How to lose weight fast using Maths!!

Hi Everyone,

So if you are like me, or in fact any normal human being, you will have at one time or another wanted to lose some weight. How important that is to you will to a large extent depend on just how overweight you believe you are, and what your end goal is.

So you want to lose weight…….then what? How, over what period, in what way? Does this mean you’ve got to go on a diet? And if so which one, there are literally hundreds of them.

Now at this point I’m going to own up to being something of a hypocrite. I have written articles before (see here) where I have attacked diets and said that they don’t work. For me that still holds true. Rather than going ON A DIET I would advocate adopting a long term healthy eating plan that you can maintain AND that also allows you to eat some of the things you enjoy and have a blow out now and then whilst still controlling your weight.

However, that is not to say that you can’t adopt a plan to lose weight when necessary and this article is purely about the mechanics of how to do that. The subject has become almost fiendishly complicated in many peoples minds and my aim is to simplify it as much as possible. Low carb? Low Fat? High Protein? Which is the right path? Most people become so confused and frustrated they just revert back to their normal eating habits and never achieve the results they want.

So lets start with the basics….Calories. You’ve all heard of those right, your dreaded enemy in the battle with the scales. Well not really, a Calorie is just a calorie, it’s neutral. It’s how many and what you do with them that counts.

Calories and what to do with them.

A calorie is simply a measure of energy, heat energy to be precise. Food releases energy as it burns inside the body, so the more calories something contains, the more energy it releases. Body fat is essentially stored energy. So if you don’t use up the energy (Calories) that you eat, your body will store them as fat for future use (or not). Here is the first Maths fact. Each pound of Fat contains 3500 Calories. So in simple terms if you eat 3500 calories more than you use in a week, you will gain roughly a pound of fat.

Essentially you can think of your body as a bank account and Calories as money. If you use/spend the exact amount you put in the account you will remain level. If you put in more than you use your balance will go up (gain fat), and if you use more than you put in your balance will go down (one of the few times its good to spend too much).

To some extent it really is as simple as that. Use more Calories than you eat and you’ll lose weight. From a purely weight loss/gain point of view it also doesn’t really matter where those calories come from ie whether it is healthy or completely unhealthy food, the result will be the same. However not all calories are created equal and clearly from a health, nutritional, muscular, vascular and overall wellbeing perspective its good to eat as healthily as possible and get your calories from good sources.  Don’t just eat rubbish.

So, here is the key part. How do you work out exactly how many calories you use and how many you should be eating to obtain your goals.

This is where it becomes slightly more difficult, but keep reading and I’ll make it as simple as possible. Each persons metabolism (the speed and rate at which it burns calories) will vary slightly and is affected by how much and what type of activity and exercise you do. It also varies slightly from men to women. Roughly speaking however, these figures will work.

First you need to work out your Base Metabolic Rate (BMR). This is the rate that if you laid in bed all day and did very little you would burn calories. Essentially its your maintenance rate each day.

Do this calculation: 66+ (6.3 x your weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years). So to use me as an example:  (6.3 x 168lb) + (12.9 x 68) – (6.8 x 48) = 1675. So my BMR is 1675. You then have to factor in just how active you are. Do you sit at a desk all day and do no exercise, or do you work as a labourer and go to the gym?

Sedentary – desk job, very little exercise. Multiply BMR x 1.2

Lightly Active – Workout or do some activity 1-3 days per week. Multiply BMR x 1.325

Moderately Active – workout 3-5 days per week. Multiply BMR x 1.55

Very Active – workout 6-7 days per week. Multiply BMR x 1.725

Extremely Active – workout everyday in addition to a physically demanding job (rare). Multiply BMR x 1.9.

So again using me as an example. I am probably between moderately active as i workout 5 days a week but do a sedentary job, so i took a figure of 1.55. 1675 x 1.55 = 2596.25. So for me my Total daily expenditure of Calories living the lifestyle i do is 2596 per day or 18,173.75 calories a week.

