It’s a new year and everyone is of course jumping on the loose weight and exercise bandwagon. Which, as a personal trainer, is awesome. It’s refreshing to encounter so many people motivated to make some big changes. Many will loose a few pounds and an equal number will quit or fall off the wagon shortly thereafter. The ones who sign up to train with me should get results. I say should because just getting the workouts in is of course, only part of the equation.

Unfortunately, in the past I have shied away from giving diet advice. Maybe I thought it was obvious what one was supposed to do. Maybe I was afraid to provide incomplete answers as diet and what to eat is the essence of the omnivore’s dilemma. In other words, we as humans can eat everything but as individuals have vastly different reactions to foods. Therefor, it’s dangerous and challenging and daunting to go down the road with someone when they ask the question, “What should I eat?”. I’d love to be able to say, “You can eat whatever you want and most of it will kill you.”

To help answer the age old question of what should one eat (and how much), I’d like to give a little insight into how I make my choices. Here’s the catch. You need to calculate your daily nutrition needs based on what you weigh now and what you want to weigh in the future. It’s going to involve some math. I know. That kinda sucks. Math is hard. Look at it like this. Even if you don’t actually go through the steps to find your actual daily food requirements you can just as easily try what I’m suggesting for a week or so and monitor how you feel. Your mood, energy and waistline are the true barometer. OR you can go here: and calculate your daily caloric needs. So there you go! Now you know how many calories to eat now let’s talk food.

From the get, food must become more and more elemental. Meaning it should look like what it is. Meat looks like it could have been on an animal, vegetables even when cooked look as if you just cut or pulled them from the ground. If you can not cook your own food, then you will have to find places where you can buy exactly what you want a la carte. This is easier than it may seem. For real. I could pull this off at McDonalds if I was desperate. And that’s the operative word. You have to become a little desperate, a little insane, a little unreasonable. Just to prove my point in the Micky D’s example I just mentioned, you could order two egg McMuffins, throw away the cheese and the bun and order a salad with no croutons or dressing and there you have it. Protein, fat and carbohydrates. The building blocks of life.

The first step in conquering the world is of course conquering the self. For me the biggest holes in my self control come from what I put into my mouth. First and foremost in the form of thoughtless calories. From my laid back, Taoist philosophical perspective I’ve never been one to count calories. You know, just eat when you’re hungry. It’s not that complicated. However, I recently read a book that explained in detail how that in order to get “big and shredded” one must absolutely have enough of the respective macronutrients in the diet to support that physique and the corresponding look. Well duh. Looking like a shredded freak obviously doesn’t happen by accident or more people would be doing it. So if you feel you are ready, then now is the time to lean out by truly taking a hard look at the numbers.