August 16th, 2013
How To Choose a Fat Loss Plan (And Free Yourself From Pills, Powders and Potions)
As members of the Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle community, most of us have already come to the same conclusion: Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle (BFFM) is a great fat loss plan! But there are thousands upon thousands of fat loss, weight loss, and diet plans. Some work great, some work for a while, some only seem to work, and some don’t work at all. By asking just 3 simple questions, I think we can begin to single out the good plans from the bad ones.
1. Is it healthy?
2. Is it sustainable?
3. Does it empower you or enslave you?
However, before we get to answering those 3 simple questions, there is one major concept critical to our success…
Diet vs Lifestyle…
When we think about selecting a fat loss plan, we really need to think long term. Nobody wants to put in all of the effort required to shed a large amount of fat, only to see some, all, or more than all of it regained.
Until we realize that there was something about our previous lifestyle that created our excess weight, we may be tempted to do a short-term “diet” so that we can drop the weight and get back to “normal.”
But our old “normal” is what accumulated the excess fat in the first place! So, we need to start out by realizing that the old “normal” must be replaced. We don’t need a “diet”. We need a “lifestyle” conducive to maintaining or desired level of fitness.
Keep the idea of finding a new lifestyle in mind as we discuss the following three questions to ask about a potential fat loss plan:
Is it healthy?
On some basic level, we all know that it is not really healthy to starve or eat junk food. We’ve heard for years the benefits of eating a well-balanced diet with a wide variety of fruits, veggies, and protein sources. Sure, there is a lot of conflicting information about what is best.
Personally, I think humans are well-suited to eat almost anything that does not eat us first. While there is a difference between what we can eat to survive and what we should eat to thrive, I think the ideal ranges are broader than most care to admit.
Taken with the realization that each of us is unique, I am certain there is no single ideal plan for everyone. But, there are plans that are so restrictive that they can easily be excluded as a realistic lifestyle options.
Cabbage soup and nothing else? All you can eat grapefruit? The Twinkie diet? Such gimmicks might allow you to trim calories and drop weight for a few days, but you cannot thrive long term when restricting yourself to single foods.
While it is beyond the scope of this article to detail what is and is not healthy eating, I do want to point out one more important point: The likelihood of failing to get essential nutrients increases when we eat less food.
Taken to the absurd extreme, if we eat nothing, we are certain to be missing out on all essential nutrients. Knowing this, we should seek to make our reduced quantity of food possess as much nutrition as possible. In other words, the best fat loss foods are nutrient dense having a lot of nutrition for very few calories.
Takeaway: A good fat loss plan allows/encourages a wide variety of nutrient dense foods to sustain health.
Is it sustainable?
Can you live like this for the rest of your life? More importantly, can you enjoy living like this for the rest of your life? Will power and motivation have a way of coming and going. If your fat loss plan forces you to eat things you dislike and prevents you entirely from enjoying foods you do like, then when your will power and motivation fade, so too will your adherence to your fat loss plan.
When it comes to food selections, I’ve found a useful test. While they may not necessarily be enjoyed much at first, good foods seem to become more desirable the longer we keep eating them. At first I had a real aversion to veggies. Now, after months of healthy eating, I actually crave fresh vegetables! The opposite is also true. If your plan involves consuming a particular product day after day after day, you may grow to dislike that product. What then?
Takeaway: A good fat loss plan can be enjoyably followed to one degree or another for the rest of your life.
Does it empower you, or enslave you?
This last one is a biggie for me: Picking a Nutrition Plan – Freedom or Slavery?
I’ve been thinking about how pleased I am that I chose to adopt Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle as the core of my nutrition and fitness plan. In so many ways, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle equips us for lifelong fitness success. Many other programs actually tie you down…
Special Meal Replacement shakes: What happens when you get sick of them?
Prepackaged diet center foods: What happens when your finances run low or you decide you’d rather not buy all of your foods from a single company?
Diet Pills: Even if they worked, how many bottles will it take to stay the course forever?
Liposuction: sure it removes some of what has accumulated, but it does nothing to prevent it coming back.
Bariatric surgeries (Bypass, reduction, sleeve, etc.): All require consuming smaller meals – so why not just do small frequent meals without the surgery?
To me, any plan that does not equip me to sustain a lifelong healthy nutrition and exercise program is NOT a sustainable lifestyle plan. Assume someone eventually does invent that “magic pill.” If that is your path to fitness, then you become a slave to that product. What if the price doubles, triples, or worse? What if the FDA finds a problem and halts production? Worse, what if that unintended side effect impacts your health?
Rather than becoming dependent on some company or product, look for plans that empower you to chart your own lean and healthy destiny. Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle certainly does that. Not a single required supplement, not a single required stimulant, fat burner, or appetite suppressant. Just sound, time tested, fundamentals and strategies used by fitness models, bodybuilders and other physique athletes.
Takeaway: A good fat loss plan provides you with the knowledge and freedom to chart your own course without reliance upon any pill, product, or potion.
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About the Author
Brian Nordberg’s progress summary:
Starting weight: 296 lb, body fat% (est): 46.9%.
Started Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle (BFFM) in 2009. Burned more than 124 lbs of fat. Finishing weight: 178 pounds.
Over the past 4 years, Brian’s journey continued: He used Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle to remain at single digit body fat while building 25 lbs of additional lean mass.
Brian is such a successful fat loss maintainer, he has joined the National Weight Control Registry,the world’s largest ongoing study of how people successfully lose large amounts of weight and most importantly – how they keep it off.