Succeeding at weight loss can be a hard task, but it doesn’t have to be as complicated as nowadays diet gurus make it. Have you ever thought that the most effective fat loss diet might just be… the simplest one, as well? We think that’s true, as we’re just as tired as you are from measuring glycemic indexes and loads and counting the amount of omega-3s and fiber in every bite of food.
Sure, a deeper understanding of nutrition and the inner workings of your metabolism can help you get through months of dieting and moreover, keep you truly healthy and fit. But if you don’t have the right approach, you might end up only memorizing little bits of useful information from the media, while in fact you’re suffering from starvation or destroying your organism with a diet that will never work. Nutritional science exists for a great reason and we all respect it, but the fact is that you don’t have to read literally every article and study ever published to learn the secrets of weight loss. Especially considering that nutritional science, just as every science, tends to contradict itself on many topics, such as dietary fat and carbs, so called “superfoods”, egg yolks, and many more.
If you’ve had enough of all that, we have something great to offer: a diet invented by T-Nation’s Tim Henriques, which won’t make you hungry all the time, and it’s simple enough to be understood and properly followed by almost anyone. As you already know, the secret to weight loss is not in merely cutting your overall calories, but satisfying your hunger with the right kinds of foods!
The diet we’re talking about is especially useful for people who want to maintain a relatively normal lifestyle (you know, not becoming The Crazy Dieter among your friends as you’re always obsessed with your calorie counting and cherry-picking restaurants) and still get as lean as possible. In other words, the regular people who are not trying to get incredibly cut for a bodybuilding show, but simply shake off the excess weight.
Are you working out regularly? If not, it’s time to find yourself a decent training program, according to your level of experience and personal goals. Remember: no diet is going to do the magic by itself. You have to train and eat properly if you’re hoping for wholesome results. If you don’t do them both, you will either progress very slowly or you’ll need to literally starve yourself in order to lose the unwanted weight – which is unhealthy and unsustainable and totally unadvisable.
If you train regularly and follow this diet strictly, you should be able to lose 2-3 pounds per week of mainly fat.
First of all, in order to make things as understandable as possible, Henriques has divided foods in three main categories: builders, energy providers and stuff that keeps you healthy (foods loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals). Let’s discuss the first two in more detail.
1. The Builders
The favorite food group of every bodybuilder! Protein and healthy dietary fat are the nutrients who are responsible for building and repairing the body’s tissues. And because they’re so useful for packing on lean muscle and keeping your organism running smooth, you get to eat as much of them as you want on this diet. The best foods in this category include red meat, whole eggs, chicken, turkey, butter, coconut oil, olive oil and fish.
You need to make sure you’re getting these in their as-unprocessed-as-possible variant, if you want best results that is. Yes, processed and packaged food is a lot more convenient for a working person than cooking an entire turkey and generally slaving in the kitchen to prepare a whole meal every day. But it’s worse for you, and you know it, so you must find the time to cook your own meals once in a while (preferably at least one of your meals every day). Also, no pork!
That means no bacon and no hot dogs, as they’re one of the worst over-processed foods on this planet. Also, you’ll do your best to avoid mayonnaise, peanut butter and sour cream. You don’t need these foods for many reasons, and you will do your best to eat clean and lean.
2. The Energy Providers
This is carb’s kingdom. If you think that a low-carb diet is the only way to fat loss, think again. Low-carb diets are a bit unnatural (as your body was designed to use carbs as fuel), really difficult to follow and will definitely cost you the energy you need for your workouts and make your muscles flat. That’s why Henriques has included plenty of carbs in this diet, but only of the good, healthy, muscle-filling kind. We’re talking about potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, oatmeal, fruits and veggies. Again, you can eat as much as these as you want!
But, you will consume them in their most natural, unprocessed form, so that their high amounts of fiber can fill you up and allow you to fight off hunger pangs with an ease. You might crave sugar-loaded snacks and junk food, but if you stick to the “clean and natural” rule long enough, believe us, you will develop a certain love for this kind of taste and then you’ll be better able to notice the “junk” flavor of junk food and the incredible amounts of sugar in your ex favorite desserts will make your head hurt.
The Basic Rules
Now, the hardest part will be saying goodbye to your old habits. But if you’re serious about this, you will do it without any tantrums. This diet comes with only three carved-in-stone rules, so we’re sure you’ll manage. Here we go:
- Veggies at EVERY meal, which includes breakfast. You can either have them fresh or frozen, but avoid canned. That being said, you have a huge palette to choose from: broccoli, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, peas, carrots, spinach, leek, garlic, cucumbers, cabbage, and much, much more… make sure to use them all!
- NO junk food, NO sugary store-sold desserts, NO breads, NO pasta. We mean it.
- NO sodas and NO fruit juices off the shelf. Nothing natural, fat loss-promoting or health-enhancing there.
Now let’s talk a bit about all those other foods and drinks you love and can’t be included in the list of “bad” foods.
Nuts are one of Nature’s gifts to humanity, if you ask us. But since this is a weight-loss diet, you shouldn’t go overboard with nuts consumption, as they tend to slow down the fat loss process. If you can, go nut-free.
If you can’t live without coffee, that’s ok, but at least drink it black – no sugar, no creamers, no added flavors and flavor-enhancing additives.
Milk and dairy products
When it comes to milk and everything made from it, less is more. But if you’re also trying to gain some muscle, you don’t want to completely eliminate it away from your diet. Go for whole milk and whole dairy for best health benefits.
You can guess our views on alcohol, right – alcohol is an enemy of clean dieting and we have science to back us up on this one. But if you absolutely must, then opt for wine two-three times per week.
Research suggests that people who include cheat meals or cheat days in their otherwise healthy diets tend to have better long-term results. This is true, but only as long as you don’t overdo it – the whole point of implementing certain diet into your lifestyle (opposed to mere “dieting”) is to overcome your cravings for unhealthy foods and replace them with better habits. However, denying yourself your favorite food for months can suck, especially in terms of motivation, so it’s best to have one cheat meal every week, where you can eat big quantities of whatever you want. Entire cheat days, on the other hand, are never as good idea as they sound.