Last year I wrote a book on goal setting.  I am now in the process of editing that book.  As I edit, I will post excerpts here on my blog.  This is from chapter four:

Why one meal a day?

All diets, no matter what, have one thing in common.  That one thing is caloric deficit.

What is caloric deficit?

Caloric deficit is a fancy term with a simple meaning.

Ready?  Here is the definition of caloric deficit.  In order to lose weight, we need to burn more calories during the day than we take in. 

Nothing mind blowing here.

If you are eating 2,500 calories a day, and burning only 1,500 calories a day, you are not going to lose weight.  It really is that simple.

You need more calories going out than you are taking in.   If you are eating 2,500 calories a day and burning 2,800 calories a day, you are going to lose weight.  It may be slow.  But, you are going to lose weight.

You do not have to do what I am about to suggest.  You do what works for you.   

Several years ago, I discovered intermittent fasting.  Essentially, this means you skip one or two meals a day.

Here is how it works.  Let’s say you consume 1,000 calories at every meal, and when you work out, you burn 1,000 calories.

If you are eating three times a day, you are taking on 3,000 calories.

If you cut out one meal a day, you are now taking on 2,000 calories.

If you drop down to one meal a day, you are now taking on 1,000 calories a day.   

If you are consuming fewer calories, it will be easier for you to hit your goal of losing extra weight.

Of course, I have to say, I am not a doctor or a nutritionist.  I am simply explaining intermittent fasting the best way I know how.

I do not know if intermittent fasting is here to stay, or if it is another fad. But, I can tell you this.

For most of history, intermittent fasting was a significant part of the lives of our ancestors.

There is a reason so many of us in America are overweight.

It is not because something is wrong with us.  The problem is that we do not respect food the way we once did.

What do I mean?

In America, if we want something to eat, we go to the store and buy it.  If we do not want to make the food ourselves, we go to a restaurant.

For those of us who live near decent sized towns and cities, we can do this as much as we want, or as much as we can afford to.

It was not always this way.

I was born in 1973.  I live in America.  I can go to the grocery store anytime I like.  I can go to a restaurant anytime I like.

My parents could do the same.

My grandparents could do the same, though it was somewhat novel for them.  Both of my grandfathers had large gardens.  Wandering around their gardens fills many of my earliest memories.

My great-grandparents could not go to the grocery store whenever they wanted.  They could not go to a restaurant whenever they wanted.  For the most part, they grew their own food.

Going deeper into history, from my great-grandparents on, each generation struggled to grow their own food from their own plot of land.   

These days, food is easily available, anytime we want.

This is in stark contrast to our ancestors.

I have a degree in history.  (I am going to use it in the following few sentences.  Other than that, getting a degree in history was not one of my best decisions.)

In the days of our ancestors, it was uncommon for them to eat three meals a day.  Quite often, meals were hard to come by.

Our ancestors could not walk into a store and buy all the food they liked.  They had to grow their food.  Or, they had to hunt for their food.

Even after hunting it down, they had to clean it before cooking it.

I can drive to the grocery store right now, buy steaks, bring them home, grill them, and be eating them within an hour.

Imagine how long it would take our ancestors to get a steak.

First, they would have to grow, feed, and take care of a cow.

Then, they would have to butcher it, clean it, salt it, and store it.

Finally, they would cook it and eat it.  The process was slow, expensive, and messy.

We, on the other hand, have it easy.  And, that is part of the problem.

It was common for our ancestors to go without meals.  Sometimes, they would go without meals for days.  At most, they might eat one or two meals a day.

They certainly were not lying on the couch snacking between meals!

Not only that, they also tended to work incredibly hard.  Most of the time, the work was hard physical labor.

Since they worked hard physically, and since they did not eat much, they stayed lean.  They stayed in good physical condition.

Both of my grandfathers were strong, even into old age.

One of my grandfathers, at 90 years old, nearly fell out of a tree he was trimming.

A neighbor discovered him hanging by a rope twenty feet above the ground.  He was harnessed.  He knew what he was doing.  He had been trimming trees.  He had lost his balance and dropped his chainsaw.  At 90 years old!

What does any of this have to do with you?

Since food is so readily available, and since food is so cheap, you will need to discipline yourself.  This will be tough.  You will have to discipline yourself to watch what you eat and drink.

What am I suggesting?

Simple.  Eat less.  Skip meals.  Despite what the psychologists say, it isn’t going to kill you to skip a few meals.  I am sure they will come up with a disorder anyway.  They have a name and a pill for every disorder.  And, surprise, surprise… they keep coming up with more disorders.

If this book becomes popular, they will create a new disorder.  I’ll help.  Let’s call it Chapter4DisphoriaDisorder.  There will be a new pill with a list of side effects as long as your arm.

Reaching healthy goals is not all that complicated.  Train yourself to eat less.  Drink water.  Drink black coffee, or green tea.  Cut out the sugary drinks.  Cut out the high calorie drinks.

Combine this with strength training and here is what will happen.

You will start losing fat.  You will start gaining muscle.

You will find that your mind is clear.  You will find your focus improving.

You will find yourself looking forward to eating at the end of a long day.  You will find your appreciation of food increases.

I have experienced all of these benefits.  I think my favorite change has been my newfound appreciation of food.  I really look forward to dinner now.  It means so much more to me than it did when I was eating all day.

I believe we are limiting our potential as humans when we allow our daily habits to control us.  You have more potential than you think you do.  You are capable of more than you think you are.

Please do not let your taste buds limit your life.  Practice self-discipline when it comes to food.  Muscles grow stronger when you use them.  Self-discipline grows stronger when you use it.

Now you know what I do.  I am sure you will find your own path.  And, that is as it should be.

In this book, I do not recommend any particular diet.  In my opinion, it is not the diet that matters.  Getting into caloric deficit is what matters.  Caloric deficit seems to the common theme in all diets.

You can get into caloric deficit with any diet.


Note: This is an experiment I have run on myself.  I continue to do so.  I am not making any promises here, and am not even making suggestions.  I am simply pointing out what worked for me.  This blog post is for informational purposes only.