Nutrition & Fat-Loss (11/22/2019)

A few weeks ago we outlined a scenario of a woman named Jane. Jane is looking for a way to shed body fat so she feels better, looks better and regains her self-confidence.

Just think how our character Jane feels. She does not know what to do because there’s too much information, or opinions, on fat-loss and what is the best diet, meal plan or nutrition program.

Many people have expressed this same sentiment to us.

On top of this desire to lose body fat – everyone wants to be at their ideal goal in 21 days to 6 weeks, maybe even less. The quick fix mentality is anything shorter than that just isn’t worth the patience or practice.

Jane tried a number of different things and although she experienced some progress in each, eventually she hit a plateau, became frustrated and quit.

We outlined mindset in our last newsletter (by now ages ago) and today we are going to cover nutrition as briefly and simply as possible. The goal here is to capture what most people need to know (and hear) about nutrition without getting too technical.

We receive these questions all the time:

“What should I be eating? Can you give me a meal plan and tell me what to eat?”

“Is fruit bad for you? That’s all sugar, right?”

“I don’t eat breakfast but everyone is telling me I should. What do you think?”

“Does keto / Paleo / Whole 30 / intermittent fasting / IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) / High Carb-Low Fat / Low Carb-High Fat / The Twinkie Diet / The Big Mac Diet work?”

Some of these options work for some people some of the time. None of the options above work for all of the people all of the time.

And the most common reason people have success with any of the diets above? They changed the quality, quantity and timing of what they ate, and because of that, ended up in a caloric deficit.

The most basic variable we can look at is calories in and calories out: CICO. In it’s simplest form, this way of looking at nutrition and dieting follows this rule:

  • If you eat more calories than you expend or burn, you will gain weight.
  • If you eat less calories than you expend or burn, you will lose weight.

Then there’s this thing called “The Energy Balance Equation,” which is much more complex. There are “energy in” factors like appetite, food choices, caloric absorption and environment. There are “energy out” factors such as resting metabolism (energy the body burns or uses at rest), energy burned through daily activity and exercise, energy burned being alive, breathing and digesting – which is known as metabolic thermogenesis.


This is where most people check out and can’t wrap their head around what they need to do to create a nutrition program that helps them achieve their fat-loss goals.

Because most of the population is looking to improve their physique (look good naked…yes!) with fat-loss or improved energy, we could be better served focusing on why we eat, how we eat and reinforcing healthy food and eating habits.

Here’s some key points to consider:

  • Eat until you are 80% full or satisfied. This does not need to be perfect, like 80% on the button, but stop eating once you’re satisfied with what you ate. That means you might leave some food on your plate, or eat off of a smaller plate.
  • Eat whole foods. Avoid processed foods.
  • Eat protein more often by building your meals around your protein choices. Try fish, eggs, poultry, lean beef, wild games meats, plain Greek yogurt.
  • Eat vegetables and fruits and make them the second priority to protein when you’re making a meal. Which ones? Pick lots of colors.
  • Eat quality, whole food carbohydrates. Think starchy carbs like rice, potatoes, oats, and other whole grains which have benefits of a higher fiber content, are slower digesting and help control blood sugar, are rich in vitamins and minerals, and they’re satisfying. Make these the third addition to your meals.
  • Eat healthy fats like oils, avocados, aged cheeses, and egg yolks. Add these to your meals last.
  • Use the Precision Nutrition hand rule as the easiest measuring tool. Click here to learn more.

“If It Fits Your Macros” (IIFYM) or any other calorie counting program works because you learn what is in your food (servings amounts of protein, carbs and fats), but commonly people don’t want to count what they eat for the rest of their lives.

A simpler practice is to eat slowly, mindfully, and stop before you’re full. This is the 80% satisfied rule, and you know you’re there if you begin thinking “I don’t know how this next bite it going to feel.” You’re full, your gut and brain just haven’t caught up to each other yet because you were eating too quickly.

We want you to learn about and practice consistency. Be consistent with what and how you eat, the quality of food you eat, the quantity of food you eat and why you’re eating.

Don’t rely on that scale only because the scale won’t move some of the time. Take body measurements, try on clothes that fit or are too tight, monitor your energy throughout the day and during your training sessions, and reflect on your overall quality of life. Are you happy where you’re at now while working toward your goals?

Habits are going to be the primary focus for any of your nutrition efforts.

Understand that at the most simplistic view of all diets is that they work for fat-loss when you’re in a caloric deficit. Your calories in needs to be unbalanced to your calories out, with the advantage going to calories out.

Also, stop labeling foods “good” or “bad” and do what Dr. John Berardi (founder of Precision Nutrition) suggests and “eat more of this,” “eat some of this,” and “eat less of this.”

There are some foods we know we should all be eating more of. As a general observation working with hundreds of clients over the past 7 years, most people could benefit by adding more protein rich foods and vegetables in their diets.

There are some foods we know we should be eating less of but there are also foods we should enjoy because we want to. We usually do this during events, celebrations or special occasions and that doesn’t happen every night or weekend.

And speaking of the weekend, this is the biggest obstacle for many of the people we work with. They do great Monday through Thursday and let their guard up on Friday and then have no plan for the weekend. When they hit Monday of the next week they’re right back where they started.

Start planning a little on the weekend to be in a better position on Monday. A food journal helps, but that food journal could be a food planning journal, where you’re following a plan and being proactive, versus writing down what you ate after you ate which is reactive.

Please read this a few times, maybe out loud to yourself: Restrictive diets are not created for the long-term.

You will learn nothing through restrictive dieting other than you may contemplate eating the meat off your arm and what brain fog feels like. Once you’re done with any restrictive dieting program, you pick up where you left off before the restrictions were placed and the process starts all over again.

What to do now, after reading all of that?

1) Protein is your #1 priority. Protein digests slowly and will provide you with more satiety (fullness) and satisfaction than other foods.

2) Eat vegetables and fruits that provide you with fiber. Fiberous foods will provide you with more satiety and satisfaction.

3) Be active. Exercise will help shuttle nutrients to repair and build muscle tissue, not to fat cells if you’re inactive.

4) Be consistent. You will hit highs and lows and everything in between. Fat-loss isn’t linear, keep being consistent, patient and play the long game!

5) It’s okay to be hungry! Think about why you’re hungry. Are you bored, stressed, dehydrated, anxious? Drink water and then see how you feel 15 minutes later. Still hungry? Ask why again and if you’re still hungry, maybe it is time to eat. Remember – pick your protein first.