It’s a new year and many of you are making resolutions that involve loosing weight. I got a jump on it and started a few months back because I didn’t want to put it off. I found a winning combination in November and lost 20 pounds that month while working long hours and pigging out on Thanksgiving day. I took some precautions on that day to reduce the amount of damage I did. In this article I’ll share with you the top factors that went into loosing that much weight. How you can plan your meals for success. If getting healthy and loosing weight interest you stick with me and I’ll share some tips with you to help you succeed in your resolutions. These are just some of the things that worked for me. I am not a Dr. or licensed nutritionist. I’m just a guy that found somethings that worked to make me healthy.
Get With The Program
The same principles will not work for everyone. I will give a basic framework for a specific segment of the population that wants to loose weight. If you are a performance athlete this will crush you, but then you probably aren’t trying to loose weight. If you are overweight, and sedentary to lightly active this is for you. You will need to work on not being sedentary though, but we will get to that later. I have tried a calorie restriction program and found it to be a hassle to do daily and left me pretty hungry. The bigger the hassle and hunger the less likely you are to stick with it. We will focus on two main things for my program, Food variety and macro nutrient percentages. The food variety will follow a standard paleo regime (Robb Wolf Quick Start Guide) with a few exceptions. Paleo explained in it’s simplest terms are, No Dairy, No Grains and No Legumes. The exceptions I will make will be for some high fat dairy. If you can handle it I recommend using grassfed butter, heavy cream and some sour cream. All are mostly pure fat and are useful and tasty. The macro nutrient part refers to how much you are eating of Fat, Protein and Carbohydrate. The way I list them is priority of what should make up the largest percentage, Fat, to the lowest, carbs. I went with an Atkins inductions style template of 20 grams of carbs a day. I lose weight and perform well at this number. If you are highly active you may want to increase that amount. I’ve stuck with this amount since starting Crossfit with only a few bumps. So let’s break down the simple rules.
- Eat NO Grains or Legumes
- Only eat high fat dairy such as heavy cream and grassfed butter
- Keep carbs in the 20 ~50 grams range
- The majority of your calories needs to come from Fat, at least 60% preferably higher, followed by protein then carbohydrate.
That’s the four simple rules to loosing weight. There are some pitfalls and myself being a long term low carb’er myself had fallen into them. I’ll cover a few to keep in mind to avoid.
I’m a carnivore. I could and have eaten nothing but meat. In the past I was happy to cook a monster of a steak and devour it. If you follow a paleo or Atkins diet this seems like a normal thing to do. With that said I had a serious weight loss stall and was stuck. I kept doing what I thought was right and it wasn’t working. After reading about Jimmy Moores N=1 experiment and some of his mistakes I nailed the problem. I was over consuming protein. The body has a process to convert excess protein into glucose through gluoneogenisis when there is not enough glucose in the body. So while I thought I was controlling blood sugar by limiting carbs by overeating protein I was spiking blood sugar. Now I make sure to reduce my protein in every meal. This simple I cut steaks into smaller pieces, usually around the 3~5 ounce range. Weighing most steaks I get tend to be 10 oz or more. By doing this I can make my meat last longer. You can really geek out on this and determine the exact amount you should be eating and limit yourself to that. Atkins made a useful chart based on height to determine how much you should be consuming. If you really want to geek out more you can pair a glucose meter with a blood ketone meter to track and chart your numbers to fully optimize fat loss. However the test strips for the blood ketone meter will set you back some serious money. Try the chart first and see if you are loosing weight if not you may need to dig deeper.
Reducing protein by default means you have to increase something to fill the void. In our case that will be dietary fat we will be increasing. In the form of healthy fats such as coconut oil, grassfed butter, avocados, olive oil and animal fats. I was originally stumped on how to add fat without increasing protein. The solution was pretty easy. I try to add a little fat to everything I eat and eat more veggies covered in or cooked in fat. I cook my morning eggs in bacon fat and add a forkfull of sour cream to it. You can drop a pat of butter on top any meat, heavy cream to coffee or olive oil on veggies. Another trick I learned is making meals that are 80% and up all fat. I eat daily a coconut curry soup that is made of mostly fats. I reviewed a great cookbook on meals like this a while back. Dropping in a high fat low carb/ protein meal helps push your fat intake higher and keeping you in nutritional ketosis. Increased fat has an amazing effect on controlling hunger. I now can go hours forgetting to eat without having any hunger issues. No longer will I get “Hangry” and have to eat.
I worked out and did some running about once to twice a week during this month. I spent no more than an hour and usually in the 15~30 minute range. When working out I followed the Tim Ferriss Ocams Protocol. It is a very quick routine with amazing results. It follows the minimum effective dose principal. You will need to perform the exercises with a five second up and five second down motion. This put the muscle under optimal contraction for growth. It is boring though and has little accountability. Most with new years resolutions will quit within weeks. People don’t get motivated to go to a gym by themselves. Since starting crossfit and the amazing supportive community at my gym (box) I hate missing days. It has to be something major to make me miss a workout. It’s positive peer pressure to work out with amazing, friendly people. I am pushed to be my best every time. This I feel is key to sticking with it. If that’s not a fit for you find an activity you enjoy and go do that. I recently got a few friends hooked on geocahing. They are out walking around more than usual and having a blast. If you are not having fun you will stop doing something. Find something you like and you will stick with it.
Those are the tips that worked for me. The month I started this, November 2013, I weighed 255 at the beginning and ended it at 235. Twenty pounds lighter. A few pant sizes smaller. The month ended with serious compliments on me loosing so much weight. It was however only the beginning of my journey. I continued tweaking during December and started crossfit. Weight loss stalled out again during this time compared to the 20lb loss the previous month. Clothes kept getting looser though and muscles got bigger. I weighed in on January 4th, my birthday, to see if I met my goal. I set a goal back in October to get down to 220 pounds by my birthday. Now at 32 I weight as much as I did at 19. I don’t plan on resting on my laurels though I want to become the best I can be. I wish all of you good luck on your weight loss goals. Together we can make 2014 the healthiest year for ourselves. A big part of survival is being healthy and not being over weight is a great way to be healthy. Happy New Year!
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