I’ve answered over 16000 questions in the site comments over the last four years, so I have a very good idea of what people ask the most often. Read through the list to see if you can find what you’re looking for then click the link. The Leangains guide is for people that just want a well structured system to follow, without having to think any deeper about the fundamentals of why it works. Make sure you are tracking your progress in detail so that you can then fine tune and adjust your diet from there. If you get the macros (protein, carbs and fats) right, then the calorie balance will be right, because counting macros is just a more detailed way of counting calories. If you eat a fist sized portion of fruit and veg with each meal, and vary your choices each day, you’ll likely have the micros covered. As long as you don’t neglect fruit and vegetables, as long as you make your carb choices fit your macros you will not affect your diet. The Glycemic Index is irrelevant in the context of a mixed food meal as digestion and absorption will be slowed.
In general then, after you’ve had your fruit and veggies for the day just make sure you get most of your carbs from whole foods (pasta, rice, bread, potatoes etc…) 80% of the time and you’ll be fine.
We lose water at night so you’ll definitely want to drink a good few glasses to re-hydrate in the morning.
If you find yourself waking in the middle of the night to go to the toilet, taper your intake down towards the end of the day. Yes, you can drink diet soda and it will not affect your diet despite what the Youtube videos say.
I’ve written a guide to drinking alcohol on a diet here with details and reasons for the above.
So if you are a bodybuilder or model with a competition or shoot in a few days then you’ll want to watch your intake.
So bodybuilders, whom need to look extra lean on one particular day, cutting sodium two weeks before a competition to lose water is a bad strategy, because their body will have re-adjusted to a set-point by that two week mark and nothing will have changed overall. Protein from real food (meat, fish, eggs, etc.) will keep you feeling full for longer, which is obviously a desirable thing when dieting. Aside from satiety reasons, we want protein to be absorbed slowly so that our blood is still swimming with aminos during the fast, preventing muscle catabolism.
Don’t worry about it if you have healthy kidneys and control your protein intake if you have damaged kidneys. It is generally recommended to consume more water during periods when protein intake is being increased. In healthy persons and rats, there is no evidence to suggest a relatively normal style of protein intake is harmful to the liver when habitually consumed as part of the diet. Evidence is theoretically sound, but the acidity of excessive amino acids does not appear to be a clinical concern. If you eat less, your caloric deficit will be too high, you’ll burn more fat but you will risk muscle loss also. The feeling of being too full for people who are new to dieting (the serious kind, where they start counting their macros) is common. If you continue to feel too full, and it’s uncomfortable, try spacing your meals out further apart, increase meal frequency, or try a mixture of both.
Eat a slow-digesting protein like eggs or cottage cheese, or eat meat with plenty fibrous green vegetables. Put your fish oil supplementation with this last meal as fats slow digestion (a minor point).
Sleep and stress elements should not be underestimated in their ability to interfere with a diet. It can cause significant stalls in weight loss, increase moodiness, and generally ramp up all the other negative effects of dieting.

