A few key points when looking into making some changes in your diet.
First, throw away the word diet. It gives me the chills just thinking about it.
Ask the next person you run into what they think about a diet, and I bet you a pint of Half Baked Ben and Jerry’s they are going give you a scared or angry look on their face.
That’s because most think diets have to be painful, tedious, time and energy draining. But it doesn’t have to be like that.
Sure things can suck when you are trying to lose lots of weight or dieting for a bodybuilding show down to 6% body fat but we aren’t going to cover that today.
What I’m going to cover today is losing fat and getting into great shape so you have a more enjoyable life, rekindle the old spark in your relationship and get whispers from outsiders when you take your shirt off at the beach.
Without further ado, your 10 Fat Loss Commandments.
1 Thou Shalt Eat Fewer Calories
This sounds pretty simple but you would be surprised how misunderstood this concept is.
The biggest factor as to how much fat loss you are going to lose is the number of calories you eat.
Just because a food is labeled healthy (gluten-free, low fat, low carb, etc.) doesn’t mean you can overeat and won’t gain weight.
In fact, there are actually a few healthy foods that cause people to gain weight — I see it all the time when I have new clients come to me. These are foods like smoothies, health bars, nuts, avocados, nut butters, etc.
You have to eat fewer calories than you burn to lose weight— this is also known as being in a calorie deficit or hypocaloric. You can create this deficit by eating fewer calories or increasing your activity levels.
What’s the best option you ask? Both.
Which brings me right in Fat Loss Commandment #2
2 Thou Shalt Lift Weights That Challenge You
The most efficient, safe and tolerable way to lose fat and look better is to increase your daily activity AND eat fewer calories. The most effective body changing activity is going to be strength training.
It is possible to build muscle while in a caloric deficit but the more experienced you are the less likely it becomes.
I’m going to assume since you are on this site you’ve got some training under your belt so a combination of the two will you do well.
While the common theory of putting on 5 lbs. to your lifts every week or adding a rep or two, that goes out the window pretty quick once you’ve been training for a while.
Here are 7 different ways that you can utilize progressive overload to burn more fat in each and every one of your workouts besides the common add more weights, reps or sets thought process:
- Perform the movement with better form
- Increase the range of motion
- Perform the same load and volume but with less rest (increase density)
- Do more work in the same amount of time (increase density)
- Increase how often you train (frequency)
- Increase the speed or effort of the exercise
- Decrease your body mass (increase in relative strength)
Make sure you are doing something that gets you better in every workout and watch the fat melt off.
Moving right along.
3 Thou Shalt Eat Your Veggies
Green leafy veggies are a free for all in my diet and with my clients. They can eat as much of these as they want and DO NOT have to track them.
Yea, you heard me right.
The energy and calorie content in these are extremely low for it to have a significant impact on your intake.
You would have to eat a ridiculous amount of them for it to make a big difference. This will make your life a lot easier by not having to count them.
They are high in fiber which helps keep you full and are all very nutrient-dense and low in calories. They also include tons of micronutrients which most of typically neglect in our diets.
I encourage them to eat more veggies to get in the often lacking micronutrients but that’s not even my favorite part. This is a hunger-fighting lifesaver.
These help so much with managing hunger and preventing you from eating off your coworker’s forearm at 11 o’clock every morning.
Foods like: Arugula, Okra, Asparagus, Broccoli, Peppers, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Snow Peas, Cauliflower, Spinach, Cucumber, Tomato, Eggplant, Lettuce, Zucchini, Mushroom
My go-to’s are — spinach, broccoli, peppers, Brussel sprouts and cucumbers.
Related: Best Fat Burners for Men
4 Thou Shalt Plan Ahead
This doesn’t mean you have to get your Instagram meal prepping certification and have 73 Tupperware sorted and cooked for the week in a beautifully orchestrated plastic design.
Do you think I do that? Hell no.
When crunch time comes and I really have to buckle things up I do a little more planning and prepping but I’m nowhere close to those crazy shenanigans and unless you’re getting paid to take pictures on Instagram of food prep or getting paid to pose on stage in your underwear you shouldn’t be either.
Make prep as simple or as complicated as you need it to be.
Want to know what my prep is right now?
Meal 1: 4 eggs, spinach (at home)
Meal 2: Protein shake (on the go)
Meal 3: Turkey or chicken, veggies, rice if training that day (prepped)
Meal 4: Same as meal 4
Meal 5: Whatever I want to cook at home (protein, veggie, carb if training)
That’s it. There’s some variation based on the day and what is going on but I always have some protein cooked and can throw it in some Tupperware and eat if when I need to.
Plan ahead. That’s as simple as it needs to be.
Just have a plan for what you are going to eat.
If you need to get lunch somewhere, know where you are going and what to get that is going to fit into your diet the best.
If you are traveling make sure you know if you are going to bring food, are going too fast, or have a smart option to eat.
5 Thou Shalt Not Drink Your Calories
These are killing you.
Smoothies are often tagged health but once you add the peanut butter, different kinds of fruit, coconut milk, avocado, etc, you are left with a ridiculously calorie-dense drink that often does nothing to keep you satiated for anything longer than 30 minutes.
