by Jeremy Michaels
I’ve gone from overweight to normal weight to pretty fit in the last decade, and I’m sometimes asked what someone should eat and do if they want to lose weight and get lean.
Though I’m currently in the process to getting even more leaner, I know the dos and don’ts and did my hard research on nutrition and fitness.
Now there are many diets: Atkins, Mediterranean, South Beach, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, and a handful of others. But diets are not realistic because diets don’t work for everyone. Instead you should forget the simple diet plans and just focus on properly eating healthy and properly exercising.
Create your own meal plans as a nutritional list and create your own workout plan for weight loss, getting fit and lean.
I should note that what works for me or someone else might be different than what works for you and others. Everybody has a different metabolism, different body and ultimately different health. So it’s best to experiment what works for you when it comes to certain healthy quality foods and certain workouts.
The easiest thing to do is focus on eating the right quality foods and avoid eating the wrong foods. And focus on doing the right workouts and avoid wasting time on the wrong workouts or spending too much time on the same routines.
Losing weight = burning more calories than you eat. It might seem simple, but if you’re not educated on food and nutrition, and fitness, you won’t succeed.
There are 3 principles you must know for weight loss:
- Know the healthy foods that cause accelerating fat burning in your body.
- Know the unhealthy particular foods that are preventing you from burning fat or making you gain weight.
- Know how to properly exercise to lose your body fat percentage and build lean muscle.
I will explain in detail how to quickly and effectively lose weight and stay lean for the rest of your life…
1 – Do NOT diet. I repeat, DO NOT DIET! Most diet plans force you to cut calories until you’re practically starving. Diets aren’t realistic for the long term and are just quick fixes that will set you up for binge eating and weight gain in the future. Diets simply don’t work because everybody has a different metabolism rate. It’s NOT about dieting, it’s about the 3 principles above. It’s about the quality of food you have to eat and it’s metabolic enhancing effect on your body. It’s about the metabolic density training workouts you have to do to have your body adjusted to fat burning on it’s own. It’s about adjusting to healthy eating fitness lifestyle.
Focus on eating healthy aka high quality foods. Simply because eating healthy is how to effectively lose weight and get lean. Eating healthy just means eating natural and organic wholesome foods that have the daily vitamins and minerals, amounts of fiber, protein and good fats your body needs.
- Avoid sugar. Keep your sugar intake extremely low. Completely avoid empty calories such as added sugary foods and drinks. The more intake of sugar, the more your blood sugar spikes, releasing insulin which makes it very difficult for you to lose weight. Sugar = the number one enemy of weight loss. Sugar is also the main ingredient of how you get chronic inflammatory disease.
- Avoid certain food additives and preservatives. There are chemicals in our food that make it almost impossible for us to lose weight. Things like artificial sweeteners, artificial colorings, artificial flavorings, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, trans fat, aspartame, etc. are all things to look out for. Completely eliminate them all. Eat organic and natural foods.
- Eliminate white flour and the wrong starchy high carb foods. Starchy foods such as white rice, white pasta and corn will make you gain weight and makes it difficult for you to lose weight. Eat resistant starches that are high on fiber such as beans, peas, oats, sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, brown rice, lentils, spelt, rye, millet and bananas, which resists being digested right away, contain fewer calories and help prevent quick blood sugar spikes. These resistant starches have lots of fiber and make you lose weight. Fiber is what makes you full and effectively lose weight. Foods high on fiber are mostly certain vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
- Avoid processed foods. If you’re cooking food in a microwave or toaster, or it’s in a box or can, it’s most likely processed food that contain the food additives and preservatives explained above. Go back to the old fashioned cooking fresh food. To effectively lose weight and get lean, you must eliminate processed food! More importantly, eliminating processed food decreases your chance of heart disease, diabetes and cancer by 60%.
- Know the good fats vs. bad fats. An example of good fats are avocado, eggs, butter, nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, coconut milk, greek yogurt, chicken breast, turkey breast, fish, chia seed, and flaxseed. An example of bad fats is margarine, canola oil, fried foods, mayonnaise, bacon, flour, milk, chocolate and cream.
- Eat foods that are proven to make you lose weight, that boost and speed up your metabolism, which are mostly high on fiber, low in sugar/carbs, contain healthy fats and are natural organic wholesome foods: Avocados, spinach, broccoli, olives, walnuts, almonds, salmon, chia seeds, flax seeds, oatmeal, red chili peppers, jalapeno peppers, green tea, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, grapefruit, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, quinoa, brown rice, beans, plain greek yogurt, most other vegetables, most other fruits, most other whole grains, etc.
- Eat vegetables and fruits daily. Make sure you get your daily vegetables and fruits. Eat 6 servings of vegetables a day. And eat 3 servings of fruit a day. Also juicing/blending vegetables and fruits can be very beneficial to both getting lean, losing weight and for your health. Vegetables and fruits have the vitamins, minerals and fiber you need to lose weight, maintain your lean and make you feel full.
- Eat breakfast. It’s a proven fact that people who eat breakfast have a better shot at losing and maintaining weight loss. Eat a big breakfast, medium lunch, and a small dinner, with snacks in between.
- Completely eliminate fast food. Fast foods are genetically modified (GMO) and mostly contain trans fat, MSG, and the food additives and preservatives explained above, that will make it difficult for you to lose weight. Fast foods are also loaded with the bad fats, high sodium, high carbs, added sugars and high cholesterol.
- Completely eliminate fried foods. You may be used to eating fried foods but the process of frying will make you gain weight. Frying food causes food to absorb more fat and calories. The wrong fat that is. Also the most common frying oils are vegetable oils and canola oils which are a big no-no when it comes to your health and weight loss. Stick to grilling, roasting, braising, steaming, broiling, boiling, simmering, poaching, baking and stewing.
