The Most Effective Way to Structure your Nutrition and Lose Body Fat.
Summer is almost here! What does summer mean to you? To me, it’s long days, BBQ’s, holidays, people in the park and in a good mood. London really does come to life in the summer.
It’s also a time where people want to get in shape. T shirts and shorts get busted out, tops come off at the beach and the guns are on show. We’re so wrapped up in the winter that summer is by far the most important time to be in shape.
Summer may be a bit uncomfortable for you at times? As wearing minimal amounts of clothing might make you feel uncomfortable? You might not be in the shape you want to and that can knock your confidence and self esteem. Especially when you see other guys in great shape.
You might say it every year, ‘this year I’m going to get in the best shape possible, I’m going to get shredded, and lose my belly fat!’ You probably think how good it feel when you achieve the body you want. You’ll be more attractive to the opposite sex, people will respect your physique and you’ll have a real sense of accomplishment knowing that you did this!
An added bonus of losing extra body fat is that it has a positive knock on effect on your health and vitality. Increased energy and strength, improved mood, better mobility and feelings of ‘lightness’ are all substrates of shedding a few pounds.
But what to do? How do you lose belly fat? That’s the confusing part! I get it and I know why. It’s because there’s an unfortunate amount of unhelpful information on nutrition. There are fads, cookie cutter approaches, and restricted diets that all claim to get you lean and feeling great. But they don’t take the most important factor into account…. YOU.
You are the most the important! You are so different from the person next to you, you have different genetics, you handle foods differently, you enjoy eating certain foods, you have specific goals, and so much more. So why would the latest fad, cookie cutter approach or rigid meal plan work for you? Nutrition is too individualised.
Although nutrition is individualised I am going to talk about a framework that will help you lose body fat! It cuts through all the BS! It takes science into account and uses evidence based information that is proven to get results. The framework is there to guide you, and then you individualise it with the things that suit you and your lifestyle.
Eric Helms created this concept and I put my own spin on it, relating to fat loss. I created a hierarchy of importance to achieve fat loss. The base of the pyramid is the most important as that’s where the majority of results happen. This is where you should be most of your energy and attention. Things become less important as you move up the hierarchy, they are still important and will help you, you just don’t need to to worry about them as much as they have little effect on your results.
It’s that simple! Simplicity is key when it comes to achieving results. When you understand what works then you are able to make educated choices and have the confidence that you are doing the right thing which takes out the frustration and confusion. I know it’s simple on paper, but not always so simple in real life. BUT now you have a framework that will get you results.
The goal of this blog is to educate you, to stop the confusion and give you evidence based information that will get results. Once you have the knowledge, then you are more empowered to take action on our own, and know that what you’re doing is the right thing which is going to take you closer towards your goal.
The base of the pyramid is adherence, because quiet frankly it is the most important! I could write you the most specific, detailed nutrition programme that will get you the best results. To the exact gram, with diet breaks and re feeds that are perfectly timed and perfectly suited to your lifestyle. Bu if you don’t adhere to it, then you won’t get any results! A plan means nothing if you can’t adhere to it! So before we start, what can you adhere to? How many times per day can you eat? What is your weak point? What’s your non negotiable food? Can you meal prep or track calories? Do you have accountability? You have to decide on all this BEFORE even looking into the other stuff. Again, this is individualising nutrition! Once you can decide what you can easily adhere to then it’s onto calories.
Calories is the next important as it’s a way to measure your food and total daily intake. Calories in vs calories out will determine the majority of your results. If you burn more calories than you consume, then you’ll lose weight, if you consume more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight.
This works both ways, as you can eat all the chicken and broccoli you want, but if you’re in a calorie surplus then you will gain weight. Likewise you could eat mars bars and cookies, and if you’re in a calorie deficit then you will lose weight. (there are many studies on it including the twinkly diet) As this is the law of thermodynamics, or energy balance.
Now, energy balance is a dynamic process and other factors need to be taken into account. It’s usually not as easy as reducing 500 calories a day and automatically losing a Ib of fat in a week. Your daily expenditure changes, your metabolism changes, food volume and training changes. However, if you’re in a healthy place to start then you will see a trend of weight loss if energy balance is equated for.
Energy balance is the most important when it comes to fat loss, once you have this calculated for your specific goal and lifestyle then all the other factors are built upon that.
Macros refer to protein, carbs and fat and are next on the pyramid as they make up your total caloric intake. Each have their own benefit and each individual will respond differently to amounts of each. When calories are prescribed to suit your goal, then macros can be manipulated accordingly.
Protein is usually the first one I address as it’s usually low. Protein will keep you satiated, it retains muscle tissue, does’t get stored as body fat and has a high thermic effect which slightly raises metabolism. A higher protein diet takes up a bigger bulk of calories which usually stays the same and carbs/fats are adjusted according to energy expenditure.
Micronutrients aren’t on here, but are also VERY important as they contain vital vitamins and minerals that the body needs to function optimally. They are also key for fat loss as eating fruit and veggies will keep you satiated, boost the immune system and prevent deficiencies.
You might be surprised that food choice is so high up on the list. Remember what I said about losing weight by eating mars bars and cookies in a calorie deficit? Now, I am all about eating whole foods that are high quality and nutrient dense. But what’s nice here is that this allows for flexibility, and the reassurance that you’re not on a rigid diet plan or messing up your progress. If eating that croissant is within your daily calories then you can eat it, guilt free!!! As it will have little effect IF daily calories are in check. You have your hedonic foods that you just love to eat, and enjoy. Not eating them can create a bad relationship with food and the emotional response to eating them makes this a sustainable lifestyle approach rather than a rigid plan. (Although some people do respond better to a rigid plan, but that’s for another blog post)
You might have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, or that eating after 6pm will make you fat? You might be pleased to hear that’s false. The time of day you eat has no effect on your results IF total daily calories are in check. lol What you consume in a 24 hour period will determine results, not what time you ate them. You might feel a sense of relief from this??
No you don’t have to prep 8 tupperware boxes of small meals to be healthy. It’s OK to eat that big evening meal if it’s within your calories.
This is huge as an evening meal is a social event and you may have stuck to fish and salad being ’good’ while everyone else is tucking into a steak. If you have calories to spare then you can eat a big evening meal. In fact, I encourage it, as most of my clients are very busy in the day. They eat a light breakfast, grab a quick lunch which doesn’t add up to many calories during the day. A larger evening meal is something to look forward to, it’s more social and a higher carb meal promotes sleep which is another added bonus. Breakfast doesn’t have to be eaten either, eat when you’re hungry! This is important as there’s nothing worse than force feeding yourself when they’re not hungry, thinking it’s the ‘healthy’ thing to do.
The take away here is eat the same amount of meals you normally eat? 3? great, 2? cool, 6? fine!! What meal do you enjoy the most, and where will you consume the most calories? What fits into your day? Again, this is sustainable and it increases adherence which increases consistency which produces results.
Now, I normally like to give you some practical information that you can use straight away. But I wanted this blog to educate, to show you what you need to focus on and dispel any confusion. I always want you to refer back to this hierarchy next time you have a goal.
To summarise. Remember adherence is the the most important factor as this is going to keep you on the right path. Energy balance is going to have the biggest impact on your results. Increase protein intake to encourage muscle retention. Eat a majority whole food diet and allow for flexibility of foods you enjoy. And finally, eat the same amount of meals you normally do, and which fits into your schedule.
Please reach out to me if you would like any help you with training or nutrition. Click the link and let’s set up a strategy call and find out exactly what you would like to achieve and how I can help you get there!!