Two out of five diets fail within the first seven days. 90% of diets fail within the first two weeks. 95% of people fail their diets.
Sounds intimidating right?
Here’s the good news. All these figures are based on substandard research and are grossly generalized.
So, if you want to lose body fat, it’s important to ignore all these “statistics” (I use that term very loosely), and maybe break some rules that you’ve read in health magazines, from “doctors” selling you tea that makes you poop yourself, or someone in your DMs selling you supplements telling you that they are the only way to lose weight.
Here’s the real way to do it, based on actual science and research.
The only thing that leads to fat loss is to be in a calorie deficit. So, forget everything you may have heard about low carb, ketogenic, intermittent fasting, whatever. People who follow these diets who are successful all have one thing in common; they are eating in a calorie deficit. The only thing you need to be doing is consuming less calories than your body expends each day.
Every single person has a certain number of calories that your body requires to support you daily functions. This is called your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and is very different from person to person.
We need to also factor in how much daily activity you do. Add this to your BMR and it is called your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). A person who sits at a desk all day is likely to have a much lower TDEE than someone who works in construction because their daily activity is higher. However, someone who weighs a lot more than that construction worker will have a higher TDEE because their BMR is higher.
Calorie deficit is not just a buzz word that you hear around the fitness industry. It is eating less calories than your TDEE. Doing this will cause your body to lose fat. That’s it. That’s the “secret” that’s not really a secret.
Find what a sustainable calorie deficit is for you
In order to find what a calorie deficit is for you; you first need to find out an estimate of what your TDEE is. If you’d like to this, you can access my Free Fat Loss Calorie Calculator.
This will help you understand what your TDEE is, as well as how many calories under your TDEE you should eat to be in a manageable calorie deficit that doesn’t leave you thinking about food every second of your life.
Do I need to track calories to be in a deficit?
You don’t need to keep track of your finances to have money, but people are generally more successful when they do. The same applies to calorie tracking. If you’ve never done it before, I highly recommend trying it for a couple months. It can be a huge learning tool for giving you an idea of how many calories go on your plate. It’s not something you have to do forever if you don’t want to.
When you are in a calorie deficit, your body will lose mass. Some of this will come from fat, and some will come from muscle. If you’re someone who is looking for that “toned” look, remember that “toned” is just a way of saying that you have muscle. The point here, is that you want to keep that muscle while you are in a calorie deficit. The way to do that is protein.
Your body uses protein to build and repair muscle. If you neglect protein, you will lose weight on the scale, and, lose body fat. However, you will also lose muscle, which will lead to you ending up with a look that you may not desire.
Fats And Carbs Are Your Friend Too
Carbs and fats are demonized by diet culture. Here’s the truth of it. Carbs don’t make you fat. Fats don’t make you fat.
I’ll keep this section brief, because I could talk about the benefits of carbs and fats for hours.
Carbs are essential to provide energy; they are your body’s primary fuel source. Fats also provide energy to the body; they support several your body’s functions and support cell growth.
Enjoy carbs and fats, while staying in your calorie deficit, and you will lose body fat. Also, they are both delicious.
Supplements Aren’t Magic
Supplements seem to be the thing that so many get hung up on. Maybe you’ll be tempted by taking a fat burner, or adding some BCAAs, or a greens supplement.
Let’s think about the word supplement. Supplement means to enhance something else when added to it. If you are taking supplements in isolation, they aren’t going to do anything.
They are there to supplement what you are already doing. So, unless your magic pill is coming from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry, it’s not going to work by itself. You need to do the work (calorie deficit).
This doesn’t mean don’t take supplements. I use them knowing that they are a very small part of the equation.
When it comes to fat loss, calories are the pilot, protein is the co-pilot, and supplements are the flight attendants serving everyone drinks.
They make the flight a lot more pleasurable, but the flight would reach its destination without them.
My first rule in choosing a diet is ask yourself whether you could still be following this plan one year from now.If they answer is no, choose a new diet.
Let me start here by sharing a personal experience. There was once a time in my life that I believed that cheese makes people fat (spoiler alert: it doesn’t).
So, I restricted myself from eating cheese. I would do great for a week or two, but then the weekend would hit, and I’d find myself literally shoveling shredded cheese into my mouth like I was a goblin just escaped from years of captivity and broke into a store that exclusively sells shredded cheese.
Maybe for you, it’s not shredded cheese. Maybe it’s peanut butter, bread, Oreos, whatever.
If there is something that you love eating, find a way to incorporate it into your life. Don’t be a shredded cheese goblin.
Instead of eliminating your favorite food, think about more things that you can include. Maybe it’s working on including more vegetables into your diet, eating one salad a day, or eating a piece of fruit every day.
When you work on including more healthy, nutrient dense options, you will find you don’t gorge yourself on the less nutrient dense options that we all love so much.
However, you will also find that you have room to add them in within a reasonable and moderate quantity, without constantly craving them all the time.
The key here is to find something that works for you. This all goes back to calorie deficit.
The trick to making a calorie deficit work is to eat as much as possible while still being in a calorie deficit.
When you stop overly restricting your daily caloric intake, you will find more consistency. I promise. Eat as much as you can while maintaining a deficit, and you will last much longer in maintaining consistency, and the results will come.
Consistency & Patience
So, you’ve tried everything I said above, it’s been a week, and the scale still has not moved.
It’s okay, that’s normal. Think back to when you were in school, and you took algebra.
You didn’t understand how to solve for x on the first day. It took time, consistency in learning and practicing the material, and a hell of a lot of patience.
So, stick with it. Stick with it for at least 3 months.
I’m not asking for you to be 100% all the time. We are all human. 3 months is a long time.
Maybe within the next 3 months your birthday is coming up (if you count calories on your birthday, I will personally come slap you in the face with a slice of birthday cake).
Maybe you just want to go to town on a bag of Cheetos here and there. That’s fine, we are all human. Being 100% consistent with your diet isn’t perfection, it’s hell.
Aim for 80% consistency. That means you get roughly 6 off days a month.
Keep track of when you have these off days, and don’t let it get more than 6. If you’re able to do that, the results will come.
Too Long Didn’t Read Version
If you want to lose body fat, follow a few simple guidelines. Be in a calorie deficit, emphasize protein, don’t be afraid of carbs and fats, and make sure it’s sustainable.
Keep this up for at least 3 months and maintain at least 80% consistency. If you can do that, you will lose body fat.