Remember i said earlier that 3500 Calories = 1lb of fat. So very simply if i cut my calories intake by 3500 to 14,673 per week or 2096 per day, then i should lose a pound of fat per week. For most people it is sensible to cut your calorie intake by 15/20% (in my example it was 19%.

It really is as simple as that. Get a calculator, work out what your Base Metabolic rate is. Multiply that (be honest now) by your activity levels, cut 15/20% off of that figure and hey presto you will lose weight.

Of course what that means is that you do need to count calories fairly carefully. Nowadays most things are labelled so it’s not that hard. It also means you are allowed to have some good days and bad days as long as you achieve your overall target each week. It also means that whilst it is best to get your calories from non processed, healthy and natural products ( fish, meat , poultry, vegetables, healthy fats etc), you are allowed to be naughty now and then and hit the ice cream, as long as you meet your weekly target.

Throw in some intensive exercise and you WILL achieve your targets. I’d also add that if you are heavily overweight and you are currently eating way over your total daily calorie expenditure then you will find that if you get your calorie levels to where they should be, then initially at least the 1lb per week barrier is conservative. You may find that for the first few weeks you lose 2lb or even more.

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve kept this on a very simple level. There is a lot more detail to be covered in terms of exactly HOW you should eat and WHAT you should eat. Specifically there is the complex topic of Protein, Fats and Carbs and if you really want to get into some detail, Macro levels and how to eat to build or maintain muscle. However, I’ll do an article on that in the next couple of weeks. For now lets keep it simple.

Work out your daily calorie rate to maintain your current lifestyle and activity levels using the formula I’ve given you. Knock off 15/20%. Eat as healthily as possible, treat yourself now and then (this is Ordinary Guy Fitness after all) and exercise regularly. Follow these simple numbers and the fat loss will come and weight loss will follow.

Take Care,

John

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How Eggs can help you lose Flab!!

Hi Everyone,

If you’ve read some of my blogs and posts before you will know that generally speaking I am very anti diet. As I explain here , in the long term I just don’t think they work. You can’t live “on a diet” forever  and inevitably at some point you will fall off the wagon. Much better, in my opinion, to change your eating habits for the long term and move to a more sustainable healthy eating plan where you eat well for the most part, but also allow yourself some treats and to misbehave on a regular basis. Read on to lose flab quickly and easily.

However I am now going to show myself up to be a complete hyprocrite and admit….I’m on a diet!! Let me explain. I am currently training really hard, hitting the gym 5 days a week, and trying to build muscle size AND stay lean at the same time (an impossible goal many would argue). However , despite my hard work both in the gym and trying to eat pretty well, I still have some stubborn flab around my lower belly, love handles and lower back. The classic slightly soft mid section of a guy in his late 40’s to be honest. Don’t get me wrong, I am being hyper critical of myself, but then again I am a vain bastard and summer is coming, what can I say.

So I wanted a diet/eating plan that would allow me to maintain my size, contained plenty of protein for ongoing muscle growth AND would hopefully help me shift some flab and fat.

So whilst looking around I stumbled across “The boiled egg diet”. It sounds horrific I know, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. For me it ticked all the boxes. Lots of protein, lots of good fats, very few (if any starchy carbs) but also lots of good carbs and fibre from Vegetables and fruit. Would this help me maintain muscle and lose some flab?

I’m well aware that in some circles eggs have a bad reputation. Too high in fat! Too much Cholesterol! The risk of illness etc!

However, from all the research I have done eggs are an extremely healthy food as they contain lots of protein and numerous nutrients. Eggs provide the necessary vitamins and nutrients for our bodies.

Eggs contain a lot of nutrients, high-quality protein, good fats, minerals and vitamins. One egg is rich in Selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B5 and Vitamin B12. They also contain minerals and vitamins such as Folate, vitamin E, potassium, calcium, manganese, zinc and iron.

