Only Diet Article You Will Ever Need

Yesterday I heard from one of my good buddies from college. He was one of the first athletes to do interval training with me on the “back 40” at McMaster University way back in 1997.

He’s currently using my TT Metabolic Resistance Training program but he emailed yesterday morning looking for a simple nutrition plan to go with it.

So I came up with this fat burning meal plan for him.

When I was done, I realized it might be the last diet article I ever need to write.

It will answer all of your questions…but if not, ask away by replying to this email.

First, the rules:

1) For fat loss, men need 1800-2200 calories while women need 1500-1800.

These are generalizations, I know, so what I recommend is using a calorie counting website or app to find out how much you are eating per day now.

Then, provided you aren’t currently gaining weight, simply subtract 10-20% of that number to get your fat loss calorie goal.

If you are gaining weight, you’ll obviously need to subtract more.

Finding the right calorie number takes a little trial and error, but shouldn’t take more than a week.

2) Choose the eating pattern that fits your daily schedule.

If you don’t get breaks at work, eat 3 larger meals. Use Chef Gui Alinat’s Eat More, Burn More for this approach.

If you like the 3 meals and 2-3 snacks route, you can use that.

If you prefer fasting for 12-24 hours like I do, use Brad Pilon’s Eat Stop Eat.

Research suggests that meal frequency is not as important as fitness magazines make it out to be…however, for some folks, the increased frequency works best.

Again, a little trial and error on your part is required.

But it’s just a little work… for a lifetime of results!

3) When all else fails, eat more fruits and vegetables.

4) When in doubt, avoid eating foods from a bag or a box.

5) Only eat when you are truly hungry, not when you are bored.

Write down what you are feeling when you eat and snack.

Are you hungry, thirsty, tired, bored, anxious, exhausted, angry, lonely, or craving something?

Then list all the obstacles to sticking to your nutrition plan.

And then write down TWO solutions for every obstacle.

Always have more solutions than problems (a good lesson to teach our kids and share with our co-workers).

Now let’s look at this

Simple But Effective Nutrition Meal Plan for Fat Loss

NOTE: Even though I list “protein shakes” a lot here, there’s no need to use more than 2 servings per day (1 serving = 1 scoop). Protein shakes are:

a) Convenient
b) Filling
c) A better choice than most other things

But they are not magic or mandatory…just an option.

Look for a pure whey protein – giving you 20g protein per serving and less than 2g carbs. Mix it with 1 cup unsweetened almond breeze (because it has less than half the calories of a cup of milk).

For specific brands, I’ve partnered with BioTrust Protein, and it’s the kind I buy for my mom.

Now for your fat-burning meal plan.

Option #1 – Eggs (i.e. a 2-4 egg omelet with spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, onions, and even asparagus – choose a couple). Have an apple or some pineapple as “dessert.” Drink some Green Tea (or coffee is fine too) and water.

Option #2 – Protein shake + 1-2 oz almonds + piece of fruit

Mid-morning Snack

Option #1 – Almonds + piece of fruit + Green Tea + water

Option #2 – Protein shake + cut up vegetables and hummus + Green Tea + water


Option #1 – Big salad with grilled chicken or salmon

Option #2 – Grilled chicken on whole grain bread plus cut up vegetables and hummus

Option #3 – Go to a Freshii restaurant for lunch – one of my best friends, Kam Singh, owns the Freshii at the Heartland Town center in Mississauga, so I want to give him some free publicity because it really is the freshest, healthiest “fast food” option out there — if you go, tell him ol’ CB sent ya.

Mid-afternoon Snack

Option #1 – 1oz raw nuts + small piece dark chocolate

Option #2 – Banana with almond butter

Option #3 – One of the morning snacks


Option #1 – 6oz steak + all the vegetables you want (minimize eliminate starchy carbs most daysof the week)

Option #2 – Chicken or Salmon with all the vegetables you want

By the way, if you want a glass of wine at dinner, go for it (but just one glass).

However, realize that when choosing treats, you have to pick your poison…you can’t have wine, bread, a giant potato and dessert – and still expect to lose fat.

Choose one of those extras, keep it to one serving – to limit it to under 200 calories, savor it, and enjoy the rest of the meal and the company you are with.

And try not to eat too much food off your kiddo’s plates

Dessert/Evening Snack (if necessary)

Option #1 – Frozen banana (sounds lame, but seriously good) or frozen berries

Option #2 – 1 scoop chocolate protein in 1 cup plain vanilla yogurt with teaspoon almond butter

Option #3 – An apple with 1 teaspoon almond butter

I hope that helps. It’s about as simple as you can get when planning a fat loss diet.

