Yes, it’s actually possible. I’ve tried every diet there is…4 Hour Body, Whole 30, Paleo, Optimal Paleo, Zone, Atkins, you name it.
This is what 1 lb. of fat looks like, now imagine losing 15 of these!
Along the way I realized some commonalities and I noticed some things that worked on everyone of my friends and family members. In short, I figured out the MED (Minimum Effective Dose) for getting started. Think of this as the absolute first step towards your new body.
Initially, I’m not going to ask you to avoid “whites”, stop drinking soda, or tell you to not have any alcohol for weeks on end. That’s not realistic and you won’t maintain that. A very small percentage can, but for the vast majority of us, we can’t or don’t even want to.
However, the vast majority of us could benefit tremendously from losing those first 15lbs of fat…Think about how much 15lbs of fat is…It’s roughly a clothing size (XXL to XL to L to M). What else is it? It’s a start. What most people notice is once they see real results, they want to keep going.
1. Eat 20-30 grams of protein within 1 hour of waking up (find 1 meal that fits and eat it everyday)
We have all heard this 100 times in our life…Breakfast is the most important part of the day. The problem is most people eat cereal, a bagel w/ cream cheese some orange juice and think they are doing the right thing. The facts are everywhere, unfortunately, that cereal (even the healthiest one from whole foods) is usually made out of some kind of flour or grain which will spike your blood sugar and insulin levels. Milk also causes an insulin response in your body and the orange juice contains a ton of sugar in the form of fructose which will also crank up your insulin levels.
So why should you care about insulin levels? This is a very long topic, but put simply: It is impossible to have high levels of insulin in your system while burning fat at the same time.
If you are going to follow only one rule out of all of these rules and see amazing results, it is this one. Study after study show the positive results of eating a predominately high protein breakfast the minute you wake up.
Omelet Muffins – Quick and easy on the go
Frittata is great on the go as well
2. Limit alcohol intake to 2 glasses of “dry” wine per day
One of the biggest reason’s people do not stick to their diets is alcohol. I personally love to have a couple of drinks after a long day at work. 2 glasses of dry red wine doesn’t seem to have any effect on people’s fat loss. Is the wine required to follow this diet? Not at all. It’s simply in here to avoid a very common pitfall of this challenge. If you are going to have a drink, choose from the following dry varietals:
- Reds – Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot
- Whites – Sauvignon Blanc, Albarino
Tip: If on the go and can’t remember the above names, go red. Most popular red wines are are dryer than white.
3. Limit the following (soda, diet soda, any artificial sweeteners, candy, desert type foods) to 1 serving per day
Anything with sugar in it, and most artificial sweeteners spike your insulin levels. Remember, when you have high levels of insulin you can’t burn fat. That’s not our goal here. However, we want you to stick to the challenge and realistically if you can’t have that 1 diet coke or sweetened coffee per day, the odds are you won’t stick to the challenge, you will fall off the wagon and go on a 2 week binge of donuts and Dr. Pepper’s.
The good news is we didn’t see any effect of 1 sweetened drink per day. However, once we added an additional sweet drink, the fat loss flattened out. Sugar is an addiction, so this might be the hardest part for some people, but remember, it’s only 3 weeks! Stick to it and just think about those 15lbs of nasty fat that you will be losing instead.
So what should you drink instead? You can’t go wrong with water, ever. Might as well learn to love it. I actually recommend drinking half your body weight in (oz) of water for most advanced diets, but for now just find something that you can drink that doesn’t have artificial sweetener or sugar in it. Tea, Coffee, LaCroix (club soda), etc. I usually drink water all day and occasionally squeeze some lemons in it.
4. Do Not Workout unless you are already on a consistent workout program
Your Basal Metabolic Rate is the number of calories you would burn if you were in bed all day. Obviously (hopefully) you aren’t. For most people, in a given day you burn about 100 calories an hour just doing normal activity. They have BMR calculators online that take you (gender, height, weight, and age) and calculate this for you but for now just take 100 for an average.
Here is how many calories you burn doing these common exercises:
- 1 hour of Stair-master: 450 calories
- 1 hour of Jogging: 500 calories
- 1 hour swimming laps (slow): 450 calories
- 1 hour walking (brisk pace): 300 calories
- 1 hour weightlifting (vigorous): 450 calories
Remember you have to minus the 100 calories you would have burned even if you didn’t workout as well. So that 1 hour on the Stair-master resulted in a total caloric loss of 350 calories!
Think about it…What do you normally do when you workout or after your workout? Protein shake? Gatorade? Increased appetite after working out is the key here. If you don’t normally workout and start a workout program in the beginning of a diet, this is a huge mistake and a common downfall. In our advanced posting we will describe some workouts that you can add in, but for now, diet is the focus.
5. Have a Cheat Day once per week
Allowing yourself a cheat day once per week has various positive effects:
- It helps you actually stick to your diet the rest of the week - Think about it…everyone eventually falls off the wagon on a diet and binges eventually. It’s better to plan for this mental breaking point. It’s something to be excited about all week long. Each time you are really craving something, you know in the back of your mind it’s only a few more days until you can indulge. I personally plan my cheat days in advance. Typically I pick a restaurant out that I can absolutely destroy and usually follow it up with a few (or more) of my favorite pubs. There is no restrictions on cheat day…Enjoy!
- It actually helps with fat loss - Extended caloric restriction causes your metabolic rate to decrease which in turn reduces your bodies ability to cut fat. So in order to hack this, we want you to spike your caloric intake once per week so this reduction in your metabolic rate never happens. That’s right, it is actually important to have your cheat day.
- You actually can enjoy the things you have been told for years you shouldn’t eat – We all know chips and queso isn’t good for us, or the double fudge brownie surrounded in vanilla ice cream isn’t going to get us to our physical goals…So we don’t eat it right? Typically we do, and just feel bad about it later. What if you could actually eat these things you love and brag about it later? The psychological effects are amazing. You probably haven’t enjoyed eating something so good in years. Now you can and savor every minute of it.
- WEIGH YOURSELF AND TAKE NOTE – get naked and note the time of the day. For the most accurate results weigh yourself before breakfast in the morning
- PICK A START DATE - Sundays and Mondays, making Cheat day Friday or Saturday respectively
- GO GROCERY SHOPPING – Focus on your new breakfast meals, new beverage choices, and wine (if necessary)
- TELL 1 PERSON THAT YOU ARE DOING THIS – This is not required, but studies show that telling 1 person your goal increases the chances of you obtaining it by 50%!
This diet isn’t complete, however it is the minimum effective dose to losing those first 15 lbs. of fat. Some people (typically those over 50 lbs. overweight) will be able to keep this going well past the 21 days and still see the pounds falling off, but most will hit a fat loss ceiling and will need to make some other slight adjustments, which we will cover in depth later this month. Think of this as the absolute first step for anyone that is at least 15 lb. overweight.