F – Fat Loss {ABCs of Health}

***video version at the end.
There’s a lot that can be said about fat loss and I chose fat loss for the letter F because this is something that is so talked about in the diet, fitness and health industries and I just wanted to address this a little bit because I have a few views on this that might be a bit new for you.

The first thing I want to touch on is that you are more than your weight. Your health is more than your weight. We get this from culture, but we can’t even say that this is something new that this only happens now because you know throughout history, we see this in all sorts of cultures. What is considered healthy changes and what is considered healthy goes from slimmer and leaner or goes to the heavier or stays somewhere in the more muscular or in the less muscle… all of this changes with cultural moment and with time and whatever time we’re living in we tend to think that idea somehow defines us and that it is somehow important to who we are as people. We buy into the belief that this interferes with our character.

The first thing I want to say is that that’s just not true! We are not our weight, we are not our shape, we are not our size. This is all just a vessel. This is a shell that we live in. I absolutely believe that we have to the best of our ability take care of this body that we have. We need to nurture it well, we need to keep it functioning as best as we can, but please, please remember that you are not your size.

So that being said, we go on to the second part that I want to address. Most things that we see in the health industry especially in the nutrition/fitness industry is about weight loss. All these transformation photos are amazing – don’t get me wrong, I love transformation photos. I enjoy posting them, I take my own photos for progress, I’ve hit big goals in my fitness and in my health and I have big goals for the future, but the transformation is just a moment, it’s a before and after. One thing that transformation is NOT is the goal, and most of the time the transformation has to do with fat loss, with going down a certain amount of dress sizes, increasing a certain amount of muscle, looking a certain way. While that’s amazing, transformations are great! Fat loss itself like is not about reaching that specific pointer, that specific number. That is not the goal. The goal is to get somewhere that you want to get and stay there. So getting at a certain weight or losing a certain amount of fat may be something you may want to do but that is not your final goal.

Your final goal is to sustain whatever it is you wanted to reach and that is where so many of us fall short, and that is where everyone who yo yo diets gets stuck. This is the moment where the frustration comes on when you go on the scale and your weight increased a kilogram or two pounds and you suddenly freak out when you’re not losing weight every single week. There’s this idea that’s been ingrained in us, in this diet culture that we live in, that we have to be losing a pound, which is half a kilogram, every week! Now come on! Honestly if you spend your whole life losing a pound a week you will wither away. Your body is not meant to lose weight every single week for the rest of your life. No!

Your body is meant to be healthy your body is meant to support you. So this idea of fat loss: while yes, you may want to lose some fat, you may need to lose some fat, but that is not your END goal.

So when I talk about fat loss, if nothing else, I want you to think of this: fat loss is not your final goal, health is. The pursuit of health and the pursuit of fitness is more important than the endless pursuit of losing fat because what happens is that when your goal is simply to lose fat you are going to fall for every quick fix, you are going to believe in every magic diet, you are going to fall for every promise, you are going to spend a lot of money because somewhere it says that if you just do this for a week or two or 20 days or 60 days or whatever it is you will get what you want. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that that is your solution. Yes, you might go all in and do this for a while, but if you don’t create the habits that will sustain that then you’re gonna go back to where you started or get worse than where you started because if you’ve ever yo-yo dieted you know this. If you’ve been around this industry for a while you know this. If you have bought different supplements, if you bought different pills, if you did any of these things you will know what I’m talking about. Maybe you reached the goal and after doing all these things to reach the goal and you’re there… you stopped.

And that’s my point. The goal isn’t to lose fat, the goal is to become healthy. When you change your habits, when you change your mentality, when you change what you do day in and day out that will lead to the fat loss you’re looking for.

The goal isn’t to lose fat, it’s to become healthy.

So the first thing you need to do for fat loss, the most important thing that is necessary for you to start losing body fat, is to understand that that is not actually your goal. Your goal is to have the life that can sustain that because here is something very important, don’t miss this: the same things that you have to do to get to a certain weight or to lose a certain amount of fat is what you have to do to keep it off. So imagine that you go on a crazy restrictive diet, or you cut a food group, or spend dollars upon dollars a week on supplements and pills and whatever and you get to that point. Great. Are you going to keep doing this? Do you see yourself living this life every day? If you don’t, then that’s not going to be sustained. You’re simply going to go backwards. You’re going to lose whatever “progress” you achieved.

So… the first thing I want you to remember is that it starts in your mind. You have to realize that it is not your job to feed the diet industry. It is not your job to be a slave of this concept that you constantly need to be losing weight. Your goal in health should be to be healthy and fit for a lifetime so that you can live the life that you want to live, so that you can enjoy the things that you want to enjoy, so that you can do the things that you want to do, so that you can age well. That’s the goal. The goal is what comes because you are healthy and fit. The goal is BIGGER than simply to lose weight, so that’s the first thing you need to remember. Whatever you do, however you take care of your health, that is something that you need. Create the habits to sustain it because it may be fine to do this for a week or two or three, but if it’s not something that you’re going to carry on it’s no use eating perfectly balanced and healthy for three weeks just to get to your goal and then binge for the next three.