And most of the time these are actually more dense that a large dinner but nowhere as tasty.
Smoothies are usually jam-packed with sugar and do little to curb your hunger.
You can down a 900-calorie shake and be scouring the office for your next meal.
If you have no other choice but to have a smoothie opt for one that is vegetable-based and has little to no fruit or hidden additives.
In most cases I don’t even have protein shakes at the end of a diet (that I am getting really lean for) because they do nothing for my hunger.
When you are dieting it’s important to pick and choose your battles.
I am a proponent of flexible dieting but it’s important to note, as calories get dropped over time when you’re losing fat, you want to spare your calories for foods that are going to keep you satiated and not cause cravings.
These are the times where other ‘not so healthy’ foods get pushed out of the diet and replaced with even more low-calorie healthy foods.
Eat your calorie instead. It will help manage your hunger better and you’ll be a more enjoyable person to be around.
6 Thou Shalt Throw Away Temptation Foods
It’s not that I don’t trust you. It’s just that I don’t trust you.
Once you commit to a fat loss phase got on a junk food purge — rid your entire house, apartment, cubbies, drawers, and hidden compartments of junk food.
Everything that isn’t going to be a staple in your diet, pick it up, stare deep into its eyes and chuck it in the garbage.
When the time comes and you want to fit some of these foods into your diet buy it at that time, but only get small portions and if you have some left over, throw it out.
Just knowing that it’s not in the house is going to be much easier to mentally turn it down when temptation is high and willpower is low towards the end of the day.
7 Thou Shalt Learn Portion Sizing and Food Size
The first step here is going to buying a food scale and tracking, measuring, weighing your food for at least 7 days.
I mean everything you put into your mouth. This is a huge eye-opening experience for most people and once they do it usually helps clear up some frustrations and struggles as to why their body hasn’t been hanging the way you would like.
Step 1 —go steal your roommate’s Amazon log-in details and buy a food scale.
Some foods will come in packages with nutrition labels while others you’ll have to search the details in a food database or google.
I don’t recommend measuring cups and spoons for tracking, they are highly inaccurate. No one in the history of eating almond butter has ever accurately measured 1-tablespoon instead of 1 jar. Ever.
It’s human nature to overfill the cup, or take a heaping spoonful and then wonder why the scale is moving in the wrong direction.
8 Thou Shalt Eat Enough Protein
When losing fat protein is the most important macro because our muscle is made of it.
Protein provides the building blocks to help repair and prevent your muscle from wasting, it can be the deciding factor of whether you preserve or lose precious muscle when you are dieting.
Protein is more filling and helps control appetite better than carbohydrates, fat, and alcohol. Which is huge when you are dieting.
Popular protein sources:
- protein powders (whey, whey isolate, casein)
- eggs/egg whites
It’s important to note that not all protein sources have the same amount of calories — some have higher fat content.
Depending on your body, level activity and goals you are going to want to eat at least .8-1g lb. of body weight.
If you are worried about losing muscle and want to preserve as much muscle as possible in a fat loss phase, this can be bumped up at high as 1.25 g-1.5 g/lb. of bodyweight.
Just eat your protein. Ok?
When your main goal is to lose fat you have to eat fewer calories and train a bit more, so you run the risk of feeling run down.
It becomes very important to get enough sleep, recover, rest and recuperation.
The last thing you want to do is lose your hard-earned muscle from being in such a severe deficit along with poor recovery.
You’ll often hear 8 hours in the golden number but somewhere around 6-8 is the sweet spot for most.
Get your 6-hour minimum per day — I feel the best on 7.
Sleep 6-8 hours per night and make sure you allow enough recovery between working a muscle, typically 2-4 days.
Related: Best Fat Burners for Women
10 Thou Shalt Follow The 80/10/10 Rule
This is a more flexible and sustainable dieting model than most. Research has shown the more restricted we feel, the more cravings we have.
Strict diets that ban and demonize foods never last long and aren’t sustainable over the long haul.
A flexible dieting approach following The 80/10/10 Rule. With this, the majority of your food intake consists of minimally processed foods (see food choices below):
- 80 Whole unprocessed foods you love from the list
- 10% you like (not love) but that you NEED
- 10% whatever you want but in MODERATION
You’re more likely to stick to a model like that and can learn how to consistently lose fat for the rest of your life while being able to enjoy friends, family, and real-life events.
Wrapping It Up
Losing weight takes the right efforts and actions over time. It’s all about consistency.
In this article, you’ll find the 10 best fat loss commandments that are guaranteed to change your body if you follow them consistently.
- Eat fewer calories
- Lift weights that challenge you
- Eat your veggies
- Plan ahead
- Do not drink your calories
- Throw away junk food and trigger foods
- Learn portion sizing and food size
- Eat enough protein
- Get adequate sleep
- Follow the 80/10/10 rule
Joey Percia is a coach at a training studio in New York City and also runs a successful online training business. He is a competitive powerlifter in the 181 division and has totaled 1400lbs. Joey has a Masters degree in Exercise Science, is a CPPS coach, Westside Barbell Coach and CSCS. Follow him on Facebook, you will be glad you did.