Tips To Help Ditch the Dad Bod
Summer is just around the corner! Bring on the barbeques, beach days, board shorts, and chilled beverages with the lads. If you’re looking to lean out and tighten up before hitting the pool, we’ve got you covered with a our tips to help ditch the dad bod (and even though June is Men’s Health Month, this info pertains to the ladies also!).
1. TO DIET OR NOT TO DIET?
No matter how you slice it, the number one influence in body composition is diet; specifically what you eat, and how much you eat. It has been seen time and time again that there is not one magic way of eating that trumps the rest. Keto, Low Fat, IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) and Vegan are some of the most popular diet trends. Yes, you can lose fat on all of these diets; however, it is also possible to gain weight while following the principles of these diets. The most ideal diet is the one that you can best adhere to. What we need to recognize is that fat loss comes down to a simple equation of calories in vs calories out. If you are in a calorie deficit, you will lose fat. Likewise, if you are in a calorie surplus, you will gain weight.
2. CREATING A CALORIC DEFICIT
Now that we can agree that a caloric deficit is the most important factor in fat loss, how do we create one? Great question. First, you will need to know what your maintenance calories are. Simply put, this is the number of calories that you would eat on a daily basis to maintain the weight you are currently at. Activity levels, body composition and NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) all influence your maintenance calories. You can use a calorie calculator online to get a rough idea of your maintenance calories, and from there test and adjust as needed. For the most accurate representation of your maintenance calories, we recommend tracking your food intake for a week without making any changes to your current diet. From this, you will be able to average out what your daily maintenance calories are, assuming your weight remains the same.
The most sustainable fat loss is done methodically, and at a moderate pace. Although this may take more time than you originally hoped, it also reduces the risk of muscle loss, or yo-yo dieting (periods of excessive restriction followed by binging behaviours).
Example: Mark wants to lose 10 pounds of body fat, at the rate of 1 pound per week. Seeing as a pound of fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories, he will need to create a deficit of 3,500 calories each week (500 calories/day) in order to meet his goal. Mark has tracked his food intake, weight, and activity levels for a week and is aware that his maintenance calories are 2,800. When it comes to creating a deficit, there are two factors that he can adjust: food intake and activity level. Mark can continue eating 2,800 calories each day, as long as he expends an additional 500 calories through activities such as running, walking, cycling, etc. Alternatively, Mark could choose to eat 2,300 calories per day, or he could combine any amount of moving more and eating less to create the necessary daily deficit of 500 calories.
3. FOOD TRACKING
Tracking your food is going to be the most reliable way to stay accountable to your goals. Apps such as MyFitnessPal, MyPlate, and MyNetDiary are all useful tools that can help you stay on track. When you know exactly what’s going into your body, it is easy to make adjustments to get you to where you want to be, instead of wasting time guessing.
However, perhaps tracking your food seems like it’s too big of an undertaking, or you’re not that serious about a particular weight loss goal. If that’s the case, here are 3 tips that can help you get lean without tracking your macros or following a specific diet:
- Eat protein with every meal: Seeing as protein is the most satiating macronutrient and will help preserve muscle while in a deficit, it’s important that you’re getting enough. If you want to lose weight, aim for a daily protein intake between 1.6 and 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Athletes and heavy exercisers should consume 2.2-3.4 grams of protein per kilogram, if aiming for weight loss.
- Eat more, weigh less (Volume Eating): When we eat to the point of fullness, the sensation of our stomach stretching signals to the brain that we don’t need to eat anymore, and we feel satisfied. In a fat loss phase, the key to feeling satiated is to trick the brain into thinking that we are still eating the same amount of food, when in fact we are eating less. Choosing foods that are high volume yet low in calories will help you to eat more, while still losing weight. Some great options for volume eating include vegetables (particularly green ones), berries, low-fat popcorn, 0% greek yogurt, egg whites, and boiled potatoes. All of these foods will fill you up for relatively low calories.
- Limit liquid calories: Yes, a sugary latte or a double whiskey and coke is a nice treat, but often these are extra calories that we neglect to account for, and they add up if we are not careful. Summer refreshers are all the rage, but did you know that a grande Starbucks refresher can add 200 calories and 30 grams of sugar to your intake? Liquids go down easy and often don’t fill us up, meaning we still end up eating the same amount of food and adding unnecessary calories to our daily intake without even realizing it. Try buying different herbal teas from the store, brewing a large batch, and sweetening it with stevia before letting it cool in the fridge. Pour some over ice for a calorie free drink that keeps the money in your wallet and inches off your waist. BCAAs are also a great low-calorie option for staying cool in the heat. Try blending ice, a scoop of your favourite BCAAs and water for a homemade slushie!
Summer is just around the corner and we want to help you look and feel your best! If you’re looking to ditch the dad bod, we hope that you find these tips useful. For more resources, stop by your local Reflex Supplements and have a chat with our experts. Tag us on Instagram or Facebook. We are #ReflexNation.