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The 4 BEST DIETS For Weight Loss That I’ve Used

The Best Weight Loss Diets
Written by Derek Howes

First, let me start this one off with saying that there is no perfect diet. Everyone is different and overtime one diet that you really liked, you might end up hating! Have an open mind and don’t be scared to try new things if something isn’t working out. The biggest thing you can do wrong in this game is to not know how to accept failing. You’re gonna screw up and the quicker you learn to screw up and move on, the quicker you’ll reach your goals. Here are the BEST DIETS for weight loss that I’ve tried over the years!

Diet #1: Intermittent fasting. This was the first “real” diet that ever worked for me and still works for me to this day. Seriously, before I tried this I just couldn’t get super lean and then BOOM, it was way easier.

Basically intermittent fasting is where you don’t eat for a set number of hours a day (also known as fasting). My fasting split is almost always either 16 or 20 hours and then I break my fast for the remaining time. This means I’ll be eating for either 8 or 4 hours that day. The goal is to get all of your calories in that 8 or 4 hour block or however long your eating block is. Since you’re only eating for a few hours a day you get to eat a ton of calories in a short amount of time and I love bigger portions so that’s my favorite thing about this diet. Another couple things I like? I always tend to have way more energy and I feel like I save a ton of time not having to eat throughout the day. The first maybe 2 or 3 days is somewhat hard but after that you adjust and it’s a breeze.

Diet #2: If It Fits Your Macros otherwise known as IIFYM. I’ve never been one to follow a strict meal plan…it’s just not enjoyable at all for me. Bland chicken with broccoli and rice 3 times a day? No thanks, I’d rather wear a swim shirt year round. Being able to eat what I want, in moderation, when I want or just selecting my meals as I go, especially when I’m traveling is what works for me and that’s what IIFYM allows you to do.

Nowadays this diet is REALLY easy to follow because of technology. There’s about 1,000 apps out there (search calorie tracker in any app store) that can do all the work for you, no more pen and paper. All you have to do is figure out how many calories you need to be eating which you can do easily with an online calculator (search calorie calculator) and then figure out what kind of macro split you wanna do. 40/30/30 is pretty common meaning 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat. If you need to be eating 2,000 calories a day that would be 800 calories in carbs (1g of carb = 4 calories), 600 calories in protein (1g of protein = 4 calories), and 600 calories in fat (1g of fat = 9 calories).

As you understand the diet more you can change your split up daily or weekly and when you really understand it you probably won’t even need a calculator. Flexibility is a huge bonus with this one

Diet #3: Your Standard Diet. I don’t think there’s a real name for this one (hence the standard). I guess you could also call it a meal prep diet or in my opinion…a really boring diet. Now I just mentioned I’d rather wear a swim shirt than eat the same thing over and over again but if you’re someone who likes routine and to keep things simple, this type of diet is always a safe bet. Its worked for me and millions of other people for decades now.

You prep a bunch of meals each week and that’s it, you’re good to go. What you wanna focus on with these meals is to make your portions smaller and make smarter choices. Have a vegetable, some fruit, 4-6 ounces of a grilled protein, and a quality carb like a sweet potato or some quinoa. Don’t use tons of sauces or oils and as the weeks go on make your portions a bit smaller. No need to calorie count and you’ll always have something prepped. Not my cup of tea anymore but like I said, it works, it’s easy, and some people prefer a diet that takes a little bit more discipline.

Diet #4: Low carb or KETO. Now in my opinion if you’re doing low carb, you’re doing keto but there’s no real guideline to what low carb is so low carb to some could be 100 grams of carbs which means you’re not doing keto since keto is typically for most people less than 50 grams of net carbs per day (for me it’s around 25). Net carbs are carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols if they’re keto friendly like erythritol.

What you’re also doing with keto is eating a high fat diet so you’re eating cheeses, whole eggs, bacon, 80/20 burgers, the best steak you can buy, avocado, and so on. Sounds delicious, right? Because it is!!! The downfall is you’re eating your bacon stacked avocado burger without a bun but HEY, a lettuce wrapped burger is just as good in my opinion! For the past year this diet has been my bread and butter when I’ve needed to drop a few pounds (without the bread obviously).

As for what keto means, it’s short for ketosis which your body enters from going low carb after around 1-3 days (depending on your body/activity level it could take up to a week). Ketosis is your body converting fat into compounds known as ketones which can be used as a source of fuel for your body. To keep it simple, on a standard diet your body will use carbs which break down into glucose and then that glucose is used for energy. Without glucose for energy you need to get that fuel from somewhere else. BOOM, fat is now your energy source. Now there’s 2 quick ways to tell if you’re in ketosis:

  1. By using a test strip like these. They’re super cheap and a pretty good starting point
  2. You have bad (terrible) breath (also known as keto breath).

KETO Test Strips: http://amzn.to/2qhC7G8

Another thing you can do with these diets is stack them. For example, incorporate IIFYM with intermittent fasting and things will get even easier. If you don’t like that then keep trying until you find a formula that works great for you.

BONUS! The worst diet I’ve ever done: LOW FAT. Don’t ever do a low fat diet unless you have a GREAT reason to. Going low fat for a long time seriously screwed up my hormones and gave me crazy mental fog. I think it took me over a year to get everything back to normal too, no joke. I’ve mentioned this before but fats are super important (I now rarely eat less than 30% fat a day), especially with hormones. Eat them. Eat lots of them.

These are the diets that have worked great for me. Let me know in the comments below what diet or diets have worked best for you or maybe some tricks you’ve learned a long the way!

About the author

Derek Howes

Derek Howes is a personal trainer and chef with over a decade of experience in the gym and kitchen. Derek, who is also known as The Protein Chef on his blog and YouTube channel shows his viewers every week that food doesn’t need to be boring or repetitive, it’s all about balance, moderation, and having the knowledge to change things up. His recipes which have been featured in the news, magazines, and on TV are cheap, quick, AND delicious! His motto in life is “everything in moderation” and is without question the most important habit he follows.

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