15 Commandments of Fat Loss
Options aren’t always a good thing. Too many of them can paralyze your decision making process. The time you spend on decision-making takes time away from execution. My motivation for creating the Hierarchy of Fat Loss was to simplify the decision-making process to help you get the most out of your time and energy. Proper nutrition holds down both the #1 and #2 spots on my hierarchy because it is that important.
The following 15 commandments make up the backbone of my system for fat loss and weight management. They are meant to be simple and straightforward because most people need things to be simple, not complicated. These rules are not necessarily ranked in any order although if you are being honest with yourself it should be obvious which ones you most need to implement first.
If you consistently live by these rules I guarantee you will lose fat, increase your power-to-weight ratio, feel better, improve your health, have more energy and be able to easily maintain a desired weight once you get there. Living by these rules consistently is the key. In my experience people like to cherry pick the elements from a system that they like and ignore the ones they don’t like. Then they combine the elements they like from one system with the ones they like from another system. They end up with a lot of rules they like living by and no results. Then they blame the information for being bad rather than looking in the mirror. Don’t be a cherry picker.
- Eat quality food. Quality food maximizes the efficiency of cellular function keeping your metabolism burning hot.
- Figure out an effective way to deal with stress and practice it with daily consistency. Try meditation, prayer, art, yoga, or simply time spent in nature. High levels of stress cause your body to make more arachidonic acid (AA) and glucocorticoids which stimulate fat cell division.
- Eat a high protein diet to boost your metabolism and give your body the building blocks it needs to recover from the hard training you should be doing to support fat loss. Start your day by eating 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up. This has been shown to boost metabolism for the entire day.
- Eat fat to lose fat. There is no direct metabolic pathway for fat you eat to be stored as body fat. By eating more fat your body will actually begin to prefer it as a primary fuel source, making your body more efficient at burning fat. Unlike carbs, fat doesn’t spike insulin.
- Keep insulin low by eating fewer carbs. You don’t need carbs as an energy source to survive or even thrive unless you are doing some serious endurance training on a regular basis at a high intensity level >90 minutes. In the absence of dietary carbs our bodies are capable of making them through gluconeogenesis. Carbs spike your insulin levels, which triggers your body to start storing body fat. I am not saying go zero carb. I’m saying the better you are at managing your insulin levels and using fat as your primary energy source the better you will be at losing fat.
- Get more sleep to prolong HGH release. HGH is a super fat burner. Also keep in mind that insulin deactivates HGH.
- Eat a variety of vegetables prepared a variety of different ways (raw, steamed, braised, grilled, sautéed, etc.). Different cooking methods unlock different nutrients from vegetables that become the catalysts of metabolic reactions that boost our metabolisms.
- Supplement with fish oil every day. Fish oil turns on your fat burning genes and turns off your fat storing genes. Omega 3’s, especially fish oils high in EPA and DHA, also stimulate a part of your cell structures called the peroxisomes. Peroxisomes handle the breakdown of fats to energy similar to the mitochondria, however, when fats are broken down by the peroxisome, 30-40% more heat is produced and 30% less energy for your body to use. That means more fat breakdown is required to produce the same amount of energy. Since so many fish sources are polluted quality really matters when it comes to fish oil. I recommend Ascenta Omega 3 DHA because it's a high quality product, it has a big dose per serving (4.5g), and it's very high in DHA. It's the one I take and the one sold at the gym.
- Integrate medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) from foods like coconut oil. The easiest way to do this is to do all of your cooking with coconut oil or to just take 1-2 Tbsp/day. MCTs have been shown to boost thyroid function and they act as a natural fat burning (read Boost Your Metabolism with Coconut Oil).
- Avoid trans-fat, vegetable oil and any hydrogenated oils. These are the single worst things along with processed sugars that you can put in your body from a nutrition standpoint. Fact, most restaurants cook with vegetable oil because it is cheap. Do your research.
- Avoid processed sugars.
- Eat quality food. It matters! Eating organic produce and grass-fed/pasture raised meat not only makes you healthier, but it also boosts your metabolism through a myriad of different mechanisms that I will cover in more depth in another article. If you have to make some compromises on food quality because of financial reasons check out my Hierarchy of Food Quality.
- Don’t drink your calories. They are more quickly absorbed and they spike your insulin more than an equal amount of carbs from food.
- Cut back on your alcohol. Read up on my Hierarchy of Alcohol for guidance on making the right choices.
- Intermittently fast. Intermittent fasting restricts energy intake and also allows the liver a chance to detoxify the body so that it can get to its secondary job of mobilizing fat.