I put together this easy to follow infographic of how to eat for simple weight loss.
Eating for weight loss is often overcomplicated way more than it should be. In fact it doesn’t have to be complicated at all! Nail the basics, the important things in your diet first. And then if you want to, you can get picky about working on the smaller details!
Take a look:
Cruciferous vegetables fill you up using very few calories! They’re full of fibre, vitamins & minerals.
Opt for things like lettuce, rocket, tomato, onions, cucumber, celery, asparagus, kale, spinach, aubergine, mushroom, bell pepper, cabbage, broccoli.
Protein is important for muscle maintenance, growth, and repair. Plus it also fills you up, and your body burns calories through digesting it.
Preferably have lean sources of poultry, meat, fish, and dairy.
Flavour your Food
This is crucial! Bland food sucks!
Add herbs, seasonings, and spices, or low-calorie sauces.
Things like garlic, salt, pepper, soya sauce, mustard sugar-free ketchup, paprika, salsa, peri peri, basil, mint, chilli powder, oregano, etc.
After mostly filling up on vegetables and protein, you include whatever carbs and fats you still have room for.
🎥 I will be emailing you a short video (most are a little over 5 mins or so) each day over the duration of the challenge. To make things easier, I’ve provided notes for each video too, that you can download. So please check your inbox daily!
✏️ Each day, I’ll be setting you a few very short tasks to do (it’ll only take 5 mins), so please keep on track and complete the daily tasks! It’s all important for teaching you my method for losing body fat 💪 without cutting out junk food! 🍩
❓If you have any questions or are unsure about anything, please feel free to join my Facebook group and ask any questions. The link is here:
Q: I’m really busy and short on time. How much time do I need to take part in The Doughnut Diet Challenge?
A: Each day of the challenge, you will be required to watch a short video (maybe 5 mins or so) emailed to you. You will be set quick tasks to do each day, which should only take another 5 mins or so. So really, you are only looking at a time commitment of maybe 15 mins or so each day over the 7 days of the challenge.
Q: I have very little experience with nutrition or dieting. Do I have to know anything about counting calories or macros?
A: No, you don’t need any prior dieting experience! All will be explained to you over the course of the challenge, so even if you are completely new to dieting, don’t worry!
Q: I already know how to count calories and know a bit about nutrition. Is the challenge still suitable for me?
A: Yes, absolutely. Some of the earlier modules of the challenge might seem basic to you if you already have a good knowledge base on nutrition. But I urge you not to be tempted to skip any videos – they act as a good reminder even if you aren’t new to dieting. Also, I competed in natural bodybuilding for years (so was well accustomed with calories and macros), but still learned (and continue to learn to this day) new elements of nutrition. And this is how I came across this flexible eating system in the first place, enabling me to lose fat whilst still eating junk food.
Q: Do I need to be exercising through the duration of the challenge?
A: I’d always recommend that people exercise, as long as they have been medically cleared to do so, of course. But no, exercise is not compulsory for the challenge. The contents of the challenge focus on the dieting side of fat loss (while incorporating junk food!), so the exercise component of fat loss is beyond the scope of this challenge. Exercise combined with dieting is the most efficient way to lose fat, but exercise is not compulsory to lose fat.
Q: What things do I need for the challenge?
A: Ideally, you will have a working set of kitchen scales (preferably digital). You will have access to a set of body weight scales to weigh yourself. You will have a smart phone so to download the MyFitnessPal calorie counting app (the app has a free version). And you will have access to Facebook through the duration of the challenge (either on your phone, tablet, or laptop, it doesn’t matter), so to access my Facebook group.
Q: If I get stuck or confused with anything during the challenge, are you available to provide help?
A: Yes! You will have access to me through my Facebook group, so if you ever have any questions, please feel free to ask me in the group and I will respond as soon as I can. Note that I don’t check my Facebook direct messages so often, so please post in the group for the fastest response from me.
Q: Can I really get ripped just by eating junk food?
A: Yes, in fact you can get ripped by eating NOTHING but junk food, and some people do actually. BUT, this is NOT what I recommend, as it is simply not healthy. What is the point in getting lean and “looking” good, only to soon suffer from an array of health complications? As you will see through what I teach in the challenge, I advocate a balanced healthy diet and lifestyle, that doesn’t involve cutting out any foods (so still including junk food in moderation as part of a balanced diet). This is the key to healthy, realistic, sustainable, permanent results!
SIGN UP HERE for The Doughnut Diet – FREE 7 Day Flexible Eating Challenge 🍩
Life has a tendency to get in the way! I remember back to the luxurious days of having all the time in the world to workout and eat well. Then this whole “adulting” thing kind of happened.
