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Losing weight is simple!
Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Despite some of the foolish things you may have heard before, the truth is that there is one simple rule to weight loss – a caloric deficit.
To lose weight you need to consume fewer calories than you metabolize throughout the day. It’s as simple as that. OK, sure, this is with the small provision that the calories you do eat are not coming only from pure junk food. Chicken breast and broccoli goes a long way!
A caloric deficit is when you consume fewer calories than your body needs for energy to perform its tasks over the course of the day such as breathe, pump blood, digest food, walk, run etc.
Your body gets its energy from the food you eat and the food you eat is typically divided into three main categories. These categories are often also referred to as macronutrients or just macros for short:
Generally speaking your body will prioritize where it gets its energy from: burning carbohydrates first, then fats and finally proteins.
When we talk about losing weight, most of us want to lose fat!
One way to lose fat is to restrict your intake of carbohydrates, forcing your body to switch to burning fat for energy instead of carbs.
Personally I have had great success with Timothy Ferriss’ slow-carb diet, which he introduces in detail in his book: The 4-Hour Body.
The diet can essentially be summarized in 10 simple rules. I followed these rules and lost 8kgs (which equates to about 18 pounds) in 40 days. It works!
My wife went on the slow-carb diet at the same time as me and she shed 6kgs in the same amount of time. The only difference was that I chose to exercise during the diet.
10 Slow-Carb Rules
Rule #1: Avoid “white” starchy carbohydrates. That means no bread, cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes and grains.
Rule #2: Eat the same few meals over and over again, especially for breakfast and lunch. You are most likely already doing this; you’re just picking new default meals.
Rule #3: Don’t drink any calories. No soft drinks, alcohol and juice. Essentially you should only drink water, tea and coffee. If you use milk in your tea or coffee, try to limit the amount of milk.
Rule #4: Don’t eat any fruit with exception of avocados and tomatoes.
Rule #5: Take one day off per week from your diet and eat whatever you want. I chose and recommend Saturday as your “cheat day”. It’s important to spike your metabolism to prevent your metabolic rate from adjusting to your way of eating, so don’t skip your “cheat day”. It actually helps keeping your metabolism working.
Rule #6: Drink at least 1 litre of water within five minutes of getting up in the morning. Follow this up with 10 minutes of steady state cardio before eating breakfast. Go for a quick walk or jog around the block or jump on your bike or rowing machine, but keep it light and easy.
Rule #7: Eat your protein-rich (minimum 30g of protein) breakfast within 30 minutes of getting up in the morning.
Rule #8: Don’t eat anything within 3 hours of going to bed. If you are starving and have cravings only give in to a small handful of almonds and a little bit of flaxseed oil.
Rule #9: Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every day.
Rule #10: Avoid temptations! Keep sweets, cookies, chocolate, chips, soft drinks and the like out of the house (except for on your one “cheat day” per week). Most people don’t have the willpower to keep their hands out of the cookie jar if there are cookies in the jar.
You can read more about Timothy Ferriss’ slow-carb diet in his book: The 4-Hour Body.