Everyone wants to know all the new fancy diet strategies out there or the one magic secret that will finally help them break past their fat loss plateau. I understand why people ask though, there are so many different diet approaches out there such as intermittent fasting, keto, paleo, slow carb, low carb, carnivore, vegan, it can be hard to figure out what works.
Unless you’ve reached a good level of leanness (<12% for men, <18% for women), you don’t need any special diet methods to lose bodyfat besides doing the following things consistently: being in a caloric deficit, getting enough protein, and eating your vegetables with each meal. When it comes to fat loss, calories out > calories in is the key.
For some people, simply improving their food quality, changing certain eating habits and sticking with them consistently will ensure that they will lose the fat and keep it off long term.
A lot of people don’t have the basics mastered yet and shouldn’t be caught up in trying to learn special diet strategies. It would be the equivalent of asking how to do advanced techniques out on the race track when you haven’t even passed your driver’s exam.
With that being said, here are some simple strategies to help you improve your nutrition and cut calories for fat loss:
1. Healthy Food Swaps
One of the ways to improve your nutrition is to take some of the foods you’re currently eating already and swapping it out with a healthier, lower calorie alternative. That way you can still enjoy some of your favorite foods with a more nutritious twist. Here’s an infographic as an example:
2. Have Protein and Veggies First With Each Meal
There’s a research article published a while back studying fat loss between two groups . Both groups ate a lower calorie diet but one group ate protein and veggies before eating carbs in their meals while another group was just following the diet. The results were interesting. Both groups had similar weight loss, but the group that ate protein and vegetables prior to eating carbs before lost more body fat.
This is because the combination of protein and fiber from the vegetables has a positive effect on slowing down glucose absorption, helping you manage your carb intake and insulin levels a lot better. For your meals, eat your protein and vegetables first, then finish off with your carbs. This is a simple and actionable tip for you to put to good use.
3. Eat Less Carbs On Non-Workout Days
This strategy is also known as carb cycling. The more physically active you are, the more carbs that your body is going to need for fuel. However, on the days you’re not working out or exercising, stick with eating mostly protein and veggies in each meal.
On your workout days, eat the same meals but with a serving size of carbs (about the size of your fist). It’s an easy way to cut out extra calories and to put yourself in a caloric deficit that’ll add up over the week.
4. Eat Fewer Meals Throughout The Day
There is a theory about how eating more meals throughout the day increases your metabolism. It’s simply not true. It doesn’t matter whether or not you eat three or six meals, the total calories that you’ve eaten at the end of the day is what matters most.
But for many people who struggle with portion control, it’s easier to be eating three square meals rather than multiple smaller ones throughout the day. They’re more conscious about what they’re taking in and it’s harder to overeat.
If you’re eating multiple times during the day and not making much progress, it could be because you’re eating more than you think you are. Switch over to three and see what happens.
5. Stop Snacking
Along with eating fewer meals throughout the day, one of the easiest ways to drop weight and lose bodyfat is to stop snacking altogether. Contrary to what you’ve been told, you don’t need to be snacking at all. Most people eat way too much and eat as soon as they feel just a wee bit hungry. We live in such a comfortable society where if we experience any slight discomfort, we feel the need to take care of it.
When it comes to fat loss, it’s normal to feel a bit hungry. Get used to it, it’ll help you be more in touch with your body. Many people are not in tune with how they’re feeling and lack mindfulness. By not snacking, you’re not taking in extra calories, build awareness about how you feel and develop the skill to see if you really need to eat.
6. Drink More Water
Most of us don’t drink enough water, period. Our bodies are made up of 70% water and a lot of us go through the entire day dehydrated. We also often mistaken thirst for hunger, causing us to overeat. As a daily goal, aim for at least half of your bodyweight in ounces and drink a glass of water before each meal. It’ll help you feel full, keep your metabolism healthy, and improve both your mental clarity and workout performance.
Keepin’ It Simple
When it comes to eating for fat loss, you want to keep things as simple as possible. All of the tips that I’ve given you today should be easy to implement, so go out there and put them to good use and see if it’ll help you with your fat loss goals. Got any questions or comments? Drop ‘em below.
 Trico, et al. Manipulating the sequence of food ingestion improves glycemic control in type 2 diabetic patients under free-living conditions. Nutrition & Diabetes (2016) 6, e226; doi:10.1038/nutd.2016.33 Published online 22 August 2016