This amazing guest post was written by Shawna Kaminski, a fitness professional who has been in the industry for over 30 years! You can check out her Facebook Page here.
If you’re like many, you may have a little extra baggage hanging around your middle that you’d like to unload.
Surprisingly, it’s not ‘actually’ rocket science to drop weight. In fact, you may already know some of the principles below that are really just ‘common sense’ when you think about them.
Sadly, sometimes a busy life pushes common sense out the window. So while some of these things may not seem like a ‘sexy new magic bullet’, the good news is that easy and sustainable fat loss is achievable for ANY one when you incorporate these principles into your lifestyle.
And it does take CONSISTENT application of a few principles.
21 Ways to Lose 21 Pounds
The first seven ways to drop weight will address your nutrition…
No surprise here – losing weight will mean that you need to take a look at what’s falling into your mouth. But don’t worry; I will NOT suggest starving yourself! Consistently apply these seven principles and you’ll be well on your way to losing pounds…
1. Increase Protein
If you want to get off the energy roller coaster, include a minimum of 10 grams of protein at meals and snacks. Protein helps stabilize blood sugar and by moderating swings in blood sugar, your energy will then be steadier.
It’s so much easier to avoid temptation when you’re not starving. As well, you can lessen cravings for caffeine and sugar, which tend to be the ‘go to’ for many when energy crashes.
Leidy H et al. The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance .
2. Add Healthy Fat
Contrary to what people used to think, fat does NOT make you fat. In fact, studies prove that increasing the ‘right’ type of fat will aid in fat loss.
Seed and vegetable oils and especially trans fats will increase inflammation in the body. These fats aren’t heat stable, they oxidize during the cooking process and they’re linked to a variety of health issues.
Your BEST bet is to include coconut oil in your diet daily.
Coconut oil, although a saturated fat, actually lowers stroke and heart disease. It’s versatile, delicious and easy to cook with .
3. Reduce Sugar
This principle needs little explanation…
Sugar causes inflammation, which can lead to achy joints and lethargy. When you eat sugar, you crave more of it and eating more sugar causes energy crashes as noted above.
To reduce sugar intake, an easy rule of thumb is to read labels and imagine the sugar content of a food in teaspoons of sugar.
It’s easy to figure out your sugar consumption by reading food labels. The best way to visualize sugar content is to take the carbohydrate count and divide it by four.
For example: if a serving size has 28 g of carbs, then that would amount to 7 teaspoons of sugar.
Your goal should be to limit sugar consumption to a serving size of no more than 4 teaspoons of sugar or 16g of carbs at a time.
Try to keep refined and process sugars out of your diet completely.
4. Drink More Water
Before eating anything, try drinking water because often times you may just be thirsty and not hungry. Adequate hydration is a fat loss key.
It also goes without saying that you need to eliminate drinking your calories.
There’s no room for sugar-laden fruit juices or even diet soda in a healthy nutrition plan. Although there may be some nutritional value in fruit juice, you get none of the fiber and all of the sugar.
Artificial sweeteners in diet soda wreak havoc in your body because the body just doesn’t know what to do with these chemicals so inflammation and bloating results.
5. Eat Carbs!
Carbs are NOT the devil. In fact, your brain needs carbohydrates to function. Your ‘go to’ carbs should come mainly from vegetables and 1-2 fruits daily.
Starchy carbs should be chosen from complex low glycemic options such as quinoa sweet potatoes and rice. For those that aren’t gluten intolerant, sprouted grain bread is a good choice, in moderation.
Pastore R. et al. Paleolithic nutrition improves plasma lipid concentrations of hypercholesterolemic adults to a greater extent… 
6. Are You Really Hungry?
It’s helpful to get in touch with your appetite to find out if you’re really hungry or if your eating is fueled by emotion, habit, social pressure or boredom.
Eating while doing other things like driving or watching TV is almost always a recipe for overeating. Being mindful by tasting every bite helps you to slow down, enjoy your food more and eat less.
7. My Best Fat Loss Mantra: Never Starving/Never Stuffed
To avoid energy crashes and overeating, it’s best to eat a little before you get too hungry and stop eating before you get full.
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It takes up to 20 minutes for your belly to tell your brain that it’s ‘full’, so slow your eating down!
Often if you’re starving, you’ll stuff your face and by the time your brain gets the message that your belly is full, you’ll need to undo your pants.
Snacks help! Don’t discount the need for snacks throughout the day, here’s a short video on choosing some healthy snacks on the go.
The next seven tips involve exercise.
