So, you've finally decided to end the weight gain cycles and lose the fat for good.
In this article, I will break down the best diet for fat loss and give you all the tools you need to start burning your stubborn fat today.
I'll save the topic of "fat-burning workouts" for another time. Still, if you want to pair the diet covered in this article with workouts, you can access 60+ Fat Burning Workouts here.
And before we dive in, if you're biggest weight loss obstacles in the past were struggling with diet rules, hunger, or it just wasn't practical for your lifestyle, make sure you read to the end.
Let's dive in!
So, which diet is best for your fat loss?
The first question you need to ask yourself before choosing a diet is, "Which diet can I stick to the longest, possibly forever, and with the least effort?"
Because if you can't stick with it long term, even if it's the most optimal diet, it won't work for you.
A quick Google search for "best diets for fat loss" pushed me toward Keto, Mediterranean, and Paleo.
In the Mediterranean diet, your food options are similar to what people in Italy and Greece have enjoyed over the years, like fish, fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and whole grains.
However, you won't be able to eat processed meats, added sugars, and trans fats like fried foods, cakes, and cookies.
For Keto, your diet will be primarily fats with a little protein, but you must limit your carb intake to roughly 5% of your foods. And yes, this includes avoiding carbs you would typically label as healthy, like apples, bananas, beans, and even quinoa.
Paleo will allow you to eat whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and grass-fed or wild-caught meats.
But paleo standards restrict foods like beans, lentils, all processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and anything your ancestors didn't eat (so, probably no Oreos).
Assuming these three diets provide similar results, which one should you choose?
Do you like fruit, an occasional donut, or a burger? If yes, Keto is not for you.
Do you like grabbing a Digiorno frozen pizza, Jersey Mike's Sub, or those pink cake pops from Starbucks on a busy workday? (I know I do) If so, neither Mediterranean nor Paleo will work long-term.
Here's the truth.
You don't need to jump on another diet you can't stick to.
None of my clients are on a diet that restricts food groups. And some of my clients have lost and maintained over 100+lb of weight loss.
The solution is simple; you should start counting calories so you can keep your favorite foods in your "diet" while still losing fat.
Now, just because you aren't eliminating pizza doesn't mean you should expect to eat it every single day. You will still need to be in a calorie deficit for calorie counting to work for fat loss.
And if this is all new to you, keep reading because I'm going to give you the tools to start losing fat today.
First, you should know a few terms before diving into calorie counting.
What is a calorie?
A calorie is a unit of energy typically used to define the energy content of food. One calorie is the energy required to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius.
Let me simplify that. Think of calories as energy from food.
All your foods have calories, and all the calories you eat in one day would be your total calorie intake.
Let me make one thing extremely clear. The only way you will lose fat, ever, is if you are in a calorie deficit.
It's not about carb-cutting, cleanses, detox teas, or low-fat foods.
YOU MUST BE IN A CALORIE DEFICIT.
What is a calorie deficit?
A calorie deficit is when you consume fewer calories than your body burns in a day.
Let me give you a very simplified example.
Pretend your body needs 2,200 calories to keep you breathing, digesting, and maintaining all the processes inside your body. But you decide to change your ways and instead eat 1,800 calories. By being below your daily need, you have created a calorie deficit of 400.
Here's the thing, when you create a deficit, the body still demands that original energy standard of (from our example above) 2,200 calories.
And because you ate less than 2,200 calories, your body will begin to use stored energy/aka calories (like body fat), to make up for the deficit you created.
And if fat loss is your goal, this should be your lightbulb moment.
I haven't mentioned cutting carbs, sugars, fruits, or drinks.
It's all about calories and creating a deficit so your body can use the extra fat hanging off your waistline as energy, resulting in fat loss.
So now the million-dollar question.
How many calories do YOU need to eat to be in a calorie deficit?
If you want a full calorie calculator with multiple equation options, you can grab that here.
However, I have an easy solution below so you can pick a calorie starting point and start losing fat today!
I want you to pick your end goal body weight in pounds.
Don't overthink it.
What weight do you want to be at by the end of your journey, even if it takes you a few years to get there?
If you use kilos, convert them to pounds by multiplying your weight by 2.2.
Example 78kilos x 2.2 = 171.6lbs.
Once you choose your goal body weight, I want you to multiply it by 10 and by 12.
Example: Goal Body Weight 150lbs
1st Option 150 x 10 = 1500 calories
2nd Option 150 x 12 = 1800 calories
And those are your two calorie deficit options.
Ben, why would you give me two options?
Listen, I've been doing this for a while, and you may be the type of person that needs to see a quicker weight drop to feel motivated to stick to the process. If that is the case, choose option one, the lower number, and see how consistent you can be for 30 days.
If, in those 30 days, you don't hit your calorie target for 26+ days or struggle with hunger or snacking, You need to switch to the higher number.
Remember, the goal is to find a "diet" you can stick to long-term with little effort.
