This is probably the only diet post you will ever need.
Over the past year, I have helped many friends, both in person and on the internet, quietly lose a lot of weight, probably in the realm of several hundred pounds total, sometimes even in 30 days.
It’s not something I’m known for online, but it is something I do, very effectively, and I can do it for you.
I never told anyone to exercise. I only asked them to follow very simple rules, none of which require much willpower.
You might be in the same boat. No problem.
Tomorrow, after your New Year’s binge, start on the following four pieces of advice. If you are overweight, you will probably shrink with less effort than you ever have before.
Here they are.
#1. Cut out sugar and flour.
This step will actually get you most of the way there. Most people’s primary calories come, in some way or another, in the form of sugar. Even “complex carbohydrates” are digested as basic sugar and have mostly the same effect on your blood sugar. Besides, things like bread and rice have little nutritional value.
So, tomorrow, stop eating them and make your primary calories from food (not drink) such as meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, etc. Eat foods your great-grandmother would recognize, and have more protein than you’re used to. Have bigger meals that include these foods and you’ll feel no need to snack since you’ll be very full.
My supper yesterday was a huge bowl of Tom Kha soup (without noodles). My lunch was shrimp ceviche. Both were awesome and I did not feel deprived at all. Doing this is easy.
#2. Sleep the same 8 hours every night.
Sometimes this is the biggest obstacle for people. Insulin and other hormones get weird when you sleep differently. Your body thinks it’s constantly summer when you sleep too little, which makes you want to snack on high sugar foods (expensive cereal was my personal crutch a few years back). It causes a lot of other problems too.
Sleeping on the same schedule as many days as possible will solve a lot of these problems. It will help normalize your hormones and get you into a positive routine that can include eating at home (high protein breakfast) and reducing stress, which also helps you lose weight.
Good habits are what this is all about, and sleep is a foundation of it all.
#3. Try intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is the decision to abstain from all calories for a pre-determined period of time, usually 16-24 hours. Many people think this is unhealthy, but science supports that it’s fine, and our bodies have dealt with it for thousands of years. In fact, fasting has beneficial effects besides calorie reduction.
Currently, I fast 16 hours a day like Martin Berkhan and have been doing it for 3 weeks straight. I have lifted heavier weights during this time than I ever have in the past. You can do this too, even if you think you can’t. I usually ask people to combine this with modest exercise, but not everyone agrees that it’s necessary.
Most people will ignore this step. That’s fine. They think they just can’t do it, it’s too hard, etc. No problem. But, like anything, you should try it once before judging it, and it never hurts to have more tools in your arsenal. This is one of them.
Read the resources below, find a method that works for you, and try it.
#4. Educate yourself.
This step is actually optional, but encouraged, because your body should not be a religion– as in, you should understand how it works.
I’ve read more books on diet and the body than most people will read in a lifetime, so much that reading Tim Ferriss‘ new 4-Hour Body reads like a list of stuff I’ve done in the past 12 months. So I can separate the wheat from the chaff and give you the good stuff.
Here are many resources you can read, some for free, that will help you understand why these things work.
Good Calories, Bad Calories (long, but epic)
Mark’s Daily Apple (amazing daily blog)
The Fast-5 Program (free fasting ebook)
Eat Stop Eat (paid ebook, free blog)
The Food Rules (I disagree with some, but it’s good and short)
There, that’ll start you off. Any one of these options is better than none, and it will pique your curiosity enough to set you onto a road of lifelong learning.
Another thing about educating yourself is to realize that missteps are a part of progress. In fact, some “cheating” is said to normalize leptin, a hormone which helps keep you satiated. So if you screw up, don’t worry about it. Don’t guilt yourself about it… enjoy it, then start over.
#5. Spread the message.
There is a very important reason for you to do this. The more public you make your goal, the more social support you get from it. Some people aren’t helped by pressure from their friends, but many are, so telling people you’re making a change may embarrass you into keeping it. There’s also the simple fact that almost everyone in their late 20’s and older wants to lose some weight but most just don’t know how.
Being overweight should not drag down our self esteem and make people feel hopeless. We live in a culture where we all accept that people are overweight, yet simultaneously push images of perfect models in the checkout aisle next to the candy. Everyone knows it’s a problem and that they’re more likely to die from it, yet they accept it anyway because they don’t know what to do. Why?
The answer to this is clarity. Many people need this kind of information, but most don’t know where to get it. Help them do that. Please tweet this out and subscribe to the blog below with your email address.
Thank you, and have a great year.