1. Don’t cheat yourself with hidden calories
Even with the best of intentions, it’s too easy to overlook some of the ‘hidden’ calories that we eat every day. Sugary liquids are the prime culprit; they’re ridiculously easy to consume, and often, incredibly high in calories. Soft drinks can have hundreds of calories in each can, and the sauces you use to make your chicken and tuna palatable can have even more.
You have to take a magnifying glass to everything you put in your mouth (and yeah, there’s definitely a filthy joke in there somewhere). Salad dressings, drinks, and even fruits all have calories in them, and whilst an occasional 50kcals addition to your diet doesn’t sound too significant, it can seriously slow down your fat loss.
2. Keep cardio short and intense
Many dieters assume that cardio is something of a fat-burning panacea, but in truth, it’s a really inefficient way to lose fat. Instead of chugging away for 2 hours on a treadmill, you can burn more calories by using HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training.
By combining 20 minutes of sprints, jogging and walking, you’ll burn calories more efficiently, and in a fraction of the time. Train smart as well as hard!
3. Feel fuller for longer with protein
Different types of food will affect your hunger levels in different ways. Ever eaten a 600kcal McDonald’s burger, and still felt hungry afterwards? Try getting those 600kcals from protein shakes alone – that could be as much as 6 scoops of protein powder, mixed with several pints of water. Still hungry? Didn’t think so.
The amount food satisfies our hunger is known as its ‘satiety’ – and the most satiating foods are proteins. In particular, slow-digesting proteins like casein can take up to 8 hours to digest, and are excellent at getting rid of hunger pangs.
You can simultaneously reduce your hunger and calorie intake by replacing one meal a day with a protein shake. Doing so will also help with our next principle of fast fat loss…
4. Maintain your muscle mass
Your body burns calories all the time – even when you’re sleeping, or passed out in a bar. This basic level of calorific expenditure is your BMR, or Basal Metabolic Rate. The higher your BMR, the easier it is to burn fat.
The best way to increase your BMR is to maintain a relatively high level of muscle mass, and the more muscle you have, the higher your BMR. Dieters have a tendency to shed as much muscle as fat during a rapid cut, but by eating a high protein diet and training frequently, you can hang on to your muscle mass.
5. Lift hard and fast
During a diet, training is harder – you have less energy, and less motivation. Thankfully, your training shouldn’t be dragged out during a diet, and hitting the gym for 45 minutes is perfect for fat loss.
Resist the temptation to lift light, and train as heavy as you can manage in that 45-minute interval. You need to challenge yourself enough to encourage muscle growth, but not hard enough to risk injury. In other words, stick to sets of 5-10 reps, and leave the 1 rep maxes for your bulk!
6. Skip breakfast to reduce calories…
Contrary to popular opinion, breakfast is not the most important meal of the day. If you’re a dieter, breakfast is the most unnecessary meal of the day, and cutting it out of your diet is a powerful tool in the fight against fat.
There are two factors which can limit your fat loss: your daily calorie intake, and your hunger. Cutting out breakfast can reduce the impact of both of these factors in one fell swoop.
If you’re aiming for a total calorie intake of 1200kcal a day, and you’re eating 3 meals each day, you’re limited to 400kcals in a single sitting. Even when that 400kcals comes from high-satiety foods like protein, it can be too easy to snack between meals or add a few extra calories to your plate.
By cutting out breakfast, you can reduce your daily meals by a third, and allow yourself 600kcals in each sitting. Eating two 600kcal meals would help you to feel much fuller after eating, and would significantly reduce the temptation to snack. Great on paper, right? But how can we just ‘cut out’ breakfast? Won’t we feel super hungry all day?
7. …and eliminate your hunger!
Not at all. Hunger is caused by a hormone called Ghrelin. The release of this hormone is triggered by eating. If you regularly have breakfast, your body is trained to release Ghrelin each morning, and you feel hungry. By cutting out breakfast, your body learns to stop producing Ghrelin in the mornings, and after a few weeks, your morning hunger pangs disappear.
It’s really easy to trigger this adaptation, and it allows you to feasibly eat 2 meals a day – allowing you to reduce your calorie intake and feel fuller for longer. In other words, breakfast is an enemy of fast fat loss!