How to Eat for Fat Loss

dieting fat loss meal timing
Fitness coach Kasey Jo Orvidas, Ph.D., holding a large salad. Text: Eating for fat loss/dieting how much, how often, what time, what type

If you have a fat loss goal, then you have to make sure your nutrition aligns with that goal.

You probably already know that the only way to lose fat is to be in a calorie deficit, but that’s not the only thing that impacts your progress along your fitness journey. 

At KJO Coaching, we teach our clients how to eat according to their goals (fat loss or otherwise) to ensure we set them up for success in their fitness journeys.

Telling you what to eat and when is only helpful while you are working with us and everything is going according to plan, but what happens when you no longer need to work with us (yes, the goal is to teach you to do all this independently) or you come across an unplanned situation?

A cookie-cutter template won’t help you in those scenarios. 

Here are a few elements to remember when you’re eating for fat loss/are in a dieting phase.


How Much to Eat ⁣for Fat Loss

There’s more to it, but calories in vs. calories out matters a lot.⁣

How you achieve a caloric deficit (expending more energy than you’re intaking) is up to you.⁣

Some people do fantastic tracking macros, and I’d argue that self-monitoring your intake, at least for a bit of time, is helpful for everyone.⁣

I recommend tracking your food intake for at least a while because it’s hard to know what/how much you need to cut back on if you don’t know where you’re starting or how many calories are in the food you’re consuming.⁣

You may want to check out this article to learn more about actively vs. passively tracking macros and what that can mean for your fitness progress. 


What Food to Eat for Fat Loss


The quality and nutritional composition of your foods matter. 

Sometimes just eating healthier and higher quality is enough to create a calorie deficit without diligently tracking.⁣

“Healthier” usually means more fiber, more voluminous foods (more food volume for fewer calories, like veggies), and more protein⁣.

And all those things will be much more filling than processed foods or very calorically-dense foods (not voluminous)⁣.

The more filling your food, the less likely you are to eat more⁣. 

Plus, once you start prioritizing nutrient-dense foods, you’ll also notice changes in things like your energy and your sleep quality. 

How Often to Eat for Fat Loss

Is it 6 small meals?⁣

Or 3 big meals?⁣

There’s no magic answer. You need to ask yourself what makes you feel more satisfied.⁣

What do you enjoy more?⁣

Assuming you’re in a calorie deficit, how often you eat comes down to personal preference, what’s easier for you, and what makes you feel the best.⁣

When you’re trying to make long-term lifestyle changes, you need to figure out what is sustainable for you, not what some influencer on social media says is the right number of meals to eat. 

(and p.s.… eating more frequently does not “stoke your metabolic fire”—it makes zero difference how you break up your calories throughout the day.)


What Time to Eat for Fat Loss

Does a big breakfast make you less hungry throughout the day?⁣

Or maybe you aren’t hungry until later in the morning, and the last thing you want to do is wake up and eat?⁣

Perhaps intermittent fasting works wonders for your hunger, cravings, and energy levels (or it could really suck and make things worse—this is very dependent on the person and their unique physiology!)⁣.

Not eating after 7 p.m. won’t magically make you lose fat, but if it keeps you from an extra 300–400 calories of snacks, then it can help with fat loss.⁣

Again, this comes down to what is sustainable for you and not what anyone else thinks is right

And if you aren’t sure what the best option is for you, feel free to experiment! 

Try having a big breakfast first thing in the morning and see if it gives you more energy. Or, if you already do that, try delaying your breakfast by a bit to see if that leaves you feeling better throughout the day. 

Figure out what works best for you!


The Secret Sauce

What you eat, how much you eat, how often you eat, and when you eat can ALL be helpful tools to adjust when seeking body composition goals.⁣

This isn’t about what your fave #fitspo does, not what works well for your best friend, not what the latest trend or book claims.⁣

Experiment, use trial and error, LEARN, and maybe hire a coach to guide you and steer you clear of the bullshit. 

Click here if you want to learn about how KJO Coaching can help you. 

Want to get started on improving your health immediately?

Get our FREE macro tracking quickstart guide. Learn what macros are, why you should track them, and how this flexible dieting practice can help you reach your health and fitness goals (without diet restrictions)!


Get access here.

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