Tips for fat loss

There are three ways in which the body burns calories, these three ways make up what is called your metabolism.

  1. Active daily living - Perhaps surprisingly, active daily living only accounts for approximately 15% of the calories we burn each day.

  2. The thermic effect of digesting food - This accounts for a further 15% comes from digestion and this number is more or less fixed.

  3. Basal metabolic rate (BMR) - Our BMR is the rate at which you burn calories that provide energy for all your total body's processes.  BMR accounts for approximately 70% of the total calories burned in a 24 hour period


If you want to lose weight you must raise your metabolism (make it burn more calories). This is obviously affected by how active or how sedentary we are.


As we cannot exercise for hours and hours every day, then exercise only accounts for a relatively small amount of the total calories burned in a day. This means the biggest factor affecting total calories burned in a day is our BMR. Anything that slows our metabolism even by a small amount has a large affect on the total calories burned. Likewise anything that increases your metabolism also has a large, but more positive affect.


This Calorie Calculator is based on the Mifflin-St Jeor Equation which calculates basal metabolic rate (BMR), and its results are based on an estimated average. The basal metabolic rate is the amount of energy expended per day at rest.


For men:

BMR = 10 × weight (kg) + 6.25 × height (cm) - 5 × age (y) + 5


For women:

BMR = 10 × weight (kg) + 6.25 × height (cm) - 5 × age (y) - 161


Note: accurate determination of the calories you burn can only be accomplished by individual physiological testing

7 principles of accelerated fat loss

  1. Eat fat to lose fat

  2. Reduce carbohydrate to control insulin and so promote fat burning

  3. Reduce carbohydrate to prevent unnecessary fat storage

  4. Consume sufficient protein to preserve muscle mass and promote optimal recovery following resistance training

  5. Consume plenty of vegetables and certain fruits as well as drink plenty of water to create an optimal environment for all chemical reactions to boost metabolism

  6. Complete weekly resistance training and high intensity cardio training to boost metabolism

  7. Complete as much cardio training as possible including being more active in the day to burn further fat calories

Exercise for fat loss

Certain types of exercise will raise basal metabolic rate and contribute to maximal energy expenditure.  Interval training for example improves cardio vascular (CV) fitness but also maximises energy expenditure.  During interval sessions more calories are burned than in a longer lower intensity session.  Additionally an hour after an interval session the body is still boring calories at a higher rate than normal.  This does not happen if moderate exercise is performed, interval training therefore serves a double roll and therefore should be the main type of CV work done. But interval training cannot be done every day, day after day, and still have the same benefits.  Too much intensity training and the body begins to become overly fatigued and can no longer adapt and perform to the same standard. There needs to be adequate recovery between sessions.

Part of the exercise component of a fat loss program should include resistance training. A twice weekly resistance program of 1-2 sets of exercises comprising either weight training or body weight exercises for the whole body for 30 minutes.  Resistance training also has the benefit of ensuring that the weight loss is primarily from fat and not muscle tissue.  In weight loss without a resistance training component weight loss is often as much or more from muscle mass as it is from fat stores.

Another part of the exercise component of a fat loss program is long duration, moderate intensity exercise and active daily living.  This should be done in addition to high intensity, short duration CV and resistance training to increase BMR.  80% of your BMR is determined by your lean body mass and CV fitness (Lean Body Mass being your weight minus the fat)  This means that an exercise program aimed at increasing lean muscle mass and improving CV fitness will increase BMR.  


Increasing BMR in this way will mean more calories are burned at rest, day and night.  By increasing your Base Metabolic Rate you turn your sluggish, slow energy burning body in to a high performance machine capable of burning fuel quickly, even at rest

eat better

The Eatwell guide as produced by the Foods Standards Agency

Carbohydrates = 4 cals/g

found in cereals, breads, fruit, & vegetables

broken down in to glucose

used for energy production & in brain function


Protein = 4 cals/g

found in puddings, butter & oils

broken down in to fatty acids & glycerol

used for nerve & cell transmission & protection

Fat = 9 cals per/g

found in meat, fish, nuts, seeds

broken down in to amino acids

used for growth & repair

Fast FooD, Take Away & facts
  1. Burgers tend to be lower in fat than deep fried chicken/fish sandwiches