One large egg contains small amounts of carbohydrates, five grams of fat, six grams of quality protein and 77 calories. It is really important to mention that the white contains all the protein, while all the healthy nutrients are in the yolk.

The plan is to do it for just two weeks. Potentially just lose a few pounds, strip as much fat as possible and still ,as much as I can, maintain muscle size. I’ve been doing it for a week now. The diet is below. Take a look and I’ll give you my impressions of it after that.

The Diet:

Week 1:

Monday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: two slices of meal bread and fruit Dinner: cooked chicken and salad

Tuesday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: cooked chicken and green salad Dinner: orange, salad and two boiled eggs

Wednesday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: one tomato, one slice of meal bread and low fat cheese Dinner: cooked chicken and salad

Thursday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: fruit Dinner: streamed chicken

Friday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs Lunch: two boiled eggs and steamed vegetables Dinner: barbecued fish and salad

Saturday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs Lunch: fruit Dinner: steamed chicken and salad

Sunday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: tomato salad and steamed vegetables with chicken Dinner: streamed vegetables

Week 2:

Monday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs Lunch: salad and chicken Dinner: orange, salad and two boiled eggs

Tuesday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs Lunch: salad and chicken Dinner: orange, salad and two boiled eggs

Wednesday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: cooked chicken and salad Dinner: orange, salad and two boiled eggs

Thursday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: steamed vegetables, two boiled eggs and low fat cheese Dinner: steamed chicken and salad

Friday: Breakfast:  two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: tuna salad Dinner: two boiled eggs and salad

Saturday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: cooked chicken and salad Dinner: fruits

Sunday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs Lunch and Dinner: steamed vegetables and steamed chicken

So here we are, at the end of week one, and what do I think?  Well firstly, not to state the obvious, I’m sick to bloody death of eggs!! However I can live with that part and there is only another week to go.

In terms of more constructive criticism…here goes. The effect has not been incredible but I’m fairly pleased. Mainly because I seem to be hitting the main goals. I haven’t noticeably lost any muscle size or definition but I HAVE lost about 2 pounds in weight and thankfully that seems to have mostly been in my target area around my midriff and belly. It isn’t dramatic but it is noticeable and strangely, even though I only look slightly slimmer, I really feel different. I just feel leaner, a bit more taught, tighter in the areas I wanted to tighten up. Now that may just be psychological and we will see where we are in another week, but for now it seems to be working.

Other side effects are also positive. The massive cutback on anything sugary and complete cut out of alcohol has me feeling more alert, staying awake later, but sleeping better. I’m also smashing my gym workouts for the last week.

So is there any downside?  Well Yes… I must admit to finding it pretty boring. Eggs, fruit, steamed veg and plain chicken is torture to a man who craves flavour and loves his food. However I’m adding garlic, chilli and ginger to just about everything and that has improved things.

The other definite drawback is that the eggs, whilst not creating the expected eggy fart environment 24/7, are causing some bad breath issues sometimes. The eggs seem to have the effect of drying your mouth out a bit and that creates a sort of sour feeling. I’ve found that if you just drink even more water AND clean your teeth an extra time mid day, it goes away.

So, if like me, you want to still build muscle, cut the flab AND eat healthy then after week 1 I would definitely recommend the boiled egg diet. For me it’s something I may do for 2 weeks every 3 months or so just to strip some unwanted fat.

Having said all that, I am dreaming of next Tuesday when I’ve promised myself a “bad” day and when I sure as hell won’t be boiling any eggs.

Take Care,

John

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Don’t Believe the Hype! Food Fascists.

Food FadsSo I’m going to be completely contradictory here. How? Well I’m a blogger in the Health, Fitness and Food sector and I’m just about to tell you not to take food bloggers seriously. What…..why? Well mainly because I believe in you, you as an individual, you as a person with their own mind who can make their own decisions on what is best for you.