As for working with clients, these things throw a significant spanner into the works when it comes to the predictability of things. Sleep with distractions for your brain (TV on, people coming and going, neighbours lawnmower going next door)… isn’t ideal. Sleeping at completely different times will mess with your body’s hormonal patterns and isn’t ideal. Fortunately the readers of my ramblings on this blog tend to be quite an educated bunch, so I’m sure someone will correct me on my mistakes above. It’s safe for most people, has neuroprotective properties and can improve strength and performance.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking more is better, more just means fairly sudden diarrhoea and brown pants. Based on your experience cooking things at home you can get to have a good idea of what is in meals in restaurants. I recommend periodic diet breaks, free-meals (where the calorie intake is the same, but macros are ignored), and a relaxed attitude to counting macros, but I don’t see cheat days as being part of your diet. This item will be shipped through the Global Shipping Program and includes international tracking. Will usually ship within 1 business day of receiving cleared payment - opens in a new window or tab. By submitting your bid, you are committing to buy this item from the seller if you are the winning bidder. By clicking Confirm, you commit to buy this item from the seller if you are the winning bidder. By clicking Confirm, you are committing to buy this item from the seller if you are the winning bidder and have read and agree to the Global Shipping Program terms and conditions - opens in a new window or tab. Your bid is the same as or more than the Buy It Now price.You can save time and money by buying it now. By clicking 1 Click Bid, you commit to buy this item from the seller if you're the winning bidder.
The Complete Set-up Guide will teach you the principles of diet set-up and training, so you can understand the true order of importance for the different factors that make up solid nutrition and training programs, adjust things for yourself, and become truly independent. If you have that right, then reduce the calorie split between the training and rest days (from 30% to 20% for example). I’ve been asked a version of this over 2000 times in the comments, and it became so overwhelming I had to decline commenting for people and delete them to stem the floods of similar questions. Everyone’s actual energy expenditure will vary somewhere between plus or minus ~20% of that due genetic differences, the current state of metabolic adaptations, and NEAT variance. Throw in a 24-hour news cycle, difficult-to-understand studies, and media companies scramble for the latest viral hit, and it’s no surprise that misinformation spreads like wildfire.
This is the IIFYM philosophy, more of which you can read about in the post, Is Clean Eating a Scam?
Just pour water in the bottom, add chopped veggies on top and then put it in the microwave for a minute or two. The liver plays an important role in fat metabolism. If you don’t drink enough water then the kidneys can’t function at full capacity and thus the liver has to work to help them, decreasing the rate which fat can be metabolised.
This is because the body takes in 3-4g of water per gram of carbs that we eat and flushes it out when we don’t. A splash of milk in your coffee(s) in the mornings is fine too, but don’t put sugar in there.
Among the research that does exist, the majority of studies lasting beyond the acute phase have demonstrated the superior effectiveness of artificially sweetened beverages to sugar-sweetened ones for weight loss. However, unless you are eating a diet very high in junk food your salt intake overall is not likely to be a concern. Only relative changes in sodium will increase your water retention, not overall consumption.

Reducing intake is just as likely (if not more so) to reduce the water inside of the muscles also, leaving you looking flat. In terms of rates of digestion, real food is slowest, then casein protein (5-7 hrs) then whey protein (2-3hrs). It may be prudent to gradually increase protein intake to higher levels rather than jumping in both feet at a time, but there isn’t much on this topic. There is some preliminary evidence, however, that very high protein refeeding after prolonged fasting (>48 hours) may cause acute injuries to the liver. However, it’s probably better not to as it threatens diet adherence because generally snacking just makes hunger more persistent. In the meantime choosing more dense carb sources (some yummy cereal for example) is a good idea. When we get it into our heads that we can make adjustments in the days post to correct a mistake it leads to a slippery slope subconsciously, which encourages further indulgence and jeopardises diet adherence. This whole website is littered with comments from people amazed at how they have adjusted and are feeling great. Despite having been studied to death there’s a lot of nonsense out there regarding the timing, dosing and types. The calorie content is minimal, the amino acid profile limited, they can’t be considered the same. You have read and agree to the Global Shipping Program terms and conditions - opens in a new window or tab. Import charges previously quoted are subject to change if you increase you maximum bid amount. They are not mutually exclusive, the latter explains why the former works, but just removes the nutrient timing limitations by giving you the broader principles.
If you’ve already done that, then reduce it further manually by just taking some of your carb intake from the training days and adding it to the rest days.
So if you suddenly increase your sodium intake you will bloat; if you suddenly decrease your sodium intake you will lose water. If we drink a protein shake as part of a meal then the digestion will be slowed significantly and could conceivably be double this (though there have been no studies that I know of that measure rates of digestion with mixed food meals).
Eventually your body will catch up, it’ll recognize that you are in a calorie deficit, and you will feel a degree of hunger as a consequence. This is amplified whenever alcohol and is thrown into the mix due to the effect on inhibitions. You can test this by sleeping without an alarm clock for consecutive days and taking an average – it can also be argued that if you have to wake up with an alarm clock then you’re not getting enough. Both groups lost the same amount of weight, but the sleep deprived group lost ~50% less fat. For this reason I don’t recommend someone who is starting a diet to start (or stop) taking creatine because it can throw off your tracking. I believe the term was originally coined to describe the days where a large quantity of carbs would be strategically consumed after a period of severe restriction in Lyle McDonald’s Cyclic Ketogenic Diet. If you reside in an EU member state besides UK, import VAT on this purchase is not recoverable.
However if you get a little steamer for the microwave then fresh vegetables can be cooked in just minutes also so consider that. I weigh my rice, pasta, potatoes and meats, and just look on the packets for the macronutrient information for others. Get a small electronic kitchen scale. Keep things as regular as possible, but don’t stress the occasional day when timing is off.

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