Updated: Oct 7
Want to know how to lose fat forever? Here are 6 big lessons from 4 coaches who’ve collectively helped tens of thousands of people get in the best shape of their lives, to help you do the same.
2018 was another great year for fat loss.
In 2017, my clients kicked some serious ass and lost over 1,000 pounds of fat.
We damn near tripled that.
After I tallied it up, across all my amazing, dedicated clients, they lost a grand total of 2,600 pounds in 2018.
That is damn incredible.
So what does that mean for you?
Well, one – shameless plug – you can apply here if you want to lose fat forever, and contribute to our 2019 fat loss total.
But, two, it means with all the clients I’ve worked with and watching them lose thousands of pounds, I’ve seen plenty of trends that can help you with your own fat loss goals in 2019.
Here are 6 lessons about how to lose fat forever..
Lesson #1 – Most people don’t eat nearly enough protein
One of the first adjustments we most often need to make when a client and I start working together is increasing their protein intake. Because the fact is, the typical Western/American diet is severely lacking in quality protein intake.
Go out to eat at any restaurant and on almost any dish you order, the protein will be some low-quality cut, high in fat, deep fried, lost in a sea of carbs and fat, or worse, not there at all.
And even for those who make most of their meals at home, protein is still absent way more than it should be.
High-quality protein is the backbone of any good fat loss diet, for a few extremely important reasons.
First off, protein is what helps our bodies build and retain muscle mass. Muscle tissue is vitally important to our metabolisms, as it takes the body more energy to maintain muscle than any other tissue. This means the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate, and the more food you can eat.
Second, of the three macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat) protein is the most satiating – meaning it’s going to do the most to control hunger levels.
When dieting, hunger is inevitable. But one of the best ways to mitigate this is eating a high protein diet because it takes the body longer to digest protein than carbs or fat. Not only that, but protein has the highest thermic effect of any food; meaning that the body will burn more calories digesting protein – around 25% of the calories we take in from protein are burned off through digestion; compared to about 10% for carbs and 6% for fat.
If you’re looking for tweaks to make to your diet to help you lose fat forever, start with eating more protein.
Lesson #2 – To lose fat forever, we need more awareness
The biggest problem I see with folks when it comes to trying to lose fat forever isn’t that they’re eating the wrong foods most of the time.
It’s not that they aren’t exercising enough.
It’s not that they’re taking the wrong supplements.
The biggest problem I see when it comes to people struggling to lose fat is they simply are not aware of just how much food they’re actually eating.
I hear this all the time, “I don’t eat bad…but I can’t lose weight!”
While food quality matters, losing fat – first and foremost – is about how many calories you eat. Plain and simple.
But most people are unaware of how many calories they’re actually eating. And when it comes to fat loss, that’s a really big deal.
Most people crucify calorie and macro-counting as neurotic, compulsive, too difficult, unsustainable, blah blah blah blah blah.
Here’s the fact: Tracking your macros is the single best way to create awareness about how many calories you’re actually eating, and help you lose fat forever. And when those clients who were “eating good” but not losing weight actually start tracking their macros on a consistent basis, they’re both shocked at how many more calories they’re eating than they thought they were, and also, how easily they start losing fat once we get them eating just a little bit less, consistently, every day.
I’m in the minority in that I don’t mind tracking my macros most of the time. But I understand most people are not like me. And I honestly don’t want my clients to have to track their macros all the time if they don’t want to.
But the awareness you get from tracking your macros is the exact thing that allows you to not track your macros, and not blow out all your progress at the same time.
If you want to lose fat forever, while also gaining the ability to never have to worry about going on a “diet” again, then spend a few months or even up to a year tracking your macros. Once you gain that knowledge and acquire that skill, it’s with you for life, and you’ll use it every day, even if you’re not consciously doing it.
Lesson #3 – Most of us need to drink less
Prepare to be #triggered, because I have some strong opinions facts observations about this one…
Whether your goal is to lose fat forever, build muscle, or just live a healthier, better, longer, life, you would best be served to drink less alcohol. Or, even cut it out completely for a time.
I enjoy a cocktail, or seven, occasionally as well. Ask Eric Bach. However, I’ve become a firm believer that severely limiting or eliminating alcohol consumption is not only best for losing fat, but also long-term health.
As much as alcohol may be delicious or fun to drink, the fact remains that to our body, it’s a poison. And when this poison enters our system, our bodies first line of defense is to metabolize it as fast as possible. This means that when we ingest alcohol, our body will prioritize the burning of those calories (yes, alcohol has calories) over all other nutrients.
The good news is, alcohol calories cannot be stored in the body. The bad news is, when we drink, the body stops processing other nutrients in order to metabolize the alcohol. This means that even though you can’t store the alcohol, those calories still count towards your daily intake. So while alcohol itself doesn’t directly get stored as fat, it does contribute to the storing of other nutrients as body fat – if drinking puts you over your daily maintenance level.
Not mention alcohol impairs performance and recovery; as well as increases stress hormone production, which reduces testosterone, and prevents us from getting a good night’s sleep.
