Fat Loss Strategies -Cliff notes for a lifetime of fat loss!
Updated: Jan 16
A Summary of This Program:
Keep this thought in your head as you read this:
"What would this process look like if it were easy?"
This is a reference guide. I’m going to share a lot of ideas. At the end, the questions will ask you to choose a diet, a method of exercise, and an accountability strategy. Those are the three most important pieces. I’ve noticed the clients that have had the most success are the ones that are involved in deciding the details of their program. The faster the clients lose the weight, the more likely they are to gain it back. Look for changes that are gradual, sustainable, and ENJOYABLE. Reminder, this is not how to be healthy, or get stronger, or perform better. This is strictly how to lose fat or stay lean.
Cheat Sheet- The Cliff Notes
-Eat less. Cut sugar.
-Eat 100g of healthy protein a day.
-Skip breakfast or eat a high protein breakfast. It seems to positively effect food choices for the rest of the day.
-It’s not safe to cut carbs in the long term.
-Avoid "White" Carbohydrates and bread.
-Don’t drink calories, especially soft drinks and sugar coffee.
-Don’t eat fruit.
-Don’t eat 3 hours before bed
-Walk as much as possible
-Workout hard 1-4 times a week. Do what you enjoy. It will be more sustainable.
-Eat slower by timing your meals.
-To get motivated, use tricks to engage yourself emotionally.
-Things get done when you know you have to report to someone and there are consequences.
-Your mind is for creating ideas, not for storing them. You’re not going to remember to get things done.
- Most people simply eat too many calories on the weekends. Make it a point to workout Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday.
-You are personally responsible for educating yourself about solving your health problems.
-To break a sugar addiction. Eat anything except sugar or simple
carbohydrates (anything white) until you break the addiction. Drink water or take fiber pills if you are hungry or have cravings. It’s often dehydration not hunger.
-A well-balanced system is easier to manipulate into fat loss.
-Vitamin D is the most important thing to test and supplement.
-Make your own program- WHAT WOULD THIS LOOK LIKE IF IT WERE EASY?
-You’re not too busy. It will change when you make it a priority. Life is short.
A Quick Overview of The Entire Program:
1. What Qualifies Me to Give This Advice!?
2. The Tools My Clients Have ACTUALLY Used Over the Years To Lose Massive Amounts Of Fat. Note the Tools That You Find Useful.
- Less total calories- more exercise- The only diet option that allows some sugar.
- Low carb dieting or Ketogenic diet (no carb)
- “Slow carb diet”
- Time restricted eating- sustainable intermittent fasting
Fat Loss Exercise Options:
- High volume walking- good for those who hate exercise
- HIIT- High Intensity Interval Training- for those who like intense exercise
- Both- Walking + HIIT= Fast results for the highly motivated
What NOT to do- The bad habits that make you fat.
- Eating quickly makes you fat!
- Combining liquid sugar with caffeine is a receipt to store fat. Sugars (or high glycemic carbs) + fat = fat gain
- Eating late at night makes you fat.
- Drinking alcohol will cause binge eating the night of and the following day.
- It also disrupts your rhythm and focus.
3. Accountability. Sculpt Your Habits Over Time. You Will Need Some Pressure Or Some Support.
8 Motivational tactics:
- Have your vice once a month ü Make it easier ü Create Stakes!
- Accountability groups
- Cue yourself
- “Change” your friends, Healthy Rewards
- Replace the bad habit
4. Common Mistakes and Trouble Shooting Fat Loss
These are the mistakes that I have made with my clients over the years:
- Most people simply eat too many calories and don't move enough on the weekends.
- The Low Carb Keto Cycle
- Getting injured
- Too much too soon
- Only adding exercise
- Personal responsibility
When the fundamentals above have failed, try lab testing.
5. How to Manage Sugar Cravings and Stimulants
- Eat anything except sugar or simple carbohydrates
- Drink water if you are hungry or have cravings. It’s often dehydration not hunger.
- Eat fat and protein for breakfast to stay full and reduce cravings.
Caffeine- Warnings and Tips
- Vitamin D
- Fish oil
7. It’s Time to Make Decisions
What Would This Look Like If It Were Easy?
The 3 most important decisions for fat loss:
Select, sequence, and commit
- Food lists
- Alkaline/ acidic list
- Things you must say “No” to- A list of excuses to miss workouts or eat crap.
1. What qualifies me to give this advice!?
I have not lost a large amount of fat. Honestly, I haven’t had that personal experience. I’ve always maintained low body fat. But I have been helping people lose weight for 15 years. In my first 5 years as a trainer, I had 5 clients lose over 100 pounds and countless people lose at least 20 lbs. You can read my full story at https://www.lovittlife.com/about-me
I was able to get these results because I worked inside of a hospital, with a team, where we tested, tracked, and retested all of these things:
- Weekly weight change.
- Daily step count (volume of movement)
- Diet compliance
- DEXA scans for body fat (most accurate body fat testing- like a CT scan) - Heart rate change with exercise
- Heart rate threshold training for fat burning zones and high intensity training zones
The good news is that these tests are not necessary. We know what works!
