Nutrition basics for decreasing body fat

Dr. Noah Dean

Often times people (mostly females) will ask me for nutritional/workout tips on how to lose weight. In the past I’ve been quick to commit to a prolonged lecture with the individual – summarizing my 11 years of college education into a 30-minute oration. However I’ve learned that such effort on my part is, more often than not, a complete waste of time. Nowadays, I immediately turn into “observation mode” when approached with such questions. I try to assess the level of their commitment to the said endeavor by carefully watching body language, listening to reason(s) for such a goal, and asking questions like “Why exactly do you want to lose weight?” and “What have you tried thus far?”  I’ve seen my advice be ignored too many times not to be cautious. Additionally, the joke that is our health care system has provided too much security (in many forms) to those who hold little to no emphasis on physical wellness – so finding someone REALLY ready to change for the better is becoming more and more rare.

However, every now and then I come across someone who’s serious. I can see they’ve been beaten down by an army of negativity and they’ve reached a breaking point. Their eyes reveal the struggle that is their daily life. Whether it’s a former athlete who can’t stand what he sees in the mirror or a woman who has never known a category outside of “fatty”, I can sense the desire for something different. It’s scary (and almost disturbing) how evidence of a broken spirit can resonate through the voice of someone desperate to change. On the same token, sometimes something beautiful that can stem from such distress – motivation.

And such a constructive trait is highly contagious.

When I see a man or woman ready to drop pounds by first dropping excuses, I too get motivated. It’s much easier for me to spend hours, days, even weeks mentoring someone through the changes required to improve health and wellness. In fact, I’m writing this article for such a person (Hello, Brooke!).

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So, in order to help those select few who are ready for real change (not Obama change), I’ve listed a few simple tips for body fat reduction.

1)      If you’re over weight, don’t put your goal into a “weight loss” mentality. Rather, make it a “fat loss” mentality. Muscle is a good thing. Men should have a body fat no more than ~18% and woman no more than ~24%. Any respectable gym, fitness studio, health/wellness center, or the like will have an, at least, somewhat accurate method of measuring your body fat to lean mass ratio. And no, ladies – unless you’re pumping yourself full of pharmaceutical enhancers you’re not going to appear masculine. The female body has an amazing way of self-preservation when it comes to femininity.


2)      Eat protein throughout the day. Many gym rats will preach about how a person needs to consume a certain amount of protein based on bodyweight. Although there is definite credibility to this, beginners sometimes make the mistake of consuming the daily requirements in just one or two meals. The best (and simplest) advice I give to someone new to the fat loss endeavor is to make sure at least 20 grams of protein are consumed at each meal.


3)      Have fun with movement. Yes, structured television workout programs such as P90X and Insanity provide excellent physical exercise. But… they are finite. I have yet to meet someone who has been able to adhere to such programs for years at a time. Monotony in exercise can be detrimental from a psychological and physiologic standpoint. We need to stay excited, thrilled, and enthusiastic about our physical activity – which is often possible only by having a dynamic exercise experience. If you’re not having fun, experiment and find an activity you enjoy. DO NOT just stop moving!


4)      Get your game face. This is by far the most vital (required) characteristic for someone claiming to want to improve physical fitness. Of course I’m not referring to the literal facial expression of someone. I’m referring back to the initial point made in this article. An individual MUST want it. Better yet, a person must feel they have no option but to fully commit. The road to decreasing significant body fat is difficult – and the slightest bit of apathy will inevitably derail the potential for success.

Unfortunately, such a “game face” is sometimes the result of compounding pain, frustration, self-loathing, and utter brokenness. I sincerely hope that those of you out there can reach your goals without such an experience. But that simply may not be the case. Either way, I hope you can all find your way to physical health. However, it’s important to understand that these four tips are just the tippy top of the educational iceberg. Remember, a hunger for health is best combined with a thirst for knowledge. If you’re willing to make the change to fat loss, do your homework. Keep researching, keep reading, keep moving… and don’t ever stop.

Thanks for your time.


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One Response to Nutrition basics for decreasing body fat

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