Food Fads:

Blogging has become a huge industry in it’s own right in the last 10 years. It has created and made superstars of some bloggers, many of whom have gone on to write books, appear on TV and become media stars. A large proportion of those have been in the health, food and fitness sector. Am i just a teensy weensy bit jealous……of course I bloody am. However that doesn’t stop me from seeing through all the shiny success and great ratings to recognise some of the truth.

Many of these people are promoting and pushing pretty strident messages about what you should and shouldn’t do. You MUST eat this way or that way, you must NOT eat this, DON’T touch that, THIS will make you slim and healthy, THAT will make you fat and kill you. Many of the messages that are put out there are food fascism. I don’t have an axe to grind on any particular way of eating. I don’t really care if you are a vegan, a raw food nut, a high/low protein geek or a no carbs junkie. My personal belief is that ALL of these systems have the potential to be harmful or good for you depending on how you approach them.

I watched a documentary on TV last week (see below) and it brought home to me a) how huge this industry has become, b) how the message can become corrupted by the amount of money involved and c) how much harm it can potentially do because there are a large number of sensitive, needy and sometimes vulnerable people out there.

Now don’t get me wrong, having watched this programme I am pretty sure it had it’s own axe to grind and was trying to set an agenda of it’s own. It was occasionally quite cruel and overly personal about some of the topics and people involved. However it did get me thinking and actually made me consider what I was doing and how i go about things. Are there that many people out that really do slavishly follow what so many of these online guru’s are producing, and just how well researched and factual is it after all?

As I said even though it’s not my particular choice if you happen to be vegetarian or vegan, a raw food only fan or any other subset of mainstream eating then that is entirely your choice.

However what I would advocate is DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH….and by that I don’t just mean watch a few Youtube channels and jump in with both feet. I mean do some proper research. Consult recognised and properly qualified nutritionists, speak to a variety of health and/or fitness professionals, read about the real life pro’s and cons of adopting any eating system for a long period of time.

If you have read my blogs for a while you know what I advocate…..it’s very simple and pretty easy to follow. I advocate eating a healthy, varied diet for about 80% of the time, doing some vigorous form of exercise or training as often as possible, and then eat/drink whatever the hell you like (within reason) the other 20% of the time. I called this blog and my sites Ordinary Guy Fitness for the most basic of reasons, because I am an Ordinary guy and so are 90% of you, and being fit and healthy for many people is challenging enough without making it overly complicated.

So just in case you haven’t read my blogs previously what exactly am I suggesting you eat? Again it’s really simple. Lots of natural produce with fairly high protein levels, high NATURAL fat levels and slightly lower carb levels….but nothing excessive. That means good quality meats, poultry and fish, or beans, pulses and nuts for your protein. Again good meats and oily fish or nuts, eggs, avocado, real butter, good cheese etc for your sources of good fat. Still have carbs but as much as possible get them from vegetables, sweet potato, brown rice and eat a bit less bread, pasta, white rice etc.

Try to reduce your portion levels just slightly and as much as possible (5 days a week) steer clear of sweets, snacks, refined sugars, fizzy or sweetened drinks and booze. The other two days a week….go out, enjoy yourselves, eat the food you enjoy or the treat you craved. That doesn’t mean stuff yourself or overeat for the sake of it, but DO enjoy. By doing that you will stay on the right path and ensure you can follow a healthy plan for the long term without feeling you are denying yourself.

Whatever you do, be confident in yourself and your OWN ability to make the right choices. Try not to follow the latest fad, become devoted to the latest online food sensation or healthy eating guru, and don’t convince yourself that you or anyone’s else’s version of “clean eating” is the only way forward. It’s a big wide world out there with many things to experience, enjoy and savour. We all have our own ways of doing things so celebrate your own individuality and work out what is right for you.

Healthy Eating posterI hope you enjoyed this article and I apologise for my lengthy absence. Please continue reading and there will be many more articles to come.