2. Below are the tools that my clients have ACTUALLY used over the years to lose massive amounts of fat.
You probably won’t read this twice so note the tools that you find useful as you read. This will simplify your decision making later. Don’t feel obligated to read everything. Skip what doesn’t apply to you.
Diet Strategies (pick one):
Less total calories- More exercise- create a deficit
This is what they teach dieticians in school. They typically suggest 3 meals and 2 snacks every day. They usually suggest things like whole grain bread, high fiber cereal, granola, yogurt, and cheese. (Lots of gluten and dairy) I find people that use this method may lose WEIGHT, but not necessarily all fat. They look smaller, but they look soft. This strategy does not manage inflammation as well as the others.
This is the only diet option that allows some sugar. This is an option for people who can moderate their behavior. Some people are capable of eating 1 small piece of sugar. Most are not. I find it hard to moderate sugar intake. It’s like a drug. It usually needs to be eliminated for a while. More on that below.
All diet strategies work if they promote a calorie deficit. This strategy pairs well with a “Plant based,” “Mediterranean Diet,” or “Paleo diet” because of the clean foods in those diets. Eating a high protein breakfast seems to positively effect food choices for the rest of the day.
Low carb dieting or Ketogenic diet (no carb)
This is for rapid fat loss. You will eliminate 100% of sugar and as many carbs as you can.
80% of people that lose over 30 pounds have done so by drastically cutting sugar and total carbs. This is for the highly motivated “all or nothing” personality. Moderate personalities will not like this. To get into Ketosis, and stay in Ketosis, you’ll need to eliminate as many carbs as possible. It’s best to remove alcohol. Eat proteins, lots of fats, and low carb veggies. (food list in the appendix) Eating Carbs will take you out of Ketosis and it won’t work. This diet forces discipline. You’ll notice that after about a week you won’t crave sugar at all.
It’s not safe to cut carbs in the long term. (see the mistakes section below!) I’d limit it to 3 months and then return to a balanced diet. You could get into Ketosis a few times a year.
“Slow-Carb Diet” by Tim Ferriss
This diet might be the easiest to follow!
The “Slow-carb diet” is based on five straightforward rules:
Rule #1: That’s what stores fat. Bread will never help you lose weight.
Rule #2: Eat the same few meals over and over again- Especially breakfast and lunch. You probably do this anyway.The idea is to mix and match the allowed foods from each food group to build meals and repeat these meals every day.
3 food groups, 1 of each per meal.
Proteins: (more proteins in appendix)Eggs, Chicken, Beef, Pork, Lamb
Legumes:Lentils, black beans, Pinto beans, Red beans, Mung beans (my favorite)
Vegetables: (low calorie veggies in appendix) Spinach, Mixed veggies, Sauerkraut/ kimchi, asparagus, Peas, broccoli, Green beans.These meals are high in protein and Fiber. They digest slowly. You feel full.I would also add my kitchari diet as a vegan option: Beans, brown rice, and vegetables.Google search “slow carb diet recipes” for more creative meal options.
Rule #3: Don't Drink CaloriesWater, Tea, and Coffee are allowed. 1-2 glasses of wine allowed.
Rule #4: Don't Eat Fruit- (again- no sugar)Fruits are not helpful when you’re trying to lose weight.
Rule #5: Take One Day off per Week. Eat whatever you want.I’ve tried this diet. It felt easy. It’s simple to follow. I was always full.This diet may be for someone who likes eating 3 full meals a day.It eliminates sugar, chemicals, gluten, and dairy. It’s safe long term.**Take it easy on the wine and cheat days!
Time Restricted Eating- Sustainable Intermittent Fasting
This is my favorite tool. It’s so SIMPLE. Just don’t eat, or only consume things on the list below. As you go longer stretches of time without eating your body will adapt into burning fat. It gets easier and more effective as you do it for progressively longer periods of time.
This might be for someone who works a lot and doesn’t have time to eat. It’s also great for detox and longevity. Our culture has taught us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I think its beneficial to take a break from constantly over feeding. Time restricted eating certainly isn’t dangerous.
This strategy allows us to take a long period of time without eating. The fasting window of 12-22 hours a day are spent digesting, resting, repairing, and reducing inflammation. It’s fun because you can eat bigger meals and sometimes you can cheat with the types of food you eat. You tend to stay in a limited calorie range during the feeding period because you can only fit so many calories into a small feeding window. One of the downsides is that you may feel sluggish when you finally eat. This might be for someone who has the tendency to binge eat. If they have not been able to correct this behavior, then this is a way to managed it.
If you are concerned with your blood sugar dropping too quickly from fasting, then I suggest eating Ketogenic meals. For a smoother transition, eat smaller meals or simply cut the carbohydrates from the meals for a while before cutting the entire meal.
Here is the progression.
1. Do not eat 3 hours before bed
2. Do not eat for 12 hours straight. For example, 8pm until 8 am. Start eating a smaller breakfast. Start eating your breakfast later.
