• 4 Nutrition Tips for Sustainable Fat Loss

    Fat loss is a popular topic in real food health circles. When my clients say they want to lose weight, what they usually mean is fat loss.

    4 Tips for Sustainable Fat Loss | StupidEasyPaleo.com

    To put it simply, fat loss is a complex topic if you want to get nerdy about it…

    …but if you take a step back and really look at it from a 30,000 foot view, there’s some simple – though not always easy – things you need to do to lose body fat.

    In this post, the first of a three-part series, I’m sharing 4 nutrition must-do’s if your goal is sustainable fat loss.

    First, Some Real Talk About Fat Loss

    Let’s get a couple things straight right off the bat.

    1) Losing body fat takes time. On the other hand, weight loss through water manipulation via salt or carbohydrates can happen literally overnight.

    In reality, sustainable fat loss takes consistent effort over a longer period of time than just a day or a week. If you go overboard on treats or cheats and the next day you feel puffy, it’s not a result of fat gain.

    Losing body fat means getting hormones to healthy levels, something that requires steady, nourishing practices.

    2) Sustainable fat loss requires the right nutrition and lifestyle inputs. One way to think about it is this:

    Fat loss is the result of improving your health. It’s a side effect, not a cause.

    That takes a huge shift in mindset, but focusing your efforts on gaining health is far less stressful than the focus on losing weight or fat…

    …and the accompanying restriction, punishment, and anguish that comes with the diet mentality.

    3) Speaking of which, you can’t crash diet your way to sustainable fat loss either.

    For some reason, the diet industry would have you believe that losing weight is as easy as severely restricting calories and exercising your ass off.

    And somehow, people keep trying this strategy…even though they know it doesn’t work.

    Starving yourself and doing relentless cardio means you’ll lose muscle mass, and that slows your metabolism.

    It’s extremely common after crash dieting to gain all the weight you lost back…and more.

    So what should you do instead? Keep reading for four food and nutrition tips that I recommend to my clients.

    HTK Webinar | StupidEasyPaleo.com

    4 Tips for Sustainable Fat Loss

    Tip #1: Eat Protein at Each Meal

    4 Tips for Sustainable Fat Loss | StupidEasyPaleo.com

    If your goal is fat loss, protein at every meal is a non-negotiable. The reasons are two-fold:

    First, protein is the most satiating of the three macronutrients – the others are carbohydrates and fat – so it’ll leave you feeling fuller, longer.

    And second, if you want to build and maintain muscle mass, you’ll need adequate protein intake each day to do it. It’s a bit of a positive feedback loop: Build muscle, and your ability to burn body fat improves.

    For fat loss, aim for the range of 0.75 to 1 g protein / pound of bodyweight each day. The best sources are nutrient-dense, real, whole protein sources like meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and shellfish.

    Tip #2: Fill Your Plate with Real, Whole Foods

    This one’s kind of a given, but eating a diet full of processed foods just isn’t conducive to fat loss.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. You don’t have to eat perfectly 24/7. But basing your diet on processed food won’t get you the results you want.

    Besides being chock full of synthetic chemicals and preservatives, processed foods are often loaded with salt, low-quality fats, and refined carbohydrates. (And they’re usually low in protein.) Ironically, they’re still loaded with energy, so the result is a nutrient-poor diet that conveniently comes with all the calories.

    Individual food tolerances will vary but a diet of real, whole foods with plenty of variety and color is a great place to start. This looks like meat, seafood, and eggs; vegetables and fruit; and healthy fats like avocado, coconut, nuts, and seeds.

    Remember, food isn’t just macros or calories…the nutrient value matters too.

    Tip #3: Eat Your Meals, Don’t Drink Them

    4 Tips for Sustainable Fat Loss | StupidEasyPaleo.com

    If your goal is fat loss, avoid liquid meals like protein shakes and smoothies. As convenient as they are, these meals in a glass digest super fast leaving you hungry sooner. Even bulletproof coffee – in its original recipe – and other butter coffees are pitifully low in protein.

    Of course, liquids like bone broth, tea, and the like don’t really count toward this maxim.

    For best results, you’ll want to rely on solid meals. Chew your food. Sit down, be present, and really experience the food you’re eating. It’s not just what you eat, it’s how you eat it.

    Tip #4: Eat Breakfast

    For the best chance at appetite regulation and fat loss, eat breakfast every day. From a practical point of view, getting enough protein each day (see #1) means you’ll need to eat breakfast to fit it all in.

    Most of my clients experience the best sustainable fat loss when they eat a hearty, protein-rich breakfast each morning. In addition to being highly satiating, protein provides amino acid precursors to serotonin – a neurotransmitter needed for maintaining mood – and the hormone melatonin which helps put you to sleep at night.

    For best fat loss results over time, eat your breakfast.

    To Summarize

    Fat loss is a process and requires the right inputs over time. Consistency is key. Nutrition is one piece of the equation, and I’ll cover lifestyle tips in the coming installments in this series.

    For sustainable fat loss, follows these nutrition tips:

    • Eat protein from nutrient dense sources at every meal.
    • Focus the majority of your meals on real, whole foods.
    • Eat breakfast each day.
    • Eat your meals instead of drinking them.

    Of course, there are so many more tips, but don’t overwhelm yourself. Start small and keep it simple.

    Pin this sustainable fat loss post for later.

    4 Tips for Sustainable Fat Loss | StupidEasyPaleo.com

    Steph Gaudreau is a certified holistic nutrition practitioner, weightlifting and mindset coach, and the author of the best-selling Performance Paleo Cookbook. Her recipes and expert advice have been featured in SELF, Outside Magazine, Elle, and Greatist. Steph loves barbells, cats, and anything Lord of the Rings. She lives in San Diego, CA.

