The internet is full of 'rah rah' about how to lose weight. In 99% of those cases, people are trying to sell you something.
Loaded does not sell any diet products, so in that way, we have nothing to gain from dietary tips at all.
As people here at Loaded move in and out of the competitions, the business gets busier, we have different goals (like being able to chase our kids around), but we keep the same goal of being strong, and not feeling weak in the gym. Here are some practical, useful tips.
1. You have to track
Everyone can do a small cut, and feel good about losing a few kilograms without tracking. Its momentary, and we don’t think a high percentage of people cut without tracking and keep it off. It's annoying, it's a hard habit to build but its accountability at its finest.
The standard advice applies, try to eat at a level of clean you can comply at, track, monitor your scale weight and measurement over your belly button. Drop 200 calories a day until you are losing half a kilogram a week.
Hard cuts rarely work, long-planned cuts with planned refeed weeks (just back to maintenance) do work.
2. Live where you can comply
Nobody cares if you cut and gain straight back again. If your diet feels like a diet, you will go on some crazy reward path at some point (yes, we’ve all done it).
Compliance is the 100% most important thing. If you need a beer, a doughnut or whatever it is, half whatever your normal intake is, and cut calories elsewhere.
Here is the usual list
- Cut all soda and juice, back to water and sugar-free
- Halve bread, rice, chip or whatever portion
- Halve your fun calories, chocolate, ice cream, beers etc
See where you sit. Despite what Instagram says, you can somewhat train a less optimal diet by having a stack of muscle and squatting/deadlifting. If you are not losing weight, your next step is to add more calorie-burning or to eat less, that's up to you.
Time for some annoying analogies. Did you know the Chinese bamboo tree doesn’t sprout for 2-5 years, its just there, growing its roots underground, and then goes 60-90 feet in less than a year. Dieting is somewhat like that. If you have eaten ‘whatever’ for a long time, even eating under control is a big win, and should be taken as one (even if the scale is not moving).
A very good goal is to have your eating under control for a period of time, say a month. This ability to control is the base of all dieting success.
3. 10,000 steps work, especially for big guys
Installing any of the pedometer apps on your phone, and working up to 10k a day will make a pretty big change, and is actually pretty easy to do.
Its a about an aggregate of 2 hours on your feet a day to get to 10k. That's a normal life, walk to lunch, walk a little further to the office and maybe a thirty-minute walk after dinner.
It helps, and it's actually good for the mind and joints. Find a coffee shop that is a ten-minute walk, find a short after-dinner stroll, create a habit.
4. Acknowledge the suck
Many of us ended up in strength sports as naturally strong, big guys. Not wanting to eat small, train small or feel small, we have collectively mocked those who diet and have abs on Instagram.
At some point, you have to acknowledge to have a six pack is genuinely hard. For example, myself
- At 111kg, I thought I was kinda chubby, but nothing crazy
- At 102kg, had a two-pack - thought I was minutes away from abs
- At 94kg, barely had a better two-pack than 102
- Tore a hammy, got back to 111 in literally weeks
- Been slowly grinding back to early 90s
According to fancy scales, I would be 83.5kg with 10% BF, which still might not be a six-pack.
I begrudgingly accept it's going to be long, hard and annoying to have an ‘impressive’ level of lean.
5. Embrace technology
Having a scale that Bluetooth to your phone, pedometer on your phone and your calorie tracker give you something useful to review instead of scrolling Instagram.
Seeing graphs, tracking trends and keeping a large array of photos is super helpful and motivating. Those college apps are excellent for side to side comparisons and keep you mentally sane.
Stop looking at the day to day trends, start looking week to week and eventually month to month. No successful cut is done in mere weeks.
6. Think about dopamine and ‘feelz’
Never feeling joy after a meal, or a sugar rush is new to many of us, and can honestly have some real mental ramifications. If you aren’t in love with your job, you get no joy from food, and your training lacks that big carb run, you will not enjoy life.
You have many choices, be stoic and accept, or be a realist and plan things you will make you happy. From new clothes, to Instagram before and after, to organising catchups with people you haven’t seen in awhile, just for the compliments.
Personally, I set a goal weight (for example, 100kg) and if I weigh less than that for 7 days in a row, I get to buy something I want. 7 says in harder than you think as we all fluctuate, but marking that 7th day feels so dang good.
7. Fix punctures, don’t slash tyres
This is advice I got early in life, that applies to many things. When you have a dietary indiscretion, you can usually do a big workout, eat less the next day, try to walk it off or decide to be in a deficit over a week, not a day.
The other alternative is to yell at the sky ‘well, its ruined now’ and binge eat four packets of Tim tams while ordering cheesecake on uber eats (I have done this).
Be an adult, expect curves in the road. When you get a puncture, fix it, don't slash the tyre. You will regret it later.
We hope that helps, and six months from now your comment below how well things went!