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Healthy Easter Freebies….for everyone!! Subscribe Now!!

subscribe

Hi Everyone,

I posted this (see below) a few days ago and had a great response. However it’s Easter and I’m in a good mood spending the time off with my kids etc. So I’ve decided to extend the offer to EVERYONE! Yep that’s right, everyone who goes onto my Blog website www.ordinaryguyfitness.com and signs up onto the email subscription service will be sent a free Pdf on how to eat, what to eat and when to eat to stay lean, mean and shed fat. Don’t hesitate, do it now. 

Hello again Ladies & Gents,

As you may know this is a relatively new venture for me but I am really passionate about spreading knowledge and information on how to be more healthy, fitter, stronger and leaner. I want it to grow and as I’ve already said on my website www.ordinaryguyfitness.com I am completely honest about the fact that at some point I’d hope to earn some money from this venture. I see nothing wrong with that. I spend my time and provide you guys with some knowledge, tips, motivation and hopefully some entertainment. In return at some point in the future I will hopefully earn some money for my efforts. If that doesn’t float your boat or you disagree then don’t read the rest of this post, i totally understand. However if you feel that is fair then please do read on.

In order to grow my websites presence and build it’s following i need to attract as much traffic to it as possible. That means you, your friends, your friends friends and as many people out there in the big wide world as possible. I’m also very keen to make sure that those of you who enjoy my posts don’t miss out.

So with that in mind I have a new feature on the site which is an email subscription service. Simply go to the main page on my site ,look at the menu on the right hand side and you’ll see the email subscription box. Enter your email, hit subscribe and follow the instructions. You will then receive a simple email each time a new post comes out so that you don’t miss out. Don’t worry I’m not going to bombard you. I do have a real life and two to three posts a week is about all I will manage so i won’t be filling up your inbox.

As a little incentive I’ve come up with a fantastic FREE GIFT for the first 20 subscribers. You will receive a short healthy eating tip sheet and blueprint that tells you how and what to eat, when to eat and what to avoid to stay lean, mean and lose flab in time for summer.

I haven’t done this before and hope it works so watch this space. You’ll never know unless you try right????

Anyway, i hope you appreciate me being honest and up front about my motives and as always i welcome any comments and will do my best to answer.

So come on don’t hesitate, go to the website and Subscribe now….Please!

Take Care,

John

Daily Eating Tips to Guarantee you Lose Weight!!

Scales

Yep that’s right, if you follow most of these tips I Guarantee you will lose weight. I’m going to stick my neck out and personally promise you that if you follow this guide for 4 weeks you will have lost weight, possibly even a significant amount of weight depending on your starting point.

Firstly, to allow me at least some chance of being right, there are a few rules here that you need to stick to.

  • You MUST exercise. By that i mean at least twice a week you need to do some form of energetic exercise that gets you blowing hard and works your muscles. That could be running, a weight session in the Gym, some form of exercise class, or even just a vigorous home work out. The other 5 days you need to do at least 20 minutes of some form of activity that raises your pulse and brings on a mild sweat. That could be a brisk walk, a 20 minute home circuit as detailed in one of my previous posts here, or a quick session with some dumbbells in your garage.
  • You MUST attempt to eat healthily and stick to the plan for a minimum of 4 days and ideally 5 days of each week. If you go to less than 4 full days you will negate all the positive effects and to be honest may as well not bother (I will cut you some slack if you have a lot of social activity but for one week only)
  • You MUST be hardcore about cutting out the big evil in your kitchen…..SUGAR! That means on your good days, No biscuits, No chocolate, No fizzy drinks (or any other juice or sugary drinks) and if possible cut out or definitely cut back drastically on any alcohol from Monday through to at least Friday evening.

