"Successful weight loss takes programming, not willpower."
-Dr. Phil Mcgraw
You want to be ripped.
Ripped like Rocky in Rocky IV.
Or maybe you don't. But for the sake of argument, let's just say you do!
The question, however, is how to get to that point without losing your hard-earned muscle or depriving your body of needed energy.
Here's some good news: you DON'T need to starve yourself or shove vegetables down your throat all day.
DISCLAIMER: if you've already read my post on The Muscle Building Diet, much of this information will be repetition. This is due to the huge overlap of nutrition when it comes to muscle building and weight loss.
1. Eat a Caloric Deficit
To lose fat, you must eat a caloric deficit.
You must eat a caloric deficit.
YOU MUST EAT A CALORIC DEFICIT!!!!
I need to drill this into your head, especially because I've tried getting around this in the past and have failed to do so.
For those unfamiliar with this term, a caloric deficit is eating less foods than you burn from day to day. Ideally, I would aim for a 20% caloric deficit; if you eat 2000 calories a day, reduce it to 1600.
If you're obese or severely overweight, a 30% caloric deficit would be even more appropriate.
2. Hit Your Macros
Here's the range of the macronutrient ratios you should be aiming for:
Yep, that's right.
People think that weight loss = fat loss, but it's really not that simple. Sure, diuretics or low-carb diets will help you lose fast, but most of that weight will be water. Soon enough, the weight loss will plateau. Only proper macronutrient ratios and caloric deficits will lead to consistent weight loss.
Keep the carbs no lower than 40%. In fact, I would only venture this low if your body type doesn't tolerate carbs well in general.
3. Eat Filling Foods
Part of the reason it sucks for most people to try and lose weight is because they don't eat the right food.
Snacking on candy and junk food just leaves you starving later in the day, making it impossible to burn off fat.
Stick to the foods I mentioned in The Muscle Building Diet and you'll be all right. The key to making this weight loss more comfortable is to focus on filling and fiber-heavy foods. Crackers and bread won't do the job.
Also, try to avoid crazy sauces and condiments (a tablespoon of barbecue sauce might have as much as 100 calories). If you absolutely can't stand some of the stuff (like chicken breast) without something to dip it in, make sure it's low in calories.
4. Drink Enough Fluids
Your water intake for fat loss will be a bit different from the intake for muscle gain, however. Since you're not eating nearly as much as you would while bulking, you might only need 4 or 5 glasses of water a day.
Considering you'll be eating a lot of foods rich in water, even 4 glasses might be too much.
Whatever the actual number ends up being, just make sure you're urinating every 2 - 3 hours.
5. Supplement Well
I would take the same supplements as those that I listed on The Muscle Building Diet page. There is, however, one more supplement I would add here for fat loss purposes:
Green tea contains high traces of catechins, which are biochemical substances which promote fat loss by breaking down enzymes known as catecholamines. You could take this in the form of an extract or just drink the real thing each day. Personally, I find drinking tea relaxing, so I'd recommend doing just that.
There you have it; 5 ways to build an effective diet for losing fat.
In fact, if you've been struggling with this for years, you might be on your way to fitting into your jeans from college.