Fat loss is a systemic effect that takes place in your body. Put these 10 routes together to create a roadmap for fat loss.
Route 1: Eat wholesome foods
A simple start to begin the fat loss journey is to eat natural, single ingredient, nutrient dense foods. Foods in their natural state are assimilated better, control your hunger, and provide the nutrients your body needs, making you less likely to overeat as is common with unhealthy food to provide the body with the nutrients it needs. Wholesome foods also require the body to expend more calories to digest. Processed foods, in the meantime, contain artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives that can interfere with the body's natural processes. Examples of natural foods would include the typical fruit and vegetables, but also things like nuts, seeds, beans, rice, and avocados.
Route 2: Eat protein at every meal
Protein provides a feeling of satiety, or making you feel fuller longer, meaning you are less likely to overeat. It’s also a thermogenic food, so the calories from protein are less likely to be stored as fat as more calories are expended in the digestion of proteins. Protein is also a key nutrient in maintaining muscle mass—crucial for fat loss as a decrease in muscle mass can result in a drop in metabolic rate, the rate at which calories are burned. All plants contain some amount of protein, but some foods high in protein include nuts, seeds, peas, and Sunwarrior's Classic, Classic Plus, and Warrior Blend protein, which are made from those plants.
Route 3: Drink a lot of water
Consume 1 liter of water for every 55 lbs (25 kg) of body weight. Add another 0.5–1 liter of water for every hour you exercise. Water plays a role in nearly every bodily function and is essential for digestion and nutrient absorption and assisting the liver in detoxing the body.
Route 4: Include food sources high in omega 3 to your daily diet
Include essential fats in your diet. As the name essential suggests, these fats cannot be made in the body and must be provided through our diet. Western diets are commonly lacking in the essential fat omega 3. Among the many health benefits omega 3 fats offer is possible fat loss as they increase insulin sensitivity and fuel the energy cells. Foods high in omega 3 include walnuts, pumpkin seeds, linseeds, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.
Route 5: Eat 18–25 grams daily of both soluble and insoluble fiber
Fiber is essential for the health of our gut (more on a healthy gut later). When fiber enters the gut, it provides a feeling of fullness, making us less likely to overeat. Foods high in fiber include seeds, oats, beans, rye, fruits, and vegetables. Fiber may also reduce stress levels (see point 9).
Route 6: Plan and track your results
Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” That’s been modernized by many others to “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” You may be wondering why "planning" is included in a roadmap for fat loss.
A plan gives you control of your destination and ultimately makes you responsible for your success. A plan is goals with deadlines. Goals with deadlines are more likely to be followed, which means results are more likely to be achieved. Day-to-day planning would also include planning what you’re going to eat for that day and the next so you always have access to quality nutrition and are less likely to make poorer food choices when you’re in a rush.
By tracking your results, you can learn what works for your body and, maybe even more importantly, learn what doesn't. Recording your success can be motivational as well as self-rewarding as you can appreciate the success your journey brings.
Route 7: Reduce inflammation
Inflammation can inhibit fat loss. Reduce inflammation by eating an antioxidant rich diet. When foods rich in antioxidants are added to a healthy lifestyle they may help inhibit the storage of fat. Inflammation can also be reduced by increasing the function of the gut (see point 8). Foods that reduce inflammation include kale, broccoli, cauliflower, berries, cherries, and pomegranates.
Route 8: Eat foods that support a healthy gut
If you do not have a healthy gut, fat loss becomes very difficult. More than half of the neurotransmitters that send messages to the brain, and from the brain to cells and hormone receptors throughout the body, are made in the gut lining. An unhealthy gut affects this production of neurotransmitters leading to low moods, low motivation, and possibly depression, making it more difficult to make healthy lifestyle choices. A healthy gut makes you feel better and supports your metabolism so that nutrients from your diet are absorbed and utilized best by the body (less likely to overeat). Foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut improve friendly bacteria in the gut known as probiotics.
Route 9: Manage stress levels
Manage stress levels to lower cortisol levels. Stress leads to elevated cortisol levels, making fat loss more difficult as the body becomes insensitive to insulin, meaning fewer nutrients enter the cells and instead are potentially more likely to be stored as fat. High levels of cortisol can therefore even cause weight gain. A high stress lifestyle also means you are more likely to make poor food choices. Ways to decrease stress include meditation, deep breathing, practicing yoga or Pilates, exercising, and eating natural wholesome foods as well as maintaining an adequate water intake.
Route 10: Identify and eliminate potential roadblocks
Identify any roadblocks that may hinder the body's ability to burn fat. Roadblocks may include, but are not limited to, food intolerances and allergies, impaired gut function, and any possible underlining health issue. The five most common food intolerances include diary, wheat, gluten, soy, and eggs. Food intolerances can cause inflammation (see point 7).
Try an elimination diet where you remove one of these food groups from your diet for six weeks. Gradually reintroduce that food back into your diet and see how you feel when you reintroduce it. Food intolerances can be caused if you eat the same foods every day, so vary your diet to prevent possible intolerances developing.
Underlining health issues like an under-active thyroid can hinder the ability to lose fat. If you have been following a healthy lifestyle but are unable to lose fat, then a checkup with a doctor may be recommended to eliminate any possible underlying health issues.