The 10 Fat-Loss Commandments

Jason Helmes

By Jason Helmes

Jason Helmes is an online fitness consultant from Michigan, USA, who is passionate about helping average men and women integrate fitness into their hectic schedules. Read more.

There are certain things which are FACTS if you want to lose fat.

There is no way around them - if you are going to lean out - your belly, your love handles, or your Dad Bod, and you are going to do it CORRECTLY - a few things WILL have to happen.

We aren't talking "juice cleanses" or "detoxes" here.  Nor are we talking "going low carb for two months for a holiday".  We are talking actual, legitimate, long-term, fat shredding.

Be sure you're ready if you think you REALLY want to do this… Because these 10 commandments will change your life…

The 10 Fat Loss Commandments

1. Thou Shalt Deal With Hunger

You will not lose fat without having to deal with the physical sensation of hunger.  There are going to be ways you can strategically set up your diet to alleviate some of the hunger, but you won't be able to eliminate it 100%.

Deal with your hunger

Eating whole foods and fibrous veggies will help.  So will staying hydrated.  Being sure you get healthy fats to slow down digestion is an excellent suggestion.  Decreasing your meal frequency and eating less times per day has been an effective tool for many as well.

When push comes to shove, when you're trying to lose fat, you will be eating fewer calories than you need.  It's a case of thermodynamics.  And the body's natural response to having fewer calories than it needs? You guessed it.  Hunger.

The feeling of hunger is just that - a bodily sensation.  It doesn't NEED to be quenched instantaneously.  You WILL eat again.  So, relax, and grab a glass of water.  Everything will be just fine.

If you can grind out 3 extra reps on the bench press, you can suck it up and deal with a bit of hunger. 

It's a small price to pay for ab veins.

2. Thou Shalt Greatly Limit Liquid Calories

Technically speaking, it's possible to slosh down some sodas and beers when cutting, but you're going to be hard-pressed to find many who have made long-term fat loss possible while slamming sugar-bomb drinks and booze on the regs.

Sugary liquids are incredibly under-satiating as a calorie choice - giving us zero fibre with a large rush of glucose.  This means the drink will taste great, do next to nothing to fill us up, and likely leave us hungrier in the future once the sugar-buzz wears off.

Most effective, fat-loss dieters swear by one simple rule:  "If the liquid I'm consuming has calories, it had BETTER get me drunk."

Hear, hear!

3. Thou Shalt Eat Mostly Whole Foods

Musclefood Whole Foods

You know your favourite Instagram fitness coach?  The one with all the pictures of ice cream sundaes and boxes of Pop Tarts?

He's an idiot.

Keep in mind that you DON'T see the other 98% of his diet.

Anyone who properly diets for fat loss eats a majority of their calories in the form of whole foods.  Meat, eggs, potatoes, rice, veggies, fruit, dairy, etc.  On occasion, you might throw in some junk to keep yourself sane, but nearly all of your foods will come from plants or animals.

This commandment also includes dining out.  Dining out is just fine and dandy, but if you're going to make it a daily occasion, the odds of finding long-term, permanent success dwindle dramatically.

It may be a cliché but Abs ARE made in the kitchen - and that's not likely to change any time soon.

4. Thou Shalt Say "No" To Others

It's going to happen.

There's no way it won't happen.

You know it will.  There's no denying it.  Might as well accept it…

You can't be a recluse in your own home.  You can't just skip all social events you get invited to until you reach your goal weight.  You will need to go be a part of society.

When you are part of that society, someone (like your girl) will offer you food or drink which is not on your plan.

And you will have to say "No".

Well, I guess technically, you won't HAVE to say no, but if you plan on making health and fitness a long-term goal and not just a fleeting “21-Day Fix” or “water weight” scenario, then yes, you will have to learn how to say "No" to people.

The easiest way?  Just smile and say "No thanks, I'm good." Simple, straight-forward, and easy.  No reason to make up any excuses.

It will get easier over time - the first time is easily the most difficult.  But start practicing how to say "No" today.  Because you'll have to.

It's just FOOD, right? Nothing more.  Leanness and abs feel way better than cake tastes, anyways.

5. Thou Shalt Create a Specific Plan

You know how you hear "eat less, move more"? And everyone says that doesn't work?
The ironic part is that if by "eat less" you mean you will consume less calories, and by "move more" you mean you will burn more calories, then yes, "eat less, move more" works perfectly!

Every single time, in fact.  There's even this pesky little scientific LAW that states all energy is accounted for - it can be neither created nor destroyed.  You remember that, right? The First Law of Thermodynamics?

That being said, for nearly all of us, we will have to do more than just "eat less, move more".  The odds are stacked against you if your plan looks like this:

  • Do cardio every day
  • Lift 5 times per week
  • Eat clean

That may work for a bit, but there's a chance you will cut too hard and lose muscle - or suffer from hormonal issues.  Dieting haphazardly can make your… Uhhhhh… “little buddy” lose his… “interest.”

Workout plan and meal plan

To ensure this doesn't happen, you'll need to have a relatively specific plan in place.  When creating your food plan, ask yourself:

  • What does "eat clean" mean? Get specific and objective. 
  • What will your meals look like?
  • How many per day will you eat?
  • At what times?

You can dine out. But you will need to be strategic when you do. Do some research before you leave the house.  Spontaneous, "eat whatever you want" type meals will need to be few and far between.

Likewise, when it comes to your training plan:

  • What will you REALLY be able to do activity wise? You won't be able to keep up a daily running regimen, most likely.  Perhaps 3 times per week? Twice per week?
  • What about weight training?
  • What can you realistically do? Keep in mind resistance training 3 times per week using compound movements works quite nicely in these situations.

