3 Tips to Eat and Lose Fat


Healing Naturally

Stephanie Kanoeola Megumi Wong

Did you know there’s a difference between “eating healthy” and “eating for fat loss?” When I train my TRX Bootcamp class every Sunday, I hear a lot of complaints that folks are eating healthy, but not really seeing any changes or shifts in their body.

Brief Background

Before I deep dive into a few great tips to clear up the confusion (and share a delicious recipe), let me give you a quick background on the roll MOVEMENT has had on my life.

About seven years ago, I discovered that I carried stress right in my belly. After working long hours in the office, sitting all day long, and not moving much, I saw a decrease in energy, extreme tiredness, and unbearable stomach aches. As an attempt to reduce stress through a physical outlet, I began waking up early to run, then eventually fell in love with a group training class that used the TRX (straps that suspend from the ceiling and promote functional movement). It took me two years to master it and after encouragement from a mentor to seek certification, I began teaching classes in the wee hours of the morning before heading into the office – just to inspire busy folks that they can have great careers and families, AND have healthy bodies at the same. Since then, it’s been my mission in life. Hence, the return to school and the birth of Eat Life Whole with my wonderful partner-in-crime, Springer.

Eating Healthy vs. Eating for Fat Loss

So after teaching classes for five years, I see busy, active people ALL THE TIME. Most of them are there to feel great, maybe lose a few extra pounds, and most definitely to build strength and tone-up. As a lover of delicious, quality food, we must remember that “healthy foods” don’t necessarily mean they will support your goals to burn a few extra pounds.

Pocket these 3 tips and determine what you are working towards. Eating healthy? or Shedding excess?

TIP 1: Understand what HEALTHY EATING is.

Healthy eating means you are consuming foods that are nutritionally beneficial to your bodily functions and overall wellbeing. For example, it could be avocados for healthy fats, sweet potatoes for iron, quinoa for fiber, sea salt for minerals, or loads of fruit for the vitamins. None of these things are bad whatsoever, but it doesn’t mean that they will help you lose the excess.

TIP 2: Understand what EATING FOR FAT LOSS is (the Eat Life Whole way).

There are multiple ways you can lose weight: starvation/deprivation, eating processed protein powders, and excessive exercise are just a few non-approved Eat Life Whole options. Instead, we keep it simple, light, and motivating. EATING FOR FAT LOSS (the Eat Life Whole way) includes a “whole-istic” approach:

  1. Eating nutritionally beneficial, non-processed, low-sugar foods (see list below)
  2. Managing stressors (organizing your space, clearing up drama with people, tackling your finances, etc.)
  3. Increasing sleep and rest time (about 7-8 hours)
  4. Incorporating challenging exercises (think movement that you don’t just breeze through)
  5. Sticking to daily activity (think moving throughout the day vs. 30 minutes at the gym)
  6. Having fun (hormones shift when you are enjoying life, dancing, smiling, and just “being” in the moment)

TIP 3: Know what you are working towards (and eat accordingly).

If your goals are to eat healthy, nourishing foods, follow a few suggestions on the left. If your goals are to lose some excess, follow a few suggestions on the right. If you don’t know what you are working towards – then you need to start there first. Figure out what you want and stick to that.

Eating Healthy
(the Eat Life Whole way)

  • whole, real foods
  • minimal ingredients if it comes in a package (i.e. – yogurt)
  • organic, local, and seasonal when possible
  • fresh, simple, delicious
  • mindful eating
  • VEGETABLES: lots of vegetables
  • STARCH: whole grains, not enriched/processed (i.e. – wild rice vs. white rice)
  • FRUIT: wide-variety of fruits
  • PROTEIN: organic, quality protein (chicken, beef, pork, fish, eggs, beans)
  • FATS: good fats (avocado, nuts, fish, coconut oil)

Eating to Lose Fat / Stay Lean
(the Eat Life Whole way)

