The Skinny on Nutrition and Fat Loss
As a society, we’re more unhealthy and overweight than ever before. This is matched with tons of information (misinformation?) about fat loss. ‘Don’t eat after 7 pm to lose weight.’ ‘Carbohydrates make us fat.’ ‘You need to eat 8 small meals per day to boost your metabolism.’
You don’t have to look far to find myths surrounding nutrition and fat loss. In reality, there isn’t a single food or strategy that causes weight loss. But our food choices do influence how our body looks. So what can we do about it? In most cases, being leaner (or having less body fat) makes us healthier (i.e. lower risk of chronic disease), but it also makes us feel healthier.
The Skinny of It All Simply put: to lose fat, you need to be in a caloric deficit. This means you are burning more calories that you are taking in. A caloric surplus is the opposite: taking in more calories than you burn – resulting in weight gain. Seems simple, right? Even though it’s simple, it’s truly the application that takes a lot of work.
What Can Be Done Here are a few strategies to make the most of your diet, while trying to lose body fat:
- Focus On Protein: Protein keeps you feeling full longer. Eating more protein while still controlling your total calories helps to retain the muscle you already have while losing body fat. Add this approach to resistance training and you’ll become leaner while maintaining the muscle you already do have.
- Increase Your Fibre: Vegetables and fruit provide bulk (“high volume”) to your diet, without adding a lot of calories. Making sure to eat a serving of either at every meal will keep you feeling full longer and improve your overall health while controlling your total calories.
- Track Your Diet: It’s hard to know how much you’re consuming unless you track it. The simple process of writing down what you eat (either manually or electronically) provides awareness of what you consume. This exercise is easy to do when cooking at home but since eating out is inevitable be sure to do some research and plan in advance to make healthy, calorie conscious decisions on the run.
There is no such thing as good or bad food for weight loss; just better or poor choices within the context of calories in and calories out. Use these principles to make small changes to your eating habits and you’re on your way to a leaner, healthier version of yourself.
DR. MARC MORRIS PHD, CSCS
Dr. Marc Morris PhD, CSCS is a Strength and Health coach living in Saskatoon, SK. Marc’s experience in fitness is varied: he is a competitive strength athlete and International coach but takes pride in helping anyone remove the barriers to live their healthiest lives. Marc can be found on Instagram @marcwmorris, Facebook @Marc W. Morris and reached by email at [email protected].