Got That? Gonna stick to it? Of course you are. So here we go…

Breakfast! We all know that old saying “The most important meal of the day”. Well i hate to break it to you but that ain’t necessarily true. Many people now believe that intermittent fasting (going for lengthy periods without food, or only eating at certain times) is the way forward. I have to say that i do believe it works but it’s probably a bit unfair to drop you newbies straight in at the deep end. So here are a few simple ideas for breakfast that will satisfy your overnight cravings but won’t break the Calorie bank.

A boiled egg, or two if you insist (No soldiers to dip in it), followed by a banana. Black coffee, no sugar.

A medium sized bowl of Greek yoghurt or Skyr yoghurt with a large helping of blueberries thrown in. Drizzle with some organic honey if you need a hit of sweetness.

A small bowl of oats and nuts with the same yoghurt as above, again with some honey to sweeten.

A small portion of scrambled eggs (2 eggs is fine) with some flakes of smoked salmon broken into it. Add pepper and you have a breakfast for kings.

One slice of wholegrain toast smeared with Nut butter/peanut butter and if it floats your boat also add sliced banana on top.

That’s it. 5 breakfasts and I’m sure you can conjure variations on these themes. The key is not having big volumes and avoiding crappy sugar filled cereals and loads of bread. So what about lunch?

Lunch to some degree depends how active you are. If you hit the gym in the morning or have an active job that involves physical exertion then you are allowed a little bit more. If not then be good and stick to the plan and remember it’s only for 4 to 5 days.

Crack 2 eggs into a small bowl, sprinkle some salt, add a fair bit of pepper and microwave for between a minute and minute 30 seconds. Get a spoon and eat. It’s surprisingly filling and has lots of protein and not many calories.

Get a ripe avocado, mash it up with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and some chopped chilli until you have a rough paste. Spread it on a piece of wholegrain toast or ryvita, drizzle with lemon. Job done.

If you are training hard and want something more substantial try this. I make a batch up on a Monday and it lasts me 3 days. Boil a decent amount of brown rice for 20/25 mins (until soft). In another pan fry (coconut oil) some chicken, onions, peppers, carrots, Garlic and a LOT of fresh chopped ginger. Mix the rice in with the chicken, give it a good stir and drizzle with some light soy sauce as you stir it. Let it cool down, put in some Tupperware and stick in the fridge. Microwave for 2 minutes when needed and easy to take to work with you.

How about a chicken drumstick – cooked or cold with a mix of salad leaves , drizzle of Olive Oil and some balsamic vinegar. Again just use your imagination, stick to meats, proteins, veg, eggs or maybe small portions of cheese and you’ll be fine. The idea of lunch is just to fill a hole and fulfil your nutritional needs, NOT fill you up!

Right, most people’s main meal….dinner. Here you have a new best friend….salads! “Whaaaat? Salad, that’s rabbit food”. Not true. You can supercharge salads and make them hugely enjoyable. Use  the standard ingredients and then add the extra’s that add flavour. These include blue cheese, feta cheese, parmesan, walnuts, grapefruit (yep), basil, coriander, olives, chopped/sliced chilli, chopped/sliced ginger. Exciting dressings using lime/lemon juice, different types of vinegar, a drizzle of soy sauce. You can easily have a variety of salads 3 to 4 nights a week. Don’t panic though because alongside the salad you will have one of the following: Grilled or pan fried chicken with whatever spices and herbs you fancy, sweet chilli turkey breasts, a couple of lamb chops, grilled or pan fried salmon, mackerel or pretty much any fish you fancy.

Or if you don’t fancy a salad one night how about some chicken, turkey, fish or pork, a big serving of Brocolli and some sweet potato mash with added spices, olive oil and loads of pepper.

What about snacks? Well if possible try to avoid them but we all know that ain’t gonna happen. So have a bag of mixed nuts in the cupboard and grab a handful a couple of times a day. Always have banana’s on hand and peel one if you feel the need. A bag of carrots in the fridge and grab one (unpeeled) to munch on whenever you want. Of an evening 2 or 3 squares of genuine full cocoa dark chocolate won’t break the bank.

