Ok, that title might have got your attention. Maybe because its all about getting fast results. Or you’ve achieved something similar and want to compare notes. Whatever the reason, you’re here, reading this post, wanting me to give you my ‘secret’.
Bad news. There is no magic here. No mystical tricks taking me from a solid 15 stone 2lbs to a lean 14st 3lbs and 10% body fat.
What I’ve learnt over the last two and a half years with fat loss experiments (yes, it takes that long!) is what works for me. It’s something I’ve constantly improved on. I’ve fallen off the wagon more times than I can remember. And actually knowing I can lose weight just by making a few tweaks does mean that I rest on my laurels at times. The good news is that it gets easier ever time.
The graph shows my total body weight change (Note - this is not pure fat loss) every couple of days over a 26 day period before heading to the US on business. As you can see, fat loss isn’t linear or consistent. There are ups, there are downs.
The initial drop off was quick at 3.2kg in 5 days, but that’s purely due to going low carb to kick start the process. I wanted to deplete the energy stored in my muscles to force my body to start using my other stored energy (fat) - and anyone can do that. Going low carb also means you ditch excess water held in muscle cells too so another reason for the quick progress.
I then put on 0.8kg for the next 3 days despite following the same plan — arrrggghh!! No particular reason why, the body just does funny things sometimes. Would you have briefly given up at that point and slipped off the wagon? Maybe. Maybe not.
I stuck with it and sure enough, the scales started tipping down again but at a slower pace than before. Fat loss was pretty steady after that but again, would you have temporarily struggled with the slower progress?
If you have the right plan which works for you, I see clients being able to drop 1% of total body weight a week. And that’s completely sustainable until body fat levels become much much lower. The challenge is finding something you can stick to but still gets results.
So here’s what I did for those 26 days to show you IT CAN BE DONE and most importantly, WHY. I’m a believer in doing things for a reason, rather than aimlessly shooting in the dark for shortcuts and magic bullets. Here goes: -
7.30am - Double scoop protein shake made with water. Why - Helped me reach my daily protein target. Reduced my tummy rumbles until breakfast. Kickstarted my body and mind for the day.
9am - High protein, moderate fat, low carb breakfast eaten when I got to work. Why - Staying away from carbs for breakfast helped me prolong fat burning during the day. Kept me full until lunchtime. Made sure I wasn’t feeling sluggish mid-morning when I usually trained mid-week.
If I trained, it was around 11am - afterwards I’d have a single scoop protein shake. Why - I was in the routine of doing it. Timing of protein doesn't actually matter as much as people think, as long as you’re getting your quota during the rest of the day.
12.30pm - A meaty salad for lunch. Why - Time to get as many veggies and salad bits in as possible. Variety was the key to capture all the nutrients I needed. Protein helped with recovery from the gym, continued to keep me full, helped me burn more body fat (it takes more energy to breakdown protein than it does for fat and carbs).
3.30pm - Mid-afternoon snack, usually a portion of protein (again), healthy fats, a veg or two, maybe some carbs. Why - A nice balanced meal at this point is what I was crying out for. If I was feeling overly tired or flat from training, I’d add some smart carbs.
6.30pm onwards - Dinner at home and usually whatever was on the table made by my wonderful wife. Why - Flexibility is important, especially if you have other family members and dependents to think about. I’d done the hard work during the day so could be a bit looser at this point. Having said that, we were still talking lean protein, veg and some kind of carb (white potato, rice, a bit of spaghetti, sweet potato).
9.30pm - Evening snack time. Why - A good time to top up any particular elements of my eating regime for the day. If I wanted something sweet, a favourite was 0% fat greek yoghurt (protein), unsalted mixed nuts (healthy fats) and berries (blueberries and raspberries). How did I know what to have? Gut feel (no pun intended) and quickly counting up portions of protein for the day.
Meal prep - I’d try to prep breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack mid-week. If not able to (some days we have a busy house before nursery drop offs and the commute to work) then I had places to food shop near work where I knew I could get the meals and snack ingredients I wanted and needed.
Hydration - Water bottle kept on my desk to stay topped up. I probably drank 3 litres+ per day but didn’t keep tabs as rarely felt dehydrated, constantly sipping throughout the day worked for me.
Sleep - Rarely more than 6 hours a night, often less. Always interrupted. We have two young children so this is something I have to accept and work with.
Supplements - I kept a good multivitamin and omega 3 capsules in my drawer at work and next to my bed at home, ready for me to have before breakfast so they’d be done for the day. I used these as a backup plan to fill in any essential nutrient gaps I had from the foods I ate. These were the only supplements I took alongside whey protein. Anything else I consider to be a waste of money so save your pennies people!
Training - On average I got to the gym 3 to 4 times per week, never more than that and no longer than 45 mins at a time. I only trained with weights, no cardio/ high intensity interval training/ conditioning work. The only time I do use cardio is to keep progressing towards my goal if I plateau for more than a few weeks. Truthfully, I don’t enjoy it so stick with the stuff I do like.
Other - I walked too and from the tube station as much as I could during the week (25 mins each way) and always went to the park or did other activities with the family on the weekend.
So there you have it, my weekly eating routine (yes I followed this at the weekend as well) to trim body fat. Its nothing fancy but it gets me all the energy/nutrients I need and I find it sustainable. It works for me and that’s the most important thing.
Hopefully this gives you an insight in to my world and some ideas to help you come up with your own long term eating rituals for whatever goals you’re chasing. And if you’ve got any questions, just let me know.
Until next time,