The problem is that I don't have an answer: at least an answer that most people want to hear. I didn't count calories. I didn't drink shakes. I didn't take pills. I didn't stop eating any food groups. (Those stories are for a different post.)
I eat food. Only food. Real food.
Some people call it the Eat Clean Diet. Others call it the Whole Foods Diet. I guess that's fine if you like to put a name on it. But I just eat food.
At this point, you may be saying to yourself, "But I eat food. Lots of food! Why haven't I lost any weight?" Well, I hate to break it to you, but you probably aren't eating real food.
Lean Cuisine. Not real food.
100 Calorie Snack Packs. Not real food.
Lemon flavored water. Not real food.
Honestly, if it has an "ingredients" list on the back, it's probably not food.
But how does eating real food make you lose weight? What's the difference between eating 2000 calories of processed food and eating 2000 calories of real food? A calorie is a calorie, right?
Now, there's a whole slew of science that goes on in the body when you eat anything. I could put my degree to good use and go into all the chemistry that goes on, but that's kind of beyond the scope of this post. I do, however, recommend reading The Eat Clean Diet, The French Don't Diet, or Practical Paleo, as all three have great sections about the physiological effects of eating processed foods. Or, you can always visit PubMed and read some studies if you're into that sort of thing. (No worries; I won't judge your inner nerdiness).
But what about the Twinkie Diet? That proves you can eat processed foods and still lose weight, right?
See, that's the terrible thing with science. You get one "study" that goes viral and decades of other research goes right out the window. ABC News has a pretty decent critique of the study in layman's terms that is worth the read. Basically, weight loss doesn't always equate with improved health. Plus, a low-calorie junk food diet is hard to maintain over the long run.
"The impact of an unhealthy diet is felt in years, not weeks."
So, what do you actually eat?
Everything. A typical breakfast is uncured bacon, pastured eggs, and my favorite pumpkin pancakes made with real maple syrup. Lunch is often a grass-fed burger with a baked sweet potato (topped with real pastured butter) and a green smoothie. Dinner may be fish or a steak with roasted beats, broccoli, and squash. My favorite snack is dark chocolate with crystallized ginger or homemade custard made with raw milk.
Really, though, these are just a few examples. There's very little I can't eat. Instead of potato chips, I fry sweet potato slices in coconut oil. Instead of boxed cake mix, I make one from scratch with eggs, butter, and almond flour. It really doesn't take any more time to bake from whole ingredients.
I am never hungry and I am never deprived. I still eat ice cream, burgers, pizza, and chocolate. I don't count calories; yet, I've still managed to lose weight. Not only have I lost over 70 lbs, I've kept it off for two years. And the great thing is, everyone can eat real food. It doesn't matter if you're vegan, low-carb, paleo, vegetarian, etc. All you have to do is stop eating the fake processed foods (ie. vegan hot-dogs and low-carb bread) and eat real food instead.