3. Skip breakfast and make it to 16 hours. 8pm- noon, only eat 12-8pm
4. Eat 1 meal a day. Usually just dinner for social reasons.
You can eat carbs with these meals but its more effective, for fat burning, if you minimize them. When skipping meals, you can consume certain things during the fasting hours to make the fast easier, to make you feel full, and to minimize the “hangry” feeling. It’s important to cut carbs and animal proteins during the fasting window.
Here Is What You Can Consume During The Fasting Window:
-Clean Electrolytes “Hi Lyte” No calories.
-MCT oil or powder- keeps you feeling full, increases ketones to give you energy. Try “Keto Cacao by Giant” in your coffee.
- Coffee- very low-calorie appetite suppressant. You can add fat. No sugar, carbs or dairy. Decaf might be healthier because it’s the antioxidants not the caffeine that suppress the hunger.
-Green Tea- Appetite suppressant. It has polyphenols that helps with detox. Zero calories.
-Above ground vegetables are very low in calories. Steamed is probably best. They can help keep you feel full. You could add some coconut or MCT oil to give you energy.
Asparagus, Sprouts- broccoli sprouts (my favorite) Broccoli, Red Peppers, Celery or Celery juice -Vegetable broth- Boil any above the ground veggies, (see list) just drink the juice, maybe add pink salt. This was my “dinner” during my 8 day fast.
-Cinnamon- lowers blood sugar, zero calories.
-Ginger tea- appetite suppressant, zero calories, enhances liver function.
-Mint tea- soothing, taste, great at night, zero calories.
-Chamomile tea- soothing, zero calories, great for kidney stones or gall bladder stones. -Bone broth- “Lonos” packets taste great. About 80 calories per serving. A warm alternative to coffee. Great for skin and joints.
-Chlorella pills-5- 15g- this is a LOT. It’s an alkalizer. It’s a plant protein. It binds to toxins.
-Wheat grass pills- great substitute for veggies. The brand is like is called-- “Pines wheat grass” --------Psyllium husk- This is pure fiber. It helps bind to toxins and move things through the digestive system.
Once your body adapts, you can exercise while fasting. There are no restrictions. This strategy is safe long term, if done correctly. Include some clean carbs in your feeding window, if you are doing this long term. I highly recommend zero calorie electrolytes (Hi Lyte) and lots of water during the fasting window.
Fat Loss Exercise Options:
High volume walking
This is good for those who don’t like intense exercise. A lot of my clients get into walking. You’ll burn a high % of fat while you walk. (as long as you are NOT breathing heavy) To see the math, search YouTube “Matt Lovitt explaining a fat burning zone” You will also burn 3x more fat while in Ketosis!
You can track your step count with your phone or pedometer device. You will lose some weight by walking 10,000 steps daily. You’ll lose even more by walking up to 15,000 steps a day. You can walk multiple times a day. It’s safe long term. I refer to this as the “abusable” variable. You can usually lose more fat by walking more and more. You won’t lose much more fat by walking above 15,000 steps a day and your joints may start to hurt. It takes about 90 minutes to walk 15,000 steps.
It’s all about breathing easy. You want a brisk pace, but if you are huffing and puffing then you are not burning fat. You could also ride a bike or do the elliptical at an intensity similar to walking.
Enjoy the walk!
Listen to a podcast, a book on tape, or music. Walk your dog.
I like to make phone calls while I walk. It good to catch up and just listen to people.
Other walking benefits:
Get fresh air in your lungs.
Absorb Vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D is very important. Most people are deficient.
The low intensity movement detoxes your body while lowering inflammation and burning fat.
It can be meditative. I’ve noticed it has a calming effect! It makes you happy. Lots of great ideas have come to innovators while they were walking.
HIIT- High Intensity Interval Training-
This is for those who like exercise and for people who played sports and are comfortable with high heart rates and sweating. Also, for people motivated enough to learn.
The concept is to take your heart rate up (about 85% of max, just breathe heavy) and then recover in brief intervals. For example, you may sprint for 20 seconds and then walk for 10 seconds. Repeating this several times. Your heart rate might get elevated with a jog instead of a sprint. Heart rate and breathing heavy are what’s important and that’s relative to YOUR conditioning.
You have to exercise until you breathe very heavy, once you get there, stop and recover. You will sweat if you do this correctly. It’s not about burning a lot of calories in 20 minutes. It’s about triggering the system to adapt from intense breathing and high heart rates. You can get most of the benefits by doing this for just 20 minutes, maybe even less. You could get more benefits by doing this longer, but it’s probably not worth it unless you really enjoy it. HIIT keeps your metabolism elevated for about 72 hours. Your body will adapt and burn more fat when resting.
I have found high compliance from clients using the App and the format below because it limits thinking and decision making. Its mentally exhausting to count reps, to decide when to start and stops sets. It’s MUCH easier when you set a timer and repeat exercises:
The App is called- “Interval timer – HIIT Workouts”- it’s a simple timer with a dinger.
Set the ap for 20 sets, 20-25 seconds of work, 10-12 seconds of rest.
1 Group is about 12 minutes. You may want to do a 2nd group (24 minute total workout) or third group (36 minute total workout) 20 sets in each group.
