1. Calories Are The Tipping Point
There are numerous tricks you can implement to help burn bodyfat. The key principle above all others is to create a calorie, or energy, deficit to stimulate the body to burn bodyfat as fuel. That means eating less, whether it be fewer calories from dietary fat, carbs or a combo of the two.
2. Calorie Deficits: Weekly Approach
Conventional wisdom states that you have to eat fewer calories daily to shed fat. Not true. On average, you have to eat fewer calories over a seven-day period to drop bodyfat. You can fudge a bit by eating fewer calories than normal for a couple of days, followed by a couple of very strict days and then a few days where you eat roughly what you did before starting the diet.
3. Protein Needs Rise During Dieting
When excess calories from dietary fat and carbs are removed from a diet, the body burns small amounts of amino acids from protein or, worse, muscle mass when calories decline. The extra protein protects muscle loss, because it can be burned in lieu of muscle tissue.
4. Aggressive Dieting Leads Nowhere
If you cut calories too drastically, the body tries to hoard energy by slowing down its metabolism, the calorie-burning mechanism in the body.
Moderate cuts in calories, such as decreasing daily caloric intake by 200-400 per day (or 1,400-2,800 per week), allows the body to tap into fat reserves without throwing the metabolism into a tailspin.
5. The Role Of Protein
Of the three sources of energy (carbohydrates, protein and dietary fat), protein has the least impact on fat storage. Overeating calories from carbs and dietary fat will lead to their accumulation as bodyfat. That’s not to say you can, or should, gorge on protein. It means you should add more protein from chicken, turkey or fish instead of snacking on additional carbs or fat to satiate hunger.
6. “Step-Up” Dieting Preserves Muscle & Promotes Fat Loss
Although reducing dietary fat and carbs results in fat loss, keeping carbs down for a prolonged period (more than seven days) can deplete glycogen (stored carbs) reserves in muscle. Low glycogen can trigger the burning of metabolically active muscle tissue. Increasing carb intake by 100-200 grams once each week should replenish glycogen reserves sufficiently to avoid muscle loss and may even increase the metabolism.
7. Thermogenics Offset Metabolic Downturns
Synephrine, evodiamine and capsaicin are common thermogenic agents. They stimulate the nervous system to increase the production of norepinephrine, which, in turn, causes fat cells to release and burn bodyfat. Thermogenics are predominantly helpful in preventing the metabolic slowdown that comes with long-term dieting.
8. Overdieting Has Its Place
Sometimes you have to go to the extreme. A very-low-carb day once every 10 to 12 days, during which you limit your carbs to just 50-80 g, can trick the body into greater fat loss by lowering glycogen reserves. That amplifies fat burning.
9. Disrupt The Regimen
Over time, all diets ultimately cause slowing of the metabolism. When you hit a true “nothing works” roadblock, get off your diet! Eat anything you want for a couple of days within reason. Load up on “good” carbs and fat before returning to the diet. This splurge will kick up thyroid hormones, which tend to spiral downward with long-term dieting. Once you’re back on your diet, your body will resume burning bodyfat.
10. Fiber Is A Wild Card
Let’s compare two diets with equal amounts of calories and carbohydrates, with the sole difference being the source of carbs. One diet comprises fast-digesting near-fiber-free carbs, such as rice cakes, white rice, white bread and cold cereals. The other comprises slower-digesting fiber-dense carbs, such as oatmeal, whole-grain bread, beans, brown rice and sweet potatoes. The fiber-dense approach will likely result in greater long-term fat loss. Why? Higher amounts of insulin are generally associated with greater fat storage and lower fat burning.