The Minimum Effective Dose for Fat Loss

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Written by
Jen Keck

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 to 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
Get more from Jen, including info about her nutritional consultations, at

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 ask me 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 addition to the mergers and acquisitions company Jen owns with her husband, she also operates a successful nutrition coaching business.
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