The other key as I’ve said is what you drink. Wherever possible it’s going to be water (add lemon, lime, mint, ginger if you need some flavour). Otherwise black coffee, a glass of milk a day is fine and if you really must a glass of red wine a couple of times a week is also fine of an evening.

Then what happens at the weekend. Well that comes down to you. It would be stupid to spend every weekend deliberately cramming bad things down your neck. Try to be good. Avoid the processed crap we have talked about, try to stick to good snacks and not bad ones, but otherwise reward yourself. If you want a few drinks, have them. If you are going for a meal, have what you want, fancy a good breakfast, have a healthy fry up. The key is to be sensible. If you go for a big curry and beers on Saturday night, why not skip breakfast on Sunday. You’re a grown up (hopefully) so just be sensible and stick to what you know is right. Enjoy your weekend and reward yourself for your sacrifice in the week, but unless its a big event keep thinking about the long term goals.

There will be a lot more recipe’s and details on food and eating patterns in the weeks to come. As always, any questions or comments please fire them at me, I’m ready and willing to answer.

Take Care,

John

Healthy Eating for Weight Loss – What, when, how…..

Healthy Lean FoodThe title makes it sound so easy and to some extent it is BUT you must come to terms with the fact that this is not some quick fix. You can’t lose some weight then go back to eating what you were eating before, it just doesn’t work that way. This is a lifestyle change……forever!   “Whoooah!!” I can hear you thinking, “I’m not sure I’m up for that, who wants to go on a diet forever?”

You’re absolutely right, no-one does and that is exactly the point, this is NOT a diet. A diet implies something you are doing. You are going “ON” a diet. That implies a beginning and an end. So what happens when it ends? You just go back to eating loads of crap again and the weight and health issues all return. This is not like that. This is about making fundamental changes to the way you think and live for ever more, BUT it will still allow you to eat many of the things you love and enjoy, still have a few drinks and even enjoy a major blow out now and then. Read my previous post about consistency which outlines how being consistent in your eating and fitness allows you to still have fun.

So let’s cut to the chase. What do i need to eat, how do i need to eat and when etc? I will post a series of articles going into a lot more detail as this is and can be a very complex subject and much of it will depend to some extent on what your goals are ie losing a lot of weight or toning up and building muscle. For now let’s just cover some basics.

My personal philosophy and what works for me is to try to be good around 80% of the time. The way i do that is i eat as clean as possible from Monday through to Friday evening. Then depending on what’s happening socially i relax everything and eat/drink more of what i enjoy from Friday evening to Sunday evening. That doesn’t mean i go out of my way to binge, eat crap, shovel chocolate and crisps down my neck or drink gallons of beer. I’m still careful, but it just means if I’m going for a curry i eat what i want and have a few beers, or I’ll have a big Sunday roast with all the trimmings, possibly even an egg and bacon breakfast sometimes. If you cut everything out 7 days a week you simply WILL NOT stick to it. Don’t set yourself up to fail. By treating yourself a bit each week it makes the “being good” days much easier.

So what to eat and what not? Generally speaking it’s very simple and you all know the answer without me telling you. Eat fresh food as much as possible and avoid anything processed wherever it is possible. If it’s in a packet and you have to read the ingredients, calories, fat levels etc, it’s probably best to avoid it all together. Even if it says “low fat” or “low sugar” on the packet, trust me, it won’t be good for you.

When trying to lose weight you obviously need to cut your calorie intake and also limit the amount of Calorie dense and nutritionally poor foods. Packaged food always contains chemicals, preservatives, hidden sugar and bad “trans fats”. Simply by cutting out processed or packaged food as much as possible i guarantee you will become healthier and lighter. As much as you possibly can avoid sugar at all costs. Not only does it contain huge amounts of calories per weight but recent research suggests that refined sugar is possibly a direct cause of cancer as well as other illnesses such as diabetes. Just cutting your sugar intake by 75% will have a dramatic impact.

