In the wake of my prep that has begun for my October photoshoots (9 weeks out as of 2 days ago!), I figured now would be an appropriate time to unveil some of the tips and tricks that I use when dieting. I’ve prepped 3 different times in the past and have dieted down from an “off-season,” so to speak, many more times. While I don’t believe in wildly fluctuating body weight (and consequently bodyfat) while transitioning from in-season to off-season and back, I think the following points are applicable to any and all dieters. I’ve covered the ways to minimize hunger here (cliff notes: be realistic, moderate exercise, be smart with food choices, find an eating pattern that works for you, and suck it up), so I’ll avoid repetition and focus on new ideas I haven’t covered yet. Be it 5 pounds or 100, heed these words and your chance of dieting success will increase thousandfold.

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Overview

Crash dieting (n., kraSH dī-iting): extreme caloric restriction, oftentimes coupled with excessive exercise (namely steady-state cardio). Time-frame can range anywhere from a few days to several months.

People who crash diet are in a hurry to drop the most amount of fat in a short time frame. Crash dieting can take multiple forms, including but not limited to: consuming only a select few specific foods (eg. only crackers and lemons), engaging in bizarre rituals, and mixing together foods that suddenly possess magical power.

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Tick tock, tick tock. It’s been mere minutes since your last meal, yet your stomach is growling.

You’re dieting. What did you expect? That it would be all sunshine and rainbows, that you’d glance at a glazed donut and not feel a flicker of desire, that you’d be bursting with energy at all hours of the day? Well then I have news for you: dieting ain’t easy.

The steps required are straightforward enough. You eat less, move some, and catch your zzz’s. But the simplicity of it all fools you. How many of you have triumphantly embarked on a dieting journey, fully confident that you’d slash away at your back rolls and chomp down on your broccoli, boldly rejecting temptation at every turn, day after day? Your enthusiasm amuses me. And interestingly enough, your overconfidence will likely backfire.

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If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’ve decided that you want to shed some fat and become all sexified (Rog’s term). But you’re frustrated as all hell because there’s so much conflicting information out there. Never eat more than 1,000 calories; carbs are the devil; absolutely no dairy or fruit; switch up your foods every day to confuse your body; never, ever let any food pass your lips after 6p.m. (thanks for that one, Oprah).

I think that macronutrient percentages are useless. I’ve had people ask me for my opinion on their diet that was a “40/30/30” p/c/f split. Well, buddy, I’d love to help you out there, but you’re really not telling me anything. For example, how many total calories are you consuming? If you’re only getting in 100g total, that’s 40g protein, 30g carbs, and 30g fat. Not enough. Or if you’re consuming 3000 calories – alright, but relative to your bodyweight, what is that…?

Now, there are a number of ways to do this, but below is my approach that I’ve been using for some years.  I’ve done my research, I’ve applied the knowledge to myself and with my clients, and it works. You’ll read about other people recommending that you calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR), then factor in activity levels, plus your age and gender and finally the number of hairs you have on your head. Quite frankly, all of those calculations give me a headache, but feel free to use those if you so desire. Here’s my way to skin the fat loss cat.

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When I first got involved in fitness four years ago, I learned all about “clean eating,” weighing out every morsel of your food, the “importance” of meal-timing (yes, there’s a reason why that’s in quotations), and the dozens of supplements you absolutely had to take in order to be fit. I fell for all of it, and it took a toll on me without my even realizing it. I became almost instantly obsessed with being PERFECTLY FIT and emulating my newfound role models and turned a blind eye to how that was affecting my life. Before I knew it, I was dodging social opportunities out of fear that I would be presented with a platter of food that didn’t fit my meal plan. I became anxious whenever I had to eat out; God forbid my chicken be cooked with butter! I started spending my evenings alone at home as I told myself that I’d rather be reading about fitness than working on my relationships with my friends. I’d alienated myself from everyone – and although I was aware of this on a subconscious level, I kept telling myself that I was just fine.

But it sucked. It really, really sucked.

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