The difference between eating healthy and eating to lose fat
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For some, the release of lockdown may be the perfect time to regain control of certain areas of your life. One area in particular may start to become a priority to you - your body composition. Naturally you’ll start ticking the checklist; join a gym now that they’re open, clear out the cupboards of so-called “unhealthy” foods, and go to the supermarket (with your mask on) to stock up on what you think are the right foods to help you change your body shape.
Here’s why it’s important to have an understanding of what eating for fat loss actually entails.
Some of those ‘right’ foods may come in the form of avocados, nuts, shakes, protein bars and nut butters, as well as lean meats, eggs, whole carbohydrate sources and fruit and veg.
Whilst these are fantastic options for creating a balanced, whole food diet and MAY facilitate fat loss, they do not guarantee it. This is because fat loss isn’t always a by-product of healthy eating, it’s an outcome of a calorie deficit.
A calorie deficit can only be created through consuming less energy than you expend. Meaning you can still eat all the “healthy” choices, yet come up short on your fat loss goals if your calories aren’t managed.
Before we dive into some of our best tips, it’s worth noting that this article does not condemn the aim to eat healthier; taking control of your nutrition and respecting your body by choosing positive choices is something we should all actively be doing.
With that in mind, these are some of our top tips to help you match your healthy diet, with a fat loss diet.
1. Don’t assume that healthier foods are less calories. Earlier we gave the example of eating nut butters and avocados on diets, and whilst these are foods we also programme in, they’re particularly calorie dense. It’s far too easy to make our own custom portion size for calorie dense foods; 2 handfuls of nuts, 1 heaped tablespoon of nut butter. However, long term this won’t promote fat loss if they take you out of a calorie deficit. Until you have the confidence to eyeball a portion size and know the calories, aim to control your portion sizes with specific measurements (cups, spoons, handfuls).
2. If you’re eating a structured diet through the week but find yourself bingeing on a weekend, due to insatiable cravings and hunger, your total weekly calories will not be lower. This is where poor relationships with food can develop if you’re not careful. Try introducing some flexibility to your nutrition instead, having choices of palatable foods within your control on a daily basis.
3. Don’t fall for commercialised branding! Surprisingly, a “protein chocolate bar” or “protein cereal” isn’t actually a health food, and in today’s society we’re frequently exposed to more of them. In most cases they enable further cravings, poor digestion and a dissociation with the process of dieting. So we recommend putting the distracting fads to one side, aim to eat more fruit and veg, lean meats and quality protein sources.
4. Education around food is typically the biggest limiting factor. Just like you can’t expect to have a profitable business if you’re unwilling to gain an understanding of profits and losses, you’re going to struggle to drop body fat if you’re not willing to gain an understanding of what calories are in your foods. Look at the labels, use a food tracker, hire a coach - all of these things will give your more awareness of what’s going into your body and the impact that it will have.
If you would like to learn how to eat to change your body composition, get in touch with the M10 team about our Personal Training packages today.