Here is a message I wrote to a client after we got talking about that frustrating challenge of losing the last 10 pounds of excess body fat. Often, people make great initial progress with fat reduction and then stall while still a bit above their ultimate goal.
Homeostasis: First, understand that the body likes to achieve homeostasis, so losing fat over a period of time might require a plateau period as your body’s way of maintaining status quo. Do you feel better, sleep better, eat better, perform better than before? This would be great news and now you can make a plan to progress further.
The more fat-adapted you are, the easier it is for you to make some concerted efforts to Intermittent Fast and eat meals off your fat stores rather than your plate. If you are still slightly carb dependent, then fasting won’t work and you’ll just slow down metabolic rate. If you can have some days where you eat less food and fewer carbs than normal you can make spurts of progress.
Wakesurfing – a super high intensity workout great
for weight loss….NOT. But it’s incredibly fun!
Set Point:Very importantly, when your body reaches a genetically comfortable set point, you have to shock your body with high intensity sprint efforts to achieve further fat loss. If your genetic influences have you at x% body fat right now (dang! that’s higher than your neighbor who’s genetic influences have her looking more like Gwyneth Paltrow than you! Unfair!) ……and you want to drop 10 more lbs, you can consider conducting a sequence of brief duration, very high intensity sprint sessions. Running/weight bearing is obviously the best choice, but if you are not adapted to run sprints now, you can do bicycle sprints or uphill sprints (low or no impact options).
Intensity and Fasting: I like pairing these intense efforts with Intermittent Fasting to turbocharge fat burning in the body. So you do your sprints in the am, after ~10hrs of fasting, then fast as long as possible after the workout until you really get hungry and want to eat. Weight-bearing sprints send a strong signal to the body to reduce excess fat. High intensity, short duration strength workouts will also deliver results in this area. Longer duration (30, 45, 60 min) strength workouts, boot camp classes, personal trainer sessions and so forth cause prolonged stress hormones in the bloodstream and elevated hunger. You crank out that awesome morning workout, burn a ton of calories (hoping to help with weight loss) and then find yourself pounding a pint of ice cream and evening due to the depleting effect of the workout. Hard to believe but its better to get in and get out quickly with the intensity sessions.
Natural Appetite:Finally, the other error we see often is people having this primal ‘license to kill ‘ where they eat high quantities of food because the food is Primal approved so its ‘okay’ to pig out. Man, you should see the group at our PrimalCon retreats!! they inhale TONS of delicious food, 5-foot tall women with plates piled high enough to make the football team proud. As the book suggests, macadamia nuts are a ‘great primal snack’ so are sardines and so forth. But you can also eat these snacks off your butt as Mark likes to say.
If you have made great progress but wanna drop 10 more pounds you can do it in about 3 months time. So you will send me another email in a few months saying, ‘hey Brad i did it, check out my 6 pack, photo attached’, but this result will require some pretty sincere effort to really really really align your appetite with your intake. You eat only when hungry and finish when you are satisfied. Not ‘full’ but simply satisfied. Modern humans rarely behave this way. We eat for social reasons and we pig out on good food.
Remember though, Primal aligned eating with low insulin producing dietary habits will enable you to easily maintain a desired body composition for the rest of your life. However, getting down into your desired summer bathing suit zone is going to take some extra effort for 8 weeks.
All this commentary should be taken in the context that a physician consultation is important for any eating or exercise program, especially when some foo on email tells you to sprint like crazy! Must be in optimal physical condition to enact this strategy.