You have to admit that there was a point in your life when you wanted to obtain that body of your dreams, and maybe you still do. TV ads, magazines, movies, as well as Instagram and Facebook influencer posts always present the ideal body, which can lead you to feel bad about yourself and your fitness progress.
Still, you have to know that no matter how far away the goal seems, everything is achievable if you are willing to invest some effort and keep strict to your schedule.
While we are presented with fast food and refined sugar products as the go-to options, it is not hard to skip these and lead a healthy lifestyle if you are aware of the three main habits that are behind it.
First, it is your diet. Eating a balanced and nutritious diet is the main factor in losing that excess body fat and obtaining the body you have always wanted. To be honest, there is nothing hard about it and it takes just a few dietary habit changes to end up with the wanted results (something we will talk about later).
Second, exercising a few times a week will allow you to reap the benefits of an aerobic or cardio workout, and boost your metabolism in burning more fat.
Last but not least is your sleeping routine which matters more than you think, as without a minimum 6-7 hours of sleep a night, you can’t expect any progress. No matter how rested you feel, after only a few hours of sleep, your body isn’t, and without an adequate sleep routine, you can’t be healthy.
If you are among those people that have a bit of excess fat to burn, there is nothing to worry about. With adequate knowledge and will power, you will be able to do it. The most important thing is not to pressure yourself into thinking that it has to happen overnight. On the contrary, you should implement healthy lifestyle habits and enjoy the process without any rush.
While there are hundreds of different diet regimes and tips on how to lose body fat, not all of them are as effective and some will do you more harm than good. That is why we decided to go ahead and present you with the main strategies and tips on how to get rid of that persistent body fat without starving or exhausting yourself. Let’s take a look.
Recommended Body Fat For Men and Women
While this all depends on your overall weight and height, there are still recommended body fat percentage standards for both men and women, and they differ.
When it comes to men, the recommended percentage is anywhere in the range of 8% to 20%. On the other hand, women do have a higher need for body fat, mostly due to their hormones and breasts. As studies suggest, a woman is healthy as long as she is anywhere between 18% and 28% body fat percentage range.
Anything below 15% for women is considered as dangerous and usually suggests low levels of the hormone leptin which can result in a number of symptoms and lead to problems such as infrequent menstruation, hair loss, low blood pressure, poor concentration, constipation, muscle cramps, and even bradycardia. Keeping your body fat percentage levels within the recommended range is important both for health and appearance reasons.
But how can you know what your fat percentage is and is there a way to calculate it? The answer to this is yes, and there are a few methods. The most popular method is the so-called pinch caliper test – still, this method is seen as an old school one and is not that reliable if you want accurate results.
On the other hand, there are modern bio-impedance fat methods that provide you with accurate results, but these methods are either more expensive or aren't accessible to all people. Still, if you are going to a modern gym, chances are that they might have pay-to-use 3D or DEXA scanners that will work for your body fat measuring purposes. Last but not least, you can always go to your nutritionist and do a number of tests, with body fat measuring percentage measuring included.
How Does Your Body Burn Excess Body Fat?
One of the most common questions is about how your body burns excess fat. What we can tell you is that the process is not as simple as the results you see. We recommend taking a look at the Stop Fat Storage site to get a better insight on how your body works and what the best techniques to cope with the fat problem are.
In order to know how body fat storage works, you have to know what the purpose of fat cells in the body are in the first place. Fat cells store the energy and calories that your body might need when there is no food available. This was working fine until a few hundred years ago when mankind had consistent access to a supply of meat, vegetables, and fruits, leading us to eat at least a few times a day (unlike our ancestors) and thus making the primary function of fat cells unneeded.
The main consequence of this is over-storage of fat which results in health issues and an overweight appearance. It is the adipocytes that lose their normal function, storing the fat at a high rate and releasing the energy at a slow rate which, in turn, slows your metabolism as well and leads to more fat accumulation.
As soon as you get back to healthy habits and start eating a balanced and nutritious diet as well as exercising a few times a week, your brain signals your body that it should use the energy stored in fat cells, and shrink or discard the remains of these fat cells through carbon dioxide circulation or urination. Your body is smart and it doesn’t need a lot of time to adapt – it is your mind that has to direct it the right way by implementing the right habits and a leading an overall healthy lifestyle.
Mistakes People Make in the Fat Burning Process
Before moving on and talking about what you should do in order to effectively lose body fat, we want to suggest a number of common mistakes that people make in this process. Once again, we recommend the Stop Fat Storage guide as an excellent source of information that will give you good insight into this matter.
