When trying to lose weight, or more importantly body fat, one of the first things people do is restrict their food intake. This sets them up for long term fat loss/weight loss failure because the first thing the body does when food is restricted is slow down the metabolism (the rate at which you burn calories). This is done as a survival mechanism by the body in reaction to the restricted food intake. From my years of experience working with people who have fat loss goals eating too much food on a day in day out basis is usually not their problem. When I look at clients food logs I rarely find that people are eating too much food every day. The problem is they are eating the wrong foods, at the wrong times, in the wrong portions, and grouping foods together incorrectly. The key is not to count calories but to make calories count by eating the right foods, at the right times, and in the right portions.

Increase your metabolism by eating 5 to 7 small meals each day

What you are eating is just one part of the weight loss/fat loss equation but it is probably the most important part. Try to eat all natural, nutrient dense foods such as lean meats and fish, healthy fats such as raw nuts and healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil and most importantly fish oil (omega 3 essential fat) as well as fruits high in fiber such as berries and apples and green vegetables. All natural foods will help with fat burning for several reasons including helping stabilize your blood sugar (very key in fat loss) and having a high thermogenic effect of food (the amount of calories the body burns just in digestion alone). Avoid eating processed foods that will offer little nutritional value, possibly elevate blood sugar, and offer minimal thermogenic effect of food.

The next big component in weight loss/fat loss is meal frequency. Instead of the old and outdated three meals a day break your meals down into 5 to 7 small meals each day, beginning when you first wake up. Try to make sure to eat every 2 to 3 hours. Studies have proven that breaking foods down into smaller, more frequent portions results in greater burning of calories and greater weight loss than eating less frequent meals.

Remember to stay hydrated

One of the most overlooked parts of losing weight is drinking water. I usually don't have clients drinking exact amounts of water each day instead I tell them to check their urine output. This is one of the best ways to monitor hydration status. Your urine should be clear and of a reasonable amount of volume if you are adequately hydrated. Hydration status can greatly affect weight loss/fat loss for a variety of physiological reasons and is very important part of any nutrition program.

Time your meals effectively

Another part of any proper nutrition program is meal timing. It is best to balance out your small meals throughout the day with roughly the same amount of food at each small meal but there are times of the day when you can eat a little more at a certain meal and eat a little less at a certain meal. The first meal of the day and the post workout meal are both meals where you can eat a little bit more than at your other small meals. The reason for this is your body's hormones are at a heightened level at both these times and the need for food and nutrients is high when you first wake up and when you just get done exercising, in particular weight training. The body's ability to store food as body fat is minimal at both of these times. To the contrary the last meal of the day is a time when you would want to have your smallest meal of the day. I tell clients to keep their total food intake low at the last meal of the day and keep the total carbohydrate intake low at this time as well. The body is very susceptible to store any extra food as body fat late at night and eating large meals late at night is one of the easiest ways to not only not lose weight but to gain it.

Be patient, realistic, and make a lifestyle change

One thing to keep in mind is that there are no quick fixes. Many diets, weight loss programs, supplements, and books promise quick weight loss results but few if any deliver permanent, long term weight loss that is also the right type of weight loss. That right type of weight loss is of course fat loss. Losing weight just to have the scale go down when the weight isn't the right type of weight is a futile effort that will surely result in weight regain and maybe more in the near future. The statistics for weight loss back up that there are no quick fixes. According to Dr. Rudy Liebel (an obesity research expert) 95% of people who lose body fat regain it all (and possibly more) after a year! Also 95% to 98% of people who lose weight regain it all within 5 years. The only permanent solution to weight loss is to consistently follow a healthy nutrition program that includes the guidelines I mentioned and to follow a consistent exercise program.