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This summer I came back from holiday (visiting my parents in the Czech republic) and was afraid of stepping up on scale I was expecting a huge increase of my weight.

And to my surprise I actually LOST weight!

This may not be a surprise to you if you think of course you lost weight, because you’re a personal trainer. For sure you go to the gym every day, watch your food, eating healthy food, don’t drink alcohol and behave as an example for all of us.

Well the truth is exactly opposite.

It’s possible to lose fat while eating fatty foods

I didn’t go even once to a gym during my 13 days holiday. I did not measure or avoid any foods, I drank alcohol (which I normally don’t) and besides occasional walks didn’t do much.

Now look how my typical food diary look like:

Breakfast: Apple strudel and coffee

Lunch: dumplings, meat and lots of gravy plus some digestive liquir (think glass of Port)

Snack: yes you guess right  more Strudel

Dinner: potatoes or dumplings again with more fatty meat (think duck or beef fried in lard) and more gravy.

Dessert: chocolate and wine

So how the hell is possible that on diet like this full of “unhealthy” carbs and fat I can lose fat?

How our bodies lose fat

The answer lies in portion sizes and total caloric intake.

Even tough the meals I’ve eaten in the Czech Republic were way richer (had more calories) I got easily full and didn’t eat more.  Back home in Vancouver  my diet would look like this:

Breakfast: oatmeal and protein shake or sprouted bread with eggs

Snack: protein shake and piece of fruit

Post workout shake

Lunch: rice and protein (usually chicken or turkey_, steamed veggetables

Dinner: similar to lunch but salmon instead of chicken, veggies

Dessert: Chocolate protein shake

From the estimation above my  “Vancouver diet” looks healthier with less calories it’s actually more food as my portions are way bigger. I’m tracking my food when I’m in Vancouver so I know I’m eating around 2,600 Cal every day.

In the Czech republic I may have 1000 Cal lunch but then my dinners would be smaller because I would still feel full from the meals of higher fat and carbs. As the weather was quite hot even simple easy walk was challenging in that heat and I burned more calories.

The bottom line is that there is not really bad and good food. It’s all about total caloric balance. (If you want to gain or lose weight)

If you consume more calories (regardless of the source) than you expend through activities, you will gain weight. If you consume less you will lose weight.

Yes it’s quite a simplification as other factors are in effect (having enough nutrients in the food, what is your resting metabolism, non exercise related caloric expenditure etc) but the main point is caloric balance.

Your strategy to lose fat

So what to do if you want to lose weight?

  • Figure out how much you’re actually eating.

You can start tracking your food in an app like www.myfitnesspal.com  or writing your meals down on piece of paper and than converting them to calories.

  • Lower your caloric intake by about 20 %

If you know how much you’re actually eating (how many calories) a drop by 20% would be not too drastic to sustain and usually enough to see a difference in your weight.

  • If the two steps above are too much for you, just decrease your existing portion sizes or focus on replacing your high caloric dense food with less caloric.

For example, replacing most of your starchy rich food (pasta, bread, sweets etc) with vegetables and few servings of fruits.

If counting calories and tracking sounds way too complicated for you just decrease your portions of your meals and instantly you’ll be eating less calories resulting in weight loss.

  • Measure your progress

If you don’t measure where you started you don’t know where you are.

Tape measurements are the easiest, just measure your hips and waist at navel level. That is usually the place where most people carry the majority of their fat.

And here you have it.   You can eat your cake and still get results.

Let me know your thoughts.