Fat loss is simple, not easy.
To tell you otherwise would be dishonest and I do not intend to be a false prophet.
Gooros make fat loss unnecessarily complicated to make it easier to get you to buy. Confusion leads to fear and fear leads to paralysis by analysis.
Your proclivity to inaction because of information overload demands a savior, or guru, as its means to generate inertia.
The magic pill offers to simplify the noise in a world that bombards you 24/7.
As someone who has dieted many a time, it takes being removed from the process and thrust into mainstream America to appreciate one’s proclivity to search for false prophets. Upon returning from vacation and noticing I wasn’t in the greatest of shape, my monkey brain screamed at me to find easy solutions. I am not insufferably drowning in my own hubris to admit that if I was a novice, I assuredly would have fallen victim to a guru.
As Scott Adams has said many a time, “goals suck, systems work.”
If your goal is to get ripped, you need a coach. Hire me. If your goal is to get lean, you need a system that is simple yet repeatable.
What follows are the big rocks of fat loss nutrition that I have found:
Micronutrients, Micronutrients, Micronutrients
Every fat loss article I ever see places micronutrients roughly 4th on the hierarchy. Short-term thinking.
It is unlikely that a micronutrient deficiency severely hinders your diet. If you are young (20s), it is even more unlikely. Be grateful for your resiliency in the face of shitty nutrition and too much stress; it won’t always be this way.
I play the long game with clients. Placing emphasis on micronutrients allows you to both optimize your cellular efficiency and sets you up for future success.
Quality multi-vitamins are essential. Anyone who says otherwise hasn’t done the math. See here for why:
It’s a diet. You’re going to be hungry. If you’re not, you’re not losing much fat.
Animal protein is better than any vegetarian source.
Adequate protein prevents you from losing your hard-earned muscle as well as keeping you full and happy.
The quickest way to fuck up a diet is to get ravenously hungry, order Domino’s, and eat 5000 calories all while placating yourself with IIFYM.
From experience, chicken and steak/beef are much more satiating than fish. They require a greater amount of chewing which slows you down and lets your brain send signals that you’re full. Chewing aids in digestion; eating 3 steaks doesn’t matter if you can’t digest and utilize any nutrients.
I use supplementary digestive enzymes each meal to further aid the process. It’s a cheap investment that allows you to garner more out of your initial investment in food. If you’re cheap, apple cider vinegar before your meal is an alternative.
A good target is .8 g/lb of bodyweight. If you weighed 200 lbs, that would entail 160g of protein. If hunger is an issue, bump that closer to 200 grams.
Everyone wants to know how many carbs they should eat. Incredibly complex question that is unfortunately dulled down by today’s fat loss coaches.
For carbs, I prescribe a couple of essential things for myself and clients:
The greatest amount of carbs (50-75%) will be consumed around the workout – before, during, and after.
Insulin sensitivity is greatest during this period. Glycogen resynthesis will likely happen faster but this is a moot point if you are not practicing two-a-days.
A caloric deficit offers minimal windows to maximize anabolism. It is imperative to maximize these windows to both ensure muscle maintenance and to present the greatest opportunity to build muscle while dieting. Impossible? Think again.
The remainder of the carbs will be consumed during the last meal before bed. This ensures both satiation and sleep quality (tryptophan -> serotonin -> melatonin).
Maximize the quality of carbs and minimize the shit
Processed carbs are kept to a minimum. Last on my list is to cause an inflammatory response while under the stress of dieting.
Gluten may not cause you GI disturbances, e.g. bloating, cramping, gas, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have other downstream effects such as adverse skin quality and brain fog.
I don’t perform food sensitivity testing on my clients but no one has ever fared worse by limiting gluten and processed carbs. You may love pancakes and they are fine on an irregular basis but don’t pacify yourself into thinking you’ve earned an inflammation bomb by training.
Sweet potatoes, white potatoes, rice, fruit, oats and the like are the targeted food choices.
The amount of carbs is highly individualized. I favor a minimum effective dose where the amount of carbs necessary to ensure adequate training quality, satiation, and mood while maintaining fat loss.
This could be 100g or it could be 350g. Depends on you and this is something I customize with all my clients after a thorough evaluation.
My main sources of fat are grass fed beef, salmon, coconut oil, eggs, olive oil, and avocado.
You’d be hard-pressed to go wrong if you adopted them as your staples.
The biggest mistake I see is dropping fat way too low. Hormones crash and all and all you’ll start to feel like shit.
Fat is often demonized as the villain with people missing the forest for the trees.
I tend to favor predominately saturated and monounsaturated fats. They are more heat resilient and do not oxidize to the same extent that polyunsaturated fats do.
Omega 3s are important but its more prudent to reduce your Omega 6 fat intake than to worry about balancing out your astronomical Omega 6 intake with more Omega 3. That is likely to do more harm than good with increased levels of fat oxidation.
Eat fatty fish 2-3x per week, minimize vegetable oils and processed carbs, and you will have brought order to the famed Omega 6/3 ratio.
If you’re counting calories, I like to keep my fat intake moderate (never dropping below 50 grams) and have it be the difference once carbs and protein are tabulated.
If you’re not, keep fat moderate on training days when carbs will more than likely be increased and increase fat intake on rest days when carbs will be minimized.
Basic carb cycling.
Easy way to do so is to have fatty cuts of protein on rest days with lean cuts (white fish, chicken breasts) being your predominate source on training days.
Ah, every degenerate’s favorite question. How much can I drink on a diet?
If you were serious, you’d limit it to 1x/week. If that’s not satisfactory, read this article where I tell you how you “might” be able to game the system.
Remember, fat loss is simple, but not easy.
If your goal is to get lean, this article provided a sufficient framework to get you started. I warn you not to fall victim to chasing the carrot that is more information. You will learn more about dieting and fat loss by taking action with some information than you will sitting on the sidelines until you have a PhD in the subject.
For those that have greater physique goals than just getting lean, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll talk, dissect your weaknesses, build upon your strengths, and build an indomitable juggernaut. That’s what we do.