Men’s Health nutrition advisor and weight loss expert Michael Roussell destroys the myth that healthy weight loss needs to be limited to 1 to 2 pounds per week—and gives you an all-new program to prove it. The MetaShred Diet is a science-backed, 28-day plan to lose fat and keep it off—for good!
Roussell combines the latest nutrition science with an easy-to-use plan that allows people to lose up to 15 pounds in just 28 days. By discovering your personal “secret weight loss window,” you’ll learn to combine the exact right amount of calorie reduction with the ideal amount of calorie burn. We’ve taken the best parts of low-carb and low-fat diet principles to create the ideal weight loss plan. With The MetaShred Diet’s delicious and simple recipes, you can easily control your calories—so you don’t need to count them—and create the optimal hormonal environment to burn fat.
The best part: you’ll lose weight and hold on to your hard-earned muscle. It’s rapid fat loss made easy. Just follow Roussell’s customizable eating plan and sample workouts from the Men’s Health brand.
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Recently, I caught up with a friend of mine, Jack. Like most people, Jack hadn’t really changed in appearance since the last time we had seen each other, about 8 months prior. He and I made small talk for a while, hitting on topics such as our kids’ obsession with Minecraft Story Mode, the increasing price of beef, and how summer TV is really bad. But as many of my conversations seem to go, Jack soon started asking me about nutrition and fat loss. It comes with the territory of being a PhD nutritionist and weight-loss advisor to Men’s Health magazine.
Basically, Jack was pretty frustrated. He said that he had been dieting for “as long as I can remember” but, somehow, still had 15 pounds to lose. After further discussion, Jack confessed that while he was a lifetime dieter, his compliance with his fat-loss diet was pretty bad.
This resulted in a behavior that I see in a lot of people. Because Jack was supposed to be “dieting,” he never felt like he could enjoy indulgent foods or foods in normal or even large quantities. He would feel guilty when he ate them, get discouraged, fall off the wagon, eat more, and then wait until Monday and start dieting again.
This cycle would repeat week after week, month after month. The upshot was that Jack wasn’t losing the weight he wanted to. He was burned out and discouraged because he felt like he had been dieting forever and not getting anywhere.
Sound familiar? It happens to a lot of people. And the best cure that I’ve found is an all-out blitz. In fact, it’s exactly why I wrote this book.
Jack was lost in the perpetual starting and stopping of 12-week fat-loss programs, so a shorter—and more extreme—program would be a better way for him to break the cycle and make a serious change. I told Jack about my 28-day rapid fat-loss program—the MetaShred Diet—and explained that there were three rules he would need to follow if he were going to do the plan.
1. No cheating. He needed to stick to the diet 100 percent.
2. Complete focused effort. No low-carb dieting and then a week later switching to Paleo, only to decide 3 days after that to try carb cycling. All of his efforts needed to be focused on losing as much fat as possible, as fast as possible.
3. Let people know. Telling people what he was doing would put the pressure on Jack to really make the 28-day fat-loss sprint work. In reality, 28 days isn’t that long, and if he told friends and co-workers, they would be sure to check in with him to see how he was doing. (Plus, most people would assume that losing 10 to 15 pounds in 4 weeks isn’t possible, so they would be intrigued enough to find out what was happening.)
He agreed that rapid fat loss was what he needed to end his lifetime of dieting. He also agreed to my three stipulations, and he started the MetaShred Diet that next Monday. And, really, that’s all it takes for anyone. The rules are simple—and all you have to do is commit for 28 days.
Have you been dieting forever?
If so, you’re not alone. I have yet to meet with a client for the first time who has never lost weight. They have all lost weight. The problem is that they all just regained the weight or stalled out with their weight loss.
They felt trapped in this mind-set that they should be dieting. So any and all social situations where “forbidden foods” were served were accompanied with guilt and plenty of remorseful thoughts, such as, “I probably shouldn’t have had that [insert decadent food or drink].”
Let me tell you: I have no time or tolerance for food guilt. And neither should you. Life is too short.
Nutrition is so powerful because you are only one meal away from moving in the right direction. Your next meal—whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner—is your opportunity to say with your actions, I’m making a change now. Moving forward, it’s going to be different. The time to end a lifetime of dieting is now, and you deserve to be in the best shape of your life.
Let’s make that happen together.
Get the Results You Really Want
Experts generally talk about weight loss as if it is one thing: the act of burning off body fat to reduce total body weight. As a result, lots of cookie-cutter weight-loss programs are developed and eventually fail. This is partly due to the fact that weight loss is not one thing.
There are two kinds of weight loss: rapid weight loss and long-term weight loss. Neglecting the differences between these two kinds of weight loss is a recipe for disaster. Here’s why: If you wanted to be a great sprinter, would you hire a world-renowned marathon coach? No. So if you wanted to lose 15 pounds in the next 28 days, does it make sense to follow a plan designed to help you lose weight over a period of 6 months? No.
Rapid fat loss and long-term weight loss requires a different mind-set, different actions, and a different approach to manipulating and dealing with your biochemistry. One is not better than the other, but it all depends on what you want to accomplish and the timeline to which you want to adhere.
The MetaShred Diet is a rapid fat-loss program. Everything about it, from the mind-set you need to adopt to how you will manipulate your carbohydrate intake to how you will approach sleeping, is tailored to helping you peel off as much body fat as possible in 28 days.
Permission Granted: Don’t Be Realistic
I once had a client, Tom, lose 21 pounds in 28 days. At one point, he was averaging a weight loss of 1 pound per day! That’s exceptional, but it’s exactly what he was planning to do. Seriously, his goal was to lose 21 pounds in 28 days. Yes, it was aggressive, but he believed he could do it, and we structured an effective science-based plan to get him there. The plan he used was generation one of the MetaShred Diet.
