Three Diet Rules for Fast Fat Loss

I’ve been studying diet and fat loss for over twenty years. I’ve experimented with “fat burner” supplements like the ECA stack. I’ve also tried everything from low fat to low carb to intermittent fasting with varying levels of success.

Here’s one thing I’ve noticed: successful diets usually have three rules/factors in common, each starting with the letter “C”

I’m hoping this short post will help you cut through some of the hype about losing fat. What I’m about to share isn’t new—it’s just my simple way of expressing some basic things about diet and fat loss. Let’s move on to the three “C’s.”

Rule #1 CALORIES: burn more than you consume

Yes, you guessed it—all successful diets are based upon a negative calorie balance. You must be using more calories than you consume in order to lose fat. Everything else is secondary.

Example: A few years ago a nutrition professor at Kansas State University decided to try to lose weight on a “Twinkie diet.” Two-thirds of his caloric intake came from junk food (snack cakes, etc.), but he made sure to eat about 1,800 calories a day (about 800 less than the usual intake for a man is age).   As a result he lost 27 lb. What may surprise some is the fact that other markers of health (blood lipids, etc.) improved.

I’m not suggesting you go on a junk food diet. But the story proves an important point: the number of meals you eat, the supplements you take, and even the types of food are not as important as the overall calorie balance as far as fat loss goes.

Here’s a general guideline for daily calorie consumption:

10-12 calories x body weight (lb.)=weight loss

15 calories x body weight (lb.)=maintenance level calories

16-17 calories x body weight (lb.)=weight gain

You will have to adjust these numbers to your particular situation.  Those with higher activity levels may need to raise these numbers a bit.  Those who are obese would probably need to lower them.  But what I’ve shared here is a pretty good general rule.

Rule: #2 COMPLIANCE: find a diet that you can/will follow

The second rule fat loss is compliance. In other words, you have to find a diet plan that you can stick to long enough to see the desired results.

Example: I know some trainees who regularly eat six meals a day. But most of them are competitive bodybuilders, trainers, or professional fitness models. Their lives (and salaries) revolve around their physiques, so it makes sense for them to invest a great deal of time into meal planning. But frequent meals are not necessarily better, so you don’t have to eat this way to get lean. This is good news for people like me—I’m not interested in preparing that much food (and even spending that much time eating) on a daily basis.

I would encourage you to experiment and find something that works for you, remembering that you can’t escape the first “C” (calories). I really intermittent fasting, but you may find some other plan that keeps you within your caloric range. Choose a strategy that you can implement day after day, week after week–the most enjoyable or least “painful” for your specific situation.

Rule #3 CARBS:  Manipulate your carbohydrate intake

This third “C” is not nearly as important as the first two. Having said that, here’s something I’ve noticed: most people who get really lean do so by manipulating their carbohydrate intake.  Notice I said, “manipulate,” not necessarily “eliminate.”

Eating low/zero carbs can help optimize your hormones for burning fat. Here’s how it works: your muscles and liver contain glycogen (glucose in the muscles), which is used for fuel. Going without carbs will lower glycogen levels, encouraging your body to use fat as its fuel source (there’s more to it than that, but that’s the short version).

Most effective diets manipulate the effect of carbohydrates in one or more ways:

*Lowering overall caloric intake from carbohydrates and increasing the percentage of calories from protein and fat.

*The trainee eats most of his/her carbohydrates immediately before and/or after training.

*The trainee goes long periods without eating carbs, then refills glycogen stores over the period of one or two days.

*Carbohydrates are exclusively eaten in the final meal (or meals) each day.

*Carbohydrates are “cycled”—a set number of low carb days followed by days of higher carb consumption.

*Some  find that they do better by eating most of their carbs at night.

Final Thoughts:

Fat loss isn’t really that complicated. Follow these simple principles I have shared and you’ll have a much better chance at achieving the level of leanness you desire.

I haven’t said anything about exercise yet in this post.  I’d recommend a combination of weight training and cardio for best results.

Feel free to check out some of the recommended diet/exercise programs if you’d like more detailed information.

4 Week Diet Review (Brian Flatt)

I’ve had the opportunity to check out Brian Flatt’s latest program called the 4 Week Diet.  Flatt basically specializes in designing short-term diets (what some may call “crash diets”).   His first (and maybe most popular) program is the 3 Week Diet.  And he also has an even shorter version of it called the 2 Week Diet. Both of these are good, but later I’ll explain the potential advantage of a four-week plan.

