When it comes to weight loss, there’s no shortage of potential diets. The problem is that the majority of them encourage starvation, food restriction and a bad relationship with food. Everyone can cut calories for a few days but when it becomes too hard, what type of diet do you turn to? In my opinion, an elimination, gluten free diet is the best.
Heck, I’ve recommended it for everyone from a busy female to a couch potato to Crossfit athletes and NFL players so it really can be used for anyone and I have numerous articles on my site about it.
Let’s look at our goals for fat loss
To lose fat, the amount of which depends on the goal (physique, performance, health)
To lose fat while retaining as much energy as possible.
To lose fat without feeling lethargic, losing your sex drive or starving yourself
To lose fat without hours of cardio or time spent in the gym.
So let’s not feel dogmatic about the approach if the end goal is all that matters. If you steadily lose body fat and feel better, what does it matter if you did it by following an elimination diet or if it fits your macros or paleo or carb cycling. Now I know you may have had success with other diets and it’s okay, you can still follow that approach, I guarantee it’ll work better than before after you go gluten free and eliminate some other nasty foods like diary, corn and soy.
Remember, a “diet” doesn’t optimize for long term health. That’s why fitness competitors can get lean eating sugary foods and justify it because “it fits their macros”. I favor a lifestyle change that builds a better relationship with food because diets fail. Willpower will take you through 4 weeks of calorie counting but without a healthy relationship with food, you’ll regain all the weight back.
More Than Just Calories
It’s easy to think of fat loss as simply a reduction is calories but that doesn’t hold up. After all, you can’t continually reduce calories without hitting a point of feeling starved, lethargic or low energy.
When you eat any food, your gastrointestinal tract starts to break down the nutrients in the pieces of food. But the GI tract has its own mind that interacts with every nutrient OR anti-nutrient that it is processing. Your GI tract is not just 70% of your immune system but it’s also where your body builds neurotransmitters, hormones, chemical signals, critical enzymes and even your bacteria.
As a result, there’s numerous situations that can go wrong in your GI tract from increased inflammation to intestinal permeability (leaky gut) to food sensitivities.
These negative reactions are linked to increased stress hormone cortisol production to blood sugar dysregulation to ADD/ADHA, skin conditions, brain dysfunction and asthma.
The list just keeps on growing as more research comes out.
How does all of this relate to your fat loss?
Take two identical individuals, clones.
Clone A uses a traditional diet with carbohydrate cycling and progressively restricts carbs as the diet goes on. They train 4–5 days per week and do around an hour or so of low intensity cardio a week. Maybe they even throw some interval training in and have a few refeed, higher calorie, days.
This machine does everything perfectly.
Clone B does everything that Clone A does but WITHOUT ingesting any diary (yes even whey protein), soy, corn or gluten. They even don’t have any extra sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Clone B gets leaner, loses more body fat and retains more muscle with less cardio without restricting calories, every single time.
Clone A is perfect in every singly way except they aren’t accounting for the mismanaged blood sugar, dysregulated cortisol and other hormone patterns that are caused by their impaired gut health.
You can’t out cardio or our diet your own body. If your gut health is impaired, your hormonal health is going to me compromised without fail. But if you can get your cortisol pattern under control and stabilize your blood sugar .
The fitness world often simplifies our very complex hormonal and digestive system.Don’t get it twisted, I’m not advocating a lemon detox diet or any nonsense.
But when you routinely ingest food that irritates your gut and they manifest in a skin rash, what do you think is going on internally? Can you honestly just say “oh it’s just a random rash” without admitting that there’s a dynamo effect going on inside your body?
Why An Elimination Diet Works
The beauty of the elimination diet is that you don’t need to track macros or calories. As you eliminate foods, your grocery list is going to get really short and basic. As a result, it’s not wise to track your macros or calories. I understand that during a intense diet phase you want to slowly lower your caloric intake but as you optimize your gut health, you’re going to be able to get leaner while eating potatoes and rice and fruit as your carbohydrate sources. In my opinion you don’t even need to track calories during an elimination diet because you aren’t eating calorie packed foods.
I know that you may be worried that about weight gain without tracking calories but have no fear. As long as you focus on eating quality food, it would be very hard for you to gain weight.As long as you don’t go crazy and eat a cup of rice or patois every hour, the improved insulin control you’ll achieve through a gluten free diet is going to out weigh any little spikes that you get from eating carbohydrates more frequently.
Be a human, if you eat less because you track macros or overeat because you aren’t tracking macros then you don’t have a diet problem, you have a food relationship problem.
When To Start An Elimination Diet?
For the majority of us, the answer is “right now” but if you are a pre contest bodybuilder I would suggest holding off until your show is over. I know how dogmatic people can get and I don’t want you worrying about how much fat you’ll lose. Just start in the off season.
Foods To Eliminate When Going Gluten Free
Besides gluten, dairy,sugar, corn,soy and everything artificial, you want to focus on whole foods, shocker right? Most people are surprised that they negatively respond to their favorite foods, which they consistently eat. Routine foods often cause an immune response due to the frequency of consumption so you’ll be surprised when you remove them.
For a complete list of foods to eliminate, click here to download my free guide.
How Long Should I Go Gluten Free?
I always recommended a 30 day elimination diet to fully assess food intolerances. After those 30 days you can go back to your normal eating but you may not want to.
What To Expect From An Elimination Diet.
As you pay attention to how you’re feeling, you may notice that certain everyday conditions such as asthma, brain fog and congestion all disappear. This is a direct link to following an elimination diet.
The first few days may be difficult as you transition to eating less varieties of food but more overall food. Take it slow, after a week or so you’ll notice fat loss and improved digestion, less bloating and improved, well, everything.