Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

The basics of weight (and more specifically, fat) loss are pretty damn simple, really.  Here’s the high yield 20% activity that will get you 80% of the returns:

  1. – eliminate processed foods – sugar, breads, pastas and the sort.
  2. – get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.  If you need more, get more. The quickest way to stall fat loss is to skimp on sleep.
  3. – condense your allowable daily eating window to 6 hours.  Eat what you want (within the limits of note #1) during that window, and nothing but clean (no calories, no toxins) liquid in between.
  4. – prioritize fat and protein over carbohydrate.  The actual percentages will flex person to person.  
  5. – eliminate alcohol consumption.

That’s it; 5 Keep It Stupid Simple steps.

As in all matters though, while planning is necessary, it’s the execution and follow-through that actually produce results.

That is, each of these “stupid simple” steps must be supported by individualized systems and processes to ensure daily consistency.

And as always, environment is the kingpin of any habit change. If you’re surrounded by crappy food on the dailly, your chances of long-term success are much diminished. Willpower is a limited resource.  You have to think of willpower as a relief pitcher, not the starter.

Also, we want to use willpower as an offensive tactic, and less so as a defensive tactic.  For instance, use willpower to see you through cleaning the crap out of your cupboard vs avoiding the crap that’s in there on the daily.

If taking on all four areas at once is too daunting a first step, no problem. Concentrate on the first one or two. Fold-in the others once you gain sure footing and solid momentum.

Can you tighten things up beyond these 5 steps?  Absolutely. We’re just getting the plane off the runway and hitting cruising altitude here.

Really though, I don’t do much more than this to maintain my year-round 10% bodyfat level.  In a diet sense, these are my non-negotiables. Like tying my shoe, the actions are so ingrained, I don’t even think about them in a normal day.

Of course I do small level-ups like skewing more toward a cyclic keto version of a Paleo diet.  I eat grass-fed / free-range meats when possible. I also never eat vegetable oils or trans fats.  I add in a full day fast about once per week, and a longer fast (3 to 5 days) about once per quarter.

And occasionally, I DO partake in something sweet.  Or some homemade pasta, or sourdough bread. And I do like a great beer or some fabulous whiskey now and again.

But since I rarely have these things, a little goes a long way.  So it’s easy not to go overboard.

And, too, I’ve already hit my target body composition.  If you’re try to get to your target body composition, you have much less flexibility.  That’s just the reality of life.

Exercise and weight loss?

Now I know what you’re thinking: “yeah, but you workout on the daily! Shouldn’t THAT be in your top few items of fat loss importance?”

Well, the short answer is no.  Exercise is great for performance, overall health and looking damn good naked.  But as a fat loss mechanism though, while it does matter… it just doesn’t matter all that much.  Unless your at the extremes of athletic output. Which most people (myself included) are not.

The easy rule of thumb is this: use exercise to build muscle, and diet to strip fat.   

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Keith Norris is a former standout athlete, a military vet, and an elite strength and conditioning expert with over 35 years of in-the-trenches experience. As a serial entrepreneur in the health and wellness space, he is an owner, co-founder and Chief Development Officer of the largest Paleo conference in the world, Paleo f(x) . As well, Keith is a partner in one of the most innovative lines of boutique training studios in the nation, Efficient Exercise. He’s also a partner in ARXFit training equipment, and a founding member of ID Life. In his spare time, he authors one of the top fitness blogs in the health and wellness sphere, Theory To Practice.


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