Fat Loss Demystified – It Really Is This Simple

stupid fat loss diets

As a personal trainer of athletes and fat loss clients, there’s one thing that rises way to the top of my pet peeves. That one thing is none other than all the BS and confusion about dieting and nutrition.

stupid fat loss diets

So Dr. House, what do YOU think of my fat loss diet?

I’m not going to lie here and say that this is something I’ve always known. No, I’ll admit to drinking the kool-aid and falling prey to some of the more reasonable theory’s.

However, even though some diets are reasonable, and even successful over the long haul, there are so many that are nothing more than smoke and mirrors hidden behind slick marketing words and personalities. These are the ones that really, really chap my arse.

It get’s me worked up because good people with real problems are desperately looking for solutions and are willing to spend their hard earned money on these solutions.

So in light of my fat loss nutrition epiphany I felt I had no choice but to write up this post. The information you’re about to read has been a source of relief and lifted burdens for my weight loss clients as well as anyone else that’s taken the time to listen and apply. Nothing for sale – just solid free info on how to lose that unwanted fat.

Nutrition is the King of Fat Loss – Not Exercise

I’d venture to say that you’ve at least heard someone say they’ve got to “get back in the gym” in order to lose their unwanted pounds.

In all likelihood you’ve said it yourself.

Maybe you’ve also heard “abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym”. And somewhere in the back of your mind you know that your diet has to change for you to be successful with your weight loss efforts. However, your first thoughts are the gym and treadmills, or some other form of exercise.

The reality is that nutrition is king when it comes to fat loss. Exercise is a very distant second. There is no way possible you can out train a bad diet. The amount of calories you can consume in minutes would take an hour or more of moderate to rigorous activity to burn off.

And if you’re after weight loss, you’re going to have to burn even MORE calories than you’re consuming. Just breaking even won’t cut it. There must be a calorie deficit for weight loss to occur.

I’m not suggesting that you don’t workout, or do some sort of exercise activity. You should. It’s a healthy thing to do because it keeps the human machine in good working order by maintaining muscle mass, flexibility, heart health, relieves stress, and definitely helps in your fat loss efforts.

Keep Your Fat Loss Plan Simple

Chances are you’ve been on diets in the past in which you’ve lost some weight only to lose your desire to continue following the plan. That led you to put the pounds right back on, and probably a little more than you began with. Ouch!

The answer to how and why is simple.

Your nutrition plan was just too complex. Notice I said nutrition plan, not diet. If you want to successfully lose weight for the remainder of your lifetime you cannot “go on a diet”. You must adopt a nutritional plan that lasts a lifetime. Fad diets, quick start guides, and everything else in that category is going to fall short of helping you reach your goals.

They’re complex and require you to make too many lifestyle changes that you can’t possibly maintain for the years to come. Not to mention your need to explain your diet to every Tom, Dick, and Harry in your social and work circles anytime there’s food present.

We all know how that goes, you end up with all the nay-sayers telling you about how what you’re doing isn’t the right way and that you really should be doing is (fill in the balnk here).

You need something simple. A plan that is easy to follow and one that doesn’t take all the fun out of living, breathing, and just plain being. A nutritional plan that isn’t criticized by your family and friends, rather it goes unnoticed or lends itself to bringing support from said family and friends.

Studies have repeatedly proven that the most successful diets are the ones people stick with in the long term. If what you’re doing is complex, you just won’t continue.

A simple diet plan is one that won’t have you counting calories, it won’t have you buying special food just for you, it won’t have you cooking or preparing different meals for yourself and your family, or making special trips to stores you wouldn’t otherwise go to in order to buy what you need.

A One Size Fits All Diet Plan Doesn’t Exist

There are many diet plans out there that have led to thousands upon thousands of people that have lost weight and kept it off. For that reason alone it would be asinine (my kids love that word) for me to say that ANY successful diet is wrong.

These Pants Don't Fit

These Pants Don’t Fit—Mel R (Flickr.com)

If someone has successfuly maintained weight loss and improved their health markers as a result of diet and lifestyle changes, and not disease, any argument against it can’t hold water.

