Diet and exercise get all of the attention when it comes to fat loss. While they both play a major role in the process, it’s not as simple as “eat less and move more” theory that so many of us repeat with full conviction. That approach can work for a while, but there’s more to it than that. Here are four things that I emphasize to make sure my clients continue to make progress on their fat loss journey.

  1. Sleep – Sleep deficit will make you hungrier and more impulsive, and you’ll have a strong craving for high-carbohydrate foods. This makes avoiding the muffins at the coffee shop, or turning down the donuts at the office a nearly impossible feat. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re more likely to reach for one of these at times when you normally wouldn’t.
  2. Out-training Your Diet – Getting too aggressive with exercise and doing an obscene amount of cardio, spending hours in the weight room each day, or doing two-a-day training sessions, can lead to a voracious appetite. Which is probably not in line with your goals. Whether it’s running, intense strength training, or even cardio classes, it’s important to pay attention to how your fitness activities affects your hunger.
  3. Don’t Deprive Yourself – The key to being able to stick with your nutrition approach is to ensure that you love what you’re eating. Thanks to the internet, there are millions of recipes. While it might take you 20 minutes to bake a week’s worth of bland chicken breasts, it would only take you an extra few minutes to whip up a tasty sauce for them, a new seasoning blend, or another way of cooking them. Better tasting food means you have an enjoyable eat experience. This will leave you satisfied and happy!
  4. Cardio – Be smart about doing cardio. While some is often beneficial, more isn’t always better. Moderate intensity steady state cardio is a way to burn calories, yes. More importantly, it improves work capacity which can mean improved training. It can also aid in recovery from your strength workouts.

If you find yourself stuck and not making any progress, take a look at these four things, and see if making a new change can help push things forward. Once you make a change, stick with it for a few weeks, and then evaluate your progress.