Let’s think about the whole “crash diet” concept before we go any further.  You may think that it’s dangerous or unhealthy to lose weight quickly.  But losing weight quickly is not inherently bad for you if you are otherwise healthy.  Many who bash crash diets don’t really think about the devastating, long-term consequences of obesity.  In other words, the obesity epidemic in Western countries cost us billions of dollars, yet people panic when you talk about losing weight quickly.   Flatt goes into a lot more detail about this in his book, but it’s something you need to know going into this process.

4 Week Diet–Summary:

Now let’s look at the way this program is set up:

Here are just a few of the concepts that you’ll read about if you decide to invest in this diet:

Why 4 weeks?  According to the author, research has shown that it takes approximately 28 days to form a new habit/pattern.

How we get fat/thin: You may consider this self-explanatory, but Flatt goes into some detail that you will find helpful.

Micronutrients and Macronutrients: What the body needs for fuel.

The Indisputable Rules of Fat Loss:  This covers some of the caloric and hormonal issues that are essential to understand of you want to lose weight.

Intermittent Fasting:  If you haven’t heard about this before you are missing out on an extremely safe and effective strategy for reducing your caloric intake and optimizing fat burning hormones.

Reducing Carbohydrates: Lowering your carbohydrate intake is one of the keys for getting leaner–it encourages the body to burn fat for fuel.

The Truth about “Starvation Mode”: There’s a lot of misinformation about this and many believe that low calories (even for short periods) somehow damages the body’s metabolism. This myth is cleared up.

Exercise:  How to get maximum results in minimal time through the right kind of training.

Fat Burning Supplements: What works and what doesn’t.  Some of his recommendations may surprise you.

Note:  The author recommends quite a few brand-named supplements in his program (smoothies, protein shakes, etc.).  There’s nothing wrong with what he recommends but I’d shop around and see if you can find similar products for a lower price.  And remember that supplements don’t make that much difference in the big picture.

The Five Phases:

The first phase is eating a low carbohydrate diet in order to set up your body to burn fat.

The second phase is your first experiment with intermittent fasting.

The third phase is designed to build momentum from the previous phases–maximizing your fat loss.

The fourth phase is another short fast.

The fifth phase is designed for slightly more “normal” eating (but still involves a calorie deficit).

Following these five phases should result in a noticeable reduction in weight and body fat.  Flatt also explains how to keep from gaining it back.

The Activity Handbook:  This section is a general guide for exercise.  You’ll learn some basic exercises you can do and some general guidelines for putting together an exercise program.

What I’ve tried to do here is summarize the program.  It is by no means exhaustive.

REVIEW

First and foremost I would recommend you see your doctor/physician before starting a new diet.  Having said that, here goes:

There can be many reasons that someone may want to drop a few pounds quickly instead of using a slow/steady approach: an upcoming social event, sports competition (involving weight class), the desire to achieve a goal as quickly as possible, or the need to start a physical transformation with serious momentum.  I’ve written about this before on this blog.

There are two distinct advantages of the 4 Week Diet compared to Flatt’s other programs:

1.  All things being equal, the longer you stay on a diet the more weight you will lose.  The extra time spent in a calorie deficit will help you lose more weight (vs. 2 weeks or even 3 weeks).

2.  A month may be enough time for you to actually begin to change life habits.  I’ve heard different ideas on how long it takes to start a new habit.  But I’m willing to bet that after a month you will begin to get used to making better eating choices and exercising–both of which are essential for a true body transformation.

I think the 4 Week Diet would be a good choice for the following type of trainee:

1.  People with no serious health issues other than a desire to lose weight.

2.  A trainee with 10-20 pounds to lose that wants to make maximum use of one month.

3.  An individual who wants to start of his/her transformation with serious momentum (in other words, the long-term goal may take longer than a month, but starting the transformation with a “jump start” is appealing).

4.  People who prefer to just “get it over with” when it comes to losing weight.

5.  A man or woman who simply wants to lose the maximum weight possible in a month (for whatever reason: social event, etc.).

If any of these describe you then I think you’d be pleased with the 4 Week Diet Just CLICK HERE to order this program (or at least get a few more details).