You have to work longer hours. You have more responsibilities. More financial commitments. Relationships to upkeep. And then there are kids to worry about too! (I don’t personally have any kids yet, but I’m experienced enough to know how it is when you do!)
So, for many of us, long gone are the days of five or more gym sessions a week. In fact, for a lot of us, getting to the gym at all might be out of the question. This is why I thought I would write this post, and I call it the “help I’ve got kids and a busy job” fitness plan.
Ok, let me address this one first. I’m assuming that worst case scenario, you can’t make it the gym at all anymore. That means that equipment-free workouts are our solution. They can be done in just 30 minutes. And you can do them at home or on your lunch break at work if you have space. I’d aim to perform 3 to 4 of these short workouts per week.
Interval training (HIIT – high intensity interval training) would be one of my preferences here, since you are limited for time. Plus interval workouts can be completed quickly. The simplest method would be just to run. Warm up with a 5 minute jog, followed by 15 seconds of sprinting / hard running, then 45 seconds of walking to recover. Perform 10 – 20 sprints with walking in between, and finish up with another 5 minute jog after. Done.
Note that to prevent injury, especially if you aren’t used to sprinting, I’d suggest “bounding” into each sprint and building up the speed until you are running flat out. Build up rather than taking off like a sprinter at the start line.
Otherwise, if you happen to have an exercise bike, you could do a similar type workout using that. Ride easy for 5 minutes, building up the speed and resistance. Then crank the resistance up and ride as hard as you can for 20 seconds, followed by 40 seconds at an easy resistance. Repeat 10 – 20 times, again followed by 5 minutes of easy riding to finish.
If you can skip (jump rope), you could also do that. Same format: 5 minutes warm up, 10 – 20 intervals of skipping hard for 15 – 20 seconds then 40 – 45 seconds of easy skipping. Then 5 minutes of easy skipping to finish.
Note: only skip if you are actually half decent at it. Otherwise, if you are continuously “messing up” and have to keep stopping, it removes the benefit of the workout.
Similar to interval training, use bodyweight exercises to perform a quick hard circuit. I have done a series of videos demonstrating different equipment-free exercises you could use. The video series is called “No Gym, No Problem” and you can see them here:
Pick 5 or so exercises, preferably a mixture of upper body exercises (e.g. push ups, tricep dips, Y handcuffs) and lower body exercises (e.g. squats, lunges, burpees). Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest. Rest for 2 minutes after each circuit. Repeat the circuit 3 to 4 times.
Mountain Climbers 30 secs, 30 secs rest
Lying Abs Leg Raises 30 secs, 30 secs rest
Bird Dogs 30 secs, 30 secs rest
Tricep Dips 30 secs, 30 secs rest
Squat to Toe Touches 30 secs, 30 secs rest.
Rest for 2 mins. Repeat circuit 3 – 4 times.
If you are lucky enough to be able to make it to the gym, even just one day a week, then you will want to make best use of the opportunity. That’s why I would recommend a full body workout using compound free weight exercises. These will work the most muscle groups at once, will burn the most calories, build the most strength, and take the least time. Don’t waste the opportunity on “fluff” exercises like bicep curls or cable cross overs.
I’d recommend doing something like this:
Barbell Back Squats 4 sets of 6 reps, 1 to 2 minutes rest
Overhead Barbell Press 4 sets of 6 reps, 1 to 2 minutes rest
Barbell Deadlift 4 sets of 6 reps, 1 to 2 minutes rest
Besides the gym session laid out (if you are fortunate enough to make it to the gym at all), the workouts I’ve recommended can be done anywhere at any time and with almost no equipment.
You can do these workouts early morning before work. Or maybe on your lunch break. Otherwise, perhaps you can work out on an evening time. It can be handy if your partner / spouse can watch the kids while you do a workout. Or you can do it after you have put the kids to bed, while watching TV.
This is going to be the most important factor in staying in shape when you have a full schedule. And sadly, this is where most people go wrong, even those who have the luxury of going to the gym as much as they want. Remember that you can’t out-train a bad diet!
To lose weight, you’ll want to be eating in a calorie deficit. This means figuring out how many calories your body needs to maintain weight, and then making sure to eat fewer calories than this. The easiest way to do this is by monitoring your calorie intake using a calorie counting app like MyFitnessPal https://www.myfitnesspal.com
I talk in detail about figuring out your calorie intake for weight loss here:
If your lifestyle is mostly sedentary, in that if you spend the majority of your time physically inactive at work, and your time spent exercising is limited, then I recommend you prioritise protein and cruciferous vegetables in your diet. I’m not saying to cut out carbohydrates. But keep in mind that carbs are for energy. So, if you aren’t moving a whole lot, then you probably won’t need many.
