Ahhh, crash diets.
AKA starving yourself to lose fat.
AKA being miserable.
Remember one thing: we do not compromise.
Crash diets do not work, and you will now see how they cannot work.
Anything as extreme as drastically cutting your calories only works VERY short term, like days.
And remember what I said: It takes years. YEARS.
Your body does not like extremes, it wants to stay in balance,
Your body is also REALLY smart, so it will do whatever it takes to keep you in said balance.
If you crash diet for a period of time longer than one week (give or take a few days), your body will start to break down tissue (fat, then muscle), and you will feel lethargic and weak.
I mean, you will literally feel like death.
Sure, you might lose weight, but you will likely gain whatever you lost back because you will binge.
Yes, all that food you neglected to eat will come back to haunt you, and you will probably make bad food choices and binge until you feel satisfied.
I’ve done it.
I know others who have done it, and it’s not a good cycle to get yourself into, it’s just not healthy at all.
This isn’t a weakness in character, because you’re trying to do something good here, but your body is trying to make up for the nutrients it lost while crashing (extreme hunger).
Remember how I said your body likes balance? Well a drastic restriction in calories usually calls for a drastic spike in calories later, so one way or the other you will gain back whatever you lost in the first place.
With all this being said, we still want to lose fat and look amazing.
So, how do you do it?
It’s not rocket science, and it’s not torture.
It’s very simple.
Slowly reduce your calories and lose fat very slowly and gradually.
I know this is what most people don’t want to hear, as we live in a world where everyone wants everything NOW and FAST!
Remember what I said: It takes YEARS. YEARS.
You got that? Y-E-A-R-S!
Fat loss, like muscle gain and most good things, takes time, and patience.
You have to work for it.
You have to want it.
You have to want it more than anything else. You don’t have to sacrifice quality of life, you don’t have to obsess about it (up to a certain point) but you have to sacrifice certain things.
It’s not a quick fix, but you must make it part of your lifestyle.
How to lose fat slowly and gradually:
First of all, we need to change our whole mindset.
We need to stop thinking of food as an activity or for taste, and start thinking of it in terms of fuel for our performance in daily life.
Food is just like the fuel you put into a car, If you keep feeding it, and maintaining it properly, it will keep going.
If you take care of it, it will take care of you.
If you put junk into it, it will cease to move, cease to perform, and you will not get where you are going.
Could you imagine if you tried to put no fuel, or even low grade cheap fuel into a brand new sports car, and not do any kind of maintenance on it, and you tried to get 500,000 miles while asking it to perform day in and day out, accelerating, stopping, going top speed, merging, turning, idling, or reversing?
Do you think it would even make it for 10,000 miles with this kind of wear and tear?
Of course not! And your body is the same way.
You need to fuel it with the good stuff and maintain it properly so you can go hard your whole life.
This is the mindset shift we need to succeed.
Fitness and health are lifestyle choices, so you need to incorporate them into your lifestyle.
Start thinking like an athlete, and take care of you mind and body.
Second of all, you must calculate your calories.
Use a good calculator, and set it to a small deficit, around 2-5%.
Fat loss is calories in, calories out (with minor exceptions).
So if you eat less calories than your body uses, you will start to lose weight.
This isn’t a diet.
This is a shift in our thinking.
This is a shift in our mindset.
We eat less, we do more physical activity, but we don’t diet.
Third of all, you want to eat good quality calories.
That is, calories that keep you full and provide a ton of nutrients.
This means fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, complex carbs, and good fats.
We want real, whole foods.
These foods also have a lot of fiber, which keeps you full.
It’s important when you first start off to track your calories. This will give you a feeling on what to eat, when, and how much to eat. After a few months of tracking you will know your eating habits and you will be able to eat by instinct.
It’s also important to get to know your body, and what it’s trying to communicate to you.
If you’re hungry, eat, if you’re not, don’t.
Sometimes I’ll eat, and still be hungry after.
So I go into the cupboard and look.
I see peanut butter, and it looks amazing.
After two tablespoons of peanut butter really hit the spot (if something really hits the spot, you know you’re body needed it), I’m no longer hungry.
This was my body telling me “yo, dude, we need a little more fat, grab that jar of peanut butter and smash it.”
It’s crazy how you’re body can tell you things, and you will hear them if you learn to listen.
NOTE: If you are serious about losing weight and getting fit, never drink your calories. This means no pop, juice, milk etc. I know this sounds extreme, but it is too easy to drink your calories and blow your calorie budget. Therefore water is in, everything else is out.
Lastly, you need to train.
This will increase lean muscle mass (weight training), thereby increasing metabolism, and thereby burning more calories.
Physical exercise (such as cardio) burns calories in and of itself, therefore it must be included if you are serious.
It is also good for your heart and just about everything else.
Physical exercise can start a snowball of success in health.
Aim for 2-5 weight lifting sessions a week, and also 2-4, 20-50 minute sessions of cardio.
Don’t go off on a tangent and try to cram in 3 hours of cardio a day. This is overkill and counter-intuitive to the approach of balance. A little bit everyday goes a long way.
Remember our rule of extremes: Your body doesn’t like them. This is the same for doing too much cardio, lifting weights too much, putting on too much muscle mass (think of modern bodybuilders, this is something most drug-free and even most chemically enhanced amateur lifters never have to worry about),
Examples of extreme training:
NOTE: I am not bashing any form of extreme training here, just informing. If you want to accomplish something, go for it, but the goal of this website is to get you on the right track to health, aesthetics, balance, and sound nutrition. When you work towards these goals, you minimize injuries, health problems, problems with low confidence, the desire to take dangerous shortcuts, and just about any other issue. I preach balance, but extreme sports have their place.
Marathons, triathlons (Olympic distance and up), bike races over 100 miles, etc. These are very extreme endurance events. You will struggle to put on muscle and increase strength while training for these, and you probably will have no time to weight train anyways. Keep in mind though, the extreme nature of these events is what attracts most people, which is good. Just don’t think you’re gonna look like Arnold and be running marathons.
Pro bodybuilding. Nowadays bodybuilding is an extreme sport, and you will likely not even make a splash in amateur bodybuilding if you are under 230 lbs at 5-6% bf. We all know why this is (very effective drugs, 2-3 grueling weight training session a day), but if you want to become the next great thing in bodybuilding, be sure to know that it’s a very extreme, life consuming task. Now if you want to gain some muscle and look great (what I preach on this website and others), that’s much easier, and not that extreme at all. It just depends on your goals.
Powerlifting and Strongman. You will be handling an extreme amount of weight and spending an extreme amount of time on technique with these. Not to mention eating a ton and gaining weight will make you stronger, meaning you will likely be at an extreme (and unhealthy) body weight. Again, these two sports are riddled with drugs, so to make any kind of splash (like becoming a pro and making any money from it directly) you will need chemical enhancement, or be gifted with top 1% genetics for strength and power.
Wrapping It Up
If you focus on these four key things, you will see your mindset start to change, and weight loss will then become a part of your lifestyle, and you will never need to resort to “dieting” again.
Remember: “dieting” is a short term thing that cannot be kept up for long. Too many who try to diet fail because they did not shift their mindset to match their goals.
Shift the way you think, the way you eat, and the way you look at food and yourself, and you will start a snowball of success.
Warning: I am not a doctor, and this should not take the place of medical advice. If you’re struggling to lose weight, consult your doctor or a nutritionist.
Note: This article contains affiliate links.