How To Burn Fat: Ten Tips To Lose Unsightly Flab!
Looking to lose a few pounds? Want to know how to go about it—exactly, step by step? Then let’s dive right into these ten tips on how to burn fat—which, if implemented, will see long term, successful and sustainable weight loss…
Before we continue on learning how to burn fat, know this…
Unless you have some sort of underlying medical condition that changes the rules for you, the fundamentals of weight loss can be boiled down to simple math…
If the calories you consume exceed the calories you expend, than you will gain weight. Conversely, if you consume fewer calories than you expend you will lose weight.
Those are the rules. Like ’em or not, they are what they are. You may not believe in gravity, but jump off a tall building, and you will surely die, regardless of what you believe. You don’t have to like these rules, but that doesn’t make them any less true, and if you don’t follow them, you will never effectively burn fat, no matter how much you try.
1. Know, roughly, how many calories you need to consume in a day.
I’ve listed this one as the first in these tips on how to burn fat, because it is of critical importance. You remember the point I made about calories just above?
If you have no idea how many calories you need or how many you are consuming, it will make it extremely difficult to lose weight. Luckily, this is not as complicated as you might think.
Using a simple online BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) calculator like this one, get a baseline number of daily calories burned, and then check to see how your activity level affects this number. For example, if you exercise lightly, you’ll see how this allows you to consume slightly more calories.
2. Know how many calories—again, roughly—you are consuming with each meal and throughout each day.
This one is pretty obvious. Learning how to burn fat effectively means you must know how many calories you are consuming so you can determine whether or not you are exceeding the number of calories you require on a daily basis.
What the…? Count calories?
Yes, counting calories is tedious and boring, and yes, I know many authors of popular diet programs say you don’t have to worry about counting calories. Instead, they recommend measuring out food using your hand; a palm sized portion of lean protein, plus a hand sized portion of fibrous carbs and the same for leafy green vegetables. This works, if you want to spend your entire life eating palm sized servings of chicken, turkey, fish or lean beef, plus hand sized portions of brown rice and broccoli.
However, if you actually intend to have some sort of life while you burn off that unsightly fat, you need to have a pretty good idea of just how many calories you are consuming with each meal or snack.
The other thing to remember before you become completely overwhelmed with this, is that most of us eat the same foods on a pretty regular basis.
As an example, I almost always have a couple of whole eggs, 4 egg whites, an apple or a piece of fruit and a piece of whole wheat toast for breakfast. Sure, I may shake it up a bit here and there, or prepare things slightly differently, but I always have a pretty good idea of how many calories I am consuming.
If you sit down and analyze your meals for a week, I’m sure you’ll find the same thing. So in addition to checking out the labels on your favorite foods, use a simple online calorie counter like this one—do your homework and get that number nailed down!
It may also be worthwhile investing in a simple kitchen scale to keep portion sizes under control.
3. Add exercise into your daily routine.
This one too, is obvious.
And if you cringed when you read this, take heart…
You don’t actually need to spend long hours in the gym, laboring on the treadmill or heaving in the weight room to accomplish your goals.
If you get your calorie consumption under control, all you really need to do is walk.
Twice a day. 30-40 minutes per session.
Stick with it and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m a huge advocate of spending time in the gym. Cardio strengthens the heart and improves the efficiency of the cardiovascular system (but it is not very effective at elevating the metabolism much beyond the period of exercise itself). Weight training builds lean muscle, which unlike fat tissue, is metabolically active. All this means is that muscle tissue requires energy (in the form of calories) to sustain itself, while fat tissue does not. So for every ounce of muscle you add to your frame, you increase the amount of calories your body needs to sustain itself!
However, successful weight loss is about being practical, and adopting habits you can sustain over the long term. If you hate exercising, you’ll only be able to force yourself to do so for a short time. If you enjoy exercising, then by all means add sessions with weights and cardio to your daily routine. If you don’t, then get out and walk.
4. Add more fiber to your diet.
In addition to lowering your cholesterol levels, fiber does a lot of things that will help you in your quest to burn fat.
Like what, exactly?
Well, it adds bulk to your stomach, so it fills you up without adding calories. Consumed before a meal, a fiber supplement can reduce the amount you eat before feeling full. Fiber can also moderate your blood sugar levels, which will help combat giant swings in energy levels and the subsequent cravings for sweets or starchy carbohydrates.
To increase your fiber intake, you can increase your intake of fibrous fruits and vegetables, add an extremely high fiber cereal to your diet (like Kellogg’s All Bran Buds; which contains 13 grams in a 1/3 cup serving) or use a fiber supplement. You can use an old standard like Metamucil, or maybe try glucomannan. Glucomannan is cheap, and clinical data validates its weight loss effectiveness.