But don’t forget to…

  • Drink 2-3 liters of water per day.
  • Get to know your condiments…spicy mustards, salsas, no-sugar added tomato sauce, all of these are better than mayo and ketchup.
  • Plan out 1-2 reward meals each week…eat what you want, but don’tgo overboard with the portions.

Finally, one of the best things you can do to create order in achaotic life is to create a series of personal philosophies/rules. They solve all of your problems without draining emotional energy. Here are my rules:

Arrow blue  The 12 Rules I Live By

Please share that link with anyone who you think would benefit. I believe it’s one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever written.

Your coach,

Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer

PS – Never forget!

Whatever is in your way, you’re stronger than it, you’re tougher than it, and you’re better than it. You’re going to beat it. You must truly believe in yourself. You must end the “I’ll give this a try” mindset, and switch to an, “I’m going to succeed” belief.


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  • Glenn

    Simple and easy is the best! And glad to see someone who doesn’t think fruit is the devil. I seriously doubt that if I got stranded on an island with nothing to eat but all the fruit I could handle that I would get fat. A couple of questions though, Craig:
    1. With your calorie ranges do you count the calories in fibrous veges in those numbers, or are they considered ‘free’?
    2. If you supplement with fish/krill oil, do you count those as calories?
    3. Do you eat much yogurt? One of my favourite desserts is yogurt with frozen fruit and almond slivers, and I throw a scoop of protein powder in to beef it up. But I also have yogurt in my post-WO shake, and if I’m just feeling a bit peckish I’ll tuck into some as well. Am I deluding myself that it’s not sabotaging my waistline?

    Awesome post as usual – thanks!

    • Hey Glenn,

      Thanks for the feedback.

      1) I count the calories in vegetables, but they are very low. You could try “not” counting them and see if it makes a difference.
      2) I also count the calories in the fish oil supplement.
      3) I don’t eat much yogurt now, although there was a time in the past were I mixed protein powder and yogurt at night.

      You can only know for sure by experimenting…taking that out of your diet for 2 weeks to see if it makes a difference (while making no other changes). Only change one variable at a time to know for sure.


  • Natalie

    Thanks Craig, this is really very practical and down-to-earth advice. Not difficult for anyone to follow!

  • Hi Craig,
    I love your work particularly the bodyweight stuff, and I use your TT Bootcamp workouts with my clients who seem to really enjoy it.
    I was wondering when did you start using protein shakes (and in some volume) as you used to say that chocolate milk was more than adequate for protein and carb intake?
    I can confirm that the rest of your diet tips definitely do work. This is roughly how I ate to win the category of “Most Ripped” in Tom Venuto’s BFFM Body Transformation Challenge last summer. Reduced calories to around 2000 per day, some days slightly less and occasionally a bit of a binge where I would eat “anything” and lots of it!
    You don’t over emphasise calorie counting, but it definitely helps to do it for a couple of weeks to get a good idea of what you are consuming.
    Thanks for the great info, Bruce

    • Bruce,

      Thanks for your feedback and congrats on your results in Tom’s contest.

      The plan provided here is just an example fat loss solution for readers, not necessarily what I do.

      But for fat loss only, extra sugar is not needed, so therefore, I don’t recommend chocolate milk for clients.

  • Tracy

    Hi Craig, There is nothing lame about frozen bananas. My Son loves them and so do I, even though I am allergic to them, I can eat a couple of frozen slices once in a while. After I buy a lot of bananas, I peel them, slice them and put them in individual serving bowls with lid and put them in the freezer. So easy to grab a healthy snack. Thanks for the great articles.


    • Thanks Tracy, appreciate the feedback.

      Can you believe I never thought of slicing them?

      Thanks for making my life easier,


  • Lisa Kochnowich

    Hi Craig,
    Great article and advice, Once again! I love your workouts and I am hooked on interval training. Even though some people in my “circle of friends” still think I should be doing some sort of long cardio. You had told me( months ago) about the FITDAY calorie counting and IT is a very good tool.
    I personally think I may have a underlying medical issue as to why it is so hard for me to lose weight. I have now made my daily calorie deficit in the range of 1400 to 2000 a day and I have finally lost some weight. 5 lbs in 2 weeks. Not great since I am taking in so few calories a day to achieve that result, but it is weight lose non the less. I take in, some days 800 -900 calories a day and the odd time 1200 -1300. But i do workout alot and I am very active.
    But regardless of the weight not coming off for a long time, I have lost many inches, I am healthier (great VO2 max for a 42 year old female…48.5) , have great stamina, stronger and have more muscle mass. I still have a long way to go to reach my goal weight, but this is the way to do it! TT rocks! ITs a lifestyle change that I can live with. thanks for all you do.