With an intelligent dieting plan, additional activity isn't always necessary.

6. Thou Shalt Forgive Yourself Quickly When You Screw Up

No matter how much you plan, obsess, and tell yourself that "willpower" and "motivation" will get you through the day - you're gonna screw up.

At the start, you might even mess up often.  Maybe you'll even binge.  You'll go to the pub, thinking you'll be “good”, and you'll end up knee deep in pizza boxes with a wicked hangover and a new pet goat by your side.

What? That's just me?  It's all good - we've all been there…

And when it happens, what will you do?

Feel down? Hate yourself? Allow your emotions to get the best of you? Will you "make up" for your poor behavior by eating nothing but tofu for the next two weeks?

The best thing to do is to "turn the page" very quickly, and go about your life like it never happened.  Your food choices are not a reflection of ANYTHING - other than actual food-based decisions.

They are not your self-worth.  They are not your defining attributes.  They are not anything other than choices for your caloric intake.

Your ability to move on - quickly - without self-loathing will provide you with the self-compassion required to remain analytical and unemotional.

It was one night.  Whatever.  Get over it.  Move on.

Once you can go about your life as if nothing ever happened, dieting will become much easier to handle and manage.

7. Thou Shalt Reflect, Analyze, And Adapt

Reflective Bodybuilder

Everything works for a bit of time, but the law of diminishing returns states that no workout or diet will work forever.

You might kick-start your journey by going low-carb… and feel better as a result... but eventually, the benefits will bottom out.  You'll probably experience problems over time, and you will need to realise this and adapt.

There will be a bit of a "sunk cost fallacy" at hand.  You will "feel" like you can't possibly abandon ship on something that has taken you so far.

But you would be wrong in thinking this way.

If you'd like to continue to make gains, you will need to alter your programming, alter your thinking, reflect on your experiences, and grow as a result.  Both physically and spiritually.  You will need to better understand your craft - your physique - and your body - over time.

You will need to experiment and be willing to move forward, even if it means letting go of old dogmas, training philosophies, and nutritional beliefs.

If you get stuck in one way of thinking and you can't release yourself from the grasp of single-minded ideologies, your goal of long-term viability and health will be shrouded with uncertainty.

8. Thou Shalt Be Patient

Nearly every mistake you could POSSIBLY make will be a result of not showing patience.

  • It's the dieter who has great results for four weeks, then the weight loss stalls, and they abandon ship for the "next best thing".
  • It's the noob weightlifter who stalls and has one rubbish workout, and they program hop in hopes of the "fitness holy grail".
  • It's the bulker who decides to "max out those gainz, bro", and starts piling away 5,000 calories per day - and just gets fat.
  • It's the cutter who wants to be "shredded" in 6 weeks, and cuts way too hard, sacrificing muscle in the process.
  • It's the weightlifter who wants a 20 pound PR instead of a modest, 5 pound PR, and ends up in the chiropractor's office.

Fitness.  Takes.  Time.

Become invested in the process - not the end result.  The end result is too daunting, too large, too "pie-in-the-sky."  The end result occurs as a function of an enormous string of small, intelligent decisions strung together like a beautiful chorus line of awesomeness.

If you can live the fitness lifestyle for years - you'll be amazed.  But doing so will take patience.  Get your mind right.  Rome wasn't built in a day - and your physique isn't either.

9. Thou Shalt Be Level Headed And Wary Of Hogwash

Hogwash is abundant.  It's everywhere.  You can't deny it.

Juice fasts, detoxes, cleanses, toxic sugar, "belly fat-shredding superfoods"… the list goes on and on.  Always remember - if it looks too good to be true, it is in fact TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.

Coconut water

The fitness game is quite simple:

  • Eat nutritious, whole foods
  • Stay hydrated
  • Lift hard
  • Gaining fat? Eat a bit less
  • Want to gain muscle? Eat a bit more

That "One, Weird Trick" is to never give up - and live the fitness lifestyle - permanently.

If you find you react poorly to certain foods, eliminate them.  Stay sane when faced with temptations.  Eat a cookie, just don't eat them all.  Remember that treats are treats.

And if you put butter in your coffee, please, for the love of God - STOP.

10. Thou Shalt Be "Selfish"

This is about you - and nobody else.  Do not give one single thought to anything that will get in your way.  If someone isn't on the "gainz train" with you, then so be it.  But don't let their thoughts and negativity distract you from your goals.

It really is okay to be a bit "selfish" at times.  At the end of the day:

  • Your gym time is sacred - don't let anything take that away from you.
  • You don't *have* to eat everything at the party - no matter who made it.
  • You CAN stay on point and have a good time as well.
  • There's always going to be dieting haters - be sure you tell them where they can stick it.

And above all else, the absolute best thing you can do - for yourself and for your family - is to be the best YOU you can be.  Over time you'll be happy you did.

Questions welcomed in the comments below - thanks, Jason.

Jason Helmes

About Jason

Jason Helmes is an online fitness consultant from Michigan, USA, who is passionate about helping average men and women integrate fitness into their hectic schedules.  His firm, Anyman Fitness, LLC , was founded in 2013 and has had over 650 clients to date.

He specialises in application - how to take the optimal, evidence-based recommendations - and make them work in your daily lives.

When he's not helping out his clients, Jason spends his free time lifting, barbecuing, and relaxing with his wife Kate, and his daughters, Brooklyn (4), and Ava (2).

You can check out Jason's blog (to learn about coaching opportunities), or connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

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