Choosing a low-calorie starting point to see fast weight loss sounds fun. However, if it yields constant negative moods, struggles with consistency, and poor hormonal response, IT WILL NOT BE WORTH IT.
You will struggle, quit, regain the weight, and have to start the process again.
Regarding the 2nd option, if you enjoy a slightly higher food intake with marginally slower results, use the higher number as your starting point.
So, if you're reading this article because your goal is fat loss, I want you to stop procrastinating and pick your calorie deficit target right now.
Track every calorie and hit your target consistently for the next 2-3 weeks, and I promise you will see your weight start to drop.
So, how do you track food intake?
If you want to go old school, you could use a pen and paper and read your food labels, but that's a lot to keep up with, and your goal is to make this as easy as possible.
My favorite way is to use the MyFitnessPal app.
I prefer this one because of its massive food database, which allows me to quickly search or scan my foods and track them on the go. It also allows me to friend my clients and review their food logs so we can work together on their nutrition needs.
Another great app is Cronometer.
I found this app helpful when trying to spot nutrient deficiencies as it gives you detailed information on 82 different micronutrients and your total calories.
Does it matter which one you choose?
But choose one today and input the target calories you calculated from earlier.
*Do not follow the suggested calorie targets from these apps, as they tend to be wildly inaccurate for your needs.
Accurate Tracking Is Key!
How you track matters more than you think, and if you "wing it," you'll get "wing it" results.
You will need to purchase a digital food scale to weigh your foods. These will typically cost $10-15 at most, so if you're serious about losing fat, purchase a food scale.
Then it would be best to weigh most of your foods in grams and meats in ounces to track your daily calories accurately.
Yes, this will take some practice, but like anything, after a week of tracking, you will be a pro and find that it only adds a minute or two to your meals.
And if a few minutes of tracking each day solve years of fat loss struggles, you will be glad you took it seriously.
Please do not make this tracking mistake:
You don't track "servings" of rice, a "large" banana, or a "cup" of cereal.
You track the actual weight to know the number of calories you consume.
Let me show you what poor tracking would look like with one of my favorite higher-calorie snacks, a peanut butter and banana sandwich.
In the first example, I loosely track a serving size of PB, an average banana, and I'm not too worried about checking the bread brand I'm using.
435 total calories. Not too bad.
But when I put the food scale to work, weigh out the banana and PB in grams, and see that my white bread is higher in calories, it changes everything.
If just three foods can be off by 122 calories, imagine what your whole day or week of miss-tracking foods would look like.
"It's just one glass!"
Trust me; I've worked with dozens of people that swore they were eating 1200-1400 calories. Then once they took tracking seriously, most were eating closer to 1900+ calories.
So if your goal is fat loss and you want to avoid a lot of scale-related frustration, take tracking seriously from day one to get the results you've wanted for years.
Now that you know your calorie deficit target, the apps you can track with, and how to use a food scale for accuracy, what should you do?
Focus on consistency and let go of the need to be perfect.
Being perfect is impossible, and it will keep you from starting toward your goals out of fear you will fail.
You won't hit your calories every day.
You may have already over snacked 5x this week!
And if your standard were perfection, you would have to label each of those days as "failures."
But I don't want you playing the pass-or-fail game.
I want you to be consistent in your pursuit of improving your health.
Consistency allows you to struggle forward at a pace you can handle.
Choose to hit your calorie target consistently; I promise you will see the results you want.
And yes, you can fit pizza into your diet, cookies, and all the rest, but they HAVE TO FIT!
No exceptions and no "free foods."
Your weekends aren't off days or cheat meals.
All calories count, and if you want to reach your goals, you will count your calories.
After you master tracking and hitting your targets, you should work on mainly eating nutrient-dense foods, set a protein goal, and even work on strength training.
I'll save those details for another time, but if you follow me, you will see daily help on how to do all of these.
However, if you try to take this all on at once, there's a good chance you will feel overwhelmed and quit.
So please, no one is hurrying you to your goal.
Slow down and master the skill of calorie counting before you try to bring in several new habits.
And remember, fat loss takes time, discipline, and consistency.
But it's not complicated.
And this is why I love counting calories over any diet with a fancy name.
It gives you the freedom to eat the foods that you enjoy while also being able to move toward your goal of fat loss.
So, one more big question.
Will you be another statistic?
I gave you all the information you need to start losing fat today so you can improve your health and be proud of your body.
Will you take action?
Or just be one of those people that knows what to do but chooses to continue to live in poor health for the rest of their lives?
I don't want that for you.
I want you to reach your full potential and not have your health get in the way of reaching your life goals.
You have everything you need to get started right now.
Don't be another statistic!
If you have questions on any of this, you can always reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you know you're ready to take your health to the next level and want me to remove all of the guesswork so you can have a sustainable, flexible plan that fits your needs, you can apply for coaching with me here.
Talk again soon! - Ben