With summer coming, it’s the perfect time to double down on your efforts and make getting lean and healthy happen once and for all. After all, it’s a lot easier to stay motivated when the weather’s warm, the produce is abundant, and the beach is waiting!
Good news: With the right plan, you’ve still got enough time to get the body you want! Here are ten tips for sane and sustainable summer fat loss.
#1: Do Total Body Training
Total body training allows you to use the biggest “bang for your buck” exercises like squats, deadlifts, presses, and pulls. These exercises involve more muscle tissue, which helps you increase your net energy expenditure and raise growth hormone for greater fat burning. The end result is you burn more calories and increase lean body mass for a higher metabolic rate.
#2: Do Intervals
A lot of people turn to long distance cardio to burn calories as part of their fat loss efforts, but this approach leads a lot to be desired—it’s time consuming, not very effective, and can be boring. Instead, do short workouts that intersperse intense intervals lasting 30 to 60 seconds with rest periods. This type of training increases fat burning and gives you a large afterburn so that your body burns calories at an accelerated rate during the 24-hour post-workout recovery period.
#3: Get Your Shuteye
Everyone knows that lack of sleep is linked with a high body fat, but most people don’t know why. Sleep deprivation increases cortisol, which increases appetite and triggers cravings for high-fat, high-sugar foods. It also reduces insulin sensitivity so you spend more time in fat storing mode. Troubleshoot lack of sleep by making sure you sleep in complete darkness, turn off electronics an hour before bed, and consider using natural sleep aids like melatonin or topical magnesium.
#4: Go High In Protein, Lower In Carbs
High protein foods have many body composition benefits, including the fact that they reduce feelings of hunger and preserve lean mass when you’re in a calorie deficit. Additionally, it’s worth the effort to remove unhealthy carbs from your diet because these foods overstimulate the hypothalamic pituitary axis, which regulates hormone balance. The result is that unhealthy carbs often lead to overeating, making it impossible to reduce body fat.
#5: Eat Veggies & Fruit At Every Meal
Besides providing indigestible fiber that promotes gut health, veggies and fruit contain phytonutrients that help fight inflammation, which alter hormone balance and make fat loss difficult. Planning meals to include leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, peppers, cucumbers, berries, etc.., is also a great way to ensure you are getting plenty of healthy carbs without the sugar and artificial flavorings that come from processed carbs.
#6: No Meal Skipping
Meal skipping seems like it could help you lose fat because it would theoretically save you all the calories from the skipped meal, but studies shows that it generally backfires. MRI brain scans show that when people skip meals they have greater activity in the reward pathway of the brain, which leads to overeating high-calorie, high-sugar foods.
#7: No Low Calorie Diets
Cutting calories below your metabolic rate (less than 1200 cal/day) is a common step people take in a desperate attempt to lose fat quickly. Unfortunately, it never works because the body downregulates your metabolism and sends messages to your brain to reduce your physical activity. The result is you feel tired, lazy, and hungry!
#8: Don’t Fear Fat
Although most people agree that healthy fats are good for you, it’s still common for people to cut fat out when dieting. This is a problem because beneficial fats (nuts, seeds, meat, fish, diary, eggs, avocado, coconut oil) provide nutrients so the body can produce brain transmitters, build bones, and repair tissue. Fat has a satiating effect and it makes vegetables more flavorful. Finally, it slows digestion and lowers the insulin response of carbs, which can lead to a higher metabolism.
#9: Do The Little Things: Chew, Be Mindful Of Portions, Do A Food Journal
People often think it’s the grand efforts that lead to an amazing body. But studies show, it’s actually the little habits people use everyday that are most effective for eliciting lasting fat loss. In particular, the three habits of being mindful of portions, doing food journals, and chewing each bite at least 10 times are more effective for fat loss than the more common strategies of meal skipping or reducing fat intake.
#10: Own Your Choices
One unfortunate side effect of trying to lose fat quickly is that people lose patience and give up. It’s common to make excuses or blame others for our frustration and lack of success. But we know from research that the habits that are most effective for fat loss all require you to take responsibility for your food choices. A side effect is that it eliminates guilty feelings about food. This is key because we know that guilty feelings are associated with a stress response, which will stimulate intake of unhealthy foods.