The subject of this post is about losing weight but it also doubles as a guide on how to live a healthy lifestyle
Overall, you will lead a better life if you make your lifestyle look something like 1 through 20. Following 21-50 respectively will help you lose weight AND improve at whatever you are training/living for.
1- Eat a grain-free Paleo/Primal diet
Not your thing? Sure but the reality is that healthy weight loss is going to be difficult if you aren’t eating something resembling the Paleo diet (meat, leaves, berries). At the very least you should be eating unprocessed whole foods from nature. And always consume the highest quality ingredients you can find.
You wouldn’t put regular gas in a Ferrari would you? Treat your body the same and only ingest the highest quality fuel possible. Weight loss becomes effortless when you are eating whole natural foods.
2- Get lots of sleep
I have clients look at me sideways when I tell them they need to sleep 8+ hours a night. If you are one of these sleep-deprived zombies I challenge you to try it for a week. You will be amazed by how you feel and where your body composition goes with this little experiment. You might think you feel fine now but then realize that you really have been in a chronic state of sleep deprivation from years of missing your ZzZz’s.
3- Practice interminent fasting (IF) – Eat less often
I follow the leangains approach – a daily 8 hour feeding window followed by a 16 hour fast. Whether you follow a strict fasting protocol or not, you can definitely benefit.
from skipping meals on a regular basis. Contrary to popular belief, skipping meals can help you you build muscle (and it does a million other awesome things for your body).
4- Eat slow and chew your food thoroughly
This has done WONDERS for me. I used to inhale food like a whale gobbles up plankton. I would just swim right through the food until it was gone in a matter of minutes. When you eat slow you accomplish a few important triggers for weight loss:
– You reduce the insulin spike by slowing the release of glucose into your blood stream. This prevents insulin, a storage hormone, from storing calories in your fat cells. The more insulin = the more fat storage.
– You eat less! You feel ‘full’ faster and avoid taking in too many calories. You know that feeling of a bloating, full stomach? You can thank that to consuming your calories too fast before the full trigger can tell your brain to PUT DOWN THE DAMN FORK.
4- Cook your food at home
Restaurant food is just bad. Restaurants use cheap salt, sugar, sauces, thickeners, stabilizers and all kinds of other unnatural crap to reduce costs, stay profitable, and keep the food addictive. The average restaurant margin is only 10%. This means that restaurants profit about 10% of total revenue on average.
You better freaking believe that they are constantly trying to cut corners and save on food costs. While the customer is the one that gets stuck with the health bill…Bollox (apparently my writing persona is British).
5- Don’t drink calories
When clients cut out soda/juices/beer they typically see immediate 5-10 pound weight loss results. Drinking calories elicits the same negative response on insulin levels that eating fast does, you consume more calories and they hit your blood stream fast because they are in liquid form. We are made to chew our food.
6- Go completely gluten-free
This can be life changing. Clean out your pantry and start substituting ingredients at restaurants. This could be the missing link to that lean body you’ve been trying to achieve.
7- Snacking is the bane of weight loss
One of the main reasons IF is so beneficial is because it regulates of your hormone levels and the balances your body between the fasted and fed states. Your body is made to burn fat when in the ‘fasted’ state and made to store calories when in the ‘fed’ state.
Every time you put calories in your mouth you are entering the ‘fed’ state and thus shutting off your bodies ability to burn fat by introducing glucose and insulin into your blood stream. So, next time you grab that bag of almonds thinking it’s a healthy snack, you are doing your body a disservice. Keep eating to meal times.
8- Take high quality fish oil with every meal
Fish oil contains omega-3’s which help to balance out the omega-6’s that are prevalent throughout our modern diets (especially processed foods). Maintaining this provides a ton of benefit to the body, especially weight loss.
9- Take vitamin D and/or get daily sunlight
If you aren’t currently doing this it could be the missing link in your weight loss efforts.
10- Reduce stress at all costs
Do everything you absolutely can to reduce stress and anger. I explain to my client’s that every time you get angry, stressed, or freak-out about something that it is like taking a bite out of a candy bar. Stress releases cortisol and insulin into your blood stream just like if you were chomping down on your favorite gluten-filled processed snickers bar. As we discussed earlier this halts fat-loss and promotes fat-gain. That’s a bad combination don’t you think? Take a chill pill and BREATHE.
11- Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is the act of focusing on a single object or task and turning off the rest of the noise (thoughts, worry, doubt) going through your head. This helps with number 11 to prevent the chronically raised cortisol and insulin levels we get from our mind tormenting us with worry, stress, anger, resentment, jealously, and all kinds of other shit we shouldn’t worry about.
