I know this sounds like an old-fart talk but you cannot outrun the fork. Unless you train for the Olympics exercise alone won’t make you burn enough calories to lose a substantial amount of weight. 

Now, some of you will take this advice and hop on the express train to a “30-day no sugar challenge” or ridiculously rigid diet just to suffer for a few weeks and then relapse and/or end up yoyo dieting. 

That’s a shit strategy. 

As James Fell, motivation, health, and fitness writer, noted: 

Going from a metaphorical doughnut-scarfing couch potato to a diet-conscious workout warrior—or even getting to the halfway point—is a serious undertaking. It’s a big project, and in the business world, you break big projects down into manageable pieces and complete them in a logical order.

That’s right—lasting weight loss success doesn’t come from making big changes to your diet. It comes from making small, easy-to-achieve changes until you get used to them.

Here are four steps you need to take to transition from a Maccas-based diet to healthy eating and eventually, weight loss. 

Step 1: Prioritize nutritious foods

If you have no inkling of calories and macronutrients, you start here. All you do is eat mostly nutritious foods. I said “nutritious” for a reason—we don’t label foods here, m’kay? 

That’s because food labeling is a recipe for eating pizzas the size of bus wheels aka overeating and/or binge eating:

So nutritious foods, okay? Let’s pretend you said “Yeah yeah, Egis. Got it. Relax that tight anal sphincter of yours” and move on.

You base most of your diet around lean protein sources, fruits, veggies, whole grains, healthy fat sources, water.

And you don’t have to go a full-blown organic eater 24/7 mode. If you are starting at the “da hell is a good protein source?” level, just one nutritious meal a day will get you in a habit of eating nutritious foods. You will move to two, three… nutritious meals over time.

Just by doing so, you might start losing weight because eating whole foods tend to reduce caloric intake.

Oh! Also, don’t forget that you are allowed to enjoy “fun” foods too. Flexible eating and the 80/20 rule, remember? 

Further reading: How to Start Weight Loss Journey With The 1/2/3 Method

Step 2: Start paying attention to per-meal macronutrients

Once you are in a habit of eating mostly whole, nutritious meals, start building every meal around macronutrients. No portion control just yet.

Eat as much as you need to feel satiated. Not stuffed. That shit is for Thanksgiving day.

Always start building your meal with lean meat, low-fat dairy, or lean vegan products: 

A coupla of non-starchy veggies go next (meaning, a buttload):

If you resistance train or exercise in general, include whole grains and/or fruits to support performance in the gym:

And if you prefer fatty foods, have a healthy fat source:

Now, no matter how consistent you will be with it, life, occasions, and similar shit will happen—every meal will not be perfectly balanced.

Perfection is not possible. Strive for consistency in most meals.

Further reading: How To Build A Balanced Meal That Hits Your Macros

Step 3: Establish a consistent diet structure and control portions

The previous step should have taught you how much food per meal you need to feel satiated. You can now establish a day-to-day meal pattern and start adjusting meal size. 

Look at your schedule and lifestyle. Decide how many meals a day would work best for you. Then eat them at around the same time every day. 

Let’s say you chose three main meals and two low-calorie snacks in between. Not only you will try to eat them around the same time but also about the same size. Every week. 

You should lose quite a bit of weight by the end of this step. And if you are happy with your body, go get Corona. The beer, not the virus. Enjoy life basically. You don’t need the last step. 

But if you still want to push the envelope of leanness, you will need to start manipulating portions. 

Step 4: Portion reductions and/or calorie tracking

Eating balanced, nutritious meals on a structured diet is a great start and usually leads to weight loss. But for some people, it’s not going to be enough.

Some of you will have to intentionally reduce calories to lose more weight. 

One way to do it is to reduce your portion sizes. It usually comes from reducing carbohydrate and/or fat portions while increasing protein and non-starchy veggies. 

A more advanced and more consistent way is calorie tracking. To make it less complicated, I wrote this article

To cut the already short article short—you will track only calories and protein because for healthy individuals carb to fat ratio doesn’t matter for weight loss

You will also set flexible calorie and protein ranges to hit each day because having fixed calorie targets can lead to a perfectionist mindset

So you will multiply your goal body weight in pounds by 11 if you get less than 8,000 steps a day. By 12 if you get more. (If you have more than 50 pounds to lose, use 50-pound increments.) Stay within 100 calories of the number you get. 

Then multiply your goal body weight in pounds by 0.73-1 (that’s if you light weightz). That’s your protein range. 

Calorie and protein targets will look like this: 

And the whole diet will be like this: 

Trying to power through a dumbass crash diet for a few weeks or months will not get you lasting weight loss. If you are to achieve lasting results, you will have to take time to transition to healthy eating. In baby steps. 

Each of these four steps will bring you a little closer to healthier and leaner you. So long as you follow them rather than start yet another dance with a keto diet. 

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Originally published by me on Medium on Sep 10, 2021

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