Protein is not just important for building and maintaining muscle and for growth and repair. But protein is also very important for fat loss!
Your metabolism can slow down when eating in a calorie deficit over a prolonged time. The fancy term for this is “adaptive thermogenesis”. Having an adequate protein intake helps prevents this, so it assists in keeping your metabolism going!
Muscle mass is very “metabolically demanding”. This means that more muscle tissue creates a higher energy demand. So, the more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn!
Furthermore, an adequate protein intake helps with satiety. This means you will feel “fuller”, and you will be less tempted to cheat on your diet and eat more! Protein also has a high “TEF level” (thermic effect of food). This means that the process of digesting protein burns a fair number of calories in itself!
General guidelines for protein intake are to take in at least 1g of protein for every lb of lean body mass, each day.
Cruciferous vegetables are high in fibre, so aid in digestion. They are also predominantly negligible calories – they end up burning so much energy just to digest that their calories don’t count!
Fibre helps you feel fuller during meals, as well as helping you feel fuller between meals too. This mean that it will help you eat less!
Eat your protein, eat your fibre, and you’ve covered the most important elements of your diet!
I talk more about the importance of prioritising protein and fibre in your diet here:
Sample quick meals
Chicken and mixed vegetables
Cottage cheese and celery sticks
Egg white and spinach omelette
Tofu with vegetables
Whey protein shake blended with kale
Don’t eat the kids’ leftovers!
It is often tempting to snack on food leftover by your kids. But be mindful that these extra calories all add up!
Whether you choose to eat the same food you give your children is up to you, but just monitor your calorie intake. Otherwise, it is always an option to make food for the family as normal, but then make a slightly lower calorie version for yourself. For example, if you were making spaghetti bolognaise for the family, you might want to replace the spaghetti on your plate for vegetables instead. Whatever you choose to do, just remember that it is YOU who is watching their diet – not necessarily your family. And your children’s energy demands and nutrient requirements may very well be different to yours! Still though, it is always good to encourage the whole family to eat healthy food together!
IF (intermittent fasting) could be a good option for calorie control and convenience. This involves limiting the timing of your food intake to a specific time window. The most popular one is probably to fast for 16 hours, and then to eat during an 8 hour period, usually between 12pm and 8pm. Basically, all you do is skip breakfast. Of course, you could switch these times up to suit you better.
It can be convenient as it involves not having to make time to eat breakfast. Or, if you shorten your eating window to skip breakfast and lunch too, you don’t have to worry about finding “healthy” food options when you are out. You can just wait until you get home to eat.
It is often a good idea to prepare food in advance to save time, and to make sure that you always have “healthy” food to hand. This can mean preparing the kids’ packed lunches for the week, as well as your own lunches. You can also make dinner ready for the week too. As you get better at it and more organised, you’ll see how much time cooking in bulk can save you. You can use this time to squeeze in some home workouts!
Just cook food, package it up in containers, and store it in the fridge or freezer. And don’t worry about having to eat the same food each day, because you won’t. Chicken breast can be had several times a week, but just flavoured differently or served with other varying food options. It will make it into completely different meals!
You might find it useful to create a weekly “menu” too, so you can plan ahead each week for what meals to have ready-cooked on what days.
There are other time saving tips, like to be sure to order your groceries online. This saves you making time to go out and buy your food, which can be a long and stressful affair if you have to take young children with you to the supermarket.
Also, there are now various “meal prep companies” that will cook and deliver nutritious food for you. These are often quite pricy though.
An active lifestyle
Lastly, I want to talk about lifestyle change. Make an effort to include more physical activity in your everyday life. Often this is effortless and takes little to no extra time out of your day. All extra physical activity you can do helps towards burning more calories. This can be difference between losing weight and not losing any weight at all!
Monitor your step count using a fitness tracker like a FitBit. Aim for at least 10,000 steps a day.
Cycle or walk short journeys
Take the stairs rather than elevators where possible
Do your daily chores like cleaning and tidying up
At work, walk over and talk to your colleagues rather than emailing
Take regular breaks from the computer during work to move around. Your eyes need a break anyway!
Get up and move during TV adverts
Get up and walk around while talking on the phone
Stand on the train or bus rather than sitting
If possible, use a standing desk at work rather than sitting
Park your car further away and walk the rest of the way.