  • whole, real foods
  • minimal ingredients if it comes in a package (i.e. – yogurt)
  • organic, local, and seasonal when possible
  • fresh, simple, delicious
  • mindful eating
  • VEGETABLES: fiber-rich, leafy greens/cruciferous veggies as the dominant portion on every plate (kale, chard, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, bok choy). Also, eat loads of water-rich vegetables (cucumber, celery)
  • STARCH: minimal (i.e. – quarter-cup portions of starchy vegetables/grains like sweet potato, eggplant, brown rice, quinoa – best eaten after exercise)
  • FRUIT: blueberries and blackberries are great, while keeping sugary fruits to a minimum (i.e. – grapes, oranges, pineapple, mango)
  • PROTEIN: organic, quality protein (chicken, beef, pork, fish, eggs, beans)
  • FATS: eat healthy fats (avocado, fish, coconut oil, but be sure to keep the portions right – i.e. 8-10 nuts in a serving)

Ultimately if your goals are to decrease some excess poundage, you want to look towards reducing your sugar/starchy intake, increasing fibrous greens, and enjoying quality protein. All the while referencing the “whole-istic” list above.

To dive right in, take a look at this CLEAN & LIGHT SUSHI BOWL recipe. It gives you a great idea for portion size in a creative, festive, and fun sort of way. Enjoy.

Oh and if you are in need of some extra guidance, are looking to break BAD FOOD HABITS, are in-need of a whole-foods cleanse, want to restock your pantry, and learn secrets to reading food labels, check out our latest eBook: “21-Day Eat Real Challenge: Spring/Summer Edition.” Eat Real Essentials (enhanced for the iPad edition now available).








Thanks for reading! My name is Stephanie Wong and I am a certified holistic health & nutrition coach, home-grown natural food cook, lover of all things ginger, and a strong believer that strength is beauty. [read more...]


  1. Molly says:

    Thanks for another great reminder! I’m going to the Farmer’s Market to buy kale now.

  2. AshleyL says:

    What about dairy? is low fat dairy such as part skim mozzarella an okay part of a weight loss plan?

    • stephanie says:

      Hi Ashley! Super awesome question. Ok, here’s my take on “low fat” dairy, especially when it comes to a fat loss plan. I can go on and on about this, but I’ll keep this answer concise and to the point.

      The hype about “low fat” dairy started in the 1950′s when there was concern about saturated fats in animal-based foods. Essentially a “man made process” was created to reduce the fat molecules of the dairy product, hence lowering the saturated fat content and thus the calories.

      Unfortunately, when fat is removed from dairy, flavor and texture are removed too. As a result, you can often find artificially added ingredients to make up for the missing flavor. For example, in many low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese, yogurt, and milk, you can find added sugar, starches, or thickeners. The next time you go to the store, flip over some full-fat and fat-free/low-fat options and compare: 1) ingredients; and 2) sugar contents. You most likely will find lower calories in fat-free/low-fat options, but the sugar content will be much higher and the end product is less clean (meaning more processed ingredients added). And SUGAR is killer for any fat-loss goals, so you’d want to stay away from that.

      Full-fat dairy shouldn’t be a scary thing. It keeps your cravings low, it slows down the digestion process, and keeps you satiated for a longer period of time. To keep working towards fat loss goals, simply eat full-fat versions but in much lower quantities.

      Lastly, there are some exceptions to the rule. GREEK YOGURT and MOZZARELLA are two dairy examples where the 0%, low-fat, or part-skim versions are pretty clean and satisfying – meaning there are no ingredients added to the end product to adjust for flavor. Because of their thick nature with less whey (the liquid byproduct), the protein content is higher, and thus you stay satisfied for longer.

      CONCLUSION: So if you absolutely want and need some mozzarella or yogurt in your meals, you can easily choose part-skim and 0% or 2% greek yogurt for a lower calorie, clean option. BE SURE to flip those labels over and read the ingredients for any added junk. Most brands will be ok, but not all.

      Hope that helps a bit!

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