10 Fat Loss Tips & Six-Week Challenge Results

Note: Before/after pics were taken in the evening, fully hydrated and fed.

10 Fat Loss Tips & Six-Week Challenge Results

Six weeks went fast! The fat loss challenge is by no means over, but I did say six weeks in my original post, so here’s an update. I didn’t get quite the results I wanted but did make some progress and lost a decent amount of weight in that time. I also made consistent strength gains in all of my major lifts (bench, squat, dead lift, overhead press), which was pretty surprising. I also learned some valuable lessons that are going to help me do even better in the next six weeks, and hopefully help you do the same. Read on.

Age: 34
Height: 6’0

Start Date: 4-2-18
End Date: 5-14-18

Starting Weight: 198.6lbs
Ending Weight: 193.2lbs
Total Weight Loss: 5.4lbs

Average Calories/Day Prior to Cut: 3,500-4,000
Average Calories/Day During Cut: 2,500-2,700

Macro Goals/Day
Protein: 240g
Fat: 40g
Carbohydrates: 278g

1) I Expected to Do Better
Total weight loss of 5.4lbs is not as much as I hoped for in six weeks, but it’s still nearly a full pound per week. My biggest downfalls were lack of cardio and inclusion of cheat meals (more on that later). Ultimately, slow and steady weight loss is the goal to keep a sustainable, healthy weight. A crash diet resulting in drastic weight loss will burn valuable muscle and contribute to metabolic deficiencies. That said, I lacked some dietary discipline during this cut and could’ve achieved results much faster.

2) Eating Clean Does Not Guarantee Weight Loss
Although I have tracked my meals every day since 2009, I’ve gotten away from strict calorie/macronutrient counting over the past couple years and focused mainly on quality of nutrients. Eventually, this led to excessive caloric intake (3,500-4,000 per day) and accumulation of excess body fat, which is why I decided to start this six week cut. Sure, I’ve been lifting weights like a madman and gaining muscle but didn’t need nearly that many calories in order to acquire the muscle I desired. Had my calories been around 2,500-3,000 per day, I could have still gained muscle without adding so much body fat in the process. It’s valuable to count calories so you know where you’re at. Calculate your baseline needs and adjust from there based on your goals to gain or lose weight.

3) Dietary Fat is Healthy, But Too Much Leads to Weight Gain.
Grass fed butter. Avocado oil. Almonds. Coconut oil. Cashew butter. Dietary fat has tremendous health benefits, and it’s delicious. But when it comes to losing weight and eating fat, tread lightly. Fat has the highest calorie content out of all the macronutrients at 9 calories per gram. It is also the nutrient most easily converted into body fat. Leading up to this challenge, I was consuming 100-200g or more of dietary fat per day under the assumption that it was clean eating and good for me. During this challenge, I limited my intake to 40-60 grams per day on most days, and this had a major impact on my ability to restrict calories and shed body fat.

4) Intermittent Fasting Helped.
By putting off breakfast for a few hours in the morning, you can get a cognitive boost and utilize the many benefits of low intensity fasted cardio (walking, other light activity). This will also assist you in keeping total calorie intake down. I love the way I felt in the morning during that fasted period, so intermittent fasting is a strategy I will continue to use going forward.

5) I Was Never Starving
I used to think that eating needed to be restricted to the point where I was physically uncomfortable in order to lose weight, but that’s just not the case. During this cut, I averaged 6-8 meals per day at about 2,500 total calories. There were definitely times when I wanted to eat more, but I never felt truly deprived of anything during the cut.

6) I Did Almost No Cardio
I focused strictly on heavy, compound weight lifting 5 days per week. What little cardio I did do involved low intensity bike riding, walking, core workouts, and stretching. To accelerate results in the future, I will incorporate 2-3 high intensity cardio sessions per week. This should help get results much faster.

7) “Workout” Less, Lose More
Calorie restriction alone is enough to ensure weight loss, but exercise is still a critical component. 1-2-hour training sessions are unnecessary to build muscle and lose body fat, which is what I was doing previously. 30-60 mins of focused weight training with proper form and challenging weight are all you need to get strong and lose body fat. Short, intense cardio sessions lasting 20-30 mins are all you need to complement that schedule. Rest, recovery, sleep, walking, stretching, foam rolling, yoga, etc. are just as important as strenuous physical exertion.

