Eating to Lose Weight

Pre-Birthday Cake by MassDistraction

You should already know it won't include this.


It has been pretty well established that the Pareto principle, or 80/20 rule, holds true for most things in life. Basically, the 80/20 rule states that in most cases 80% of the results come from only 20% of the causes. For example, 80% of sales come from 20% of customers, 80% of daily speech comes from 20% of vocab, 80% of the world’s money is in the hands of 20% of the population, etc.

The point of this principle isn’t to genuinely suggest that all things are arranged in 80/20 distributions, the end percentages aren’t really that important. The point is to get across the fact that things are almost never perfectly distributed. If things aren’t distributed evenly, than that brings us to a more important point.

There exist both high return and low return variables in every situation.

Why is this important? A person who wastes all their time with low return variables will not progress nearly as much (or as quickly) as a person who identifies and focuses on the high return variables. If you can figure out which things are high return and which are low return than you have just given yourself the best advantage you can in reaching whatever goal you’re pursuing.

What’s the high return variable when it comes to dropping fat? Your diet.

As a lot of people (myself included) who have tried to lose weight will tell you – you can exercise constantly, but if you eat garbage all day you’re barely going to lose any weight, if you lose any at all. Conversely, particularly if you are overweight, if you sit around on a computer all day and never exercise but always eat the right things than the fat will start wasting away all on its own.

I would never say that you shouldn’t exercise. Exercise is definitely important. The takeaway from this is that if you’re only going to change one thing change what you eat.

Interestingly enough, the 80/20 principle pops up again here. When it comes to diet the important part isn’t the 80% of things you eat, it’s the 20% you don’t eat.

What Not To Eat

I’ll go more in depth on carbohydrates, proteins and fats as well as grains and gluten in later articles. Right now I want to make this as simple as possible and not get bogged down in all the science. The two basic rules that will get you the most return with the least amount of effort in dropping all that fat are as follows:

  1. If Man made it, don’t eat it. (Have to credit Jack LaLanne for this one)
  2. If it’s a grain or contains refined sugar, don’t eat it.

If you change nothing else but these two things, I guarantee you will lose the weight you want. Like I said, I’ll delve into the science of it in another article. This is a guideline for people who are sick of being overweight and just want to know what to do to drop it in a healthy way.

For those who like to focus on the Dos instead of the Do Nots than here’s those above rules applied inverted as to what you should do. Eat lots of meat, fat and vegetables and a little bit of fruit and nothing else.

To clarify, when I say don’t eat it if Man made it I mean anything that you couldn’t reasonably prepare at home. You don’t have to eat things raw. There are other provisions we can add that will optimize health, but we’re not going to worry about those just yet. Baby steps.

The beauty of this, in my opinion, is that you don’t have to worry about portion control or counting calories or any of that, if you genuinely stick to those two rules than it will be almost impossible to eat enough to get fat.

Examples

While I think it’s self explanatory, let’s run through some sample foods and apply the above rules.

  • Steak – Absolutely. Cooked in butter is even better.
  • Steamed Rice – Not so much. Grains are bad.
  • Carrots – Of course.
  • Organic Whole-Grain Bread – No. Organic or not, whole or not, grains are bad.
  • Twinkies – Just making sure you’re paying attention.

There’s more that can be added, but if you change just those two things about what you choose to put in your body you will have taken much bigger steps and will make much more progress than most people trying to lose weight ever will.

Have any additional suggestions? Tried this out for yourself? Let us know.

Adam is a former English teacher turned personal trainer and writer. He’s addicted to learning, parkour and martial arts. In addition to being a voracious bibliophile Adam’s fascinated by anything related to health, fitness and language. When not studying or training he can usually be found curled up with a good piece of fiction. You can e-mail Adam at Adam@RoadtoEpic.com