Written by Ed Zouroudis
In the pursuit of fat loss, many individuals find themselves caught up in fad diets and short-term solutions that promise quick results, but ultimately fail to provide sustainable, long-term success. As someone who has been involved with the fitness industry for several years, I firmly believe that taking a comprehensive and balanced approach is the key to achieving and maintaining great results, regardless of what your fitness goals are.
In this article, I’ll be doing a deep dive into the strategies that work long term for fat loss, focusing on lifestyle modifications, nutrition, exercise, mindset and self-care.
Establish realistic and sustainable goals:
Setting realistic and achievable goals is essential for long-term success in fat loss. Instead of fixating on an arbitrary number on the scale, shift your focus towards improving overall health and well-being. Try not to check the bathroom scales and instead, opt for a body scanner if your fitness centre has one as it will give you a more holistic picture of your health and fitness levels including visceral fat and muscle mass. Aim to make gradual, sustainable changes to your lifestyle that you can maintain in the long run. This approach will prevent feelings of deprivation and promote a positive mindset.
Embrace a balanced nutrition plan:
No fat loss journey can be successful without addressing nutrition. Opt for a balanced approach that includes a variety of whole, nutrient-dense foods. Focus on consuming lean proteins, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and an abundance of fruits and vegetables. Avoid extreme dietary restrictions, as they are difficult to sustain and can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Remember, it’s about creating a healthy relationship with food, not deprivation.
Prioritise regular physical activity:
Exercise plays an important role in fat loss by increasing energy expenditure and boosting metabolism. Incorporate both cardiovascular exercise and strength training into your routine. Engage in activities that you enjoy to increase adherence and sustainability. It doesn’t necessarily matter what you do to move your body, but generally, you will see longer lasting results with strength training as you will end up naturally burning more fat with increased muscle mass.
Cultivate a positive mindset:
Developing a positive mindset is vital for long-term success. Recognise that fat loss is a journey with ups and downs, and setbacks are a natural part of the process. Practice self-compassion rather than perfection, and celebrate small wins. Surround yourself with a support system that encourages and motivates you. Additionally, explore stress-management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or journaling to maintain emotional wellbeing.
Get enough sleep:
It seems basic – but you might be surprised to know that adequate sleep is often overlooked, even though it plays a significant role in fat loss and overall health. Sleep deprivation can disrupt hormones related to appetite regulation, leading to increased cravings and decreased motivation for exercise. Strive for seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night to optimise your body’s natural fat-burning processes.
Did you know that between 10% and 30% of adults struggle with insomnia. (The National Sleep Foundation)
In our fast-paced society, we often eat mindlessly, leading to overconsumption. Cultivating mindful eating habits can help you reconnect with your body’s hunger and fullness cues, leading to more balanced food choices. Slow down, savour each bite, and pay attention to your body’s signals. This approach promotes better digestion, prevents overeating, and enhances the overall eating experience.
Adequate hydration is essential for overall health and supports fat loss efforts. Water helps with digestion, curbs cravings, and boosts metabolism. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water per day, or more if you engage in intense physical activity. Consider incorporating herbal teas or infusing your water with fruits and herbs for added flavor.
Reduce your stress levels:
Chronic stress can hinder fat loss efforts by increasing cortisol levels, which promote fat storage, particularly in the abdominal area. Engage in stress-reducing activities such as yoga, meditation, or engaging hobbies to manage stress levels effectively. Prioritising self-care and creating a balance between work, personal life, and relaxation is crucial for long-term success.
Achieving sustainable fat loss requires a holistic approach that addresses various aspects of your lifestyle. By adopting a balanced nutrition plan, incorporating regular physical activity, cultivating a positive mindset, prioritising sleep, practicing mindful eating, staying hydrated, and reducing stress, you can create a solid foundation for long-term success. Remember, the journey to fat loss is unique to each individual, so be patient, kind to yourself, and focus on the long-term benefits of a healthier lifestyle.