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How I Lose Weight, Get to 9% Body Fat and Build Muscles with Vegan Diet

How I Lose Weight, Get to 9% Body Fat and Build Muscles with Vegan Diet

Wouldn’t it be great if you could finally lose weight or build muscle in a sustainable way? If this sounds far reaching to you, hear me out.

As a manager of a fitness center with over thousand members, hundreds of coaching hours delivered and with a well-built physique myself – I feel qualified to write about such topic.

I’ve came up with a unique approach to build muscle and lose weight in a sustainable way — a vegan diet for weight loss.

How I lost weight fast with the 50-Fiber Formula

Losing fat never came easy to me. On my quest to get a sixpack, I’ve tried out countless of methods. But there are two diets that were the most remarkable on my journeys:

Before I used the 50-Fiber Formula

I remember doing a diet with no previous experience nor knowledge about weight loss. It was my first dieting attempt, a no-carb diet (carbohydrates were less than 10grams!).

During the first weeks of the diet, I had absolutely no energy. I remember training in the gym and feeling gassed-out after the warm-up. People asked me if I was being sick.

Although I was losing weight – which turned out to be mostly water – I felt horrible. Dieting was not fun, exercising was not fun and I had to search for a reason to wake up in the morning. I stopped the diet after 2 weeks.

Yet, what I liked about this diet, was the focus on one metric — keeping my carbohydrates under 10 grams a day and tracking that rigorously made it (next to the side effects talked previously) rewarding to follow a diet.

Some time later, I tried another diet and it turned out to be more successful.

My goal was to get to a one-digit body fat percentage. While working in the fitness industry for about a year at that time and training for more than 3 years, I got the necessary knowledge to at least do a successful diet.

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This time I wanted to be completely sure and learn from my mistakes: I tracked my entire calorie intake, every single thing that I ate and I planned at least 2 months to fully do the diet.

I indeed reached a one-digit body fat percentage, yet the effort I put into this diet was not worth the results. I dealt with a lot of cravings and one time ate a huge cheat meal of nearly 2,000 calories where I nearly puked afterwards.

How I created the 50-Fiber Formula

I concluded: This worked but was not the best approach. Yet I liked that I was seeing results in the gym. People noticed and told me that I was a ‘shredded beast’.

The experience of those 2 diets, plus me working with hundreds of clients led me to conclude that there had to be a different way. I realized that the combination of those two diet attempts would be the most sustainable and effective approach to weight loss.

The rewarding and simple method of the first diet focusing on one metric and the tangible results of the second diet inspired me to create a system that would make weight loss as simple and as effective as possible. Born was the 50-Fiber Formula.

Perks of the 50-Fiber Formula

With the 50-Fiber Formula diet, you will experience plenty of benefits that no other diets can give:

A simpler focus

You simply focus on eating 50 grams of high-quality fiber every single day. I realized that it was much easier to lose weight when you focus on what you can eat instead of what you can’t. This creates a mindset of abundance instead of scarcity. This makes dieting sustainable.

A healthier diet

Not only that, but this diet can actually be healthy. The two components that mostly differentiate healthy foods and unhealthy ones, are: Micronutrients (especially antioxidants) and Fiber.

Micronutrients are harder to quantify (as they usually work synergistically) and are more often than not synthetically added to a product. This makes it especially hard to track.

Your fiber intake, on the other hand, is easier to track and nonetheless very important in weight loss and a healthy diet.[1] The average American eats about 15g of fiber a day.[2] This is only about the half of the recommended intake.[3]

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Fiber is the component in a food that plays a key role in satiety and is thought to play a factor in weight regulation.[4]

Help you save money

Eating fiber is so important that we could save 12.7+ billion dollars a year by reducing the medical costs of treating constipation alone.[5] So following the 50-Fiber Formula daily can therefore also save you money.

Get you to eat more healthy foods

Fiber has been shown to change your microbiome.[6] Your microbiome heavily influences your cravings.

The microbiome, meaning the good or bad bacteria in your body, lives off fiber. For a long time, people thought fiber was a waste product of our nutrition but just recently we realized that it serves as the building block for our helpful gut bacteria.

The more fiber you eat, the more healthy foods you will crave. Eating more fiber will leave you in a positive spiral to a healthier and fitter you. Who thought that getting fit can be so easy as to eat 50 grams of fiber every single day?

3 Immutable rules to consider in the diet

To make your attempt to lose weight as effective and easy as possible, we also have to know what not to do. Or as Steve Jobs said:

Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.  — Steve Jobs

#1 Your meals shall be solid

Don’t eat blended meals unless you have to. This means avoid smoothies or meal replacement shakes.