5. When it’s dark, snack smart.
Your metabolism is at its lowest point at night, and you are the least active. So you need to be doubly careful when it comes to what you are eating.
If you’re hungry, stay away from the simple carbohydrate snacks which are so readily available. Eat fiber and protein rich snacks instead.
If you find yourself battling intense cravings for carb-based snacks, chances are your blood sugar is out of kilter. Check out our list of blood sugar balancing supplements worth investigating—there will be something there to help you!
6. Limit your alcohol consumption.
Alcohol is a very rich source of calories, and therefore regular drinking can really play havoc with your efforts to burn fat. Although long term successful weight loss is all about balance (and you should enjoy yourself once in a while) you have to decide whether you want to party, or whether you want to lose weight. It’s pretty hard to do both.
7. Eat breakfast.
Numerous studies on teens and adults have confirmed that “there is a direct relationship between eating breakfast and body mass index.” Or in other words, people who eat breakfast are leaner.
8. Don’t weigh yourself.
You might be wondering how “not weighing yourself” factors in to this series of tips on how to burn fat. But here’s the thing…
Losing weight is a long term, “race goes to the tortoise” affair. Jumping on the scale every day is going to do nothing but depress the daylights out of you, because your results are going to come over the weeks and months, not over days and hours. Additionally, your weight can fluctuate daily based on a number of factors, so you’re never really getting an accurate reading.
To make matters worse, the bathroom scale does not tell you anything about your body composition. In other words, you may actually be leaner, but the scale may read the same, or actually read higher. That’s because muscle is denser than fat, and weighs more. And if your exercise program includes resistance training of any kind, it is entirely possible that you are leaner, despite the fact that the scale doesn’t indicate this is so.
If you want to track your progress effectively, buy yourself a body fat caliper and a measuring tape.
That’s the way to do it.
9. Consider adding “diet friendly” supplements to your diet.
This web site contains reviews of hundreds of weight loss and diet supplements that all promise the impossible; loose weight quickly, without any effort.
While this, unfortunately, is complete nonsense, there are plenty of decent supplements that will help you attain your weight loss goals.
Despite what you may have heard, their effects are not hugely dramatic, but over the long run, they can make a real difference.
For instance, you may want to start drinking a high quality green tea.
Clinical evidence shows it does offer some characteristics beneficial to dieters, including the ability to elevate the metabolism and inhibit enzymes key to the processing of carbohydrates and fat. There’s lots of nonsense on the Internet, so be careful of anyone telling you green tea is a miracle cure. It’s not.
Unfortunately, drinking grocery store brand green tea is not going to deliver much in the way of results. You need the real stuff—a high quality loose green tea direct from the best fields in China. I recommend Julian Tai and Amazing Green Tea.com.
I buy all my tea from him, so I can attest to this; his service is incredible, his tea superb, and he has options in every price range. If you’re interested in drinking a quality green tea, you’ll definitely want to check out Amazing Green Tea!
Adding a whey protein powder shake or two into your daily regimen is another great idea. In a recent article “Whey Protein Powder Shakes for Weight Loss“, I detail some of the main benefits whey protein offers to dieters, along with links to the supporting clinical evidence. Some of these show it enhances satiety (or it makes you feel fuller, longer), increases fat loss and spares lean muscle.
Don’t be fooled into believing you need to spend $30-$50 for a 1-pound tub of some “specially formulated” blend. A high quality, readily available whey protein isolate (like Allmax’s Isoflex) or concentrate (like Dymatize’s Elite) is all you need.
For other useful supplements, you may want to investigate our recommendations page.
10. Have a plan.
You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s worth repeating…
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Nowhere is this more true than here. In our quest to learn how to burn fat, we’ve covered a lot of great tips, but they are only that—tips. To be really successful, you need a concrete game plan, plus you need to actually sit down and implement the things we discussed earlier—like knowing how many calories you require daily, and how many you are normally consuming.
Too many people fail to lose weight because they “wing” it. They go to the gym, they eat a little less, they drink more water, etc, etc. But when the results don’t come after a week or two they give up. The problem is, they don’t really have any idea whether they are consuming less calories than they need, or whether they are working out effectively or what not.
That’s why a plan is of the essence.
And, when it comes to dieting, a detailed plan usually constitutes a diet. That’s why we recommend you find the best diet program to suit your needs. I’d also recommend you read this article: How To Choose The Best Diet Program For You? to help you get started on the right track.
OK, there we have it; ten tips on how to burn fat. I’ve done my part… the rest is up to you!