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Quick links to Rhino Fitness Articles on diet and exercise relating to fat loss

What is the best way to lose fat?

That is by far the number one question I get so I've put together this page dedicated to information on safe effective fat loss.

The three most significant variables concerning increasing or decreasing body fat:

1) Calories in; How much you eat in a day

2) Calories out; How much energy you expend in a day

3) Your emotions, personal values, and concept of reward in regards to eating

Things you need to know:

On the day you eat too much, you gain fat; not enough to notice, but it's there.

Fat gain typically occurs in small amounts over long periods, although we can pack on pounds quickly if we pound back extra servings of food daily. Fat gain is generally not considered a health risk until our waist line exceeds about 34 inches (86cm) for most males and 31.5 inches (80cm) for most females.

But why wait until we become a statistical risk? We don't suddenly wake up one day to discover that we gained weight. We gain fat slowly over months and years. The habits that cause excess body fat are overeating and lack of exercise; if we have these habits on most days, we gain fat on most days. Stop the cycle by starting to eat less and getting more active today.

The good news:

As soon as you have a regular caloric deficit fat loss occurs without failure. No one is immune to loosing fat, however the degree of caloric deficit is individual because of variability in genetics between people. A 300 calorie per day deficit may get significant results for one person, whereas another may need a 500 calorie deficit.

The single most important factor in maintaining permanent leanness:

You must permanently change your lifestyle. Altering your food intake and storming ahead with exercise as part of a short term weight loss goal will most likely fail in the long run. It's important to do a critical self analyses and call your self to task. Learn to associate healthy eating with reward and unhealthy eating with health risk. Exercise does not interfere with other items on your schedule, rather other items interfere with exercise.

It's not about following a special program for a few weeks to "get your butt in shape". It's about developing new values that enable you to feel internally motivated to make healthy choices.

Once you have made positive changes to your waist line and health, you must continue the habits that caused those healthy changes for the rest of your life. Returning to previous habits means gaining body fat back. Reducing body fat is not a temporary measure, it's the beginning of living a healthier life for the rest of your life.

This isn't about sulking around eating tiny amounts of bland food, it's about enjoying great tasting healthy food every day and actually feeling happy about the food you eat instead of feeling guilty.

Can't Lose Despite Trying

I've known people to claim to"try" to lose fat for years and years, and where they may achieve a degree of fat loss, they never lose the weight they need to and they typically gain back the weight they lost and then some. When we get to the bottom of exactly what is it that they have been "trying" for these years it becomes clear that in fact they do not stick to any plan. There is always a lack of dedication to either exercise or diet or both. However, from the individuals perspective they will swear wholeheartedly that they are indeed doing absolutely everything possible.

This is the disconnect between choosing to live a healthy life and consistently attempting to lose fat fast for superficial reasons or doing the quick fix. Consistently being preoccupied with fat loss and consistently trying and retrying fat loss schemes gives the illusion of dedication and trying hard. Worse though is the false impression that one cannot lose fat despite trying, or that once initial fat loss is accomplished, one can return to overeating.

It's important to understand that however rewarding overeating may feel, this connection must be permanently erased and replaced with a sense of reward from healthy eating and regular exercise, and this takes some mental and physical practice- consistent practice.

Having a good diet for two or three weeks then falling off the wagon for a few days or weeks, coupled with the same pattern for exercise can add up to months and years of inconsistency that can only provide inconsistent results. The people stuck in this pattern often come to saying to themselves, "what does it take to do this?! I've been trying for so long, what am I doing wrong?" - They can't perceive their inconsistency or the impact of their inconsistency and therefore cannot see where in fact they are going astray. Others do see their inconsistency, but have great difficulty overcoming it.

For certain, no individual could achieve the ideal caloric deficit and not lose fat - that is not humanly possible. Make a conscience effort to really change your life priorities: healthy food and exercise cannot take a back seat to anything. You have to truly embrace the purpose of healthy living - it isn't just to lose a few pounds or achieve a physical look, it's to improve and protect your health. This outlook makes all the difference in the world because it helps you to truly change the way you think and feel about food and exercise, about your self, and about what healthy priorities really mean to you. Take head; seeing this as too much or too complicated and deciding to "just do the simplest diet and exercise right now" while ignoring the personal growth part of the equation will probably end in failure to lose fat permanently. If this is the one thing you know you haven't changed, your personal value and reward system that involves eating and exercise, you can bet it is the reason you're not a successful loser.

The above graph shows average daily fat loss with a 500 calorie per day deficit. After 10 days of eating 2000 calories and burning off 2500 through daily living and modest exercise this graph shows a realistic 1 pound weight loss over 10 days. We also gain and lose weight daily through hydration/ dehydration, eating, and elimination which can add up to an average fluctuation in weight from morning to night of 2 to 4 pounds. This makes it impossible to practically measure fat loss day to day since daily fat loss is only about 0.2 lb. - You may be losing fat, but in such a small amount each day it doesn't show up on the scale: wait for it though - those small daily losses add up after a week.

Don't interpret daily weight fluctuations as and indication to your success or failure in losing fat. Watch for short term weight loss trends over 7 to 21 days, and long term trends over many months. Back this up with also measuring your waist girth and watching for a reduction. Be careful with interpreting "failure", as we can be our own worst enemy by judging our selves negatively and suffering emotionally as a result. If you don't lose weight, be objective; simply adjust your food intake and physical activity to compensate. This example of a 500 calorie per day deficit with 2000 consumed and 2500 expended is for illustration purposes - each individual needs to find the daily totals and caloric deficit that produces a result. Go here to find out how to do this.

Typically the deficit is between 300 and 500 calories per day. If you lose more than 2 pounds per week you are likely losing muscle and water as well. Safe fat loss is 1 to 2 pounds per week. Don't get bent out of shape thinking that you have to be perfect every day. While it's true you need consistency for success, losing fat means changing your old habits. Make your mistakes, but get over them. Keep at it and you will succeed.

Fat loss really is this simple, but those selling fads make it sound complicated so they can sell you their special cure.

In order to reduce your fat "reserves", you need to burn off more calories than you take in. Eat less, exercise more. Note: There are no pills or supplements that directly cause permanent fat loss - one cannot maintain overeating, take pills and supplements, and lose fat.


The National Weight Control Registry has some important information on the habits of people who have lost 30 lb. fat and kept it off for more than one year. I consider this web site essential reading if you are trying to lose fat.

National Weight Control Registry home page

National Weight Control Registry Research findings - The habits of those who lost fat and kept it off

Organizations dealing with obesity: Each has important fact based articles on fat loss/ gain as well as additional web site links.

Canadian Medical Association Journal - Journal de l'Association médicale canadienne

Obesity Canada

NAASO, The Obesity Society

American Obesity Association

Essential Tools For Fat Loss:

Details on determining daily caloric needs and fat loss/ exercise

Daily Exercise

Measuring Tape

Long Term Commitment To Lifestyle Change

Consumer Products That Make Fat Loss Easier To Manage

Heart Rate Monitor

Body Fat Scale

Fat Calipers

Computer Software






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This page was last updated on June 26, 2008