So you’ve taken the first, big step and decided to start your weight loss journey. The next step for many on this journey is figuring out how to lose body fat. Before you charge full steam ahead full, you’ll need to navigate through a lot of misinformation out there to uncover healthy and long-term approaches to shedding the pounds as some methods may deliver results but at the cost of your health and well-being.
If you’re at a loss of where to start and how to lose body fat without negatively affecting your body or mind in the process, then read on for our five best ways to lose body fat. Disclaimer: There’s no quick fix or magic overnight solution. Healthy weight loss takes a lot of patience, a dash of motivation and a generous serving of perseverance.
Check your weight loss intentions
Chances are, you’ve come across commercials, magazine covers and social media ads presenting supposed quick-fixes and miracle diets that will melt away body fat. Societal pressures like these undoubtedly play a role in why people might wish to lose weight. At 8fit, our philosophy is focused on improved health and well-being first. If high body fat percentage is your challenge and you’re looking to slim down, then we encourage a balanced approach that’ll last you a lifetime.
Also, the journey doesn’t end once you’ve met your weight loss goal, rather all those healthy habits and lifestyle changes you implement will continue to serve you far beyond the number or the scale or dress size you wear. Remember, shedding the pounds is a side effect of leading a healthy lifestyle.
It’s always helpful to check your intention to lose weight. Don’t forget everyone has body fat, and it’s not necessarily unhealthy nor something to be ashamed of, with some people naturally having more than others. Fat only becomes a problem when too much of it gathers around your belly area in the form of visceral fat. This is because visceral fat can hijack your hormones and increase inflammation, making you more prone to chronic diseases and further weight gain.
Here are some of the risk factors associated with excessive body fat:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Sleep apnea
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
Even a small amount of fat loss can make a difference in your health. If you’re medically overweight then losing between 5% and 10% of your body weight will lower your risk of the conditions listed above. One study found that, of a group of people at risk for diabetes, those who lost 7% of their body weight and exercised about 30 minutes a day cut their chance of developing the disease by almost 60%.
Now that we’ve discussed why someone might want to get rid of excess body fat let’s dive into how to lose body fat the healthy way.
5 of the best ways to lose body fat
Losing body fat isn’t always a walk in the park, but if you’re committed and patient, you’ll get where you want to go before you know it.
1. Eat lots of fiber
Fiber is beneficial for a healthy body, and may also help you lose body fat. In this case, soluble fiber is what will support weight loss the most. Why? That’s because soluble and viscous fiber is known to form a gel in the digestive tract. It can give your body an extra feeling of satiety and in turn, manage your appetite.
We all know how great working out is for your health and overall well-being, with fat loss being a positive side effect of exercise. However, what kind of exercise is best for weight loss, cardio or strength training? The answer: both. They both boast specific advantages, and play a crucial role in both burning fat and keeping it off.
If you’re a fitness novice or coming back following a sedentary stint, then start off with low-impact cardio, especially if you’re very overweight. Doing this will prevent you from stressing your body or injuring yourself. You can slowly work your way up to high-intensity exercises when you feel stronger and more confident.
Although low- to mid-intensity cardio is a fantastic launchpad to fat loss, HIIT and strength training are both excellent in speeding up and maintaining results. This is because these kinds of workouts build muscle mass, which in turn increases your metabolic rate, burning even more calories even when your body is at rest.
Not sure where to start?
3. Cut down on sugar
In most cases, sugar (the refined, processed kind) isn’t your friend. Of course, everything’s fine in moderation, so indulging from time to time is okay. But if you’re trying to lose fat, it may be hindering your success. This also counts for sugary drinks (sodas and juices), which are sugar-packed and are devoid nutritional value.
One way to drastically reduce your sugar intake is to cut out sugary beverages. Swap out soda and fruit juice for water or herbal tea, and try drinking your coffee without sugar. Small changes like these can lower your calorie intake and help you meet your fat loss goals. Watch out for all-natural juices and smoothies too. They may seem ‘healthy’, and though they don’t always contain added sugar, fruit juices are still packed with natural fruit sugars that trigger spikes and crashes in your blood sugar levels. At the same time, the juicing process extracts the healthy fiber contained in the whole fruit.
4. Get more sleep
Getting in a good night sleep and feeling rested is vital for a multitude of health reasons, including fat loss. Studies show that experiencing quality sleep is essential in balancing your body’s hormones, and hormones are what keep your metabolism in check. Lack of adequate sleep triggers a cortisol spike. This stress hormone tells your body to conserve energy and hold onto fat.
Sleep helps regulate your metabolism by giving your body time to recalibrate overnight, while lack of sleep can negatively impact glucose levels and lead to food cravings (especially for refined carbohydrates) throughout the day. Rest is also crucial for building muscle after exercise, so be sure to take your sleep seriously.
5. Drink plenty of water
Once again, it pays to stay hydrated. You’ve probably heard how drinking water is a must for weight loss, and we want to stress its importance once more. Many of us don’t even realize that we don’t drink enough water, which can lead us to mistake thirst for hunger. Make sure to reach for your water bottle instead of reaching for snacks.
Try recording the amount of water you drink in a day to see where you stand — we recommend that men drink about 3 liters of water (~13 cups) and that women drink 2.2 liters (~9 cups) of water per day.
The healthiest and best way to lose body fat
Quick fixes and miracle diets usually promise a whole lot more than they can deliver. If you want to know the best way to lose body fat, it’s this: pay attention to your nutrition, stay active, be patient and don’t give up. Try not to forget that healthy weight loss that stays off takes time and effort.
There will be bumps along the road, but that’s completely normal. If you mess up, don’t get down — get right back up and start again. If you want to know more about how to lose body fat and need an extra push along the way, sign up for 8fit Pro to get over 700 delicious recipes and workout plans that’ll you burn fat and feel great about yourself!