Confession: I am focusing on fat loss right now. It’s been a while since I’ve embarked on a fat loss journey, but there are a few reasons I’m deciding to head in this direction at the moment.
First, over the course of six weeks in August and September, I was away from home for 24 total days. While I did well with sticking to my nutritional daily definites (having my water bottle with me at all times, prioritizing protein, eating breakfast) and getting as much movement in as possible (quick n dirty on the road workouts, lots of walking), I was still displaced from my regular routine. Weddings, business retreats, vacations, and bachelorette parties will do that!
I do my best to make moderate/mindful decisions about what I eat no matter where in the world I am and no matter what day it is. In fact, I no longer choose to use #becauseimonvacation or #becauseitstheweekend or #becauseitsaholiday reasoning with myself. However, the reality of it is that I did indulge more than usual while away. I drank more alcohol and ate more treats during these six weeks than I have in a long time. It is what it is, but now I want to reign it in a bit.
The other reason I’m focusing on fat loss is because the holidays are coming up. Yes, I’ve decided to do this before the holidays, and no, I don’t think I’m completely crazy for it! I actually think that too many people throw in the towel at this time of year because they think it will be too hard to reach any kind of health and wellness goal before or during the holiday season, but I’m calling bullshit on that. Why wait until January? I’d rather establish or re-prioritize healthy habits now and carry them strong during the holidays and into the New Year rather than push them off just because.
Here’s the thing: a lot of my health choices are ALREADY fat loss friendly, so my fat loss focus right now should only require a couple of tweaks here and there. My goal in sharing some of the exact things I’m switching up is to help you believe that fat loss doesn’t have to be a super daunting endeavor.
Three Ways I’m Focusing on Fat Loss Right Now
1. I’m cleaning up my cardio.
You guys already know that I recommend interval, HIIT, and metabolic conditioning workouts over long steady state cardio because they will help you burn more calories both during and after your workouts. This afterburn and subsequent increase in the resting metabolism is what helps the body become more efficient at using fat for fuel. Basically, keeping cardio sessions short and intense is essential for fat loss. Since I already stick to this with my main cardio workouts each week, I won’t be switching much up there. I am, however, revisiting metabolic finishers.
A metabolic finisher is a short bout of high intensity exercise (no more than 5-10 minutes!) designed to give you that little extra metabolic burn after a strength workout. Anytime I’ve felt my leanest, I’ve been regularly incorporating metabolic finishers two times per week after my lifts, so it’s time to get honest with myself and stop skipping them like I’ve been doing! This doesn’t mean I’ll be stopping my strength training workouts anytime soon, as I think lifting heavy weights is the second most important thing for fat loss, nutrition being #1.
Earlier this year, I wrote an entire guide on how to clean up your cardio, and it goes into a ton of detail about this stuff AND provides you with some of my favorite fat loss friendly cardio workouts. If you haven’t snagged your free copy of that guide yet, grab it here. I’ll be doing many of these workouts in the next few months and would love for you to join me!
2. I am scaling back on alcohol, cheese, and starch… but only a little.
I’m reigning it in with alcohol, cheese, and starch for the time being. I’m not completely cutting them out by any means, as that goes 100% against my stress free fitness philosophy. What I am doing is simply trying to think about how to fit these items into the equation a little more strategically! Basically I’m just trying to think a little bit more about what I’ve already eaten in any given day and what’s to come.
- Trying to stick to 1-2 drinks when I’m out in a social setting instead of giving in to a third.
- Drinking extra water both before and after cocktails, along with alternating between alcohol and water while I’m out.
- Purposely drinking a glass of wine on a Sunday or Tuesday so it takes the edge off of wanting more come the weekend.
- Including minimal other starches on the days I know I’ll be having drinks!
Cheese and Starch:
- If I know I’m having a casserole with cheese on it for dinner, I’ll skip cheese in my egg bake for breakfast and maybe won’t add it to my salad at lunch.
- If I add crumbled cheese to a salad, perhaps I’ll skip also adding the avocado and nuts and stick to just one fat source for the satisfaction factor in that meal.
- If I have toast for breakfast or pre-workout fuel, I may choose to snack on carrots with hummus instead of crackers.
- If a restaurant I’m going to has bread to die for, I’ll stick with the protein, fruit, and veggies for breakfast and lunch and strategically incorporate that piece of bread as my starch later on.
Make sense? These aren’t new concepts for me, just ones I’m trying to be more honest with myself about. And as for the rest of my nutrition, I continue to build all my meals and snacks around protein, eat as many vegetables as possible, drink a ton of water, etc. so not much else is changing there.
3. I am trying to keep it sane.
Finally, I’m really trying to prioritize self-care. This is really easy to forget about when we’re so busy, but it’s equally as important to relax as it is to eat right and exercise. Some ideas: ease into the morning with a cup of coffee and a book (hard for me on most mornings with early clients), journal, go for a walk, stretch, spend time outside, listen to music, laugh, have a conversation with a friend, etc.
The main thing I’m trying to do more of for my sanity is leisure walking. This might sound like a silly habit to try to introduce right as the weather is getting colder, but whether it’s bundling up with a buddy, heading out by myself to simply clear my mind, or hopping on the treadmill indoors at the gym and tuning into a podcast, I really want to walk more. I find that walking in the middle of my workday helps keep my stress levels at bay, it gives me a second wind of creativity, and it helps me be way more productive in the long run than if I didn’t go for the walk in the first place. It also helps me sleep better and is a great alternative for my afternoon snack cravings. 🙂
Keeping stress at bay is SO important for fat loss because when we’re stressed, our cortisol levels are up, our sleep is interrupted, we crave sugar, and we don’t have the energy to make as healthy of decisions as we would otherwise!
And that’s basically it! To recap:
- I’m re-introducing metabolic finishers twice a week.
- I’m reigning it in on alcohol, bread, and cheese simply by thinking more strategically about how to incorporate them into my day as a whole.
- I’m prioritizing stress relieving self-care activities like walking with a friend or walking while listening to music or podcasts.
For a new client who tells me they want to focus on fat loss, there’s a lot more we could talk about, but these are just MY shifts in focus right now. Again, I’m sharing them to help you realize that 1) it doesn’t always require an enormous habit overhaul to make some healthy changes, and 2) even if you are already a generally healthy person, you can still focus on fat loss in very specific ways.
I’m hoping these small goals I’ve set for myself will help me lean out a bit and head into the holidays and 2017 feeling like my very best self!
Want in on getting after your goals NOW instead of waiting until after the holidays?
I will be sending an exclusive offer next week to ONLY those folks on my inner circle email list who are looking to work not necessarily on fat loss, but on any health goal that they want to get a head start on before 2017. To ensure you get all the details and for the chance to be a part of this program, make sure to add your name and email here.