It’s no mystery that if you want your butt to look better in your jeans, you’d better get off of yours.
8. STOP Steady State Cardio
Save time and reduce repetitive use injuries by stopping the slow plod on the ‘dread-mill’ or another cardio machine. 
Here’s a great workout alternative that you can use on your treadmill. It combines BOTH cardio ‘bursts’ with resistance training to get the MOST bang out of your workout time:
9. Build Lean Muscle Tone with Resistance Training
Doing body weight exercise is plenty to start to build lean muscle and muscle is what fuels your metabolism. In order to put the sexy back in your jeans and keep your metabolic fire stoked, focus on MORE resistance training and LESS cardio exercise. The happy surprise is that when done properly, you can keep your workout time well under 30 minutes. 
Watch this to understand how to keep your metabolism on fire:
10. Keep Workouts Short
Working with intensity for short periods of time is the ‘secret sauce’ to fat loss. Most people are time poor – the #1 objection to not exercising is the lack of time – so by keeping workouts 15-20 minutes, no one can use the tired excuse that ‘I have no time’. 
11. Include Compound Movements
Include ‘metabolically expensive’ movements in your workout. Exercises that work multiple joints and bigger muscle groups (think quads instead of biceps for example) will burn more calories and tone up your body in the shortest amount of time.
The exercises in this video are brilliant for overall toning and will tone up your booty:
12. Stop Doing Sit Ups
Everyone wants a flat belly, but getting one involves doing less sit-ups and more metabolically expensive exercises like the compound movements mentioned above. To burn belly fat and get a tight core, getting a sweat on is ‘the’ most important thing.
Here’s a good video that explains more:
Here are some great sit up alternatives:
13. Be Consistent
‘Workout consistency’ trumps ‘workout duration’ hands down time and again. In other words, it’s better to do a small amount of exercise every day than to be a workout warrior and train for 2 hours only occasionally.
14. Have Fun!
The more you enjoy your workout, the more likely it’s going to get done so find something you love doing. Get a workout buddy to workout with and possibly add some variety to ease boredom.
The last seven tips for sustainable fat loss may be things you’ve never considered…
15. Increase Sleep
Whoever thought that you could sleep your fat away? The truth is, lack of sleep increases the belly fat storing hormone, cortisol. Getting regular sleep is one of the easiest ways to drop belly fat.
Here’s a short video explaining how you can sleep your way thin:
16. Reduce Stress
Stress also increases the belly fat storing hormone, cortisol. By finding ways to ease stress, your belly fat will melt away much more easily.
17. Get Social Support
Your support network should encourage and lift you up when you fall. Surrounding yourself with those that support your fat loss goals is imperative and offers surprising benefits. If you have no one in your immediate circle to support your goals, you can easily find online communities to do this.
18. Be Accountable
The simple technique of reporting to a coach has an amazing fat busting effect. While your support network will be empathetic, your coach will hold your feet to the fire and tell you the truth about your path and progress.
19. Set a Deadline
‘Someday’ never happens, so if you’re serious about fat loss, it’s best to be specific about your fat loss goals and align them to a calendar date.
20. Make One Change at a Time
Set yourself up for success by making small sustainable changes. For example, it’s not likely that you’ll be successful if you make severe nutritional changes all on day one.
Instead, make one small change like adding protein with every meal, then when you feel you’ve got that covered, make another small change like adding more veggies to your diet. Over time, you’ll have changed your entire nutritional lifestyle and you won’t feel deprived or overwhelmed.
The same goes for exercise. Committing to short bouts with consistent effort is a successful and sustainable fat loss approach. There’s no need to invest hours and hours to daily exercise as this level of effort won’t likely last.
21. Have a plan!
Could you imagine going on a cross-country journey without your road map or GPS? or planning for your retirement without organizing your finances?
Your fitness journey is no different. While it’s not rocket science, it does take some fore thought. The fact that you’ve read this entire post is a great sign that you’re invested in your health.
Check out 5 more easy to follow Menopause Hacks here.
 The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , April 29, 2015
 School of Health Sciences, Eastern Michigan University: June 2015; vol. 35 pg.474–479
 Schuenke MD, Mikat RP, McBride JM. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2002 Mar;86(5):411-7. Epub 2002 Jan 29
 Takahashi A, et al. Simple Resistance Exercise helps Patients with Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Int J Sports Med. 2015 Jun 19
 Brownlee, K., Moore, A. W., Hackney, A.C. (2005) Relationship Between Circulating Cortisol and Testosterone: Influence of Physical Activity. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. 4, 76-83
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