Blog Archive

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Tips for Fat Loss

I have been meaning to write this blog on fat loss for a long time now, and I have managed to find some time this weekend, so I hope you enjoy the read. I will make this blog less ‘academic’ and more practical as it is aimed at the recreational/serious athlete or someone who simply wants to lose weight. Most of the tips you’ll read on here have come from personal experience and evidence-based science.

Scientific Principles Behind Losing Fat

The scientific principles of fat loss are simple. Calories in must be less than calories out. Despite this simple fact, there are so many diverse diets out there aimed at fat loss. To shed 1 pound of fat, you need to burn 3500 kcal. So here is some simple maths:

A 70 kg 30 year-old male will have a Basal Metabolic Rate of appox. 1500 kcal. This is the energy needed to keep the body ticking over. Lets say this person exercises for 30 minutes every day at moderate intensity which burn 300 kcal. Other activities such as walking around, climbing stairs etc. burns 200 kcal. So:

BMR – 1500 kcal
Exercise – 300 kcal
Daily Living – 200 kcal
Total Daily Energy Expenditure = 1500 + 300 + 200 = 2000 kcal

If this person ate the daily recommended kcal intake of 2000 kcal per day he would maintain his weight. i.e. 2000 kcal (eaten) – 2000 kcal (burnt) = 0

So following the above every day would mean his weight would remain the same. If he wanted to lose 1 pound of fat over a one week period, he would have to carry on burning 2000 kcal as normal  but reduce his kcal intake to 1500 kcal:

500 kcal x 7 (days per week) = 3500 kcal – 1 pound of fat.

On paper this seems fairly straightforward, eat 1500 kcal per day, exercise 30 minutes every day and 1 pound per week of fat loss can be achieved. But in reality the maths isn’t always this straightforward. The message is simple though, burn more energy per day than consume it.

Fat loss tips

  • Include a fist size protein portion in each main meal

Protein increases satiety, and scientific evidence has demonstrated that protein will make you feel fuller for longer, it increases energy expenditure by eating it compared to carbohydrate because it takes more energy to break it down.

  • Snack on protein and fruit/veg rather than carbohydrate

Every time we eat carbohydrate based foods our blood glucose levels rise. High blood glucose levels will then fall as insulin controls blood glucose levels which means you’ll be hungry again. Therefore keep the carbohydrate content low and increase the protein. Carbohydrate from fruits and vegetables is better than carbohydrates from wheat based products.  The following snacks are great for fat loss:

2 Rye Ryvita crakers + 2 tbsp low fat Philadelphia cheese
Fruit + low fat yogurt
Handful mixed nuts
3-4 slices low fat turkey
Carrort/Cucumber sticks + low fat hummus

  • Eat 2-3 low fat dairy portions per day

Scientific studies have found that increasing consumption of low fat dairy products can help you lose weight. Eating 2-3 low fat dairy portions can help excrete more fat in faeces.

  • High intensity interval training is better than steady moderate training

The simple fact is the higher the intensity you exercise the more kcal you burn. I see so many people plodding away at the gym at a low or moderate intensity on the bike or treadmill and although that still gives you some cardiovascular benefits its not ideal for fat loss. You could burn the same amount of kcal in less than half the time with high intensity interval training, The great thing about high intensity interval training is that it increases your metabolic rate therefore you will carry on burning calories after the session has finished. So circuits, spinning, interval runs are all good sessions for fat loss.

  • Do some weight train as well as cardio training

Our metabolisms slow down as we get older. One of the main reasons for this is muscle; the less muscle we have the slower our metabolic rates. We can reverse this process to an extent. Two weight training sessions that work majority of the muscle can help increase or maintain muscle mass. We may not burn as many kcal during a weight training session compared to a cardi session however, our metabolic rates rise much after for longer after the session has stopped. This is also the case for high intensity interval training (see previous point).

Sample Fat Loss Menu

2 poached eggs
1 slice rye bread
1 glass of orange juice
handful mixed berries

2 Rye Ryvita crakers + 2 tbsp low fat Philadelphia cheese

Small wholemeal baguette + Cajun chicken + lettuce
1 pack Snack-a-jacks
1 apple
1 pint water

Handful mixed nuts + 1 low fat yogurt + 1 pear

Grilled Salmon + lemon + Parsley
Handul steamed new ptatoes
Steamed Broccoli = Carrots
2 tbsp low fat cottage cheese + 2 water biscuits

I've only covered some of the general principles here. Other things that are also just as important are behaviour change, planning ahead and commitment. Most people's motivation will fluctuate but if your committed then it will increase the chances of success. To lose weight you need to plan ahead by buying the right foods and packing your lunch rather than relying on buying it from a shop.     

By Mayur Ranchordas


  1. Great article; I'll try this advice;

  2. Generally good and inspiring advice, many thanks.

    If you can help me with something I´d appreciate it, somewhere you make reference to "handful of mixed berries" which I can´t relate to a real life situation, can you be more specific or is there something I´m not seeing at my local super.



  3. Carca Chris,

    Glad to hear you enjoyed the article. What I mean by h handful of mixed berries is a handful containing a mixture of fresh blueberries, raspberries, blackberries. In certain supermarkets you can also by dried berries but these are more common in health food stores.


    1. Hello Mayur, thanks for taking the time to reply. Now I know what to look for and you can bet I´ll be giving a try.

      Cheers, and keep up the good work!

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  5. Thanks for the feedback Look Great 4 life