Fuel Your Engine


10 simple rules that have worked for me, so far.

  1. Sleep.  I shoot for 8 hours a night.  Bed at 10pm, usually rising by 6am.  Cool, dark room.  Limit screens immediately before going to sleep.   Check out f.lux. Occasional meditation. [Lights Out]

  2. Limit Sugar.  I avoid all sugary drinks and limit fruit with the exception of some infrequent eating of berries.   I also do not consume artificial sweeteners as recent research has raised some questions about their health implications.[Robert Lustig]

  3. Avoid Grains.  These are anti-nutrients and are causal of clinical inflammation.  No bread, cookies, crackers, etc. [Grain BrainWhy We Get Fat]

  4. Eat High Quality Protein.  Steak, fish, chicken, shrimp, eggs, etc.  This is the base of the diet program. I eat at least 0.5lb a day (~50g). On workout days I shoot for 1.5lbs (150g).  On workout days I normally include a protein powder to hit the target. [Archevore, Paul Jaminet]

  5. Eat Healthy Fats/Avoid Vegetable Oils.  I don't eat vegetable oils.  I tend to cook with butter or olive oil.  I get other fats from avocado, eggs and steak. [Peter Attia]

  6. Fast for 16-18 hours per day.  Learned from Martin Berkhan.  He is the guru of IF.  This approach has given me more focus in the morning, reduced my caloric intake, and made diet adherence much easier.  I typically stop eating at 7pm and break the fast at 12pm or 1pm the next day.  During the fasting window, I only have black coffee. Every week or so, I extend the fast to 24hrs. [Brad Pilon, Jason Fung]

  7. Lift Heavy Things. Three days a week I lift weights.  I stay in the 5-8 rep range and rest as much as I need between sets.  My program is Monday: Chest/Legs (Hamstrings), Wednesday: Arms/Abs, and Friday: Back/Legs (Quads). There are lots of good programs out there, this is just what I do. [Starting Strength]

  8. (Safe) Starches.  I try to eat some veggies with every meal (broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, etc).  Post workout I load up on rice or potatoes. If you are at your desired level of bodyfat - add more starch.  In the past, I avoided all carbs and was chronically hungry.  I also could not get below about 12% bodyfat.  Now that hunger is not an issue, I have avoided the binging that plagued my previous very low carb (VLC) approach. [Perfect Health Diet]

  9. No Snacking.  This one is perhaps more controversial, but I have found that after following a clean diet, I still wanted less body fat.  Lowering calories on non-workout days helped with that goal in a big way. One trick is to stop snacking.  Eating even a single bite of food starts the craving process.  I find if I stick to 2 meals a day and some dark chocolate (>72%) and maybe wine at night, I eat less and eat healthier. When I want to get leaner, I eliminate the chocolate and alcohol.

  10. Supplement Wisely.  

I should note one last thing. Be patient. Meaningful change takes time. Trust the process and stick with it. Give these ideas 2-3 months and see what happens. A week or two is not enough to see big differences. Relax, let go of expectation and pressure. Just enjoy the ride. The new you will emerge.

The above list is currently what I find useful, but diet is an ongoing experiment for me.  I will revise this over time as I learn more.  Feel free to give it a go and let me know what works (or didn't work) for you.

HealthPaul Pedrazzi