To lose body fat, you need to burn more calories than you eat. This is known as a negative energy balance. Eating a low calorie diet won’t give you enough energy for training. Instead, you should reduce your calorie intake by around 10 to 20% of your normal intake. Try reducing the size of your meals (if they are above the recommended portion size) or the number of calories in each mouthful. Also try replacing high-fat foods with low-calorie density foods, such as fruit and vegetables.
Many athletes and people taking part in sport want to lose body fat, especially in sports where the amount of body fat plays a key role, for example body building and gymnastics. The optimal amount of body fat also depends on your gender. Although you may want to lose body fat, if you lose weight too quickly it can have serious health consequences. Nutrition is very important for reducing your body fat and this article will give you some hints and tips on nutrition for losing body fat.
Fats, carbohydrates and proteins
Lowering your dietary fat is a good way to reduce your calorie intake and increase fat loss. However, you do need some fat for good health and a lower-fat diet won’t guarantee weight loss unless you also reduce your calorie intake and increase energy expenditure. It’s vital that you still get plenty of carbohydrates to fuel your training session, prevent injury, improve your recovery and concentration. Include high-fibre carbohydrate rich foods in your diet, such as wholemeal pasta or rice. Protein is also important because when you reduce your calories to lose body fat, you risk losing muscle mass.
How can I lose body fat?
There are a number of things you can do to lose body fat.
- Set goals. These need to be specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and timely. For example: “I want to lose 5kg of body weight by August.”
- Monitor your changes. The easiest way to do this is to measure girth measurements, such as your thigh, calf, waist and chest. You should keep a record and monitor once a month.
- Aim to lose no more than 0.5kg per week. You shouldn’t rely on weighing yourself to check your weight loss as it doesn’t take into account changes in your body composition.
- Eat regularly and frequently. Try eating 4 to 6 times a day, this means eating moderate sized meals more frequently. This will help to work around your training programme too.
The secret to losing body fat is to eat healthily, increase your activity and ensure that you can continue the changes you make to your lifestyle and eating habits.
I’ve heard that physical activity is also important for body fat loss.
Losing body fat isn’t just about your diet, exercise plays a vital role and a combination of the two helps with long-term success compared to diet or exercise alone. A low level of body fat can have a detrimental affect on your performance because it can mean that you don’t get enough of other nutrients and cause other health problems. Therefore, any changes you make to your diet, make sure you ensure you still keep your body fit and healthy.