When did it become so complicated to just try to lose weight-or more specifically to lose fat? It seems like everyone who offers nutrition advice has a myriad of products to sell, a complicated nutrition program to follow, or requires you to eliminate an entire food group for you to achieve your goal. Do you ever wish it could be easier than this?

What if I told you it can? What if I was able to provide you with 5 Simple but Powerful Points* that you can do starting now to get you headed in the right direction to losing that  extra insulation.

5 Simple Tips to Fat Loss

Here is a summary of 5 point cheat sheet that was created by Dr John Berardi, the founder of Precision Nutrition. Dr Berardi’s cheat sheet is a simple and effective “free program” to help you get started on making small changes to your daily nutrition if you want to lose a little fat for fall (or any season).

1. Pay Attention to Portion Control. For most people portion control can be a big issue. Especially if your daily nutrition includes a lot of bagged or boxed processed foods. It is hard to get a handle on how much you are eating when you don’t even know exactly what you are eating each day. If you don’t want to count calories, a simple starting point is just eat a smaller amount than you normally would. This may mean filling up a smaller plate, leaving some on your current plate or reducing the amount that you initially put on your plate. No matter how you get it done, cutting back on portion size will reduce calories. Reducing calories will usually contribute to fat loss.†

2. Increase Your Protein. When you reduce calories you need to increase your protein. Increasing your protein while reducing calories will help you lose fat and not muscle. If you just decrease calories or decrease protein, you can end up being “skinny fat”-and that is ultimately not much healthier, more functional or more desirable than where you started.

Adding in lean meats, legumes or protein powdered supplements (note the ingredients) are basic ways to increase your protein. Ideally men should eat 2 palm-size portions of protein each meal and women should eat 1 palm-size portion. This recommendation is given for a person who eats 3-4 meals a day.π

3. Pause Before Choosing Starches and Sugars. Are you filling up on grains and potatoes or processed breads, pastas, cereals, sodas, juices, and dressings ? (Wow-that was a long list). Excess starches and sugars can not only prevent fat loss but can cause even more weight gain. Men, keep your portion size under a fist per meal. Women, let than 1/2 fist. Reduce sugar as much as possible. The goal is not to eliminate this food group but just reduce the portion size or even just trade processed items for whole food items. Trading pasta and bread for sweet potatoes or quinoa would be a great change of direction

4. Plenty of Vegetables. You know that starch you just reduced? Feel free to replace that loss with a flavorful vegetable. Not only will adding some greens to you meal help you feel full, but it will also increase your fiber and add some powerful nutrients to your day. Get creative with your veggies. You don’t have to eat them in the raw! Try roasting sautéing, or even making homemade veggies chips. Need some ideas? Check out The Athletic Rider Pinterest Boards. I am always updating my Clean Eating Boards with simple, mouth-watering and healthy recipes. Men be sure to get in a cup each meal. Women don’t get less than 1/2 cup!

5. The Power of Fats. Did you know that fats don’t make you fat? They don’t! Excess calories make you fat! Just make sure the fast you choose are naturally occurring and not highly processed. Just remember thumbs up for women and two thumbs up for the guys. That should be an easy way to remember than women should have 1 thumb size portion of fats and men should have 2 for every meal.

If you found this approach to fat loss liberating, I can’t wait for you to see what is coming up at The Athletic Rider! On September 16, 2014 I enrolled in the Precision Nutrition Certification course, with plans to complete the program by early 2015. I look forward to providing even more practical nutrition advice to help riders not only get fit through fitness but healthy through the “life-changing, research-driven nutrition coaching” offered from Precision Nutrition.

*If you suffer from a medical condition or have any emotional struggles with eating, please consult a professional to make sure you receive an individualized nutrition program.
† The exception to this rule is a chronic “under-eater.” Sometimes in the name of losing weight a person will so severely restrict his or her calories that the lower amount of calories can interfere with fat loss. If you are concerned that this could be you, please check out Get A HANDle on Portion Control to see if you are eating too little. You might also be interested in Should You Supplement to better understand why under-eating deprives your body of essential nutrients.
π If you are a 5-6 meal a day eater, divide your 3-4portions over those 5-6 meals-or you could get in trouble with Tip #1.

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