Take a look at your body.
When you look at it, what do you want?
To drop some pounds?
To get rid of that extra flab under your arms?
To give your boobs and butt a lift?
I’m getting real today because this is one of those times of year where you’re grateful for what you have, but you’re still thinking about what you want.
Everyone wants to start dropping pounds, eliminating some flab, and perking up some places with the start of the new year.
The biggest problem is that we don’t think about what we might need until January 1st.
NOT THIS YEAR.
I’m going to give you the 13 ‘Must Have’s’ for Fat Loss RIGHT NOW.
That way you can start gathering supplies, aligning your resources, and start getting ready to kick ass in the new year.
Let’s get to it.
An Organized Goal
This is kind of like deciding to venture out on a road trip without planning a destination.
Sure, you’ll make progress – lose some pounds, workout here and there, and maybe say no to a couple of alcoholic beverages.
But without an organized goal, at some point doing those things (or anything) for your health become more of a hassle than a step closer to your goal.
Decide on your end destination.
Think about if you said you wanted to drive to California. That is A BIG state and you could end up ANYWHERE. If you put that into the Maps app on your phone, it would take you smack dab to the middle of California. Then you might get there and realize that is not even close to where you wanted to go!
Too often the goal is general.
“I want to lose weight.”
“I want to work out more.”
“I want more confidence.”
There is nothing wrong with wanting those things, but those are too broad of goals and destinations to get you to a specific point.
You need the house address, the street name, the city, state, AND zip code in order for the path to be laid out for you.
If you’re really struggling with the idea of setting goals for yourself, check out the blog I posted called 11 Questions to Ask While Setting Goals to point you in the right direction.
Today’s average American diet consists of a lot of processed, high-carb foods.
If you’re serious about fat loss, you NEED some protein in your life.
A general rule of thumb for all weight goals (loss, maintenance, or gain) is to follow a diet wherein 30% of your calories should come from protein.
Strategy Call, but it’s too specific to put into a blog.
If you know what you’re currently at for calories and you did the quick math, I know what you’re thinking – “THAT IS A LOT!”
Is it really necessary?
Yes. If you’re serious about fat loss and building lean and strong muscles, you need that much protein. It’s also going to help manage stress, reduce fatigue, minimize mood disturbance, and improve satiety and diet satisfaction.
Isn’t that bad for you?
Nope. Because so many people question this, there has been an abundance of research, and the collective agreement is that a protein intake of 1.2 to 2.2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight is adequate.
Research also suggests that if your goal is to cut weight wherein in you’ll be in a caloric deficit for an extended period of time, you’ll even benefit from sitting at the top end of that range.
Fiber Rich Fruits & Veggies
Similar to the idea with protein, the make-up of the average American diet eliminates a large portion of fruit and vegetable consumption.
But we NEED it!
Fruits and veggies contain a HUGE amount of vitamins and minerals essential to our overall health; therefore, eating these high-carb, highly processed foods for extended periods of time means our vitamin and mineral stores slowly run out. This can lead to a variety of health problems, impairments in mental and physical performance, and impede your body’s ability to build muscle and recover from workouts.
The goal is to consume a diet primarily of nutritious and fibrous foods, and the best way to do that is to prioritize fruits and veggies.
Fiber is an indigestible type of carb found in a variety of plant foods (fruits and veggies).
There are two types:
- Soluble: Dissolvable in water, slows down the movement of food in the digestive tract, and found in bananas, apples, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.
- Insoluble: Does not dissolve in water, helps maintain intestinal health and function, and is found in green beans, cauliflower, grapes, kiwis, and tomatoes.
You need both forms, and the best way to do that is mix up your fruit and veggie sources week to week to ensure yourself a variety and an adequate supply of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Healthy Fat Sources
We’re in that period of time where fat is a coveted macronutrient. Carbs are being shamed, and everyone is loading up on fat sources.
First, quit shaming the carbs! They’re necessary for optimal body functioning too!
Second, you do need to consume a good amount of fat in your diet, but that needs to come from majority healthy fat sources.
Fats are necessary for hormone production, joint lubrication, and energy.
But not all fat sources can offer you that…
The nutrition world is on the kick of saying there’s no “good” or “bad” food, and to a degree, they’re right.
But that doesn’t mean the fat in your large McD’s fry or your deep-dish pizza are GOOD for you.
Those are the fats doctors and scientists are worried about for what they can do to your cardiovascular system.
If you’re consuming a majority whole-foods diet, there aren’t really any “bad” fats.
Here’s a list of some fat sources to kick you off:
- Egg Yolks
- Oils (Olive, Avocado, & Peanut)
- Nut and Seed Butters (careful of the sugar!)
