I know, another article about losing weight on the internetz. Stick with me.
I lost 32 lbs. using these methods. My wife lost over 70 lbs. Here are the 5 principles we used to lose weight fast:
- Eat lots of veggies – Fiber expands in your stomach and keeps you full.
- Eat high amounts of protein – It takes 25% more energy for the body to metabolize protein, which means you eat far less net calories.
- Keep carbs low – This gets debated endlessly, but studies show that keeping your carb intake low is the most effective way to lose weight.
- Eat moderate amounts of fat – This helps you stay full for longer, which helps you eat less total calories throughout the day.
- Work out at high intensity – Working out at high intensity is the best way to optimize mitochondrial function, which is a fancy way of saying you burn way more fat. You can lose weight even if you work out 1-2x a week at high intensity, if you follow the other principles mentioned above.
I promise, if you follow these principles you will lose weight, pretty darn fast.
Calories In, Calories Out?
Really, this all comes down to cutting calories. Yes, in order to lose weight, you have to eat less calories than your body burns.
People say that a calorie is a calorie, so you just gotta count them meticulously and you will lose weight. That is true to a point, but it’s not that simple. (R)
The body metabolizes calories differently whether it’s from fats, proteins, or carbohydrates (the 3 main macronutrients). Some forms of calories can also make you eat even more calories, or eat less calories.
- The body burns 25% more energy to burn calories from protein (as mentioned above). So if you consume 100 calories of protein, your body burns 25 extra calories just to process that protein, so in the end you’re eating 75 total (net) calories.
- Eating sugar and processed carbs triggers hormones that make you more hungry, causing you to eat more calories
- Eating high-fiber foods like green vegetables will slow down how quickly your body metabolizes carbohydrates, making you less hungry
- Fiber also expands in your stomach when it comes into contact with water, also making you less hungry
- Fat has twice as many calories per gram as carbs or protein, so it is generally smart to limit fats if you’re wanting to lose weight. BUT, fat is very satiating. Eating some fat will help you stay full for longer, making you eat less calories the rest of the day.
These are just a few examples, and really this is getting into the scientific weeds a little more than you need to know. Some of you will love these details, so that’s cool. But if you just keep in mind the 5 principles mentioned at the top, you will make progress.
Generally you’ll want to eat 1/3rd to 1/2 half of your plate in veggies. The reason for this is fiber. Fiber expands in your stomach, helping you feel full, and veggies are the lowest-calorie, highest-fiber foods around.
Beans, like black beans, are also excellent sources of fiber. If you’re doing low carb, nix the beans. If you’re doing slow carb, do about a fistful or two of beans a day. Both low carb and slow carb will work, as long as you get lots of fiber.
Since it takes the body 25% more energy to metabolize protein, you want to make this the center of your weight loss lifestyle. Chicken, shrimp, beef, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, string cheese, and grass-fed beef sticks are all excellent sources of protein.
Be careful about the string cheese and cottage cheese though. They’re loaded with salt and can cause problems like dehydration, high blood pressure, etc (increasing your potassium intake helps you flush out excess sodium).
Keep carbs low. As mentioned earlier, you can do low carb or Tim Ferriss’s slow carb, but both work well if you stick to it.
In general, this is pretty self-explanatory, but carbs are tricky. Keep an eye out for sneaky carbs in your ketchup, sauces, etc. Try to go for unprocessed carbs like black beans, multigrain bread, and oats.
Processed carbs, on the other hand:
- Spike your blood sugar and insulin, turning off fat-burning
- Spike your blood sugar, which sparks hormones that make you more hungry
- Lack fiber, so you don’t get as full
Keep fat calories low to moderate. Like carbs, fat can sneak into your sauces and “health halo” foods like avocados.
The dangerous part about fat calories for weight loss is that gram-for-gram, they have twice as many calories as carbs or protein. Meaning for every gram of fat you eat, you’re eating twice as many calories as if you got that gram from carbs or protein.
Fats are not bad for you. They can be really, really good for you. But if you’re losing weight, you have to keep an eye out and not do too much.
High-intensity exercise (like high intensity interval training), is the most effective way to burn calories, both during your workout and after.
Intense exercise boosts your thyroid and mitochondrial production, which is the cellular furnace that powers your metabolism. More mitochondria = higher metabolism.
That’s it – Nice and simple. Let me know how it goes!