A key aspect of how fiber works its wonder is by increasing your chewing time. Chewing is correlated with your perceived satiety.

Fun fact: Enforced chewing can decrease the enjoyment of your meal![7]

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#2 No soft drinks

This is similar to rule #1. Calories should always come in solid form.

You can drink 5 apple juices and feel little to no satiety. But you cannot eat 10 apples (same caloric intake) and feel absolutely full.

Focusing on wholesome foods will leave you satiated and makes your diet sustainable.

#3 Keep it unprocessed

Your dietary fiber intake should come from natural and unprocessed sources.

Eating fiber-fortified foods is cheating, swallowing fiber pills too. The beneficial effects of fiber are mainly shown in the intake of natural foods.[8] Do yourself and your diet success a favor and focus on unprocessed foods.

50-Fiber Formula — The step-by-step guide

You will learn in this phase how you can implement the 50-Fiber Formula in a step-by-step process. All the steps are as simple as possible. Remember: If you need help, hire a professional coach.

1. Search for foods that are high in fiber

The first step that you can do to a slimmer waistline and a healthier lifestyle is to simply 1. Open a new tab. 2. Go on Google and 3. Search for foods that are high in fiber.

These foods should follow the 5 to 1 fiber rule. For every 5 grams of carbohydrates they should contain 1 gram of fiber.

Add the ones to your diet that you like the most and buy them in bulk. If you don’t like any of these foods, try each of them out and see which resonates with you the most. But also know that your taste buds can change.

2. Analyze your current fiber intake

The RDA for fiber is 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day. Studies from the fossils of feces of our hunter and gatherer ancestors show that they have sometimes consumed more than 100 grams of fiber in a single day.[9]

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In this step, which is still preparation, you write down what you eat in a single day and then search how much fiber you approximately eat during that period. This way you know how long your journey will be in the first place.

3. Increase your fiber intake by 5g every second day

A key aspect in a successful diet is sustainability. The only way your diet can be sustainable is by focusing on slow, long-lasting change.

Instead of eating 50 grams of fiber starting from today, focus on making a habit of eating healthy. Starting slowly makes your body able to adapt to the changed, healthier nutrition.

4. Get to 50 grams of fiber a day

The ultimate goal of the 50-Fiber Formula is to eat 50 grams of fiber every single day.

This makes sure that 1. you’re on the right path and 2. you get a small win every single day. Often people get caught up trying to lose a huge amount of fat. They see the destination but can’t grasp the journey. This formula allows you to simply focus on the next step in front of you.

The sustainable choice — vegan diet for weight loss

The 50-Fiber Formula allows you to lose weight in a sustainable way.

In comparison to other diet trends, it emphasizes subjective well-being, consistency and health – all important pillars regarding your diet success.

Make sure you follow the 3 immutable rules to achieve your tangible success. Consume your meals in solid forms, avoid soft drinks and keep it unprocessed.

Don’t get caught up in the big picture. Focus on the next step ahead of you.

Featured photo credit: QualityGains.com via qualitygains.com

Reference

More by this author

Florian Wüest

Qualified and experienced fitness trainer and online coach.

Why You Should Keep a Fitness Journal to Jumpstart Weight Loss The Truth Behind Rapid Weight Loss and the Best Way to Shed Pounds How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss? How Vegan Bodybuilding Diet Keeps Hunger at Bay While Plant Based The Biggest Myth Debunked: The More Protein You Eat, the Faster You Build Muscles?

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

Feeling tired all the time?

Have you ever caught yourself nodding off when you’re watching TV, listening to someone drone on during a meeting or even driving a car?

I know I have, especially when I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive.

Feeling tired all the time may be more widespread than you think. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

If you’re tired of feeling tired, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re feeling tired all the time and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

What Happens When You’re Too Tired

If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

  • You may have trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired within your brain.
  • You may experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not because your brain’s neurotransmitters are misfiring.
  • You may get dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
  • You may find it more difficult to exercise or to perform any type of athletic activity.
  • Your immune system may weaken causing you to pick up infections more easily.
  • You may overeat because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids even when you’re not hungry.
  • Your metabolism slows down so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

Are you saying that feeling tired can make me overweight?

Unfortunately, yes!

Feeling tired all the time can cause you to put on the pounds especially around your waist. But it is a classic chicken and egg situation, too.

Heavier people are more likely to feel fatigued during the day than lighter ones. And that’s even true for overweight people who don’t have sleep apnea (source: National Institutes of Health).