- Fatty Fish
- Lean Beef & Pork
- Full Fat Dairy
They’ve turned into the sad, bullied macronutrient that gets excluded from everything.
Popular opinion believes carbs and fat loss go together like maple syrup and spaghetti (You’re sick Buddy The Elf).
It’s just that though – popular opinion.
There is plenty of research to suggest that carb intake has no impact on fat loss. There’s also plenty of other research to suggest that carb intake improves workout and day-to-day physical performance.
It’s the type of carbs we need to pay attention to.
Highly-processed carbs DON’T go well with fat loss, so look for whole, minimally-processed sources.
Think of things like:
- Rice (White or Brown)
- Beans & Lentils
- Sweet Potatoes
- Other Potatoes
That’s just to name a few!
Carbohydrates as a general macronutrient are not the enemy of your fat loss, they’re actually necessary!
THE SOURCE is the true bully holding down your fat loss.
There aren’t too many supplements I consider to be “Must Have’s.”
But a probiotic, that’s one of them.
No matter how clean and natural we eat, our gut just kind of needs some help.
Probiotics help balance the “good” bacteria in your digestive system.
Now, when I first heard of probiotics, I got wigged out by the fact that I was eating a live microorganism or “good” bacteria. WHEN IS BACTERIA EVER GOOD!?
But they really do help to restore and maintain a healthy balance of the gut bacteria.
Without that balance, we’re setting yourself up for some serious digestive issues, nutritional deficiencies, mental health problems, allergies, and more.
Here’s the catch – you need a good probiotic source.
Please don’t go to the local supplement store and grab the first one you see.
Do your research. Find a few brands and head over to labdoor.com to do some comparisons to determine the best one.
There’s only one other supplement I recommend to clients – fish oil.
Fish oil is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which we NEED to be healthy.
“Can’t I just eat more fish?”
Sure, but you would have to eat A LOT of fish. I’m talking AT LEAST one serving of fish a day, and that’s just not realistic for most people.
“But I’ve tried it before and it makes me burp up fish the rest of the day?”
I’m going to let you in on a secret.
Take your fish oil pills BEFORE you consume any food. Wash it down with a big glass of water, and eat your meal right after. This layers food on top of the capsules, so that when they begin to break down, bits and pieces can’t sneak back up in your burps.
A Planned First Meal
We’ve talked a lot of food specifics and the make-up of your diet, but this is more of a mental aid when it comes to fat loss.
Get serious about fat loss by planning the first meal of every day.
Know what you’re eating, when you’re eating, and where you’re eating.
The idea behind this is to start your day with success. Too often, people wake up and hurry through the morning and go down 1 of 2 paths:
Grab the quickest, easiest, and probably most-highly-processed thing.
Eat nothing until they’re dying midday.
Trust me, I understand mornings are hard and you’re thinking about 8,000 other things, but if you want to get serious with fat loss, reduce temptations, and feel good, then planning the first meal is a MUST.
Personally, I find planning the evening before sets you up for the best chance at success.
You could do it during your nighttime TV time.
Go for a walk and plan it out in the first 5 minutes.
Get in bed and before you plug in your phone, set up your meal (Yes, I understand the blue light and screen time before bed is bad, but I’m being realistic and trying to give you all options for success).
I’m not even telling you the food needs to be breakfast or that it needs to be this ultra-healthy first meal.
What I’m telling you is that it needs to be something.
There needs to be some calories into your system so that your body is not running on empty or fast-burning calories during the first half of your day.
Understanding of Portions
I love to eat, and because I love to eat, I know that if I didn’t understand portion sizes, I would ALWAYS overeat.
That’s the way most of us are. We’ve grown up in a culture where supersize is a super thing, but if you’re serious about fat loss, IT’S NOT.
Does it take time to pull out the good old-fashioned measuring cups or the food scale?
But let me ask you these questions:
Do you spend time upset with how full you are after family dinner?
Do you spend time and mental energy frustrated after stepping on the scale to see if not even budge?
Do you feel like you’re wasting time going through the cycle of losing, gaining, losing, plateauing?
So does it REALLY take that much time to pull out the measuring cups from the drawer you’re probably already standing in front of?
Look that might be harsh, but it’s a reality.
We like convenience and we like results, but the two DO NOT go together.
Spend the time now to measure, weight, and develop and understanding for portion sizes.
I PROMISE that after some practice, you’ll be able to look at a plate of food and be able to make an educated guess on the portion sizes.
But it takes practice.
Tupperware and Food Containers
Now we’re diving into some non-food related things for fat loss.