    17 thoughts on “4 Nutrition Tips for Sustainable Fat Loss

    1. Great advice. The only thing I would question is the benefit of eating breakfast. My weight is more easily controlled when I purposefully skip breakfast. Eating in the morning doesn’t mean I will eat less later in the day, it just means I ate more in the morning. I think breakfast is certainly something people can experiment with to see what work for them.

      1. It’s a starting point, Ben. It’s really important that people become accustomed to eating regular meals and then from there, experiment once they have a healthy body composition. Fasting by skipping meals is also quite different for men than it is for women. 90% of my readers are female, so I usually write with them in mind. You can certainly be diligent and make up the rest of your food intake in a shorter window, but for my clients, that strategy is often quite difficult to follow through with successfully.

    2. Steph, what about bulletproof coffee with a scoop of collagen powder? I’ve been using Philz coffee, adding a TBS. of XCT oil and a TBS. of brain octane oil, and adding a scoop of collagen protein (10 grams protein). I notice a definite difference in my energy level and my mental acuity. I really didn’t expect it to do that, even though they say it will, and was pleasantly surprised. I’m on the road a lot for work and had gotten to the point where even after a very healthy, protein-rich breakfast (only non-starchy veggies added), I was ready to fall asleep on the road after just a couple of hours. This changed that. Do you really see it as a poor choice?

      1. Suzanne…collagen and gelatin are terribly low in the branched chain amino acids: leucine, valine, and isoleucine. My preference and recommendation is that gelatin or collagen is used not as a central protein for your meal but as an additional supplement. Collagen and gelatin, being that they’re poor in BCAA, cannot contribute to muscle protein synthesis. I’d rather see people eat protein alongside their bpc or include a protein powder like whey or egg white. It’s also really not as nutrient dense as a breakfast of real whole food.

        That combo of coffee ingredients also taxes the adrenals. In people with adrenal issues, it can really wreak havoc. The acuity you describe is actually a heightened stress response. I really don’t know why you’re feeling tired after a breakfast of protein and veggies without knowing anything else about your routine or health status…but that’s definitely not a typical response so I wonder if you’ve got some other underlying cortisol issues.

        1. Steph, I love your posts! So informative! I could NOT survive Whole30 living without you 🙂 Would love to know which protein powder (eggwhite, not whey) you use/recommend. I currently use Orgain as recovery from heavy weight lifting.

          1. Hey Shari…good I’m glad it’s been helpful.

            I don’t have a specific brand of egg white I recommend…just one that has the fewest, best quality ingredients possible.

        2. Just thought this might be helpful…I’m allergic to eggs and my symptoms are sleepiness, brain fog and a runny nose. It could be something specific that you are eating that’s making you feel tired. I do great with salmon & avocado, etc. for breakfast. Also, hypoglycemia can make you feel sleepy no matter what you eat.

    3. I’m curious what you think of intermittent fasting for women. I was introduced to Paleo when I found the Fat Burning Man podcast (Abel James) and he is a huge fan of it, but I find his show is a little more geared towards men sometimes. His wife does say that she fasts several times a week with great results, but I’m curious if you’ve noticed any positive results in women as well. I have about 50-60 pounds to lose after two back-to-back pregnancies (I kept my fitness up but gave in to way too many cravings, hence the over the top weight gain), and I’ve been a little nervous to try it because I’m afraid of any negative hormonal or adrenal effects.

      1. Generally, not a fan for women. You have to understand…IF as a practice is a type of stressor. Most women I know who want to IF do it on top of going to CrossFit or endurance training, dealing with high stress jobs, balancing work and family life, etc….ie. not exactly low stress. Here’s more on the topic by Stefani Ruper: http://paleoforwomen.com/shattering-the-myth-of-fasting-for-women-a-review-of-female-specific-responses-to-fasting-in-the-literature/

    4. This is such a great starting off point. Can’t wait to read the rest! What protein ratio would you recommend for someone with over 100 lbs to lose? Whenever I see a body weight ratio for something I always wonder how I can apply that to my situation. Thank you!

      1. Jenny, focus on gaining health instead of losing weight. I know that’s a major mindset shift, but it’s crucial.

        Start at the lower end of the range if you can…at least that 0.8 g protein / lb bodyweight amount.

    5. Love, love love your advisement and wisdom– especially “gaining health vs. losing weight”… This has been a mind shift process of epic proportion for me– I only tend to fluctuate 5-8 lbs and find it’s largely due to several days in a row with bites/tastes of sugary treats… can you say hello inflammatory process?? Makes me feel like a busted can of biscuits!! And this is when you see that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet… so keep your info/recipes coming!!! And I’m dying to get my hands on some S.E.P swag soon!!

    6. Hi Steph! I have been following your blog and social media for a long time and am an HTK’er!! Loved the challenge, and am still working through it. I have a question about what the protein intake “looks like”. For example, if I follow the 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, I will be eating 170 g (about 6 oz) protein per day. But without a food scale, how do I know how much that is? Do you recommend weighing proteins at first?

      1. You may have to weigh / track for a few days to get a sense of what that looks like on a plate. I recommend My Fitness Pal for looking it up and a simple food scale.

        For example, 100 grams of chicken breast is about 23 grams of protein. I just sort of have that memorized, but you can easily search it in MFP. You can then weigh it out and after a while, your eye will become pretty good at noticing if you don’t have enough protein on your plate. Remember that the range is variable…if you start with 0.75 g per lb bodyweight per day, that’s probably okay too so long as your appetite is in check.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *