Is my diet strict enough to lose weight?

I’ve been doing BFL for the past year, and did well atfirst, losing 3 dress sizes and 5% body fat, but then I totally hita plateau and have had no more results since December. I’m wonderingif I’ve been strict enough with my eating?

I bought your ebook, Burn The Fat, Feed the Muscle, and I’m very excited about theinformation I’ve read so far, but I need some clarification aboutthe eating part.

I’ve been eating according to the BFL philosophy with one “cheat” dayper week. What I’m reading in your Burn The Fat program is instead, toallow myself a couple of “cheat” meals any time during the week oron the weekend, but not to take an entire day off the program.

However, in your list of foods that turn to fat, you mention thatcertain foods should only be eaten very rarely. Does that mean thatthey shouldn’t even be eaten at a weekly cheat meal? I can live with that,but then, what constitutes a “cheat” meal, (for example, if my favoritehash browns aren’t allowed?

It’s not productive in the long term to totally deprive yourself of foodsyou enjoy. What you have to do is find a sensible way to work even yourmost “sinful” favorite foods into your diet, but do it in an amount andfrequency that doesn’t set you back or sabotage your progress. This can bedone by allowing yourself some “cheat meals” – within reason. (some peoplecall them “freeMeals” or “reward meals.”

One really good way to look at the “cheat meals” thing is in termsof “compliance,” which means, what percentage of your meals arefollowing the guidelines of the program and what percentage are offthe program.

Too many meals or days off the program and your results are compromised.Too many days in a row eating nothing but “rabbit food” and you go crazywith cravings, right?

How much you need to comply (stick with) your program varies fromperson to person. It depends a lot on how ambitious your goals areand on how responsive your body is to nutrition and exercise.

When making your decision, keep in mind we all have different geneticsand body types, which is something I discuss in great detail in chapter 5of Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle. (more info here:

Are you a carb-tolerant mesomorph who gains muscle easily and losesfat easily or are you a carb-sensitive endomorph who gains fat easily?Depending on the answer, your diet program may need to be more or lessstrict than others.

Don’t compare yourself to others – you have to get to know your ownbody type. Some people can “Get away with” more cheat meals and stillmake progress (Yeah, I hate them too!)

Unless you’re a competitor in physique sports like bodybuilding,fitness or figure, or you’re getting ready for some type oftransformation challenge or photo shoot, I suggest at least 90%compliance.

Whether you adjust your level of compliance above 90% (get more “strict”)or below 90% (get more lenient), depends how far away or close you arefrom achieving your goals, and most importantly, on what kind of resultsyou’re getting each week.

If you’re complying 90% of the time, and you are getting awesome results,you don’t have to change a thing, and you may be able to loosen up yourdiet a little. I know some people who are definitely only “on the program”80% or 85% of the time and they look great.

90% compliance means you are following healthy nutritious, fat burningeating guidelines 9 meals out of 10. If youre eating small frequent mealslike the burn the fat program suggests, thats 5 small meals a day X 7 daysa week = 35 meals. 90% compliance meals about 31-32 of those meals arespot-on! The other 3 or 4 are for you to enjoy special occasions, rewardyourself, and live a little.

If you’re like most people, and you simply want to drop a few pounds,trim a few inches off your waistline and look better in shorts or in aswimsuit for summer, then 100% compliance is unrealistic AND unnecessary.90% compliance is more realistic as a lifesytle, while being strict enoughfor most people to get results.

On the other hand, if you had a very ambitious goal like preparing for afigure or fitness competition and you thought you had to reach at least 12 or 13%body fat (which is very low for women), and you will be onstage withjudges looking at every inch of your body in a teeny bikini (paying very closeattention to whether anything on your butt and thighs was “jiggling”,lol), then you would want to be as strict as possible during the pre contestdiet period (100% compliance or very close to it).

Keep in mind also, that this is a competitive situation and every time you”cheat” and your competitors don’t cheat, you decrease your probability ofplacing high in the contest.

Unless you have a competitive physique goal like this, however, then totaldeprivation of pleasure foods or cheat meals (100% compliance), is notnecessary because you always tend to crave what you cannot have. That’sa binge waiting to happen.

I prefer this 90 or 95% compliance approach over the “entire day ofcheating” approach, because I have seen people use the term “cheat day” pretty darnloosely (basically making it the equivalent of a GIANT BINGE DAY), andthey do a lot of damage that way in terms of setting their progress back.

They end up frantically playing “catch up” for the better half of thefollowing week with punishing extra exercise and dietary deprivation.Slow and steady is better than binge and punish don’t you agree?

Allow yourself some leeway. Enjoy food. Enjoy life. Have your pizza, orchocoloate or your hash browns or whatever makes your stomach happy. Itwill help, not hurt in the long run. Just be sure to be mindful of your calorielimits, and when you say you are going to comply 90% of the time, thenkeep your promise to yourself and comply!