I have no doubt that you have cupboards full of Tupperware and containers to store
food, but are they single portion sized or family sized?
Probably family sized.
There are two big problems with the family sized containers:
They set you up to either seriously over- or underestimate your portions.
Don’t leave you with something to grab and go quickly and are set up to be forgotten.
Buy yourself some single-serving containers.
They don’t need to be the mega-fancy ones, but to start off buy the cheapest ones
(Again, environmentalists, I am all for glass containers and preserving the environment, but if this kickstarts someone RIGHT NOW, I’ll take it. Baby steps to change).
Then the most important piece – USE THEM.
Don’t think you have to portion out all your meals for the week, but if it works for you great.
What I recommend is portion out what you need now.
If you know that you’re on the go all day tomorrow, don’t just pack food for tomorrow but for the day to follow so that once the day is over, you have one less thing to worry about.
Here’s my other favorite thing about single-size containers:
- They’re annoying in the fridge. You go in and try to maneuver around them to get something else and you bump them, knock them over, and have to pick them up to reorganize.
That’s a beautiful and gentle reminder that you need to eat what you’ve packed 😉
Some of you may see these words and just cringe.
But before you totally run the other direction, hear me out.
Food journal doesn’t necessarily mean calorie and macro tracking.
If you’re not at that place yet, no problem! There are plenty of other ways to use a food journal.
I like food journals to simply keep track of how many times I ate out, had a treat, or had a great day of eating.
But my favorite way to use a food journal is to keep track of how my body is feeling in response to foods.
Use it to keep track of energy levels, fatigue, workout performance, and whatever other measures of biofeedback are useful to you!
I write in my food journal about the day prior every morning. I’ve been keeping up with this for a little over a year now, and it has helped me discover SO MANY things about my body.
Here are a few:
- Brown rice is hard for my body to digest.
- Oats make me bloated.
- Stress is a MAJOR factor in causing weight and water retention.
- Wednesdays and Saturdays are my toughest nutritional days.
- Sweet potatoes are a miracle worker for my bowel movements.
- Eating carbs too late in the day makes for a difficult night of sleep.
I would never know a single one of these things from looking at MyFitnessPal to see if I hit my macros.
Yes, tracking calories and macros are important if you’re super serious about your fat loss goals, but if you’re not at the point yet, it’s okay!
Use a food journal to assess what food does to and for your body, and really learn what nourishes you best!
For the longest time, I was afraid to tell people about my fat loss goals.
I was worried about what it would do to my image or what people would say.
However, I found that the more I hid and kept it to myself, the less support I got.
I’m in a big time cut right now in trying to drop a weight class for my next meet, and this time I decided to do it different.
I told everyone.
And do you know what?
It was the best thing I’ve ever done.
The support is unending, and it motivates me to keep going, pick the best option, and stay on track when I don’t really feel like it.
Everyone needs a support system.
If you try to diet alone, it’s darn near impossible to do.
My logic is always this – these people you’re asking for support love and care for you, so
why wouldn’t they support you?
It might be hard to swallow at first and it definitely takes an adjustment but share with them WHY it is so important to you and why their support is such a critical piece. They will remember that love and care for you and support you all the way through.
Coaches & Resources
Beyond a support system, coaches and resources are must have’s for fat loss.
No, this is not a sales pitch.
This is me telling you that I’ve been in your shoes dead-set on not spending money and convinced I could do this all one my own.
This is me telling you that I have failed COUNTLESS times in that strategy.
This is me telling you that there is so much information out there that it’s overwhelming.
Finally, this is me telling you that the NONE of the information found on the internet, TV, or a paid program is made for you.
You need a coach and proper resources FIT FOR YOU.
There really is no other way.
Not a single person on this earth is like you, and yes, bits and pieces of the information on the internet can help you but they cannot help you be the most successful version of you.
Would I love to work with you? OF COURSE.
But if there’s another coach that suits your style, I’d rather you work with that coach than not at all.
Educate yourself on the coaches and options out there, and if you need help finding the right coach and resources for yourself, do not hesitate to sign up for a FREE STRATEGY CALL where we’ll strategize the best plan for you.
I want you to succeed more than anything, and that comes from having the right coach and resources.
About The Author
Jordan Davies is the Co-Owner of Complete Performance. Jordan has her B.S. in Exercise Science and Psychology, and her M.A. in Holistic Health Studies. She is a CSCS certified strength and conditioning coach, and a PN-1 and NCI-1 certified nutrition coach. She loves to study how the human body needs to be moved and nourished and making that fit to your unique lifestyle. Click Here Now to Apply for Coaching with Jordan.