Looking for the best way to lose bodyfat and boost your health? Find out what fat loss truly means and it's relation to your health, and learn the 7 things you can do to help improve your health and increase your fat loss success.
With so many new-fangled forms of exercise, fad diet, or wonder pill, it’s hard to say what the best method for effective fat loss is. Or is it….? Something I am 100% percent sure of is that there is no singular solution. The condition of our bodies are affected by a huge variety of factors including our genetics, the environment we live in, the food we eat, the air we breathe, the stresses we put on our bodies including exercise, physical trauma, emotional stresses, lack of sleep, to name but a few. So with all these factors contributing to fat gain and loss, muscle gain and loss etc., why would there be only one solution? And why would that one solution be right for everybody?
Let’s put a spin on the term fat loss for a second and let’s call it “achieving optimum body composition”. When we start to recognise that excess fat storage occurs when our bodies are not operating at optimal levels, and that there is some level of dysfunction in our biochemical processes and imbalance in our hormones, we can start to see that achieving optimum body composition (fat loss) can be accomplished by achieving optimum health where all our systems are functioning effectively, harmoniously, and is well balanced. And then long term fat loss success is really about maintaining that balance as best we can, against the cruel hardships of life and living in a toxic, indulgent, and stress filled world.
That all sounds quite profound doesn’t? But it’s something I advocate with my clients - to seek to achieve optimum health. And in doing so fat loss should follow. Not only does it set a healthier mind-set and helps us to work toward a much greater goal than purely for vanity, but it also helps to create an exercise and nutritional lifestyle that is sustainable for the long term. That good nutrition and regular exercise isn’t just to get in shape and look good for summer, but it’s for life sustaining health.
So with that in mind then there are some fundamental things we can all do to help achieve optimal health and encourage sustainable fat loss. Here are my top 7 tips to improve health and increase fat loss success:
#1 Sleep more
Everyone knows as adults we are supposed to get 7-8hrs of quality undisrupted sleep. But how many of us actually do? With so many things to distract us and the many reasons to stay awake and not miss what’s going on in the world, or stressing about something before going to bed and struggling to fall asleep, we are not doing our health any favours, nor helping our bodies to shift bodyfat. Some of the physical and mental symptoms of sleep deprivation are widely known to all; low energy, fatigue, reduced mental clarity, poor memory etc. But it can increase levels of cortisol, increase risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
During sleep our bodies go through the process of detoxification, followed by regeneration, and without adequate sleep these processes get disrupted. So those toxins that are stored in our fat cells are not going anywhere causing havoc in our systems, and the muscles we’ve worked to build can’t grow and help boost metabolism or burn fat.
Improving your sleep environment is crucial to getting a good night’s sleep. So set a good evening wind down routine. The bedroom should be a place for sleep and nothing else. Keep the room dark, at a comfortable temperature, and remove anything that emits an electromagnetic wave that disrupts your sleep cycle. This includes TV, laptops, mobile phones etc. Another reason to remove these items is that mobile phones and other screens emit blue light that inhibits the release of melatonin, your sleep hormone. So try to avoid using these devices before bedtime or switch your devices to nightshift mode which gives an orange hue instead, a feature available on Apple devices.
#2 Eat Clean
Clean eating means eating whole or “real” foods that are closest to its natural form so that we benefit from the richest density of nutrients. Foods that have been processed in some way, refined or altered, can be stripped of nutrients, and/or loaded with artificial additives, all of which alters the quantity and quality of nutrients available for our bodies to absorb. Nutrient dense foods provides our bodies with the wide spectrum of vitamins minerals and antioxidants it needs to assist in so many functions including controlling inflammation, boosting immune system, and improving brain and heart function. In terms of fat loss, whole foods and a good balance of macro nutrients (proteins, fats, and carbs), relative to your individual body type and metabolism, can control blood sugar levels better to reduce insulin spikes which can prevent excess storage of body fat, can encourage the use of body fat as fuel, and assist in the growth and regeneration of muscle tissue for improved metabolisms.
Consider a diet with good quality protein, healthy fats from oily fish, coconut and olive oils etc, and unrefined carbohydrates from whole foods such as potatoes, rice, fruits and an abundance of vegetables.