Having a busy schedule and a hectic lifestyle doesn’t have to mean that your health and fitness goes out the window. With some time management and some organisation, you can say goodbye to your “dad bod” / “mum bod” (I don’t know if a “mum bod” is an actual thing, but I don’t like to discriminate!)
It is quite likely that you have come across the term “starvation mode” before.
If you are dieting and exercising, but you are not seeing progress, then a common self-diagnosis is that your body has gone into “starvation mode”. In this post I am going to reassure you that this is simply not the case! Read on!
Here’s a common scenario
You were trying to lose weight, so you decreased your calorie intake and stayed disciplined to your workout routine. You were happy to see your bodyweight readings going down, and your physical appearance was beginning to look slimmer and leaner. Then all of a sudden, for no apparent reason, all progress appeared to stop!
You didn’t cheat on your diet. You didn’t skip any workouts.
So, you do what most of us do when we have a problem. You search online. You talk to your friends.
And you soon come to the conclusion that you are not losing weight because your body has gone into “starvation mode”.
What is “starvation mode”?
“Starvation mode” is the term used to describe the theory stating that when your body feels it is being deprived of food, a survival mechanism is triggered where the body will stop you from losing body fat. So, the theory concludes that if you have been dieting and then all of a sudden, your weight loss stalls, it is because your body “thinks” it is being starved.
Sound legit? Keep reading!
Is “starvation mode” real?
The short answer here, is yes, but not to the extent you might think. Yes, it is true that processes do take place in the body to prevent further weight loss, following a prolonged restricted calorie intake. Though it won’t “stop” you from losing fat. And there are some external factors at play too when dieting.
– You naturally tend to feel more tired and move less – i.e. NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) levels decrease (fidgeting, pacing, walking, etc).
– Also, it is true that your metabolism begins to slow down after consistent dieting (this is adaptive thermogenesis), meaning your body will burn less calories while at rest.
What may be classed as external factors, are:
– TEF (thermic effect of food) levels decrease, probably because you’ll be eating less food when dieting, so your body will burn less calories through the process of digestion.
– You will burn less calories during exercise, because your body adapts to become more efficient at carrying out exercise while saving energy. Plus, it may very well be that you are not training as hard as you think you are, if energy levels are declining through dieting.
But no, your body does not enter a “mode” where it refuses to drop body fat!
So, when dieting, you will feel more tired and less prone to move and burn energy spontaneously and unnecessarily (e.g. fidgeting). And your metabolism will begin to slow, but this will not stop you from continuing to lose body fat.
An extreme example here, but have you ever seen someone suffering from anorexia? They still continue to drop body fat despite literally starving themselves, right?!
The Minnesota Experiment
The Minnesota Experiment is worth mentioning, just to emphasise my point. So, let’s go back in history a little.
Towards the end of the Second World War in 1944, an experiment was carried out to see the best way to assist starving people to return to a healthy body weight.
36 soldiers participated in the experiment, in which for six months they were put through conditions meant to replicate a prisoner of war (POW) camp. These men were made to do hours of manual labour each day. Plus, they had to march for many miles, and were only given a diet of half the calories of their average daily calorie output. They were quite literally starved.
At the end of the six months, the men had lost on average 25% of their bodyweight. Their metabolisms (basal metabolic rate) were estimated to be only 20% lower than they had been previously (not a great deal considering the circumstances!).
The men were put on a “recovery diet” over the twelve weeks afterwards, at which point their metabolisms were recalculated to be only 10% lower than normal. Which isn’t such a great deal at all!
So, my point here? If these guys were to be put under the most extreme circumstances of actual starvation, and yet:
They were continuing to drop body fat
Their metabolisms didn’t even slow down by a great deal, and their metabolisms recovered fairly quickly afterwards too…
…then it is safe to say that the average person following a conservative diet and exercise program has nothing to worry about!
Then why does it seem that fat loss stalls after prolonged dieting?
This question is actually very simple to answer.
Fat loss tends NOT to be linear, especially after dieting for a little while. This means that after a few weeks into a calorie-controlled diet, you may very well not see a pattern of regular fat loss each week. You might lose 1lb one week, 2lbs the next week, no change for the next two weeks, and then 1lb the week after. It’s not always linear! You may think that your body is not dropping fat anymore, when in fact it still is. The process just may have become slower.
You may be gaining muscle mass whilst dropping body fat. This is especially possible for those new to resistance training. If you lose a lb of fat but gain a lb of muscle, then your body weight will not have changed.
