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The Minimum Effective Dose for Fat Loss

Lose Fat

The Minimum Effective Dose for Fat Loss

Using the Minimum Effective Dose for Fat Loss

The Minimum Effective Dose (MED) is defined as “The smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome.”

That only makes sense, right? To do the least amount possible that gets you what you want. However, for some oddball reason, when it comes to fat loss, people do the exact opposite. They pull out all of the stops. They slash calories and start strength training 5-6 days per week, along with a few HIIT sessions. In addition to that, they eliminate all carbohydrates except for 30g post-workout, begin taking fat burners, swear off dairy, gluten, grains, sugar, soy, and alcohol, and are doing fasted cardio every morning.

Whoa buddy. I admire the gumption, however there are two problems with the above scenario:

  1. You will likely start off great and then, because willpower is finite and you are attempting to stretch it in multiple directions like it’s Silly Putty, it will (to put it technically) peter out, and
  2. You won’t have any tricks to pull from your hat when your fat loss plateaus, and trust me, you will eventually plateau.

One of the most common mistakes that I see when it comes time to shed some fat is that people go totally overboard. They bust out of the gate going a million miles per hour, only to immediately crash and burn. Why do more than you have to when it comes  to nutrition and training? This is akin a t-shirt costing $10, yet you insist on paying $20. Silly.

I have a secret to tell you: Most people don’t need to overhaul their entire regimen to make progress; all they need to do is make a few teensy little changes to yield some noticeable results. When those little bitty changes stop getting you results, then you make a few more small changes, and so on and so forth. You make progress while staying sane and happy, and nobody gets hurt.

Yes, it really can be that simple.

Eliminate the Little Bad Habits

You know what I’m talking about. Those insidious little progress-wrecking habits that creep in and infiltrate our daily rigamarole without us even noticing. Things like you and a co-worker going to grab a mid-morning pumpkin spice latte one day… and the next… and the next and… BOOM! A calorie guzzling habit is born. Instead of going balls-out and trying to overhaul your entire lifestyle, eliminate little habits like the daily latte.

Similar things to this that I frequently see is the nightly glass of vino, the countless snitches of your kids’ french fries, and the numerous spoonfuls of nut butter. Cut those first and see what changes come about.

Get more from Jen, including info about her nutritional consultations, at JenComasKeck.com

Get more from Jen, including info about her nutritional consultations, at JenComasKeck.com

Just Eat

You’d be shocked how much food a person can consume and still lose bodyfat as long as it’s whole, unprocessed food. Start there. Don’t worry about calories, macros, or nutrient timing yet. Those are all tricks that we use to push for more change down the road. For now, just eat whole unprocessed foods. Protein and vegetables at every meal, and fill in the gaps with fruit, starchy carbohydrate and dietary fat. By eliminating sugar and processed foods alone, you will likely see some change.

Leave Yourself Room 

If you take away nothing else from this article, remember this sentence: when it comes to nutrition and training, you always have to leave yourself some wiggle room. I often have people come to me asking how they can bust through their fat loss plateau. I look at their log and see that they are barely eating and they are doing an obscene amount of activity each week. In that case, there is only one place to go, and unfortunately, that is up.

Use the Minimum Effective Dose

Start with small changes first and see where that gets you. Stop eating the things you know aren’t conducive with a fat loss lifestyle. If you are still eating processed foods, you don’t need to worry about anything at this point other than transitioning to whole, unprocessed foods. Don’t overcomplicate it.

When it comes to nutrition, eat plenty; you can always back things down, but you can’t always add things back in and expect to see fat loss.

Go slow. You don’t need to be in the gym 6 days a week to get results.

If You Have Questions About This Article-Ask Them In The Comments Section Below!

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Jen Comas Keck is a nutrition expert and NASM certified trainer. Keck has a very diverse fitness journey, from cardio queen, group fitness instructor to figure competitor. This range of experience allows her to speak on a variety of topics facing people. In addtion to the mergers and acquisitions company Jen owns with her husband, she also operates a successful nutrition coaching business.
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11 Responses to “The Minimum Effective Dose for Fat Loss”

January 14, 2013 at 7:05 pm, Chris said:

You always want that ace in your pocket! Great article Jen. I will be sharing this with my clients.


January 15, 2013 at 4:48 pm, Jen Comas Keck said:

An ace in your pocket – yes! Excellent reference!


January 14, 2013 at 7:27 pm, Kristy Holtemann Wilce said:

This is so true! All I really need to do is first be patient! Then, I stop my spoons of almond butter, stop the wine (and I typically only drink a little on the weekend if at all), and no snacking. Voila! Fat Loss success!


January 15, 2013 at 4:51 pm, Jen Comas Keck said:

Kristy – those are the little habits that tend to get me, too, along with Lara Bars. Ditching those and icing it off with consistency results in magic!


January 14, 2013 at 8:20 pm, Grace said:

great article and very valuable information. however, this leaves out a question: what do you do when you’re one of those people who started doing everything at once and now are starting to fatigue but still have a long way to go? how do you reverse it and start taking it easier without losing your progress?


January 15, 2013 at 4:57 pm, Jen Comas Keck said:

Hi Grace,
you ask a wonderful question, and the answer hinges upon many factors. Anytime somebody is dieting, I advise them to bring their calories up for a certain period of time or to schedule periodic refeeds. These caloric bumps can prevent downregulation of the metabolism and are crucial from a psychological standpoint as well.
In addition to increasing your intake for a bit, I’d also encourage you to reassess your training program and see what can be cut out. For example, can you cut out some time consuming (and energy draining) steady state cardio and plug in some short duration HIIT instead?

Again, without knowing all of the variables, it’s hard for me to give you specific advice, but suffice it to say I’d increase your calories immediately using clean food. I’d also back down your training, and focus on getting more high quality sleep.

Maybe I’ll hit this topic up on a blog post next! 😉


January 14, 2013 at 9:34 pm, Silke said:

I am trying to eat as clean as possible. The thing I find difficult to replace is sweetener. I am not using sweetener anymore but I am a bit stuck with what to use for my tea or coffee. I am currently using honey. What would you recommend?


January 15, 2013 at 4:59 pm, Jen Comas Keck said:

If the goal is fat loss, honey is something you will want to ditch immediately. I’m a fan of Stevia once in awhile, but I think there is something to be said about going cold turkey and resetting your taste buds.


January 15, 2013 at 5:55 am, Karim Rasool said:

Good read….thank you


February 21, 2013 at 9:57 am, Property in Turkey said:

“You’d be shocked how much food a person can consume and still lose bodyfat as long as it’s whole, unprocessed food.”

Yep this is what i am going to do and share your blog with my wife 🙂
thank you


May 24, 2013 at 12:11 am, Rosalinda said:

Wow, I am so glad I found this article. Yes I’ve been eating clean healthy foods but obsessing over calories and macros and what not. In the end it leads me to binging because I feel deprived, mostly from not being able to have fruit. But now I feel like I just want to eat in moderation and not worry about macros. I still eat healthy foods but I have more room to move around and not feel so deprived. I do full body three times a week and hiit three times a week. I would take the 20 min of hiit out but I’m a stay at home mom and I have nothing to do on those off days from the gym. But I love this article thanks


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