Why is fat loss so complicated? How can we simplify it for those who struggle with it?

I’ve been thinking this a lot.  

What if we’d strict away all the excess and only focus on what really moves the needle and the digits on the scale. While still making it achievable for almost everyone.

Now, I assume that you’re already physically active at least three or four days a week. This doesn’t all have to be strength training. But can (and probably should) include walking, gardening, recreational sport (if you’re into that). Anything that gets the heart rate up and turns you into a moderately sweaty mess.

Those four days of movement are not there to burn calories. Yes, it happens. But the reason for movement is to help you regulate hunger. And to maintain muscle mass while the fat is dropping.

That out of the way, here’s what I’d focus on when it comes diet.

Eat around 80 to 120 grams of protein a day

That’s around five to eight heaped cupped handfuls of beans, legumes, soft tofu and the like. Hard tofu tends to be higher in protein so adjust accordingly. Pays to read the label.

Don’t worry about spacing the protein out evenly throughout the day. Yes, it helps. But let’s try to not add any layers of complexity to this.

Do whatever works with your eating schedule. Although you might struggle getting it all in if only eating two meals a day.

If you can get all that protein in without adding protein powder, the better. But supplementing with a scoop of protein powder can sometimes help if you’re pinched for time. Especially if you can make it into a combo with the number 2 on this list.

Eat at least 6 serves of non-starchy vegetables and 2 serves of fruit a day

Fist size makes for a serve. 

On days when you’re super active, you could pump the fruit to 3, even 4 serves. Fresh or frozen. Whatever works for you. I’d keep dried fruit to minimum because it’s easy to overeat.

As for non-starchy vegetables, you really can’t have too much. Well, at least once you learn to appreciate your newly found bowel movements.  

Fresh, frozen, tin, smoked, skewered, stir fried… They’re all good. Do whatever works with the meals you already eat.

The more colours you can include each day the better.

Drink only water, tea or coffee 

A simple way to reduce calories. Nothing more to it, really. That, and coffee is the drink of gods.

Get at least 7 hours of good quality sleep each night

Ok, not a diet habit. But it’s here for a reason.

Proper rest helps you manage stress, recovery and therefore, hormones.

Fat loss is hard as it is. You don’t need to throw another obstacle on your way by skimping on sleep.

Bonus! We also tend to make better eating decision when well rested.

Wait. Has Joonas become a keto zealot? A low-carb dogmatist? Is he now an anti-vaxxer? IS HE DRINKING DECAF?!

Nope. Never. I will die on that coffee soaked carbohydrate hill.

I didn’t say “do only these four things”. Rather, make those four points your main focus. 

Marvellous things happen when you eat 80-120g of protein a day with at least 6 serves of non-starchy vegetables, and 2-4 serves of fruit. 

You’re feeling fuller. You’re likely to snack less as your cravings go down. Whatever hunger you have left can be filled with carbs, fats, an occasional Oreo, a glass of pinot… 

Focus on those big rocks and fill the gaps with the rest. And since you’re mostly sticking with water, tea and coffee, there’s even more room for whatever else you might desire.

As for sleep, 7+ hours makes anyone a nicer person. The body is more likely to partner up with you on this fat loss dance. Both physically and mentally.

Set some parameters to keep you on track. Then do whatever works for you within those parameters.