We have all heard of them, the grapefruit diet, the banana diet, the low carb diet, the low fat diet, the points diet, the high protein diet, the list goes on and on. But the question of the century is, what is the best diet to follow to lose stubborn belly fat and get head turning 6 pack abs that command attention? My standard answer is: NO DIET AT ALL.
Diets are not only impractical, they are also IMPOSSIBLE. In fact, diets are one of the biggest reasons people struggle to lose weight.
The worst part about fad diets is that most of them are either super restrictive, or they recommend eating way too much of one type of food. There is always something “technically wrong” with them. They are not based around achieving optimal health, but rather on achieving short term weight loss. Typically, any weight that you may lose on these types of diets usually comes right back within several days or weeks after stopping the diet. How annoying is that?
As cool and as flashy as they may seem, most fad diets have one thing in common, they are really popular for several years and then they fade away into diet obscurity.
When you begin a diet, you have failed on day one. Why? Because a diet is a short term solution to a long term problem. You see, most people that begin a new diet usually say something like, “I am going to lose 10 pounds in 30 days” or “I need to lose 5 pounds before such and such a date.” This temporary solution mindset is the reason so many people get on the ‘lose 10 pounds and gain it right back cycle’ and hop around from diet to diet forever.
A diet is not the solution. In order to burn fat over the long term and keep it off you must use a long term approach and that requires a long term mindset. My dietary approach to fat loss is basic and not too unrealistic and extreme. It is simple, to the point, and it is proven to work.
So what does this mean for you?
It means that if you want to be healthy and fit you need to end the vicious cycle of diet hopping and start eating foods that are whole, natural, and rich in nutrients.
It means that you should be eating a healthy balance of proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats to keep your metabolism revved up and burning fat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
So be sore to focus on eating nutritious foods that you enjoy, while at the same controlling calories. This type of strategy is not as hard to follow as you might think and it will definitely get you leaner, stronger, and healthier.
Now I am not saying that building an incredible physique isn’t challenging…because it is. What I am saying is that the blueprint for building a great body is not new, the formula is proven and has been around for centuries.
But what exactly should I eat?
Here are some delicious food suggestions that will help you stick to the fat loss plan.
Proteins – Chicken Breast, Whey Protein, Wild Alaskan Salmon, Bison Meat, Egg Whites, Turkey Breast, Top Round Steak, Tongol Tuna
Carbs / Whole Grains – Brown Rice, Yams, Oatmeal, Sweet Potatoes, Ezekiel Bread, 100% Whole Wheat Pasta, Multi Grain Hot Cereal (barley, rye, oats, etc)
Vegetables – Spinach, Zucchini, Onions, Broccoli, Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Cucumbers, Peppers (red, green, yellow, orange), Asparagus
Healthy Fats – Flaxseed Oil, Olive Oil, Avocado, Almonds, Cashews, Walnuts, Flaxseeds
Fruits – Raspberries, Blueberries, Grapefruit, Apples, Cantaloupe, Peaches, Grapes, Pineapple, Strawberries, Oranges
Note: Dairy is not on the do-not-eat list and if you must have it I recommend eating some low or non fat yogurt, low or non fat cottage cheese, or low or non fat cheese.
I recommend eating at least 5 or 6 times per day so that means you will generally eat between 35 and 42 meals per week. To prevent you from going crazy and falling off of the “diet wagon” it is also important to take one or two meals per week and eat whatever you want. This is called a ‘cheat meal.’
Now many people unknowingly believe that cheat meals do them more harm than good, but there is a ton of evidence that proves that strategic cheating can, in fact, help you burn more fat and are very beneficial for weight loss.
So if you have are on a 6 meal per day plan and you have one cheat meal per week (41 healthy meals and 1 cheat meal) this means you have been 97% success ratio for sticking to the fat loss plan for that week. If you can keep your success ratio around 95% or higher each week it means you are right on track.
So is eating this way good for me?
Eating this way is great because you are lowering your risk for disease by promoting a natural alkaline environment within your body and also lowering your body fat at the same time. Talk about a great deal!
Consequently, if you follow a fad diet and your meals are lacking in nutrients, you will just end up spinning your wheels and increase your risk of disease because your body will be in an acidic environment from the lack of antioxidants, phyto nutrients, fiber, vitamins, and minerals that the body needs to remain in optimal health.
Without these nutrients your fat burning efforts will be in vain and your health will suffer as well.
So in summary, nutrition for fitness, fat loss, and health all work together to complete the big picture. Make sure you eat a wide variety of foods that are rich in nutrients, and low in overall calories. These types of foods are generally very healthy and are also proven to build muscle and burn fat. In the long run, you can permanently change your life and build the body of your dreams in the process just by making smarter food choices.