2 Week Diet Review (Brian Flatt)

Brian Flatt has made quite a name for himself in the fitness industry by teaching people how to rapidly lose weight. His latest program is called the 2 Week Diet, and claims to help you lose as much as 8-16 pounds within two weeks. Is this possible and should you attempt it? I’ll try to help you answer that question regarding what is right for you. But let me first start this review by summarizing some of the program components:

2 Week Diet Program Components

Launch Handbook

This book is the basic introduction to how this diet works, but it also gives you a pretty good overview of weight loss in general. Flatt explains, for example, that many diets fail because they simply don’t deliver results quickly enough and people lose interest/motivation (that’s part of the rationale for a more rapid approach). He also shares the role that calories, macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, etc.), hormones, and several other factors play in gaining or losing weight. Someone who is new to diet or nutrition would be able to get a very solid introduction to the basics by reading this book. But the author goes into a lot more detail about how and why this specific approach is so effective even with limited time.

One note: Flatt promotes some supplements in this program at times provides links to specific brands. I’m sure the ones he recommends are fine, but I would advise you to shop around and see if there are better deals out there.   The most important “supplements” he mentions are yohimbine, caffeine, and nicotine (nicotine in particular may surprise you, but read the book and you’ll see why he listed it as an option), and all three are easy to purchase online.

Diet Handbook

The 2 Week Diet is broken down into three phases. The first phase involves lowering your carbohydrate intake to switch your body into “fat burning” mode (using fat instead of glucose for fuel). The second phase is an intermittent fast to ramp up your fat loss, and the third phase is a low calorie and low carbohydrate phase designed to get the most out of the metabolic environment you’ve created with the previous phases.   It isn’t that complicated and it is all spelled out in the book in terms that most will be able to understand/follow.

Activity Handbook

This book is an exercise guide you can use while following this diet. The exercise component is primarily consists of short, intense full-body workouts that you can complete with very basic equipment in only 20-30 minutes. A gym membership would be ideal here, but even if you have some dumbbells and barbells (free weights) you should be able to complete the routines. There’s a limit to how much training you can do when calories/carbohydrates are limited and this program was designed with that in mind.

Motivation Handbook

This book has some practical suggestions for keeping motivated to stay on the diet. This is important because losing momentum/motivation is probably the #1 reason people don’t get the results they want when attempting to follow a diet program. I think you’d find some of his suggestions there to be helpful.

2 Week Diet: Review

Rapid weight loss strategies are a bit controversial in the fitness industry. These approaches, often called “crash diets,” get kind of a bad rap because we’ve all been told that slow weight loss is better. But considering the current obesity epidemic, I’m inclined to say that any kind of weight loss (provided that it is done safely) is a good thing. There are also advantages to losing weight quickly that I have discussed before on this blog:

Time: There can be situations in which a “slow and steady” approach to losing weight just does not fit an individual’s schedule. Someone may want to drop a few pounds quickly to fit into an outfit for a social event. Competitive athletes may need to make weight for an event. There can be several reasons why one would consider trying to lose weight quickly.

Motivation: As I mentioned, one of the main reasons people give up on diets is they just get tired of counting calories without seeing significant changes on the scale. “Crash diets” can help with this because the dieter learns that he/she can achieve results within a relatively short period of time.

Focus: Some people start making lifestyle changes with too many different (even opposing) goals in mind. I’ve lost count of the number of guys to tell me they want to lose fat and build muscle.   New trainees can often gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, but focusing all your energy and effort into a singular goal (fat loss in this case) will produce quicker results.

Momentum: Rapidly losing weight can be kind of a “jump start” for those who want to see long-term changes in their bodies. Starting off by dropping a few pounds quickly may give you some much-needed motivation for transitioning into a more long-term lifestyle change.

There’s obviously a limit to the amount of weight/fat you can lose in just two weeks. But Flatt has put together some proven strategies for losing fat as quickly as possible (reducing calories/carbohydrates, intermittent fasting, etc). I think the 2 Week Diet is a worthwhile (and cost effective) investment for those who want to focus on losing as much weight as possible within a limited time frame.

You can CLICK HERE to order the 2 Week Diet or to learn more.

Alternative Program: Do you have an extra 2 weeks?  Brian Flatt’s 4 Week Diet is also an excellent diet plan that will give you fast results.  An extra 2 weeks could mean you double your fat loss.

Remember to check with your doctor before trying any diet and/or exercise plan.

Note: This program I have reviewed has no connection with “Dr. Oz.”  I think he has something out with a similar name but it has nothing to do with Brian Flatt’s products.