Sunday, January 22, 2012

What To Eat and How To Get Started

I get this one single question more than any other: "What should I eat?"

Most of the time, people aren't asking because they are really interesting in eating better.  No, what they really want is for me to give them the secret answer.  The one special food they can eat that will do all the work for them and make them skinny. 

Sorry, but it doesn't exist.  It never did exist. Stop searching for the secret. Stop looking for the easy way out. You're wasting your time.  I know I sure wasted a lot of time myself. 

I will tell you this: I don't have the secret, but I do have the answer.  If you do what I say, follow through with it on a daily basis and never look back, you will not only lose weight but will be healthier than you ever have been. 

That said, I can't tell you what to eat.  Every person is different.  For instance, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables on Earth.  You couldn't pay me to eat it.  I hate it.  Again, every person is different. 

Now, let's create your daily eating plan.  

The first rule of your lifestyle change is to KEEP IT SIMPLE.  Stop trying to make things complicated.  Making things complicated is a defense mechanism for the status quo.  Subconsciously, your mind wants your eating plan to be complicated so when you stop following it, you will fail.  I know, because I did it.  Your body, together will your subconscious, wants you to stay overweight forever.  You will fight this every day.  I do. 

I eat 6 times a day. 3 meals, plus 3 snacks. Consistently. Daily.  With no exceptions, for the last 19 months. You can see the results of this at the top of this webpage. 

"But I can't eat that much!"  Shut up and listen.  You can eat that much and you will eat that much and here's why: you have to regulate your hunger.  You have to make sure that you do not go through the day building up your hunger to the point you find yourself in the McDonald's drive-thru at 2 in the morning.  That starve/binge cycle is what keeps people overweight.  It's a vicious cycle. 

Also, stop thinking hunger has anything to do with when you eat. 

I am never hungry. I have no idea what being hungry feels like. That ability was lost long ago.  But I do know when my body requires fuel.  6 times a day.  

The 6 Food Groups

What you eat and what you buy to eat will fall into 6 food groups.  This is my personal modification to the government's "4 food groups."  They are: Fruits, Vegetables, Lean Meats, Low-Fat Dairy, Whole Grains and Water.  These are your categories.  So it's time to head to the grocery store and work down the list of each one. 

Fruits - Find which ones you like and eat them regularly, several times a day.  Apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries, grapes, whatever.  I love to eat watermelon and cantaloupe like it's going out of style. 

Vegetables - This one was hard for me.  I don't like a lot of vegetables.  But I have found that I love to eat green beans.  I eat them by the truckload. I also eat carrots and potatoes.  Find the vegetables you like, buy them and eat them. 

Lean Meats - I eat chicken breast, fish, turkey and pork.  I gave up red meat.  There are lean cuts of red meat, but that's a personal decision.  I found it too high in fat for what I got in return. 

Low-Fat Dairy: I eat yogurt like it's going out of style.  Greek yogurt, regular yogurt, plain yogurt...all of it. Just buy the non-fat kind and watch the sugar.  Skim milk is fine too, although I don't drink it and I don't eat cereal, I prefer oatmeal.  But all of that is fine. Low-fat cheese and cottage cheese is fine, but watch the salt. 

Whole Grains: Most of the bread sold in stores today sucks.  You need to buy the good stuff. Whole wheat bread with 5 or 6 grams of fiber per slice.  Oatmeal is good. I eat a ton of oatmeal. 

Water: You cannot lose weight and keep it off without drinking a lot of water.  The health benefits of drinking water are many.  It keeps you hydrated and actually quenches your thirst.  It is essential to life. Soda, diet or not, is absolute poison and will stimulate your appetite like nothing else.  Quit drinking it as soon as possible.  What?  It's hard?  I know it's hard.  I used to drink 12 cans of it a day.  If I can quit, anyone can. 

Now that you've made your list and shopped and bought your food, there are 2 final things you need to do: write down everything you eat and measure everything you eat. 

The last person than can be trusted to eyeball or estimate how much they're eating is somebody who is overweight.  I do not trust myself at all.  So buy some measuring cups, a food scale and some measuring spoons. 

Then, write it down.  You can use my free meal planner sheet or you can make your own, or you can use your computer or smartphone app.  It doesn't matter.  BUT YOU MUST KEEP TRACK.

How many calories a day? There are calorie calculators all over the place, but most of them are worthless. I eat between 2,400 and 3,000 calories a day.  I also work out a lot.  If you're overweight, 2,000 calories seems like a nice target, but give yourself some room in the beginning. If you need 3,000 to get through the day, so be it.  The next day will be different.  The more active you are, the more you can eat.  But to start, for women, shoot for 2,000 and men 2,400. Somewhere in there. 

If you do everything I have just described, you will lose weight and keep it off.  It will be long.  It will be hard. But if I can do it, anyone can. 



  1. Hi Bryan - I read your story on CNN, Viewed your youtube video and here I am reading your blog. I just wanted to say: AWESOME FANTASTIC WOW!!! I only have 60 pounds to lose.

    What an amazing story. Your message is spot on. Eat healthy and burn more calories then you consume.

    I am with you on not being able to cheat a little - once I have a little of something it turns into a lot. People say it's okay to cheat - not for me - not now at least.

    Keep on going Bryan... your story is inspirational. You did it, you did something so many of us can't do - step out of the mold... step into a new you.

    Congratulaitons and keep going.

    May I ask - relative to the excess skin, do they say it will shrink?

  2. Hi Bryan, Thanks for sharing your story and giving tips and inspiration to those of us on the same journey. I have close to 200 pounds to lose myself, and it helps keep me on track when I read stories like yours. Keep up the great work!