Some good techniques for being mindful are: Counting your breath, listening to nature or water flow and focusing on the sound and nothing else for a few minutes every day. I’m not a pro here, just a student, so I suggest you do some more research on your own. A little goes a long way.
12- Eliminate sugar
It is the absolute worst. Remember that fat doesn’t make you fat. Sugar, seed oils, and processed grains are what make you fat (and stress).
13- Eat lots of high-quality fat
Fatty fish, grass-fed beef, lamb, bison, coconut oil, olive oil (I prefer it unheated), Kerrygold butter, avocado oil, macadamia oil, ghee, lard (make your own), tallow (make your own).
14- Eat lots of high-quality animal products
Keywords include: grass-fed, free range, pastured, organic, all-natural, hormone-free, humanely raised, family farms, local Your diet will look something like this:
Protein ~35% of calories
Fat ~35% of calories
Carbs in the form of starches/veggies = ~25%
These are average ranges as everyone is different and some prefer lower carbs while others do well on higher carbs. Tweak and experiment to find what works for you.
15- Perform resistance training ~3 times a week
If you are reading this you probably already know why this is beneficial. Just do it.
16- Perform high intensity conditioning ~3 times a week
Think intervals, short, fast, and hard. Avoid long distance and moderate paced training as the bulk of your training (it is useful only sometimes).
17- Walk Everywhere
Take the stairs, park at the end of the parking lot, walk the long way. We are made to move at a slow pace often. Get up and get moving.
18- Play sports
Great for overall health, mental relief, muscle building, mobility, social development, etc. We have been playing games since the dawn of man.
19- Get outdoors as much as possible
It just works The first 20 in this list are my main recommendations to living an overall healthy life. As you adopt more and more of this list you will notice that you become a fat-burning machine, and you’ll realize how easy it is to tweak your weight based on what you do (or don’t do).
I recommend you incorporate these habits a little at a time until they become routine.
Don’t try to adopt them all at once or you.
20- Drink a full glass of water before each meal
You will feel full faster and eat less.
21-Eat your protein before your carbs and fat
Protein is very satiating and will fill you up fast.
22- Eat a bit of healthy fat 15 minutes before each meal
Fat curbs appetite and triggers the release of hormones that let you know when you are full. You can kickstart these hormones by nibbling on some nuts or dark chocolate before the your meals.
23- Eat hot and hearty soups and stews
Soups and stews are filling. Hot food will force you to eat slow and thus eat less, curb insulin spikes, and get full faster. Notice a trend?
Fast, intense, full-body exercise like all-out sprinting has insane thermogenic and EPOC effects on the body. Basically, it turns your body into a calorie-burning furnace. Sprinting also builds massive muscle (compare a pic of a sprinter to a marathon runner…scary).
25- Make things difficult for yourself (on purpose)
Why would you ever do this? So you can MOVE more..DUH!
The more movement you perform the more calories you burn. Instead of searching for the easiest route.
26- Drink green tea
Full of antioxidants and a bit of caffeine, both good for fat burning.
27- Chew a few extra chews each mouthful
Chewing has been linked to improvement in digestion and breakdown of food (duh) through extra release of the salvia enzymes amylase (starch breakdown) and lipase (fat breakdown). All from the physical act of chewing (weird huh).
28- Drink black coffee (in moderation)
Coffee offers many benefits to the body, one of which is fat burning, but there are some caveats. You should drink black (yummy) and organic if possible. Coffee beans are one of the most heavily sprayed (pesticides) crops in the world. No bueno.
29- Take a digestive enzyme, probiotic, and/or eat fermented food regularly
These products improve gut health and digestion.
The better you digest your food the better it is utilized in the body and the less likely it is to be converted into adipose tissue. Adipose tissue is FAT ladies and gentlemen…the jiggley, cellulitely, unpleasant kind of fat.
30- Perform heavy, complex, functional movements
Anything that trains the whole body is going to eat up calories for fuel. If you are in ‘isolation-land’ I implore you to start picking up, carrying, and moving heavy shit on a regular basis.
31- Avoid liquid food
Yes boys and girls, that means protein shakes. If you want to lose weight you should avoid liquid calories in any form. We already discussed how drinking calories produces a larger insulin spike because of the liquid, fast digesting form of the calories.
There is a BUT here though: If you drink a shake in lieu of eating a meal then I say it’s not that bad as long as you keep it simple and low-calorie. Avoid the 500-calorie oat, peanut butter, or fruit smoothie concoctions (those are for weight gain). If it keeps you from eating shit then stick with water and whey (gross I know) and avoid chugging them.
32- Skip the condiments
How did I lose 5 pounds and finally carve out my abs after 2 years of frustration? Dropping ketchup (I also nixed milk so that helped a bit). I used to drown my chicken breasts in ketchup so eliminating it was huge for my results. Store bought condiments are filled with sugar and other processed crap. Stick with organic mustard
or homemade ketchup.