The good news is that the old belief that fat is bad for you has been proven to be wrong completely. In fact fats are essential and help you to shed calories faster and also converts to muscle quicker than other types of food. Generally speaking you need to increase your protein intake, increase your good fat intake and cut back a bit on Carbohydrates. In simple terms that means:

Good foods: Fresh meat- Chicken, Turkey, Pork, Lamb, some cuts of Beef. Fish – pretty much all fish is fine but also include some oily fish such as Salmon, Mackerel, Sardines etc as they contain Omega 3 oils which are very good for you. Egg’s – a few eggs a week are definitely something you should include in your diet. ALL vegetables and salad stuff but especially Brocolli, Cauliflower, Kale, dark leaved salads, Beetroot, Peppers, Tomato’s. Advocado is another MUST. Not only is it versatile and taste great but it contains loads of very healthy fats. On top of these pulses and beans such as lentils, kidney beans, black beans, Cannelloni beans etc are all good. Nuts of all types (almonds, brazil, cashew, walnut, hazelnut, peanut). You can now buy great organic Nut butters (variations on peanut butter) which contain a lot of calories but in small amounts are also really healthy and they are good calories. Use virgin Olive Oil for salad dressings and Coconut oil or (believe it or not, proper old fashioned full fat butter) to cook with. Cheese in small amounts is fine and real live yoghurt is also good. (Warning- read the labels in supermarkets. You will often see Greek “style” yoghurt. That is not the real thing). I use Skyr the Icelandic high protein yoghurt. In terms of fruits Berries (especially blueberries) are all good, apples and banana’s etc.

In terms of Carbs, you definitely still need them, it’s just how you get them that is important. Try to cut back on Bread as much as possible (weekends only and opt for a brown or wholegrain type). Similarly with pasta, you can still have it but cut back. Rice, again if possible opt for brown or wild rice, if you don’t like it you can still eat white but cut back the portions. Potatoes just now and again although sweet potato contains a lot of protein and is fine. Vegetable contain lots of carbs and are a great, low calories way of getting both fibre and carbs into your diet so load up on Brocolli, Cauliflower, Kale, Cabbage etc.

Finally to add some flavour and zing to all that fresh produce you definitely need to stock up your spice and herb cupboard. Garlic and Ginger are both great for you. Spices like Turmeric, Chilli, Cinnamon, Black Pepper are all great for you and add not only flavour but have all sorts of fantastic health benefits. I add many of the above to almost everything.

If you’ve just read the list I’m sure you’ll agree, it isn’t rocket science. We all know that fresh, non processed food is good and processed and packaged food is bad. You just need to change your mind set and approach to them.

A final warning note. Just as important as what you eat is what you drink. It is very very hard indeed to find drinks that don’t contain a huge amount of sugar and loads of chemicals that you just don’t want in your body. If you have 4 or 5 cups of tea/coffee a day with a couple of sugars in each one and a can of coke then that is hundreds of worthless calories in one day. Wherever possible avoid ALL fizzy drinks, either cut the sugar you have in tea and coffee to a minimum or just cut back on the number of cups per day. The same goes for alcohol. I love a drink, especially a glass of wine with a meal. Not long ago my wife and I were drinking a bottle of wine a night most nights and added beers and extra wine at the weekend. I’m not saying don’t drink but Monday to Friday try to avoid it as much as you can. It will save you thousands of calories a week AND is better for your health all round. Drink lots of water, 4-6 large glasses a day and if you find it boring squeeze some lemon in it or add some mint or ginger to change it up a bit.

I’m aware that this post is dragging on now so rather than prolong it my next post will go into some detail about how to actually apply this knowledge practically. What you can do on a day by day basis and will give some examples of the types of meals you can eat.

I’d welcome your comments and am happy to answer any questions you have.

Take Care,

John