Speaking of sleep apnea, you may be wondering if that or something else is causing you to feel tired all the time.

Why Are you Feeling Tired All the Time?

Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

Here’s a quick overview of each root cause of feeling tired all of the time:

  1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep restorative sleep.
  2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness which could be triggered by numerous issues such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
  3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance or emotional trauma.

It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

Feeling Tired vs Being Fatigued

If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

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Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep.

But fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive (source: Science Direct).

Symptoms of fatigue include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low stamina
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Low motivation

These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness but they usually last longer and are more intense.

Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. But there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

How Much Sleep Is Enough?

The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

So, quantity and quality do matter when it comes to sleep.

The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[5] So, you should definitely plan on getting seven hours of deep restorative sleep every night.

If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is most likely reason you feel tired all the time.

And that is good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

  1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
  2. Exercising regularly
  3. Using stressbusters
  4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

So, I know it is possible to change your lifestyle even when you’re working crazy hours and have lots of family responsibilities.

After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

In addition, I lost two inches off my waist and looked and felt better than ever.

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I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

  • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy including getting enough sleep.
  • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day ideally for six days a week.
  • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
  • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight and to achieve overall wellness.[6]

And yes, there does seem to be an important correlation between being lean and feeling rested.

But overall based on my personal experience and Dr. Sear’s scientific proof, the key to not feeling tired all of the time does seem to be 4 simple changes to your lifestyle.

L — Living Healthy

Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested and better overall.

So, whether you’re sleep deprived or potentially suffering from fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you probably want to find a way to sleep better.

In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger.

As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

1. Unplug

Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. But tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

So turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

2. Unwind

Do something to relax.

Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating or taking an Epsom salt bath.

3. Get Comfortable

Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep.

Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed.

If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[7]

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Above all, be gentle with yourself and count your blessings, some sheep or whatever helps.

This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

E — Exercise

Many people know that exercise is good for them, but just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

That’s what happened in my case.

But when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my lifestyle.

As part of my lifestyle upgrade, I knew I needed to move more.

My friends who exercise all gave me the same advice: find an exercise you like to do and find a specific time in your schedule when you can consistently do it.

That made sense to me.

So, I decided to swim.

I used to love to swim when I was young, but I hadn’t done it for years. The best time for me to do it was immediately after work, since I could easily get an open swim lane at my local fitness club then.

Also, swimming became a nice reason for me to leave work on time. And I got to enjoy a nice workout before eating dinner.

Swimming is a good way to get your cardio or endurance training. But, walking, running and dancing are nice alternatives.

So find an exercise you love and stick to it. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training and flexibility training in during your daily 20-minute workout.

If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try because you will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

A — Attitude

Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted. But there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued.

Do you want to know what that master stress-busting technique was?

Breathing.

But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

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Here’s how you do “Long-Exhale Breathing”:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy (so you know you are breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not shallowly from your chest)
  2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air)
  3. Hold your breath while you count to 7 mentally and enjoy the stillness
  4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it)
  5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep, long exhale breath
  6. Repeat 3 times ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system

This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[8]

Plus, this is a great technique for helping you get to sleep, too.

N — Nutrition

Diet is vital for beating fatigue – after all, food is your main source of energy.

If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels.

Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated, time-consuming though.

For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

Unless your current diet is solely made up of fast food and ready meals, adjusting to a fatigue-fighting diet shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system.

Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

  1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
  2. Add a healthy fat or protein to your any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed. Please note that carb-only snacks lead to blood-sugar crashes that can make you eat more and they can keep you from sleeping.
  3. Fill up with fiber especially green leafy vegetables. Strive to get at least 25g per day with at least 5 servings (a serving is the size of your fist) of green vegetables.
  4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice and corn.
  5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
  6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives such as So Delicious Dairy-Free Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream.
  7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive and nut oils.
  8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts such as Kite Hill Plain Yoghurt with 1g sugar or Lifeway Farmer Cheese with 0g sugar.
  9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice

Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multi-vitamin or specific supplement.

The Bottom Line

If you are tired of feeling tired, then there is tremendous hope.

If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices.

If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes including:

  • Enough High-Quality Sleep with Bedtime Routine
  • Regular Exercise You Love
  • Stress Reduction with Long-Exhale Breathing
  • Fatigue-Reducing Diet

Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle Is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

More Tips to Help You Rest Better

Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
[2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
[3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
[4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
[5] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
[6] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
[7] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
[8] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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