Get Shredded: 5 Methods For Successful Fat Loss
In order to get shredded, you must take action. But, taking action to shed the pounds off isn’t always the first response when the conviction runs bone-deep.
For a lot of us, including myself, we only jump in after we’ve tested the waters with our toes, spent tons of time in reflection, gathered all the data, and have drawn up the plans with perfection.
Related: 8 Week Accelerated Fat Loss Shred
Our angle of thought is that we decide to act once we’ve figured out how everything is going to play out. Only then, do we proceed to take action. We all know this is balderdash when it comes to getting diced.
But think of it this way.
Imagine you got up in the morning, and did your normative things. You first checked Instagram to see how many people liked that #gymselfie you posted last night after that shoulder session. Then, you turned on the shower, and while it was heating up you scrolled Facebook to make sure the world didn’t break.
After you showered, breakfast followed with a warm cup of coffee. Before you headed out, you took your lil’ pooch outside to go poty, kissed him on the forehead and headed out for the day.
You walk out to your car, throw your tote bag in the back seat along with your gym-bag, and then you hop in the front seat. But instead of turning the key in the ignition, pulling out, and heading off to work, you just sit there and quietly meditated this:
“I will not start my route until all of the lights turn green.”
You know this sounds ludicrous. Nobody has the power to hit all green lights on demand.
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Yet, this is how you treat our destinations of body transformation. you want to melt fat like a straggling snow flake on the sun, but you don’t want put the key in the ignition and drive. You’d rather plan, wait, and contemplate instead of taking action.
Like the driver who doesn’t wait for all the light to turn green before setting out on his trip, you must too, set sail on your body transformation even though you’ll inevitable hit some red lights.
Taking action itself becomes the guide and the teacher.
This is the first step – moving in the direction you want to go. Once you’re able to move past the paralysis analysis stage, this is where the following strategies will augment your journey.
Getting shredded can be summed up like this: Your body must be burning more calories than you consume daily. Ideally this is done by a combination of increased exercise and a calorie deficit.
The result of this pairing is reduced levels of leptin and a rise in ghrelin. And, when you continue to drop bodyfat, leptin dips even further. Translation: You feel more hungry and meals tend to feel less satisfying.
When you attempt to get shredded, you’re forcing your body to do something it doesn’t want to. It strives for homeostasis – to remain balanced. Believe it or not, your body is built for survival.
So, when you are literally wrestling it into transformation guess what? It’s going to be hard.
This article will support with a few strategies to assist you along your journey to make sure you have a successful shred. I’m not promising you that it will make the process a walk in the park. Rather, it’ll take the edge off making the process bearable and essentially help you take yourself across the finish line.
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Shredded: 5 Methods for Successful Fat Loss
1. Build your meals with protein
When you’re on a shred program, be sure to get at least 30% of your daily intake from protein. This number can go up to 40-50% depending on your progress. When you’re trying to burn the fat off your body, protein is one of your best friends for a few reasons.
Dr. Spencer Nadolsky, a doctor who actually lifts says this: “Protein is King.”
Again, to make sure you’re aware, in order to lose fat you need to take in fewer calories than you burn. This presents a chest match with dealing with hunger and satiation. And this is why protein is so important.
Studies show that eating protein regularly with each meal boosts your metabolic rate (an increase of about 80 to 100 calories per day) and helps reduce your appetite. It’s also been shown in research that diets that are built on protein is much more satisfying than heavily basing your intake around a high carb diet. Meaning, it’s easier and less dreadful to be in a calorie deficit when you build your meals around protein.
2. User smaller dishes
This might seem a little “weight-watchery,” but let me explain before you write it off as a hoax.
You already know that bigger plates mean bigger portions, right? But you probably don’t pay attention to the size of your serving dishes. This consequentially means you eat more calories – the exact opposite behavior you want when you’re on a mission to get shredded.
Brian Wansink is a professor at Cornell University and author of Mindless Eating. His research sheds light on this smaller plate concept.
Wansink and his team discovered that if you made a simple change and ate your meals on a 10-inch plate rather than a 12-inch plate, you would et 22% less food over the course of the next year.
You might be thinking “I can just eat less food on a bigger plate.”
Sure, you could, but then we dip into the psychology of dieting.
When you serve yourself 4oz of lean protein, a cup of black beans and some pico de gallo on a large plate, the amount of food looks tiny. Your brain says “Oh, this isn’t very much food.”
Your immediate response is that your severely restricting yourself because of how your brain processed the situation. On the other hand, if you take that same amount of food and pack it into a small plate or dish, it feels and looks dense. You don’t get that same “restricting response” from your brain.