Your body will reflect what you do with it and what you put into it, so if you are moving your body if you are working your muscles, if you are taking care of yourself physically so that your body is in good enough shape to sustain you to do what you want, that will show on the outside. Yes, we want to improve in our fitness, but also, we want an easier day to day life. What about when you travel being able to enjoy your trip and do all these fun things, what about picking up your kids with more ease, playing with your kids, hauling in groceries. When your body is in good physical shape you are able to do things with more ease and also when your body is in better physical shape you are not dealing with chronic pain, you are not dealing with chronic fatigue. There are a host of issues that you don’t have to deal with when you start investing in keeping your body in better shape.

Your body will reflect what you do with it and what you put into it.

The other side of it is that your body reflects what you do with it but also what you put into it, so taking care of what you eat is essential to reach whatever weight you desire to reach and to maintain that weight and have a healthy life. It’s important to pay attention to your food. You need to watch what you’re eating. You can’t expect to just eat a bunch of crap all the time and then have your body respond well. That’s just not how it happens. Food reacts in our body and signals things to our body so we need to remember that food is more than just the calories that it has. Food is this amazing information that goes through our body.

Now, specifically talking about fat loss, there’s only one thing that is going to lead to fat loss and that is a calorie deficit. What this means is simply that to lose fat your body has to use more calories than you consume. It really is that simple.

I will tell you up front that you’re going to find many many people saying all kinds of things like counting calories doesn’t work or saying that you have to eliminate a food group if you want to lose weight and other such nonsense. The fact is, however you decide to do this – and on a side note there are three major ways to do this, every diet falls under one of them, you have to control this balance. Your body has to consume more energy than it is taking.

This has already gone pretty long and I don’t have time to get into all the particulars of this, but the point here is you don’t have to starve yourself, you can probably more than most fitness apps and certainly more than the fad diets would have you believe. If you are trying to lose fat you need to be at a calorie deficit. The easiest way to start this is to eat better food. I’m not saying that you can never have sugar, I’m not saying that you should cut carbs (we’ve talked about carbs), whatever it is that you want. This is YOUR life, there are no rules, it’s a choice, YOUR choice. What I can say is that the only way your body is going to lose fat is if you eat less than your body consumes. For FAT LOSS, your body doesn’t really care where the calories come from. From a health and performance perspective it matters a lot. The quality of your calories interferes with your health.

So many people lose weight on these diets that just suck the joy out of them, but they can’t live like that, so it all comes back. You need to figure out what works for you to keep your calorie consumption below what your body uses when you are on a weight loss journey.

Counting calories works, getting more specific to macros works, portion control works, food elimination works. These are just tools, friend. If you’re looking for a place to start, consider this: make the majority (at least 80%) of your diet of unprocessed or minimally processed foods. The more real the food, the more nutrition it has. The more nutrition it has, the fuller you feel for longer, and your body has nutrients to work with.

I want to finish with the observation about processed foods. All processed foods get lumped in the same basket, but they are not all the same. When you think of something like butter compared to something like doritos. Yeah, they are both processed, but they are not equally processed. For example, there’s a nut butter mix that I love, it’s a mixture of several nuts and seeds with no sugar added, these are just creamed together to form a butter. This is a processed food with several ingredients, but these are ingredients that I can actually go and purchase individually. I know what they are, understand what they are, so this is a processed food, yes, but different from, for example, a bag of Doritos – which the list of ingredients are things that I couldn’t ever have access to, some things I can’t pronounce or understand.

When you think of processed food you need to understand that there’s a difference. There are levels of processing food. There are foods that are pretty much only man-made and there are foods that are ingredients that have been processed for convenience or for taste or for a recipe or something like that.

So try to eat as much actual food as you can and minimally processed foods. If you do nothing else and just focus on reducing how processed your foods are, if you’re a person who eats a lot of processed food, that will automatically cut your calories down significantly and then you can continue on your journey to work on other details.

If you’re interested in losing fat you need to remember these three things:

1. You are not your weight or size.

2. Fat loss is not the goal, habits for maintenance are the goal

3. Fat loss happens when you eat fewer calories than you use

Alright so that was a big spiel for today because you know this is this is a big subject. We touched the surface, and as always if you have any questions you can talk to me, and we will get them answered. There’s a lot of unlearning and re-learning that goes into this so I will absolutely touch back on this again. Please, don’t let the diet industy you fool you into thinking that a quick fix will get you where you want to go because deep down you know the truth: you would rather go there slowly and stay there once you get there then get there quickly and then walk backwards.

Keeping it simple,
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