21 Fat Loss Hacks (PART 2)
In part one of this article I discussed the first 10 of my fat loss hacks; here’s tips 11-21, plus a cheeky bonus tip at the end, because I’m nice like that 😉
11. Reduce stress.
Stress can lead to weight gain both directly and indirectly. Read the following quote from this article, which explains how cortisol (the stress hormone) can directly affect weight gain:
“Cortisol directly affects fat storage and weight gain in stressed individuals. Tissue cortisol concentrations are controlled by a specific enzyme that converts inactive cortisone to active cortisol. This particular enzyme is located in adipose (fat) tissues. Studies with human visceral (fat surrounding the stomach and intestines) and subcutaneous fat tissue have demonstrated that the gene for this enzyme is expressed more by obese conditions. It has also been demonstrated in research that human visceral fat cells have more of these enzymes compared to subcutaneous fat cells. Thus, higher levels of these enzymes in these deep fat cells surrounding the abdomen may lead to obesity due to greater amounts of cortisol being produced at the tissue level. As well, deep abdominal fat has greater blood flow and four times more cortisol receptors compared to subcutaneous fat. This may also increase cortisol’s fat accumulating and fat cell size enlarging effect.”
It also affects weight gain indirectly as it can result in comfort eating & cravings for foods high in sugar. My favourite way to reduce stress is by increasing oxytocin (the love hormone), which can be induced simply by hugging someone. As if you need another excuse to cuddle up to your partner/lover/friend/pet sloth!
12. Improve gut health.
This study here, suggests that your gut flora can have a direct relationship with body fat, digestion & metabolism; so include some prebiotics and probiotics in your diet to keep the bacteria in your belly happy and healthy.
13. Reduce alcohol consumption.
Basically, alcohol contains a lot of empty calories. It has a lot of sugar a lot of the time and after a few drinks you may have well eaten a roast dinner. Not to mention the fact that not many people are eager to do/capable of a workout out on a hangover.
14. Find the eating habits that work for you.
There’s no point copying your mate’s diet if you don’t even like half the things they’re eating. There’s also no single best way. Much like choosing exercises, it’s whatever works for you.
E.g. I have no problem eating chicken, spinach and broccoli super often because they’re 3 of my favourite foods, but if you asked me to add in a can of tuna here and there I would quickly lose commitment to my plan. Just as if you asked me to completely cut out sugar, I wouldn’t stand a chance, so instead I’ve developed a love for flourless, refined sugar-free baking… every time I eat dessert, I know exactly what’s in it. Yeah they’re not as good for me as plain yogurt & fruit, but if someone told me that was the only sweet stuff I was allowed on my plan, after a week or so I would have completely abandoned my diet plan and have eaten my own bodyweight in pick n mix – so I’m working with what I can manage.
This point is largely to emphasise the fact that you certainly can thrive on an eating plan whilst still enjoying life, rather than becoming miserable from following someone else’s diet.
15. Avoid processed food.
Pretty sure you’ve heard this one before. Processed food is shit. Real food is awesome. The one thing I have learned from transforming from a diet of Doritos & Creme Eggs, to eating real food, is that there is ALWAYS a way. The internet has millions of recipes for healthy versions of your favourite snacks, and if you suck at cooking, the internet also has plenty of places you can buy healthy versions. Some blogs to look at for this type of stuff are: Deliciously Ella, Desserts with Benefits, The Big Man’s World, Delighted Momma & The Healthy Chef. Enjoy!
16. Avoid trans fats.
They’re artificial fats… They’re not even real. Need I say more?
Slouching makes you look gross and can lead to musculoskeletal imbalances. Don’t be lazy, stand/sit upright.
18. Don’t overdo it on the fruit.
Fruit, as healthy is it is, still has loads of sugar. Now if it’s a choice between either fruit or biscuits (even healthy home-made ones) and you’re stronger than me and can therefore choose the fruit, then do it, by all means eat that 3rd banana… But if you’re not being faced with these self-inflicted choices, or you’re having fruit just because you’re hungry and you’ve already had 1-2 pieces that day and you could maybe have some carrot sticks or a hard-boiled egg instead; do so, your waistline will thank you for it.
19. Rest properly.
I’m talking about 2 different types of rest here:
- Rest days: treat them like a rest day. Chill the flip out. Hell, take a day each week and lie in bed all day, I don’t care – just give your body a chance to fully recover. Remember what I said before about stress and cortisol? Well when we put our bodies under stress to achieve our sweet, sweet gainz, that’s not only necessary, but awesome. However, if you don’t give your body a chance to recover from that stress then you’re going to have the same problems regarding cortisol, discussed in point number 11. I’ve heard people say, “Rest days are for pussies!” but I just feel genuinely sorry for them as they would be so much stronger and more developed if they respected their rest time!
- Rest between sets: another super important point. Rest between sets affects the intensity of the exercise, so can be altered to add or take away stress during an exercise. Depending on your level of conditioning, for the average Joe or Jane: light-load, high-rep work = short rests of 30-90 seconds. Heavy-load, low-rep work = rests can go as long as 5 minutes. You want to make sure that you’re giving your body time to prepare for the next set. To be brief: this will ensure that you can do the next set properly and will help avoid injury. On the other hand, don’t rest for so long that your muscles have fully recovered and you’re getting cold, otherwise you won’t be adding enough stress to them to get the desired results from the exercise.
20. Boost immunity.
This one is super simple – if you’re ill, your immune system will be down and its focus will be on sending white blood cells to battle whatever the illness it. Therefore it won’t do the stuff its supposed to do for muscle growth & repair as efficiently as if you weren’t ill. Also if you’re sick you can’t workout properly. So stay well, take a multi-vitamin daily, D3 during winter months, glucosamine is good for joints, Omega-3 for heart health, wash your hands, don’t eat that can of baked beans that went off last year, stay hydrated, eat veg, don’t go outside in the cold with wet hair. You get the picture.
21. Good technique.
Having good technique and form on your movements will help you to avoid injury and therefore minimise the chance of you becoming unable to exercise due to said injury.
Remember, too much of anything is going to cause problems, so whether you’re in team high protein/low carb, high fat/low carb or high carb/low fat; try not to be getting more than 55% of your calories from any one of these macronutrients as it will inevitably lead to complications somewhere down the line.
Thanks for reading 🙂 watch this space for Fat Loss Hacks 2.0, where I’ll revisit the subject of fat loss & provide some quick videos with some simple but effective workout routines you can use to build muscle & shred fat!
Are you ready to take control of your life? Book your free consultation with me today!