First, it is the sleep routine that is off in most of the people that have problems with fat storage. By not getting enough sleep, your body is working in a different regime that is not friendly towards your fat burning goal. Why? Your leptin levels are lower, while your ghrelin levels are higher, which means that you will feel more hungry and less satisfied when you wake up. This can lead to an overall increase in calorie intake, and more excess body fat.
On the other hand, most of the people don’t understand that not every exercise program will provide them with the same results – it is cardio and HIIT training that works the best as these elevate your heart rate and boost your metabolism.
One of the biggest mistakes in people that want to lose weight and diet is the fact that they see this process as sacrificing. The goal is not to starve yourself in order to achieve the desired results. On the contrary, you should implement an overall healthy diet that will exclude refined sugar products and trans fats while including more soluble fiber and micro-nutrient rich foods such as grains, vegetables, and fruits.
Along with that, you should know that the fat loss process can result in losing your muscle mass as well if you don’t have a high enough intake of protein and most people are either not aware of that or can’t get enough of the protein-rich foods.
Feeling stress will lead to increased levels of cortisol which can lead to more fat storage and emotional overeating. That is why you should do everything in your power to effectively cope with stress, and show yourself at least some self-care each and every day (meditation and yoga practices are a great way to do this).
Last but not least, people simply make the mistake of becoming impatient and trying to get results overnight. It did not take two or three days to put that weight on, so it won’t take only 24 hours to get it off either. The goal is not to starve or exhaust yourself; on the contrary, you should see it as a new beginning and enjoy the process of implementing healthy habits. With no rush and a positive mindset, you will get to the desired results before you even know it.
Three Principles of Losing Body Fat
The first principle is the above-mentioned balanced and nutritious diet. While some people think of exercising as the most important factor in their weight losing process, it is not. The food that you eat makes up more than 70% of the influence. First, you should exclude refined sugar products, and stop eating greasy foods. Both don’t contribute to your general health and can only leave you with quick boosts and fast crashes which result in overeating and caloric surplus.
On the other hand, maintaining a strict and healthy diet is not hard. One of the most effective diet regimes is the KETO diet, and while you can’t practice it for the rest of your life (without taking a month break every few months) you can still get a number of benefits from it and clean your body from all the toxins and extra fat.
The KETO diet excludes carbs as a source of energy and changes them for lipids/fats. The whole idea of a KETO diet is to have a medium intake of protein and high intake of healthy fat sources such as oils, nuts, eggs, and fish. And while the idea of eating more fat to lose fat doesn’t seem rational, it is because your metabolism moves at a 3x higher rate. Still, you don’t have to implement a diet regime in order to achieve the desired results, as maintaining proper habits is enough on its own.
You should focus on eating whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes as the staples of your diet. These include a lot of complex slow-releasing carbs and soluble fiber that both boost your metabolism and activate the fat burning process. Additionally, you still need to maintain the intake of healthy fats and you should do that from sources such as olive and coconut oil, nuts, as well as various types of fish.
Last but not least, without the adequate intake of protein you will not burn fat without losing muscle as well – fish and eggs are ideal sources of protein, while certain types of meat such as beef, chicken, and lamb are good as well (depending on your overall calorie intake).
Apart from these food habits, you should up your H2O intake as water has a huge effect on boosting your metabolism and being a staple of the detoxifying process. Along with what, tea and coffee are the drinks that are recommended, while you should avoid alcohol, sugary drinks, and fruit juices (eat whole fruits instead).
The second major principle is exercise. The Stop Fat Storage program offers more than a few tips on how to exercise and what workouts are the best for fat burning process. While you can exercise in any form that suits your body type and needs, you should still know that not every workout will provide you the same results and yoga can’t have the same fat burning effect as running for 45 minutes will have.
Every type of workout comes with its own benefits. When it comes to fat burning and the weight loss process, we recommend that you include a few sessions of weight lifting as well as at least 45 minutes of cardio three times each week. One of the best ways to achieve this is to enroll in a HIIT program, which is a perfect combination of both.
Last but not least, your sleeping routine could be hindering the fat burning process. As we mentioned above, an adult should get at least 6-7 hours of sleep a night, and without it, the ghrelin and leptin hormones will be off. Don’t eat anything a few hours before sleeping, and try to keep your exercise schedule to the afternoon or mid-morning hours. Along with that, create a sleeping atmosphere by excluding any external factors that could mess with your sleep such as electronics, too much light, or noise around you.
The fat loss process can be a long and an exhausting one if you approach it with the wrong mindset, thinking that it is a burden and something you have to go through. On the other hand, having a positive mindset and thinking of losing weight as a big lifestyle change that you will continue implementing even after you have the desired results is the only effective way. With the tips and strategies that we have mentioned above, you should have a safe and effective way to reach your goal.