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Frequently Asked Questions About

"Fat Loss Diet"

For years, most fitness and fat loss information presented to women has come primarily from the multi-billion dollar weight loss industry, which profits from convincing women that we’re not thin enough, lean enough, or desirable enough, and that only their product can “fix” us. They promise that for just “three easy payments of $29.95” we can finally have the body—and life—of our dreams, in no time at all.

Whether it’s a diet book, supplement, detox tea, waist trainer, or hot new exercise trend, promising “fast, easy fat loss” is BIG business. With so much misinformation out there, often all that’s really lost is time, money, and self-esteem—and not much else.

Despite enticing claims made by the weight loss industry, sustainable fat loss is rarely fast, but if you focus on a few fundamentals, you can kick-start the process immediately.

At Girls Gone Strong, we believe there’s no wrong way to have a body, and that the best way to empower a woman is to allow her to make decisions about her body and her life without judgment—including changing her body.

Girls Gone Strong is on a mission to help you achieve the results you want, with evidence-based, sane information.

What is The Best Diet to Lose Fat?

If you’re searching for best diet for fat loss, we hate to be the bearer of bad news, but…there isn’t one.  There isn’t a single diet that is unanimously considered the best diet for long-term fat loss.  However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a “best fat loss diet” for you.

While most experts can’t seem to agree upon a best diet to lose fat, what they can agree upon is that the most effective diet for someone trying to lose fat is the one they can stick with consistently over a long period of time.

It’s common sense—if you aren’t willing or able to eat a certain way long-term, there’s no way it can be effective, no matter how “good” the diet is, right?

Why We Don’t Believe There’s A “Best Diet for Fat Loss”

In order to craft the “best fat loss diet plan” for you, you must figure out how to make the common characteristics of fat loss diets a consistent part of your everyday life. However, the best way to do that is generally not through a specific fat loss diet plan, but rather, through habit-based nutrition changes that you should continue after your fat loss is over!

In other words, you need to make a long-term lifestyle change, rather than go on a diet.

Think of it this way: how many different diet plans have you tried?  And how many times have you failed to lose weight, or most importantly, failed to keep the weight off over the long haul?

It’s not because you’re a failure.  

It’s because overhauling your nutrition is hard, and most of us try to change too much at once, become overwhelmed, and give up.

Instead of searching for the best diet for fat loss, focus on one new habit that you feel confident you can be successful with, and build some positive momentum.

A habit that works really well for many people is eating slowly.  If you currently eat your meals in less than five minutes, why don’t you spend two weeks focused on taking at least 10 minutes to eat your meals? Slowing down your meals means that you’ll chew your food more thoroughly, enjoy your food more, feel more satisfied, and probably eat less overall.  And best of all?  It’s not an overwhelming task, so you’ll be able to follow through with the habit change, get a “win” under your belt, and get momentum going in the right direction.

Other habits that work well for many people include:

  • stopping eating when you’re 80% full
  • eating protein with every meal
  • drinking enough water
  • including veggies or fruits at every meal
  • reducing intake of highly processed carbohydrates
  • reducing intake of sugary beverages

Of course, you don’t try to master all of these habits at once. You practice them one at a time until they become, well, a habit!

These habit changes are also great because you’re more likely to see true fat loss, versus short-term weight loss.  Many “fat loss diet plans” are nothing more than quick-fixes to help you drop water weight or bloat quickly, tricking you into thinking you’re getting great results fast, when in fact, you’re just losing water.  Other “fat loss diet plans” are so extreme that you may end up losing precious muscle mass instead of body fat, and that’s definitely not what you want.

How to Make Peace with Food

Are you someone who consistently finds yourself on and off the diet roller coaster? If so, you're not alone.

What Does A Good Fat Burning Diet Look Like?

Is it Paleo?
Low carb?
Low fat?
Macros (IIFYM)?
Intermittent fasting?
Moderation?

The truth is, any of these “fat burning diets” can be effective, as long as you are in a calorie deficit (eating fewer calories than your body is burning), and maintaining normal hormone levels.

That said, most “fat burning diets” have a few key characteristics in common:

  • They focus on whole foods, meaning that you eat mostly whole, unprocessed food versus refined or highly processed food (i.e. potatoes vs. french fries).
  • They lower calorie intake, either through reducing macronutrient intake (generally fat or cards), or smaller portion sizes, thereby reducing calories overall.
  • They prioritize protein to help you build and maintain lean muscle mass, keep your blood sugar stable, and help you stay full and satisfied.
  • They prioritize vegetables and fruits. Most fat burn diets that are effective over the long-term emphasize a high consumption of plants, because they are filling, satisfying, and low in calories for the volume of food you consume.

A Word About “Fat Burning Foods”

When it comes to fat loss, everyone wants to talk about fat burning foods, but don’t be deceived.  There are no “magical fat-burning superfoods” that melt fat off your body as you eat them.  However, there are foods that contribute to an environment that is more conducive to losing fat.

These foods are generally high in one or more of the following: protein, fiber, fat.

