Dieting For Fat Loss 101
The information below is meant to be VERY basic.
Fat Loss and Dieting 101.
It is literally meant for people that have no idea how to lose weight or how their body works. I, as well most most athletes and nutritionists, understand this on a much higher level. Please do not write in criticizing the simplicity of this information, we'll get into more advanced theory later.
It is important that we teach you how to eat, not just tell you what to eat. Once you know how to eat and the very basics of human metabolism,
you'll know exactly what to eat, when to eat it
and it if will help you with your fitness goals.
Before I started working on GoodLookingLoser.com full time, I was a private personal trainer in Los Angeles, CA. I've worked with celebrities (wow Chris!), athletes and people of all shapes and sizes. I've also written about 300 articles for Livestrong.com.
If it means anything to you, I have certifications in both Sports Nutrition (ISSA) and Personal Training (ACE). I also have a certification in bodybuilding nutrition (SMART), that is probably better than both of them but isn't Nationally "accredited". I put very little stock into these certifications, you just need them to work at a gym, so the gym doesn't get sued if someone fucks themselves up. Considering that ALL personal trainers who work at public gyms carry these "accredited" certifications, and personal trainers at public gyms are the VERY worst trainers in the country, these certifications hardly matter to me and shouldn't matter to you either.
More significantly, you can trust my advice on diet and nutrition because I have a decent body, 6-2 215lbs sub 8% body fat, that I maintain year-round with pretty minimal effort. I go to the gym about 3 or 4 times a week, for 45 minutes a session. I'm not a genetic freak either, I looked quite underweight until I began lifting weights seriously my junior year of high school. At the time, I couldn't bench my body weight (150lbs). At 25, I set personal best in bench press and squats, (225 x 28) and (455 x 15), respectively. I got a scholarship to college for my physique from my church by in 2001.
Don't believe the out-of-shape people that tell you, "[insert ripped guy] ONLY looks that way because he spends 3 hours a day in the gym/does steroids/genetic freak/(other know-it-all reason)." In fact, don't take any fitness advice from out-of-shape people, clearly- they have no idea what they are talking about.
In-other-words, like everything else on this site, it comes from experience. I'm not an Internet marketer hiding behind "information" that he's never applied and trying to trick you into clicking affiliate links. Scotty was a legitimate competitive bodybuilder too, you can trust anything that comes out of his mouth as well.
While you may not desire to have the physique of a bodybuilder (I don't suggest it for picking up chicks- "What Body Type Is Most Attractive?"), you can trust what we have to say. A competitive bodybuilder or athlete knows 10x more about how to eat for muscle gain/fat loss than a "nutritionist" who doesn't have a good body or some "professor" that sits in an office.
So alright, you get it.
To start off, below I'll list a few important bullet points and dispel a few myths that surround "eating for FAT LOSS," in the long run, its more important that we teach you how your body works rather than simply giving you a diet to follow. Once you learn how your body works, you won't ever need help building a diet. You'll already know how.
This is very general list of concepts. I'll get more in-depth later.
Remember this SOLELY applies to guys that want to LOSE FAT (see title of the article). This is not the same advice that I'd give to people that want to build muscle, eat as healthful as possible, gain weight, or get stronger. Just as advice for "getting laid" is different than advice for "meeting women" or "I want to be a pickup artist," the advice for dieting to LOSE FAT is different. This even differs from the advice I'd give to people that want to "lose weight," again, this advice is to LOSE FAT.
Please keep that in mind.
Okay, now a few significant things, I'll keep it simple-
- The key to losing fat is to burn fat. Also known as- using body fat for energy.
- In order to burn fat, you MUST keep your blood sugar both low and stable.
- That means AVOIDING foods that raise your blood sugar.
- Carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates (sugar) raise your blood sugar. Protein and fat don't, for the most part.
- When you raise your blood sugar, your body IMMEDIATELY stops burning fat. Glucose (carbohydrates) is you body's preferred source for energy, instead of fat. In order to burn fat, you must not eat carbohydrates. I repeat- AVOID CARBOHYDRATES.
