Whether we want to admit it or not, losing body fat is a function of calorie reduction such that we spend some time in a calorie deficit. What this means, in a nutshell, is that there will be periods of time when we have to eat fewer calories than what our bodies' have been accustomed. Below are some of the best methods to deploy when looking to drop body fat without starving yourself....
1) Reduce Your Eating Window i.e. Eat your first meal a little later and your last meal a little earlier. Why? Well you are reducing the time between meals, meaning you are less likely to get ravenously hungry and reach for the cookies when buying your mid-morning coffee. If you are used to getting up and eating straight away, try to be productive instead, Drink a glass of water. Stretch. Go for a walk. Start working. Try to wait an hour or two before you start eating. I find that reducing your overall eating window is an easy way to deal with days I am eating fewer calories.
2) Stay Well Hydrated: I find it is far more important to stay on top of my water intake when consuming fewer calories. Not only does the increased water intake help keep me feeling full (particularly between meals), the water is also important for de-toxication purposes.
3) Eat Plenty of Lean Protein Sources: I know I keep banging on about the importance of protein, but when it comes to fat loss dieting the importance cannot be overstated. Why? It will keep you feeling more full than any other macronutrient. It will also help with repair and recovery from training, It will help preserve your muscle mass. So, when dropping calories you must adhere to the following 2 rules: 1. There must be a large serving of lean protein with EVERY meal. 2. The protein source must be LEAN (white fish and white meat only). The reason for this is calories. If you want to keep calories low, you are best avoiding fatty cuts of meat as these will be a lot higher in calories. So opt for chicken breast rather than chicken thigh. Eat cod rather than salmon.
4) Fill Your Plate With Veggies: Vegetables are good for you! I know, incredible right! Full of nutrients, bursting with vitamins and minerals. But who can honestly say they eat enough of them? They are also extremely important for another reason: they are extremely satiating, whilst also being very low in calories. They are the perfect storm - what we would call a high volume food in that you are able to eat a large serving of vegetables for only a small number of calories and carbohydrates. The reason they are so filling is largely due to their water and fibre content. So take the opportunity to load your plate with as many veggies as you can.
5) Exercise: Here's a fact - it is very difficult to exercise and eat at the same time! In fact. I would recommend leaving an hour after you eat before you start training. By training you firstly expend energy, which will help you create an energy deficit. Secondly, you will take your mind off of food. Thirdly. exercise has been shown to NOT increase appetite, so you shouldn't feel the urge the gorge after you train.
6) Eat Slowly and More Mindfully: I know first hand how easy it is to scoff your food down and begin wondering where the seconds are! Eating slowly and taking time to properly chew your food will allow for better digestion and absorption of your food. Try to avoid distractions whilst eating (put your phone down!) and focus on your food.
7) Remove all Liquid Calories: Liquid calories are the antithesis of a satiating diet. People often forget and/or underestimate the calories they consume via coffees, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, smoothies, juices etc. If looking to maximise fat loss the only drinks to include should be water, black coffee and herbal teas. It is extremely easy to add several hundred calories to your daily total through drinks alone. So cut out all liquid calories and focus on eating food.
8) Use Spray Oils When Cooking: Another way calories can creep in to your diet is via cooking oils. Any fats that you use to cook with will end up in your mouth. So, in order to minimise calorie intake you can use spray oils when cooking which use far less oil than adding oils normally. I like to use a coconut oil spray when cooking.
9) Remove Calorie Dense Foods From Your Diet (and Kitchen Cupboards): Foods that fall into this category would be foods such as nut butters, cream, mayonnaise, sour cream, ice cream, chocolate. These foods 'pack a calorie punch' and therefore should be avoided at all costs if trying to keep calories to a minimum. Instead focus your attentions on points 2, 3 and 4.
10) Be consistent: It's all well and good applying the above points for a week. However, true progress always occurs over the long-term and so you must be patient and stick at it. The above changes are things that should be implemented over the long-term - what you might call 'lifestyle changes'. The more consistently you can apply the above points, the faster you will lose fat & keep it off.