9 Habits For Fast Fat Loss

High body fat is undesirable for most people. Whether you are just beginning or have been at this for a long time, you should know that there is only one enemy when it comes to your goals, and that is high body fat. So, today, I am going to give you the keys to burning body fat for good so that you can look, feel, and perform all tasks at your best. 

We talked previously about how in order to burn fat we need 3 things: cardio, proper nutrition, and muscle. I am going to break each down for you and also give you some key habits that you will want to implement to keep the fat off. 

First, the key to fat loss is muscle because it burns fat while you sleep and increases your metabolic rate. In order to build muscle, we need to do workouts and workouts consist of functional movements and the exercise variables. Muscle is built by time under tension so if you want to burn fat then make sure to really focus on keeping your tempos nice and slow, just as I have designed in the Body Of Your Dreams Transformation Program. 

Secondly, in order to burn fat even faster, we can add in some cardio to the equation. When your heart is between 60 - 70% of its max capacity then your body burns sugar (stored as glycogen in the muscle and liver) then it burns fat (after about 20 minutes). Your body uses other forms of energy when it goes over or under 60 - 70%. Most people believe that in order to do cardio you are strictly forced to do aerobic exercises like running, biking, and swimming. Cardio isn’t necessarily only aerobic training. When you strength train you also create cardio like effect, especially if you do lower body then upper body movements back to back. This increases the heart rate as you build muscle which is a win-win for fat loss. 

Lastly, we have proper nutrition, without getting the right nutrition we would not be giving our bodies what it needs to run properly, thus creating problems like cravings, low energy, etc. If you crave something like sweets it's because your body did not get what it needed from your meal so now it craves something quick digesting to give it a boost in energy. To prevent this we must eat the way our unique ancestors did so that our biological and physiological needs are satisfied, while at the same time avoiding the processed crap that turns humans into food addicts. How do we do that? By going Paleo + Metabolic Typing. Refer back to previous blogs, and presentations to learn more about each. Once you figure out what your type is all you have to do is eat according to your type while avoiding the non-Paleo foods and BOOM - watch the fat melt away!

Now, since I have covered these all in detail in the past, I want to spend the rest of this time talking about the right habits for fat loss so you can look and feel your best always.

HABIT #1: Avoid High Glycemic Grains

Harvard Health says, “The glycemic index is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood glucose levels” (1). If you look at the foods with the highest glycemic indexes they are foods like bread, corn, rice, etc. These grains when eaten will spike your blood sugar to be used for energy, however, if they are not used soon then that “energy” (aka sugar) turns into fat and then gets stored. This is not what you want if you desire fat loss. So, it is imperative that you stick to foods lower on the glycemic index so that they break down slowly and get converted to energy at a slower rate, such as starchy tubers like sweet potato and taro, which both have a lower glycemic index than cereals or bread. Become familiar with the glycemic index list by referring back to it often to see where your food of choice lies in the blood sugar spectrum.

In addition, grains like bread and rice are not only fast-digesting, thus causing fat gains, they also tend to cause inflammatory issues for lots of people. Plants don’t have a way of protecting themselves from predators so they do other things to prevent animals (and humans) from eating them. Chris Kresser says it best when he explains it, “producing toxins that damage the lining of the gut; producing toxins that bind essential minerals, making them unavailable to the body; and, producing toxins that inhibit digestion and absorption of other essential nutrients, including protein. One of these toxic compounds is the protein gluten, which is present in wheat and many of the other most commonly eaten cereal grains. In short, gluten damages the intestine and makes it leaky” (2).

In his book entitled, The Paleo Cure, he explains that “cereal grains and legumes contain phytates, which bind with zinc, iron, calcium, and other minerals. The human gut is unable to break these bonds, which means it’s difficult for us to absorb the minerals from grains” (3).

However, you can reduce the phytate content of the grains by soaking, fermenting, sprouting, or leavening them. However, this is often not what people do before they eat a bowl of rice with their chicken. Nonetheless, even if you do these things to make the minerals more bioavailable, it does not change the fact that many people just don’t react well to grains. Many people are intolerant to grains and won’t know it until they go off them for at least 30 days. This is why I recommend going Paleo for 30 days by avoiding grains, legumes, processed sugar, vegetable & seed oils, and dairy then introducing them one at a time for 3 days each to see how you react to them. To understand the “Thirty Day Reset Diet” and learn more check out Chris Kresser’s book, The Paleo Cure. 