I bring up Tom’s success to emphasize that we need to get aggressive with our goals for this program. There is a slow-growing movement that we need to be realistic with our weight-loss goals and avoid setting our expectations too high. On the surface, this seems like good advice: Set realistic weight-loss goals so that you don’t get frustrated and quit, as you would likely do if you didn’t reach your unrealistic goals.
But what does science say? Are smaller, more realistic goals motivating because they are easier to achieve, or are more audacious goals the way to go because you are motivated to achieve something great and so different than your current state?
When it comes to weight loss, how realistic your goals are may have little impact on the amount of weight that you lose. And intentionally being conservative may actually hurt your results. In a University of Minnesota weight-loss study, researchers found that, on average, participants’ goals were 24 percent too high. Yet those who tried to lose 16 percent of their body weight—instead of the commonly recommended 5 to 10 percent1—dropped more pounds than their conservative counterparts. The scientists speculated that those who set more aggressive goals understand that it takes more effort to lose more weight. So when you set an audacious weight-loss goal, you know that it will require more effort, and that effort will reap a greater reward. In the end, effort is all we can control, so anything that increases your drive to put forth more effort will give you greater weight loss.
Focus on Action Goals
Big audacious weight-loss goals are the way to go for the MetaShred Diet, because you need total commitment during these 28 days. But spending time dreaming about being 15 pounds lighter in less than a month isn’t 100 percent productive—it’s more like zero percent productive. The downside of large and aggressive goals is that they can seem so unrealistic that you aren’t sure where to start, you get overwhelmed, and you don’t attack your plan.
This is why I’m going to ask you to set two kinds of goals. The first is the big, aggressive, audacious goal. You’ll never lose 15 pounds in 28 days if you don’t expect to. People tend to rise to their levels of expectation, so expect a lot from yourself. That’s the big-picture stuff. This is your end-point goal.
On the micro, day-to-day level, I want you to be practical and realistic. You aren’t going to lose 15 pounds in 1 day, so don’t act like you need to. On a day-to-day basis, you need to be methodical, realistic, and logistics-focused.
Your daily goal list should include things like:
■ I will complete a 30-minute workout.
■ I will eat my three MetaShred meals.
■ I will go to bed with the lights out by 10:30 p.m.
These are your action goals. They are the realistic action-oriented goals achieved day in and day out that will allow you to lose the weight you want. What’s more, University of Iowa researchers found that people are more likely to stick with their weight-loss plans when they concentrate on specific actions instead of the desired result. The likely reason: This allows you to realize success even before it shows up on the scale or in the mirror, which helps keep you motivated.2
Your action goals get you moving every day, working toward your end-point goal. Setting these two kinds of goals is essential if you want to get the most out of the MetaShred Diet.
Launch an All-Out Attack
My colleague and fellow Men’s Health magazine advisor Alwyn Cosgrove, a top expert in the fitness industry, once told me about a conversation he had with a new client about goals and expectations. She informed Alwyn that she wanted to “exercise as little as possible, eat as bad as possible, and look as good as possible.”
If we’re being honest with ourselves, this is how most of us view healthy living. We want to live as healthy as we need to stay fit and free of chronic disease, but not much past that. This is why much of the work that I do with my private clients focuses on modifying and improving their current behaviors, so that, over time, the changes will yield improvements in health and facilitate weight loss. I help clients “hack” their current habits so that they get better results doing essentially what they’re already doing. This approach works, but it’s slow. That’s the trade-off.
The MetaShred Diet is not about hacking habits to get you better results over time. The MetaShred Diet is about getting after it. It is an all-out war on your adipocytes. (That’s sciencespeak for your fat cells.) It is an all-out war on your environment, which is trying to coax you into eating more carbs and calories while also discouraging you from exercising or even just moving around. (Yes, your environment is out to make you fail; we’ll talk about how to fix that later.)
This mind-set shift away from gradual adjustments to an all-out and aggressive upgrade of your diet and metabolism is essential to having massive success with the MetaShred Diet.
The doughnuts are always warm. You can order Domino’s pizza with your voice via Amazon Echo. Your couch is always calling with your favorite show. You are always in enemy territory. Act accordingly.
Create Your Own Research Study
One of the reasons that the MetaShred Diet works so well is that it is grounded in decades of research on nutrition, metabolism, and weight loss. Aside from the scientific foundation, the other hallmark difference between the MetaShred Diet and any other rapid fatloss plan available to you is the intensified synergistic effort of the components of the diet.
We aren’t throwing out all of the effective strategies that science has uncovered for long-term weight loss; we’re just intensifying them in order to squeeze out all of their fatburning ability in a 28-day period instead of a 6-month period.
Consider a nutrition study that can give you a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the food or diet being studied and a specific outcome is called a controlled feeding study. This is the kind of study that I ran at Pennsylvania State University as a graduate student. In this kind of study, all of the foods and beverages are weighed and measured with precision and then given to each individual to eat. Study participants aren’t supposed to consume anything outside of what’s given to them, except for water, tea, and coffee.
If this sounds intense, that’s because it is intense! It also gets results. Customized, data-driven diets work. That’s exactly what I’ve created for you with the MetaShred Diet. I’ll show you how to easily determine which MetaDiet Level is right for you (starting on page 194) so that you can follow a customized meal plan to get the results you want. You are your own research project, and I am your lab assistant, here to make sure that everything works as you need it to.