For anyone unfamiliar with trying to lose unwanted fat it is often a difficult venture that becomes even more difficult with age. The body is an amazing machine that self-regulates given all things are working as they should but the reality is that life throws plenty of curve balls that causes us to become imbalanced in our lifestyle thus impacting the body. Whether it is a busy work life, care for babies or recovery from an injury we can quickly see a fit body disappear into a heavier, slower form of our previous self.

The typical course of action is to join a gym or buy a home-based workout program with the hopes that much effort will result in the thinner person we wish we’d see every morning in the mirror. However, the most important question is rarely if ever asked before beginning these types of activities long touted for their weight loss results: do I want to lose weight or do I want to lose unwanted fat?

Although it seems like a simple matter of semantics weight loss really means losing weight regardless of where it comes (fat, muscle, or bone density) or how it’s done. Usually after a cursory review as to why muscle and bone loss are detrimental to ones health it is concluded that fat loss should be the focus.

With this focus in mind we must consider how we intend on losing this unwanted fat. Unfortunately it has long been concluded that exercise is the conduit to fat loss when actually it is nutrition that regulates our weight. Exercise builds strength, endurance and efficient circulation. Knowing this dramatically helps us in what to do next to reduce that unwanted fat.

Unless you have a clinically diagnosed condition that causes unwanted fat gain, which is rare by the way, then the only way that you gained fat was because you consumed more food energy than your body needed and therefore stored that food energy as fat. In other words you regularly ate too much food. Although that may be difficult to accept there are plenty of web-based programs and apps that can calculate your daily/weekly calories and subsequently tell you how many calories you consumed over a given period of time. These computer-based programs are effective because they are objective, emotionless and deliver the straight facts which in turns serves to bring about an self-awareness of how much we actually eat.

Once the amount of food we eat (in the form of calories) is identified then we also learn the reduction in calories that we require to begin seeing a reduction in fat stores. And one of the most effective ways to practice a daily reduced caloric intake is through portion control and not through calorie counting. Counting calories can be a bit too complicated for many and can widely vary with research showing that calorie handbooks and websites can be off by 25%.

However, portion control is understanding your total daily calories and then knowing what those calories look like so you don’t have to count them. In other words, portion control uses visual queues. There are two different methods to portion control: container measurements and hand measurements.

Container measurements are simply pre-packing food containers with the total daily calories. This method is the most accurate of the two and is known for delivering undeniable results; however, it requires diligence and commitment in pre-packing food each and every day.

The hand measurement method advocates palm-sized, fist-sized, cupped hand and thumb-sized amounts of protein, veggies, carbs and good fats respectively, for every meal. Although less accurate than the container measurements its convenience and ease of use make it popular.

Regardless of which method you use both serve to boost your success in reducing that stubborn, unwanted fat. And any loss of fat, no matter how small, without muscle or bone loss is major step in the right direction.