8) I Had Epic Cheat Days and Still Lost Weight
I usually try to limit myself to one cheat meal per week, if at all. Most of the time, I just eat like I normally do because I love real food. During this cut, I wanted to exclude all cheat meals, but failed. Enjoyed three significant cheat meals during the six weeks. Back-to-back date nights with the wife involving beer and NY style pizza, then most recently a Mother’s Day feast with the family where I pretty much ate what I wanted but still had the cut in the back of my mind. Most other times, I adhered to my allotted calories and macros every single day.

9) Carbs Are NOT Your Enemy
Sweet potato, fruits, vegetables, jasmine rice, steel cut oats. Carbohydrates fuel your workouts and provide valuable energy but have been bastardized by profit-seeking firms that are usually selling poisons and ineffective diet fads. Make sure you’re eating enough carbohydrates based on your activity levels. I had around 278 grams of carbs per day throughout this cut and felt great doing it. Keto…eat your heart out.

10) Can’t Expect Results Overnight.
Fitness is a lifelong journey. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. One rep higher than your last workout. 10 seconds faster or 1 mile longer than before. Stay consistent, and you will see results. Small deposits in your physical bank account now add up to huge dividends later. Stay committed, keep making progress, and you will see results in time.

These results have only motivated me to keep going and do even better. I will report my progress at the end of the next six weeks and continue to share the biggest lessons learned. I hope you can take some of these fat loss insights and apply them to your own life. Health is wealth, so start making some wise choices! Please contact me with any questions, comments, or suggestions. I want to produce the best possible content to help people get healthy and feel great because that’s how we should all be living. Thanks for reading.

12 Lessons Learned from 90lb Weight Loss

If you’ve been to Wise-Eats.com/MyStory, you know that I lost 90lbs back in 2009. It was the start of a major lifestyle change in which I became passionate about nutrition, fitness, building lean muscle, preventing sickness, and optimizing energy levels. Today, I want to share the biggest lessons and tips from that initial weight loss experience, and how you can apply them to your own fat loss goals:

 

1) Embrace Your Need for Change.

In order to improve your health, you must want it for yourself. Think of the reasons you want to lose weight or build muscle. Don’t let weight loss be some idea that’s out there floating in space. Make it tangible. Will losing 20lbs help you interact better with your kids, make you a better worker, leader, friend, or family member? Think of the reasons you want to change and it will help you solidify that goal. Making the commitment is the first step

2) Set A Specific Fitness Goal.

At 6ft, 270lbs, my original goal was very simple: lose weight. After the weight loss, my goals changed. I was skinny, but still sick and unhealthy. At that point, my goal turned toward body composition and building lean muscle. Assess your current physical condition and figure out exactly where you want to go. Then, make it a goal to finally get there, no matter what!

3) Losing Body Fat Is A Numbers Game.

Calories in, calories out. Assuming you have no pre-existing health conditions or metabolic deficiencies, weight loss is very simple. You need to achieve a caloric deficit in order to lose body fat. A calorie surplus is needed to sustain or grow muscle over time. Use a calorie/macronutrient calculator to find out what your daily needs are. I’ve provided my favorite below. Remember, these are just approximations. At 6ft, 200lbs with an active lifestyle, here’s what my caloric needs look like:

Maintain Weight: 2,925 calories per day
Gain Weight: 3,510 calories per day
Lose Fat/Sustain Muscle: 2,632 calories per day
Lose Fat: 2,340 calories per day
https://healthyeater.com/flexible-dieting-calculator

I prefer to lose fat while sustaining as much muscle as possible. Eating too few calories will burn up valuable muscle, which slows your metabolism and hinders long-term progress. Weight loss of about 1lb per week is a sustainable pace that will help ensure long-term results. As long as you’re eating slightly less calories than required, you will lose weight. If you’re lifting weights with proper form, making progressions, and eating slightly more than you’re expending, you will gain muscle. It’s that simple.

