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.