The standard answers for fat loss tend to be one, or a combination of the following:
- a lot of exercise
- a severely restricted diet
This works, of course. Because at the end of the day, calories in vs calories out are the underlying factor. But unfortunately, it stops working. Why? Because we want fat loss and not arbitrary weight loss. We want to lose the adipose tissue that is deposited in our abdomen or thigh or hip, and not our muscle. And that requires us to burn fat, as much as possible.
Here are 3 factors that I have seen which have helped people continue fat loss after progress has stalled.
#1 Removing inflammatory substances from the diet
Gluten. FODMAPs. Lentils. Legumes. Milk. Nightshades.
There are a lot of substances that cause discomfort in your gut. Your body does not process them properly and it leads to an inflammatory response. You feel bloated or gassy.
For some of you, removing the substance from your diet for a short duration (4-6 weeks) will help. And then gradually re-introducing it back in. For some of you, it might unfortunately need to be a longer-term thing.
If you have the patience, you can figure this out on your own. One month at a time, pick one of the above food groups and eliminate it. See how you feel. If you feel less bloated, less achy - well, good news! If it feels no different, you are not intolerant to this and you can move on to the next piece of the puzzle.
It can be tempting to remove everything but be a good scientist - change only one variable at a time.
Be warned - when you reintroduce the food, do not go crazy. To quote a friend of mine, it can feel like someone dropped a cannonball on your stomach.
Sleep more. Get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. If you are already here, then see if you need to sleep better.
Dark blinds. No light in the room. Including taping up the A/C LED lights and what-not. Dampening the noise that enters the room. They all will help.
If you feel amazingly well-rested, there you go!
Good sleep sends the "all is well" signal to your body and this means the machinery works better. All roads lead to fat loss.
#3 Low intensity
If you are into a lot of high-intensity exercises, that's wonderful. But high-intensity tends to use sugar as the primary fuel as it needs fuel IMMEDIATELY. If you want the furnace to burn fat, we need to work at lower intensities.
Keep doing your regular activity, the one you love. But on the other days, pair it up with low-intensity activity. My favourite is walking. I put on a podcast and I walk around. Traditional forms of yoga, or swimming are also great alternatives.
If you have stalled with your fat loss, look into one or more of these factors. You do not need to keep trying harder in the current avenue. Your effort is brilliant - you just need to channel it a wee bit differently.
Patience. Trial and error. Tracking. That will get you where you want.