles together with strength training. When you are in a caloric deficit, there is a possibility you will lose some amount of good lean muscle mass. That is what you do not want. Therefore, increase your protein intake based on your palm size.
Besides that, eating high protein allows your body to burn calories through the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) by about 20% to 30%. (2) What does it mean? When you eat 100 calories of protein, your body will need to burn 30 calories to digest the protein food to break it down to amino acid that is used by your body. Therefore, eating high protein helps your body to be in a caloric deficit.
What about carbs, fat and fibre? Do there have TEF as well? YES! There do and there are as follows;
Carbohydrate -TEF Range: 5% to 10%
Fat - TEF Range: 0% to 3%
Protein/Fibre - TEF Range: 20% to 30%.
As you can see, protein and also fibre has the highest TEF. Prioritize these two in your diet, it will help you with your fat loss journey.
Furthermore, there are studies suggest that high protein intake is able to boosts metabolism, reduces appetite and able to changes several weight-regulating hormones which promote weight loss. (3)
Summary: High protein intake boosts your metabolism, helping you burn more calories throughout the day and prevent muscle loss.
3. Strength Training
The main goal of strength training is to preserve and build lean muscle mass. (4) More muscle mass will allow you to burn more calories. As you burn more calories, you will lose your fat. It is that simple.
There is also other benefits of strength training. Strength training will make you stronger and allows you to move better in life. Besides that, it helps to strengthen your bone and develop a better body posture. With better body posture such as standing ups straight, shoulders back and chest up. This posture will give you confidence and makes you feel good.
You can read more here, for the benefits of strength training.
Summary: Strength training is a must to preserve and build lean muscle mass to burn more calories by promoting fat loss.
4. Enough sleep
The most underrated secret of fat loss is your good night sleep. Sleep is when all the magic happen. Your whole body is in a regeneration state for body cells repair, muscle growth, and including fat loss process. Sleep loss will limit fat loss. Moreover, the lack of good night sleep could cause you to be hungrier and reduces your overall energy expenditure.
How does this happen? Alright, let me break in down for you. Let us talk about "hungry" hormones. There are known as Ghrelin and Leptin. Ghrelin is a hormone released in your stomach that signals hunger to your brain. Levels are high before you eat, which is when the stomach is empty, and low after you eat. And leptin is a hormone released from your fat cells. It suppresses hunger and signals fullness in the brain.
When you do not get enough sleep, your body will respond by releasing more ghrelin and less leptin, leaving you hungrier and increasing your craving. Which makes you want to eat more. (5).
Sleep loss leads to muscle loss. (6) When you do not have sufficient sleep, you will compromise your muscle recovery because this process is strongly regulated by our natural anabolic growth hormone and catabolic hormones, which are strongly influenced by sleep. Lack of sleep will limit your growth hormone and promote your catabolic hormone which causes muscle loss.
So what happens next? When you have less muscle, you have to fewer calories to burn and your metabolism will do down, affecting your fat loss process. Once again, I would like to emphasis please have a good night sleep for at least 7 to 8 hours per day. Your body will thank you for it.
Summary: Sleep loss will limit fat loss and lead to muscle loss. Get your good quality sleep for at least 7 to 8 hours.
5. Sustainable and Consistent.
Your fat loss will be a long journey, even up to 12 months or more. That is the expectation you must set. If you gain 20 kg over 2 years, do not expect to lose 20 kg over 2 months. This journey is a marathon and not a sprint. Remember, life happens! You have a birthday party to attend, a festive celebration, a colleague outing, and etc. These are the events you cannot control when comes to food, and I suggest you enjoy your food with the right portion. Then, get back on track the next day.
Start with a small change of habit by making a smarter choice. You can choose to eat apples instead of the chocolate bar, taking the staircase instead of taking the elevator, lifting in the gym instead of a late-night drinking session and drinking water instead of drinking a soft drink. Then, you need to commit to strength training at least 3 times a week for 1 hour. And 1 hour of you 24 hours is just 4% of your day. You need to work to get the body you want. These small changes make your fat loss journey sustainable and consistent to keep your fat off forever.
Summary: You need to make a smarter choice that supports your fat loss journey sustainable and consistent. It will take time and enjoy the process.
Now that you know the secret of fat loss. You can start your fat loss journey today. You have to put your body in a caloric deficit state by controlling your food portion and be very active. Prioritize protein intake in your every meal to reduce muscle loss. Plan and do strength training at least 3 times per week for 1 hour to build muscle so that you can burn more calories. Please have enough sleep for at least 7 to 8 hours for maximizing fat loss and body regeneration.
Finally, your journey needs to be sustainable by taking small action of change. There will be bad days too, accept it and get back on track as quick as possible. That is how you keep yourself consistent and be patient.
Bonus Secret: Track your Body Weight or Body Composition Daily.
If you can keep track of your spending, then you can keep track your body weight or body composition. If you have a weighing machine, that is good. If you have a composition machine that measures body weight, fat %, muscle mass and water content, even better.
It is a good practice that you track your body weight or body composition every day. The best time to measure your weight is in the morning right after you wake up and complete your toilet business. Record your body weight, fat% and muscle mass. Do this daily to observe the trends. There are times your body weight will spike up. Do not worry about it too much, get back on track again with the right choice of food and keeping yourself active.
Fat loss is not a drop straight line from 30% to 25%. There is always fluctuation of body weight, fat composition and muscle mass. Let me share my actual body composition tracking data which I measure daily.
If you want something you've never had. You must be willing to do something you've never done. - Thomas Jefferson