4) Start A Diet Journal and Count Calories

This step can be as complicated or simple as you make it. Use an app on your phone, track on a spreadsheet, or write longhand like I used to back in the day. This will help you monitor calorie intake, stay accountable, and wise you up toward the foods you’re currently eating. A kitchen scale will help you measure portion sizes. Counting total daily calories is a great place to start.

When it comes to macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates), there’s no need to obsess over counting every gram, although it helps when you want to accelerate fat loss and build muscle. I could’ve achieved my current level of fitness much faster if I had been more strategic with my eating and drinking habits over the years. The more disciplined you are with your diet, the faster your results will come.

A good rule of thumb is to make sure you’re getting high quality protein with every meal (usually 30-50g per meal). This will ensure healthy weight loss while preserving lean muscle. Add a moderate amount of healthy dietary fat (which, in my experience, is very easy to go overboard on). The rest of your meals should consist of high quality carbohydrates, which will fuel athletic performance and boost physical and mental energy levels.

Instantly receive a full list of recommended protein, fats, and carbohydrates via e-mail when you subscribe to Wise Choice Nation! http://www.wisechoicenation.com/

5) Get Educated About Diet and Exercise.

Do some research about the things you’re putting in your body. Every single thing you eat or drink is either fueling progress or hindering it. Give your body the raw materials it needs to repair and grow efficiently, and you will reap the benefits.

When it comes to exercise, form and safety are paramount. Study proper form through trusted sites like Bodybuilding.com. There are quality videos for literally any exercise you can imagine. Once you understand how to perform compound movements properly and get some confidence doing them, you can get consistent with your training program and make steady progress.

6) Get Moving.

Discover forms of exercise that you enjoy and will perform on a regular basis. You can workout at home, work, or a local gym. Hire a personal trainer, join a fitness class, or just get outside and go for a walk or run or bike ride. You don’t have to buy expensive equipment or spend hours wasting away on a treadmill. A dumbbell and a YouTube video are all you need to get started. My favorite workout regimens, past and present, will be available soon at Wise-Eats.com/Workouts. Currently, I enjoy weight lifting 5-6 days per week mixed with some high intensity interval training 1-3 days per week (usually performed with kettlebells or UFC Fit full-body dumbbell/bodyweight training). Once you find an exercise program that you’re passionate about, working out is never a chore. It becomes part of your routine; something you can’t function without. You show up because you’re motivated to get better every single time and know that you won’t function at your best without it. Feeling amazing becomes the norm; getting in shape is just a byproduct.

7) Track Your Progress.

Use a fitness journal to record exercises and weights. Monitor your bodyweight daily and/or week-to-week. When tracking your weight, don’t be disappointed if your results aren’t immediate or consistent. For weight loss, aim to lose 1-2 pounds per week. For muscle gain, look to make progress over time by making small improvements each workout. Slightly more weight each time or more reps with good form. Record your performance, reflect on your progress, and celebrate your accomplishments. Realize that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. If you stay consistent, you will see results.

8) Eat Real Food.

Total calorie intake and macros are important to fitness, but I believe nutrient quality is even more important to overall health. Replace fast food or processed convenience foods with home prepared meals from fresh ingredients. Pay attention to nutrition fact labels, and try to eat minimally processed, organic foods as often as possible. Lean proteins like chicken, fish, and whey protein powder. Nutrient-rich carbs like oat bran, quinoa, and sweet potato. Fresh fruits and vegetables as close to their original source as you can get them. Meats that are organic or sustainably raised. Food has tremendous power over your health and fitness, so take it seriously. It can make or break your motivation, consistency, and progress.

9) Drink Only Water.

Okay, this is a bit of an exaggeration. Tea, coffee, coconut water, rice milk, and almond milk are also acceptable beverages, but you get the idea. The bottom line is to eliminate pop, juice, energy drinks, and most other processed beverages. They’re usually science-based chemical concoctions that are going to lead to imbalances and long-term health complications. I used to drink 20oz or more of soda per day for most my life, so I get it. Quitting that was one of the hardest mental struggles I’ve ever overcome. Trust me, once you finally eliminate soda from your diet, you’ll wonder why you ever drank it in the first place.

