Why less is more when it comes to fat loss
One of the most common mistakes people make when entering a fat loss phase is playing all their cards at once. I often see girls jumping straight into an aggressive deficit, training 6 days a week, and doing over 12,000 steps daily as soon as they start their fat loss journey. While this is a great way to see fast initial progress, it’s also a great way to burn yourself out and quit after the first week.
To make sure your approach to weight loss is not only sustainable but also enjoyable and realistic, it’s important to start with a ‘do as little as possible whilst making progress’ approach. This not only means you’ll be able to stick to your plan for longer, but it also leaves you room to make changes further down the track as you plateau.
The problem with going all in straight away is that when you do inevitably plateau, there’s nowhere to go from there. If you’re already training every day, walking 15,000 steps a day, doing extra cardio and eating super low calories, you’re going to run into problems.
That’s why I like to think of steps, cardio, calorie manipulation and training as tools in a fat-loss toolbox. They all serve a purpose and there’s a time and place for all of them, however you don’t need to use them all at once. That’s why it’s important to periodise your program and consider the longevity of what you’re doing. Remember, more isn’t always better.
So, here are my top tips for making sure that your fat-loss program is going to provide sustainable results:
- Start with a moderate deficit. Depending on your starting point/ maintenance calories, I often start with 20% (eg maintains at 2200 calories, remove 20% (440 calories) = 1760 calories a day
- Use cardio as a tool when you need to, and don’t do too much too soon.
- Don’t set your daily step target too high. This will depend on what your current daily activity levels are, but often 8000-10000 is a good place to start.
- If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! If your current plan is working and you’re seeing results, don’t be so quick to change things up.
- Be patient! Your body needs time to change, so don’t assume you’re in a plateau when the scales don’t move for one week.
- Avoid over-training. If you are completely new to training, start with 3-4 gym sessions a week. Your body needs rest to recover and this will help you avoid burning out later in your program.
- Don’t eliminate your favourite foods, entire food groups or avoid living life (going out for meals, having a couple of drinks), sustainability means something you can do all the time, when in doubt ask yourself the question - is this something I could stick to all year around? If the answer is no, change it up gf!
Long term fat loss has been shown to be successfully sustained when we take a slow and steady, flexible approach. Be patient, play your cards at the right time, and wait for the magic to happen!