The Format For 1 Group-
Pick 5 exercises – ABCDE
20 seconds- perform exercise A
10 seconds Rest
20 seconds- repeat exercise A
10 seconds Rest
20 seconds- perform exercise B
10 seconds Rest
20 seconds- repeat exercise B
10 seconds Rest Etc…
You will do each exercise- twice in a row. Then you will repeat all 5 exercises- twice. For a total of 20 sets. You can do 1-3 groups. 20 sets in each group.
The point is to breath heavy in 20ish seconds, rest for 10ish seconds, then repeat.
These are the exercise suggestions that don’t require equipment:
Move laterally side to side
Get on and off the ground
Jog forward then back peddle
Hold a pushup position plank
Jump rope (or invisible jump rope) Skaters
Sometimes I do my last group with all core exercises.
It’s important to get your heart rate up!
Cut any exercises that cause joint pain.
Options for HIIT:
Boxing and sprinting at the track have been my most intense HIIT experiences.
You can circuit train with heavy weights if you are familiar with weight lifting.
You can use your own exercises with equipment and toys. That can make it more fun.
Search YouTube for “HIIT” exercises. Or just do a HIIT YouTube video.
You could run and walk around the neighborhood with a timer.
Most intense fitness classes will give you the same benefits of HIIT.
Get a trainer, like me, to spice it up, help work around injuries, and hold you accountable.
At the end of the day, any mode of exercise is better than none. Do what you enjoy. It will be more sustainable.
Both- Walking + HIIT= Fast results for the highly motivated
The fastest way to lose fat with exercise would be to combine both modes of exercise.
To keep it simple, alternate days doing each. I’ve had the most success with this format:
Long walks----- Tuesday/ Thursday/ Weekends.
In principle, you can walk every day. More is better. 10 minutes here and there. Every step burns fat.
You can do HIIT workouts 1-4x a week. Any more than 4 can cause unnecessary stress on your body.
Too much HIIT training can make you hungry, tired, and emotionally volatile. You have to get more detailed with your recovery the harder you train.
How will you exercise?
High volume walking, at home HIIT, go to the park, take classes, go to the gym, sprint outside, or train with a partner.
The absolute fastest way to shred the fat is to combine the following:
Time restricted eating with 1 Ketogenic meal every day + HIIT every other day + as much walking as possible.
A note about YOGA.
It’s great. I love it. It helps me feel better in every way. Do yoga if you want to feel better. It’s certainly better than no exercise, but it’s not the most effective form of exercise for fat loss.
What NOT to do- The bad habits that make you fat:
Eating quickly makes you fat!
Your body takes 10-15 minutes to realize you are full. Try timing your meals. Eat until satisfied, not stuffed. Eat slower. Notice your appetite signals. Notice how you’re feeling. You don’t need to clear the plate. This daily practice creates awareness around eating. I eat a lot slower and I leave food on the plate when a timer on my phone is ticking in front of me. Eventually, you won’t need the timer anymore.
Liquid calories + Sugar + Caffeine= fat gain
Combining liquid sugar with caffeine is a recipe to store fat.
Soft drinks are the obvious example!
Always avoid drinking coffee with sugar.
There are 35 sugars and 250 calories in a Starbucks Vanilla latte.
If consumed every day, that’s 1050 grams a sugar a month, mixed with caffeine!
7,500 calories a month. That’s 2 pounds a month and 24 pounds a year, every year.
Try “Keto Cocoa” Chocolate MCT powder, or monk fruit sweetener, in your coffee instead of sugar. My clients enjoy this.
“La Croix” or “Zevia” are zero calorie soft drink alternatives.
Sugars (or high glycemic carbs) + fat = fat gain
Examples: buttered toast meat and potatoes ice cream
a sandwich with meat and mayonnaise
There are 2 types of meals you should eat for fat loss:
Ketogenic meal: protein + low carb veggies + some fat. This is a low-carb meal.
Slow carb: Beans, Lean meats, Greens. This is a low-fat meal. Food lists are in the appendix.
-Eating late at night makes you fat.
Don’t eat 3 hours before bedtime.
Your body wants to rest at night. Digesting food is work.
-Drinking alcohol will cause binge eating the night of and the following day. It also disrupts your rhythm and focus. Most people that lose weight remove alcohol, especially during the work week.
Look forward to seeing the scale change!
Look forward to your clothes fitting better or seeing yourself look good in the mirror!
Look forward to doing more with your workouts.
Find something healthy to look forward to besides drinking.
Sculpt your habits over time. You will need some pressure or some support.
I don’t like motivational fluff. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t last. You need to design your own custom plan that you will actually execute, long term.
Most people are delusional about their ability to control their behavior. Our self-control is limited. Our will power is a limited resource. We have to admit that were simply emotional robots that can be manipulated. When we develop habits and routines, we conserve will power to be used on more important things.
Personally, I don’t like setting outcome focused goals. If you set a goal to lose 20 pounds, then you’re going to feel like a failure every day until you lose that 20. That subtle stress wears you down.
