Hi everyone, my name is Kirstin and I am a personal trainer at Tucson Strength. Prior to becoming a trainer I also studied and earned a degree in  Nutritional Sciences.  I want to use my knowledge to help others achieve their fitness and health related goals. I will be regularly contributing the the  Tucson Strength blog with simple steps to follow on health and fitness. If you have any questions or a topic you would like me to write about, just let us know.

Fat loss can be a frustrating journey. Either people struggle at the beginning and then quit, or they see progress in the beginning and then plateau. People can over complicate their fat loss journey by measuring their food intake and counting calories, but from my own experience, having a long-term approach will be more successful in the end! Here are my top three tips to help with fat loss:

1. Drastically cutting calories is not always the answer to fat loss. Fat loss should be a patient process that slowly progresses over time. Many crash diets will allow you to see results quickly, but it wont last long until you crash with fatigue, cravings, and binge cycles. Fat loss occurs when you are at a caloric deficit, which is burning more calories than you consume. Start by eating more whole foods- such as fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Avoid packaged and processed foods as much as possible. The fiber in whole foods will fill you up faster and allow you to stay full for longer. After switching to whole foods, eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. This will give your body what it needs and will help your body regulate its own intuitive eating process. If you struggle listening to your body, drinking water throughout your meal and slowing down while eating will help you be more aware of how full you are. Some days your body will be hungrier depending on activity level, and some days it won’t be hungry at all. Listen to your body!

2. Protein is key to fat loss and women should be eating it at every meal. Protein is slow digesting which will allow you to be full for a longer period of time. You should eat protein with every meal or snack; for example, have an apple with some almond butter, or have some fruit with a protein shake. Protein is also made up of amino acids, which can help repair and rebuild damaged muscle tissue and the more muscle you build, the more calories you can burn while at rest.

3. The last tip I have for long-term fat loss is increasing your Non-exercise physical activity (NEAT). Your daily energy requirement is made up of your basal metabolic rate + thermic effect of food + NEAT. Basal metabolic rate depends on height, weight, and how many calories your body burns while at rest. Thermic effect of food is the amount of calories your body burns while digesting food. Finally, NEAT makes up the rest of the daily energy requirements. This depends on how active you are in both intentional exercise and normal life activities- such as cleaning, shopping, walking, etc. A lot of the times we blame our metabolism for being slow, but it’s actually our NEAT activity that has decreased: when NEAT decreases, we burn fewer

calories throughout the day. If we don’t decrease our food intake then weight gain can occur. To increase your NEAT activity, get moving! Park further away from the door, take the stairs instead of the elevator/escalator, or buy a pedometer and set a step goal for yourself! These small changes can make a huge impact long-term.