You may be retaining water. This can happen depending on:
the time of day you weigh yourself,
your stress (cortisol) levels,
your menstrual cycle if you are female,
or even due to how much food you have still in your digestive system.
The most likely solution – you are eating too much. Even when you have the best of intentions in sticking to your diet, adherence becomes harder and harder over time. Portion sizes slowly begin to creep up, whether you know it or not. The best fix for this is to weigh and log all of your food and drink.
If you think that it is “starvation mode” that has brought your fat loss to a stop, then think again. I am almost 99% sure that “starvation mode” is not the reason!
As you probably already know, I am generally not a big fan of nutritional supplements. The reason being, is that most of the time I don’t notice any results that warrant spending money on them.
Apart from Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), I usually just stick to the few basics like whey protein, creatine, omega-3 fish oil, and multi-vitamins.
However, I am quite excited by the results of a new supplement that I have been experimenting with: A-Bolic4
The product I have been using is called A-Bolic4. It is made by an American company called The Lab, and it is marketed as an “anabolic growth supplement”. They claim that it “supports anabolic growth, increased metabolism, cellular integrity, and male sexual health”.
Before I talk more about the supplement, and what’s in it, let me talk about my results with using A-Bolic4.
I have been supplementing with it for roughly three months now. Throughout this time, I tried not to change any variables in my food intake or training. I kept things pretty much as consistent as I had been before I started using the supplement.
My calorie intake was roughly at maintenance level throughout, although if anything, I was actually “looser” in controlling my food intake through having more “treats”.
This is going to sound like a sales pitch or something, but I am only being truthful here and have no ties with the company! I honestly noticed that my appearance was:
Muscles looked denser
More vascular with veins popping all the time everywhere.
And since nothing else in my training / diet changed during these 3 months, I can only credit these changes to A-Bolic4.
So just to give you a quick run down, A-Bolic4 contains:
Over 250mg of Ajuga Turkestanica
Over 167mg of EMIQ (Enzymatically modified isoquercitrin)
Over 98mg of Apigenin
Over 5mg of Bioperine
In short, the aforementioned ingredients, as backed by various studies listed on The Lab’s website, may act to promote muscle growth, promote fat loss, and promote increases in testosterone and decreases in cortisol.
*Note that I say “may act”, as in all honesty I don’t believe that we can 100% say for sure. But from my personal experience I believe it!
How do I take it?
Each container has 60 capsules, and I was taking one capsule in the morning and one in the evening, daily. I only weigh around 75kg though, so bigger guys may want to take two capsules morning and evening.
It is a little pricey, although they do frequently have discount promotions running. Also, unfortunately because it comes from the States, shipping to the UK and the additional tax were fairly pricey too. But I believe this supplement “works” and is worth it.
These taste great! Chicken Breast sliced length ways with Gherkin and Feta Cheese in the middle! Cook for about an hour. Season with paprika, parsley, sugar-free ketchup, and mustard…or your own choice of herbs and spices!
Serves 2 people.
Just a quick video here! I had these with mixed vegetables on the side, and lentils. But you could have them with rice or couscous or whatever else you fancied!
Also note that I opted for reduced-fat Feta Cheese to lower the calorie content. The condiments and herbs and spices I used were super low calorie too!
Per Feta Cheese Chicken Breast: Calories = 214 cals Protein = 30g Carbs = 6g Fats = 8g
Big traps are cool! In fact I’d say having big traps is freakin awesome! Abs are obviously cool too. But the problem is that unless you walk around all day without a shirt on, nobody will even know you have that coveted six pack!
But a big pair of traps on the other hand, are noticeable with or without a shirt on! Even while wearing a long sleeve shirt! I don’t think any other body part can get the same admiration and attention even while covered up!
By “traps”, I am of course referring to the trapezius muscle, that is visible on top of the shoulders, tying in the shoulders to the neck. In my opinion it gives the impression of a powerful strong physique!
How to train your traps
The traps are hit INDIRECTLY through exercises like deadlifts and rows. And to an extent presses, pull ups, and pull downs. They are also used in back squats.
But to isolate and hit the traps DIRECTLY, this is best done through shrugging movements.
My favourite direct traps isolation exercise right now is “Monkey Shrugs”. This is demonstrated in the video at the top of the page. I find these are done best using dumbbells, where you shrug hard and hold the squeeze at the top, while simultaneous bending the elbows and raising the upper arms upwards. You will have to use a lighter weight than you would for standard dumbbell shrugs. But I find the contraction and trapezius activation from this exercise to be superior to anything else!