- The vast majority of people do very well on low (<30 grams) carbohydrate diets. It can take a few weeks to adjust though. Contrary to popular belief (and the fucking food pyramid), carbohydrates are NOT essential macro-nutrients. If you don't eat fat or protein, you'll die. If you don't eat carbohydrates, you'll look better. The 2002 "Journal of Clinical Nutrition" confirms this, we've known this for over a decade.
- If you don't eat carbohydrates, your body will be in "fat burning" mode. Whereas if you eat carbohydrates (and are inactive) your body is in fat storage mode.
- People that are "naturally" overweight, have a hyper-sensitivity to carbohydrates. This is called "insulin sensitivity," or lack thereof. Their blood sugar shoots WAY up and they begin to store everything they eat as fat.
- You don't need to count calories until you get down to 10% body fat, in my opinion. I'm not big on counting calories, although weight/fat loss is a product of a caloric deficiency (you burn more calories than you consume), it's more important to avoid carbohydrates so your body is in "fat burning" mode for the majority of the day.
- Calories don't tell the whole story. You can eat WAY more calories if you avoid carbohydrates, because your body physiologically CANNOT store them since your blood sugar is not elevated. I mean it. I once ate 7600 calories of just cheese and butter for 7 days and lost 8 pounds
- Contrary to popular belief- there are NO foods that burn fat. Not cabbage, not grapefruit, not anything. This is verified by the The Student's Center for Health at University of West Virginia. The term "fat burning foods" is completely made up. The exception is caloric-free foods with caffeine, such as green tea.
This is GLL Dieting 101, this is by no means an extensive list of advanced metabolic principles, we'll have a biochemistry and health/human performance discussion another time. Don't bother writing in nitpicking this very basic list. Thank you for your understanding!
Other Things You Should Probably Know-
- Healthful foods are not necessarily the best fat loss diet foods. The obvious example s fruit. While fruit contains lots of vitamins, mineral and antioxidants, since is a basically all sugar and water- it will stop your body from burning fat.
- If FAT LOSS is your goal, exercising on an empty stomach [in the morning] will burn SIGNIFICANTLY more fat. Your body needs energy to exercise. Since you are on an empty stomach, you don't have any glucose (carbohydrates) to feed it. It uses your fat body for energy instead. This confirmed by Belgian scientists in a clinical study published in the 2010 "Journal of Physiology," and Good Looking Loser's favorite LEGIT dietitian Dr. Jonny Bowden.
- The "balanced diet" is created by persons with political interests. I'm not saying it's a complete conspiracy or anything, but there's jackshit research that supports "The Food Pyramid" and lots of obese people walking around that don't eat McDonalds everyday. For more information about the dietary guidelines and the extreme lack of evidence surrounding carbohydrate-based diets- see what Dr. Jonny Bowden PhD. has to say.
- If you follow a low/no carbohydrate diet to lose fat, you will be successful. If you don't, you won't. It is physiologically impossible to retain high levels of body fat if you avoid carbohydrates and you are active. If you don't follow a low/no carbohydrate diet, you won't be successful or it will take several more months/years to get to where you want to be.
- Diet will be responsible for about 80-90% of your results. Especially if you are trying to lose fat. The remaining 10% is your training program. Somewhere between 1-5% are dietary supplements. Some people see this and interpret it as an excuse to not exercise. These people will end up "skinny fat" or "thin fat" and still look like shit.
- Lifting weights if usually better for fat loss than cardiovascular exercise. Resistance training increases your metabolism so you continue to burn calories when you leave the gym. Cardio, doesn't necessarily do this. There's a lot more to this subject.
- Steroids don't burn fat. Food doesn't burn fat, neither do steroids. Steroids can prevent catabolism (muscle-wasting) while on a calorie deficient diet.
It may surprise you, but I wrote and referenced all of the above in about 40 minutes off the top of my head. I know this subject pretty well. It's not rocket science, but you definitely have to have decent understanding of how your body works if you ever hope to change it for good.
In the future we'll have specific diets and training programs you can use, free of charge, of course. We'll also take a more advanced, in-depth and comprehensive look at this and related subjects. It'll be fun.