Episode 139 – Ways To Make Fat Loss Easier

Key Topics Covered

Weight loss person on scale

Fundamentals for Weight Loss 

  • The overarching fundamental principle in weight management is calories in vs calories out (CICO). This should not be a controversial statement.
  • The body is made up of calories (1kg of fat contains around 7000-8000kcal, whilst a kilo of muscle contains around 1200kcal).
  • The body burns calories every day doing a variety of things – heart pumping, lungs breathing, brain functioning etc.
  • We only get calories externally from food. And we have internal stores of calories.
  • Calories are a unit of energy, so they can’t just be created from nothing, and they also cannot just disappear either.

Energy Balance

Energy Balance Scales
  • When we eat more calories than we burn, it is easy to see how this leads to fat/muscle gain.
  • When we eat LESS than we burn, it is easy to see how this leads to fat loss.
  • So when we are talking about ways to make weight loss easier, we are talking about ways to make it easier to create and sustain a calorie deficit. 

Protein

High Protein Foods
  • Protein is the most satiating macronutreint, so having high intakes can help with satiety.
  • Therefore, having high-protein meals consistency across the day will help with appetite, making the deficit easier to adhere to.
  • Keeping this high will also help you maintain more muscle mass i.e. a higher proportion of the weight lost will come from fat rather than muscle.
  • Aim for ~2g/kg body weight per day.
  • It also has a higher thermic effect of food – i.e. the energy expenditure to digest, absorb, and metabolize is higher compared with other macronutrients.
    • Important to note that this is only a small difference overall, but still something to consider.

Fibre

  • Fibre slows down digestion, and therefore helps with satiety.
  • It is also generally lower calorie e.g. soluble fibre contains 2 calories per gram.

Timing of Meals

Clock on plate

  • There are many ways to approach this and there is no ‘best approach’.
  • However not being too frequent or too infrequent is generally a good idea.
  • Having consistent meals and snacks can be a good strategy.

Eating Window Size

  • This is not necessarily intermittent fasting specifically, but generally just the window in which you are eating.
  • RCTs on intermittent fasting consistently show success with fat loss. So having a shorter window is effective.
  • Alternatively, having a 14-hour window of eating has a larger potential to consume more calories through potentially higher meal frequency.
  • Overall, the window size isn’t something to overly fixate on, however, this could be a helpful strategy if it is currently quite large.

 Volume Eating

Volume Eating Example

  • This can help you feel more satiated with fewer calories coming in.
  • There is a focus on high-volume, low-calorie foods e.g. non-starchy veg.
  • This helps fill your stomach without consuming a lot of energy.
  • However, this can be taken to extremes, which is not recommended.

Hydration

  • Having enough fluid throughout the day can help with appetite.
  • Having water before meals can also be an effective strategy.
  • One study had individuals consume 500ml of water before each meal and were instructed to eat freely. Those having the water had ~2kg greater weight loss over the 12-week period.

Hunger

  • Although there are strategies to manage this, understanding that some level of hunger is inevitable can help with the mindset of maintaining the deficit.

Flexibility vs Restriction

Food flexibility

  • Swinging too far on either end is unlikely to be successful.
  • Being too restrictive can take the enjoyment out of eating and may even result in bingeing.
  • Being too flexible will make it very difficult to be in a deficit.
  • Find a balance that you can be consistent with.

Variety vs Consistency

  • Constantly eating different foods does make it more likely to consume more calories overall.
  • A very common theme we see in practice where people have had success with weight loss is consistency and structure with meals.
  • Ultimately, some level of consistency could make it easier to consume fewer calories overall.

Tracking vs Not Tracking

  • You can do either and still lose weight.

Tracking

  • An advantage is that you know what you are consuming.
  • It is a mathematical approach where you aim for a calorie target. This allows you flexible with food choices e.g. accounting for meals eaten out.

Non-tracking

  • A large percentage of people who have lost weight globally have done this without tracking.
  • You just need to apply principles that are aligned with promoting a deficit
    • Having a routine, structured meals, filling snacks, eating to a certain level of hunger etc.
  • Important to adjust over time based on results.

Tips on Interacting with Others About Your Journey

Declining food.

  • The people who you tell can make a difference, this is dependant on the individual.
  • Above all, the ‘polite decline approach’ can work quite effectively when offered food that doesn’t align with your goals:
    • You can say something along the lines of: “Nah, I just don’t feel like that”, ‘No thanks. I don’t feel like that right now” and tailor this to how you would speak.
  • Giving a specific reason leaves the window for them to rebuttal this or makes it difficult on another day when you do actually want something as they may bring up that reason.
  • This can actually make quite a big difference overall.

Cycling Through Periods of Maintenance

  • This is where you have periodic phases of eating at maintenance calories.
  • This helps with psychological aspects, reduces the desire to eat, hunger, and can allow you to actually practice eating at maintenance which you will need to do eventually.

Choose an Appropriate Sized Calorie Deficit

  • Too large will make hunger greater and will be harder to adhere to.
  • Too little and results will be slow and you will need to be in a deficit for a longer period of time.

Liquid Calories vs Solid Foods

fruit juice vs whole fruit
  • Whole foods (non-liquids) are more satiating and better for controlling appetite.
  • E.g. Calorie-matched whole fruit vs smoothies.
  • This is important to consider if you are currently having a lot of foods like Up&Gos, shakes, juices etc.

Meals vs Snacks

  • Meals are more filling than snacks.
  • People who maintain weight loss, on average, have a larger amount of calories coming from meals than snacks.
  • You don’t want to go too far in either direction, i.e. zero snacks or grazing across the day.
  • The more snacks you include, the less filling your mains will be. I.e. having a snack at morning tea, afternoon tea and supper might not be a great option for some individuals.

Exercise & General Activity

Person walking on road.

  • Increasing general activity can make fat loss easier as it plays a role in create a larger deficit without having to restrict even more calories.
  • This allows for a greater budget for food.
  • Increasing steps can be a useful strategy if this is currently low.

Test Hormones

  • Thyroid function – hypothyroid will likely mean lower energy expenditure.
  • This can also test whether other health aspects need addressing in general.

Summary

  • Overall, there are many aspects you can focus on that can help promote fat loss and implementing as many as you can may help with your journey.

Relevant Blogs / Resources

Studies Mentioned

Blog Posts