What if you achieve your goal? If you keep setting new goals, you’ll inevitably fail at some point. It breaks people. I see this a lot with clients. Their heads go down when they “fail.” It’s takes a lot to bounce back after a failure. Instead, set up a life system that continues to improve as you update you habits.
Make small changes and try new things until you find things that work and stick. How can you restructure ways to eat better and exercise daily?
I realize it can be fun to set and achieve goals. Sometimes there is a beach trip or a wedding and goals are necessary. I’ve included some tools that actually involve goal setting. Just remember that goal setting is not a long-term winning formula. Continuous improvement comes when you find ways to increase your energy and enjoy the process.
Make your goals action based not out come based.
Action based goals:
I will exercise 3x this week.
I will practice cooking and eating 3 Keto meals this week.
I will attend a new class this month.
I will lose 10 pounds by March.
Below is a list of tactics I’ve used with clients to automate thinking.
1. Have your vice once a month.
Debating when to indulge and when not to can be exhausting. Pick your vice. Decide that you can only have it on the 9th of each month. (Pick any day) This ends the debate in your mind and preserves mental energy for other decisions.
I also like the “Kitchen Safe” product, on Amazon. It allows you to lock up your vice with set a timer to keep it locked for 0-10 days. You can set it down to the specific minute. I no longer debate whether or not I should submit to my cookie cravings. I put my favorite keto cookies in the safe and eat them every 10 days.
2. Make it easier.
We all tend to think that we are more capable than we actually are. When creating your plan ask yourself,
On a scale of 1-10 how confident do I feel about achieving this? Your answer should be an 8 or higher. If it’s not, make it easier.
Failed again? Make it easier, until it sticks for a month. THEN, you can make it harder.
3. Create Stakes!
Don’t brides feel pressure to look good on their wedding day?
Won’t you be more inclined to improve your diet after you’ve had a heart attack?
When we are forced to get results, people become exceptionally practical. We can create this high pressure feeling!
The Point Is to Engage Emotion So You FEEL Pressure. Here Are Some Examples:
- I knew needed to start doing yoga to fix some injuries, so I committed to an entire yoga teacher training. That’s 2 hours of yoga every day, for an entire month. I hadn’t done ANY yoga at this point. I knew the training would be difficult so I had to start practicing with videos and local classes. Committing to that training made me FEEL a sense of urgency.
- I’ve asked some of my clients to write a check to certain cause, something that they really DON’T like. If they don’t reach their goal then I deposit the check.
Here are some examples you can take from:
- If you’re an LSU fan, write a $200 check to Alabama. Exercise 10x this month, or have a “friend” deposit the check. Ideally, someone from Alabama.
- Post a before picture on social media announcing to the world how you plan to lose weight.
- I had one client promise her husband she would go to a professional wrestling match if she failed to meet her objective. He is a fan. She is NOT a fan!
- Write a check to a rival high school alumni fund.
- Do you hate it when your kids play too many video games? Agree to buy them another game if you don’t perform.
- I once promised my girlfriend that I would go to a Zumba class if I didn’t alter my diet habits.
- I told my workout partners I would shave my head if I didn't lose X pounds by x date.
What do you NEED to change?
What do you hate? (sports teams etc..) How can you creatively channel that feeling? Who would have fun helping?
You have to feel it! It should make you a little uncomfortable.
4. Accountability groups.
I’m in a group with 2 friends. We skype every week. Each month we set goals for meditation, diet, and exercise. We each promise to pay the others $100 if we don’t meet our goals. Things get done when you know you have to report to someone and there are consequences.
To keep track of our progress we use an app called “Way of Life” It keeps simple data.
This is why my online coaching is useful. I facetime with clients once a week for 10 minutes. I simply ask them if they followed the plan that we created together.
I’ve had clients simply text me their weight every morning, text me screen shots of a completed workouts, or a screen shot of the scale.
You could get a workout partner 1 day a week. Simply having to avoid cancelling the meeting is enough accountability to get you there.
5. Cue yourself.
You are a reactive creature. Set up your environment. Your mind is for creating ideas, not for storing them. You’re not going to remember to get things done. Set a reminder now or make a note to do so, NOW.
Set multiple alerts in your phone. Put them on repeat. Leave a note on your coffee table. Move healthy foods to the front of the refrigerator. Hide the bad food. Buy a treadmill.
I added a large desk and a new computer to my training studio. Now, it’s easier to get work done. (like writing this program!) This one change has exponentially increased my productivity.
Next, stack habits together.
Wake up, brush teeth, mediate, drink water, journal.
Foam roll, warm-up, workout, stretch, meditate, healthy meal, shower.
Once habits get cued, they will no longer exhaust your will power. What is your current routine? What can you add to it?
6. “Change” your friends.
Take the average values and motivations of the 5 people you associate with most and that is what you will be like. One study reported that hanging out with overweight people can cause you to gain weight.
You can get rid of your unaspiring friends or you can influence them to change.
And when they change, you get better, together.
One way or another, you might need to change your friends. They influence your behavior.
7. Healthy Rewards.
You have to look forward to something! Take a trip. Buy yourself new clothes. Get a massage. Flex in the mirror! Really think about how the results are going to make you FEEL.
