Reset Pt II: Prepare Yourself. Summer is Coming.

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A week or so ago, I was joking with a client about how it was about 100 days until Memorial Day- the unofficial start of summer for most people. The funny thing to me is that most people won’t begin the “winter weight” panic until late March, early April when New Year’s resolutions have long been forgotten and the first stretch of relatively warm days start to coax those heavy coats, cardigans and chunky sweaters off to reveal the manifestations an awesome holiday season that happened several months prior. That’s when the terror sets in, the gym crowds become unbearable and everybody is crash dieting with the latest ill-conceived plan they found in a magazine while waiting to check out at the supermarket.

This won’t be you.

There are roughly 12 weeks until Memorial Day is upon us and that is ample time for major changes in body composition to happen. The first reset post I wrote shortly after the new year may have been too broad for some, so this one will be the unabridged version. What I am going to lay out here is details of a fool proof diet plan that should work for everyone who is not suffering from a major hormonal issue. (Trust me, that’s not you) The initial phase of this plan is not easy in the beginning and it takes effort. It’s not for everyone. However, some people do need to go through this phase to better transition themselves for long-term success. You should probably go through this phase if

  • You have a lot of fat to lose. This will help your body learn how to burn fat efficiently and regulate the hormones which determine appetite and satiety.
  • You want to lose fat quickly. This will be the quickest, safest manner to lose fat while staying properly nourished.
  • You have a craving of a certain food (or drink) that you’re having a hard time shaking. If you truly want to break the habit, exercising some willpower initially with this phase will help you break that addiction by regulating food reward pathways in your brain.

I’ve read a myriad of books, studies, articles, blogs, etc. on weight loss, diets and related items. I’ve also lost 100+ lbs and kept it off. My recommendations are based on science and experience- not something a trainer told me at a gym or what I overheard at the barbershop. The choices of foods that I recommend are heavily influenced by Dr. Paul Jaminet’s book The Perfect Health Diet, which I highly recommend. The diet macronutrient timing is influenced by Lyle McDonald and John Keifer’s work on ketogenic diets and carb cycling. There are also elements of Stephan Guyenet‘s food reward theory thrown in also. There are many ways to lose weight- and to lose it quickly- but there aren’t many ways to do it in a safe and healthy way, so that’s where this diet comes in.

This diet is very similar to an induction phase of a low carb diet. The difference is that I am going to insist certain foods be included in the diet to keep it nutritionally replete. This initial phase is going to last at least 2 weeks. I say at least 2 weeks because if one has a lot of weight to lose(50 or more lbs) and your body is comfortable in this phase then you may want to ride it out. Here are the parameters.

  • Carbohydrate intake is limited to 30g a day, almost exclusively from green vegetables
  • Protein intake should be roughly .5-1g per pound of body weight.
  • Healthy fats should make up the majority of daily calories.
  • It should go without saying but, cook all of your own meals.

So far so good. Pretty straightforward low carb induction. Now let’s get to the brass tacks.

  • 4 oz of liver should be eaten once a week(my liver night is Tuesday)
  • High quality eggs(pastured or free roaming are best) should be consumed regularly
  • High quality yogurt or fermented vegetables such as kim chi should be consumed regularly for probiotics
  • 100-150 calories worth of high quality 70% or above dark chocolate 3 times a week.
  • Butter should be used often as possible. Pastured butter (and cream) is highly recommended.
  • Make stocks and cook with them regularly.

Following these steps will go a long way to replenishing any nutrients you may be deficient in (some theories suggest that nutrient deficiencies may be one of the causes behind insatiable hunger), keep you from becoming nutrient deficient while dieting, and begin cultivating a healthy gut flora. You can get started without having introduced all of these into your diet, but eventually it will greatly benefit you to incorporate them.

So what does a typical day’s meals look like? It really depends on your eating habits. Some people eat breakfast, some don’t. Some people eat heavier earlier in the day, some like their biggest meal at dinner. It depends. A typical breakfast could possibly be 3-4 eggs(any style), several strips of bacon, sausage or other meat. Lunch would be a meat and vegetable. Dinner would be the same. Coffee and tea with cream is okay, choose sweeteners carefully. If you feel hungry and need to snack between meals, eat one handful of nuts the first time it happens. The next day eat a heavier breakfast until the point where you don’t feel the need to snack between meals.

This diet can be boring and repetitive(this actually is considered a good thing in some food reward circles) but it doesn’t have to be. Take the time to learn several different ways to cook different meats. Try different cuts of meats, vegetables and other permitted foods you haven’t tried. If you don’t have the time for all that, then just grin, bear it and comfort yourself with thoughts of a better looking you this summer.


Next post will be on transitioning out of this phase while keeping fat-burning going.


About dmartin1977

NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist and a nutrition geek with an interest in fat loss and maintenance.
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7 Responses to Reset Pt II: Prepare Yourself. Summer is Coming.

  1. Tracy says:

    Thank you for the informative post! How many yogurts would you suggest per week, and what kind? I’ve found a pretty, protein-packed greek yogurt (Fage Total 2%)…but it has 8g of carbs. Also, I have quite a few pounds to lose – should I be counting calories as well as carbs?

    • dmartin1977 says:

      Thank you Tracy. That is actually the one that I ate this morning. I highly recommend that particular greek yogurt. You can actually eat one everyday for breakfast or a snack. Make sure to count those towards your 30g of carbs a day.

      Your body SHOULD do a good job of regulating your hunger once you go very low carb like this. The body kicks into a state called ketosis where it converts fat into ketones and a positive byproduct is that it also significantly reduces hunger. In the next few days, I’ll be writing about how to keep the metabolism burning using scheduled refeeds or “cheats”.

  2. Tracy says:

    I have been on Atkins before, so I know all about ketosis and how it reduces hunger. I’m not a yogurt eater, but I will take your advice on one a day with breakfast…to accompany my eggs, bacon and or sausage. I have about 100 pounds to lose, so hopefully by Memorial Day weekend I will drop at least 40! 😉

    • dmartin1977 says:

      Good luck, Tracy. It definitely can be done…

      I know how people have fallen off of low carb diets before because of an inability to transition. I’m one of those people. I have successfully transitioned from an LC diet to a moderate carb diet and kept the weight off long-term. I’m going to deal with how accomplish this in subsequent posts.

  3. Tracy says:

    Thanks, I do have one more question though….are you taking any supplements as well? Friends are telling me to try Omega-3 Fish Oil and CLA supplements. Do you think those would be beneficial in my weight loss efforts?

    • dmartin1977 says:

      Omega 3 is a good supplement to take if you’re not getting it from food. If you’re eating fatty wild caught fish such as salmon 3x a week, you should be fine. If not, dropping 2 capsules a day should keep inflammation at bay. CLA is more of a gray area. The best CLA source is grass-fed meat and pastured butter- those have well-documented benefits. The supplement form doesn’t have as much research to back up the claims made by its proponents. I’d say yes to Omega 3 and no to CLA supplements from my experience and understanding. My personal philosophy is if there is a nutrient to be had, try to get it from food first.

  4. Tracy says:

    Gotcha, thanks for the advice and I look forward to reading your future posts!!!

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