15 Rules for Fat Loss
Ricardo Boye, ND, CNC
- Fat loss is different from weight loss. Fat loss emphasizes the retention of quality lean
muscle mass, where weight loss may not. Muscle mass is highly metabolic and a valuable
tissue for the goal of oxidizing nutrients and energy; thus, it is essential for fat loss and
- Keep in mind the principle of an energy deficit, also known as a calorie deficit, for the goal of
fat loss. Think of this before any additional resources are brought in to help, such as supplements. An energy deficit is created through manipulating two variables — energy intake (eating) and energy expenditure (exercise).
- Don’t trust the estimates of various fitness machines for your “calorie burn.”
- Eat 4-6 small meals a day instead of the usual 2-3 large meals. Eating frequently will help
regulate your metabolism — this means keeping your blood sugar balanced and stress
hormones balanced. Of course, it is perfectly fine if your lifestyle benefits more from eating
2-3 larger meals as once again, the ultimate determinant of fat loss is a calorie deficit.
- Consume whole foods that are high in fiber and low in sugar such as lean protein (lean beef,
chicken, fish, and whey protein), fruits & vegetables (oranges, apples, strawberries,
blueberries, broccoli, peppers, asparagus, carrots, nuts (almonds, cashews, & walnuts), and
- When choosing carbohydrates, choose sparingly, and choose low-glycemic carbohydrates
such as vegetables, whole-wheat products and oatmeal instead of refined, processed
- carbohydrates which usually come in a box or a bag. This means eliminating all refined
carbohydrates from the diet — sugar, refined flour products such as cakes, cookies, pastries,
pies, chips, etc. — you get the picture!
- Be mindful of food sensitivities when fine-tuning your nutrition.
- Recommend consuming 25-35 grams of fiber per day. Since the average diet contains only
14 grams, we could all use more fiber. Fiber will help satisfy hunger pangs as well as control
insulin and blood sugar levels which tend to promote excess hunger when they are wildly
- Eat some type of lean protein at each meal. Protein helps to satisfy hunger and provide the
necessary building blocks to maintain lean body mass while losing body fat.
- Consume adequate amounts of healthy fat foods such as olive oil, walnuts, almonds, Omega-
3 fortified eggs or other Omega-3 products. Healthy fats are great antioxidants as well as
help with brain function and many other essentials processes that take place in the body on
a daily basis. Essential fatty acids also help prevent certain diseases.
- Recommend eating 5-10 servings of fruit and vegetables a day to meet your micronutrient
needs. Vegetables also contain a good amount of fiber and help to control appetites and
- Consume green tea or water instead of calorie-filled drinks such as soft drinks. Green tea has
many health benefits. You should be drinking imI of non-caffeinated fluid for every calorie
that you consume. This works out to be between (8-12) 8 oz glasses of green tea or water a
• Balance your fat intake for the day. 1/3 should come from saturated fats, 1/3 from
monounsatu rated fats, and 1/3 from polyunsaturated fats.
• Limit or avoid most of the list of polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids as they tend to promote
inflammation. These are corn, sunflower, safflower, soybean, cottonseed oils — etc.
• If you want to start building habits then you need to follow a plan. Habits are formed by
repetitively following a prescribed plan. Therefore, map out your meals every day and follow
them. If you follow your plan every day for 2-3 weeks, you will form habits that become part of
your daily routine and you won’t even notice it. How do you think bad habits are formed? By
repetitively doing something over and over again.
• Include what are called “Superfoods” into your meal plan on a daily basis. These include, but
are not limited to, lean meat, salmon, low fat plain yogurt, tomatoes, spinach, mixed berries,
whole oats, mixed nuts, olive oil, flax seeds (or flax meal), green tea, and various beans.
These are just some of the “Superfoods” who should be incorporating into your daily meal
plans. There are plenty others.
• Keep total fat intake under 30% for the day. This can be accomplished by not adding too
many extra fats such as butter, sour cream, mayonnaise, etc. This doesn’t mean you have to
completely eliminate these items, but do not eat them as a regular food item every day.
• EXERCISE!! You can lose weight by just following a nutrition plan on its own but very few
succeed at it and it takes much longer than when you eat properly as well as exercise. I am
not talking about just getting on a treadmill for 30 minutes every other day. Though you can
lose weight this way, it is not the most efficient use of your time nor does it maximize the
ability to burn calories. The most effective way to lose fat is by strength training or some type
of higher intensity interval training utilizing strength training and cardiovascular exercises. A
properly designed program can burn more overall calories in 20 minutes than 20 minutes on
a treadmill. Also, the “X factor” in all this is that you will burn more calories per minute hours
after you have finished strength training because of the EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen
consumption) effect. Static exercise on a treadmill doesn’t produce this “X factor.”
• Record what you eat and drink. You will be amazed at what you consume and not even
realize you did it until you right it down and reflect back on the day. Keeping a food log is
critical to your success because if modifications need to be made you need something to be
able to evaluate and analyze. If changes aren’t happening like you had hoped the answer
can usually be found in the food and or exercise journal. Studies have consistently shown
people grossly underestimate what they are actually eating when asked to report their food
• Follow the 90% rule. If you can follow your plan 90% of the time then that is enough to have
success with weight loss. If you find yourself breaking the rules more than 90% of the time,
then the chance of being successful with weight loss goes proportionally down. Your chances
of failing increase significantly. Lose the all or nothing attitude and just take one day at a
time. Reflect on your day before you go to bed at night, and instead of getting down on
yourself because you weren’t perfect, just set goals to accomplish the next day that would
eliminate those errors. Learn from your mistakes, as you do in every other aspect of your life
that you are successful in. Lifestyle habits are no different.