8. Replace the bad habit.
Ever notice that people who quit smoking gain weight? It’s natural to add something when we remove something. Deliberately add something positive when you remove a bad habit.
If you quit smoking, add exercise.
If you quit drinking alcohol at night, drink tea from a wine glass or take a bath to de-stress.
Healthy snacks, walking, yoga, and meditation are keystone habits for productivity. Plug in those habits to fill the new void.
9. Bright spots
Think of the healthy foods you actually enjoy. Eat them more often.
What types of workouts do you like? Do those.
Any healthy habit that you already have... do it.
4. Common Mistakes and Trouble Shooting Fat Loss
These are the mistakes that I have made with my clients over the years.
Most people simply eat too many calories on the weekends. I've tracked my clients' daily step count for decades. Everyone has low numbers on Sundays. Focus on having great weekends. Don't binge eat. Make it a point to workout Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday. Creating great weekend habits is a game changer that really compounds over time.
The Low Carb Keto Cycle- Only read this if you choose to do the Ketogenic diet.
This is a very popular pattern! Many people find quick success with fat loss from low carb/ high fat dieting. It is a fast way to lose fat. Inflammation drops dramatically. They believe they have discovered a great secret. They associate this diet with good health and longevity. But over the long term, as I have learned the hard way, low carb dieting begins to create some health problems.
They are called carboHYDRATES because they HYDRATE. Combining low carb dieting with caffeine is very dehydrating. This is why I suggest electrolytes so much.
Long term low carb dieters will still drink alcohol and eat sugar on occasion. When drinking alcohol and binging on sugar become the only source of carbohydrate in the diet, the sugar craving “bad bacteria” begin to dominate the gut. Over time, starving healthy bacteria will compound into all sorts of issues that are difficult to diagnose and heal because the cause is so slow and subtle.
They continue to low carb dieting to solve these problems because the drastic drop in inflammation from Ketosis is the only thing that helps them feel better.
They are never the same. Clean carbohydrates usually have prebiotic fiber that feed healthy gut bacteria. Simply taking probiotics is not enough to manage this issue.
The high amounts of fat and the dehydration also put stress on the gall bladder. This is why I shifted from a Keto diet, to time restricted eating. I get the benefits of fat adapting without consuming lots of fat and I can also consume healthy carbs in my feeding window.
The body can buffer and adapt for a while, but I wouldn’t accumulate more than 3 months a year doing a Ketogenic diet without rebalancing my diet.
Rebalancing usually means eating a lot more plants than meat and eating less fat. The slow carb diet is good for rebalancing because it’s a high fiber and a low-fat diet. The Ketogenic diet tends to be very acidic. I’ve included an Alkaline/ Acidic list in the appendix.
When doing a long-term Ketogenic diet, consider hydration, gut bacteria, gall bladder stress from excessive saturated fat intake, and acidic buildup.
It’s never a good idea to train through joint pain. It’s short sited. Joints don’t get “stronger” from pain. If the injury doesn’t take time to heal, it gets worse. Inevitably, you’ll get sidelined and have to start over. This is very discouraging.
Stop exercising as soon as you feel pain. Find a way to exercise around the injury. Get help to completely fix the injury so it doesn’t linger. Orthopedic doctors typically don’t reverse injuries. Physical therapy is a useful option. Personally, I’m very good at reversing injuries because I’ve had so many. Use injuries as an opportunity to focus on walking, diet, and other habits.
Too much too soon-
Years ago, when I first began prescribing workout programs, I wanted to share everything I knew. I gave clients way too many exercises to do at home. I gave them impossible idealistic diets. No one could do it. As I got more experienced, I simplified things and I prescribed less. I listened more carefully to the limits and the stress in their lives. I helped them identify the precise habits that were easier to change and could have a bigger impact. I also noticed that the exercise interval timer, suggested in the HIIT section above, has a high compliance rate because of its simplicity.
Only adding exercise-
Often clients only add exercise without modifying their diet. We see gains in strength. But their appetite increases, they eat more, and the scale doesn’t budge. We’ve all heard “You can’t out train a bad diet.” It’s true.
We live in a disintegrated healthcare system. When we have problems, we outsource them to medical professionals. Professionals have limited solutions. Their suggestions are often restricted by liability and influenced by business. These professionals don’t usually consider how one system influences another. They are not allowed to.
You are personally responsible for educating yourself about solving your health problems. You should question the professionals and seek more opinions. Begin to connect the dots. Your qualities are unique!
When the fundamentals above have failed, try lab testing these:
These are the most popular hormones imbalances and nutritional deficiencies:
Vitamin D, Testosterone, Estrogen, Magnesium, Ferritin (iron), Cortisol, B vitamins, Choline, and Folic acid.
Lab testing resources are in the appendix.
5. How to manage sugar cravings and stimulants
-Eliminating sugar is probably going to be necessary to lose fat. Breaking the sugar addiction might be the first thing you want to do. One effective method is to allow yourself to eat anything except sugar or simple carbohydrates (anything white) until you break the addiction. This might take a week or 2. You won’t have the cravings that you had before.
