Article last updated: November 2018 by Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Trainer
You’ve been on a strict diet and you did a lot of cardio, and you lost a bit of fat, but not as much as you would like to.
You still have love handles, and you don’t look like you workout.
You’re feeling lethargic and irritable.
Then, all of a sudden, your fat loss stops and you wonder how to proceed.
Your body is clearly signalling that you shouldn’t reduce calories further, but you still have those damn love handles, so what can you do to shred them while feeling good in the process?
You need to take a step back and reset your body.
Your Fat Loss Stopped Because You Wanted A Quick Fix
The main reason to why your fat loss stopped despite you dieting hard is that you wanted to lose it fast.
You wanted to have that 6-pack fast, so you decided to drop your calories fast, even if that means feeling like shit during the process.
When you do that, you set yourself up for failure because of the following reasons:
- You feel irritable and lethargic at low calorie levels. There’s no way you can sustain this type of diet for long enough to get ripped, and if you do, you may damage your hormones.
- Feeling irritable and lethargic during a diet is a sign that your body needs more calories to function properly. If you don’t supply it with enough calories, things inside go to shit. Your testosterone levels (main muscle building hormone) drop, and your cortisol levels (stress hormone) increase. Low testosterone and high cortisol make it close to impossible to lose that last bit of chub around your waist.
- Your body adapts to a set amount of calories fast. If you eat 2000 calories a day, your body will adapt to that number.
You’re Supposed To Feel Good In The Process
When I lost 60 pounds of fat, I felt good throughout the process (with the exception of those last 10 pounds or so because I went on a low carb diet).
I felt energized and I was able to train hard 4-6 days a week for 2-3 hours a day while studying for final exams at business school in the second most competitive program in my country and travelling a lot.
I did have times during the day where I felt a bit hungry, but that was never more than 3-4 hours and the hunger level was slight.
My athletic performance improved, I got better grades in business school and I had a lot of experiences from my travels.
I couldn’t have done all these things if I went on a crash diet and lost the fat fast.
The reason to why I could have all this energy and mental focus while dieting was that I had a long-term fat loss mindset.
I knew that 90% of people who lose fat regain it within 2 years, and I didn’t want to be part of that statistic.
I looked at how most people lose fat, and most of them lose it fast.
Their fat-to-fit stories are inspirational, but the way they lose fat sets them up for failure since they can’t sustain that type of lifestyle forever.
Therefore, I decided to take the opposite approach and lose fat slowly.
I lost 60 pounds in 18 months, which is about 3.3 pounds per month.
That may not sound impressive and I even had a few guys comment on my YouTube transformation video that I should have done “this and that instead” to lose fat faster.
However, now I am here, 3.5 years after shredding my fat and I’ve been in good shape ever since.
Because of that, I put all my Online Transformation Program clients on a similar fat loss protocol and most of them experience fat loss while feeling great in the process.
I want you to achieve this type of fat loss too, and it all starts with resetting your body so you can achieve sustainable fat loss.
How to Reset Your Body For Sustainable Fat Loss
When you lose fat, you want to keep calories as high as possible and shred the fat gradually.
This can be a bit tricky though if you’ve already gone on a crash diet, lost some fat and then hit a wall.
With that said, if I were in your shoes, here’s what I would do to reset your body:
- Optimize your diet.
- Increase your calories to 2500-2800 depending on how big you are. (The closer you are to 200 pounds, the higher your calories, and if you’re over 200, just keep the calories around 2800).
- Stay on this caloric level for 4 weeks to reset your hormones and functions inside your body.
While doing this, you want to do a good strength training routine such as bodyweight training for the skinny-fat beginner to build some muscle mass and strength (muscle mass increases your metabolism, so you burn more fat at rest).
Then, once your body is reset, you’re ready to start dieting down again.
However, when you start again, don’t make the same mistake you made last time.
Don’t go into your diet with a “quick fix mindset”.
Start lowering your calories with 300 each week until you start losing just 0.25-0.5 inch around your waist or hips per week. Once you’re at this level, stay at it and keep adjusting your diet whenever you don’t see progress for 2 weeks.
Be proud but stay hungry,