About 60% of your body and 80% of your brain is made up of water and every system in the body depends on it, so it is essential to stay hydrated to help your body function well. Water is used to carry nutrients and oxygen to our cells, regulate body temperature, lubricates joints and keeps tissue moist in the mouth, eyes, and nose, aids digestion, and most importantly, helps to flush out toxins and waste and preventing an over burden on our kidneys and liver. Some of the benefits you will see with good hydration include better energy levels, clear and youthful skin, assistance in fat loss with improved metabolism and less hunger, improved digestive health and reduces stress and headaches.
As our bodies use water all the time it is important to replenish the supply as regularly as we can. The recommended daily water intake is about 1 litre per 25kg of bodyweight (and more if you are exercising). You can reach your recommended intake from the fluids you might get from the food you eat as well as drinking water and other drinks. A good indication to show you have good hydration levels is pale, clear, odourless urine.
Also try to drink filtered water to reduce exposure to toxins that may be present in tap water such as chlorine, fluoride, and other pollutants.
Cortisol is our stress hormone and when it is chronically elevated it can drastically affect our health, increase fat storage, and prevent fat loss. High blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes have been shown to have links with high levels of stress. Stress symptoms often affect us far more than we realise both physically and mentally. And the mind and the body have a strong connection with each other so what adversely affects one will adversely affect the other, and similarly, what positively affects one will positively affect the other.
Some of the common symptoms of stresses we experience are:
#5 Lift Weights
Strength training or resistance training is highly beneficial for improved health and fat loss and is a more favourable form of exercise than aerobic training. Building and increasing lean muscle tissue in the body not only strengthens bones and joint stability but increases metabolism allowing your body to burn more calories and burn fat as fuel. Strength training helps to improve insulin sensitivity which helps with diabetes and fat loss, improves blood pressure and heart lung health, reduces back and joint pain, improves posture and bio-mechanical dysfunction, and can alleviate symptoms of depression.
Performing compound movements such as squatting and deadlifting, where you are moving more than one joint will use more muscles and burn more calories. The level of intensity is dictated by the number the reps and sets that you do, and vice versa, the number of reps and sets dictates the level of intensity and therefore the training effect it has on the body. Using too little weight and therefore doing a lot of reps is not as beneficial as doing fewer reps with a heavier weight which helps to build strength and lean muscle tissue.
#6 Reduce Exposure to Toxins
Our bodies are constantly exposed to pollutants and toxins which our liver can struggle to cleanse causing harmful free radicals that can destroy healthy DNA, weaken our immune systems, and has been shown to have links to increase in cancer cell growth. Most toxins are also fat soluble and reside in our fat cells meaning the more toxic our body is, the bigger the fat cells become and the more fat cells are created.
While it is impossible to be completely toxin free, we can limit our exposure to them by eating more organic foods free from pesticides and herbicides, drink filtered water and avoid using plastic bottles and Tupperware unless they are BPA free or use stainless steel/glass/ceramic, use natural organic beauty and cosmetic products that are free of parabens, and use fluoride free toothpaste.
In addition to reducing exposure to toxins we can assist our bodies in the process of detoxification by supporting our systems nutritionally. Eating a clean and nutrient dense diet will give us the necessary vitamins and minerals to support the liver in detoxifying harmful substances, and adequate levels of hydration assist in the elimination of those toxins.
#7 Supplement for Health
As clean and as healthy as our diets might be, it can be very beneficial to supplement our diets with additional vitamins and minerals that our bodies may be lacking. Farming and agricultural processes have changed in recent decades and the earth and soil in which produce is grown is no longer as nutrient dense as they once were. In addition to this our intake of nutrients is further hindered due to digestive and other health issues that can prevent our bodies from absorbing the nutrients from the food we eat.
As our bodies are constantly utilising these vitamins and minerals, some more than others, it is important to help boost our intake as much as possible. Of course it is always preferable to be tested for vitamin and mineral deficiencies but there are some basic supplements I would recommend everyone to consider adding to their lives, as there are a number of nutrients that are found to be commonly deficient with our 21st century diets and busy stress filled lifestyles. These include omega 3 oil, magnesium, zinc, vitamin D, methylated B vitamins, probiotics, amino acids, and super greens powders
Changing our body shape starts from the inside out. By adding these 7 elements into your life you can take the right steps towards improving the health and functioning of your body, helping to shift body fat for good. Which of the these 7 things are you already doing today and what could you improve on?