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Healthy Habits for Successful Fat Loss

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Written by Vincent Tanner

Man… Wasn’t it just close to 70 degrees a couple of weeks ago? This morning… in the teens. Ahhh, don’t ya’ just love the fickle New England weather?! Before we know it, it will be in the 90’s. And, we know what that means, don’t we? Frantic dieting and exercise to get our “bikini bodies” back. Alas, despite my best dieting and exercise, I’ve never managed to look good in a bikini…

Well, how ‘bout this? We’re gonna start getting our summer bodies back a little earlier than June this year. Instead of being one of the panicked, caught-off-guard, frenzied, unprepared dilly- dalliers, we’re gonna be the proactive go-getters that I know we can be!

We know that you can’t outwork a poor diet. Sure, the D1 college athlete you know eats McDonald’s every day and has a six-pack, but he’s the exception. I’m not him, and neither are you. Remember this— for 99% of us, abs are made in the kitchen.

But that being said, here’s the deal… Strict, hardcore diets fail! They don’t work. They’re totally unsustainable.

What we’ll be doing instead is making small, sustainable, healthy changes to our lifestyles. We’re in the business of changing habits, not counting calories.

I recommend making one change at a time before moving on and making a second change to your healthy lifestyle. Trying to do everything at once invites failure—which, by the way, is not an option! Take a full week or two and practice JUST ONE small change to your diet. Below are my top four principles for healthy and sustainable fat loss habits. Master the first before adding the next.

DRINK MORE WATER

Uhhh, duh! I know this, you know this. We all know this.

However, time and time again, I find myself reflecting at the end of the day and realizing, “Crap, I didn’t drink enough water today.”

Make it a point to drink eight tall glasses of water a day. Here’s a fun tip: your pee should be on the very light yellow to clear side of the color spectrum.

I know people who have lost weight by simply drinking more water each day. You’ll also feel more awake and energized throughout the day as you won’t be in an uphill battle against dehydration.

If you aren’t drinking enough water, don’t bother doing advanced stuff like counting your carbs, saturated fats, unsaturated, blah, blah, blahhh. Master this, then move on.

KEEP A FOOD JOURNAL

Write down when and what you eat and drink each day. Some people can use their phones to record notes, but I’m still an advocate of good, old fashion pen and paper.

Write down the times you eat, what you eat, how you’re feeling… Don’t go crazy. We don’t want the number of calories or carbs. Just the basics.

Could be as easy as this: “8:30 AM – 4 eggs, toast, coffee, banana. Tired, up last night.

As you move along, your food journal will make you aware of what you’re eating and when you’re eating. It will help you see patterns if you’re missing meals or on-the-go and eating out. Your food journal will hold you accountable as you write in “strawberry shortcake ice cream” letter-by-letter.

People underestimate the power of the food journal as a fat loss tool. Please trust me, and try it. Master this and you will be surprised at the results.

PLAN AHEAD

For us, this means planning a menu, making a shopping list, and going shopping. Gone are the days of figuring out what’s for lunch five minutes before our lunch breaks.

You need to plan a menu for the whole week. You literally need to set time aside, sit down, and figure out what you’re going to eat on which days. Take out a pen and paper, and write it down.
Once you plan your menu, figure out what you’re going to need to buy. Write it down. Take your list with you. Don’t buy things that are not on your list!

Do not go shopping without your list. I repeat, do not go shopping without your list.

Here’s a tip: Shop the edges of the market. Stay on the perimeter, and circle the entire store. Avoid going up and down the middle isles. The typical supermarket layout places all the fresh produce, meats, poultry, seafood, and dairy on the outer perimeter. The center isles are full of the junk.

Finally, you need to do some prep work in the kitchen ahead of time. Set aside a morning or afternoon for this. We use Sunday afternoon and prepare for the whole week. This can be a good time for couples and families to bond, or to just put on some music and enjoy alone time that we often miss out on in our busy lives. If you need to portion meats, do it today. Chop vegetables that need chopping, put them in a baggie, and store them in the fridge.

You can plan your menu, make a list, shop, and prep your food in just several hours. But it will save you time and headaches the rest of the week as you know exactly to reach for on each day.

GET STRONGER

Because we know fat loss is 95% shopping, food journaling, and eating right, we know we don’t have to slam ourselves into a figurative wall in the gym. No need for intense, give-it-your-all workouts. They will lead you straight to burnout.

You need to find a safe, smart plan for getting stronger. Two or three days doing some basic human movements will do the trick. Focus on total body strength.

Fat loss is not an hour on the elliptical.

I recommend doing a push, a pull, a squat, a hinge, and some sort of carry with weights. Also get up and down off the ground at some point, and include some core work. It could be as simple as:

Overhead Press
3 sets of 5 reps

30 seconds in the Push Up Position Plank

TRX Row
3 sets of 5 reps

30 seconds in the Push Up Position Plank

Goblet Squat
3 sets of 5 reps

30 seconds in the Push Up Position Plank

Kettlebell Deadlift
3 sets of 5 reps

30 seconds in the Push Up Position Plank

Suitcase Carry
“Down-and-back” several times

Done.

If you’re a total novice or want to push yourself even farther, contact one of us at bodysoultraining.com, and schedule an appointment to come in for a more detailed and specialized program.

LET’S REVIEW

It’s small, sustainable changes that will make the biggest impacts on your fat loss journey. Focus on just one change, and master it. Once it’s ingrained into your daily habits, make another change. This is the recipe for long-term, sustainable success.

Questions or comments? Find us on Facebook at Body Soul Inspired Personal Training and Instagram at @BodySoulProvidence.

Stay healthy, stay strong! We’ll talk again soon!