What’s the ultimate nutrition plan for burning fat and losing weight?
If you said “Eating five to six meals throughout the day,” you may — or may not — be correct.
The biggest diet secret of all time, is that there’s no such thing as the best diet! That’s right, any eating pattern will work, as long as healthy nutrition principles are followed.
Look at it this way: Ten people can all travel from point A to point B equally well, having taken ten completely different paths! This scenario can be applied to eating for fat loss as well as many other situations in life.
I’ve seen people lose fat and get healthy utilizing any the following eating patterns:
- Eating five to six meals throughout the dayEating three large meals
- Eating one large meal
- Eating two to three small meals and eating small snacks
- Intermittent fasting
- Calorie counting
- Carb cycling
- Low carb
- Low fat
- And countless others!
To say that one method reigns supreme overall, however, is very shortsighted. Many components must be taken into consideration before a person embarks on a new diet.
When I first started personal training, I thought the only way to eat for fat loss was to consume five or six small meals throughout the day. I did it and told all of my clients to do the same.
After seeing people get frustrated and stressed out with having to prepare so many meals, I began to question how great the sacred “five to six small meals” approach truly was. I mean, how good could something be if people struggled to be compliant and were completely miserable?
It was from then on that I decided to experiment with different eating patterns. My experimentation led me to discover that all eating patterns can lead to fat loss — as long as healthy nutrition principles are followed.
Everyone has different needs and personalities.
This simple fact means that what works perfectly for one person may be a huge burden and stressful experience for someone else. Person A may love getting to eat a full meal every two hours, whereas person B prefers to fast one to two times per week or eat three large meals each day.
I personally despise calorie counting. I did it religiously several years ago, and it nearly drove me to insanity. This dieting method made me incredibly compulsive and was a contributor to the eating disorder I developed. I will never count calories again because of how it affects me; other methods fit my needs and personality much better. However, that doesn’t mean calorie counting won’t work for you.
Whenever you decide to try a new diet or eating pattern, ask yourself these questions first:
- Is it practical for me?
- Does it promote overall health?
- Does it fit into my lifestyle?
- Will it help me accomplish my goals?
- Can this be maintained, long term?
- Will it cause unnecessary stress?
Furthermore, keep this in mind the next time you plan on switching up your diet: Revolve your diet and training around your life, not vice versa!
Put simply, you should not follow a diet that causes you to be overly stressed; there are far more important things in life to do and worry about. Just because your best friend says that eating six meals (or whatever else) is the ultimate way to lose fat does not mean that’s the only way for you!
You’re much better off finding a program that fits into your lifestyle and that you can follow long term. If not, you’ll only last a few days or a week at the most, before giving up altogether. No two people are the same, so don’t be afraid to experiment to find what works best for you.
As you begin to experiment with different eating patterns, it’s still best to stick to a few specific nutrition principles that’ll guarantee fast progress and optimal health.
Healthy Nutrition Principles
- Eat whole, natural, unprocessed foods.
This principle alone is enough to produce great weight loss and health benefits. The food items you should eat are fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, lean meats, and some minimally processed grains (steel cut oats, quinoa, etc).
Oh, and you should be drinking water for your beverages. Sugar free coffee and tea are acceptable as well.
If 90% of your diet consists of these foods, then I don’t see any way for you to get fat. After all, people don’t get fat from eating too much fruit; they get fat from eating too much junk food in huge proportions!
- Limit your grain intake for maximum fat loss.
I’ve seen this tip work time and time again. If you want to lose fat, try limiting grains to the meal that comes after a resistance training workout. If you don’t resistance train, don’t eat grains.
The grains you do consume should still be as minimally processed as possible. Some examples include steel cut oats, rolled oats, quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, and even Ezekiel bread.
I’ve also seen people lose fat from eliminating grains altogether for a period of time. That may or may not work for you, but it’s up to you to find out. Sometimes people simply don’t do well when they eliminate an entire food group for an extended period of time.
- Enjoy your favorite foods once or twice per week.
Following healthy nutrition principles doesn’t mean you have to be miserable and avoid your favorite foods for the rest of your life. Instead, allow yourself a cheat meal or two. If you want pizza, have a few slices. If you want some ice cream, enjoy it.
Most people shouldn’t restrict their favorite foods for an extended period of time. Too many people end up binging on the “forbidden foods” and end up feeling guilty and defeated. The point is to follow healthy nutrition principles through 90% of the week, and then indulge in a cheat meal or two completely guilt-free.
Long Term Success
Don’t make losing weight more complicated than it has to be. Apply the healthy nutrition principles to your diet, keep things simple, be consistent, and you’ll find success.