Research shows you’ll eat less and it’ll take the edge of dieting when you use smaller dishes.
3. Bump up fiber intake
Fiber gets the short end of the stick when it comes to health food jokes – it’s commonly known as the things that keeps you “regular.”
But, fiber isn’t to be taken lightly when it comes to getting shredded.
The impact fiber has on a successful shred is significant, but painfully overlooked. During a calorie deficit, feeling satisfied and fending off hunger is a large part of the battle. However, the normative approach to a fat loss phase is to reduce carbs and increase protein intake.
But in that equation, fiber gets the short end of the stick. Diets high in protein often forget to include enough vegetables to meet fiber needs. And when your fiber intake is low on a consistent basis during a fat loss phase, hunger and cravings run rampant.
In other words, it feels like all you ever think about is food.
Not a good look.
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As a general target number for daily fiber, men should be taking in ~38g per day while women should shoot for ~25 per day. Fortunately this is simple to do by adding in some high fiber foods to each of your meals. Here are a few ideas:
- Brussels sprouts
- Black beans
- Chia seeds (great in smoothies)
- Sweet potatoes
4. Supplement 5-HTP
5-HTP is a compound involved in the metabolism of the amino acid tryptophan. Although tryptophan can be sourced from food, very few items have high level of the amino acid, which is the only nutrient the body can use to make serotonin.
Why is this important?
Well, serotonin is the neurotransmitter that makes you feel calm and content. It’s the bodies natural way to influence you to see the glass half-full, instead of half-empty. Dieting causes stress in itself – it raises cortisol levels and it’s tough psychologically.
If you throw on top of that a deficiency in tryptophan (the pre-cursor to serotonin), then you’re adding setting yourself up for a cocktail of potential disaster.
Running low on serotonin is shown to induce worry, and ravenous cravings – especially dense carbohydrate foods that hinder fat loss progress. Insomnia is a also a product of a deficiency in serotonin. Shorting yourself on nightly sleep can chronically raise cortisol levels and influence your body store fat around the stomach more efficiently.
And lastly, and on a more serious level, low serotonin is correlated with anger, violent thoughts and fatal-obsessions.
You can supplement with 5-HTP. Staring with 50mg mid-afternoon is a good jump-off point. Research shows that supplementing with 5-HTP you’ll help increase feelings of fullness and boost overall contentment with life. By satisfying your serotonin production, you’ll also curb carb cravings during a fat loss diet.
5. Give back to avoid burnout
Dieting can be hard. Really hard.
At times, it can feel like your existence is eat, train, sleep, repeat.
Admit it. Gettign shredded to the bone is a self-serving pursuit. Sure, it might inspire people on Instagram. But at the end of the day this is all about you.
And that’s ok – as long as you augment the chase with some humanity.
You’ve got to find a way to give back during your fat loss program. It’s to easy to go down the rabbit hole and lock yourself up in the basement eating your meals from tupperware. That’s a sad existence.
It also sets you up for burnout. And when that happens, you’re done.
A practical way to do this is to help others. The key is to help others who can’t give you anything in return.
Helping others triggers the reward and pleasure centers of the brain and helps you to connect with humans in a different way (instead of taking to other lifters about the wicked pump you had last night). Giving back to others adds a layer to your pursuit – it gives you a social purpose that is bigger than you.
This provides a counterbalance to the selfish chase of getting shredded.
You don’t have to travel to SouthEast Asia to build water wells either (unless you’re called to). You can give back right in your own community. You can even keep it within your own sport or hobby of lifting.
Train your local kids in your garage.
Mentor the dude at the gym who always asks you questions.
Do a monthly book recommendation and send a newsletter out to people who are interested in the same things you are.
The point is to add value to others.
This is will help keep your head on straight, enjoy the process, and avoid burnout at the same time.
Stop resisting the fact that fat loss will take work. But don’t be masochistic about it either .These five strategies – building your meals with protein, using smaller dishes, increasing fiber intake, supplementing with 5 HTP and giving back – will balance your fat loss attack and keep you sane while the fat falls off your body.
1) “Postprandial Thermogenesis is Increased 100% on a High-protein, Low-fat Diet Versus a High-carbohydrate, Low-fat Diet in Healthy, Young Women. – PubMed – NCBI.”National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Mar. 2016.
2) Ross, Julia. The Diet Cure. Ringwood: Penguin, 2000. Print.
3) Wansink, Brian. Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. New York: Bantam Books, 2006. Print.