- Eat protein. Green leafy vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, lean beef, pork, milk, greek yogurt, etc. Note that you should always select lean meats. Completely avoid processed meats such as bologna, salami, bacon, sausage, hotdogs, etc. Limit your protein from animal products and dairy to 2-3 times a week, and eat more protein from green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans and seeds.
- Cook with the right herbs, spices and oils. Believe it or not, but using the wrong oils will make you gain weight and cooking with the right oils will help you lose weight and maintain your lean. Use healthy oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, walnut oil, flaxseed oil and hemp oil – instead of vegetable oil, canola oil, peanut oil, corn oil, grape seed oil, sunflower oil and safflower oil. Use herbs and spices that are known for many healthy benefits and speed up your metabolism such as garlic, mint, oregano, mustard seeds, dill, parsley, cilantro, poppy seeds, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, ginger and marjoram.
- Beware of “fat-free” or “low fat” or “reduced fat” or “sugar free” foods as you could be trading good fats for huge amounts of sugar, sodium and chemicals. When it comes to “good fats” always choose whole fat.
- Avoid pills, supplements, detox cleanses and fasting for weight loss. Most of these so called “weight loss” products will make you lose weight unhealthily and the wrong way and make you gain it all back or more at the end with disease or side effects. These scams are out for your money and don’t care about your health. Don’t fall to their slick advertising tricks, publicity, google searches, marketing and celebrity endorsements. “Detox cleanses” are very good for your body for overall health but it’s not consistent for a weight loss goal. “Fasting” is not good at all because then you’ll be starving yourself which makes your body go into fat storing mode. Supplements are synthetic versions of vitamins and food and it’s proven not to be too effective and consistent for health nor weight loss in the long run. One should adjust to a healthy eating lifestyle and exercise to properly and effectively lose weight and stay lean.
- Avoid over the counter drugs and pharmaceutical drugs. Drugs are not meant for your body and are highly toxic. Most of them have dangerous side effects including weight gain and disease. Completely stay away from drugs!
- Lastly, do not count calories, carbs or fat! Ever! There’s no need to count anything when all you have to do is just monitor what you eat by eliminating the bad stuff and focus on eating the good stuff.
2 – Workouts for weight loss and to get lean. Strength training, cardiovascular workouts, high intensity workouts, and participating in sports are king to help you lose weight and get lean.
- Strength training. Strength training helps you lose fat without losing muscle, and makes you gain muscle. It gets you strong and feeling empowered and confident. This is important for both men and women. I recommend starting with bodyweight exercises (calisthenics) like push-ups, squats, jumps, lunges, and pull ups then slowly adjusting your body to weight lifting. Weight lifting with dumbbells, barbells and/or workout machines are great to get leaner and burn fat.
- Cardio. Cardiovascular workouts such as jogging, biking, power walking, swimming, running on the treadmill, hiking, etc. are good to get your heart healthy and you can burn fat and maintain your lean. However it’s important you pair cardio with strength training/weight lifting for weight loss and to get lean. Cardio alone or too much steady cardio will not make you see the results you want to see.
- High intensity workouts. Now these are king for weight loss and getting leaner. One should focus on metabolic density training workouts which are high intense short burst workouts that focus on your whole body that send your metabolism sky high. After high intense short burst workouts, your body will burn fat for 36 hours after you exercise. You will see weight loss results immediately and you will adjust your body to burn fat and tone on it’s own when you’re consistent. Your high intense short burst workouts should include overtime push-ups, squats, lunges, jumps, planks, jumping jacks, burpees, leg raises, and different aerobic exercise and body movements that focus on a fast paced total body workout.
- Conclusion. Exercise is an important weight loss tool and how much you need varies from person to person. If you’re a beginner, start small at 3 days a week and gradually add time and more strength training workouts, cardio and high intense short burst workouts to give your body time to adapt. Any strength training paired with cardio and high intense short burst workout that stresses on total body and an increased heart rate will always help you lose weight quickly and keep it off.
3 – Drink water. You’ll be amazed by how much weight you drop by simply switching to water. Completely eliminate soda! And limit your juice. Water kick starts your metabolism, helps build muscle, moistens your intestines helping dispose waste that would otherwise be stored as fat, is necessary for proper digestion, helps the liver function, washes toxins out of the body and makes you feel full. Don’t confuse thirst with hunger – drink a glass of water when you feel hungry to see if that’s what you’re really craving.
4 – Get enough sleep. Without sleep, it’s harder to plan your meals, to exercise, or to consciously eat healthy. Also when you sleep less, you’ll eat more and crave more since you have more time to eat. When you sleep more, you’ll get the rest and energy your body needs.
5 – Make one change at a time. Don’t cut everything out at once. For example, cut out fried foods. When you’re used to that, cut out fast foods. After you’re used to that cut out soda, then processed foods, then white rice, and so on… Also don’t start doing heavy weights, 5 mile runs and high intensity short burst workouts out of no where. Slowly adjust your body to it and then be consistently consistent.
6 – Don’t EVER starve yourself! Skipping meals can cause your body to go into a fat storing starvation mode, making it harder to burn calories, making it even harder for you to lose weight, making you gain excessive weight. When you skip meals, your body stops breaking down fat and starts breaking down muscle tissue. Muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than other tissues, so you will working against your goals this way. When you’re hungry, your body conserves calories and slows down your metabolic process.
7 – Most importantly, remember to keep your goals in sight and motivate yourself. Motivation is the first step to losing weight.