- Drink water if you are hungry or have cravings. It’s often dehydration not hunger.
-Get the simple carbs and sugars out of your house.
-Eat fat and protein for breakfast to stay full and reduce cravings.
-Amino acids supplements may reduce cravings. Try “Truth BCAA” or “Clean BCAA” - Use stevia or monk fruit as a substitute for a sweet taste.
-Use cinnamon- for taste and it slows digestion
-Use MCT oil (or coconut oil) - for energy when intermittent fasting.
Caffeine and other stimulants:
Caffeine is great for energy and it suppresses appetite. Caffeine is the variable you should be careful not to abuse.
Over the years, I’ve noticed the clients, that are required to focus, tend to consume a lot of coffee or other stimulants. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, and anyone that deals with work on a computer. I’ve consumed a lot of caffeine to organize this information. It’s simply hard to be productive in the western world without caffeine.
Stimulants will deplete your body of basic minerals (electrolytes)
Over time this this creates tension in the body. I see this trend with my clients.
Stimulants will also disrupt your sleep which can cause cravings the next day.
You can become addicted and dependent. You need more and more to get the same effect.
It speeds up aging.
It exhausts energy from a deep place.
The highs and lows twist up our emotions and confuse our thinking with arrogance, depression, and anxiety.
-Try not to consume caffeine after 12:00. Spend the rest of the day rehydrating.
-Consume electrolytes (Hi Lyte) and water to replace what you lose.
-Get sleep! You really need 8-9 hours to fully recover. You can survive on 7 hours for the high stress years of your life in your 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. Get more sleep on the weekends or when you can. Try to wake up at the same time every day.
-Take breaks from stimulants. Is there a time of year that you can eliminate all stimulants for a week? Try this on vacation or during a period when work slows down. This resets your dependence on stimulants, allows you to recover, and makes future consumption more potent. - Most herbal teas suppress appetite and satisfy the same hot beverage ritual.
Most “fat burning” supplements are probably not good for you. They usually contain lots of stimulants that can have intense side effects and the ones that don’t contain stimulants are marginally effective and are a waste of money. I recommend supplements that fuel the body long term, mitigate damage, and rebalance deficiencies. A well-balanced system is easier to manipulate into fat loss.
These are the supplements I’ve recommended the most:
This helps you feel full without adding calories. I use pills or chia seeds.
This is a mood regulator. It helps you produce serotonin. This helps you have less food cravings.
An appetite suppressant that gives you energy. Black coffee (I add MCT powder to my coffee) or tea. Even caffeine-free tea can suppress your appetite.
We get this naturally from the sun. Almost everyone is deficient because we aren’t in the sun. It’s the most important thing to test. If you score under 30 then you are at risk for all sorts problems. Optimally you want to be between 60-80.
Find a supplement that combines D3 with K2 for better absorption. I’ve noticed that most people need to supplement 5,000 units a day. Most multivitamins contain about 1,000 units
It helps mobilize fat. This helps cellular mitochondria. Longevity specialist mention it a lot. I think its safe long term. I use the “Jarrow” brand.
There’s a ton of research showing that fish oil reduces inflammation and helps cognitive health. They recommend this to pregnant woman. It must be safe long term. I use the “Nordic natural” brand.
It shocks me that this supplement is not more popular. Every cell membrane in your body is made of choline. It’s as fundamental as water. Your body does produce it, but not enough. It gets depleted as we age. “PhosChol” is the brand. They recommend this to pregnant woman. It must be safe long term.
There are many reasons to cycle off supplements. You want to reset any tolerances or dependencies. You want to avoid excessive buildup of things you don’t measure. You can also save money by taking less supplements. You want to feel if they are actually doing anything. If you don’t notice a benefit then stop taking them. Every 2 months, take a week off. You could take supplements on weekdays only. Contact me for supplement discounts. To find evidenced based research on supplements visit Examine.com.
7. It’s time to make decisions
Do new habits stick?
You have an 85% chance of changing 1 habit.
You have a 35% chance of changing 2 habits at the same time.
You have a less than 10% chance of changing 3 habits at the same time.
The 10% that succeed at changing 3 habits are very inspired. They are often motivated by ambition, fear, or vanity. It is a priority in their life. It’s something they value because something is at stake. They FEEL pressure.
Most people fail at losing fat because they try to change too many things at once, then they get discouraged, fail, and quit. It’s a popular pattern that most of us are familiar with.
Start with this question:
WHAT WOULD THIS LOOK LIKE IF IT WERE EASY?
Consider this when making commitments:
On a scale of 1-10 How difficult is this going to feel?
The answer should be at least an 8. If not, make it easier so it will stick. Be honest. Keep it as simple as possible.
The 3 most important decisions for fat loss:
Which diet strategy will you implement?
What will your weekly workout routine look like?
Accountability. How will you make sure this gets done?
Other questions to ponder:
What is your once a month vice?
What change has felt overwhelming?
How can you make it easier?
Modifying which habit will help you lose fat?
How can you create stakes around it?
Who will hold you accountable?
What cues your habits? Good and bad
Which friends do you need to spend more or less time with?!
