The Summer season is just around the corner… Are you going to have the body you want? When you take your shirt off, will people look AT you or AWAY from you?
The good news is that you’re closer to having the body you want than you may think. I’m going to lay out the fundamental components to getting in shape and finally achieving that ripped physique you’ve always wanted.
There are 3 core elements to doing this. The first one I’m going to talk about: maintaining a “diet” that actually works.
Time to get educated:-)
It’s been proven time and time again: you can lose weight simply from eating healthy. You don’t need the latest and greatest “fad diet” to make it work, either. All you need is to understand the mechanics of what goes into a healthy diet and what makes you actually lose weight.
Yes, there are “guidelines” you should follow – and I’m going to get into those.
But the first thing I need to say is this:
The most successful diet isn’t a “diet” at all… It’s a change in your habits and lifestyle.
So many people drop the ball and lack commitment to a program because they associate “diet” with starvation, deprivation, and in general… PAIN!
Furthermore, even people that DO succeed with diet programs end up gaining most (if not all) of it back because they don’t incorporate lasting changes in their life. So when the “diet program” is up – say in 30 or 60 days or however long it lasts – they resume their former unhealthy eating habits and they undo all their hard work.
When you restructure your habits and lifestyle though, it’s a permanent fix. You’re not “on a diet”… You reconfigure your nutrition intake and lifestyle to become a healthy person.
THAT is how you truly succeed with diets.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into the “meat and potatoes” of a healthy diet (pun intended!).
There are a handful of ground rules that you need to understand – all of which compose a balanced diet that will drop the pounds in as easy of a way as possible – without breaking the bank.
Rule #1: Moderate your calories
Did you know that there’s a strong correlation between how many calories you consume and how much you weigh?
Most of us don’t like to admit just HOW bad we eat, but here’s a challenge that may shock you with the results:
For one whole day, write down everything you eat. EVERYTHING. Don’t leave anything out. Include everything from the cup of coffee in the morning to the handful of almonds you sneak before bed.
Write it all down… Every nitty gritty detail.
Then, the next day, use a calorie counter (I love the online one called MyFitnessPal at MyFitnessPal.com) and add up everything you ate. When you do that, you may not like the result.
A healthy person should have (approx. ) their bodyweight X 10 in calories each day. That’s called their “Maintenance caloric intake”, the number of calories you need to consume to maintain your bodyweight.
Sadly, most people blow that out of the water each day, which leads to weight GAIN – even with working exercise into their schedule.
Figuring out how much you eat versus how much you NEED to eat if you want to lose weight is the first step.
When you want to LOSE weight, you need to consume below your maintenance calorie number each day. In short, you need a calorie deficiency.
With a balanced meal plan though, this is easily done. But a calorie deficiency is mandatory for shedding the pounds.
Rule #2: Focus on your Macros
There are three primary “macronutrients” that compose your diet: protein, carbohydrates and fats.
For a healthy diet that’s conducive to weight loss, you need to restructure how much of each one you’re likely getting right now.
To lose weight, you’ll want protein to compose most of your diet, accounting for up to 50% of the nutrients you consume. Typically, each day you want to consume 1 gram of protein for each pound of your goal weight.
So if you’re a 190 pounds and your goal weight is to be 180, then each day you want to try to shoot for 180 grams of protein.
Here’s the thing with protein though: most of your protein will come from meats and fish. If you’re trying to cram all your protein in on a diet like this, then you’re not eating small, starvation-like quantities of food.
That’s the best thing with this kind of food structure: you’re never crazy hungry because protein leaves you feeling full and satisfied.
Next is carbohydrates (carbs, for short). Typically you’ll want between 30% and 40% of your diet to be carbs.
There are tons of “low carb” diets out there, but in reality you don’t need to cut them out entirely. Simply limit your intake of carbs and you’ll be fine.
Finally, the remaining 10-20% of your diet should be fats.
Now, there are good and bad fats. Trans Fat, for example, is one you want to steer completely clear from. It’s harmful and damaging to your body – to say the least.
The fats you’ll want to focus on are called “Monounsaturated fats” and “Polyunsaturated fats”. Those are the good fats, which have a whole slew of healthy benefits.
One of those benefits is that they can promote weight loss, which is why you want to try to work them into most of your meals (if not all of your meals).
You’ll find these “good fats” in foods such as nuts and seeds, oils (like olive oil and macadamia oil), olives, peanut better and salmon.
Keeping track of all this can be tough, so that’s why I’d recommend using an online calorie counter (like MyFitnessPal) to keep track of everything. When you do, you’ll even see the exact percentage of your food intake in regards to your macros, making keeping track of your diet simple!
Rule #3: Don’t go more than 4 hours without eating a meal
This is perhaps the biggest one, and one that leads to the biggest failure with diets.
Most people think they need to eat LESS on a diet, so they don’t eat at all. That, or they wait a long time between meals thinking they’re not eating so they’ll lose weight.
That’s just STUPID!
Being on a “diet” doesn’t mean you eat less… it means you eat BETTER. Sure, you need to restrict your calories, but that doesn’t mean you need to starve yourself.
Here is a good rule when starting out…. shoot for 400-calorie meals, and never go more than 4 hours without eating. When you do, you just get hungrier and hungrier and it makes splurging almost inevitable.
When you eat every 3-4 hours, you’re constantly supplying your body with energy and fuel to keep going, but you’re doing it in a manageable way.
See, your body can only digest so much at a time. When it hits its limit, everything else is waste. When you have smaller meals but more frequently – especially healthier ones – your body can digest everything and you’re not left with anything left over… To be potentially stored as fat.
Bottom line: if you want to lose weight, eat more regularly. When you do, you’ll feel satisfied all day and you won’t get so hungry that you over-indulge, ruining your all your efforts.
So that’s it for a balanced diet, but one that actually works. These ground rules are extremely important, and if you follow them you WILL see results.