Sunday morning I woke up, spent about 20 minutes cuddling with my dogs, and then groggily climbed my way up the dark, never ending stairs from my parent’s basement. Desperately in search of coffee. I had stayed at their house over the weekend to make sure my little brother didn’t burn the house down while they were gone, and had completely forgotten just how much shorter the walk to my kitchen, and French press, is at my apartment.
Once I finally climbed the stairs of suburban Everest and hooked up my caffeine IV I sat down at the kitchen table. Slowly sliding my MacBook across the glass table top towards me. I had to slide it, because in the mornings I’m far too lazy to pick up a computer that weighs less than 3lbs.
But before I could get to work, I first had to deal with the utter mind fuck that it was nearly 10am. I haven’t slept until 10am in years. At least not when I’ve been sober the night before.
What the hell? I didn’t get smashed last night, so I know I’m not hung over. How did I sleep this late?
And then it dawned (pun game strong) on me; daylight savings time and springing forward. Otherwise known as the worst day of the year. Why the hell we still adhere to an outdated tenant of agrarian society in our modern age is beyond my comprehension.
I planned to spend my Sunday morning digging up research that would go in an article for one of the sites I write for, when I found myself falling down the Google rabbit hole faster than Alice could’ve ever imagined.
At one point I googled the phrase “fat loss hacks” and .44 seconds later I found myself staring back at 569,000 different search results.
That’s a ton of results for fat loss hacking. So I did what anybody would when presented with a plethora of choices all promising ways to get shredded. I decided I’d check out some of the 569,000 fat loss hacks at my disposal.
Some tips turned out to be extremely useful, but most sucked. Things like drinking ice-cold water, covering every single piece of food you eat with cinnamon, etc.
So, in the hacker spirit I figured I’d hack the hacks by writing my own list of fat loss hacks. Except these hacks actually work. It’s like hacking inception.
This piece you’re reading is the result of my Sunday morning that turned into hackception. Here are 5.5 fat loss hacks you need to be using.
1) Keep track of how much you eat.
Fucking mind blowing, right? Tracking how much you eat? That’s some next level shit.
Tracking how much you eat may not be sexy, and it’s not as simple as filling a glass up with ice cubes. But unlike filling your cup with ice, it’s one of the few things you can start doing that has an immediate and measurable impact on your results.
Keeping up with your food intake allows you to see exactly where you stand day in and day out. It provides immediate info on whether or not you’re overeating, getting in enough protein, or snacking too much on the candy sitting at your desk.
While you may think that you’re not overeating or that you don’t need to track, you just need to eat a little less, it’s important to know that tracking also functions as a way to help us overcome narrative bias.
We have a tendency to lie to ourselves to fit things within a specific narrative, and it typically requires an outside source or hard data to bust that narrative. Tracking is a damn good way of making that happen when it comes to dieting.
And while there are many people out there who have shown that the foods we buy and the trackers we use don’t have consistent calorie information, accounting for specific calories is only part of the reason tracking can be so valuable.
Tracking your food intake will help you shed fat is because of the reframe that it causes. You start seeing what actual servings of peanut butter, oil, and sour cream look like. You suddenly start thinking about that popcorn your munching on, and what the macros are for a serving of it.
Obviously that’s not something you want to do for the rest of your life, nor should you. But for short periods of time, especially when you’re trying to get shredded, tracking food intake can be one of the biggest fat loss tools you’ve got in your fat loss utility belt.
2) Eat dead animal flesh. Lots of it.
Eating protein and lots of it is one of the best things you could possibly do in your hopes to melt fat, build slabs of muscle, and get really really ridiculously good looking.
When you’re trying to drop fat you’re obviously going to be training hard. But all of that time spent in the weight room is all for naught if you neglect recovery, and that’s where protein comes in.
We all know that training hard causes a breakdown of muscle tissue, and the ensuing response of rebuilding that tissue is what causes us to get jacked. Getting in enough protein makes that magic happen.
The other big reason you need to be eating plenty of protein is the satiating effect it provides. Protein keeps you fuller for longer, and requires more energy to break down than carbs or fats. Eating plenty of it, especially on a fat loss diet when calories are limited, will help keep you fuller for longer.
Bonus points if you eat the flesh of your enemies.
3) Taste the rainbow.
I used to love those Skittles commercials, even though I was never a Skittles guy. If I wanted chewy colorful candy I was all about Starburst.
I’m not advocating eating Skittles to your hearts desire, though. Instead we’re talking about a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Meaning you should be eating as many different colored fruits and vegetables as possible.