Protein

In addition to being satisfying, filling, and good for building muscle mass and stabilizing blood sugar, protein has a high TEF, or thermic effect of food, which is why it’s often touted as a fat burning food  TEF is the the caloric cost of digesting and processing different macronutrients in your food.  While there are no hard-and-fast TEF values for each macronutrient, it’s generally accepted that the TEF of each macronutrient is as follows:

Protein – 20-35%
Carbs – 5-15%
Fat – 0-5%

To put it simply, if you eat 120 calories from protein, you’d use between 24 and 42 calories digesting that protein, whereas if you ate 120 calories from carbs, you’d only use 6 to 18 calories digesting those carbs.

While that might not seem significant, if you replaced 50 grams of carbs (200 calories) with 50 grams of protein (200 calories) every day, you’d burn an extra 30-40 calories a day, or ~200-300 calories a week without changing anything else. This is a simple way to increase your overall calorie deficit without eating less food. Plus, women tend to under eat protein in favor of carbs so this is just another reason to eat your protein.

Some good sources of protein include: lean beef, turkey, chicken, eggs and egg whites, cottage cheese, bison, shrimp, tuna, and salmon. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, things may be little more challenging, but there have never been more vegetarian and vegan friendly options at both grocery stores and restaurants! You don’t even have to resort to protein powders. Health.com released a list of delicious, easy protein options for vegetarians and vegans.

Fat

For many years, fat was demonized as, well, the thing that “makes us fat.”  But that’s just not true. Eating more calories than what we are expending is what’s causing society as a whole to gain more and more weight each year.

In addition, fat is a very satiating food, meaning you feel more full and satisfied when you eat moderate amounts of fat, and you’re less likely to overeat.  On the other hand, a diet low in fat can leave you feeling very unsatisfied, and can lead to you wanting to eat everything in sight because you never feel full.

That said, fat is very calorie-dense so you do have to watch your portions.  If you enjoy counting your macronutrients, getting approximately 30-35% of your calories from fat works well for most women.  If you prefer not to weigh and measure your food, we don’t blame you.  Your portion size for fat sources at each meal or snack should be approximately the same size as your thumb.

Some great fat sources to include in your diet are as follows: almonds, olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, nut butter, real butter, flaxseed, fatty fish, and walnuts.

 

Fiber

Fiber rounds out the super satiating trio.  When it comes to fat burning foods, fiber has a few tricks up its sleeve as well.  Fiber is incredibly filling and satisfying, making it hard to overeat high fiber foods.  Fiber also slows digestion and keeps you fuller longer, so you’ll wait longer between meals and snacks, and eat less throughout the day overall.

Great sources of fiber include: raspberries, beans, lentils, almonds, pears, pumpkin, artichoke, broccoli, peas, and oatmeal, to name a few.

“Magical Fat-Burning Superfoods”

OK, OK, so at the beginning, when we said there aren’t any “magical fat-burning superfoods”—that wasn’t exactly true.  There are two, but in the context of an overall healthy diet, their effect will be very small, so we wanted you to read about the other healthful foods that should comprise the majority of your diet first.

What are these “magical fat-burning superfoods?”  Green tea and hot peppers.  These foods are superfoods, because they are high in antioxidants, and they may boost fat loss.

Green tea contains an antioxidant called EGCG, which when combined with caffeine, may boost fat loss in supplement form.  Some studies have shown a minimal to no effect, while others have shown a respectable benefit 1,2. However, the safety of EGCG in supplement form is not well understood, so take caution and consider all your other medications before considering finding green tea supplements or drinking green tea all day long! Hot peppers contain the antioxidant capsaicin, which has also been shown to increase fat oxidation (i.e. calorie burning), but only in supplement form3.

Remember, no supplements will make a difference if your diet is not on point. You cannot live on Doritos and beer and think that your daily green tea and capsaicin will magically melt fat off your body.

To recap, there are only a couple of true fat burning foods that exist, and their overall effect on fat burning will be small, so in the context of an overall healthy diet, they can definitely boost fat loss, but what you eat the rest of the day is infinitely more important than drinking green tea and take a capsaicin supplement.

However, there are a host of foods to help you lose weight (and by weight, we mean fat) because they create a physiological environment that encourages fat loss by being high in one or more of the following: protein, fiber, or fat.

Some of the foods that fall in two or more of those categories include: almonds, avocado, salmon, nut butter, beans, fatty fish, flaxseed, and eggs.

Make sure you include these “magical fat-burning superfoods” into your diet on a consistent basis, if you want to achieve long-term, sane, and sustainable fat loss.

How to Make Peace with Food

Free GGS Blueprint

Are you someone who consistently finds yourself on and off the diet roller coaster? If so, you're not alone. So many women struggle finding peace in their relationship with food. But we can help.



This week we are giving away our free blueprint that explains:

  • Why you struggle in your relationship with food
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Additional “Fat Loss Diet” Resources:

  1. Cochrane Library, Green tea for weight loss and weight maintenance in overweight or obese adults.  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD008650.pub2/abstract
  2. Science Direct, Therapeutic effect of high-dose green tea extract on weight reduction: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S026156141500134X
  3. Clinical Nutrition, Green Tea: Should It Be Used As a Dietary Aid for Weight Loss?  http://journals.lww.com/topicsinclinicalnutrition/Abstract/2014/07000/Green_Tea__Should_It_Be_Used_As_a_Dietary_Aid_for.8.aspx
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