  2. Order burgers without special sauces and mayonnaise

  3. Adding cheese to sandwiches/salads increases the fat content significantly

  4. Try a side salad instead of chips

  5. Salad bars may not be a good choice as they may be full of mayonnaise, salad dressings or lots of cheese

  6. Vegetable pizza (without cheese) can be a good choice

  7. Fish & Chips are probably among the highest fat choices

  8. Chinese restaurants, avoid deep fried items such as spring rolls, fried noodles, crispy meats, sweet & sour items etc.  Try ordering boiled rice

  9. Indian restaurants, avoid creamy sauces such as korma, anything fried or dipped in batter and consider dry curry with just boiled rice without the naan bread.

% fat free

Another potential problem is with foods advertised as "low fat" and claims about how "fat free" they are. Often manufacturers distort the truth about the fat content in their foods.  When we read a label claiming a product is 90% fat free what does this mean? Only 10% fat, not too bad right? Wrong! % fat free claims can be wildly misleading...

  • If a product weighs 100g has 20g of fat and has 200 calories then we can accurately say that the product is 20% fat by weight or 80% fat free.  But the fact remains that 180 calories out of the 200 comes from fat, this means there are only 20 calories from carbs & protein, this product is in fact mostly fat.  Water, artificial sweeteners and other additives that have no calorific value make up the bulk of the weight.

  • To make matters worse the manufacturer may decide that 80% fat free does not sound good enough, they want 90% fat free, easy enough, all they have to do is increase the weight of the product, often by just adding water & other substances.  So the fat content could be the same, it is just the weight that has changed.  So by adding water the product now weighs 200g, but still has 20g of fat and a total of 200 calories, so the product still has 180 calories from fat, but now the fat is only 10%, so 90% fat free by weight!

  • Computing a fat percentage by weight and bulking a product up with water is the most common strategy for getting people to buy a product believeing it is healthy and low in fat.

Nutrition values of two strawberry yoghurts (per 100g)



  of which saturates   


  of which sugars   


ONKEN 0% fat

75 kcal

0 g

0 g

13 g

12 g

4.5 g


69 kcal

1.9 g

0.3 g

8.4 g

8.1 g

3.6 g

The fat free yoghurt actually has more calories, more carbs and more of which turns to sugars.  

Although fat free sounds like a healthy option this isn't always the case so be careful of the clever marketing of these products. Often these products are higher in carbohydrates, which in turn is unhealthy if we are not active enough to burn off these carbs, as they they get stored in the body as sugar, this being a major factor in type II diabetes

 AND Remember the 'Principles of fat loss' No. 1

Recipe modification
  1. Roasted potatoes can be prepared to be low in fat by pre boiling cut potatoes then in a bowl drizzle a teaspoon or two of oil over the top. Mix so all the potatoes are coated lightly with oil and place on a tray just wiped with oil.

  2. Steam vegetables or cook in a microwave without fat

  3. If recipe calls for whole eggs or egg yolks, substitute with 1½ egg whites for each whole egg

  4. If the recipe calls for butter, lard or shortening, use vegetable margarine

  5. If baking a cake try replacing half of the fat with pureed fruit, such as stewed prunes or apple sauce, if you do this you can also decrease the amount of sugar used

  6. If the recipe calls for whole milk or cream try using canned evaporated, skimmed or low fat milk

  7. if the recipe calls for soured cream or double cream use plain low fat yoghurt or fromage frais.  If it is to be heated mix in 1 tablespoon of flour for each 240g used, to avid separation

  8. If the recipe calls for cream cheese use half the amount or substitute it for low fat cheese, try 'Quark' cheese instead of cream cheese

  9. Use nuts sparingly, limit to ½ or ¼ cup per person

  10. if the recipe calls for mayonnaise try using half the amount called for or less

  11. If the recipe calls for flour, substitute half as whole wheat flour (not recommended for delicate recipes such as sponges)

  12. If the recipe calls for salt use half the amount or less

  13. If the recipe calls for sugar try using ½ or ¼ the amount

  14. If making gravy or soups refrigerate the stock and skim the fat off the top

  15. Use Oxo or Bisto cubes and thicken with flour or cornflour

  16. If making a white sauce thicken skimmed milk with cornflour instead of margarine and flour