Keto, vegan, CrossFit, carnivore, juice cleanse, fat burners, unstructured fasting, triathlon and marathon training . . .
These are just some of the things that people do in extreme efforts to lose body fat. We are IN NO WAY putting these things down. They all have their place in various health and exercise processes. But, like all exercise and health tools, they work best when approached in a progressive and deliberate way. Additionally, precisely none of them are particularly effective for fat loss. Why? Great question. It all depends on the person trying to lose the fat. In other words, YOU!
Namely, if you cannot sustain a particular method or mode of fat loss, then it is by definition ineffective for you. Taking up unsustainable, extreme and wholly unfulfilling modes of fat loss tends to not only prevent positive, long-term health and physique changes from manifesting, it also promotes participants ending off worse than they started. In other words, with more body fat than they had originally, having become more discouraged and feeling worse about themselves.
Sustainable methods of fat loss around nutrition, exercise and lifestyle should be in a tolerable zone of work. You should certainly feel that you are making an effort and some desired appropriate changes. However, you ought not feel any significant deprivation, pain or decrease in your ability to function. Quite the opposite, actually - you ought to feel like your fat loss efforts are adding to your overall capabilities, functionality and enjoyment of life. Said another way, fat loss (for the vast majority of people) ought to come to you as an expression of an increase in your health.
Here are some signs that your fat loss process is sustainable, healthy and positive:
You have increased energy
You are losing an approximate average of 0.5% of your body weight per week (e.g. if you are starting at 200 lbs, then you are losing an average of one pound per week)
You are adding lean muscle tissue to your frame - not in an extreme way, but in a way that reflects better nutrition and exercise
You are actually enjoying the process
Neither you nor your loved ones feel a real sense of deprivation or around your efforts
You find your outlook on food, exercise and your health to be increasingly positive
You find yourself reframing your outlook on the role of food and exercise in your health and lifestyle.
That last point is a perfect segue into our next topic . . .