Speaking of sleep…
Lesson #4 – “Go. The fuck. To sleep.” – Eric Bach, Owner of both Bach Performance, and a beautiful head of hair
This one comes from fellow physique transformation coach and Cheesehead, Eric Bach. And he hits on a big one here.
“Consistent lack of sleep takes fat loss from something that can be challenging to something that can be damn near impossible.
Quality sleep is one of the most important ways our bodies regulate hormones. Most of our testosterone and growth hormone is produced at night, so less sleep greatly diminishes the release of these two powerful fat-burning hormones. Not only that, but less sleep reduces the body’s production of leptin, which is the hormone responsible for sending signals of fullness to our brains.
But it doesn’t stop there. A lack of sleep increases the body’s production of cortisol. Cortisol not only suppresses testosterone production, but elevated cortisol can actually make it more difficult to burn body fat due to its negative effect on insulin sensitivity.
And if that wasn’t enough, a lack of sleep decreases mental clarity, focus, and willpower; making it much more difficult to not cave into eating that entire bag of M&M’s you shouldn’t have in your pantry.”
Eric pretty much hits the nail on the head there. While your training and nutrition are the main forces driving your fat loss, sleep impacts your ability to effectively do both.
In short – if you want to lose fat forever – Go. The fuck. To sleep.
Related – Sleep: Everything You Need to Know
Lesson #5 – “Eating out is simpler than you make it.” – Jordan Grahm, The Fit Boss
Jordan Grahm knows a thing or two about fat loss…or two hundred. Plus he’s got a cool name; just spelled wrong…
At one point in his life, Jordan was morbidly obese. Until he decided enough was enough. Jordan lost over 200 pounds, and this past year competed in his first bodybuilding show. And when I asked him what has been one of his biggest takeaways from not only losing a ton of fat himself, but also helping hundreds of clients do it, his big lesson had to do with something we all struggle with: Eating out.
“Order simple foods, things containing few ingredients, and ask for them prepared how you need
them. You can ask for plain grilled chicken breast and some sort of vegetable in almost any restaurant, or modify existing menu items to end up with that combo.
Another easy one is eggs, you can quantify how many there are and adjust your day accordingly. Every meal out doesn’t have to be a celebration and a test of the culinary aptitude of where you are eating. Of course, there will be times when we eat whatever our heart desires that’s on the menu. Just keep in mind that if we’re in a strict fat-loss phase sometimes concessions must be made. The super delicious food with all the macros in it isn’t going anywhere, but we have goals.”
Jordan makes a good point – not just about how to go out to eat, and do it better – but that you have to accept that sometimes you need to make sacrifices. My goal as a coach is to always allow my clients the flexibility to be able to enjoy life. But that doesn’t mean you get to do it whenever you want.
Sometimes you need to say “No” to the things you want now, so you can get the body you want later.
Lesson #6 – “Everyone knows what to eat but very few know how to eat.” – Mike Doehla, Owner & Founder of Stronger U Nutrition
If there is anyone who could drop a knowledge bomb about fat loss, it’s probably the owner of a nutrition company that’s help nearly 20,000 people lose hundreds of thousands of pounds of fat, right?
“When people are looking to diet they typically ask what they should eat, but I see that as the wrong question. We know what to eat, right? Lots of fruits and veggies, lean proteins, limit alcohol and processed food. Sounds easy. So why doesn’t everyone do it? Because they don’t really know HOW to eat. They go by
feels, they don’t track, they don’t anticipate influence when eating certain foods, and almost never plan for a potential challenge.
Instead, people should work backward and develop the skills of a successful eater. Think of how much you should eat and start tracking accurately. Allow for some foods you enjoy for increased adherence. Start documenting or paying attention to how you feel when you eat 3 meals a day vs 6. Does this work with your lifestyle? If so, carry on. If not, adjust. Being a successful eater isn’t easy and it will take practice. But our obesity epidemic is not because we don’t know what we should eat and it never will be.”
Mike’s thoughts here are something I echo a lot in my newsletter, social media, and talking with potential clients:
People aren’t overweight because they don’t know what to do. We all know what foods we should be eating…we all know we should be exercising more…knowledge is rarely the problem.
Execution is the problem. And more specifically, consistent execution. Sometimes it’s because people are trying plans too extreme for them. Sometimes it’s a lack of accountability. Most of the time, it’s both.
The reason I was overweight for 24 years of my life wasn’t because I lacked knowledge. I read all the magazines, books, etc. It was because I couldn’t consistently execute a plan that fit my lifestyle. And that’s the same thing I see with a lot of my clients as well.
The solution? Finding a plan that not only fits your lifestyle, but one that helps you lose fat forever in a healthy, sustainable way.
No matter what you think, what plan you’ve tried, or how often you’ve failed, losing fat and gettting the body you want is not impossible. How do I know? Because I’ve watched people who thought that exact thing, do it for themselves. But it has to be done the right way – the way that works for you. And if you use these 6 lessons to guide you, finding and executing the right plan will become much easier.
Struggling with execution, seeing results, and not knowing if what you’re doing is even right? Learn more about how we can fix that with elite accountability and a plan tailored specifically to you in my Chubby-to-Chiseled coaching program.