Beliefs about weight loss come and go each season, but there are a few basic unavoidable truths that do not. It’s important to face the facts if we want results that last beyond the latest exercise and diet trends.
1. Spot reduction is a myth. Spot reduction is the misconception that targeting a specific area helps you burn fat in that specific place. We have been living in a society which has largely embraced and held up being supermodel small/skinny as the benchmark for beauty. The global rise celebrating curvy women has been a great shift to witness and certainly breaks the mould of what society considers beautiful. However, on the other side of the spectrum, not all women are born curvy (flat tummy and big behinds and smaller waists) or with an hourglass figure. Today, many women want to know the secret to lose tummy fat while still maintaining their curves.
But you can’t get rid of abdominal fat by doing only core exercises. No matter how many crunches you do, you won’t burn the fat in that one specific area. While you may build a stronger core in the process, it will only eventually show once the body’s overall fat percentage has reduced. When the body resorts to burning fat stores, it doesn’t use the stores nearest the muscles being flexed. Instead, fat from the entire body is burned. Fat can only be lost from your entire body and once you burn more fat throughout your body, your muscle definition will then be more apparent.
2. Genetics play an extremely important role as to how you lose the fat in the initial phase. Each person’s body has a natural pattern of where fat packs on or drop off. When I started to lose weight, the first place it shed was around my thigh area. The fat around my tummy was the most stubborn and the last to “visibly” shed. This is not to say you won’t ever lose fat in your body’s more stubborn areas, but it will just take longer. This means it requires consistency in your training and eating!
3. Yes, the calorie deficit matters. There is no avoiding that the secret to weight loss is a calorie deficit. A calorie deficit occurs when your body burns more calories than it consumes. The body uses fat stores for energy which ultimately results in weight loss. There are various trends of ways to be in a calorie deficit, intermittent fasting, carb cycling etc, however, I suggest sticking to the age-old method of exercise and conscious, healthy eating.
4. The equation for weight loss is 80% diet and 20% gym. Whether we like it or not, nutrition plays an extremely important role in the process of losing weight. A healthy diet must include all macronutrients – protein, carbs, and healthy fats. The general rule is to cut back on your daily calories and monitor your consumption of macros. Avoid refined grains (such as white flour, degermed cornmeal, white bread, and white rice) and simple carbs (such as processed sugar and fried foods). Cut down on alcohol and extra liquid calories found in alcohol, juices, and fizzy drinks as liquid calories can be very high in sugar and tend to contribute to weight gain in hidden ways. Anything that’s essentially not water, when not accounted for, seem undetectable but ultimately can have a great impact on your weight loss program. Studies have shown that when people eat calories in the form of solid food, they naturally compensate by reducing the rest of their food intake. But when people ingest liquid calories, they don’t compensate for them by eating fewer calories. Liquid calories do not hold strong satiety properties, don’t suppress hunger, and don’t elicit compensatory dietary responses.
5. Eat your veggies. Swap your diet hacks and eat a lot of veggies. A lot of green veggies to be precise, protein, whole grains and healthy fats. A meal plan which includes all macronutrients is key. Protein is an important macronutrient because it leaves you fuller for longer and the body even burns more calories breaking down protein. It fuels your metabolism too which helps burn fat more effectively. Carbs are not the enemy and not all carbs are created equal.
6. Prepare your own food. Try to prepare your own food. You can even pack your lunches ahead of time and meal prep. That way you know exactly what goes into your food. How you prepare your food is key. Use minimal oils and sauces (hidden calories).
Consult a Biokineticist. Before you start your journey and if you can afford to, I would suggest you consult with a Biokineticist. Amongst many other things, Biokineticists help you ascertain your body composition, your body fat percentage, and muscle mass. This information will come in very handy when you are trying to closely track your body fat percentage and are trying to reduce your body fat content.
Ditch the scale. A scale is not the most reliable measure of fat loss. You will often find that the scale remains the same but your muscle could be up and your fat might be down which may cause you to think that you are not losing fat which can be demotivating and disheartening. This is one of the main reasons why most of us fall of the bandwagon, we become obsessed with the scale and when it doesn’t show us what we want to see, we give up. This is even more important when you are in the process of building muscle and reducing/maintaining your fat. The scale will remain the same or go up based you are weight training which is growing your muscle. All Virgin Actives have Biokineticists, call any one of them to make a booking. I highly recommend Tasneem Khan, she is based at Waterfall VA. Her contact number is 072 582 9580.
Consult a dietician. There’s a lot they can tell you about your body and its dietary requirements based on characteristics such as your blood type. I recommend NuBean Dieticians. They are based in Sandton and their contact details are 079 397 2113.
Get a personal trainer. I had a full-time trainer for my first 3 months of exercise. I recommend the following trainers:
Duree – 078 249 1942
Ananias – 072 640 3420
Phelo – 063 361 8455
Bobo – 083 506 6841
Ntseki – 076 310 8203
Develop a healthy relationship with food. The shaming cycle is very real. Don’t let it get the best of you if you fall off your diet plan occasionally. Shake it off and focus on making the next meal or snack a healthy one.
Get a gym bunny! Having a partner to hold you accountable helps you to push through training when you have sluggish days. When personal motivation waxes and wanes, solidarity will help you go the extra mile.
For anything to work, you need to be consistent and disciplined.
Overall, just try to make healthy eating and exercise your lifestyle. Yes, you will fall and backtrack but get back up and try again the next day. It eventually becomes easier and will feel less like a chore when you become consistent. Good luck!