  • Marci

    Thanks for the simple, easy-to-follow plan. It similar to what I do now and works amazingly well for me. Easy to do and simplification is definitely the key. I really value your opinion on nutrition so I have one question I’ve been struggling with. I’ve heard that for the purpose of optimizing digestive function you should always eat fruit on an empty stomach (30min before or 2 hours after any other food) and should never have water with a meal. Doing either is supposed to cause the food to “rot” and allow toxins to build up in your system. What are your thoughts on this as I see your meals and snacks don’t follow these food combining principles.

  • Bart

    Nice article, but i have a question.
    When it comes to loosing fat it is easy for me. I simply eat less and workout muscles.
    But there is one thing that you dont talk about.
    How do you eat or what do you do to get ripped?
    I tried everything: carb cycling, intermitent fasting 5 days in the row, eating 1000 calories a day and nothing worked. I have nice body but I cannot get to that lean state where all abs just show up nicely no matter how do you look. I am 6.1 and currently i weight 175 pounds.
    I have been working out for last 3 years regulary.
    I went through all the phases of the turbulance training from the manual.
    Then I did some other routines by Nick Nilson, and now I am doing AI workouts.
    I workout heavy 4-5 times a week + weekend activities such as bicycle or running.
    What is your strategy to get rid of the last fat?
    I am starting to believe that loosing fat to some point is easy and then we need to apply some magic to get more riped body.
    I wonder what do you have to say about that?

    • Hi Bart, I think you need to gain muscle. If you had 10 pounds more muscle, you’d look leaner at the same body fat. In my “ripped” photo, I weigh 185 lbs at 5’9″. That’s the magic you are looking for.


  • j

    I am confused about the use of extra virgin coconut oil. They say it helps to burn mat. Its a healthy saturated fat, mct’s etc. But a tblespoon of it is a ton of calories. If i have a 3 egg omelet with veggies n a side of avocado, thats around 20-30 grams of fat.. If i add the cocnut oil to cook the eggs, im gettin into around 40 orso grams of fat, is that to much. please clarify when n how much to use of coco oil, thanks

    • I’m sorry, I don’t know the answer to that. This is a great question for the Diet Solution Program Facebook Fanpage.


  • Eva

    I’m curious if you do any pre/post workout foods or drinks? I’ve found it good to have a little something before and after my workouts to help my energy level through the day. I do wonder if I really need to spend money on a special workout drink.

    • You certainly don’t need anything fancy before your workouts. Tea or coffee would be fine. If your goal is fat loss, you don’t need anything fancy after either. Normal, healthy food is fine.

  • Hi Craig

    “Write down all the obstacles to this plan, then write down TWO solutions for every obstacle. Always have more solutions than problems”

    What a gem.

    Thanks mate.

  • Cat


    Great article, love simplicity!

    However, what if you are a female and while you would not mind burning a little fat off your body, you also want to pack on some muscle? That is where I am at right now. I am at about 16-17% bf, and look lean but would like more muscle. I was always under the impression that you had to have a really strong grasp of how many calories you are consuming and that you need to eat in a surplus to gain muscle.

    What would you say regarding that?

    Is the “holy Grail” of body composition (burning fat while gaining lean muscle) really even achievable???


    • Yes, you can do that. Find out how many calories you are eating now, improve the quality of food you are eating, use the right program, and adjust up or down based on your results.

      • Cat

        Meaning you DO think that you can burn fat and gain lean muscle at the same time? If this is possible, and I have an idea of what my maintenance calories are, then how would i adjust those to suit that specific goal of fat loss with lean muscle gain?

      • Yes, you can do that. A big component is the training program you are on.

  • j

    CB, do you beleive in certain food combining laws like not to mix meat and grains/starches. They say protein and veggies for better digestion, which leads me to my other question. Any thoughts about digestive enzymes? do you use them or reccomend taking them? thanks

    • I don’t see any reason to believe in food combining theories. I don’t have any expertise in digestive enzymes. Sorry.


  • Craig this is a great article! I have recently been able to be very successful at losing weight and getting into far better shape. I have also found that simplicity is the key to my success, and the complex programs and special tricks just don’t seem to help me out that much!

    I love the TT workouts, and especially how you limit the amount of exercise that is done because it really just isn’t needed.

    Thanks! I will be forwarding this to several of my friends trying to start losing weight as well.

  • Damn that is so simple!

    For a while I followed fitness magazines advice regarding fat loss and whilst I was successful it took so much effort to stay the course, I even ended up losing a girlfriend over my OCD eating habits.

    Reading this makes me feel pretty dumb 🙂