Eating the rainbow gets you healthy and shredded, SON.
First and foremost, this is excellent from a health standpoint because the variety of nutrients that you’ll be receiving. Eating greens, reds, yellows, purples, and other colors in all their various shades is going to ensure that you get a diverse mix of micronutrients. And while it’s common for us to worry about calories and macros while trying to drop fat, you can’t forget the micros either.
When it comes to physique purposes, eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is a good move because these foods are filling, nutrient dense, and don’t provide much of a caloric hit.
That’s because rainbow foods are typically high volume foods. A cup of carrots, for example, is going to be a somewhat filling side dish. But that filling side dish is only worth about 50 calories of energy.
50 calories is hardly anything, but when calories are restricted and suddenly more valuable during a fat loss diet, those 50 very filling calories suddenly become your best friend.
4) Cut out most of the processed food.
Lately it’s been in vogue from fitness professionals and enthusiasts to post pictures of the shit quality foods that they love to eat as a way to show off their balance. And while I’m all for balance, if you’re just starting a diet or trying to get exceptionally lean then I’d advice you cut out the processed food for awhile.
Low quality and highly processed foods carry too many calories, and when you’re trying to lose fat those calories are at a premium. It doesn’t make sense to blow 1/3 or 1/4 of your calories on Pop-Tarts or a doughnut, and force yourself to scramble the rest of the day trying to figure out how to make your calories and macros work.
But that’s not even the big point.
The main reason you need to be removing those foods is because they’re so stimulating to your taste buds. They completely fuck with your desire for what is palatable and satisfying.
Highly processed foods are designed to elicit a very specific reaction within the pleasure centers of our brains. That’s why they taste so damn good, and why we crave them the more we eat them. But after awhile we become desensitized, and we start craving more.
Removing those foods is a way to reset that desire set point. Which is another way of saying you quit spoiling yourself and start understanding what food that isn’t drowning in salt, sugar, fat tastes like again.
A major caveat to this entire point: if you’re at a really nice restaurant, out with a date, have a birthday or some other special occasion this rule can and should be bent a little bit. Rich, decadent foods deserved to be enjoyed every once in awhile.
This rule isn’t for those special occasions. This rule is for the people who are trying to play macro tetris to fit junk food into their diets.
5) Start flexing your culinary muscle.
It never ceases to amaze me just how many people still hate the idea of cooking. I’ve never understood that. Going all the way back to high school I’ve loved to cook, and in college my roommates and I prided ourselves on our ability to whip up a mean dish for any lady that came over.
Aside from seducing the temptress you’ve invited over, learning to cook is one of the biggest life skills you need to know, especially if you’re trying to get shredded.
Sure, you can eat Chipotle all day everyday, but at some point that shit gets expensive. And not only does it get expensive, you’re relying on other people to measure out and control your portions.
This is a problem.
As we know, on a fat loss diet calories are at a premium. Getting in extra and unaccounted for calories can stall your progress. And while one meal that contains some extra calories isn’t going to kill you, eating out every single meal and depending on restaurants certainly can.
5.5) Catch some zzz’s.
If you’re sleeping under 6 hours a night, then chances are you’re making it damn near impossible on yourself to drop fat. Sleep is a vital component of any program. Sleep is your time to recover, your brain gets a chance to defrag and process all the info it had to deal with during the day, and you get to dream about your wildest sexual fantasies.
Without sleep, none of that happens, and you stay fat. Because while sleep is important for recovery, lack of sleep severely impacts your willpower the next day. While a well rested version of you may be able to resist the cookies and doughnuts sitting in the break room, sleep deprived you sees a short term sugar high to help mitigate the lack of rest.
That’s not it, though.
Lack of sleep also impacts your insulin sensitivity, which can play a role in your ability to mobilize or store fatty acids. If you’ve got poor insulin sensitivity, it’s easier to hold on to fat. This is part of the reason why so many diabetics are overweight.
You may like to think you’re one of the rare people in this world who can function on 3 hours of sleep, pound coffee, and be perfectly fine. Chances are you’re completely wrong. Don’t push your body to the breaking point. Rest, relax, and get abs as a result.
Quit Facebooking while laying in bed for 30 minutes, turn off all your electronics an hour before bed, read a damn book, and then get some rest. Your abs will thank you for it.
If you’ve followed all 5.5 of these fat loss hacks and you still can’t seem to get rid of the fluff you packed on this past winter, then don’t hesitate to shoot me an email. Tell me what’s going on, and I’ll be happy to help get you back on the path to that leads to abs.