12 Ways To Improve Your Diet And Lose Weight

nutrition-plan-to-lose-weightLess glamorous than its strength-training counterpart, yet significantly MORE IMPORTANT to fat loss is nutrition.  You can be a die hard gym-fanatic, but if your diet is full of processed foods, bad fats, or just too many calories, then no amount of gym time will be enough to transform your body.

So, for those of you who are not only trying to lose weight, but keep it off for good, then you what you really need is a solid nutrition plan to follow.

And so the first order of business is to determine just how many daily calories your body needs.  Once you have that figured out, then you’ll need to set up some guidelines for determining your meal plan, shopping needs, and ways that you can eat better for fat loss.

Remember, fat loss isn’t easy, but by following these 12 proven methods for improving your diet, your fat loss journey will soon appear a lot less difficult.

1. Prepare a weekly menu. Outline each meal and snack for every day of the upcoming week. Take into account the possibilities that you might work late or get invited out to lunch. The more options you have and preparations you make, the better you will be able to stick to your fat loss plan.

2. From your menu plan, make your grocery list and stick to it. Grocery shopping is your first opportunity to break some improve-your-dietbad nutritional habits. You can’t eat chips, cookies, or cakes if you don’t have them in the house – so don’t buy them and you’ll avoid any future temptation.

3. Prepare the meals or the ingredients ahead of time so that making the actual meal doesn’t take a lot of time. Like shopping, it’s best to do all of these preparations at one time (such as on a Sunday or another day off).

4. Use Fitday.com or another similar website to record your food and calorie intake for 7-10 days. Do this until you get a good grasp of how many calories are in typical servings. Once you can eyeball your calorie needs – and after you’ve improved the quality of your diet – you won’t need to count calories ever again. Seriously!

5. However, continue using a food journal just to record your meals. According to Men’s Health (Feb 2009, p 38), keeping a food log helped subjects lose 3.5 more pounds than subjects that didn’t keep the log.

6. Eat at least 10 servings (combined) of fruits and vegetables per day. Stick to high-fiber fruits such as apples or fruits-and-vegetablesgrapefruit, antioxidant rich berries, leafy green vegetables and colorful vegetables.  Try one new fruit and vegetable every week.

7. Use fluids to keep you healthy and full. Drink 12 cups of water per day and eat vegetable soups before meals to help you eat less.

8. Use less meat to get your protein needs. Try one vegetarian day per week.  Already doing that?  Try one vegan day per week.

9. Remove all added sugar and trans-fats from your diet. Avoid foods from bags or boxes, but if you do eat anything with a label, make sure to avoid the following ingredients:  High-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils.

10. Have a reward meal once per week. Follow Dr. John Berardi’s 90% rule – if you eat according to the guidelines 90% of the time, you can cheat 10% of the time and still make incredible body changes.

11. Take 3 minutes and write down every nutrition obstacle in your way this week.  Then take another 3 minutes and write diet-for-fat-lossdown 2 solutions for every obstacle. Problems solved, and now you’ll be able to stick to your plan with ease.

12. If you fall “off the wagon” cut your losses, don’t worry about it, and get right back on track – Immediately!  It’s minor damage that can be dealt with.  Stay STRONG!

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training

  • Alexandria

    Hi Craig I need some help!
    I have been using your TT workouts for a while now and I love them, I have been working hard to lower my body fat and get a bod like Jessica Alba. Recently I have been doing your “Booty For Life” workout and I LOVE it. Although I have a bit of a somewhat embarrassing problem… I have noticed that my right butt-cheek is developing more than my left! It’s really odd and I am starting to worry that every-time I do a workout I notice it gets bigger and the left is still small. How on earth can I “even them out”? Do you know what I mean? I really want to even them out now before it becomes noticeable (I am 5’3″, 115lbs.). I would love to have the both as big as my right side, before it becomes obvious! Please help me Craig, I don’t know what to do! I do TT workouts 3 days per week, and HIIT every other day. PLEASE HELP ME!!

    I know it sounds silly, but I am truthfully asking for help!!
    -Alexandria

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Hi! This should be simple to fix. Just cut back on all single leg exercises on the right side. In addition, I recommend consulting with a therapist to take a look at your gait (walking) and posture.

  • Nice post Craig. I like the way you kept this simple, short, and easy for all your readers to understand and hopefully start applying.

  • Hey Craig,

    Awesome list. #2 is ssssooooooo true. And along those lines, I find that even though I pretty much dedicated times to do certain things (like I usually go to the grocery store on Mondays – try to make it in the AM), I also watch what I’m doing. For example, if I’m hungry, I will NOT go grocery shopping. LOL. Sounds stupid, but it sure is easy to buy crap you shouldn’t when you’re hungry than when you’re not!

    Have a great New Year.

    Wiggy
    http://www.workingclasscardioworkout.com
    http://www.workingclassfitness.com

  • Jim Martin

    Hi Craig! Love your blog, and love your diet and exercise advice! I’ve been reading your articles in Mens Health for a long time and have recently started reading your blog, and it’s awesome.

    I’m a 40 year old slightly overweight guy and I think my big problem is drinking too many beers and too much wine. Looking at your photos, I guess you don’t drink too many beers, correct??

    I would really appreciate if you could give us a quick commentary on your thoughts on alcohol consumption, especially as it applies to weight loss and muscle gain (or please refer us to an appropriate blog if you’ve already discussed this important issue).

    Thanks for your hard work … I think you touch many more lives than you realize.

    Peace.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Its pretty simple. Alcohol contains calories. If you don’t need those calories, you’ll gain fat. Also, alcohol leads to eating high calorie junk food.

  • Jim Martin

    So simple, so true!

    Thank you for taking the time.

    Cheers.

  • Jon Benson’s Every Other Day Diet book is an ebook on how to lose weight using caloric cycling. But it is not your average treatment of caloric cycling it is caloric cycling with a new twist. I have reviewed dozens of diets and I have to say that this one is unique.