With 2 thirds of the UK population classed as overweight, there are plenty of people out there who want to lose some bodyfat. There are hundreds of diets to choose from, and thousands of “fat loss tips” to take in. And this can make things a little confusing for people. Which ones should you try? Which ones will work better? Which things are more important?
So here are my 4 priorities for losing bodyfat, starting with the most important (in fact, it is absolutely essential) and finishing with the least important (in fact, 99% of people can ignore it). Spend more time and effort with things at the top of this list, and worry less about the things lower down the list.
Top priority – Calorie deficit – How much you eat.
This is essential. It doesn’t matter what diet or exercise you do. You will not lose bodyfat without a calorie deficit. And this means
taking in fewer calories than you burn off.
- Calories in – This comes from virtually everything we eat and drink.
- Calories out – Our bodies burn off calories by simply being alive, and also through physical activity. Ranging from walking into the kitchen to make breakfast, to doing vigorous, hard exercise.
If we take in more calories than we need, our body starts storing them and we gain bodyfat. This is a calorie excess. If we take in fewer calories than we need, our body starts using the calories it had previously stored as bodyfat, and we lose bodyfat. This is a calorie deficit. It does not matter what diet in the world you are on. If you are not in a calorie deficit, you will not lose bodyfat. In other words, unless you are in a calorie deficit, you can fiddle about with the next 3 priorities all you like…but you will still get fatter.
Second priority – Food Composition – What you eat.
Once you know how much you should be eating, you can work out just what you should, or should not, be eating/drinking. Examples of changing your food composition include:
- Cutting out food groups (eg cutting out carbohydrates on the Atkins diet).
- Eating food groups in particular proportions (eg 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, 30% fats in the Zone diet).
- Eating only a couple of specific foods (eg the cabbage soup diet).
The way I adjust my food composition is simply cutting out man-made, processed foods that are full of simple sugars and saturated fats. When it comes to losing fat, whatever your food composition, it is less important than a calorie defecit…but it is much more important than the next two priorities, which are…
Third priority – Meal Timing – When you eat.
Only after you have mastered how much and what to eat, should you think about when to eat. Examples of adjusting meal timing include:
- Not eating anything after a certain time.
- Not eating things on certain days.
- Eat when you are hungry, stop eating when you are nearly full.
- Eating carbohydrates only around exercise.
Meal timing does have an effect on fat loss/gain. But compared to the previous 2 priorities, it is very small effect. So don’t bother worrying about this until you have mastered the how much and what you should eat. However, meal timing is much more important than the final priority…
Fourth Priority – Supplements – Pill and potions you swallow.
There are loads of things out there that claim to be “fat burners”, or “boost your metabolism” etc. The important thing to remember is,
about 99.9% of them are junk.
2 of the more famous supplements are green tea and caffeine. And there is only “some” evidence of a “small” increase in the number of calories burned. Any small calorie burning benefit you might get from these supplements will be more than cancelled out by a single, small chocolate bar. In every practical sense, these supplements will be either:
- A con.
- Not worth going out of your way for.
So when I help someone alter their weight, this is how I priorities things. The biggest message to take from this is
most of the stuff you read about in magazines is overhyped crap. Just eat less and eat healthily.
I hope this has helped. And don’t forget, if this has helped, please share it with your friends using the buttons below.