By Taylor Robbins, C.S.C.S
Hey there. We are glad you are interested in learning more about how to drop body fat and get into killer shape as a woman, cuz hey….it feels impossible right?
Not to worry, we are going to show it all to you with extreme simplicity.
You are here because likely you are not satisfied with how you’re fitting into your clothes, your energy levels, your confidence, and just feeling overall uncomfortable.
You may have even yo-yo’d for a number of months and years and are desperately searching for the answer to lose weight and keep it off.
You want to drop a dress size or two. You want to have a flat stomach and not have the muffin coming over the jean line. You desire a tight and toned look and the confidence to go with it.
You’ve found it.
I can say that with confidence because we help hundreds of women lose 1-2 lbs of body fat every week like clock-work in our online coaching programs. And because we love seeing transformation, you get to see the inner workings of the strategies we use.
I won’t lie, there is no secret sauce or magic to losing body fat as a woman.
But, what you will see through this 4 part series is when you have the right plan, and you execute the plan with extreme and consistent action, your body and life will change.
So let’s get into this, shall we?
Calories- Do They Matter?
To be clear, calories do matter. Research has proven this very well. At the end of the day, you must be in an energy deficit (burning/expending more calories than you are consuming via food) in order to see fat loss.
What gets diluted in this seemingly simple equation are a number of factors people don’t know about or understand.
1. Poor gut health can alter how you burn and partition nutrients.
Basically, if you eat crappy food, which carries toxic nutrients to your body such as gluten, or trans fats, or high amounts of fructose (too much fruit) or polyunsaturated fats (too much canola oil), you damage the gut lining, kill bacteria, create cholesterol, and stop breaking down nutrients properly.
This means you can think you’re eating less calories and maybe you are, but your body is not processing them per normal, so you still get more fat or remain fat.
2. You have your own thermodynamics based on genetics.
Every person has their own unique genetics that allow them to burn more or less calories than a BMR (basal metabolic rate) equation can tell you. Basically, you may be burning more or less calories than the internet is telling you.
3. Stress and specifically cortisol can offset your metabolic abilities.
Insulin resistance is a leading cause of excessive fat gain and the overweight/obese epidemic. One of the causes for insulin resistance is chronically elevated cortisol levels. When insulin goes up, cortisol does come down. However, when cortisol increases due to stressors in life or bad sleep, etc., it signals gluconeogenesis to create glucose and synthesize glycogen in the liver, thus making cells resistant to insulin and so the body starts to create more insulin more often to create homeostasis which further perpetuates the body’s cells being resistant to it.
So, if you are not sleeping adequately, sleeping well, and managing the stressors of life, a calorie deficit will not help you much anyways.
4. Doing the same workout (or random workouts) leads to adaptation and therefore burning less calories.
Our bodies are smart. A particular workout might burn 300 calories the first time you do it, but as you get more efficient due to stronger muscle fibers, better oxygen efficiency, more red blood cells, etc., you burn less calories than the first time.
You have to progress your training and not be random about it.
5. Not programming your calorie intake can cause your body to adapt to dieting.
Just like with workouts, your actual calorie intake needs to change. This sometimes looks like a slight downward slope in caloric intake for sequential weeks and then even caloric surplus for a number of weeks (called reverse dieting), and then weekly caloric modification like refeed days or intermittent fasts.
With all this said, you must improve sleep, manage stress, eliminate your gluten containing foods, eliminate trans fats foods, eliminate alcohol, and potentially other things based on your specific situation. But, once you understand all this, you can start putting together your calorie strategy for your diet.
Calorie Amount Plan
Most women actually undereat. Strange to say, but true. With that said, your caloric needs to maintain your weight and fat stores right now are not much. You can either log your exact caloric intake for 3 to even 10 days to see what your average caloric intake is now, or simply start somewhere around 1500 or 1400 calories. If you log your calories using My Fitness Pal or a similar logging app, place a 10% deficit on that. If you found you on average eat 2000 calories a day, 10% of 2,000 is 200 calories, so your new intake will be 1800 calories a day.
If you do this small 10% deficit, you will not shock your metabolic system too much which would be bad because it could slow down or hold onto fat in the anticipation of famine (we don’t want that).
The idea is to keep the body in a constant place of deficit in order to lose body fat. So, try 1400 calories a day for 7-10 days, then go to 1300, and so on. Once you near 1100 calories, this becomes dangerously close to not being able to get all the nutrients your body needs to function. Plus, this is where your reverse diet comes in.
The the next 4-6 weeks, you will add 50 calories back per week. For example, you then do 1150 cal/day for 7-10 days, then 1200, then 1250, and so forth. This enables a rise in your metabolic rate and actually fat loss usually still occurs.
Additionally, you can have 1 day every two weeks that is a 30% increase in your typical calorie intake. This is sometimes called a refeed day. If you were eating 1200 cal/day, then pick a day to eat 1560 cal, and have those extra 360 calories come from healthy carb sources like potato or fruits or low gluten products.
You can then have 2 days a week where you fast your breakfast and do not eat from 8pm (after your dinner) until 12pm at your lunch the next day. This usually results in a 200-400 calorie drop from your typical calorie intake.
I like to call this Dietary Periodization.
Instead of eating a stagnant calorie intake all the time, you have strategy to your diet to allow the most metabolic response and therefore the most fat loss.
Now you know how to own your metabolism and create a calorie strategy to your own fat loss.
Look out for Part 2 of this series, where we talk about the absolute best form of cardio for fat loss, and to be transparent, it’s not really cardio, it’s called (S)HIIT.
I know, it seems I just used profanity but it stands for Super High Intensity Interval Training. The interval times are very strategic for fat loss, and we take some amazing principles from Dr. Serrano on this amazing innovation to interval training.
If you want to do just 8 minutes of cardio and lose even more fat, you will have to look out for this part 2 of the series.
If you want to learn even more about fat loss as a woman, click below to register for our live upcoming webinar.
By Taylor Robbins, C.S.C.S