Instead of grains, eat vegetables with your meat. You have two types of vegetables to choose from: starchy & nonstarchy vegetables. The list is huge and much more colorful than grains. Check out this article to have a list of foods to choose from.

HABIT #2: Eat More In The Morning Than At Night

Eating more in the morning causes the food you ate to be used for energy throughout the day. Eating at night causes that food to be stored as fat (since it was not used). In his book, How To Eat Move & Be Healthy, Paul Check says, “Cortisol levels are highest in the morning between 6am - 9am, which means your metabolism is stimulated and your cells are anxious for you to eat after having fasted all night. Eating a full breakfast will provide you with the staying power and energy” (4). This is why it is a must to eat more in the morning than you do at night. However, I do understand that not everyone has much of an appetite in the morning. But I do feel this habit can change gradually by conditioning your body to eat more and more in the morning. 

Eating at night is like fattening yourself for the winter. Food that doesn’t get used for energy, gets stored as glycogen in the liver and muscle, and whatever is left gets stored in the body as fat. Your chances of having your food used for energy early in the day are much higher than at night. 

HABIT #3: Don’t Eat 1 - 2 Hours Before Bed

Just as stated above, when you eat right before bed the food you eat does not get used for energy. Instead, that food gets stored as fat. 

In addition, when you eat right before bed your body will spend most of the night digesting the food instead of resting and going into deeper stages of sleep. If you wake up feeling unrested then you might want to pay attention to how soon before bed you are eating. Chances are you are eating too soon before bed. 

Rest is important to lowering body fat because in order to burn body fat we need muscle which is impossible to build without deep restful sleep. Hence, the importance of sleep for building muscle and for fat loss. So, avoid food for 1 to 2 hours before bed because this gives your body the time to digest it before you sleep. 

HABIT #4: Moving Everyday For > 20 mins 

Many people think that the only way to lose body fat is by going into a caloric deficit by reducing the number of calories they eat. However, I have rarely found this to work long term. What I have found does work is becoming more active which in turn burns calories, thus reducing the number of calories burned the whole day. 

What I recommend for all my clients is to walk every day on an empty stomach in the morning. There is debate as to whether or not it matters if you have an empty stomach but I think it makes perfect sense that you will burn more fat if on an empty stomach. Think about it - if your body has nothing to burn then it will go straight for what is left: body fat or muscle. If you keep your heart rate below 60-70% then you won't burn muscle you will burn more fat. It’s that simple. This habit alone is a huge component for many of my past clients for them to stay lean. 

HABIT #5: Take Cold Showers

A study on how “Cold elicits the simultaneous induction of fatty acid synthesis and beta-oxidation in murine brown adipose tissue”, they found that, “combustion of long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) was increased in the cold” (5).  

In an article on “Tips For Burning More Fat With Cold Thermogenesis”, Ben Greenfield shares the benefits of cold exposure, such as brown adipose tissue (BAT) activation, which he says, “In most cases, you'd need to exercise or engage in a caloric restriction to first burn glucose (blood sugar) and then move on to glycogen (stored liver and muscle sugar) before finally beginning to utilize fat as a fuel source. But BAT can immediately and directly burn white fat” (6). Also, cold exposure is known to activate adiponectin. Greenfield states that “Adinopectin is a hormone released during cold exposure that breaks down fat and shuttles glucose into muscles (which can lower blood sugar). This not only has an anabolic, muscle repair effect but can also enhance recovery. Interestingly, low adiponectin levels have been associated with obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease” (6).

So if your desire is to burn fat, it won’t hurt to add an extra “layer” of fat-burning into your daily routine by taking a cold shower. It is pretty intense at first so what I recommend is to start with hot water and then intermittently (for 30 seconds at a time) put on the cold and take deep diaphragmatic breaths as you do so. 

HABIT #6: Have Some Protein At Every Meal

In a study on the “