New fat loss methods are born every day. Consider how many books you find on the shelves dedicated to fat loss. Can all of these books really hold the “secret” to your beach body? Can each one really be the only true way to weight loss?

How can you possibly lose weight with plan A, when plan B is telling you that plan A is bogus?

Have I got you thinking yet? Are you starting to experience your own epiphany?

The Foundation to EVERY Fat Loss Plan

I’m going to state this, very clear cut, fact right up front. No disguises, no sugar coating (mmmm sugar) and dancing around the point. The absolute core element to every single fat loss plan is take in less calories than you burn. I don’t care how you slice it and dice it. When you break down and analyze every diet you’ve ever encountered the bottom line is calorie restriction. It’s not sexy and no one want to even think about having to eat less. And it’s certain that no one is going to spend money for a diet plan that blatantly tells them that they must restrict calories. But if you put your brains to work you’ll easily realize that calories in vs. calories out is the main player.

Mark Haub ate a steady diet of twinkies for 10 weeks and lost 27 pounds. He did it by keeping his calories below 1200.

If you can’t bear the thought of eating less because you don’t want to “starve yourself skinny” then I suggest you stop wasting your time reading this and find another fat loss article or diet that will tell you how you can eat as much as you want and still lose weight.

On the other hand, if you’re not scared off by the above statement, then read on for more details on how to do this without being hungry.

Your Simple Nutritional Plan for Fat Loss

Without further ado, here are my rules for building a solid nutritional plan. Follow these and I can guarantee you’ll experience the success you desire.

Your fat loss plan is summed up in 7 little words;

Eat Food ==> Not Too Much ==> Mostly Plants.

I’d love to say that I came up with that little gem on my own, but alas, I cannot. Michael Pollan, author of Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, is the mind behind it. Here’s a great video interview with Michael. Below I’ll define each segment in my own words. The video is really thought provoking.

Eat Food;
Yeah – no kidding right? The true meaning here is to eat real, whole, natural,and unprocessed food. To be more specific, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and lean meats. By eliminating processed foods you’re also eliminating all sugars, chemicals, and additives that go along with them. These processed foods are also your most calorie dense, so eliminating them will also dramatically cut your calorie intake.

I’m not going to suggest that you buy organic foods because we’re keeping things simple. Buying organic food is not going to speed up your weight loss, nor will you see improvements in your health. The biggest improvement to your health is losing excess weight. Drop the weight first and then if you want to explore organics, go right ahead. Let’s not make this any more difficult or expensive. Otherwise you won’t stick to it.

Not Too Much;
In other words, restrict your calories. Eat less than you normally do, maybe even a lot less. Over the years food has become cheaper and more readily available. This in turn has caused us to eat more, and eat more often. We’ve become conditioned to snack on the candy from the machines at work. Or pick up something sweet from the convenience store or those strategically placed shelves by the cash register of ANY store.

You MUST renew your mindset to a place of being content with less.

The average male has a basal metabolic rate of approximately 1900 calories per day. The average female is approx 1500 calories. You should eat LESS than that if you want to lose weight. If you have a high activity level and train with high intensity then you can adjust accordingly.

Personally, I don’t account for activity level. My clients nutritional plans are restricted to 1200 – 1500 calories for men and 800 – 1200 for women. These plans also include an element of intermittent fasting.

Contrary to bro-science and popular fitness marketing and myths, you will survive and you will NOT go into starvation mode. Which is a huge myth itself. That myth can clearly be dispelled by the contestants of the reality show “Survivor”.

If starvation mode were true, those people would be reduced to bones and fat without a shred of muscle to compete with. Either that or they would just stop losing weight after the first few days. Come on!

Mostly Plants;
This is the one that will keep you from being hungry. If you begin eating a diet high in vegetables and some fruits (not too much on the fruits) mixed with some seeds and nuts, you’ll be stunned at how full you will feel after eating. Vegetables are very low in calories and high in fiber and water. The only way you can possibly overeat is if you ignor that stuffed feeling you have a continue to gorge yourself. And even then you’ll still have difficulty taking in too many calories. That is assuming you’re not turning your veggies into some sort of “Americanized” version loaded with cheese sauce or calorie dense dressings.