Who could be your workout partner?
How can you reward yourself?
What kind of exercises do you ENJOY?
After selecting the ideas and tools that you find useful, you should sequence them. And finally, commit. Select-sequence-commit
Commit to 1 or 2 while you experiment with the rest. Keep what sticks. Discard what doesn’t.
Continue to update your process.
Understand the principles and do what you think makes sense. Read those questions again. Write down answers.
You’re not too busy. It will change when you make it a priority. Life is short.
Thanks for reading this. PLEASE, contact me for follow up questions so I can improve and evolve this program.
Lab test resources
Alkaline/ Acidic list
A list of excuses to miss workouts or eat crap
**To look up the calorie content of foods "nutrition data"
Grass-fed* meat- ALA and omega 3
Wild caught canned sardines
Lamb- omega 3
Free range Turkey (at night because it can make you sleepy)
Organic chicken only
Tilapia, Trout, Redfish, Shrimp
Clean Protein shakes-Cleanlabelproject.org This site tests and rates quality of powder and other stuff like baby formula.
Matt’s favorite on the go BARSIQ bar- clean, keto, vegan, Onnit Protein BitesBulletproof barsEpic" Grass-fed bars- bison, venison or Paleo Valley grass-fed beef stick,Paleo Valley – cleanest grass-fed beef stick,Kind bars, Exos- cricket protein isn’t so bad in this bar
“Steve’s Paleo” A clean resource for packaged food.
Low calorie veggies: Useful in Ketosis, weight loss and detox Broccoli - prebiotic
Cucumber- great in smoothies
Lima beans Cabbage
Healthy Carbs with calories: Don’t mix these with lots of fatQuinoa- frozen organicSweet potato- prebioticBrown rice for nutrientsGreen peasBeans- mung beans are my favoriteWhite Rice for compromised digestionBeetsBlue Berries, black berries, and raspberries- low calorie fruitsGreen apples SquashGluten free bread!Steel cut OatmealRice brown or white- frozen organicPumpkinCarrotsGluten free bread is a good binge snack
Fats: (for Keto meals)Grass-fed ghee, Grass-fed butterMCT oil- coconut oilFish oil- omega 3AvocadoOlive oil- omega 3- low temp cold pressedNuts- almond, walnut omega 3, macadamia,Brazil nuts, pecansWalnut oil- omega 3Pumpkin seedsChia seedsFlax seed
Mung beans- cleansing, slow digesting, clears bowels
Wild Sardines – “Wild planet” CHEAP! omega 3, easily digestible complete protein source
Asparagus- low calories, great for liver and kidneys
Broccoli- super detox DIM + sulforaphane
Broccoli sprouts – DIM, sulforaphane, detoxes air pollutants (smoking) Red bell peppers- low calorie- food with most vitamin C
Olive oil and Apple cider vinegar for salads
Coconut oil energy- safe fat lauric acid- Kills bad bacteria
Chia seeds- omega 3, protein
Chlorella - alkalizes, binds to metals and toxins, plant protein
Carbs and sugars- for “rebalancing and alkalizing” not ideal fat loss foods because they are high in Carbohydrates:
Sweet potatoes- clean carb, alkalizer, prebiotic, not for weight loss
Cherry juice -Lowers LDL and systolic BP, improves sleep, malic acid melts uric acid- gout, arthritis. It has a melting effect that dissolves poisons that cause aching.
Apples- Lots of pectin- moves bowels. Another source of malic acid.
“Any lab test now”
They have locations where you can lab test locally by walking in, paying, giving blood, then getting your results in your email.
Online options for lab testing: - Directlabs.com
Every well – online testing without a doctor visit
Alkaline/ Acidic lists
If doing keto, be aware of the things that create acidity in the body:
Medication and Chemicals
Lactic acid- from intense exercise
Things that Alkalize the body:
Foods- Fruits and vegetables, vegan diet
Sodium/ Potassium Bicarbonate
Relaxed inversions- legs on the wall
There is always an excuse to miss a workout or a reason to celebrate with food and alcohol. Some reasons are valid. The point is, if you wish to reach your goals you must expect to say no to a lot of these:
- Valentine’s day dinner
- Super bowl Party- Football, basketball, College sports- My team won! My team lost! - Weddings, engagement parties, Bachelorette/ Bachelor parties
- Festivals- French Quarter Fest, Jazzfest, Voodoo, Red Dress Run, Running of the bulls
- Friends and family visiting- Family dinners
- It’s someone’s birthday- Father’s Day, Mother’s day
- Crawfish Boil
- New Year’s Eve- Fourth of July
- Beach Vacation, work trip or any other trip away - I’m sick, my kid’s/ spouse is sick.
- I’m injured
- I have to work
- I have a doctor’s appointment
- I’m pregnant
- It’s that time of the month
- Too hung-over to workout
- There is a hurricane, bad weather
- “It’s spring” – (someone really used this as an excuse to get drunk)
- I forgot
- Home renovation
- Funeral, death, tragedy. Pets die.
- It’s too hard
- I’m to tired
- I’m having a rough day
- Mardi Gras Parades (2 weeks)