We have all heard the old saying “you are what you eat.” That is mostly true. Diet is 80% and exercise is only 20% of your overall fitness. I know I know, working out is the easy part! It’s what you do the other 23 hours in the day that separates the fit from the unfit. So what’s the secret? What is that magic pill or potion that will transform your body? What “new” diet is going to break the cycle, and finally get you results? Well, I’m sorry to bust everyone’s bubble, but there is no secret. There is no magic pill or potion. There is no new diet essentially. All the fad diets all do the same thing. THEY CUT CALORIES! These diets just do it in different ways. Whether it be Keto or Atkins or intermittent fasting. They all simply cut calories. And that’s the secret! You want to lose weight? It’s simple really, you have to burn more calories than you take in! You have to be at a calorie deficit.
I have a lot of experience with being at a calorie deficit. When I lost 30 pounds doing P90X I was at a calorie deficit the entire time. When I gained all my weight back I had to do it all over again! I followed the principles I’m going to explain in this article. First I would like to say I am not a doctor or dietitian. I am just a guy that has screwed up so bad I had to do it twice!
I think there are some general rules of thumb you should follow when dieting.
1. Always eat every 2-4 hours. At least 5 meals a day. Why? Because this is going to get your metabolizing going at a tremendous rate. It’s also going to keep your body from going into starvation mode and cannibalizing all of that lean muscle that you worked so hard to build.
2. Drink your water! How much water? That’s different for everyone, but your urine should be as close to clear as possible. You should be peeing a lot. When you are properly hydrated you will notice a spike in energy. You will be able to push harder in your workouts. Your skin and body in general will look so much better.
3. Always fill your calories with clean eating. It does not do any good if you are cutting calories and losing weight if you are still unhealthy on the inside. You have to stop the processed foods and the soda (please don’t drink your calories!) When you look down on your plate you should see single ingredient type foods i.e. chicken, spinach, rice, sweet potato etc. FYI… there are 26 separate ingredients in one Dorito!
4. This is the most important rule. Listen to your body! If you just feel like crap or are crashing during your workouts you should eat more! This is very important.
So how many calories should you be eating to shred the fat fast? These are general numbers- so you can adjust depending on how your body responds:
6′ and above = 1900-2200 cals per day.
5’6 – 5’11” = 1700-1900 cals per day.
less than 5’6″ = 1500 cals per day.
5’6 and above = 1200-1400 per day.
less than 5’6″ = 1000-1200 per day.
What is equally as important as the amount of calories are the macros the calories fall under. Macros have 3 main categories: proteins, carbs, and fats. In my opinion (and the p90x nutrition guides opinion) there is a magic ratio that will burn fat the fastest. That ratio is:
A high protein diet is critical when you’re in a calorie deficit. There are a few reasons for this. The first being, we want plenty of protein so we can maintain the lean muscle that we already have (and maybe be able to build at little as well). The second is that protein is thermogenic in nature meaning your body has to work harder to break down that protein for fuel. Your body working harder = burning more calories and burning more fat!
So you’re thinking well this is great how am I supposed to be able to eat exactly 50% protein? How do I know? Well, there are a few ways to track what you eat. The first is My Fitness Pal. This app is great! I have used it for years. The food database is massive and you can scan the barcodes and get all the nutrition info on almost anything. They even give you a pie chart to help you keep track of your macro ratios. If you don’t want to be super nerdy like me 🤓 there is an alternative. Beachbody has its Portion Fix guide and containers.The guide explains what each container means and focuses on protion control. Depending on your goals, it explains exactly how many of each color container to eat a day. For more information on the Portion Fix click here. Much easier than what I do I’m sure, but hey it’s hard for a leopard to change its spots!
These are solid principles that work! It’s not sexy. It’s not cool. It’s definitely not easy, but it works! Often the best things in life are never easy, but they are worth it! You are worth it! And I know you can do it! Let’s bring it!
P.S. I didn’t talk about specific foods in this post because that can differ depending on what you like or if you have any allergies etc.