So there has been a lot of preamble thus far but it’s important that you understand the logic behind the lose your belly diet so that you can understand why it is working so well.
Remember: our objective is still to eat fewer calories than we burn but along the way we want to take into account the role of hormones and meal timing and we want to actually enjoy eating in a way that is practical.
If you were to boil weight loss down into its simplest possible parts, then the main take home point would still be to eat less and to specifically eat less of the bad stuff. What counts as bad stuff? Simple carbs, which just so happens to be most of the empty calories as well.
In other words, if you eliminated processed foods like sausage roles and pork scratchings, along with all the sweets and treats like crisps, chips, chocolate, cake and candy… then you would be able to enjoy a diet with far fewer calories immediately and you would at the same time not be losing anything important from your food intake. This is not rocket science, it’s pretty straightforward!
While you’re at it,make sure you get rid of any excessive sauces – so that means squirting large amounts of mayonnaise onto your food – and certainly sugary drinks. Did you know that a glass of Coke has as much sugar as eating two Cadburies Cream Eggs!
So remove the bad stuff and where possible, just replace with a vegetable like a carrot or a fruit like a banana.
In fact, make a conscious effort to make sure that you are getting more nutrients. That guideline about fruit and vegetable? Follow it! This doesn’t have to be complicated or a slow process – it can be as simple as ordering a smoothie from Starbucks in the morning instead of a capuccino (which is also filled with sugar FYI!).
Even if it just means taking a vitamin tablet, this is one of the most important points I want to ram home. Once you start getting more nutrients in your diet, you will start to feel more energetic, more lively and much more positive.
We’re in a vicious cycle right now where stress and a modern diet has made it increasingly difficult to get out of our rut and take back control. You can’t force your way out of this kind of lifestyle with sheer force, you need a quick and easy win. Getting more nutrients is that win. Trust me, you start getting more vitamin C and D in your diet and you’ll regain that spring in your step that will then help to motivate you toward all the other things you need to do.
This has immediately improved your health so that you feel more energetic and will be consuming fewer calories. But if you’re in the process of swapping out unhealthy foods for healthy ones, it’s still possible that you might be consuming too many calories.
Just because something is healthy, that doesn’t mean it can’t also be calorific! And just because something is healthy, that doesn’t mean it can’t make you fat.
The perfect example is the avocado. This is absolutely packed with goodness and is a great healthy fat that will slowly release sugar throughout the day. This is the ideal breakfast food instead of a sugary cereal that will spike your blood and destroy your fasted state.
The problem? Avocados are also quite high in calories. This is why it can still be a good idea to track your calories a little to get an idea of what is going in and out. But we’re going to do it in a way that is much more easy going and something you’re more likely to stick with.
The idea is simple: you will calculate the amount of calories you consume over a few average days and the amount you burn over a few average days. Now you know a rough target and you will have an idea of what some of the ‘staples’ in your diet do to your calorie total.
This is when my wife and I stopped buying a tasty shop-bought pizza after realizing it was well in excess of 1K calories each!
Now you’ll have more of a ‘feeling’ for when you’re getting close to your threshold and you’ll know which healthy alternatives you can snack on to tide you over.
Better yet? Make your meals consistent.
If you make your meals consistent, then you can know precisely how many calories are in it (as near as possible at least) and you won’t need to constantly scan and calculate.
Didn’t I just say how a program that’s too rigid is folly though? Well yes, but you see this is where the clever part of this diet comes in.
The idea is that for the first two meals of the day you are going to eat in a manner that is entirely predictable. If you do switch your lunch-time dessert, then it will be something that is pre-approved, which won’t spike your blood sugar and which isn’t too high in calories. The aim is to keep these meals very clean, very nutritious and very low in calories. They should also be things that satisfy you though and things that you can easily acquire and prepare. If that means buying from a salad bar or similar… then so be it!
This might seem miserable – eating the same two meals every single day – but actually it is the precise opposite.
The purpose of these two meals you see is to allow you to eat whatever you want in the evenings. If you know that you have only consumed 500-700 calories by dinner, then that means that you can go all out without worrying much at all and still remain under your target!
Most people do not view lunch and breakfast as social in the same way. These meals tend to be eaten quickly and viewed as something of an inconvenience. Breakfast for many is stuffed down on the way out the kitchen in the morning, while lunch is often a samey lunch box eaten alone.
So why not just redesign your breakfast and lunch to make sure you aren’t getting too many calories and to ensure that you’re filling up on important nutrients.
Now, when it’s time for date night or a meal with a friend, you’ll be able to eat whatever you want and cut loose and you can rest assured that it will probably still be keeping you in a calorie deficit.
There are also good biological reasons to stick to this diet and to keep it ordered like this. Remember, first thing in the morning you are fasted. Thus, the last thing you want to do is to spike your blood with a massive dose of sugar. Instead, if you make your first meal a complex carbohydrate or healthy fat, then you are slowly providing enough energy to keep moving but without triggering it being stored as fat.
The same goes for lunch and by avoiding a massive intake of sugary food, you’ll also help to avoid creating that four PM slump that normally causes us to crash and become less productive after we’ve eaten.
You’re staying catabolic and you’re staying focussed at the point in the day when you’re focussed and driven anyway. And then, at the point when you’re getting home feeling shattered and just waning to chill out with good food… you can!
Now, some healthy experts will recommend that you fast the other way around and avoid eating a large meal before bed which can have negative impacts on your sleep. Actually though, as long as you leave enough time before bed after your last meal, this shouldn’t be an issue.
What’s more, is that there are some experts who now believe that we evolved to eat sweet things before bed – which might even be what triggered the entire notion of dessert. The idea is that it makes sense to stock up on sugar before bed when we’ll be fasted and to trigger the release of serotonin and melatonin to put us in a deep restful state.
So try this diet: workout your target and then remove all the unhealthy foods (adding back in good ones) to your first two meals. Get to the point where you’re now full of nutrients and very far from your calorie target by evening and then allow yourself to eat normally. Don’t go crazy of course but just allow yourself to eat as you normally would.
You’re no longer fighting the natural cycles of your body and your hormones – you’re riding the wave. What’s more, is that you’re essentially ‘training’ your insulin response and encouraging your hormones to work for you. And on top of all that, you’re maintaining a calorie deficit without having to do any calculating.
If you can stick to this, then you should start to find your belly fat starts to slip away. But don’t go away just yet because in the next chapters we’ll look at how you can make this easier on yourself and how you can enhance the look of that stomach and your overall apperance.
- >>Lesson 6: Audio File