Enough is enough! For many years I’ve witnessed countless people attempt to shed the fat by working out alone. If you’re a member of any social media site, you’ve undoubtedly seen an increasing number of people embrace fitness as they attempt to whip themselves into better shape and better health. Unfortunately for many of these people, they spend many years exercising faithfully only to be in no better position than when they started their workout regimen. Why is that? The answer is simple — weight loss is 90% diet, 10% exercise!
Yes, you read the preceding sentence correctly. It doesn’t matter how much you exercise, if your diet is crap, you are not going to see any results. You CAN’T work off a bad diet. I’m tempted to say that there is an entire industry that caters to people in order to get them to believe that they can lose weight by purchasing the latest exercise gadget, the latest pill, etc. These industries aren’t going to tell you that diet is the key because that’d put them out of business.
That being said, in this article I am going to give you the principles that I used to lose 100 lbs and keep it off. I’m not going to cite a lot of scientific mumbo jumbo in order to prove my case. I’m not gonna keep this article as plainly-worded as possible.
First thing’s first — let me explain to you how we get fat in the first place. We get fat by eating too fucking much! Yep, taking in too many calories is what makes us fat. Some would have you believe that getting fat is a matter of eating foods that wreak havoc on our insulin and glucose levels, which is said to cause the body to abnormally store fat. To what foods am I referring? Spikes in insulin and glucose levels are typically caused by eating processed carbs, which is really anything made with wheat, corn and/or sugar. In other words, it’s been said that grains and sugar are making us fat. I used to subscribe to this view but I no longer do so because I’ve been down this road before and I know better. No food by itself is going to make you fat. It is overindulgence in any food that can/will make you fat.
Now that you know what is causing your body to store fat, let’s get to the solution.
The first order of business, as it would logically seem, would be to avoid the foods mentioned above, that is if your goal is to lose fat. This would include bread, pasta, candy, corn, beans, starchy foods, etc. Put it this way — anything that has to be processed would be avoided. If it isn’t a whole food, you wouldn’t consume it. What is more in line with reality, however, is that you can still eat the aforementioned foods and lose weight just as long as your body is in a caloric deficit. My problem with processed foods during a period of weight loss is that such foods don’t provide much nutrition or satiety in return for the amount of calories you’d consume in eating them. Let’s say for instance if you were to create a 300-calorie meal. Which one do you think your body would be more satisfied with? A salad made of an 8 oz. chicken breast or a candy bar (yes, most candy bars are over 300 calories)? It’s a no-brainer!
As you may have figured out by now, calorie counting is necessary — although you don’t wanna get too obsessive about it. In recent years, we’ve had many uninformed people come into the health and fitness scene and claim that calories don’t matter. They’d say that counting calories in order to lose weight just doesn’t work and that you can achieve the same goal by just “eating clean.” Hear me and hear me well — the only way for you to burn fat is to place your body in a caloric deficit. It doesn’t matter what type of diet you’re on. However, if you were to “eat clean” without counting calories, you’ll lose WATER weight in the beginning but then you will stall after a while. It is also possible to lose weight by calorie counting alone while eating the “bad foods” that were discussed earlier but if your protein intake is insufficient, you’d be burning muscle instead of the abnormal fat. By going into a caloric deficit and eating good foods, your body will again, burn the abnormal fat in your body by using it as fuel when you’re exercising or doing anything else that requires energy.
How this does work from a pragmatic standpoint? It’s like this — let’s say that you in order to maintain your weight, your daily caloric intake would be 2,500 calories. A pound is equal to 3,500 calories. So, in order to lose 2 lbs in a week, you’d need to burn 7,000 calories in a week’s time. This would mean eating in a deficit of 1,000 calories per day over the course of 7 days. That’s it! That’s all you’re doing…is playing a numbers game. With that being said, what you would now have to do is head over to the many websites that offer calculators which will help you to determine the amount of calories that you need in order to maintain your current weight. After you have that number, it’s now a matter of subtracting x-amount of calories per day from your diet. As mentioned previously, a pound is 3,500 calories. For every pound you want to lose during the week, you’d subtract 500 calories per day. You wouldn’t wanna go overboard and cut your calories by too much because health is still the top priority. If you want to eliminate extra calories, I’d highly suggest doing HIIT training.
Before concluding this article, let’s talk briefly about cheat days and/or cheat meals. In an ideal world, I’d suggest avoiding either but human nature being what it is, I understand that it’s extremely difficult to do as I’ve suggested. If you’re going to “cheat” on your diet, you have to watch your food intake. This is absolutely vital because it is entirely possible to undo an entire week of work with a cheat day/meal. You will have been doing good all week long but then you decide to have a cheat day, and instead of being down 2 lbs., you’re even! That’s what cheat days/meals can do if you go overboard. Therefore, I recommend sticking to your caloric maintenance number if you’re going to cheat.
Conclusion: It’s not about eating clean or dirty, it’s about calories in versus calories out. Truth be told, you can “eat clean” and still get fat if you’re in a caloric surplus. Likewise, you can “eat dirty” and lose weight if you’re in a caloric deficit. To prove my point, I remember reading about a weight loss experiment that was conducted by a college professor. For this experiment, the professor ate only twinkies…and guess what? He lost the weight still. How can that be? Because the professor was still in a caloric deficit. I don’t recommend eating a diet made of junk food, but it’s your choice. If I were to make any suggestion, I’d recommend “eating clean” the majority of the time and eating junk only if it fits within your numbers for the day. That way, you can still have your junk food fix and remain on board.