A complete list of Wise Eats approved foods, beverages, and supplements are sent instantly via e-mail when you subscribe FREE to Wise Choice Nation! http://www.wisechoicenation.com/

 

10) Limit Yourself to One Cheat Meal Per Week Or Less.

Throughout my 90lb weight loss, I cheated on my diet a ton. Cheat meals, cheat days, even full cheat weeks. Calorie restriction sustained my weight loss, not consistent healthy eating. Over time, however, I was able to improve my diet and focus on eating clean, which helped me build muscle and start to get really fit. You don’t have to eat perfect all of the time to lose weight and get in shape. Focus on your goals, try to eat healthy the majority of the time, treat yourself in moderation, and always get back on track after a cheat meal.

11) Plan Meals in Advance.

It’s time to get in the kitchen. Remove processed junk foods and other unhealthy snacks from your kitchen. If it’s not in your house, you can’t eat it, so stock your cabinets with wise choices. Make large batches of food to have ready for quick, convenient, well-balanced meals. Make enough breakfast to have leftovers for days. Bring healthy snacks like nuts and fresh fruit to have on hand at work. Prepare shaker bottles full of protein for those moments when you’re stuck needing a meal. The more you prepare, the greater your chances for success. Stay away from vending machines and restaurants. You possess sole responsibility for every single thing you put into your body. Own that role and do good things for yourself.

12) Kick Your Bad Habits to Make Room for Good Ones.

Quit smoking and take more deep breaths. Replace soda with filtered lemon water. Less sitting, more walking. Pack a healthy lunch instead of buying fast food. Stop feeling tired and sick. Start feeling energized and upbeat. Less negativity, more compassion and kindness. Watch less TV, read more books. Look at your cell phone less, sleep a little more. Reduce processed snacks, eat more vegetables. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Focus less on your problems and more on things you’re grateful for. Small changes today add up to life-altering results in the future.

Develop a lifestyle that will eliminate body fat, build muscle, and optimize your life for good. Do it for yourself, but also do it because there is someone out there who needs you to be around for a long time. Avoid sickness, boost your mood, increase energy levels, and fight depression with a longevity-based lifestyle. Through proper diet and exercise you can improve your mental capacity, productivity levels, and motivation to get better in other areas of life. Stick with Wise-Eats.com to help get you there, and feel free to send any questions you may have along the way. To keep up on the latest updates, articles, recipes and more, join our free newsletter, Wise Choice Nation. Thanks for reading. Make Wise Choices!

 

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New Video Recipe: Keista Kale Chips – Increase Your Green Vegetable Intake and Optimize Your Health

Optimize Your Health by Increasing Your Green Vegetable Intake

with the

Latest Recipes from Wise Eats

Keista Kale Chips

Consuming green, leafy vegetables is an essential component of living a healthy, optimized lifestyle. They provide countless benefits such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, detoxification, increased energy, focus, athletic performance, disease prevention, and so much more! They’re most easily incorporated in the diet by using the THREE WESS’S – Smoothies, Stir Fries, and Salads, but this is another fun option: Kale Chips. Simple to make, light and delicious.

“If you want to have rhythm like Kenny Keista, you need to get some of that Keista Kale in your life” – Wise Eats

Ingredients

  • Organic Kale Leaves (Dry)
  • Avocado Oil (Lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, improves heart health)
  • Sea Salt (Trace minerals, fluid balance, brain function, aids digestion)
  • Organic Mixed Seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Break apart kale leaves and spread evenly across baking sheet.

Drizzle avocado oil over the kale.

Season with some mixed seasonings and sea salt.

Bake for 15 minutes and serve!

 

The Keista Kale Chips were originally featured on Season 1, Episode 6 of The Following Announcement: Seeking the Third Man. Click below for full episode.

 Or, if you just want to see the original clip featuring this recipe, check out the G.J. Jack segment below:

Finally, if you haven’t checked out the latest episode of The Following Announcement, featuring the newest edition of Wise Eats, what are you waiting for?

The Following Announcement Season 4, Episode 2: Hard Sell (Part 2)

Don’t forget to click the thumbs up and subscribe to the YouTube channel!

As always, thanks for reading, and remember to Make Wise Choices!

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