33- Drink lots of water
I don’t think we need to drink as much water as the pundits would have us believe, but for reducing cravings and making us feel full more often, water can be useful.
34- Think hard – Use your brain
Your brain’s primary fuel source is glucose so it is beneficial to use as much of it as possible so there isn’t any extra that can be stored as fat.
35- Perform Tabata intervals
A Tabata interval is 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. Pick a movement, Air squat for example, and start a timer. Perform as many air squats in 20 seconds as possible then rest. After 10 seconds of rest go again. Repeat until 4 minutes is up or 8 rounds have been completed. Brutal, simple fat-burning exercise.
36- Replace soda, juice, sweet tea with a soda water and lime (sparkling and
seltzer also work)
This is how my sister and I weaned off soda (long time ago mind you) and we are still able to satisfy that craving for carbonation when eating out. You can even fake it at the club with a soda water and lime (totally looks like you are a hip alcohol-drinking-baller-shot-caller).
37- Do NOTHING
Relieve stress by turning off your brain and letting your body lay around like a fat-lazy Jabba the Hutt. This is something some of us do perfectly (too much) and others do terribly (never relax).
38- Take naps
Sleep is one of the top 5 techniques to living a healthy life. Naps consist of sleep. Thus naps do a body good (milk does not).
39- Get social
We are social creatures and have thrived as a species by staying together. The benefits of enjoying time with friends and family are enormous. Anything that improves your happiness can help you lose weight by reducing stress.
40- Fast before you train and/or after you train
The longer you go without food in your body the more your metabolism will burn stored fat. Training increases your body’s need for fuel and as a result will burn more fat. There are a ton of benefits to not eating food even after your training window.
41- Watch your carb intake
This includes sugar, rice, potatoes, fruit, grains (hopefully not). Even ‘good’ carbs can become ‘bad’ by eating too much.
42- Take ZMA before bed (Zinc, Magnesium & Vitamin B-6)
This is hands down my favorite supplement. Not only does magnesium aid in weight loss and a list of other body functions, but it improves your sleep at night as well. You will sleep deeper, fuller, and longer. It also improves recovery a TON. This should be a standard supplement in everyone’s program.
43- Do CrossFit
Seriously…everyone can and should do some form of CrossFit. You can do more WODs, Less WODs, strength-bias, endurance-bias, gymnastics-bias, powerliftingbias, outlaw, etc.
44- Utilize active-rest days
Days where you can barely walk and your back feels like a giant bruise (I love that feeling) are days that you should avoid training hard or heavy. This is the perfect time for an active rest day.
An active rest day looks like this:
work mobility, do some light rowing and jogging, work on Oly technique with an empty barbell, foam roll, stretch, etc. Do it all at a slow and easy, yet deliberate, pace. This will improve recovery, reduce stress on your body, help recover your CNS, and get your body moving. This will improve fat burning/weight loss AND muscle building simultaneously.
45- Go for gluten-free hard cider over gluten-filled beer and opt for liquor+soda water over sugar-filled mix drinks
Gluten, beer, and mixed drinks are the Antichrist for your abs. A long island ice tea has 780 calories and about 40 grams of sugar. I used to drink those [Smacks forehead].
46- Avoid artificial sweeteners
This includes splenda, aspartame, and other ‘naturally flavored’ sweeteners. Sweeteners spike your insulin levels because your brain can’t tell the difference between them and sugar so the body response ends up being the same. Plus they might cause cancer. It makes sense to avoid them altogether.
47- Don’t overtrain
Avoid overtraining at all costs. It saps weight loss and promotes fat gain through the huge amounts of cortisol wrecking havoc in your body.
48- Plan ahead/pack a lunch
The best way to avoid falling off the wagon and eating junk is to be prepared. Always have something healthy with you. One pot, crockpot, and large roasts are great for making a bunch of meals for the week.
49- Be patient
Any new habit you implement will take time to show results. The people who get shit done in life are the one’s that stay the course. Work, life, business, relationships, diet, fitness, it’s all the same. Stay the damn course.
Test, Test, Test, Tweak
You must test and tweak on a regular basis and find the right combination that works for you. All of these techniques will work for anyone (to varying degrees) if implemented in their purest form.
However, the dose and result can be so different from person to person. There are many moving parts going on in our mind’s and body’s that there is never a specific one-size-fits-all solution. We are always learning, growing, and improving – if we put in the effort. Make it your goal to find the answer to your life. Think of yourself as a complex unsolved formula. And now you are the scientist charged with solving this formula. It is up to you and you alone.
Now get your ass in gear and get working!