Have you ever come across a product that says it will help you “lose 10 pounds in a week?” Maybe you bought that product, tried it, lost the weight quick, and then gained it back the 10 pounds that you lost PLUS two more. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix to burn body fat. Extreme fad diets may last in the short term, but they aren’t sustainable and can actually hurt your overall health.
Now that you know that fad diets and fat burning supplements aren’t the trick, what methods actually work? The Registered Dietitians of the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group are here to answer your questions with science based knowledge! First, let’s talk about what fat is. Fat is stored in the body when the number of calories consumed is higher than the number of calories burned. It doesn’t matter if it’s protein calories or fat calories or carbohydrate calories, if more energy is entering the body than leaving, the body stores extra energy as fat.
Losing body fat and being able to sustain that new body fat percentage takes time and hard work – but it’s doable!
Incorporating healthy habits into your every day is the key to a healthy lifestyle. Start slow, reach out for support, and give yourself grace during the process. Here are some habits to incorporate into your healthy routine that will promote sustainable fat loss.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to solely do cardio to burn body fat. Strength training increases muscle mass. Muscle mass needs more energy to maintain its size, and when you have more muscle mass, your body needs to burn more calories (muscle mass is metabolically active vs. fat which is not). Aim for 2-3 strength training sessions a week incorporating all the major muscle groups. Functional movements such as deadlifts, squats, bent over rows, and bench presses, are excellent exercises that work many muscle groups at the same time.
Move More, Sit Less
According to a 2008 Vanderbilt University study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the average American spends 7.7 hours a day sitting. To put that into perspective, that’s 55% of waking hours spent sitting down. Weight lifting is great for building muscle, but to maximize your efforts, be sure to stay active outside the gym! This is your chance to gather a team to play volleyball, take a walk after dinner with the family, or ride your bike down the street. To increase activity in your everyday routine, try taking the stairs, parking further away, or taking a 5 minute walk and stretch break at work.
Eat A Nutrient Dense Diet
Fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds, and lean proteins are all foods found in a nutrient dense diet. Looks for foods as close to their original form as possible. For example, veggie chips seem to be nutrient dense. I mean, “veggie” is in the name, so it must be healthy, right? Not necessarily. Real vegetables like carrots, zucchini, and broccoli are going to be a more nutrient dense option. Veggie chips have been broken down, dehydrated, and have unnecessary added sugar and salt. Diets with high sugar and salt intake can be inflammatory causing the body to hold onto extra water weight and fat. A good tip to keep in mind is to fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables. That way you know you’re getting fiber and nutrients in every meal. Focus on lean proteins like lean meats, fish, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Our Registered Dietitians take an all foods fit approach in our practice, and there’s no reason to completely cut out your favorite fun foods such as cake on your birthday or a drink with friends. The key is to focus on nutrient dense foods most of the time, and occasionally have those fun foods. A healthy lifestyle is not about deprivation and we want to help you to focus on fueling your body without restriction. Celebrations and social events are important for your well-being too!
Drink More Water
The body uses water to regulate internal temperature, transport nutrients to cells, digest food, and flush out waste. It seems so simple, but drinking more water can actually help burn body fat. The more hydrated the body, the more calories it is able to burn at rest. A dehydrated body slows down the metabolism to compensate, and a water-starved body will not be able to burn fat effectively. Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces (ex. a 150 pound person should aim for 75oz water per day). Find a water bottle that suits your style and take it with you wherever you go. Having water with you at all times will help you increase your water intake and decrease the risk of dehydration!
Make Sure You Are Eating Enough
Cutting too many calories too fast can actually do more harm than good, and unfortunately this is something we see frequently. Extreme restriction puts your body in starvation mode. It recognizes that it isn’t getting enough fuel, so it slows down the metabolism in response to conserve energy. It holds onto body fat because it doesn’t know when the next serge of fuel will come. Work with a Registered Dietitian to learn more about your personalized energy needs, and learn to listen to your hunger and fullness cues.
Cutting body fat takes work, but if you incorporate these healthy habits into your routine, your results will last a lifetime! To lose body fat, focus on eating a nutrient dense dense diet, moving your body, and drinking lots of water. Incorporating healthy habits into your routine may not give you results as quickly as a detox tea, but the outcome is healthier, more sustainable, and less risky!
Interested in cutting body fat? Our Registered Dietitians can help ! Click here to set up your free 15 minute discovery call.
–Written by Brittany Jones, MS, RD, LD and Gabby Childers, Brittany Jones Nutrition Intern