For a long time, people thought that dietary fat intake was the cause of body fat stores; “Eating too much fat makes me fat.” However, this is actually not true. You will discover very quickly that reducing dietary fat will hardly make any difference to your weight or body fat percentage. When you start to manipulate carbohydrates is when you begin to notice changes and thus the low-carb, low-fat diet was born. The fact is, carbohydrates (sugars and starches in your diet) make you fat, not fat. Most low carb diets eliminate fat almost completely, making it very easy to manipulate for performance needs. However, eliminating all fat from the diet for too long is not smart and the body will begin to manifest deficiencies seen with certain symptoms. These are joint pain, dry skin, and dandruff to name a few, but more serious problems can develop if all fat is removed from the diet for more than 6 months. That’s why it’s smart to keep the small percentage of fat in your low-fat / low-carb diet to be sources of essential fats like avocado, certain seeds, and nuts. Supplements like fish and flax seed oil capsules are also a must to keep your diet healthy.
It should be noted that just as being overweight and having too much body fat is considered unhealthy, the process of losing weight (be it slowly or quickly) must be a healthy process. Diets that cause extremely rapid weight loss can often be very unhealthy (and sometimes dangerous) and should only be practiced under certain conditions and under professional supervision. Losing weight at the expense of your health is pointless. After an initial 7-12 pound weight loss in the first 3 weeks, losing 2 pounds per week is a very reasonable and healthy goal for all dieters. To do this, you must configure your program with certain very important parameters. The first and most damaging is the amount of dietary protein you should be consuming. This is calculated with a body fat percentage measurement to determine one’s lean body mass. There are many ways to measure your body fat percentage. Whether done by the trainer at your gym, a nutritionist, your doctor, or your spouse, this needs to be done so that you can find out how your daily protein intake requires for your diet. This is the backbone of each and every weight loss diet and where you should start.
The amount of protein you eat on a daily basis will be a constant constant with all the other components revolving around this. To solve this, eat 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body and add 10. If lifting weights is also part of your nutrition program, then eat 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass plus 15-20 grams. For example, if your lean body mass is 150 pounds, you should eat between 160-170 grams of protein / day and this should not change regardless of your activity level or other components of the diet. By setting the amount of carbohydrates to consume in your diet, the carbohydrate cycle works best. While the entire program is considered a ‘low carb diet’, every day is somewhat low carb, however you will have some days with more carbohydrates than others. When choosing the amount of carbohydrates to eat, determine this from your current body weight and not from your measure of lean body mass. For average / high carb days, multiply your current body weight by 9 and this will give you the number of grams of carbohydrate to consume for the day. For low carb days, multiply your body weight by 5. For example, 225 pounds. the man will eat ~ 200 grams of carbohydrate on an average day and ~ 100 grams on the low-carbohydrate day.
Cycling low and high carb days is extremely important for continued weight loss. Eat no more than 2-3 low carb days in a row. Doing so can disrupt your metabolism and drastically slow down your weight loss. If you eat too few calories for too long, your body will think you are starving and will begin to retain everything you have, causing weight loss to stop. Schedule low carb days per week based on your training schedule or work schedule for best results. For example, if you lift weights on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, these are better days for higher carbohydrate intake so your muscles have glycogen for weight lifting. For a schedule like this, choose Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday for low carb days and focus on cardio sessions to burn fat. Keep in mind that low carb days often make you feel sluggish and mentally sluggish, so they may not be better scheduled on the day of your big presentation if possible.
In addition to cycling low and high carb days throughout the week, another very effective strategy is staggering calories throughout the day. Weight loss will be faster and more efficient if you load up your calories at first by eating starches in the first part of the day and then switch to fibrous carbohydrates later. If you eat 5 meals a day, eat starchy carbohydrates in your first three and only fibrous carbohydrates in the last two. It’s best to make the first three meals of the day your highest calorie count, then the last two should be the smallest. This will fuel your day and since most of your activities end towards the evening, so should your caloric intake. Distribute your meals as evenly as possible throughout the day and try to have your last meal at least 4 hours before bedtime. Your weight loss will be better and faster if you starve at night and are hungry as soon as you wake up. If you are not hungry at night, you are eating too late and will have trouble losing a lot of weight.
Carbohydrate options should be limited to only clean natural starches and stringy green vegetables. Some starchy vegetables like squash can also be eaten, however they should be eaten no later than lunchtime. Pasta is processed and is not the best option. Oatmeal, brown rice, and sweet potatoes are great. If your goal is to lose body fat, fruit is not a good dietary choice. Fruit is a simple sugar and burns before any fatty acid; This means that if you eat it, the body will choose it as an energy source before choosing body fat. However, the fruit is very refreshing, fat-free, natural, has lots of vitamins, and works wonders to curb your sweet tooth. If you choose to eat fruit, don’t eat it after lunch. This will give your body time to burn it off and finish it off during the day. The best fruits to use are berries as they are very low carb / low calorie and have wonderful antioxidant properties. Avoid any kind of dried fruits as they are nothing but sweet when it comes to a fat loss diet.
Finally, give yourself a realistic time frame to lose weight. Choose a diet program that lasts no more than 12 weeks in a row, with the goal of losing at least 2 pounds per week. If you have more than 30 pounds to lose, break it down into more than one program. Plan to have a cheat meal each week where you go off the diet and satisfy your cravings with a good dinner somewhere. Let this be a reward for your hard work during the week. This is very important as it allows your mind to rest from the constant diet routine and gives you something to look forward to. One high calorie meal a week will also let your body know that you are not starving, so you will continue to lose weight while you continue to eat lower calories. Cardio is also a must and must be done incessantly if your goal is to lose body fat. Weight lifting is also very important for maintaining lean body mass and body shaping, however the cardio + diet is what will keep the scale moving in the right direction.