In the About Me introductory post, I talked about how over the last 2 years I’ve gone from a weight of 240 pounds to my current weight of 185 pounds. I did this while increasing my strength and flexibility. I didn’t directly measure my body fat percentage before or currently, but the results in the mirror have been quite pleasant as well. I’m going to introduce this topic in two parts. This first part will cover the basics of what types of food to focus on. In Part 2, I’ll cover when to eat to maximize fat loss potential.
Notice how I specifically called out ‘Fat’ loss and not ‘Weight’ loss. This is typically what we mean when we say “I need to lose weight”, but it’s important to realize that many popular diet approaches that focus on calorie restriction and low fat foods can adversely affect your muscle mass. Yes, you’ll lose weight, but often times it muscle that you’re losing and not fat. To lose fat, we need to focus on diets that maximize our body’s ability to burn fat. And to do this, we need to consume most of our calories from…fat!
The ultimate fat loss diet is a high fat, high protein, low carb diet. It’s that simple. Our body goes into fat burning overdrive when it is conditioned to burn fat for fuel and not carbohydrates. We condition our body to burn our own stores of fat by training it to use fat for fuel by consuming most of our calories through fat. There are WAY more scientific articles about the reasons behind this if you want to Google ‘ketosis’ or read up on some great articles on of one of my favorite blogs, Marks Daily Apple. But in the spirit of TurtleMode and our low stress ideals here, I’m just going to cover the basics. If you crave the deets, there’s plenty out there that I won’t even try to explain.
Foods that have been associated with body fat gain and cardiovascular disease such as butter, bacon, beef, and cheese were unfairly demonized by large food corporations and big government that relies on these large corporations for funding. It’s high carb foods that are slowly being recognized as the food group we need to be careful of. Carbs in limited quantities are fine because they provide energy. But if we live a sedentary life, the excess carbs that we take in and don’t burn are what end up being stored as fat. Plus, high carb foods can often times be the WORST type of high carb foods – high SUGAR foods. If you can do just one thing to transform your body, it would be to limit the amount of sugar you consume. Not only does sugar cause you store fat, but it is the main contributor to the cause of many of the cardiovascular and metabolic diseases that are often incorrectly attributed to high fat consumption.
Fat = GOOD, Sugar = WORST THING EVER
But damn sugar is good. There is no getting around it. Who doesn’t love soda, candy, donuts…
It’s not going to be easy, especially initially, but the fat will melt off faster the more you can ruthlessly cut sugar. But it’s that simple, the most effective fat loss diet is to focus on getting your calories from fat and protein and trying to reduce your carb consumption as much as possible.
TurtleMode recommendations in order of importance
- Eliminate any food or drink that contains added sugar. Fruits are the big exception here because although they contain sugar, the nutrients they provide outweigh the naturally occurring sugars they contain.
- Limit non-whole wheat carbohydrate sources.
- Limit whole wheat carbohydrate sources.
- Limit fruit. Berries are the only exception I currently make but am looking forward to adding back in apples and bananas once I get into maintenance mode.
- If all your carbs came from just vegetables and berries, that’s the holy grail.
What TurtleMode does eat
- Meat. Beef, Bison, and sardines are what I focus on. Along with organ meat (not a fan), those three are some of the most nutrient dense types of meat. I’m also allergic to shellfish. Big bummer for me but shellfish is a great source of nutrients as well. I’m not a fan of poultry, pork, and other types of fish, but that doesn’t mean they are bad sources. As an aside, I find it kind of funny that there is absolute horror that other cultures eat dog or horse or rodents. But here in America, the consumption of birds is perfectly acceptable. Just kind of an oxymoron there…
- Eggs. So much nutrition. One of my vet friends explained it to me in a way I love. Eggs could be considered the perfect form of food as they are the building blocks that develop life – they literally grow animals. Yeah, I’m being a bit hypocritical here with my love of eggs but dislike of poultry…sue me.
- Vegetables. I don’t think much has to be said here. Eat your veggies.
- Berries. My go to is frozen mixed berries in a smoothie.
- Nuts. Love almonds. Be careful on the amount of salt that can be present with nuts. The raw almonds that aren’t covered in salt are my go to.
- Seeds. Love pumpkin seeds.
- Dairy. I stick to butter and cheese mostly as they are largely free of carbs. Occasionally some yogurt but not a huge fan so I can do without. I used to be a big milk drinker growing up but just kind of grew out of it, especially when I cut out cereal.
- Spices. With fat and spices, most anything will taste good, you don’t need no stinking carbs.
- Fat. Most of my fat comes from meat, dairy, and nuts/seeds. I’m not a big fan of oil as I mostly use butter but a great source of fat – stick to olive and avocado oil and not vegetable oil – but even that isn’t as bad as it is often portrayed. Avocados are wonderful for you but they don’t agree with me so I refrain. Can’t do avocados and shellfish, what a miserable life…
- Whey. Whey protein powder in shakes. Whey is an awesome source of protein. Most protein powders contain carbs, can’t win ‘em all.
Typical TurtleMode daily diet
First meal: Scrambled eggs cooked in butter with onions, bell peppers, garlic, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and parmesan cheese.
Second meal: Can of sardines and serving size of nuts or seeds.
Third meal: Whey protein powder shake with leafy green and frozen berries.
Fourth meal: Beef, usually in the form of meatballs or bun-less cheeseburgers. Frozen veggies like broccoli or asparagus with plenty of butter.
I’ll explain why I call them First thru Fourth meal and not the more typical breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, dessert, midnight snack in Part 2.
So there you have it, the Ultimate fat loss guide with my own personal approach. Doesn’t seem too bad does it? If you can eat this way the majority of the time and be even somewhat active, you’ll lose fat, GUARANTEED!