Action Steps

Now that you’ve read the simple nutrition plan for fat loss I want to provide you with the action steps to set yourself up for success.

[1] Get your mind right.
You must find that inner determination. Realize what your motivation is behind your desire to lose weight and write it down. There’s a very real increase in you ability to withstand temptation if you take the time to write down the driving force behind your goals. Fail to do this step and you’ll likely fall into temptation in quick fashion.

[2] Set realistic goals and accept any and all progress
Don’t set out to lose an unusual amount of weight every week. It’s true that 1 to 2 pounds per week is very realistic and healthy. Doing the math, 1 to 2 pounds per week equals 52 to 104 pounds per year. The trip of 1000 miles is completed one step at a time. Don’t be discouraged with 1 pound loss weeks. Just envision yourself 52 pounds lighter after 12 months.

[3] Eat a healthy diet
Nothing crazy here. Eliminate all processed foods. If that’s just not possible, as will be the case for most of you reading this, eliminate as much as you can. You should be able to cut at least 50% of your processed foods. Tell your kids to just suck it up and deal with it. It’ll do them good as well.

[3a] Determine how many calories you’re going to eat per day.
When just starting out I suggest cutting back slowly. Don’t go “all in” from day one. I’ve found this to be too overwhelming to most and failure soon follows. Rather, don’t be concerned with calories, just make the change of replacing processed foods with real foods that are plant based and reevaluate after 1 week.

[3b] Eat good lean meats
Do not eat meat that’s been fried or breaded or covered with cheese or other type sugary sauces. Instead boil, grill, bake, or broil your tastey animal and season to taste with herbs and spices.

Your taste buds will probably rebell and protest. Stand strong, this is the result of years of agressive salty and sugary foods that have desensitized those little buds. After a few days or maybe a week they’ll reset and the flavor will be much different.

[3c] Do not eat if you’re not hungry
Make the decision that you will not eat if you’re not hungry. And stick to that decision. Do not eat out of boredom or social situation.

Conclusion

That’s it. No rules about forced breakfast, or not eating after a certain time, or X amount of hours before bed. None of that. Just 3 straight forward and simple guidelines that will result in healthy weight loss if you stick to it.

It works for me, my wife, my 2 teenage daughters, and my clients.

I feel like I’ve explained it well. But I’m sure that in all the mental processing I allowed room for improvement by not being as clear as possible. Please comment or email me if you have any questions or concerns.

 

Comments

  1. Cathy L. says

    Good one Bryan! Makes sense and it should not be as confusing and complicated as it is. My family doctor is trying to get me to go on some shake replacement thing that a lot of people are doing now that costs about $100/month. I just know that yes I would probably lose the weight, but will not stay on that the rest of my life and if I can’t keep the weight off using real food, the weight will probably come right back on as soon as I stop the shakes. One question: what about whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, whole wheat bread etc? In moderation, or stay away from them? (I remember Dr. Katouff saying you needed to eat a lot of small meals a day and have a carb/protein/fat every time you eat.)

    • Bryan says

      Thanks Cathy. You’re absolutely right, you probably would lose weight drinking shakes only to go right back to square #1 when you stopped the “foolishness”.

      Whole grains, in moderation as you said yourself, are just fine. Aside from having no scientific validity (beyond diagnosed Celiac disease and gluten allergy’s) trying to eliminate whole grain carbs would create a stressful environment for you.

      As far as Dr.K and his suggested “rules”. My advice ==> ignor them. This goes back to the heart of this article, too many rules, complications, and confusion equals failure.
      [1] Eat real food ie. veggies, meat, nuts, seeds, healthy oils
      [2] Eat only when hungry, but not every time you’re hungry – you’ll survive
      [3] Don’y concern yourself with getting all the right combinations of carbs, fats, and proteins. Get a good mix of #1 over the course of a week and your body will take care of the rest.

      All the best to you,
      B

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